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How To Easily Start A Keto Diet With Lisa’s 30-Day Challenge

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“Appetite comes with eating,” says my general practitioner, a fan of hiking, and I decided at the beginning of 2018 to take a new step. 

I wanted to optimize my physical capacities for different reasons, never to be short of breath, to feel more and more flexible and agile, and to no longer have any joint problems or back pain.

In short, to simply feel good in my own skin and make my body strong, flexible, toned and slim.

My name is Lisa, and I work as a marketing manager at a multinational company in Brussels. 

After discovering the Keto diet, I’m not in my ideal weight but I’m not overweight. I no longer lose my breath when climbing the stairs, I can run a semi-marathon in less than 1:30 and 10km in less than 55 minutes. No exceptional performances, but overall I feel more in shape at 35 than ever before.

Initial assessments

My eating habits

Vegetables Keto

I started to get interested in low carb and Keto diets last Christmas.

Then I carried out different sporting and nutritional experiments based on running, water fasting for 1 to 3 days, a little freestyle low-carb diet, Atkins diet and other forms of Keto diet or LCHF (low carb high fat, poor in sugars and rich in fats) and more radical variants like the Keto Warrior diet.

I now find my balance by combining different phases, generally always in the same cycle: registration for a race or trail or other physical challenges, water fasting for 1 to 3 days, Keto for 1 to 3 weeks, then gradual reintroduction of fruits and complex carbohydrates for 1 to 2 weeks until the cycle starts again.

Race with carbohydrate loads. A day or 2 of recovery and unrestricted meals, then a new registration, fasting, Keto diet, etc.

Once again, it’s not a matter of advice: it’s only my eating habits combined with my sporting activity.

I am satisfied with it, it suits me, I feel fitter than I have ever been, my blood tests are perfect, I threw away my scale. But it only concerns my case, which is not transferable.

Is Keto that easy?

keto diet food

Yes, following a Keto diet can be easy. I even think it may be one of the easiest diets to follow, and even if it doesn’t suit everyone, it may help others like me to adopt a new and satisfying diet.

But in Belgium, this diet is more difficult to follow than elsewhere. Finding information and products is sometimes a real struggle, especially when you don’t master Shakespeare’s language.

Many low glycemic index products have been developed to help people on low carb and Keto diets, but they are rarely distributed in Belgium. Some are even impossible to find, unless you place an order at the other end of the world.

I have done a lot of research in different cities, and apart from Brussels, which has a few stores; most retailers are even unaware of the existence of low glycemic index or low carb products.

I have asked the same questions over and over again to all the vendors in stores specializing in organic, vegan and other products. Each time, I got the look of a deer caught in the headlights and the same reaction: ”But where do you come from? Carbohydrates are everywhere! It is not possible to have products without carbohydrate, without gluten maybe, but without carbohydrate”.

I tried to argue at first, but I no longer insist; I understood that I am facing a global and generalized ignorance about this diet in Belgium. Apart from my doctor and a few wise nutritionists, I have been confronted with the following two main scenarios: those who have never heard of it and who have taken me for a madman at best or a fool at worst, and those who have heard about it, including doctors, who have a very limited knowledge and who allow themselves to make a negative judgment by rejecting the regime and all its adapts with a flick of their hands.

Hundreds of thousands of Belgian people are therefore allowed to continue to eat their fries. But they are not informed of any other alternatives that may exist. The only source of information in French for this type of regime are blogs, the books of those who have practised it and some experts who have been put on the bench of the French-speaking medical society because they are not orthodox.

I was very upset and frustrated at the idea that it was so difficult for Belgians to follow this diet and access these products at a reasonable price. It drives me crazy to think that there is no other way to get them than online trading sites, at twice the price that an English, a Swede or a German would pay if they decided to follow the same diet.

We must be able to implement solutions so that the best low-carb and Keto products are available in Belgium and distributed by a Belgian company. So that they can be offered locally in store for sale or in any other form in as many specialized and organic food stores as possible, on the same basis as vegan and paleo products.

