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Here’s What Research Says About Keto While Breastfeeding

Did you know that they enter a natural state of ketosis soon after babies are born?

Yep, you read that right — research shows that newborn infants are in ketosis and remain in this normal, healthy state while breastfeeding.

Furthermore, research confirms that breast milk from healthy mothers is 50-60% fat, and the cholesterol in breast milk supplies babies with almost six times the amount that most adults consume in their diets.

So, if babies are naturally born in ketosis and benefit from using fat and ketones for fuel, why would it be an issue for a breastfeeding mother to follow a ketogenic diet/lifestyle?

What Does the Research Say About Keto While Breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, the current scientific literature surrounding the ketogenic diet and breastfeeding is extremely limited.

However, one study performed in 2009 compared a low-carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet to a high-carbohydrate, low fat (HCLF) diet in breastfeeding women.

However, the details of the study are important. First of all, it was a really small study of women and their infants — just seven. They were studied on two occasions in random order for 8 days, separated by one to two weeks.

On one occasion, the women were given what the researchers call a high-fat, low-carb diet. But it’s highly unlikely this diet resulted in a state of ketosis (30% carbs and 55% fat, whereas most low-carb or keto diets consist of fewer than 10% carbohydrates).

On the other occasion, they received a higher-carb, low-fat diet (60% of energy from carbs and 25% from fat). The study doesn’t take food quality into account.

Results from this study showed the following:

  • Regardless of the diet, daily breast milk production and daily infant breast milk intake remained the same.
  • Neither diet affected milk lactose or protein concentration; however, milk fat concentration and the energy content of milk were higher during the LCHF diet than in the HCLF diet.
  • Infants’ energy intake (kcal/day) was higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet.
  • The estimated average maternal energy expenditure and the sum of maternal energy expenditure plus milk energy content were higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet.

Based on these results, researchers concluded that breastfeeding mothers could lose more weight while consuming an LCHF diet than an HCLF diet without affecting milk production and still supplying their babies with the nutrients and energy needed for proper development.

Another literature review from 2016 looked at the evidence of the impact of maternal nutrition on breast milk composition and concluded that:

“The available information on this topic is scarce and diversified. Most of the evidence currently used in clinical practice to make recommendations is limited to studies that only reported indirect associations”.

Based on this information, there is no reason why a breastfeeding mother would not be able to follow a ketogenic diet and lifestyle.

Although there are some anecdotal reports that some mothers have had reductions in milk production after going keto, this is most likely due to dehydration, lack of adequate calories or nutrients, and possible lack of adjustment in cases of rapid carbohydrate restriction.

Tips For Successful Breastfeeding While Following a Ketogenic Diet

Breastfeeding your baby is important, and most mothers don’t want to do anything that might risk their supply. We’ve already seen that you can follow a ketogenic lifestyle while breastfeeding (and it could even help shed some of the baby weight), but you need to do it properly. Here’s how.

1: Start Keto Early

When you first start keto, your body needs to go through an adjustment period, and you may feel flu-like symptoms. This is called the “keto flu”, and if you’ve never experienced it before, you may feel as if there’s something wrong.

You don’t want to have to go through this adjustment period while you’re trying to learn the particular art of breastfeeding, so if you’re not already nursing your baby, don’t wait until you are pregnant or breastfeeding — start keto now so that your body has time to learn how to use fat and ketones for fuel efficiently.

Plus, keto has been shown in many cases to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant and contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle.

2: Avoid Dehydration

One of the biggest culprits of scarce milk supply is not drinking enough water throughout the day.

Drinking lots of water is extremely important to produce sufficient milk for any breastfeeding mother, especially keto, due to the higher excretion of water from less carbohydrate intake.

Your body uses extra water to produce breast milk and heal from labour and delivery. Pair that with the hydration necessary to keep your electrolytes balanced on the ketogenic diet, and you’ll see you need to drink more water than you thought you needed, certainly more than before you had your baby.

3: Don’t Forget Your Nutrients and Electrolytes

Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is extremely important to avoid negative side effects such as headaches, loss of energy, or lightheadedness.

Check out this article for a more in-depth look at the different vitamins and minerals needed to make up a well-formulated ketogenic diet.

4: Consume Enough Calories, Especially High-Quality Fats

It is important to make sure you have a steady energy supply throughout the day for both yourself and your baby.

Consuming an adequate amount of calories and enough good quality fats will be another key to producing healthy quantities of milk and fueling both yourself and your baby. Refer to this article for a list of high-quality fats to incorporate into your diet.

5: Consume Enough Fiber and Vegetables

Getting enough vegetables and fibre is extremely important for both your health and the health/development of your baby.

Make sure you consume lots of vegetables to ensure adequate intake of certain phytochemicals and antioxidants.

If you don’t have time to prepare veggies (because honestly, taking care of a baby is time-consuming!), use a greens supplement to nourish yourself.

6: Try A Moderate Low-Carb Diet Rather Than Strict Keto

If you’re having trouble producing adequate milk, try starting with 50-75 grams of carbs per day and slowly lower the carbs each day (say 5-10 grams) and track how it affects your milk supply.

Make sure you get your carbs from healthy sources such as lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries.

Avoid bread, pasta, and other refined carbage (carbs + garbage = carbage).

7: Track Your Food/Drink Consumption And Daily Milk Production

Use an app such as MyFitnessPal or MyMacros+ to keep track of the foods and drinks you are consuming — this will make it easier to track your calorie and fat consumption as it relates to how much milk you are producing each day so you can adjust accordingly.

You can also try to track your daily milk production. There are a couple of ways to do this.

One way is to pump and feed your baby expressed breast milk for a couple of days. You can use an app like Baby Connect to track your production.

Remember, however, that babies extract more milk than a pump, and the quality of your breast pump also impacts your output. Also, note that many women avoid strictly pumping because it can decrease milk production. But every mom and baby is different.

Another way to check how much milk you’re producing is to put the baby on an infant scale before and after each feeding and note the difference.

Like with any diet — even the ketogenic diet — there is no “one size fits all” approach. If you listen to your body and implement the tips outlined above, you will be on the right track to a healthy and fulfilling breastfeeding journey.

How To Get Into Ketosis Quickly: Cut Carbs, Try Fasting and More

The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight, improve mental cognition, balance hormones and treat various diseases like diabetes and epilepsy.

When you enter a state of ketosis, your body switches from using glucose to using mainly ketones for fuel. This has several health benefits, including:

  • Healthy fat loss
  • Reduced hunger and cravings while staying full longer
  • Reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer
  • Higher energy levels
  • Fewer blood sugar spikes
  • Overall better well-being

Follow these steps to get into ketosis faster:

1. Drastically Cut Carbs

The general carb limit for the keto diet is around 30 grams per day. If you’re an athlete, this may increase to 100 grams.

When starting a low carb diet like Atkins or keto, some people find comfort in cutting out carbs gradually. However, if you want to get into ketosis fast, drastically reducing your carb intake is necessary. Track your carbohydrate intake during this time, not letting any hidden carbs slip under the radar.

Going low carb is easier than you think, even when eating out or travelling. Perfect Keto founder Dr Anthony Gustin often makes special requests at restaurants to make his meals low carb, like this porchetta and egg sandwich without the sandwich.

2. Increase High-Quality Fats

Healthy fats make up a large component of any keto meal plan. If you’re new to keto, it may take time to transition to this way of eating. Make sure your fat intake accounts for 70-80% of your total calories.

This will help your body transition to using fat as its primary fuel source, although if your goal is to lose weight, it’s preferred to decrease your fat intake slightly to allow your cells to burn fat stores instead of dietary fat.

Consume these healthy fats to get into ketosis quickly:

  • Oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil powder, avocado oil or macadamia nut oil
  • Fatty meats, egg yolks, butter or ghee
  • Keto nuts and nut butter
  • Plant fats like avocados, olives or coconut butter

3. Take Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are supplements to help you get into ketosis faster. The most effective exogenous ketones are those made with beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB ketones). BHB is the most abundant ketone in the body, making up to 78% of total ketone bodies in the blood. It’s also a more efficient fuel source than glucose.

Taking exogenous ketones helps your body get into ketosis faster (sometimes in as little as 24 hours). It would help if you still ate a low carb, ketogenic diet, but supplementation can decrease the amount of time it takes and decrease unpleasant side effects.

Try Intermittent FastingFasting is often used in conjunction with keto. It poses several health benefits, including improved concentration, faster weight loss, and reduced blood sugar levels. It has also been associated with decreasing symptoms of various diseases. When used with a ketogenic diet, it can help you get into ketosis faster and aids weight and fat loss.

If the thought of intermittent fasting intimidates you, try these other two approaches:

  • Fat fasting involves eating low-calorie (usually around 1,000 calories), with roughly 85-90% of those calories coming from fat, for a few days.
  • Fast mimicking mimics the effects of fasting within a short time frame. You still eat high-fat foods during this brief period.

5. Exercise More

Exercise helps deplete the body of glycogen stores (stored glucose). When glycogen reserves are low and not being refilled with carbohydrates, the body turns to burn fat for energy. Therefore, increasing your exercise intensity can help you enter ketosis faster.

6. Take MCT Oil

More than coconut oil, butter, or any other fat, MCT oil can boost your blood ketone levels significantly. Taken together with exogenous ketones, it can help you enter nutritional ketosis in hours.

MCT oil can do this because the medium-chain triglycerides are quickly metabolized and used for energy by your cells, unlike long-chain fatty acids, which take longer to be broken down.

7. Keep Protein Up

Going keto doesn’t mean you have to reduce protein drastically. You don’t.

Eating enough protein is crucial for feeling your best on keto. It provides many of the nutrients you need to be healthy, helps satisfy you, and helps prevent muscle breakdown.

Going into keto focusing only on fats sets you up for failure because you can start experiencing negative side effects from the lack of nutrients that adequate protein provides.

You should be consuming at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass as a rule of thumb.

Plus, high-quality proteins like grass-fed beef also provide healthy fats.

If you’re finding it tough to get enough protein, try whey protein or collagen protein to help keep you fuller longer and provide the building blocks for growth and repair.

8. Find Keto Staples

Finding keto-friendly foods and easy recipes is key to sticking to and enjoying your keto diet. The easiest way to fall off the wagon on keto is not to have safe keto options around when you’re hungry and need energy. So here’s what you can do:

  • Go shopping for keto-approved foods
  • Find easy keto-friendly recipes
  • Choose healthier on-the-go keto snacks

9. Watch Your Snacks 

More challenging than being keto at home is to stay keto on the go. It can be almost impossible to find keto-friendly foods when you’re at work, on the road, or at the airport.

Having the right portable snacks with you can make the difference between staying on track to becoming keto-adapted or falling off the wagon.

Some of the best keto snacks include:

  • Keto Bars
  • Keto Nut Butter
  • Low-Sugar Beef Jerky
  • Nuts and seeds

10. Make Healthy Swaps When Eating Out

Making healthy swaps is easier than you think when you’re eating out. You don’t have to throw away your efforts because you’re having lunch with a friend.

