Starting a ketogenic diet

Purging your stores of carbs

Embarking on a low carb ketogenic diet is no minor undertaking. In contrast to a simple low calorie diet, low carbing will drastically alter what you keep in the fridge and on the shelves of your kitchen/pantry.

Don’t forget that in the initial stages at least, and particularly if you are type 2 diabetic, you will be aiming at a daily carb intake of less then 30g and possibly lower. A small bowl of fruit loops in the morning will smash your daily carbohydrate intake.

If you are anything like I was when I began, then your home will be replete with a multitude of problem foods. I used to think this would just mean getting rid of beige foods, but it’s much broader reaching:

  • Dry goods – rice, pasta, bulgar wheat, quinnoa, pinhead oats, stuffing, every type of grain flour known to man, instant gravy granules, low fat drinking chocolate.
  • Grains and breakfast cereals – cornflakes, rice crispies, porridge oats, muesli and anything else made from grains such as wheat, corn, oats or rice.
  • Starchy vegetables – root vegetables like potato, parsnip, carrot, beetroot, and other starchy favourites like sweet corn.
  • Carbified meats – You know, chicken nuggets, scotch eggs, chicken kievs, pies, pasties etc. Any meat that has been coated or wrapped up in starch. Sorry to say, but they have to go!
  • Beans and legumes – (did you know peanuts are a legume, not a nut!) Baked beans, kidney beans etc
  • Snacks – almost everything in a packet is based on starch (potato crisps, cheesey puffs, quavers, pringles), grains (any biscuit/wafer/granola bar), chocolate or any combination thereof!
  • Most tinned food – soups, beans, spaghetti etc.
  • Low fat milk – lower fat milk contains a much higher proportion of milk sugars by volume.
  • All non-diet soft drinks – (yes, I know diet soda contains artificial sweeteners, but we’ll discuss those another time) – consumed in moderation, they are probably less harmful than sugar.
  • High sugar fruits – such as apples, bananas, pears, oranges not to mention other exotics fruits, fruit juices and smoothies you might have in the fridge.
  • Low Fat dressings and condiments – its ironic, but if you read “low fat” on just about any label, you can be sure it’s high sugar. A 20g dollop of tomato sauce contains around 5g of sugars. Even Worcestershire sauce contains around the same! That’s a sixth of your initial daily carb intake.

In fact, carefully eye just about anything marked low fat because it is in all likelihood loaded with sugars in order to compensate your palette. Oh, and of course, sugar!

So, gather up all of the above, and give it to someone you know who appears to thrive on this kind of stuff while remaining slim and healthy – or, do what I did and mark everything up with a marker pen to remind yourself how much sugar it contains!

You might note, with some relief, that alcohol has not been mentioned. Alcohol is a special case because the body has no way of storing it as fat. Although around 10% of it is excreted by the body through breath, urine, sweat etc, the remainder is burnt as fuel with a higher preference to anything else. So, drinking any more than a modest amount may well stall ketosis, and set you back several hours, or even days.

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