It must also be possible to explain the principles of the Keto diet to make it more accessible to those who choose to do so. So that they can apply it more easily than today in Belgium if they decide to and adapt it to their lifestyle, with everyday products, without the hassle and without spending their lives behind the stove.

That’s what motivated me to write this book.

Keto diet for dummies

Basic principles

What is Keto Diet

Reduce your carbohydrate intake to a strict minimum (15 to 20g/day at first and then up to 50g/day), to put your body in a ketosis state and use ketones, derived from stored or ingested fats, as an energy source.

Distribution of macros: 5 to 10% carbohydrates, 15 to 30% proteins, 60 to 75% fats, depending on the sources and types.

The Keto diet or Ketogenic diet is not suitable for everyone: in particular, mothers breastfeeding their children and people with kidney problems should not follow this diet. In all cases, it is imperative to consult your doctor before considering a modification in your eating habits.

In some versions of the Keto diet such as Atkins, 4 phases are proposed: induction/attack, balance, stabilization and long-term maintenance.

Induction/attack phase (1 to 2 weeks):

  • 20 g maximum of carbohydrates per day, including 12 to 15 g from vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and salad,
  • No bread, pasta, cereals, biscuits, any type of starch, as well as fruit,
  • Eat fatty fishes such as salmon, seafood, beef, poultry and other meats, eggs, cream, mayonnaise and some dairy products if they are carbohydrate-free (avoid milk and yogurt for the first 2 weeks),
  • Morning and evening snacks without carbohydrates,
  • No alcohol and drink 2 liters of water (about half a gallon) per day,
  • Supplements of vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals to avoid any risk of deficiencies,
  • Do some low-intensity cardio exercise, ideally walking.

My 30-day Keto challenge

Before you start

keto diet salmon eggs seeds

Here are the principles and rules that I decided to apply before the start of the challenge to increase my chances of success:

– Note everything I eat and drink without exception,

– Choose a strategic start date: a day off in my case, to be able to organize everything for this experience

– Prepare my menus in advance and my detailed program for the entire duration of the challenge (succeeded for the first 2 weeks, then abandoned),

– Start by doing extensive research on this diet and develop a synthesis of it to refer to throughout the challenge,

– Take advantage of the 3-day weekend of the beginning to prepare as many menus and dishes as possible in advance so that I can concentrate as much as possible on respecting the diet without being affected on a daily basis by logistical problems (missing products, lack of time to prepare the meals),

– Take as many measurements as possible on a daily basis and keep a follow-up file: weight, fat mass, meals, products and calories ingested, sport performed and performance, etc.,

– Keep a logbook to keep track of the different sensations and findings,

– List on a daily basis all the constraints and ideas for improvement that can enable everyone to practice this regime under facilitated conditions

A few extracts from my logbook

Logbook For Keto

Day 2 – It is still a diet. I understand that it will take will. Forced to take a nap in the middle of the day,

Day 3 – It’s definitely a diet, low energy,

Day 5 – Keto Flu: headache, fatigue, mood swings, memorization and concentration difficulties. No hunger, diet easy to follow from this point of view, some sweet desires,

Day 6 – I managed to get back on track. It’s going a lot better, I feel great,

Day 7 – A week to adapt. The recovery is confirmed. Yesterday, I managed to run 8.4 km in the woods with a little difference in altitude, I struggled a little at the start but finished in a sprint,

Day 15 – I stopped weighing myself,

Day 16 – Record in the race. I was aiming for a time below 47 minutes in the 10 km, already 2’30 less than my last official race. In the end, I felt very good, with a result of 45’44 to 44 seconds from the ideal objective I had set myself until now on this distance,

Day 22 – Endurance and ketosis. 55km travelled by bike. Super positive assessment, very pleasant moment: magnificent weather, no cravings, no problems.  The effort was very continuous and I felt no lack of energy,

Day 25 – Ketosis and champagne. Conclusive test, still in ketosis after yesterday’s aperitif and two glasses of champagne

Day 27 –  Ideal weight and in shape. I pulled out the scale: 69 kg. A check-up with the doctor, blood pressure and cardiac rhythm after the effort: perfect.

