What are some essentials to get you started? See below for my comprehensive grocery list:
Dark leafy greens of all kinds - whatever you like to sustain yourself for the week! (butter lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, romaine, green onions, herbs of choice, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cucumber, celery, jicama, okra, Bok Choy, sprouts, green beans, mushrooms, cabbage, sauerkraut, etc)
Chia and or flax seeds
MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil)
Grass fed butter or ghee
Any of these nuts/seeds: Walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pili nuts
Protein of your choice - fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, cod, scallops, shrimp, crab), chicken, turkey, grass-fed meats, pork, duck, quail
Heavy cream or milk alternatives like coconut (coconut milk from a can for cooking), almond, or macadamia nut milk
Cheese if desired - mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, camembert, blue cheese, brie, cheddar, swiss, St. Andre
Cream cheese if desired
Labneh (Kefir cheese)
Psyllium husk fiber
Alternative sweetener (monkfruit, stevia, erythritol, allulose, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon)
Dried coconut flakes without sugar
Mayonnaise (made with olive oil)
Sour cream if desired
Broth of choice
Click here to download a copy for yourself!
Purge your refrigerator / pantry of all carbs and sweets - if it’s not in your house you won’t eat it!! Do not have things that will tempt you to get off of the diet.
Start to gradually reduce your carbohydrate intake coming from added sugars, flours, pasta, rice, crackers, fruits, and juices. This will make the transition into ketosis easier on your body.
Set goals and intentions! What is your goal in starting keto - remind yourself of this when things are tempting you!
Download a food tracker - something that you can do easily on a daily basis for the first few weeks to track your macronutrient breakdown. Depending what you’re aiming for - a 3:1 ketogenic diet is roughly 80% of total calories coming from fat.; 12% protein; 8% carb coming from vegetables primarily. In general, aim for 20g of net carb per day.
Net carb = total carbohydrates - fiber
Speak to an RD who specializes in keto to get your estimated calorie needs, a personalized macronutrient breakdown, to hold yourself accountable, and to make sure you are choosing the right foods!
Get a ketone meter if you are doing a 3:1 diet or higher to measure your glucose and ketone values in the blood. This is essential as hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) are dangerous and life threatening. Urine strips only test for ketones and are inaccurate over time as your body gets used to using ketones as fuel.
Who should consider it?
If you are on active cancer treatment, I highly recommend talking to your team about the diet before getting started. For those who are on active treatment and are interested in keto, here are the current sites that have evidence to support the use of keto as an adjunct to standard of care therapy:
Brain - gliomas, astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, glioblastoma multiforme
It is also appropriate for those who have:
If you have epilepsy (especially those who do not respond to their anti-epileptic medications)
Type 2 diabetes (with medical supervision)