Introduction: The 30 Day Ketogenic Diet Playbook
Welcome to the 30 day Ketogenic Diet Playbook! The ketogenic diet, often referred to as “keto,” is a high-fat diet that replicates the benefits of fasting. Not only does this lifestyle change help those who follow it lose weight, but it actually improves their mental clarity as well.
Essentially, on the diet, both your brain and body use ketones, which come from ingested fat, as an energy source, rather than blood sugar, also known as glucose. This doesn’t happen on the first day, but once an individual is in ketosis, weight loss and a clear, more functional mind are soon to follow.
The ketogenic diet originally began to help treat epileptic children, and while it mimics a Paleo or Atkins diet, there are differences to consider. While it seems like all the rage today, it actually began in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Other low carb diets can also be beneficial as they reduce the overindulgence of sugars, but the high-fat portion of keto is equally important. When compared to other low-carb diets that disregard high-fat intake, the ketogenic diet produces greater weight loss, according to the publication, British Journal of Nutrition.
Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet
Within the first 30 days of the ketogenic diet, there are several benefits you will likely experience with this lifestyle change. Unlike many fad diets on television today, the ketogenic diet can truly be life altering.
Some benefits include:
- No more sugar cravings. You can have better control of your eating habits while also not feeling that “sugar crash” late in the day.
- No more hunger pains. Unlike calorie-counting or other time-consuming diets that require a calculator, the ketogenic diet eradicates hunger pains that come from typical carb-fueled diets where you to eat six times per day.
- Lower blood pressure. Low-carb diets reduce blood pressure and people on blood pressure medications can sometimes lower or stop taking their meds.
- Lower cholesterol. Since cholesterol comes from excess glucose, cutting sugary foods will lower problems from typical diets.
- Lower triglycerides. Eating carbohydrates is directly connected to triglyceride levels and higher ratios of triglycerides can actually indicate a higher risk of heart attack.
- Decreased stiffness, or joint pains. Perhaps one of the best benefits of the ketogenic diet will be a decrease in chronic illness, stiffness, or joint pains.
- Decreased fogginess. High carb diets often cause a “fogginess” between or during carb overloads. Eating more fat and less carbs clears the fog.
- Increased HDL cholesterol. Essentially, the more saturated fat in your diet (i.e. high quality butter, animal fats, fatty red meat, and cheeses), the higher your HDL cholesterol, which means a healthier heart.
- Increased energy. Chronic fatigue symptoms will improve on a ketogenic diet and many who practice are surprised at how their energy levels improve.
- Weight loss. If the above side effect improvements aren’t enough, the weight loss should entice just about anyone tired of their excess “wheat belly.” The ketogenic diet can normalize your waistline and improve your health.
There are many benefits to the ketogenic diet, which include weight normalization, improved health, and a clear mindset.
Understanding the Ketogenic Ratio (Counting Macros)
While we’ve already established that the ketogenic diet revolves around high-fat, low-carb meals, there is also an exact ratio to keep in mind. Basically, your meals should consist of 70 percent fats, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates.
For those unfamiliar with counting macronutrients (macros), this could mean 122g fat, 100g protein, and 25g of carbohydrates. Macros are molecules that our bodies use to create energy and they come from grams of food.
4 Obstacles in the First Week of the Ketogenic Diet
Much like developing a “second wind” as a runner, there are obstacles in the beginning of the ketogenic diet that are tougher than the entire experience. Like fasting, if you can survive the first few days, the rest will be easy.
1. Mental Fogginess
Despite that fact that the ketogenic diet eventually causes a clear mind and body, it actually produces alternative effects in the beginning. When a person starts the diet—within their first 2-3 days of the ketogenic transition—there will be fogginess.
Essentially, your brain is trying to switch from running on glucose, a method it has used for years, to then start running off of ketones. Meanwhile, your body will also be burning up the last of the glucose in your system.
2. Lack of Endurance
Similar to the mental fogginess mentioned above, the first few days will also create a loss of endurance or strength. This isn’t always the case, but like a detox, it does happen to many people who are entering the ketogenic lifestyle.
If you are experiencing this on your first day of the ketogenic diet, next time that you visit the gym, consider giving your body 20-30g of fuel in the form of complex carbs directly before you enter the gym.
Also, make sure to eat fresh vegetables with the fats and proteins to get additional iron, potassium, and manganese to keep up your energy throughout the day.
3. Dehydration or Constipation
Finally, because you are transitioning into a whole new lifestyle, it’s possible that you could experience dehydration or constipation. Again, it’s also beneficial to add extra veggies to your diet for a whole host of medical reasons, but rather than going doing that road of medical explanations, just know it helps with constipation issues.