Day 30 – End of the challenge but not the Keto diet, I decided to integrate it into my daily diet with carbohydrate loading phases for running. 

Assessment after 1 month of diet

The attack phase is not easy

keto diet salmon meat avocado cheese

You realize that you are on a diet. Fatigue, food restrictions and macros to be followed strictly to ensure that the ketosis is effectively brought into a state of ketosis.

Nevertheless, I find this phase much less difficult than the attack phases of other regimes, such as hyper-protein governance for example. It is quite subjective and personal, but this phase of attack was not a miserable one either, as I may have felt during other diets.

The foods recommended for this diet suit me well. I have always liked avocados, duck magrets, salad, smoked salmon and other fish in general, in fillets and with oil. I manage to vary and it remains digestible and appetizing.

Of course the most difficult is the near absence of carbohydrates. I never thought there would be so much hidden and added sugar in most of the foods around us, especially in prepared meals, and even more so in low-fat products.

I have been systematically returning all the products of the supermarkets for several months now and I realize how almost it is imposed on us to consume added carbohydrates.

Going into ketosis

It is not as easy as I thought it would be when I read the various sources of information on the subject. In particular, the strips or an electronic reader seem to me essential to control the state of ketosis. At first I thought everything was working well because I was losing weight. It was mostly a loss of water and I realized that I was not ultimately in ketosis.

In the same way, it seems almost impossible to me to maintain the ketosis while respecting the maximum of 15 to 20g of carbohydrate without calculating everything.

I was convinced that I would follow the recommendations by eating only authorized products. As soon as I started calculating I realized that it is very easy to exceed the 20 g of carbohydrates very quickly.

Sugar cravings

Sugar Cravings Keto Diet

I’m more interested in salty foods, dishes in sauce, a good cheese. I like desserts because I am more generally quite gourmet, but having to choose between a well-made cheese and a chocolate fondant, I opt for the first one.

I think this is a real advantage for the Keto diet because the absence of sugar and sweet taste is radical. For someone who has a sweet tooth, it seems to me that this diet will be much harder to follow.

Nevertheless, for someone rather attracted to salty foods, during the diet I felt real sweet cravings, walking around in zombie mode in the kitchen to try to ignore all the cakes and chocolate bars that I wanted to eat.

I gave in to sugar several times. I really think we need to plan phases to take a break. If we aim to follow this type of diet in the long term, I think it can be useful even from a social point of view to have at least one meal every 15 days without restriction, and carbohydrate loading phases.

Apart from these loads, breaks and other bonus meals, sweet cravings can be controlled with low carb products using sweeteners. As for me, I do not use them regularly and only use them as a last resort, when the craving for sugar is insurmountable and I have already had my carbohydrate count for the day.

Moving towards a Keto diet as a habit

eggs avocado ham salad keto

Now that I have done this test and this ”diet” what will happen next? I don’t see myself eating like I used to. I am now considering this form of diet in the long term.

I realized that carbohydrates are omnipresent in everything we eat. I also appreciate the benefits of a simpler diet, with vegetables such as avocados, celery, leeks and pickles becoming my best friends. I love a Perigord salad, a breakfast with fried eggs and smoked duck breasts. Here are also other low carb breakfast ideas you’ll probably love.

My idea is to continue to explore this way of eating by developing it in an organic and sustainable way. I will select the best products, from short chains, with good fats and also using the traditional specialities of my region and my country which are completely compatible such as marbled ham, cheese, ham, etc.

I will also be interested in the paleo logic to make my diet evolve towards preparations from raw products, without any processed products, by adding a little more fruit for energy.