Most restaurants can accommodate requests such as:

  • Burger without a bun
  • Salad without dressing (dressing is often loaded with carbs)
  • Tacos without tortillas
  • Unsweetened beverages

If you start your keto diet following these 10 tips, you’ll have an easier time transitioning to fat adaptation.

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?

You cannot simply jump into ketosis in 24 hours. Your body has been burning sugar for fuel your entire life. It will need time to adapt to burning ketones for fuel.

So how long does it take to get into ketosis? This transition could take anywhere from 48 hours to one week. The length of time will vary depending upon your activity level, lifestyle, body type, and carbohydrate intake. There are several ways you can speed up this process, like intermittent fasting, drastically decreasing your carb intake and supplementation.

Remember: Once you get into ketosis, there is no guarantee you will remain in ketosis. If you eat a carb-laden meal, practice carb cycling, or increase your carb intake for athletic performance, your body may start burning glucose. To get back into a fat-burning state, follow the same methods you did to get into ketosis initially.

3 Additional Tips For Transitioning Into Keto

When your body enters ketosis for the first time, it’s switching its preferred fuel source. This transition can cause flu-like side effects in some people, including fatigue, headaches, dizziness, sugar cravings, brain fog and stomach trouble. This is often called the “keto flu.”

Supplementing with exogenous ketones can help negate these unwanted symptoms. When supplements aren’t enough, try these tips:

1. Stay Hydrated

Many people experience a flush of water weight when they switch from eating a standard, high carb diet to keto. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated. Plus, hunger is often confused with dehydration. Avoid this by drinking water often, especially when you experience cravings or hunger.

2. Take Electrolytes To Avoid The Keto Flu

Alongside drinking more water, it’s important to take electrolytes to help make up for the loss of fluids and replenish all the electrolytes being flushed out.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Proper sleep is important for hormone function and the repair of the body. Not getting enough sleep is tough on the adrenals and blood sugar regulation. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you struggle with quality sleep, create an environment conducive to rest. This could be keeping your room cooler, turning off all electronic devices one to two hours before bedtime or using a sleep mask.

How To Know If You’re In Ketosis

If your goal is to get into ketosis as fast as possible, you must test your ketone levels. Why? Testing helps you recognize what foods or habits kick you out of ketosis.

There are three primary methods to test your ketone levels:

  • Urine testing: While this is one of the most affordable methods, it’s also inaccurate. Unused ketones leave the body through the urine — meaning you are essentially measuring unused, unburned ketones.
  • Breath testing: This is a far more accurate method than urine testing, but still not the best. This measures the amount of acetone (another ketone body) when you should try to measure the amount of BHB.
  • Blood testing: This is the most highly recommended, most accurate way to test your ketone levels. With a small prick of a finger, you can measure the level of BHB ketones in the blood.

The 1 Reason Why You’re Not in Ketosis Yet

If you tried all of the above methods and still haven’t entered ketosis, excess carbs are the most common underlying cause.

Carbs can creep up in your daily diet and prevent you from or knock you out of ketosis — and this tends to be the most common reason new keto-ers feel they’re doing everything right and still not enter ketosis.

Hidden carbs can from:

  • Restaurant meals. For example, most sauces have sugar in them.
  • “Healthy” snacks. Even low carb snacks have cheap ingredients and syrups that raise your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis.
  • Too many nuts. Nuts are a perfect keto snack, but some are higher in carbs than others. Eating handfuls of nuts without measuring can take you over your car limit.

The Takeaway

If you test your ketone levels regularly, follow the 10 steps outlined above, supplement when necessary and keep an eye on your carb intake, you’ll no longer wonder how long it takes to get into ketosis. You’ll be in it, burning fat and energetically reaching your health goals.

The Ultimate Guide to Batch Cooking Low Carb Freezer Meals

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were like some (many) celebrities who eat a ketogenic diet?

You’d have a personal chef catering every meal, taking the stress out of cooking every night and making your motivation and willpower a complete non-issue.

Or maybe you’d have a food delivery service. At the beginning of each week, you’d have delicious keto-friendly meals delivered to be put in the fridge or Freezer and reheated whenever you wanted.

Many people use a secret technique to help you get as close as possible to making this a reality without hiring a personal chef or a meal service.

How? Through batch cooking.

What Is Batch Cooking?

Batch cooking is exactly what it sounds like: cooking big batches of meals that you can keep in the fridge to reheat later easily or freeze for future meals.

But if you’ve never done it before, batch cooking may sound like a lot of work. So in this article, we’ll go over…

Why Bother Batch Cooking, Anyway?

If you do some meal prep, you might wonder why you should bother batch cooking, too.

But it turns out there are a few great reasons to consider it.

Batch Cooking Reduces Food Waste

Did you know that the average American throws out 650 pounds of food every year?

That’s food that you worked hard for. You spent your hard-earned money on it, spent time shopping for it, and maybe even went to great lengths to prepare it.

With batch cooking, you can make meals that use the same ingredients across several different recipes so that you never have to throw away that half a head of cauliflower or ½ a bunch of cilantro again.

It allows you to use up your groceries before the best before date and freeze pre-cooked meals for later.

Batch Cooking Can Saves You Serious Money

That food waste that I just mentioned?

It’s estimated that it will cost you $640 per year. It’s going into the garbage… after you’ve made an effort to go out and buy it and store it in your refrigerator.

If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that if you invested that money each year for 30 years at an 8% return, you’d have turned it into $72,000.

That’s not the only way batch cooking saves money. Batch cooking allows you to buy ingredients in bulk, a less costly option than buying your ingredients in small quantities.

Batch cooking also saves money by giving you plenty of food options in your fridge and freezer, so you won’t need to shell out for takeout or succumb to fast food when you don’t’ have time to cook.

However, the best reason for batch cooking on the ketogenic diet is that batch cooking helps you stick to the diet, even when your willpower is weak and your motivation is running dry.


Batch Cooking Strengthens Your Willpower

Have you ever tried to adhere to a healthier diet when your partner insists on having unhealthy snack foods in the house, like chips, cookies, or ice cream?

It feels pretty impossible, right?

You’re relying on willpower to stay away from junk food. If you’ve been eating junk food or even carb-laden foods for any period, your body has adapted to crave those foods. And in a battle between willpower and biology, biology will always win.

Research suggests that restricting a certain food could increase the craving for that food. 

Why? Because in your brain, strong food cravings are similar to drug addiction: the underlying cognitive, conditioning, and emotional processes show three major phenomenons:

  • Ironic cognitive processes (the more you try to suppress, the bigger the craving).
  • Conditioned cue reactivity (intense desire for the food when you see it).

Dysphoric mood (unease, dissatisfaction or anxiety when you can’t fulfil the craving).

However, if you engineer your environment to support your goals rather than sabotage them, you’re giving your willpower a break because it doesn’t have to be strong in the face of temptation.

Think of willpower as a muscle. It can be strengthened, and it can also become weak if you don’t use it. Your willpower gets tired, just like your muscles do. If you’re lifting heavy weights in the gym all day, it would be difficult to get your muscles to cooperate if you were moving a heavy piece of furniture by yourself that evening. They’d be tired.

So if you’re asking your willpower to stay strong in the face of temptation all day, it’s difficult to ask it to remain strong at the end of the day when you’ve just returned home from work hungry and have nothing ready for dinner. Your willpower will collapse, and you’ll order takeout or eat something easy and unhealthy (mac n’ cheese, anyone?) rather than preparing a keto-friendly meal from scratch.

Therein lies the power of batch cooking. You can cook big batches of healthy, keto-friendly meals ahead of time to give your willpower a break and have a supportive environment in which to reach your goals.

Just take one of your meals out of the Freezer, reheat, and enjoy the fat burning magic of ketosis.

Now that we’re clear on the amazing benefits of batch cooking, we’ll show you how to start batch cooking even if you’ve never done it before.

How to Start Batch Cooking

The easiest way to start is by doubling or tripling what you would make tonight for dinner.

The power of batch cooking lies in maximizing the number of future meals you can make in the same amount of time it takes you to cook just one meal.

Think about it: you’re already washing, chopping, prepping, and cleaning dishes just to make one dinner for two, but if you triple your ingredients, you can easily make three days’ worth of dinners without putting in all the prepping work for each one. Cook smarter, not harder.

Here’s how to get started:

1: Make Batch Cooking Part of Your Weekly Routine

Most people choose Sunday because they have the day off and spend at least the evening at home anyway.

If you don’t like cooking or dread spending a part of your weekend batch cooking, you can do it more slowly.

Just start doubling or tripling the recipe of the meals you’re already making (let’s say for dinner tonight) and slowly building your stash that way. For example, if you’re making Loaded Cauliflower Bake for dinner tonight, make two or three to freeze and reheat later.

It will take a little longer to accumulate a big freezer stash and some variety in your recipes. Still, you’ll reap the benefits of batch cooking without worrying about saying goodbye to your weekends.

2: Batch cook the items with ingredient crossover.

Since food waste is such a costly (and environmentally damaging) problem, batch cooking recipes with ingredient crossover will help you eliminate or at least drastically reduce how much food your family is throwing out.

This also reduces the amount of time you spend on batch cooking since you only have to handle the ingredient once. If you’re cooking something with onions, chopping or processing two onions at once is easier than doing them separately.

Later in this article, we’ll show you some recipes perfect for batch cooking (you can click here to jump straight to that section).

3: Become Intimate With Your Freezer

Part of batch cooking is storing the meals you just batch cooked. So batch cookers tend to become best friends with their freezers.

That includes:

  • Knowing what you can freeze. The awesome thing about batch cooking on the ketogenic diet is that you can freeze almost everything as long as you process it properly. The only keto-friendly food that you can’t freeze is cream cheese. You can freeze eggs and cheese and everything else.
  • Knowing how long you can freeze it for. Most meat and seafood can be frozen for around 3 months safely in your refrigerator freezer. Vegetables will last for up to 8 months, and soups, stews, casseroles, and other keto-friendly recipes will keep for around 3 months. You can pretty much triple the amount of time for a deep freeze.
  • Label whatever you froze with what it is and the date you froze it. That way, you’ll know what you should eat first. The best way to do this is to either use a permanent marker on a freezer bag or use painter’s tape for labelling if you plan on using reusable containers.
  • Consider getting a vacuum sealer (like a FoodSaver). These will help your food last for longer in the Freezer.
  • Freeze in the portions you’ll eat the food in. Most foods shouldn’t be defrosted and then re-frozen, so keep in mind that you’ll have to eat most of what you pull out of the freezer within a few days.

4: Use a Slow Cooker Where Possible

A slow cooker – or crockpot – is a game-changing tool for batch cookers. If you don’t own one yet, you might be thinking, “not another appliance…”, but this pot is completely worth it if you want to simplify batch cooking.

