Saturday, 6 August 2016

Post 18: Ketogenic Diet Plan


Hi Guys,


Welcome back! The response to last week’s post on ketogenic dieting was phenomenal, so I’ve decided to follow it up with another one on the topic of ketosis, how to get there, and how to stay there.

I've stuck to my own ketogenic diet, and am now down 3.2lbs over three weeks. At my stage of dieting, those are awesome results.

This week we're going to dive deeper into ketosis (pun intended), and give you some specific figures to aid you in getting there. It felt amazing to see the post from last week reach so many people, and it sent a pretty strong signal that people want to hear more on the subject! So without much further ado, I present to you, my one week keto diet plan!


Setting the stage


Let’s take a step back for just one second. What is ketosis? In simple terms it’s the body’s “fat burning mode”. You enter ketosis when your liver sugar stores run low. At this point your liver will start to produce ketones which will carry fat as energy around the bloodstream (rather than sugar i.e. blood glucose). People in ketosis commonly report their mental clarity as outstanding: not only are you burning fat, but it burns cleaner and more constantly, and avoids blood sugar spikes and troughs which are induced by high carbohydrate diets.


When beginning on a ketogenic diet it can be helpful to buy products which will measure whether you’re in ketosis or not. Ketostix are good for the yes or no “am I in ketosis” question and are a cheap and readily available place to start (here's a link to purchase them via amazon). If you want to go deeper and more accurate, you can buy breath analysing and blood ketone equipment.


Macronutrient ratio, protein intake and staying in ketosis


Staying in ketosis is the next part. You can do this by eating very few carbohydrates, because your body will not swap back over to burning dietary carbs and sugar stores for fuel. Remember that the phrase “glucose is the preferred” source of energy doesn’t mean exactly what it says on the tin. The body likes consuming carbs because you can quickly metabolise them for energy, and if they are full it can subsequently fill up fat stores to ensure survival. However, we live in a world where we have an unhealthy abundance of fat stores, and we want to reduce them. Furthermore, we don’t live in a world where food is scarce, one where we would actually want to eat foods which promoted fat gains. So when you consider the clean energy benefits of running on fat instead, carbs no longer are “preferred”.


Step 1: don’t eat many carbs. At all.


Next comes protein and fats. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as “just cut out all the carbs”. Your body has a protein requirement to support muscle mass maintenance, which increases when you’re trying to gain muscle. There are many differing sources out there as to how many grams of protein you need each day, but most come under the range of 0.6-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight, a day. If you’re trying to maintain your muscle mass, shoot for the mid range. If you’re trying to gain muscle mass and are working out adequately as well, aim for the top end of that range.


The problems start when you consume more than adequate protein because over half of the excess will be converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis (converting protein to glucose). This might inadvertently knock you out of ketosis as your body finds itself with too much glucose to allocate. To test, you could always vary your protein intake over a week and see at which point you’re knocked out of ketosis. This leads to step 2:


Step 2: eat the right amount of protein


The last macronutrient to look at is fat. You want the rest of your food to be coming from healthy fat sources, which are listed later on. This will ensure your body has the fuel it needs to operate at the highest level.


Step 3: the rest of your diet will come from healthy fat sources


As far as macronutrient ratios go, you want 50-70% of you food intake to be from fats, roughly 10-30% from proteins, and the rest from carbs which would be in the form of low starch vegetables, and the trace carbs found in other foods such as nuts and very dark chocolate. For someone who weighed 200 lbs, eating 0.8 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight, and 25g of carbs a day, their ratio split would look like the graph below. Interestingly, this split leads to 160g of protein and 160g of fat a day, so by eating foods which have a 1:1 ratio of grams of fat to protein you’ll achieve this split.



The meal plan


The meal plan is set out in two ways: first, through three large meals a day one, and the second through snacks. Now let’s really dig in!


This is where we get into the real deal. The main event. The main course, you might say. Below I’ve laid out for you a week’s worth of delicious meals which are going to get you into and keep you in ketosis. You might notice that a lot of the meals say “with veg” or are part of a salad. In this case, ensure that you’re having at least 2 large handfuls of a wide variety of vegetables to ensure that you are receiving more than sufficient levels of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Each day starts with a fatty coffee (butter and coconut oil/MCT oil blended with fresh coffee) which keeps you in ketosis and reap all the benefits of not having eaten overnight.


Before getting started, you’ll want to stock up on these items: grass-fed butter and coconut oil. These are excellent and stable fats which can be used for cooking, flavouring, and hitting your fat intakes. If you want to go one step further, pick up some MCT oil which are exogenous ketones i.e. your body can put them to work as energy immediately! MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. These are quickly broken down into energy by your body and so by eating them you’ll feel terrific! Energy-wise they’re fat’s version of sugar!