Some points that make the Keto diet easier for me on a daily basis

Here is a summary of the rules I apply to make my life in Keto easier: 

  • Ask my doctor for advice, do a check-up before starting the diet,
  • Choose the right time (holiday, weekend)
  • Make a last unrestricted meal of pleasure before starting,
  • Plan as many meals as possible in advance ,
  • Check the labels of products before buying them, aim for products with carbohydrate contents below 1g/100g
  • Calculate kcal, fat, carbohydrates and protein for all meals,
  • Keep a journal with all the elements, impressions, calculations,
  • Clearly define the objectives to be achieved: measurements, sports performance,
  • Adapt the quantities, rations and kcal to my morphology, my sporting activity and my objectives in terms of fat and weight loss, muscle gain
  • If possible, challenge myself, practice with others, register for a sporting event to boost my will,
  • Take pictures and measurements before starting to monitor progress: blood work, weight, body mass index / BMI, pulse rate, blood pressure, health check as soon as possible and at the end of the diet,
  • Not to focus on the scale, and if possible to free myself from it,
  • Use test strips or a device to test the ketosis state from the start (such as KestoDiastix, JustFitter Ketone Test strips, etc.)
  • Adapt and reduce my sporting activity, at least during the induction phase.
  • Become fully aware of the flavor of the food and the satiety as soon as it arrives.
  • Do not eat by reflex, eat slowly, each food separately, rediscover the taste of each mouthful; vary the order in which you eat them.

Goals before my first 30-Day Keto Challenge

Taking 10 minutes to list all the reasons that motivated me to embark on a 30′ day Keto challenge made it easier for me to follow the diet, resist temptations and reduce the risk of going off track. For example, an extract:

Develop and formulate my critical opinion based on experience and not on bias and prejudice,

  • To regain my ideal weight,
  • Optimize my sporting performance (running, sheathing/muscle)
  • Improve my health
  • Adopt new and better-eating habits
  • Be able to assess the positive and negative points,
  • Reduce my alcohol consumption
  • To regain a nice shape,
  • To share my experience,
  • In the spirit of discovery,
  • Have recipes and an easy-to-follow meal schedule,
  • Know the products essential to the diet and how to get them,
  • To be able to draw long-term principles from it to better manage my diet and improve my hygiene, fitness and longevity,

Ingredients and techniques for easy Keto dishes

Pickles

It is possible to compose full plates, cheat your own satiety and taste buds while reducing calories:

  • Pickles are particularly interesting: low in calories, with many nutritional properties and no carbohydrates,
  • We also find black olives at 0g of carbohydrate
  • I use a lot of celery, also very poor in everything but fiber,
  • Use deodorized coconut oil for cooking, alternating with other oils (contains TCMs that produce more ketones that promote ketosis)
  • If I doubt about a particular food and its suitability for my diet, it’s very simple: I don’t eat it,
  • And finally I use tagliatelle or konjac shirataki, practical foods to be satiated while lowering calories

Another technique I use is to diversify my dishes by using recurring foods and a compound salad base that always stays the same. The advantage is that the calculation of calories and macros is becoming more and more intuitive and it is possible to compose menus more quickly while remaining in the same nutritional proportions.

Before you start: Troubleshooting and Keto FAQ

Deviations, going out of track

The off-track, quickly arrived, whether you are in the attack phase with less than 20g of carbohydrates per day, or in the long term of Keto diet with up to 50g of authorized carbohydrates. A crossover, a sandwich or a beer, and that are potentially the end of the track. Inconvenient: it is necessary to allow 3 to 5 days minimum to return to ketosis.

I also think that it is necessary to plan phases to take a break and eat without restriction. Even if we are aiming for this mode of eating in the long term, it seems to me to be useful even from a social point of view to have one day every two weeks without restriction, or even to resume a more traditional diet for a while. Ideally, try to plan it in advance according to your objectives.