As the name suggests, it cooks meals for long periods (a minimum of six hours) at low temperatures. It’s the ultimate “set and forget it” appliance. Here’s why you should consider making it a kitchen staple:

  • One-step cooking. A slow-cooker turns almost any dish into a one-pot meal. There’s no sauteing or stirring — you simply add all the ingredients, close the lid, and go about your day until it’s ready 6-8 hours later.
  • Helps you stick to your keto diet. You can set your slow cooker to have a fresh keto dinner ready by coming home from work. For example, you can dump the ingredients for a stew in your slow cooker before going to work, set it for 8 hours, and enjoy it later that night. You won’t even consider ordering take out or snacking on unhealthy food.
  • Saves time. Because all you have to do is chop and dump the ingredients in the pot, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family, relaxing or finishing work.
  • Virtually no clean-up. Since you don’t need a collection of pots to make your meal, the clean up boils down to just the slow cooker.
  • More flavorful food. The longer cooking time brings out richer flavours in your meals.
  • Better for tough cuts of meat. A slow cooker can tenderize tough cuts of meat in a way an oven can’t.
  • More energy-efficient than an oven. Using a slow cooker will save you more money in the long run than using an oven. While an oven consumes around 2.2kWh, a slow cooker uses a mere 0.7kWh over eight hours. That’s a 33% increase in efficiency.

Wondering what you can make in your slow cooker? Almost anything:

  • Bone broth
  • Chilli
  • Chicken soup
  • Curries
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Casseroles
  • Stews
  • Beef roast
  • Zucchini lasagna
  • Meatballs
  • Shrimp boil

A slow cooker can make your keto lifestyle a lot more manageable. To make sure you’re using it right, follow these tips:

  • Put frozen veggies in first since they take longer to cook. Place the meat over the veggies.
  • When using a non-slow cooker recipe, reduce liquids by one-third to one-half of what the recipe says. Liquids don’t boil away in a slow cooker as they do on the stove.
  • Don’t remove the lid while cooking, as it can delay the cooking time by 15-20 minutes.
  • Add dairy (milk, cheese and cream) and soft veggies (zucchini and tomatoes) during the last hour of cooking to prevent curdling and mushy veggies.

5: Take Advantage Of Batch Processing

If you have a recipe that you can’t batch cook, you can probably batch process. For example, let’s say you want to make a hearty salad with lettuce, kale, avocado, tomato, bacon and ricotta cheese. Leafy greens don’t defrost well, so freezing is not an option.

However, you can prep all the ingredients in advance:

  • Instead of plucking and washing a couple of lettuce or kale leaves at a time, wash and dry the whole head of lettuce in a salad spinner and then store all the leaves in the fridge in a large glass container lined with a kitchen towel. This way, you’ll have clean lettuce ready to use each day of the week.
  • Clean and cut several tomatoes to the desired size and keep them in the fridge. They will last 3-4 days.
  • Cook the bacon and store it in the fridge.
  • Cut the avocado when you’re ready to make your salad.

Once you’ve done this, it’s a breeze to assemble the prepped ingredients waiting for you in the fridge.

It’s trickier to keep raw veggies fresh than cooked meals, but you can still save time by washing and chopping them in a batch and eating them throughout the week since they don’t last long.

Stocking Your Kitchen for Batch Cooking

Before starting batch cooking, you’ll need key tools and appliances to make the process easier. Here’s what your kitchen should have at all times:

Food prep

  • Plenty of cutting boards (even the plastic ones you can get at the dollar store or Ikea)
  • A good set of knives. Make sure your set includes a high-quality steel 8-inch Chef’s knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons, preferably made of steel for durability
  • A colander
  • A fine-mesh strainer
  • 2-3 mixing bowls
  • A grater
  • Large wooden spoons
  • Soup ladle
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Salad spinner
  • Whisk
  • Vegetable peeler


  • Slow cooker
  • Large pot
  • Casserole dishes
  • Muffin tins
  • Round and square baking pans
  • Non-stick skillets

Storing and Freezing Food

  • Food saver or a vacuum sealer
  • Freezer bags (in some cases. You don’t always need these, especially if you plan on eating the meals within the next little while)
  • Containers (glass is best, plastic if you must)
  • Plastic wrap and tinfoil

Once you stock up on everything you need to make epic low carb freezer meals, it’s time to choose the recipes you want to make:

What Can You Batch Cook?

Many keto-ers will avoid bothering because common batch cooking ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, rice, and pasta are off-limits on the ketogenic diet (too many carbs!).

But you can batch cook a lot of recipes. The most common ketogenic foods to batch cook are soups, stews and casseroles, but you don’t have to limit it to just that.

You can even batch:

  • Smoothies. Just blend in a batch, store in plastic bags and freeze
  • Bone broth
  • Keto-friendly stir fry
  • Fat bombs
  • Keto-friendly pancake batter
  • Ground beef for low-carb pasta sauce, keto tacos, etc.
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Bacon strips
  • Grilled chicken and fish
  • Chicken and fish soup
  • Steak
  • Bacon and cheese stuffed chicken breast
  • Carnitas
  • Garlic shrimp
  • Chicken Pad Thai
  • Spinach quiche
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Frittatas
  • Egg muffin cups

Sounds good? Start filling your fridge and Freezer with these recipes:

Batch Cooking Recipes

Here are a bunch of keto-friendly recipes you can batch cook.


  • Flourless Matcha Latte Pancakes
  • Superfood Pumpkin Waffles
  • Micronutrient Greens Matcha Smoothie
  • Keto Power Breakfast with Green Sauce
  • Turkey Sausage Frittata


  • Easy White Turkey Chili
  • Spring Keto Stew with Venison
  • Crispy Skin Salmon with Pesto Cauliflower Rice
  • Shrimp Stir Fry with Baked Cauliflower Rice
  • Mushroom Bacon Skillet


  • Slow Cooker Taco Soup
  • Loaded Cauliflower Bake
  • Roasted Chicken Stacks
  • Beberé Enchilada Style Stuffed Peppers
  • Superfood Meatballs
  • Lemon Balsamic Chicken
  • Cheesy Broccoli Meatza


  • Celeriac Everything Oven Fries
  • Jalapeno Parmesan Crisps
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Keto Cloud Bread (“Oopsie Bread”)
  • Rosemary Cauliflower Mash and Gravy


  • Keto Brownies with Peppermint Crunch
  • Macadamia Nut Fat Bomb
  • Low-Carb Gingersnap Cookies
  • Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Bites
  • Pumpkin Spice Fat Bombs
  • Perfect Keto Mocha Fat Bombs
  • Mint Chip Popsicles with Micro Greens

After you pick the recipes you want to make for the week, it’s time to make the shopping list.

Batch Cooking Shopping List

Keep in mind that your shopping list will focus on large quantities of a few key ingredients that will make the week’s main meals. Here’s a comprehensive list of everything your shopping list might include:


  • Ground beef
  • Peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Bacon
  • Turkey breast
  • Venison
  • Chicken thighs
  • Steak
  • Pork chops
  • Organ meats
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Eggs


  • Cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Cheese (mozzarella, ricotta, feta, etc)
  • Sour cream
  • Full-fat yoghurt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter

Canned food

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Canned asparagus
  • Canned sardines


  • Leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, etc.)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Berries (strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • Avocado

Nuts and seeds

  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut cream
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tree nuts (almond, macadamia, walnuts, etc.)
  • Nut butter


  • Stevia
  • Monk fruit

Check the Full Ketogenic Diet Food List to see everything you can eat on a ketogenic diet.

Sample Menu

For instance, let’s say you are going to batch cook these recipes for the week for one person:


  • Flourless Matcha Latte Pancakes (yield: three pancakes a day).


  • Easy White Turkey Chili
  • Shrimp Stir Fry with Baked Cauliflower Rice


  • Lemon Balsamic Chicken


  • Perfect Keto Mocha Fat Bombs

Your shopping list would look like this:


  • 1lb organic ground turkey
  • 9 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 16oz (1lb) shrimp (peeled, tail on)


  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy whipping cream


  • Blueberries
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 12 oz frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1 head of purple cabbage
  • Onion
  • Green onion
  • Garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • One 2″ ginger root
  • 4 baby Bella mushrooms

Nuts and seeds

  • 1 tub of sunflower seed butter
  • Coconut oil
  • 2 cans of coconut milk


  • Monk fruit sweetener


  • Bay leaves
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Dried Italian herb blend
  • Coarse black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil


  • Bacon fat
  • Mustard
  • Espresso
  • MCT oil
  • 1 container of  Perfect Keto Matcha Latte MCT Oil Powder
  • 1 container of Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder
  • 1 container of Perfect Keto Chocolate Exogenous Ketone Base

How to Make Reheating Batched Cooked Meals Effortless (And Safe)

After you’ve done your big cook, you’ll have at least a few days of meals waiting for you in the Freezer.

These are perfect for weekday meals on those busy nights when sticking to keto is hard. We’ve compiled some hacks to make reheating effortless, safe, and delicious.

1: Use Muffin Tins for Perfect Portions

Freeze already-cooked casseroles and other dishes that are more difficult to freeze in muffin tins.

When they’re frozen, you can pop them out and throw them in a freezer bag for portioning out throughout the week. That way, you don’t have to unthaw and entire batch. Just defrost what you need.

2: Cut Down on Dishes

If you plan to eat a freezer meal within a few weeks, store it directly in a microwave-safe glass container in the Freezer. Then you can just defrost, heat and eat.

There is no need to transfer the food into a separate bowl or waste a freezer bag.

3: Freeze Liquids In Freezer Bags for Stackable Tiles

If you’re like most people, you hate a disorganized fridge or Freezer. To avoid that, store soups, stews, sauces, and anything liquidy in freezer bags that you lie down for stacking. 

4: Make Your Food Last 3x Longer in the Freezer

If you plan on batching some meals that you might not want to eat for the next couple of months (maybe you do a super batch day and cook weeks worth of food), you don’t want your hard work to get Freezer to burn.

Vacuum sealers can make your freezer meals last longer than regular freezer bags. If you plan on taking this batch cooking seriously, it’s a great investment.

5: Use This Tip for Smarter Casserole Storage

You could freeze casseroles directly in your casserole dish or pan, but if you need it before you think you might eat the meal, line it with parchment paper before freezing. Then you can remove the whole meal when it’s frozen, transfer the casserole into a freezer bag or wrap it in tinfoil, and pop it back into the pan later.

6: Defrost Your Meals Safely and Properly

Freezer storage makes your food last longer because bacteria won’t thrive in cold temperatures.

However, you can run into some food safety problems when defrosting your meals. To avoid problems, never defrost your food at room temperature. That’s not food safe and can cause harmful bacteria to grow on the food.

According to the USDA, food left to thaw on the counter can start to grow bacteria once it reaches 40°F — particularly on the outer parts:

“Even though the center of the package may still be frozen as it thaws on the counter, the outer layer of the food could be in the “Danger Zone,” between 40 and 140 °F — temperatures where bacteria multiply rapidly.”

There are two ways you can thaw your food safely instead:

1. In Your Fridge

Your fridge’s cool and constant temperature will prevent bacteria from growing on your food. Take your meal out of the freezer and store it in the fridge for 24 hours.

After thawing in the fridge…

  • Meats like ground meat, stew meat, poultry, and seafood remain safe for an extra 1-2 days before cooking.

