What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is when your body primarily runs on fat, not carbohydrates, for energy. You don’t have to be in ketosis to be Paleo, but it’s useful for some people as an optional tweak for weight loss, mental health, or other benefits.
Just the Basics:
- Keep net carbs very low. 30-50 grams is a good rule of thumb. You will have to exclude all grains, all legumes, and all starchy vegetables, but it’s OK to eat low-carb vegetables (there’s a list below)
- Keep protein moderate. Too much protein will throw you out of ketosis.
- Focus on fat. Fat should be your primary calorie source, around 80-85% of calories.
On the plate
Forget chicken breast; think bacon and ribs.
Vegetables make your meals more interesting, and also provide electrolytes (potassium, and magnesium), which prevent cramping.
Watch your fruit intake; it can easily bump up your carb count.
Too much protein will kick you out of ketosis. If you eat a chicken breast, smother it in butter or wrap it in bacon.
No grains, legumes, potatoes, and starchy vegetables. These have too many carbs; they’re not good for ketosis.
What vegetables can I eat?
For ketosis purposes, vegetables are all about net carbs. Fiber doesn’t count as a “carb,” so the total carb count on the Nutrition Facts panel may be misleading. Here’s a quick guide:
Endive, bok chook, broccoli raab, celery, asparagus, eggplant, jicama, bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, zucchini, radishes, lettuce (and other salad greens), broccoli, and leafy green vegetables (spinach, Swiss chard, collards, kale).
Once a day or small serving
Turnips, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, beets, carrots, okra, tomatoes, onions.
Limit or avoid
Butternut squash (and most other winter squash), parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
The specific fat in coconut oil is very ketogenic and will help you get and stay in ketosis.
Avocados have important nutrients and they’re a nice change from animal fat.
Eggs are one of the most nutrious foods around: make sure to eat the yolks!
Grass-fed dairy (if you tolerate dairy)
Dairy is easy, affordable, and delicious source of fat. Go for full-fat products like butter.
So… what do I cook?
Here’s a sample menu:
- Breakfast: 3 eggs fried in coconut oil; sautéed spinach (cooked in more coconut oil).
- Lunch: Grilled steak salad and 1 whole avocado.
- Snack: 1 ounce of roasted almonds.
- Dinner: Asian-style beef ribs and asparagus ribbons with lemon dressing.
- Dessert: 1 cup of berries with as much coconut cream as you can pile on.
Want to learn more?
Try our Keto 101 guide for a more in-depth explanation of what ketosis is and how it works.