There are also substitutes that can help you not to lose it (see Chapter 4, Products to avoid cheating and going off track). I only use them as a last resort, but they are always present in my closets in case of an emergency.

They are criticized on some sites or in some books. Personally, I prefer to use them when necessary and I sometimes find them very useful to avoid 5 days of induction to return to ketosis.

Avoiding making everyone tired of my Keto diet

How can you manage to follow a Keto diet while sharing meals with your family, and without imposing this diet on others? The easiest way would be to get together as a couple for organizational reasons. But indeed this may not be appropriate for your entourage, and may even be dangerous, for children in particular

My tip: there are many balanced menus that are easily adaptable to the Keto diet with some modifications. I find it particularly easy to adapt Mediterranean-style menus to Keto mode. All you have to do is skip the prohibited ingredients in your own seat or replace them with a low carb version.

My preference is for Nice-Cretan and Mediterranean diets. Other diets such as Atkins or Weight Watchers are also easily adaptable and can serve as a basis for inspiration to easily adapt dishes and recipes that can be beneficial for the whole family.

What about drinking? Alcohol and Keto

Beer Alcohol Keto Diet

As you already know, all alcohols are to be consumed in moderation. The ideal way to get into ketosis more easily, especially the first time, is to start with an alcohol-free induction phase.

But it is not impossible to have a social life and a drink or two when you follow this diet. As with everything else, you need to know how to count carbohydrates. To do this, Google is my friend: just type in the name of the drink followed by the word carbohydrate and I get the quantity per 100 ml.

Contrary to what many people believe, most strong alcohols do not contain carbohydrates. That’s why I often choose whisky when it’s time to enjoy a drink with friends.

For wine lovers, it is possible to continue enjoying your best wines in a Keto diet. Depending on the wine, the values vary between 2 and 4 g of carbohydrates per 100 ml, which makes it possible to enjoy a glass or two depending on your meals of the day. Prefer dry wines and raw champagne.

For beer lovers, life becomes more complicated. This varies greatly depending on the beer, but half of it often represents at least 9 to 10 g of carbohydrates. Once again, there are low carb alternatives, not always easy to find. 

I’m going out: Keto outside

Keto Outside

Following a ketogenic diet can be a real challenge. As much as I consider this diet to be the least constraining that I have had to follow, there are sometimes more difficult moments than others, in particular, holiday meals, outings to restaurants, invitations to friends’ or family’s homes.

I always bring a plate of deli meats and cheese when I am invited for a drink. I don’t come empty-handed and I’m sure I won’t finish on an empty stomach.

During a meal, the challenge often comes at dessert time. If fortunately the cheese board is well provided I take advantage of it at this time by choosing those that have very low carbohydrate levels (most). Be careful, however, dairy products are to be eaten in relatively small quantities during the induction phase.

At the time of the desert, no miracle: either I keep a low profile and say I’m no longer hungry, or I explain clearly why I’m missing out.

I’m stuck: Keto Plateau

Stuck Keto Plateau

For those whose objective of following the Keto diet is weight loss, some frustrating periods can occur, as changes and fat loss do not always lead to weight loss.

There are some strategies to get out of these phases of stagnation or plateau.

One of the strategies to help continue weight loss is to consider the amounts of your rations by taking a picture of everything you are going to eat.

It is possible that stagnation is due to an excessive intake of calories, even if the distribution of macros is respected and ketosis is installed. The calories of your meals can then be reduced by using low-calorie ingredients (pickles, konjac, etc.) or by conscientiously testing the diet.

In addition, I use other more or less known tricks: start by drinking a full glass of water before each meal, eating without distractions, without disturbances, without television.

Eat slowly, try to be aware of all the elements: colors, textures, flavors, smells and constantly seek out the signals of satiety.