Red meat cuts like beef, pork, lamb roasts, chops and steaks remain safe for 3- 5 days before cooking.

2. In Cold Water

If you’re in a rush and can’t wait 24 hours, fill a bowl with cold water and thaw the freezer bag in it. Ensure the bag doesn’t have any holes, as this could introduce bacteria into your food.

The water must remain cold, so change it every 30 minutes to avoid reaching warmer temperatures.

Your food will defrost in 1-3 hours, depending on the size of your bag.

Avoid removing the meal from the Freezer and placing it directly in the microwave or oven. That’ll take forever and likely burn the outside of your meal while the inside is still uncooked.

Batch Cook Your Low Carb Meals Like A Pro

Eating low carb can be challenging if you don’t have a plan, but with batch cooking, it’s easier than you ever thought.

Batch cooking will let you enjoy keto-friendly meals every day of the week to stay on track with your health goals while saving time and money. It will increase your willpower and motivation instead of draining it, and you won’t have to worry about what to cook for dinner, especially on those busy nights.

All you need are the right tools — slow cooker, Freezer, basic utensils, and containers –then choose 4-6 recipes to eat during the week, shop for the ingredients, cook your big batch, freeze it for later, and follow food safety guidelines when defrosting.

Get used to batch cooking by making it a weekly routine. If you turn it into a habit that makes you happy, you’ll be able to put your ketogenic diet on autopilot and reap all the energy-boosting and mental clarity benefits.

The Research-Driven Guide to Keto and Fertility

If you struggle with getting or staying pregnant, you’re not alone.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 12% of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States have difficulty conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term.

That’s about 1 in 8 couples.

In addition, more than 7.3 million women have invested money in infertility treatments that cost an average of $11,000 to $13,000 for just one single treatment (not including any additional medications that are usually recommended).

Sound scary?

What if there was a way to get pregnant and sustain a successful pregnancy without spending your entire retirement savings?

Good news: more research is emerging examining keto and fertility that suggests trying the ketogenic diet may be the cheap, holistic fertility treatment you’re looking for.

In this article, you’ll learn how some of the most common causes of infertility can be reversed by simply changing the food you eat.

Let’s first touch on exactly what infertility is and why it occurs.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is generally defined as the inability to get pregnant after one year. Although it is often thought to be only a condition affecting women, in about 35% of couples with infertility, there is an issue involving the male.

So, what causes infertility?

Well, many steps have to occur to become pregnant, and issues may result from a problem with one or several of these steps.

The basic steps to becoming pregnant include the following:

  • A woman’s body releases an egg from one of her ovaries (also known as ovulation).
  • A man’s sperm must join the released egg (also known as fertilization).
  • The fertilized egg must make its way through the woman’s fallopian tube towards the uterus (or womb).
  • The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (also known as implantation).

As you can see, there are a few different places where things can go wrong. In the rest of this article, we’ll focus on the most common causes of infertility in women and what the research shows to be a very affordable and practical way to help treat and possibly prevent these causes.

PCOS and Fertility

One of the most common causes of infertility among women is PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, and the exact reason for this disorder is still unknown. But, most experts agree that there are two main underlying causes:

1: High Levels of Androgens (“Male Hormones”)

Androgens are a group of hormones often referred to as the “male hormones.” But both men and women produce androgens, just in different amounts.

In women, androgens are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells and play a key role in many hormonal functions such as estrogen synthesis (creation of estrogen), puberty, prevention of bone loss, sexual desire and much more.

However, excess amounts of androgens in women can cause several issues, including absent or irregular menstrual cycles, acne and extra hair growth, all common signs and symptoms of PCOS.

2: High Levels of Insulin

Insulin is another important hormone that controls how your body changes the food you eat into energy by absorbing glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream and shuttling it into your cells.

When insulin is chronically elevated, usually due to an excess carbohydrate intake and physical inactivity, it can lead to a disorder known as insulin resistance.

This disorder occurs when your cells stop responding normally to insulin and cannot easily absorb blood glucose from your bloodstream. This leads to your body needing to produce more and more insulin to keep up with the blood glucose demand.

High insulin levels stimulate the ovaries to produce more androgens, and as we know above, this can lead to the development of PCOS.

Studies show that over 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, and therefore experts believe it is the leading cause of this disease.

Additionally, statistics show that over 80% of women in the U.S. with PCOS are either overweight or obese.

Obesity and Fertility

Obesity is another common cause of infertility in women. Research shows that women who are overweight or obese tend to struggle with menstruation and ovulation issues, conception rates, miscarriages and other pregnancy complications.

Several studies found that the risk of infertility is 3x higher in obese women than in non-obese women, and one study found that a larger portion of women seeking medical help to get pregnant is obese.

Because the ketogenic diet is very beneficial for weight loss and controlling insulin levels, it has become extremely popular as an effective tool to enhance fertility outcomes.

Research is emerging that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet can help combat issues associated with PCOS and obesity, including healing reproductive hormones.

Before we dive into the results of these studies, it’s necessary to understand what the various reproductive hormones are and how they relate to fertility.

Understanding Reproductive Hormones

Above, we discussed androgens and insulin, two hormones that play an important role in fertility outcomes. But they’re not the only ones.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the other hormones whose levels can impact the ability to become pregnant.

1: Testosterone

The most common androgen is testosterone, and although it is usually associated with males, all women have testosterone in their bodies.

Sometimes even a slight increase in testosterone in women (above normal levels) can suppress normal menstruation and ovulation, leading to difficulties for women trying to get pregnant.

2: Estrogen

Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone secreted mainly by the ovaries and in small amounts by the adrenal glands. The most active estrogen in the body is known as estradiol.

An imbalance in estrogen levels can prevent ovulation and inhibit the lining of the uterus from thickening enough to allow fertilized eggs to implant and therefore lessen the ability to get pregnant.

3: Progesterone

Progesterone is a hormone primarily produced in the ovaries after ovulation and is important for supporting a developing embryo (an unborn offspring).

Normal progesterone levels should be low at the beginning of the menstrual cycle and high after ovulation. If progesterone levels are too low, difficulties with the implantation of eggs in the uterus can occur, leading to a decreased chance of pregnancy.

4: Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) is a protein produced by the liver and binds to hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and transports them in the blood.

Abnormal decreases in SHBG are associated with issues of menstrual function and fertility.

5: Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland (a pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain) that stimulates breast development and milk production.

High levels of prolactin may cause infertility by inhibiting ovulation.

6: Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by both men and women that plays a major role in puberty, menstruation and fertility.

Abnormal LH levels can affect fertility by causing problems with the supply of eggs in women’s ovaries and the supply of sperm in men.

7: Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is another hormone produced by men and women that works side-by-side with LH.

FSH stimulates the growth of eggs in women and the production of semen in men. Thus, abnormal FSH levels could hinder the ability to reproduce.

The LH/FSH Ratio

LH and FSH need to be present at certain levels and specific times during the normal menstrual cycle for proper egg development to occur in women. The normal ratio is about 1:1, meaning the LH and FSH levels in the blood are similar.

In women with fertility issues, especially those with PCOS, the LH/FSH ratio can often be higher. For example, 2:1 or even 3:1.

Although these are not all the reproductive hormones, they are the most common ones tested when fertility issues are present.

Now, let’s dive into how keto plays a role in this.

What Does the Research Say?

Now that you know what the different reproductive hormones are and how abnormal levels of these hormones can affect fertility outcomes let’s look at how low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets can help promote positive improvements in these hormonal levels and other conditions known to reduce fertility.

  • 12% decrease in body weight
  • 22% decrease in per cent free testosterone
  • 36% decrease in LH/FSH ratio
  • 54% decrease in fasting insulin

As discussed above, the decreases in these levels are positively associated with increased fertility outcomes.

Additionally, two of the women in this study became pregnant despite previous infertility issues.

A 2014 study including obese women undergoing fertility treatment found that compared to the control group, women following a structured, low-carbohydrate diet for 12-weeks had significant improvements in pregnancy outcomes.

Compared to the control group, the women in the low-carb diet group:

  • Lost an average of 20 pounds in just 12-weeks.
  • Achieved a pregnancy rate of 48% compared to 14% in the control group.
  • Took an average of two fertility treatment cycles to achieve each pregnancy compared with four treatments in the control group.
  • Had a 44% increase in the number of live births compared to only 14% in the control group.

In addition to the scientific studies that are rapidly emerging with results that support low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets for fertility outcomes, there are also a ton of anecdotal (personal) accounts of women from across the world who have become pregnant after adopting a low-carb, keto lifestyle.

There are even Facebook groups and various forums popping up for women to join and talk about their fertility successes related to a ketogenic approach.

So, now that you have an idea of how keto can help address some of the causes of infertility, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

How to Begin Keto For Fertility

If you’re completely new to keto, check out The Ultimate Start-Up Guide and become familiar with the different stages that will help you successfully learn and implement the ketogenic diet.

If you’ve dabbled with keto before but need a refresher, read through The Ultimate Guide to Ketosis to get back on track and check out some of our other blog posts for a more in-depth explanation on certain keto-related topics.

And if you’re a mom to be or curious about how keto will affect breastfeeding, take a look at this article to clear up some of your doubts.

As mentioned before, there are various platforms where women are coming together to talk about their success with becoming pregnant and healing through a ketogenic diet. Below are a few different Facebook groups that you can join with thousands of women who are using keto to get pregnant and sharing their stories:

Because keto is so new, some doctors still have trouble accepting it. Use the resources above to educate your doctor and work with them to develop a plan that you are both comfortable with.

The 7 Benefits of Grass Fed Beef: The Nutritional Powerhouse

Grass-fed beef is one of the most nutrient-dense proteins you can buy. It has an extensive micronutrient profile and contains many brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.

Still, some sceptics argue that there isn’t a difference between grass-fed and conventional beef.

Below, you’ll learn the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, seven unique health benefits of grass-fed beef, and where to buy it.

What’s the Difference Between Grass-Fed and Grain-Fed Beef?

Cattle are meant to graze on grass, preferably within open pastures. As the demand for meat has grown over the past century, farmers started feeding their herd grain-based products, usually made from corn and soy. The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef pertains to their diet: the animals are fed grass while they’re alive; in the other, they’re fed grain-based feed.

The Difference Between Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished, and Organic Beef

There is a lot of confusion surrounding grass-fed beef, mainly because it’s not a USDA-regulated term. On January 12, 2016, the Agricultural Marketing Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, dropped grass-fed as an official term, leaving things more open to interpretation.

Things to Know: The Difference Between Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished

With the removal of the USDA term, almost any beef product could be labelled grass-fed. Most cattle raised by responsible farms graze in open pastures throughout the warmer months. However, it isn’t easy to allow animals to roam freely in the winter when snow covers the ground.

During these colder months, the cattle eat corn-and-soy based feed. But, since they ate grass for part of (or for the majority) of the year, they could be labelled grass-fed. There is not much of a difference between grain-fed beef raised by a responsible farmer and grass-fed beef.

If you are looking for beef from a cow raised entirely on grass, look for the “grass-finished” label. These animals graze on grass in the summer and alfalfa in the winter. However, know that this term is also not regulated by the USDA.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Also Organic?