In addition to the benefits of less pounds on the scale, it’s also important to know that some of those first few pounds lost come from excess water weight, which means it is crucial to keep a steady flow of water into your system. Make sure to keep your electrolytes up. I recommend getting LyteShow; an electrolyte supplement you can add to water.
4. Experiencing the Keto Flu
When all of these problems hit at the same time, meaning you may be experiencing fatigue, headaches, cough, sniffles, nausea, or irritability, that’s what has affectionately become known as the “keto flu.”
If you are experiencing these problems, it’s likely because your body was very dependent on carbohydrates. It is almost like a smoker or drinker experiencing a withdrawal from an addictive substance, but it will pass after a few days.
Methods Better Than Will Power
As written on the Bulletproof website, “How long you can go without making bad decisions depends on the strength of your anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)…. Every time you exert effort, you withdraw a bit of fuel, slowly emptying your ACC.”
Some people call this phenomenon “decision fatigue.” One way to minimize your daily decisions is to stick to a strict schedule. Rather than risk the chance of losing your battle with food choices or food urges, create a plan of action. Use your time planning rather than deciding. Then, there is no choice to have to battle with.
Ketogenic Diet Meal Prep For Two
Not every meal plan will give an example of the exact number of macros that your body needs, so make sure to plan accordingly based on your weight loss or fitness goals, body mass index (BMI), and additional health concerns.
As an example, let’s use Keto On $5 A Day’s budget-friendly meal plan for two as a reference to get you started. This meal plan is meant for two people, for five days, but for one person, simply halve or freeze the excess ingredients.
At your local market or grocery store, shop for the following items:
- Whole chicken (10 lbs, $10 dollars)
- Ground beef (2 lbs, $6 dollars)
- Bacon (1 lbs, $5 dollars)
- Eggs (2 dozen, $3 dollars)
- Avocado (2 whole, $4 dollars)
- Broccoli/Cauliflower (4 bags, $4 dollars)
- Lettuce (3 heads, $3 dollars)
- Grass-fed Butter (8 ounces, $3 dollars)
- Almonds (5 ounces, $3 dollars)
- Sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces, $2 dollars)
- Salad dressing (16 ounces, $1 dollar)
*Some prices and carb/calorie counts may vary, so do your research and plan accordingly as there are hidden carbs in certain brands or foods. I’ve linked to some recommendations of brands I like, but the prices listed are from the reference plan.
Next, it’s time to prep these items.
- Bake your chicken 25 minutes per pound at 350 with butter.
- Cook the bacon and beef in a pan and cracked your eggs in a muffin tin to make individual servings. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes for breakfast bites.
- Place the other dozen eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, then shut off and cover for 17 minutes.
- Place the rest of the bacon on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
The following section is more specific with what should be done to the prepped food. This section is meant for two people who are both trying to consume around 1,200 calories per day:
On Day 1, eat en egg-cup, cobb salad, ground beef broccoli bowl, and almonds. The egg-cup will be for breakfast. At lunch, eat lettuce, half an avocado, one piece of bacon, a hard-boiled egg, dressing, and about 4 ounces of chicken.
On Day 2, gather your hard-boiled eggs, almonds, broccoli bowl, cheddar cheese, and Cobb salad. To make this creation, use 2 eggs, ½ ounce of almonds, 4 ounces of chicken, 1 tablespoon of butter, 6 ounces of broccoli, 1 ounce of cheese.
For dinner, eat ½ an avocado, lettuce, bacon, hard-boiled egg, dressing, and chicken. The daily macros should be 1,231 calories, 82 g fat, 85 g protein, and 11 g carbs.
On Day 3, gather hard-boiled egg, egg cups, chicken, side salad with bacon, and almonds. To make this you’ll need an egg, two egg cups, 4 ounces of chicken, lettuce, bacon, dressing, and ½ an ounce of almonds.
The daily macros should be 1,226 calories, 98g fat, 78g protein, 6g of carbs.
On Day 4, gather chicken, hard-boiled egg, Cobb salad (without avocado) and ground beef broccoli bowl. To make this, you’ll need 4 ounces of chicken, one egg, lettuce, bacon, hard-boiled egg, dressing, and 4 ounces of chicken.
For dinner, prep 4 ounces of ground beef, one tablespoon of butter, 6 ounces of broccoli. The daily macros should be 1,219 calories, 80g fat, 105g protein, 8g carbs.