Keto Flu and adaptation

Keto Flu

Keto flu (or ketogenic flu) is a set of classic symptoms that can be felt in the first few days and is similar to those of flu: feeling tired, pain, nausea, and cramps.

These symptoms are actually a sign that the body is adapting to its new energy consumption pattern based on the consumption of lipids instead of carbohydrates.

The duration of these symptoms varies from person to person. This is how I manage to reduce mine:

– By increasing my water consumption: at least 2 liters (about half a gallon) of water per day

– By increasing the intake of fat, for example by adding coconut oil to my coffee in the morning (bulletproof coffee), by increasing the amount of olive oil on my salads, etc.,

– By adding salt to the food to reduce dehydration and compensate for the loss of water in the first few days of the diet,

– By not skipping meals or snacks and not staying more than 3-4 hours without eating,

– By eating more magnesium-containing foods such as oats or taking a magnesium supplement,

– Avoiding sport and physical activity during this adaptation phase.

Keto in a stingy mode

Another difficulty of this diet appears very quickly: the basic products that are used in the menus are expensive: avocados, salmon, duck, shrimps, considerably increase the bills.

This increase in food prices must be balanced over time by the reduction in quantities, proteins and especially lipids, which allow you to reach satiety more quickly.

Then there are cheaper products; sometimes with less good fats, but which I sometimes use to replace some more expensive products while maintaining the same distribution of macros.

Here is the list of ‘’budget’’ products I use with its nutritional properties:

  • Black olives
  • Mayonnaise
  • Heavy cream 30%
  • Green olives
  • Pork rilettes
  • Cheese spread
  • Cucumbers
  • Brawn
  • Rémoulade Wieners
  • Roquefort
  • Tuna in oil
  • Comté Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Emmental
  • Dry Sausage
  • Eggs
  • Ham

I’m getting started: Keto the easy way

Products to cheat and not to go off track

low carb pasta

Normally, the Keto enthusiast is strong: he has the will not to cheat, has no sweet tooth temptation and cooks so well and makes dishes so varied and delicious that he forgets all the ingredients that he is no longer allowed to eat.

Or not!

On a daily basis, the lack of sugar can be a problem for some people and I am one of them. My two biggest cravings are bread and sweets (and beer actually).

There are many substitutes available, and although some sites or practitioners advise against them, I think they can be a valuable help in making life easier, avoiding breakdowns and making it easier for families to eat together.

However, it is important to look carefully at the labels because some products with a low glycemic index or low carb sometimes slightly exceed 10g of carbohydrates per 100g. So be careful about the quantities and mistrust.

Unfortunately, today, these products are very rarely found on store shelves and the main means of obtaining them remains the Internet and e-commerce sites.

It is possible to find products such as:

– Low carb pasta,

– Dark and milk chocolate bars (maltitol),

– A ready-made mixture to make low-carbohydrate bread,

– Low carb tortillas,

– And even low carb hazelnut spread

As a Keto practitioner, and not having much time to cook, these substitutes seem interesting to me.

While practising this diet, I realized how omnipresent sugar is and makes us dependent.

In the same way that a smoker can successfully substitute nicotine with patches or an electronic cigarette, it seems easier for me to follow a Keto diet by using substitutes for prohibited products.

Polyols

I had made my first tests of low carb desserts in the form of mug cake with what was available and some stevia that was lying around in the cupboards: it was really nauseating.

Another option: polyols

It is a family of organic compounds also known as polyalcohol. The most commonly known and used are xylitol and erythritol, which are found as a substitute for sugar in cooking, maltitol (used in low carb chocolate bars, among others) and sorbitol (sugar-free chewing gum).

I use xylitol sparingly to sweeten my morning coffee and erythritol for cooking. I think it depends on your preferences, but I think they still manage to sweeten better than other sweeteners such as stevia for example, with no bad taste.

Café Latte Cartoon Funny

Polyols are used as a low-calorie sweetener. They are only partially absorbed by the intestine, which would not influence blood sugar levels.  However, some sources note that this partial absorption varies between individuals, and polyols are sometimes not recommended during the induction phases of the keto diet.