Short answer: No.

Organic and grass-fed (or grass-finished) are two completely different things. “Organic” is a USDA-regulated term. Farmers need to complete a certification process to use the organic label, which can take up to three years. Organic foods (such as organic beef) must be produced or raised on farms that don’t use harmful pesticides, genetic engineering (GMOs), or sewer sludge.

It is possible to buy organic, grain-fed beef as it pertains to beef. Cows from an organic farm were fed organic feed (i.e. organic corn- or soy-based products) during their lifetime. Organic animals must live in areas that encourage the welfare of the animal. A USDA-approved organic-certifying agent inspects these farms.

What to Look for When Purchasing Grass-Fed Beef

When you’re in the market for grass-fed beef, keep an eye out for products with the stamp of approval from the American Grassfed Association (AGA).

The AGA is known to be the most trustworthy and guarantees the animals never received antibiotics or hormones and were never fed grains.

The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Now that you understand the difference between grass-fed, grass-finished, and grain-fed beef, it’s time to dive into a few key differences. While they come at a hefty price point, grass-fed and grass-finished beef have been shown to have a few benefits, including:

1: Grass-Fed Beef Has Fewer Calories

“If you eat a typical amount of beef per year, which in the United States is about 67 pounds, switching to grass-fed beef will save you 16,642 calories a year,” says EatWild.com founder Jo Robinson.

Beef from grass-fed cattle is lower in total fat content because their diet is more natural and clean. Although it would cost approximately $300 more a year, the amount of calories you can save is staggering.

2: Grass-Fed Beef Helps Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Beef from grass-fed cows contains a certain beneficial fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA can help prevent several diseases and conditions like obesity and diabetes. A recent randomized, double-blinded study concluded that 37% of the people given CLA demonstrated better insulin sensitivity than those who weren’t given CLA. Insulin sensitivity helps promote healthy blood sugar levels.

Consuming grass-fed beef while following a ketogenic lifestyle can improve blood glucose levels if you’re insulin resistant. Utilizing a low carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic prevents a rise in blood glucose, which signals insulin release (and can eventually lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes).

3: Grass-Fed Beef Contains Electrolytes

One common issue with people who begin their keto lifestyle is the keto flu. This can occur when electrolytes aren’t replenished once they’re flushed out. The three main electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and Magnesium.

Fortunately, grass-fed meat has ample amounts of all three essential electrolytes. One grass-fed strip steak contains 732 milligrams of potassium, 49 milligrams of Magnesium, and 118 milligrams of sodium.

4: Grass-Fed Beef Helps Fight Cancer

Grass-fed beef contains roughly twice the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to beef from grain-fed cows. Most naturally occurring nutrients containing anticarcinogenic properties are derived from plant foods, but CLA is unique because it’s one of the only anticancer nutrients derived from meat.

CLA is considered one of the strongest nutrients that can defend against cancer. A study conducted on women who were given high amounts of CLA-rich foods had roughly a 60% lower risk of breast cancer than those who had little to no amounts of CLA in their diet.

5: Grass-Fed Beef Contains More Healthy Fats

Grass-fed beef provides up to six times more omega–3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. On the other hand, Grain-fed beef contains higher levels of omega–6 fatty acids, which are already eaten in surplus in most standard American diets.

Here are some of the benefits of increased omega–3 consumption:

  • Alleviates Rheumatoid arthritis: Omega–3s are highly effective in decreasing all markers of inflammation.
  • Helps with depression: Researchers have seen increased mental well-being by supplementing with omega–3 fatty acids.
  • Helps you focus: Recent studies show omega–3s to be a promising alternative to alleviate attention deficit disorders (ADHD) over stimulant medications.

6: Grass-Fed Beef Contains Less Bacteria

Some studies show that conventional beef is more prone to containing bacteria than grass-fed beef. One of the largest studies conducted by Consumer Reports analyzed 300 packages of ground beef. They found an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in three grain-fed samples and zero in the grass-fed packages.

Additionally, they found that 18% of the non-grass-fed beef samples contain superbugs — bacteria resistant to more than three types of antibiotics — compared to only 9% of beef samples from grass-fed livestock. This is extremely rare but can lead to food poisoning.

7: Eating Grass-Fed Beef Can Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease

Clinical evidence concludes a decreased risk of heart disease with increased consumption of CLA, a nutrient abundant in grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef can help improve your heart health by:

  • Antioxidants such as vitamin E
  • High amounts of omega–3 fatty acids
  • Less unhealthy fats
  • Lower amounts of bad cholesterol (known as LDL cholesterol), a marker of cardiovascular disease

What Makes Grass-Fed Beef Such a Nutrient-Dense Protein?

Grass-fed beef is an incredibly nutrient-dense protein that can be worked into almost any healthy diet. Grass-fed beef contains:

  • Two times the amount of lutein and beta-carotene compared to grain-fed.
  • 500–800 mg of CLA, up to three times the amount over grain-fed beef.
  • Up to 3.5 grams of omega–3 fats in grass-fed beef (the maximum amount for grain-fed is 1 gram).

In just one grass-fed strip steak (214 grams), you’ll receive:

  • 49 g protein
  • 45 mg omega–3 fatty acids
  • 0.3 mg Riboflavin (16% DV)
  • 14.3 mg Niacin (72% DV)
  • 1.4 mg Vitamin B6 (70% DV)
  • 28 mcg Folate (7% DV)
  • 2.7 mcg Vitamin B12 (2.7% mcg)
  • 1.5 mg Pantothenic Acid (15% mg)
  • 139 mg Choline
  • 16.3 mg Betaine
  • 19 mg Calcium (2% DV)
  • 4 mg Iron (22% DV)
  • 49 mg Magnesium (12% DV)
  • 454 mg Phosphorus (45% DV)
  • 732 mg Potassium (21% DV)
  • 118 mg Sodium (5% DV)
  • 7.7 mg Zinc (52% DV)
  • 45 mcg Selenium (64% DV)

Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef

Today, you can buy grass-fed beef in almost any grocery store, including large-chain grocers like Harris Teeter, Safeway, Giant, and Whole Foods.

If your local supermarket doesn’t supply grass-fed products, you can reach out to a farmer who raises beef cattle in your area or visit a farmer’s market. This is an excellent strategy if you are looking for grass-finished products so you can speak to the farmer in person.

Finally, there are plenty of places to buy grass-fed products online. ButcherBox is an excellent company which mails grass-fed beef to your doorstep. EatWild.com contains a great directory to search for grass-fed farms in your area.

How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed products cook faster than grain-fed products. To prevent burning your cut of meat, follow these cooking suggestions:

  • Grass-fed beef cooks approximately 30% faster than grain-fed cuts, so use a meat thermometer to prevent overcooking.
  • Always use tongs over a fork when tossing the beef over.
  • Make sure to preheat the grill, pan, or oven before cooking.
  • Don’t use a microwave to thaw out grass-fed beef. Thaw it in the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Because grass-fed beef is low in fat, coat it with avocado oil or olive oil to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

Is it Worth the Extra Money?

Grass-fed and grass-finished beef come from cattle raised on grass or alfalfa for at least part of the year. Unfortunately, grass-fed is no longer a USDA-regulated term. To ensure you’re buying a quality product, purchase directly from a local farmer or look for beef with the AGA (American Grassfed Association) seal of approval.

Grass-fed beef has several health benefits. It contains more vitamins and minerals, omega–3 fatty acids, and CLA than grain-fed beef. These nutrients have been shown to fight several diseases and ailments.

Always purchase the highest quality you can reasonably afford, as with all food. If grass-finished, organic beef fits within your budget, go for it. If it doesn’t, find a responsible farmer who raises their cattle on grass for at least part of the year.

The Secret to Keto Dairy (And How Keto Can Help Lactose Intolerance)

Good news, cheese lovers: yes, you can enjoy dairy on a ketogenic diet!

It’s not only a delicious snack; cheese may be the extra boost of fat you need to hit your daily macros.

But before you go overboard on that meat and cheese plate, eating dairy on keto comes with a few words of caution, which I’ll talk about today.

I’m diving into everything you need to know about dairy and keto, including what dairy options to reach for and which ones to steer clear of.

I’ll also touch on how a ketogenic diet affects lactose intolerance and whether organic options are worth the investment.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:

To start, I’ll answer the most extensive question racing through your mind:

Is Dairy Okay on a Ketogenic Diet?

First, it’s essential to understand that not all dairy is created equal.

  1. Some options are loaded with carbs, while others are filled with the protein and fat combo you need to stay in ketosis.
  2. If your choices are too high in net carbs, you’ll need to work harder to fit them into your macronutrient goals.
  3. Consuming dairy can also be challenging for some people to digest. You may experience unwanted side effects and health problems in stomach upsets, bloating, sinus issues, acne, and joint pain if your body doesn’t digest it properly.
  4. Plus, when you pick up pasteurized instead of raw milk, you’re also missing out on all of the good bacteria that can help you properly digest dairy with ease.

So, even if specific dairy is keto-friendly, it may not be suitable for you if you’re noticing any of those bothersome symptoms.

Another reason to consider taking it easy with dairy is that, as a highly processed food, it’s easy to go overboard.

While it can be the perfect boost to complete your day and round out your fat intake, dairy has the potential to ruin your calorie and macro goals in one small snacking session.

To keep all your dairy consumption within keto limits, let’s go over a few ground rules first.

Keto and Dairy: Here’s What You Should Know

To take full advantage of dairy on keto, you should choose organic (see why this matters later), raw, full-fat options instead of anything marked fat-free or reduced-fat

1% and 2% of dairy products are loaded with carbs in the next section. Since the fat is removed and sugar is added, you’re left with two things you don’t want on keto.

But just because you have the green light on specific dairy doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind here. Take it easy by only enjoying dairy in small quantities.

Remember: While it’s high in protein and fat, dairy comes at a high-calorie cost. A single serving of cheese can average around 100 calories.

You should also adjust for the extra protein boost.

If you pair dairy with another high protein source, you may risk going overboard with your macros if you’re not careful.

The Top Seven Keto Dairy Choices

These keto dairy choices are safe to eat and should be added to your diet in moderation.

1: Butter

Organic, grass-fed butter is one of the best reasons to stay on keto. It’s delicious and packs 12g of fat for zero carbs in a single tablespoon serving.

Again, if weight loss is your goal, the only reason to limit your butter consumption is due to calories. A tablespoon of butter may not seem like much for 100 calories.

The next option on our list takes butter one step further.

2: Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter. All that means is that the butter has been cooked longer to remove the water and milk solids.

The remaining mixture is pure butterfat and is ideal for any keto-er.

Take a look at the nutritional breakdown of this store-bought version:

It has 2g of total fat, more than butter for an extra 25 calories (and still zero carbs)

Unlike butter, ghee is easy to make at home.

Purchase high-quality, grass-fed butter and melt it in a pot on your stovetop.

Ghee also boasts another benefit over butter: 25% more short-chain and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In comparison, butter only has 12-15%.

