The gluten-free diet is difficult. The ketogenic diet is difficult. Both? Some may think impossible. However, it is doable.
But, first, let’s talk about if the ketogenic really right for you? You may already be following the gluten-free diet, especially if you’re a regular reader of Celiac and the Beast (because face it, you’re not just here for my humor).
Full disclosure, I’ve only tried a high-fat diet for a few days when I was doing a fecal fat test. Yes, it’s just as exciting as it sounds. Basically you’re challenging your body with 100 grams of fat per day for three days. After that, you submit a stool sample and see how your pancreas is adapting to the fat. It’s one of the tests for EPI. Thankfully I didn’t have it, but I found out that I felt pretty good on a really high fat diet. Especially for such a carb queen like myself.
But a high-fat diet is NOT ketosis. Ketosis is a medical state. There are risks to being on a high-fat diet, especially if you’re getting that fat from things like potato chips and processed fatty food. Keto, paleo, and other restrictive diets may not be for those, like myself, with a history of eating disorders. Being on a restrictive diet, labeling foods “good,” bad,” or “compliant” may trigger compulsive thoughts about food and lead to disordered eating in those even without an eating disorder.
Yes, talking about keto is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly – especially if you’re just looking for a fad weight-loss diet.
The Ketogenic Diet (or “keto”) is huge right now. Everyone is asking about it. But people rarely understand it and the nuances of putting your body into ketosis.
According to Delicious Living, The Keto Diet involves a dramatic reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates while simultaneously increasing the amount of dietary fat a person consumes. This combination shifts the body’s metabolism away from burning carbohydrates and sugar for it main source of energy and instead uses fat for fuel (the state of ketosis). It’s named after the ketones produced by the liver once ketosis is reached. However, like how people like to go “paleo lite” and are about 80% paleo, keto is either your body being in a state of ketosis, or you’re not in a state of ketosis – and just on a high fat diet.
There’s a LOT to learn about keto, so let’s listen to Delicious Living’s top tips for before you try out the keto diet.
TO EMPHASIZE: If you are serious about making the switch to Keto, reach out to your doctor or health coach to discuss a plan.
Tips for Before You Start The Keto Diet
1. Quality fats matter
In order to really participate in the Keto Diet, it is incredibly important to increase both the quantity and the quality of fat you consume on a daily basis. Going Keto isn’t an excuse to go all in on the inherently labeled “bad” kinds of fat, but rather the good, quality sources of fat like:
- Fresh avocado
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Wild caught fish like salmon and mackerel
- Grass-fed beef
- Nuts (i.e. cashews and macadamia nuts)
- Seeds (i.e. chia seeds and flax seeds)
- Unsweetened coconut
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Animal fats (i.e. beef tallow and pork lard)
When aiming for a state of Ketosis, don’t feel bad about adding more fat to your meal. Fat is your friend. However, make sure you’re consulting with a dietitian to make sure you’re achieving ketosis and that the amount of fat isn’t affecting your overall health.
2. Eat fewer carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are not inherently bad for you. Fresh fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates, so please don’t develop a fear of produce, but in order to achieve a state of Ketosis, it is essential to dramatically reduce your daily consumption of carbohydrates and sugars. REMEMBER, If you simply keep your diet the same and only increase your dietary fat without lowering sugar and carbs, you actually put yourself at risk for creating a diet that is dangerous for your health. If you are serious about making the switch to Keto, reach out to your doctor or health coach to discuss a plan.
3. Pair fat with greens
This may sound like a contradiction to the point listed above, but fat allows for the proper absorption of certain vitamins, especially vitamins A, D, E and K, all of which are fat soluble, meaning in order for your body to properly absorb them, they need fat to be present. Be sure to incorporate more healthy fats when eating your vegetables. For example, if a spinach kale salad at lunch is your favorite then add a Keto-friendly salad topping like avocado slices, a drizzle of olive oil or roasted sunflower seeds.
4. Eat moderate protein
Too many carbohydrates can keep you from Ketosis, but so can too much protein. Although protein plays an important role in a healthy diet, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, especially when striving to reach a state of Ketosis. It’s a delicate dance, but there is no reason to be militant with your protein intake. Instead, eat a moderate amount of protein (about 20 percent of your diet) and try to get 70 to 80 percent of your diet from healthy fats, like those listed above.
5. Be conscious of calories
We are not huge advocates of calorie counting, but it is still vital to be cognizant of your daily caloric intake. Some high-fat, Keto-friendly foods, like nuts and seeds, are extremely easy to overeat. Instead of monitoring calories or tracking macros, try single serving packets of your favorite snacks. For example, instead of grabbing a jar of your favorite nut butter and a spoon, purchase single serving packets to avoid overconsumption.
6. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is not a requirement of Keto, but many people find they are not very hungry in between meals. This is because healthy fat keeps you satiated, which means you stay fuller longer. Instead eating three or four small meals a day, some people notice they only need two or three meals. If you find yourself not that hungry in between meals, try intermittent fasting. For example, if you finish eating your last meal for the day at 7 p.m., wait 12 hours until you eat again. Everyone is different. Some people prefer going 14 or 16 hours instead of 12, but giving your digestive system a break, no matter for how long, is beneficial for your overall health.
7. Consider other lifestyle factors
Maintaining a Keto diet isn’t all about food. You should still practice proper hydration, exercise (don’t forget rest days), clocking quality sleep of at least 7-9 hours each night, manage stress levels and have healthy relationships with family and friends. All of these factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but a healthy lifestyle also includes living your life, so have the glass of wine with your friends and eat the chocolate, but know that you will most likely take your body out of Ketosis and that’s okay! Enjoy the moment and get back to your healthy lifestyle the next day.
Now what about adding in gluten-free to keto? Can you do both?
Most of the items above, like meat and vegetables are inherently gluten-free. So are most fats, like lard, coconut oil, and seed oil, are naturally gluten-free as well. However, always read labels on spices and seasonings used in the keto diet, as some spices (especially found in spice mixes) may contain fillers that aren’t safe. Also, if you order a “keto” meal at restaurants, always make sure they take celiac-safe procedures while dining out. Ask them to prepare the meats on a separate pan/surface or to use foil on the grill. Ask them to always use separate utensils handling your meat and vegetables. Make sure they steam the vegetables in clean water, or sauté them on a clean pan.
While yes, you can go keto while being gluten-free, but the question is – should you?
Thanks to Ashley Martens and Delicious Living for the inspiration behind this post!