The 21st century has been a revolutionary period for dietary patterns all around the world, but none have been the subject of recent controversy quite like the Keto diet. This extremely-low carb, meat-rich diet was originally based on studies done for those with very strict medical needs. However, as more and more and more medical professionals prescribed this diet over the years, public visibility has increased…
Whether you like it or not, the Keto diet is rising in popularity. Knowing how to follow this diet correctly can make or break the possibility of achieving desired results, whether they relate to medical needs or weight loss.
History of Keto
The Keto diet might seem like a new fad, but this particular diet has existed in many forms since 500 BC. It was primarily used to treat epilepsy and autoimmune disorders before modern medicine came offered pill-based cures. Doctors promoted the return of this diet during the 1920s. Dr. Russel Morse Wilder coined the term after studies were done on the effectiveness of low-carb, high-fat food when treating diabetes and other dietary health issues. To preserve the healing properties of the diet, scientists attempted to find more data about why it helped relieve seizures in patients.
The ketogenic diet mimics fasting, although it doesn't always feel like it. While fasting, the body burns more fat as it consumes fatty, protein-dense foods. The name of the diet comes from the presence of ketone bodies in a person's waste, indicating the body is breaking fat down into energy. The presence of ketones, however, is not the ultimate goal of the ketogenic diet if it's done for weight loss or health reasons. It is best to work with your doctor concerning ketosis or ketones if they suggest that your ketogenic diet should have them present.
The diet's popularity came back in the late 1990s, mostly due to television programs highlighting the diet's impact on epilepsy. Since then, it has become one of the most popular diets around today.
The Perks of a Keto Diet
For busy people, this diet is perfect. Meals can often be made in slow-cookers, pressure cookers, and instant pots, which makes dinner prep all too easy. Keto is also perfect for those who are on a gluten-free diet, as its dependence on whole foods discourages use of ingredients containing gluten. Low-carb keto removes gluten almost completely, which is why it is always best to check the list of ingredients before making a meal.
Dinner recipes are wonderful on a keto diet because they promote the use of ingredients from different cuisines like Thai or Indian. Pair keto-friendly vegetables from your local grocery store with specialty, homemade keto sauces and you'll notice plenty of smiles around the dinner table.
Because meat is available to those on the keto diet, it's possible to go all-out on rich and buttery recipes, as seen in French, Greek, or Italian cuisine. You can cook a chicken recipe with blue cheese and butter, make a rich and garlicky shrimp scampi, or add some chipotle to your favorite Mexican dish. The one thing that meat lovers must remember, however, is that most keto diets opt for white meat only, so the use of pork, beef, and other meats ought to be uncommon.
Foods to Avoid on Keto
Wheat or traditional flours. Try to find nut-based flours instead, like coconut flour. Any breads, pastas, or baked goods made with wheat, and other high-carb grains should be avoided as well.
Low-fat dairy. This diet is high in fat, so opting for rich dairy products like whole milk will keep you full, while limiting the amount of processed sugars you consume. Fruit (except for berries). Fruit is undoubtedly healthy, but its high carb and sugar content make it mostly off-limits while on a ketogenic diet. Beans. While they are certainly healthy and hearty, these high-carb foods can make this diet particularly difficult to follow. Processed sugars and sweets, including syrups. High-starch vegetables, like potatoes. Factory farmed animal products. The quality and health of the meat are significantly reduced when factory farmed meats are purchased, not to mention the poor ethical standards involved. Artificial sweeteners. Certain high-carb oils. *Alcohol. Although the occasional glass of red wine is up for debate in the keto community, it is best to avoid alcohol if weight loss is your ultimate goal.
Adapting Keto for Vegetarianism or Veganism
While the diet is possible for both vegetarians and vegans, many strict keto low-carb enthusiasts recommend having meat as the main course. However, it is entirely possible to eat a healthy, nutritious, and vegetarian ketogenic diet by eating eggs instead.
Veganism is where it gets tricky. While there are vegans out there who tout the ability to eat successful vegan keto meals, few mainstream vegans recommend it. If you're vegan and are interested in getting started compiling vegan keto diet recipes, here are a few tips and tricks.
High-fat vegan milk, such as coconut milk, makes an acceptable and filling dairy replacement for vegans, as well as lactose-avoidant vegetarians. Many keto recipes containing cream or other high-fat dairy products can be replaced with full-fat coconut milk.
Some vegans opt to put soy products into their diet, but the results typically end up like a low-carb diet rather than a traditional keto diet. Use caution when it comes to this - don't forget to read the labels on food products if you have to. Keep an eye out for high carbs in certain nut-based milks. In the keto diet, not all nuts are created equal.
Swapping Carbs: A “This or That” Guide
Cauliflower is king. This useful vegetable is a staple of ketogenic diets, and cauliflower rice remains one of the most common ingredient swaps out there. Zucchini noodles are great for removing carb cravings. Prepared in the same way as spaghetti squash, replacing noodles with low-carb options means that you can recreate your favorite Italian recipes. Snacks are often loaded with carbs and sweets, and they are generally calorie-dense foods. Swapping these snacks out for other equally delicious but portable foods, like deviled eggs or lettuce wraps, can serve as a great alternative.
Breakfast foods are carb-dense, but they can be made easily keto-friendly. Keto pancakes, made with almond flour, are easy keto swaps for meals that are delicious while bringing the family together. Opt for cheese. Healthy cheeses, like blue cheese or feta cheese, add great flavor to dishes, keeping your meals interesting.
Fat bombs are your friends. Fat bombs are little treats that are made almost entirely of fat. They give people on this diet a much-needed energy and flavor boost at any point during a long day. These can stop cravings in their tracks.
If you're ready to get started on your low-carb keto diet, then Yummly is the right spot to make your diet revolution versatile and easy. Get started with us today!