These fats are easily digestible and readily available as an energy source in your body, which means you may sneak into ketosis faster using them.

Now’s the tricky part: choosing between butter and ghee.

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide; both options work well with keto, just like the next item on our list.

3: Heavy Whipping Cream

If you’ve made (or are making) the switch from sugar-laced lattes to keto coffee, you’re probably dealing with some significant sugar withdrawal issues.

One way to create a keto-safe replica is to use a dollop of heavy whipping cream in your coffee.

Just whip up your heavy cream to stiff peaks (you could add a bit of vanilla extract and no-carb sweetener, too), then add a tablespoon to your coffee and sip on your new frothy decadence.

Heavy cream can also be used in savoury recipes like this bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast casserole or keto dessert recipes to add an extra layer of creamy goodness.

The following few dairy items also share that same creamy characteristic.

4: Fermented Yogurts, Greek Yogurt, and Kefir

You probably associate it with lots of sugar when you think of fermentation. After all, that’s what is used to feed the bacteria or yeasts.

And since sugars aren’t keto-friendly, you may be thinking fermented foods are off-limits. That’s only partially correct.

When foods are left to ferment, microorganisms of bacteria or yeast spend their time feeding off the sugary carbs.

This helps eliminate the harmful bacteria while leaving the good ones intact (probiotic perks, FTW!).

So while a large amount of sugar may be used to create a fermented food, most of it has already been eaten away by the bacteria.

In some cases, such as an unflavored kombucha, you’re left with less than 3g of carbs and 1g of sugar per serving, making it a swell option to enjoy in keto.

However, this comes with a significant caveat.

Buyers beware, as with most yogurts and fermented drinks like kombucha and kefir.

Wide varieties on the market are packed with unnecessary added sugars, making it harder to find a good keto option. You’ll need to pay attention to labels here and do your homework.

Look for unflavored, full-fat yogurt and kefir (read: no fruit on the bottom).

Whenever the fat gets removed, as with 1% or 2% varieties, you can bet that added sugars are taking their place.

And the same thing goes for plain, unflavored, whole fat Greek yogurt.

If you can find one that doesn’t have too much sugar per serving, you may get 18g of protein and 10g of fat.

This challenge may be too difficult if your grocery store carries a limited assortment. But our next keto-approved dairy option is pretty universal.

5: Sour Cream

While the tang of sour cream may taste similar to Greek yogurt, there are almost zero carbs in full-fat sour cream, so it’s a much better option.

Sour cream is made by fermenting regular cream with certain lactic acid bacteria.

You probably won’t want to add nuts and raspberries to a bowl of sour cream in the AM like yogurt, but it lends a creamy consistency that’s perfect for dips, thickening sauces, and carb-free condiments top taco soup, for example.

Our final two dairy options are probably what you’ve been waiting for.

6: Hard Cheeses

Cheese lovers rejoice: there are plenty of keto-approved cheeses to choose from.

While a few options are off-limits, most cheeses have very few carbs.

One tip for choosing the right cheese is to look for aged options (think: blue cheese, gouda, or parmesan) since their carbohydrate content will be lower.

This added benefit is thanks to the same bacteria-eating process that works for fermented yogurts and other foods.

Many hard or semi-hard kinds of cheese, such as swiss, Colby, and provolone, fall under this lower-carb, keto-safe umbrella.

Even a few soft kinds of cheese you can snack on or add to your recipes.

7: Soft Cheeses

Whole mozzarella, brie, muenster, and Monterey jack are all perfect cheese choices carb-wise.

Cream cheese, cottage cheese, mascarpone, and creme fraiche are other good options you can eat as is or add to your dishes for a creamier, richer flavour as well.

Want to talk specifics?

Here’s the nutritional breakdown for a 1 oz. Serving of some of the cheeses on today’s list:

Choosing these seven dairy products will help you stay in ketosis the intelligent way. But knowing which dairy items should be avoided helps when you’re first getting started with keto.

Three Dairy Products to Avoid When on Keto

You may have noticed that milk wasn’t on the list of keto-safe dairy.

I am wondering what gives?

1: Milk. Low fat, reduced fat, fat-free, 1% and 2% milk are all just clever disguises that the fat has been removed from the milk and added sugars and carbs were pumped back in to create something palatable.

So what about a whole, goat, or raw milk?

In the case of goat’s milk, you’ll only reap 8.7g of protein for 10.9g of carbs (yikes!) and 168 calories for an 8 oz glass.

While it does have beneficial bacteria, raw milk also delivers 8g of carbs, 7g of protein, and 120 calories.

As for whole milk, you’re looking at 12.8g of carbs, 7.9g of protein, and 146 calories.

Milk is mostly water and sugar (plus a few other nutrients), so it’s not going to give you the best bang for your buck macro-wise.

You’re better off with the low carb cheese options that provide the same or better amounts of protein we discussed earlier.

While you won’t need to eliminate the next item, you will need to go easy.

2: Half and half. This lab-concocted food choice is half milk, half cream.

You’re getting a mix of sugar with a reduction in fat, two things you don’t want with keto.

Depending on your brand, you could add up to two carbs per teaspoon with half and half.

So instead of using this stuff, reach for heavy whipping cream for your coffee or your recipes without any net carbs.

This same advice goes for the following item on the don’t touch list.

3: Evaporated and condensed milk. While most people aren’t drinking this milk daily, it shouldn’t be added to your recipes if you want to stay in keto.

Evaporated and condensed milk are simply ones that have been cooked down for long periods to reduce the water content found in the milk.

These super-dense, condensed versions of milk syrup are nothing more than sugar water.

Don’t sweat if a recipe calls for one of these milk.

Swap this unhealthy choice for unsweetened coconut milk with the same thick consistency (thanks to healthy fats) without the extra sugar.

Speaking of alternatives, what happens if you have a dairy intolerance?

Should you avoid the keto dairy combination altogether?

Here’s What You Should Do If You’re Lactose Intolerant

Lactose is a sugar found in milk.

It’s also one of the ingredients that’s difficult to digest in dairy, which causes some people to have lactose intolerance.

Symptoms include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and nausea.

If this is happening to you whenever you consume dairy, you can try a few strategies.

  1. Stick with complex and long-aged dairy products. These items are much lower in lactose and should be easier on your digestive tract.
  2. Use Ghee. Ghee (our #2 keto-friendly dairy option) is an ideal alternative for anyone with dairy sensitivities since the milk solids have been removed. Swap ghee for butter in all your meal plans. Try these first two routes before moving on to options 3 and 4.
  3. Confirm that you’re not dealing with a sensitivity case. Lactose is the one that gets the bad rep, but casein could also be at fault for your stomach upsets.

So if you’re only ruling out lactose, you’re going to continue to experience those same uncomfortable symptoms.

Here’s how to tell the difference between the two:

You’ll get the same gastrointestinal upsets with casein as you would with lactose, but you may also experience an allergic reaction to a casein intolerance.

Hives, itching, wheezing, anaphylaxis, and facial flushing, which shouldn’t be taken lightly, are all indicators.

If you suspect a casein allergy or intolerance, it’s best to get this checked out before trying our approved dairy options.

In the end, you may find that your best option is this next one.

  1. Ditch dairy altogether. You don’t need dairy for keto to work. And if it’s not something sitting right with you, it may be time to cut it out of your life.

For people in this category, coconut or nut alternatives can offer a helpful solution.

Unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk all work well as keto-safe alternatives — as long as you choose unsweetened varieties.

You may also find coconut and almond milk-based yogurts and cheeses, but keep in mind that these tend to be higher in carbs and lower in protein since they’re more geared for a vegan diet.

Then again, you may want to consider this final point when it comes to having lactose intolerance and going on a ketogenic diet.

How Keto Reduces Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

If you’ve ever experienced lactose intolerance before, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that a ketogenic diet can help combat this by reducing those unpleasant side effects.

Often the issue is really with the carbs, not dairy.

So once you eliminate and drastically cut down most of your carbs, you won’t be as affected by the small amount of lactose you’ll find in cheese or heavy whipping cream.

Another helpful tip: Reach for high-fat cheeses since they naturally contain less lactose.

Next, I’ll answer the age-old question of whether buying organic dairy is a must on keto.

Do You Need to Buy Dairy That’s Organic and Grass-fed?

Keto or not, it pays to spend the extra money on organic, grass-fed dairy products.

Conventional dairy products are loaded with harmful hormones, bacteria and antibiotics that will mess with your system.

Thanks to their overcrowded environments, you’re also getting a dose of stress hormones from conventional dairy products.

The overprocessed production often strips away valuable nutrients from the final product.

Organic versions, on the other hand, don’t have these issues.

Organic, grass-fed dairy options are a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-three fatty acids and CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, an omega-six fatty acid that can help promote weight loss and increase muscle strength.

Before you cry wolf that you don’t have the extra cash for organic, grass-fed dairy, consider what else you’re spending your money on.

Now that you won’t be spending $5 a day on sugary lattes, you’ll be able to cover the cost of a few organic items each week.

Trust me, your health, hormones, and energy levels will thank you for making the switch.

They’ll also be grateful for you sticking to keto-approved dairy options only.

Enjoy Dairy on a Keto Diet (In Moderation)

As long as you practice moderation, choose suitable sources, watch your carb counts, and account for the added bump in your daily macro and calorie goals, you’ll be able to enjoy dairy on a ketogenic diet.

Just make it a new habit to purchase organic, grass-fed varieties.

And if dairy’s not your thing, or you have lactose intolerance, you can also find pleasure in taking the dairy-free Keto route.

Stick to these easy guidelines, and you’ll never have to worry about your dairy obsession ruining your keto experience.

How to Track Ketogenic Diet Results

Want the keto diet to work for you but not sure how to tell if it is? Time to power up your tracking skills! The only way to know if things are working is by learning how to track ketogenic diet results. Whether you’re looking for weight loss or more mental clarity, we’ll be going over how to set your goals best and track results innovatively and efficiently. Let’s get started!


When setting goals for your ketogenic diet results, make them SMART to cover all of your bases. These components equal a goal that you can feasibly move forward with and begin tracking results. The point is to be working towards something attainable for your situation — and that you can easily track for progress.

Using the following criteria, decide what you want to change the most by following the ketogenic diet. Does it fit within the SMART structure? If so, you’re ready to officially set your goal and begin tracking your ketogenic diet results.


The next step is to determine precisely how you will track these results. Otherwise, it can be like flailing around in the dark trying to hit a target. You can put in 100% effort, but if you aren’t sure where you’re going and how close you are to your goal, it will be frustrating and confusing. Below are specific examples of goal categories and suggestions for tracking their results.

Track Your Keto Results According to Your Goal

To help you get started, check out our guides on how to keto based on specific health goals, as the method through which you track results depends on what specific goals you want to achieve. Think about the best ways to measure progress for the goals you’ve set accurately. How can you best see the changes that occur not only day-to-day but also month-to-month and further on?

