Here are a few common mistakes I see when attempting a keto diet. Changing up your nutrition can be very confusing. Thee is so much information out there about what to eat. There's usually a quick fix, stick with your goals.
1. Dressings and sauces – The fastest way to ruin a healthy salad is to add ranch dressing, or any dressing that contains massive amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, gluten and random hard to pronounce ingredients. Same goes for grilled veggies, chicken breast or even a hamburger. Covering a healthy food in teriyaki sauce, thousand island, “cilantro lime” or even low quality ketchup screws your game plan.
Try this instead – replace salad dressing with olive oil and vinaigrette (apple cider vinegar), Squeeze lemon onto your veggies or add flavor to your proteins with Braggs Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos. If all else fails, cover your meal in grass-fed butter and salt.
2. Not Enough Fat - When you transition to a keto or low carb diet you are removing your main energy source...glucose. You must replace this lost energy with fat, especially at the beginning of a keto diet. Protein is not an energy source, it is used for lean mass maintanance. Americans have a hard time eating more fat because its been demonized for so long. This is a common obstacle for many of my clients in the beginning.
Try this instead – Dont be afraid of fatty foods. Eat the fatty cuts of meat and leave the skin on. Eat fatty whole foods like avocado, nuts and seeds. Use healthy processed fats like olive oil, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheeses and even lard.
3. Excessive fruit – If I wanted to get fat I would drink Jamba Juice daily. Fruit is awesome and a great source of nutrients…unfortunately it’s also a great source of sugar. Humans weren’t meant to eat large amounts of fruit and no I don’t care what Jenny Craig says. If you’re interested I wrote about this idea in another post (click here). The “eat your fruits and vegetables” campaign should be revised to “eat A fruit and vegetables”. Also, stay away from fruit juices and fruit drinks.
Try this instead – Choose fruit that contains the highest amount of nutrients and lowest amount of sugar such as dark berries. I personally keep a huge bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer and eat them for dessert. I eat fruit at night. Having sugar in the morning sets off a blood sugar roller coaster giving me cravings throughout the day. I write about this in another post (click here)
4. Carb loading for exercise – Carbohydrates are not necessary for exercise. In fact, new studies are showing that high fat-low carb athletes are outperforming the traditional high carb athletes. The idea that carbs are necessary to fuel strong workouts is simply outdated. I consistently break my own personal strength records (currently deadlifting 220% my bodyweight) with minimal carbohydrate. I don’t consider myself an endurance athlete but I did run my fastest half marathon on an empty stomach. Here’s a great study outlining these ideas (click here).
Try this instead- Over several weeks begin reducing your carbohydrate intake around exercise. Work toward limiting carbs to post exercise meals only. Use complex carbohydrates that include proteins and fats such as nut butters. As you remove your carbohydrates, increase your real salt and water intake. Also experiment with supplementation of Branch Chain Amino Acids and Creatine Monohydrate.
5. Commercial meat – Commercially farmed meat is a strict “no” when following a true paleo, or whole food diet. Just because it contains zero carbs and sugar does not make it healthy. Anti-biotics given to commercially farmed animals enter your gut and kill your good gut bacteria. The hormones administered to commercially farmed animals also make it into our bodies. Once there, they do exactly what they’re designed to do…promote rapid fat gain.
Try this instead - Shop for grass-fed beef, lamb and pork. Eat wild caught fish rather than farm raised. Buy pasture raised eggs. This is better for your health, and better for the animals quality of life.
Thanks for reading.