Whether motivated by the idea of weight loss, better focus for slamming projects, or simply the desire to try something new, the keto diet is having a moment. Everyone from fitness junkies and busy entrepreneurs to average Janes and Joes seem to be testing it out, so we couldn’t help but dig a little deeper.
On the surface, the keto diet sounds like butter, coffee, and meat-heavy meals. But there’s more to it that’s worth considering, especially if you’re thinking of trying it on yourself. If you’re about to jump on this nutritional bandwagon, here are a few things to know before you give it a go.
Understand the basics.
The keto (short for ketogenic) diet is a nutrition plan that calls for high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrates. It aims to dramatically reduce your body’s reliance on carbs, replacing them with healthy fats instead. This type of intake helps your body reach a metabolic state where it relies on fat for energy, rather than carbs and sugars. In turn, your body is fueled by small molecules called “ketones”, which your body begins making for energy when your glucose levels are super-duper low. This process is called ketosis.
Define your motivation.
As with any major adjustment to your life, especially one involving your diet, it’s important to define your motivations and goals before making the shift. So many diets are quick, results-driven fads that are hard to adhere to and shame or punish people into eating a certain way. Whether you’re doing it for three months or eternity, consider the keto diet to be a lifestyle change, rather than a diet. (And only keep it up as long as it serves your highest self and makes you feel good!)
Some of the benefits keto-enthusiasts tout are:
- Better focus. Heightened mental clarity is at the top of keto-lovers’ lists.
- Weight loss. The most well-known perk of going keto is probably a trimmer, fitter waistline.
- Blood sugar levels equalized. By eliminating a surplus of sugar, your body’s insulin levels are more equalized, which means less mood swings and crazy stress cravings.
- More energy. Without the crazy crashes of high-sugar foods (and thus lower insulin levels), your body is more alert, and more energetic to tackle the day.
The keto diet is not one-size-fits-all.
What’s good for one body won’t be good for all. For example, people who are breastfeeding or taking medication for high blood pressure or diabetes might not be good candidates for the keto diet. And for those on it, remember that everyone will have a different outcome. Just because Janelle from accounting lost 10lbs by going keto doesn’t mean everyone will. There are myriad factors at play that may be contributing, so try not to compare. As long as your goals are being met and you’re experiencing the benefits you desire, you’re doing the “diet” right.
At the end of the day, every body is beautiful in the way it works and moves. We encourage you to infuse gratitude into everything you eat—keto or not—and thank your body for being the fierce, powerful vessel that it is.
Going keto doesn’t have to be expensive.
So many diets and trends can require expensive supplements and ingredients to maintain—the keto diet is not one of them. You can rather easily maintain the diet by simply eating many of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and fridge. With keto, it’s more about elimination rather than the addition of expensive supplements, powders, and pills.
A basic keto diet will call for a moderate amount of lean, unprocessed meats, seafood (think salmon or anything high in omegas), eggs (ideally organic or pasture-raised), healthy-fat cooking oils (like coconut and olive oil), and butter. As far as fruits, veggies and snacks: a moderate amount of nuts (minus cashews, which metabolize as carbs), nut butters, dark leafy greens, cheeses, avocados and organic berries are also great. Many of the primary keto ingredients can be bought in bulk at your local market. And other components (like nut butters, oils, and avocados) can be stretched across multiple meals. Plus, leaning into more leafy greens, veggies, and fruits will help offset some of the cost of more expensive ingredients, like organic meats.
You can still eat most of your favorite foods.
The best part of the keto diet is that you will likely be able to keep eating most of your favorite foods. The ubiquity of many keto ingredients makes it a highly accessible nutrition plan for just about anyone. Even people with a very limited amount of time, like moms on-the-go and jet setters running from airport to airport can find quality keto meals without skipping a beat.
Worried that you won’t have time to stick to the diet while traveling, or on a hectic work day? Restaurants like Chipotle offer great options. One of our most-loved low-carbs meals is a Chipotle keto salad bowl with carnitas, red salsa, shredded cheese, and guac on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce. It’s super filling and won’t compromise your keto goals. No matter where you go or how much time you have, you’re likely to be able to find something to fill your belly up.
In partnership with Chipotle
Chipotle serves delicious burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads made from real, whole ingredients. They make it easy to build an on-the-go meal that’s right for you, whether you’re eating Keto, Paleo, or Whole30®, or just hungry for something fresh and delicious—but their commitment to mindful eating doesn’t stop there. By preparing everything without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and sourcing only the best responsibly-raised ingredients, they’re striving to cultivate a better world, too.