Some ideas for tracking according to your goals include the following:

If your goal is weight loss:

  • Take “before” and “after” pictures to compare.
  • Do a body scan or hydrostatic body-fat testing at regular intervals.
  • Weigh yourself (but don’t be a slave to the scale, as weight can fluctuate daily and other factors — like body composition — are better indicators.).
  • Test your ketone levels daily to make sure you’re still in ketosis, as that can significantly affect the function of the ketogenic diet for weight loss.

If your goal is an improved mental state:

  • Journal daily about how you feel mentally. For example, you might rate your mental clarity on a scale of 1-10 and write about why you used that rating.
  • Track your work productivity. Write down how much you worked each day, how many projects you finished, or how many breaks you had to take.

If your goal is better physical performance:

  • Journal about how you feel each day physically and during workouts. You could rate your energy level from 1-to 10 before and after each gym session.
  • Record specific results you had, such as several reps, weight lifted, or distance you ran.
  • Keep track of what exactly you eat before and after workouts. Keep a food diary and your other results, and record times and amounts of pre-and post-workout foods you eat.

Don’t forget to keep testing your ketone levels and recording them each day in every situation. Any change you see in results can be directly affected by whether or not you’re in ketosis, so that’s information you must know.

Track Often, and Stick With It

You might feel sometimes discouraged while tracking your results. Don’t let it prevent you from moving forward. The ketogenic diet can involve a lot of tweaking (even Dr Anthony had to work through some initial ketosis mistakes), so it’s okay if everything isn’t working perfectly right away.


Before tracking your results, you have to be honest with yourself and set a realistic goal for your situation and resources. Being entirely truthful when tracking is essential, as having accurate stats will help you best move forward and not lose steam even on the days you feel you are not progressing.

Make adjustments as needed.

You might have to alter some things as you go along, which is okay! Change is to be expected, and it helps you stay honest.

Persist through any initial transition.

If you struggle to see any results at first, know it’s part of the process, and that anything can be adjusted. The key is to keep trying, push through, and change as needed. No matter what goal you’re tracking progress for, test your blood ketones consistently. There will be days when you might not feel great due to other factors; however, the ketone tests may reflect that you are progressing in your ketogenic journey.

Don’t give up!

Having to make changes and adjustments along the way is expected and cine. It’s essential not to stop but instead persevere in the most innovative way possible. You’ve got this!

Dry Fasting: The Truth About This New Health Industry Trend

While the most popular fasting method involves drinking massive amounts of water, there’s another way to do an intermittent fast…

Dry fasting.

Why dry? This type of fasting takes water out of the equation.

If the first question pops into your head is “wouldn’t I get dehydrated?” you’re in good company.

Most people brush off dry fasting as something dangerous that should never be attempted, and there’s a lot of misinformation that fuels this fear.

Dry fasting can be highly beneficial to cell regeneration and repair.

And dry fasting can be done safely as long as you take all the steps necessary to do it right.

What is Dry Fasting?

Dry fasting is a type of fast that doesn’t allow any water intake. The lack of water may help accelerate some of the protective effects of regular water fast, like reduced inflammation and metabolic health.

However, it’s a more advanced fasting method that only people who have previous experience with ordinary fasts should attempt.

It can be easier to undertake it if you’re on the ketogenic diet because your body will then be able to sustain itself during the fast without hunger pangs, cravings, or even thirst.

Dry fasting is lesser-known than water fasting and is often considered dangerous, but did you know that millions of people worldwide do a dry fast for a month each year?

During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims do a total fast in which they don’t consume water or food during daylight hours (12 hours on average). In some polar regions, it can be as long as 22 hours.

Nearly all religions use fasting as cleansing, repentance, self-discipline, or feeling closer to their deities. Fasting is practised in:

  • Judaism (during Yom Kippur)
  • Christianity (during Lent and Advent)
  • Mormonism (one Sunday of each month)
  • Buddhism (to aid meditation)
  • Jainism (to reach transcendence)
  • Islam (during Ramadan).

The Islamic, Mormon, and Jewish fasts are the only ones that prohibit water, so they’re true dry fasts.

The benefits of fasting are backed by research.

Studies find that caloric restriction or fasting can enhance longevity, increase neurogenesis (neuron production), lower oxidative markers, balance insulin levels, and improve brain plasticity.

Dry fasting, in specific, is associated with significantly reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, and balanced glucose.

The Two Types of Dry Fasting

Just like regular fasting, dry fasting can be intermittent or prolonged.

Intermittent Dry Fasting

You can do an intermittent dry fast by eating and drinking only for a small window of time each day and fasting the remaining hours. The distribution can be:

  • 16/8 intermittent fasting: You’d eat in a window of 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. This is the most common type of intermittent fasting.
  • 20/4 intermittent fasting: You’d eat in a window of 4 hours and fast for 20 hours. This is less common.

The dry fast done by Muslims during Ramadan is often called Ramadan Intermittent Fasting (RIF) because it mimics traditional intermittent fasting. People consume one meal in the morning, abstain from food and water for 10-18 hours a day, and then eat dinner late. This refuels their body before the next day’s fast.

Intermittent dry fasting is the best approach because it lets you reap the health benefits of the fast without endangering your health.

Prolonged Dry Fasting

A prolonged dry fast is when you go without food or water for over 24 hours. This is not advisable because the extended lack of water can harm your health. Water is vital for the function of all your organs, so a dry fast should be kept short.

Mormons do the dry fast on Sundays, and Jewish people on Yom Kippur are similar to a prolonged fast, but they still don’t go above 24-25 hours. This long period increases the chances of experiencing unpleasant side effects like headaches, such as the “Yom Kippur headache” common in Jewish women.

Some sources distinguish between a “soft” and “absolute” dry fast. A soft dry fast is a typical fast that allows external contact with water (like showering or swimming). An absolute dry fast is a revolutionary approach in which you can’t have any contact with water, even bathing. However, there are no science-based benefits to doing an “absolute” fast, so you can stick to the usual soft fast.

You may wonder if a dry fast has any severe advantages over a water fast that will make it worth your while.

Even though most of the research on fasting has been done on the water-based version, emerging research and studies on religious dry fasts show some severe benefits to forgoing water.

Dry Fasting vs. Water Fasting

Water-based intermittent fasting has impressive health benefits, like fighting cancer cells, neuroprotection, improved insulin sensitivity, promoting a longer and healthier lifespan, reducing fat tissue, cellular repair through autophagy, and sustained ketosis.

When you fast, you allow your body to regenerate, heal, and get rid of harmful agents more efficiently.

An intermittent dry fast can further intensify this cleansing process without dehydrating you.

Get this: Limited fluid intake pushes your body to burn more fat since fat can be used to produce metabolic water (water that your body makes internally).

For every 100 grams of fat, your body can make 107-110 grams of water, compared to 60g from carbs and just 42g of water from protein.

In other words, fat is the most efficient source of internal water.

Since you won’t be hydrating your body with external liquids, metabolic water is of extreme importance, and your body will strive to make it from fat at a higher rate than it would on water fast.

This fat-burning effect can accelerate and support your state of ketosis.

Given that fat is necessary for a successful dry fast, it’s ideal if you do it while following the ketogenic diet.

High-fat meals in between the fast will help you breeze through it with minimal discomfort.

Dry Fasting In The Ketogenic Diet

Dry fasting on the keto diet is easier because you’ll experience less hunger, less thirst, and minor discomfort, and your body can produce more metabolic water from fat.

One study compared the effects of eating a meal high in fat, protein, or carbs before a traditional 12-hour dry fast.

People who ate fat before fasting had the lowest discomfort compared to people relying on carbs or protein. They also experienced less hunger and thirst than the high-protein group.

People relying on the high-protein diet had the most discomfort and side effects (11 vs. three just after fatty meals).

Eating fat before the fast also provided these perks:

  • Post-fasting systolic and diastolic blood pressures decreased significantly.
  • Post-fasting glucose also decreased.

I was fasting while on the ketogenic can also improve brain function and energy because the blood-brain barrier becomes more permeable to ketones during any fast.

Here’s how a combining the keto diet with a dry fast can protect your brain:

  • The fast makes your brain more receptive to ketones through a permeable blood-brain barrier.
  • Having fewer liquids in your system means more fat burning to create metabolic water.
  • More fat burning means more ketones in your bloodstream.
  • Having more ketones in your system means more energy available for your brain.

The third advantage of dry fasting on the ketogenic diet is that fat can help suppress your perceived need for water.

This even happens to people who aren’t fasting. According to research, the more people eat fat, the less they tend to drink water. On the other hand, foods like fibre, caffeine, and alcohol trigger a higher water consumption.

The Top 8 Health Benefits of Dry Fasting

Dry fasting can protect your brain and metabolism and prevent disease through impressive anti-inflammatory effects. Here are the top benefits of fasting without water:

1: Enhanced Cognitive Function And Protection

An intermittent dry fast can have these effects on your brain:

  • Increased neuron protection against dysfunction and degeneration
  • Increased creation of new neurons
  • Increased brain plasticity
  • Decreased neuronal excitotoxicity

One study found that a Ramadan dry fast increased the levels of a neurotrophin called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Neurotrophins are proteins that promote the survival and growth of neurons.

The roles of BDNF are maintaining memory and learning capacity, regulating neurogenesis and neuronal survival in the adult brain, and metabolic regulation. It’s one of the proteins responsible for the favourable adaptations of the brain in situations when there’s little food available.

A short-term fast can improve brain function by killing harmful or unnecessary cells through autophagy.

Another way a dry fast protects the brain is through ketone production. Ketone bodies reduce two things in your brain: glutamate (an excitotoxin that can cause neuronal death if unregulated) and oxidative stress.

2: High Anti-inflammatory Activity

When you’re dry fasting, your inflammation levels plummet.

Studies show dry fasts like the Ramadan intermittent fasting (RIF) significantly lower the concentration of inflammatory markers like these:

  • TNF-α: This molecule can induce fever, inflammation, and cell death. It can increase the chance of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel diseases when it’s not properly regulated.
  • CRP: High levels of CRP are associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease
  • IL-1b: Important mediator of inflammation and is linked to heart failure.
  • IL-6: This proinflammatory molecule can worsen autoimmune diseases and infections. It’s associated with a higher risk of diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and further malignant growths in people with breast cancer.
  • CXC Chemokines: Molecules that cause inflammation when unregulated.

Intermittent dry fasting also reduces inflammation by decreasing leukocyte (immune cells) levels because leukocyte-derived inflammatory molecules contribute to inflammatory diseases.

By reducing inflammation, a dry fast can help prevent many degenerative diseases.

3: Balanced Lipids

Dry fasting can positively affect levels of triglycerides, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and total cholesterol.

Several studies show that after dry fasting:

  • HDL (good) cholesterol levels increased in women.
  • Total cholesterol and triglycerides decreased in men.
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased in both sexes.

Interestingly, the quality of the fats you eat before and after your fast can affect your lipid levels.

For instance, people dry fasting in Morocco had a significant reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides even one month after the fast had ended. Meanwhile, people in Kuwait doing the same fast had no significant changes in cholesterol or triglycerides.

This difference may be explained by the different fats consumed in each country. The positive effect on Moroccans was associated with higher consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, while Kuwait is more focused on saturated fat.