On Day 5, gather egg-cups, hard boiled eggs, cheese, chicken broccoli bowl, and almonds. To make, eat two egg cups, two eggs, 1 ounce of cheese, 4 ounces of chicken, 1 tablespoon of butter, 6 ounces of broccoli and ½ ounce of almonds.
The final daily macros should be 1,189 calories, 91g fat, 81g protein, 8g carbs.
Once you understand the basics of the meal plan, you’ll be able to experiment with your own favorites while staying in ketosis. There are also iPhone and Android apps to help you track your macros on the fly.
Support From the Keto Community
The ketogenic lifestyle is more than a diet. With an online community, both in the form of social media (Facebook, Reddit, Instagram) and literature (Ketogenic books on Amazon), there’s no reason to ever feel alone on the diet.
These websites, platforms, and resources will help you find accountability and support. Online, thousands (if not millions) of people are sharing their success stories from using the ketogenic diet. In the information age we live in today, there are countless ways to find support, more information, and advice.
Some popular books on Amazon include:
- Ketogenic Diet: The Step by Step Guide For Beginners
- Ketogenic Diet: The Low Carb Guide For Long-Term and Rapid Weight Loss
- The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (specifically Dominic D’Agostino sections)
There are also websites like Stickk, which lifestyle design guru Tim Ferriss highly recommends. On Stickk, you select a goal, set the stakes, get a referee, and add other friends for support.
“Stickk was founded on the principle that creating incentives and assigning accountability are the two most important keys to achieving a goal. Co-founder Dean Karlan, an economics professor at Yale, came up with the idea of opening an online “Commitment Store,” which eventually became stickk. If you don’t fulfill your commitment with stickk, it automatically tells your friends and opens you up to endless mockery and derision…”
Social Adjustments on the Ketogenic Diet
If willpower and the possibility of the “keto flu” aren’t already tough enough, the greatest obstacle in the early stages of the ketogentic diet will be social.
Using the online Reddit community, as mentioned above, one user outlined the biggest struggle with the ketogenic diet:
“My biggest struggle is when I’m out with friends especially if they are cooking something carby! What are your strategies to avoid temptation and avoid hurting someone’s feelings if they cook something for you that isn’t keto friendly?”
Two of the top responses to this question cater around the idea that you can tell your friends about your diet or save up your carbs for the meal. Either can be a slippery slope to breaking ketosis, but once you’re a regular fat-burner, it also won’t be as difficult to get back into ketosis.
A top response to the question read:
“At the meal, I make the best choices I can. The last meal I had like this was beef stew served over pasta with cheese bread and a kale caesar salad. Obviously I can pass on the pasta and bread. There were croutons in the salad, so I ate around them. There was probably sugar and tomato in the stew, so I just enjoyed it knowing I made the best choice I could while still honoring my friend’s cooking.”
This Reddit user also noted that while they would never ask to have their friends plan the meal around them, they could make their own adjustments during the feast. In addition, the person was back in ketosis the following day.
Another response read,
“I tell my friends about how I eat, and I tell them that they don’t have to cater to me, but that I might not eat everything they offer.” This cuts out the social obligations before they even arise.
At restaurants, on the other hand, sometimes you’ll be stuck with salad options, but most will cater to your needs if you’re willing to order off menu.
At a Mexican or Japanese restaurant, for example, substitute rice for additional veggies like peppers and onions. More and more burger joints or taco stands are also offering bun-less options like naked burgers or naked wraps.
The Ketogenic Diet Playbook: Starting Your Journey
Hopefully this 30-Day Ketogenic Diet Playbook has helped you understand the basics of the ketogenic diet in a way that you can cater it to your needs. If you’re unable to cook three meals a day, for example, perhaps you have the option to either prep meals or order off-menu at your favorite local restaurants.
Once you get past the first few days and enter ketosis, meaning the body no longer requires glucose to run, you should experience a world of difference in your mental clarity, but also around your waistline. Like any diet, the key is to take your time and there will obviously be trial and error situations, but don’t give up.
If you find yourself having trouble explaining the ketogenic diet to family or losing bits of your willpower, just remember why you got started in the first place. Know your end game and how much better things will be once you have accomplished your goals and adapted a better lifestyle.
Hunger pains are temporary and there’s no shame in the occasional cheat meal with friends, but stick to your guns for a clear mind and body. Don’t make bad decisions for temporary happiness when a world of difference is right around the corner.
Please note, while there may be information on this web site related to certain medical conditions or treatments, should a medical condition exist, promptly see your own physician or health provider. Only your doctor or other healthcare professional, as a learned intermediary, can determine if a product or lifestyle described in this web site is appropriate for you.