Snack
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Notes
Sunday
Fatty Coffee
Green tea salmon salad with avocado
Steak with veg and 2 eggs
Prepare the green tea salmon by rolling it in green tea leaves before cooking for a great umami flavour
Monday
Fatty Coffee
Tuna with cauliflower rice and avocado
Pork loin steaks with veg 2 eggs
For the cauli rice, blitz cauliflower in a food processor then soak in boiling water for a few minutes until tender
Tuesday
Fatty Coffee
Pork loin steak slices with salad
Mackerel fillets with veg and a garlic and chive butter dip
For the dip, simply blend a little of your veg from the meal with EVOO/coconut oil, some herbs and some grass-fed butter
Wednesday
Fatty Coffee
Tuna salad with bacon and nut dressing
Lamb steak with veg and 2 eggs
Dress your salad with EVOO and crushed nuts
Thursday
Fatty Coffee
Lamb steak slices with salad and avocado
Ground beef with dark leafy greens and 2 eggs
Prepare your dinner all in one pot and cover to let the eggs cook
Friday
Fatty Coffee
Ground beef with veg and two boiled eggs
Chicken thighs with cauliflower rice and bacon'n'butter sauce
(Recipe below)
Saturday
Fatty Coffee
Tuna salad with bacon and avocado
Salmon low-carbonara (picture below)
(Recipe below)


Bacon’n’Butter Sauce
  1. Cut your bacon into thin strips and lay them down in a pan with a knob of butter
  2. Put the heat on the lowest setting and add your seasonings
  3. Add a splash of boiling water and your chicken thighs, allowing the fatty sauce to collect in the pan
  4. Heat the cauliflower rice in the sauce


Salmon Low-Carbonara
  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil
  2. Put the oven on 150 degrees celsius, smear some coconut oil on a salmon fillet, and put it on a tray in the oven for 12-15 minutes
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add one egg yolk, half the juice and zest of one lemon, a little parmesan cheese, and some fresh basil
  4. Fry off some bacon in a pan, and slice it into thin strips
  5. Add courgette noodles to the boiling water, and when tender, drain them off, add them to the mixing bowl and combine. The heat from the noodles will cook the eggs.
  6. Add the bacon and any fat to the mixing bowl, and serve with the salmon


You’ll probably notice a common theme to these meals: a portion of protein, adequate healthy fats, and lots of vegetables. This is to ensure you get everything from your food, while at the same time being delicious, filling, and keeping you in ketosis! As an extra helping hand, I’ve scheduled the same meat for dinner one day as the lunch for the next day. This will allow you to batch cook your food and save time overall.


Remember, this is just one way to create a ketogenic meal plan, you can just as easily swap out the meals for one another, or swap out the meat for a different fish. Get creative, and come up with your own recipes! Once you step away from the dull concept that every meal should have a base of starchy carbs, you start to eat a heck of a lot more variety! Just ensure that you are getting at least three portions of fish which is high omega-3 a week, and sticking to the principle of 1 fat, 1 protein and vegetables with every meal.


I’ve put breakfast in as fatty coffee each day. This is a great way to get some healthy fats early in the day, and maintains your ketosis in its strongest form. If you don’t like the idea of fatty coffee, you could always just have some delicious bacon and eggs.


Snacks


Having snack ideas is vital for any successful meal plan because the decisions we make in a hurry or in desperation are always the worst. Below I’ve included a list of possible snacks, but to be honest, you just need to find items which are high in fat! Consuming snacks which are high in healthy fats will ensure you remain in ketosis and will contribute to your satiety. I’ve also included their fat to protein ratio because, as discussed earlier, eating too much protein can knock you out of ketosis.


My personal favourite is an avocado with a little sea salt sprinkled over the top: it’s easy to transport, and you can eat the flesh straight out of the skin with a spoon. If you’re at home and/or brave enough, you can literally eat a teaspoon of grass-fed butter or coconut oil. This sounds bizarre, but you’re providing your body with a little extra rocket fuel while it’s liberating fat stores around your body. Doing so will make you feel incredible.

Snack
Fat (g) : 1g Protein
Coconut Oil
All Fat
Grass-Fed Butter
200
Avocado
10.3
Nuts e.g. macadamias
9.6
85% Dark Chocolate*
5.7
Oily fish e.g. mackerel
1.2
An egg**
0.7

* Watch out for the carb content of dark chocolate; too much could add up
**This value is representative of a boiled egg; you can, of course, increase the fat content by cooking in a fat


To begin with, on a ketogenic diet, your body might be severely deficient in healthy fats and it will signal this to you via strong cravings, which you should satisfy. Once your body has the fuel it needs, over time, these cravings will recede.


So to start, if you are craving fats, satisfy your urges!


Once these desires start to desist then move over to only eating when you’re truly hungry, which since you will be eating much more satisfying meals will occur less and less.


A note on workout days


There is one exception to the above information: if you’re going to eat additional protein after a workout to aid in recovery, then time your fats to come earlier in the day to compensate. This is because the protein will lead to a moderate insulin release, and if you are loading up on calories from fat, there is a greater chance that these could be used to add to fat stores. Insulin shuttles energy around the body initially filling muscle glycogen stores, and then fat stores. Insulin also prohibits the release of energy from fat stores to fuel the body. All in all, when insulin is in your system, you don’t want to be going overboard on fats to ensure you’re not actually gaining fat!


A note on adapting to the ketogenic diet


I understand that some people wouldn’t want to dive in at the deep end of a ketogenic plan. You get the best results if you do though, as your body will quickly become fat adapted to a point where it can really enjoy this space. However, if you really want to ease yourself in, I recommend going back to my post from last week and using the instructions on how many carbs to eat per day until you get to week 5 in the induction plan. Amend your macros accordingly: get the correct amount of protein, then add in the carbs, then have the remainder with fats.


Takeaways


Okay guys, I hope you enjoyed this one. There’s lots to take away here, so re-read the post, get to the shops, and start eating keto! These are this week’s takeaways:


  1. Eat very few carbs, adequate protein, and lots of healthy fat
  2. If you’re cravings fats, eat them!
  3. TIme your fats and proteins on workout days


If you try out this meal plan, I’d love to hear how it goes! Leave a comment below or talk to me on social media (handles in the header). Here’s to a new, fat burning you!


Until next time,
Cowlean

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