There is only one way to find out if it affects you: try in small quantities and check with the strips that the ketosis is still there and that the concentration does not decrease too much.

Be careful also about side effects. Most polyols, depending on the amount, can cause diarrhea, bloating, gastric and intestinal disorders. Xylitol can even be fatal to dogs and cats.

Low-carb chocolate

Low Carb Chocolate

Low carb chocolate (like many other low carb products) has two different properties: carbs and net carbs. Carbs (raw carbohydrates) are indicated at 54g/100g, which is huge and would not make it a low carb product under normal circumstances. In net carb, we deduct the proportion of polyols from carbohydrates, so there would only be 6g/100g of net carbohydrates left or 0.5g of carbohydrates for a square of chocolate.

In the case of low carb chocolate bars, the most commonly used polyol is maltitol. The manufacturers of these tablets, therefore, add a separate line to deduct the 48 g of maltitol from the 54 g of carbs and thus provide a result in net carbs.

So what is maltitol, and is it relevant to deduce it from the calculation of the carbohydrate share? What are the main characteristics of this product that comes first in the list of ingredients in these bars, before cocoa butter and whole milk powder?

Here is Wikipedia’s description for maltitol: “Maltitol is a polyol (alcoholic sugar) called 4-0 a glucopyranosyl-D-sorbitol3 and chemically close to sucrose. However, it does not participate in Maillard’s reactions. It provides fewer calories and does not damage teeth. If consumed in large quantities, maltitol causes gastric disorders.”

Already a first good point, it does not cause cavities. Not really the desired effect, but to note anyway. It is more suitable for diabetics because it is absorbed more slowly than sucrose.

My goal is not to have carbohydrates absorbed more slowly, but not at all. I, therefore, reserve this chocolate for unbearable desires and emergencies, neatly stored in the back of a closet.

Bread

Bread Keto Diet

It is possible to find many recipes to make your own low carb bread. There are many of them that can be found in Belgium on the Internet.

Most of them use lupin flour, blond psyllium, sometimes almond powder and gluten.

As for me, I don’t have time to attempt to become a baker, so I opted for the easy way with the following two options:

– I am motivated and I make my own bread but from low-carb ready to use mix,

– I buy low carb bread. Generally, the taste is not as good but there is nothing to do. There are very few low-carb bread types in Belgium, with rare exceptions.

Can’t skip a good beer?

Beer Keto Diet

Alcohol – to be consumed in moderation! Does not work well with the Keto diet, especially during the induction phase. A glass of wine (between 4 and g of carbohydrates), a shot of Whisky will not affect the ketosis once it is well established. This is not necessarily the case with beer.

Personally, I have trouble resisting the call of a cold beer, and unfortunately, only half a bottle or a bottle of beer represents about 10g of carbohydrates, which can be enough for a ketosis outlet.

So I looked for solutions and they exist.

There are some low-carb beers and even naturally carbohydrate-free beers, thanks to my Belgian friends! 

Induction Phase: Inspired By Atkins

My first attempts were rather unsuccessful. I did my research, analyzed the principles of the Keto diet, examined the lists of authorized foods and started a little bit in a confusing way. After 15 days when I got my first Keto strips, I realized that I was not in ketosis.

So I decided to use a real program and that’s how I came across the menus offered by the Atkins diet. My goal is not to promote them, but free of charge by going to the website, I managed to design a real 15-day ketogenic induction program with the ultimate result: ketosis.

Since then, I have greatly improved my menus and they no longer have much to do with these first experiences. I find that the main interest lies in the fact that it has provided me with a framework to better understand the principles while practising.

I have since discovered other dishes and ingredients that make it easier for me to come in and stay in ketosis and I have freed myself from this first version. At the same time, I increased the proportion of fat in relation to the rest of macronutrients. On average, I aim for a distribution as follows: 70% to 75% fat, 20 to 25% protein and 5% carbohydrate

Quick meals without cooking

Keto Meal

No time to cook? Neither do I. So I had to find a way to eat Keto and respect the principles of this diet by simplifying the preparation of my dishes. To make my life easier, I often use the same base and the same idea, a compound salad, which I garnish according to what I find in the fridge.

To respect the distribution of macros, I couldn’t find a better way than to weigh and calculate everything at first. With experience, it then becomes possible to free yourself from the scale and prepare your meals with a little instinct.

Here is a typical example of a Keto dish I prepare: mixed salad with smoked salmon and mushrooms + smoked herring + pickles + sausage + mayonnaise + comté.

The distribution of macros is as follows: 75% fat, 21% protein and 3% carbohydrates.

It is then sufficient to vary the quantities of ingredients to reach the desired number of calories.

Example of calculation for a meal below 1200 kcal:

 Quantity (gr)KCalProteinFatCarbs
Smoked salmon20404.72.30.1
Mixed salad20
80.40.21.0
Mushrooms50
111.6
00.6
Unscented coconut oil25225023.30
Pine nuts10691.46.50.6
Olive oil1090010.00
Cider vinegar20000
Smoked herrings302225.13.60
Comté (French Cheese)20865.47.00.2
Dry sausage
20766.05.80.1
Pickles50320.60.10.6
Mayonnaise453040.832.90.9
Total1160.925.9 (21.3%)91.7 (75.4%)4,0 (3.3%)

With these quantities, the cost is 3.50 euros.

Keto Fast Food

Keto Fast Food

Good news: fast food and Keto are not incompatible. It is possible to eat a burger, french fries (Emmental, avocado), kebab and follow the principles of the diet and the distribution of macronutrients.

If you have trouble finding pita bread and low-carb burger bread, there are some online sites that deliver to Belgium.

You can also consider baking your own bread. There are many recipes on the Internet. My choice is once again for the easy way out: by using low-carb bread mixes. Simply add the necessary amount of water and bake in the oven as balls instead of using a bread machine.

Another possibility is to cook Cloud Bread, a kind of flatbread made with eggs and cream cheese (Philadelphia type). There are many low-carb bread recipes on the Internet, from the simplest to the most complicated.

Conclusion

It is possible to follow a Ketogenic diet or Keto diet, even without being a cordon bleu and without spending your time shopping and cooking.

First of all, and as with any change in dietary habits, it is advisable to consult the appropriate health professionals, carry out all relevant analyses and set up regular monitoring.

By knowing the authorized products, by varying your diet while keeping the same menu and meal structure, and by using certain substitutes wisely, this diet can be quite easy to set up.

After having done a 30-day challenge and various experiments, I clearly see an interest in reducing carbohydrates and adopting a long-term diet based on unprocessed products, without additives, with good fats of the type found in several diets (low carb, keto, LCHF, paleo, vegan, etc.). 

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3 Comments

  1. Youssef does make a great platform to share various recipes, experience of others and so on. Absolutely amazing platform and love to read all the blogs here. Here described Lisa’s 30-Day Challenge that helped her experience the Keto diet. Absolutely amazing experience shared here.

    Fasting or Dieting is not a simple thing for those who suffer from excessive weight. This is often a great way to lose weight. Proper food intake and regular physical exercise can help anyone to reduce weight.

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic useful journal piece.

    • Thanks Diane for the support! Lisa’s experience is indeed very interesting for anyone who wants to lose weight using the Keto diet. I hope it can inspire others and provide useful insight.

  2. Sarah Wright Reply

    I’m always interested in new diets, and the keto diet has caught my eye before. Like you said, the biggest thing that has put me off is the availability of products in my area, but I’m certainly going to do a bit more research into what’s out there. The keto diet definitely looks like it would suit my needs, and so with your advice I’m going to look into it further.

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