If you eat different fats before doing a dry fast, you’re more likely to experience lipid control.

4: Glycemic Control

A dry fast can also regulate blood sugar, another important metabolic marker. This is no surprise, considering that the protective effects of fasting are in part thanks to a 50% reduction in glucose and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I).

Multiple studies find that people have decreased blood glucose levels and increased insulin sensitivity after a dry fast.

5: Diabetes Prevention

Thanks to its glycemic benefits, dry fasting may prevent the onset of diabetes.

In Mormon communities that dry fast for 24 hours, studies find a lower incidence of diabetes. Of the study groups, 20% of non-fasters had diabetes, while only 10% of fasters had developed diabetes.

Another study found that patients with type 2 diabetes who did an intermittent dry fast for 15–21 days had a significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, an indicator of the average blood sugar concentration.

6: Lower Blood Pressure

Many studies find that people have lower systolic blood pressure at the end of dry fasts, and these effects may be more significant on a keto diet.

One study found that blood pressure had decreased after people ate either carbs, protein, or fat before the fast, but only those who ate fat had a remarkable reduction.

7: Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease

Dry fasting may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Studies on people who dry fast for 24 hours find they have a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease than non-fasters, even after adjusting for another risk factor.

Seventh-day Adventists tend to live approximately seven years longer than other white adults, which may be connected to the heart-healthy benefits of dry fasting.

8: Bone Health

A molecule called parathyroid hormone (PTH), vital for bone formation and integrity, increases during dry fasting.

This spike in PTH leads to bone resorption, bone formation, and increased calcium levels during and after a dry fast.

Dry Fasting and Weight Loss

Some people can use water-based intermittent fasting for weight loss, but the effects on weight loss are mixed with dry fasting.

Research finds that people tend to have lower body weight, body mass, and body fat at the end of dry fasting, but these effects are modest and short-lived since people gain most of the weight back afterwards.

One meta-analysis found that after Ramadan, people had lost 1.2 kg on average. Across 16 follow-up studies, the average re-gained weight two weeks after Ramadan was 0.72 kg.

Most of the weight loss observed during dry fasting is due to two things:

  • Lost water weight: At least half of your total weight is water (59% for men and 50% for women). When you dry fast, you’re bound to see a decline in total weight because of the reduced water in your system. Water weight is quickly gained back once you break the fast, so it’s not a reliable form of weight loss. 
  • Calorie restriction: The calorie restriction in dry fasting also helps with short-term weight loss; however, if you go back to eating higher calories when the fast is over, you’ll gain the weight back.

Dry fasting alone is not enough to lose weight and keep it off. However, combining it with the ketogenic diet will experience sustained weight loss.

One of the biggest concerns about dry fasting is dehydration. You would think that restricting water for half a day isn’t good for you, right? But it’s not that simple.

Will I Get Dehydrated During a Dry Fast?

Dehydration is a real threat if you don’t eat a healthy diet before and after the fast, but it can be avoided if you practice the proper habits.

Researchers studied people who fasted during Ramadan (a month-long intermittent dry fast) to measure the effects of dehydration on their metabolisms. Surprisingly, dehydration was either mild or non-existent.

In one study, the concentration of urine samples collected in the afternoon was very high, which meant the body was effectively conserving water both by urinary concentration and lower urine quantity.

Perhaps the fascinating findings came from Malaysian Muslims. Researchers found that total body water content was conserved during the fast despite the water restriction. Their bodies compensated for the lack of water by minimizing water losses, creating an internal balance.

The result is that total body water content remained roughly the same before, during, and after the dry fast:

These findings suggest that your body will work to balance its water content levels in short dry fasting period so that you won’t experience dehydration side effects.

One of the possible side effects of dehydration is kidney stones. Still, studies find dry fasting isn’t a risk factor for stones because the concentration of crystal-forming substances in urine decreases.

Your dehydration risk might be even lower if you follow a high-fat diet because, according to Nature, “fat reserves and fatty foods are believed to be particularly valuable as a protection against desiccation”.

Wondering how your body can regulate itself when there’s no water? It’s explained in part by these five mechanisms:

1: Water Turnover Rate

Your water turnover rate is when lost water (sweating or peeing) is replaced with new water (from drinks and foods).

In a dry fast, the water turnover rate is slowed down because there’s no incoming water except for metabolic water. This makes your body compensate by cutting off water losses (e.g. less peeing) and maintaining your body water at acceptable levels.

The general rule is that total body water content is usually conserved when the water turnover rate is altered.

2: Secretion of The Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH)

When water is limited, your blood can start to get more concentrated. In the long-term, this makes your blood sticky and less able to circulate in your body correctly.

Your body can prevent that in the short-term, thanks to ADH.

During dry fasting, the lack of water in the blood triggers ADH secretion, which is in charge of reabsorbing water.

ADH travels to the kidneys and redirects water back into the blood, so your blood stays diluted, and your urine is concentrated instead. The other way around (concentrated blood and diluted urine) can cause severe damage.

A high concentration of urine during a fast is a good sign of internal hydration.

3: Turning Fat Into Water

As mentioned before, your body can use nutrients, but especially fat, to make metabolic water.

For every 100g of fat you have in store, your body can make 107g of water. On average, someone who uses up 2500 calories/day will make around 250mL of water per day.

This amount is not enough to cover your daily water needs, but it’s enough to cover the water you lose through respiration.

If you eat a high-fat diet, you’ll be able to burn more and produce more water. Evidence suggests that athletes gain more metabolic water through the oxidation of fat.

4: The Water Levels That Cause Dehydration Can Vary

Short-term water restriction is not likely to dehydrate you. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), the slight drop in hydration when you restrict fluids for a few hours is compensated by the day-to-day fluid intake (driven by thirst and consumption of meals).

This is what happens in an intermittent dry fast.

You also might not need as much water as you think. The average recommended daily water intake is 2.7L for women and 3.7L for men; however, the National Academies explain that “as with AIs [adequate intakes] for other nutrients, for a healthy person, daily consumption below the AI may not confer additional risk because a wide range of intakes is compatible with normal hydration.”

5: Increased Water Intake After The Fast

One of the behavioural reasons people don’t dehydrate during a dry fast is they consume enough liquids before and after. Dry fasters compensated for daytime water restriction by drinking more during the night, which prevented them from becoming chronically dehydrated.

Dry Fasting Stages

When you fast, your body will go through two stages of fuel-burning:

Stage 1: Burning Glycogen (If You’re Not Fat-Adapted)

When there’s no food or water, your body will try to burn stored glycogen if you’re not fat-adapted. This burning mode can last 2-3 days, so this would be the only fuel in an intermittent dry fast.

Burning glycogen instead of fat will make your body produce less metabolic water and cause more discomfort.

Stage 2: Burning Fat

You can take a shortcut and start burning fat from day one by adopting a ketogenic diet.

Using fat from the start will help you stay hydrated, lower thirst, prevent discomfort, and enter ketosis much faster.

Now that you know how dry fasting works, here’s how to do it safely:

Dry Fasting The Right Way

Dry fasting can improve many metabolic markers and protect against disease if you do it under the right conditions. It can be potentially deadly if you don’t know how to approach it. Here’s how to make it work:

Who Should Dry Fast?

  • Someone who has plenty of experience with water fasts and has had no side effects.
  • Someone who is fat-adapted.
  • People who aren’t prone to migraines or headaches.
  • Someone who isn’t coffee or tea-dependent.
  • People without any eye-related diseases.

Who Shouldn’t Dry Fast?

  • People who have never tried water fasts before or those who have only done juice fasts.
  • People are prone to headaches or migraines because a dry fast can trigger them.
  • People are dependent on stimulants like coffee and tea because the withdrawal during the fast can cause headaches and moodiness.
  • People with dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, or cataracts. Dry fasting has been shown to exacerbate the symptoms of these conditions.

How Long Can I Dry Fast?

An intermittent dry fast of 16 hours per day is ideal.

Intermittent dry fasting has been the most researched, while there’s no evidence to guarantee the safety of dry fasts that last more than a day.

4 Steps To Dry Fasting Success

Here’s how to succeed at dry fasting:

Step 1: Become Fat Adapted

Teach your body to burn fat instead of glucose by eating a high fat, low carb diet. You can become fat-adapted in around one week by following a standard ketogenic diet, in which you consume:

  • 70-80% of calories from fats
  • 20-25% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from net carbs (total carbs- fibre)

Use the keto calculator to find your keto macros.

Step 2: Experiment With a Water-Only Fast

Test the waters, literally. See how your body responds to water-based intermittent fasting instead of cold turkey on a dry fast.

This step is crucial because it will tell you if your body is prepared to try a dry fast.

Do an intermittent fast for a week in which you only eat 8 hours a day and spend 16 hours without eating (but drinking plenty of water).

If you don’t experience any serious adverse effects like headaches or excessive weakness, your body may be able to handle a dry fast.

Step 3: Prepare Your Body One Week In Advance

To avoid withdrawal symptoms, you should quit caffeine or other stimulants one week before the dry fast. You can also cut down on meals and daily calories to make the transition smoother.

Step 4: Stick to A 16-Hour Dry Fast.

You can try going 16 hours without eating or drinking anything and rehydrating only in the 8-hour window. You can do this intermittent fast for as long as possible, although a few days is enough to notice any positive (or negative) effects.

Thanks to the previous steps, you shouldn’t feel too thirsty, moody, or uncomfortable during the dry fast.

Common Dry Fasting Mistakes (And What To Do Instead)

Mistake 1: Bingeing After The Fast Is Over

Overeating after fasting can cause digestive problems like bloating, stomach aches, and rapid weight gain, especially if you eat too many carbs.

Transition out of the fast by eating in moderation and drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body.

Mistake 2: Exercising Too Hard

Excessive sweating will increase water loss, messing with your body’s efforts to maintain water balance. This can dehydrate you and make you light-headed.

If possible, save your intense gym sessions before or after the fast. You can also opt for light exercise instead.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Your Body

Ignoring your body’s signals is the worst mistake you can make on any fast.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling throughout the dry fast, and don’t hesitate to break the fast if you feel something’s not right. You might need to shorten the length of your fast or adjust some other lifestyle factors like exercise or caffeine.

Safety and Side Effects of Dry Fasting

A dry fast can be safe if you follow the conditions above:

  • Keep it short.
  • Eat plenty of fats.
  • Rehydrate when you’re out of the fast.
  • Experiment with water fasts first.
  • Pay attention to your body.

A dry fast can be extremely harmful if:

  • You do it longer than a day. This can cause severe dehydration.
  • You’re taking medications. It’s not advisable to fast while on medications unless supervised by a doctor.
  • You try it without experimenting with other fasts first.
  • You’re exposed to excessive heat or physical exertion.
  • You’re pregnant. Pregnant women should only fast under the doctor’s orders.

Some of the side effects of dry fasting reported in studies are:

  • Low performance in sports during the evening
  • Headaches
  • Temporal disrupted sleep (because of the change in circadian rhythms)

Dry Fast Safely

Dry fasting can enhance ketosis, banish inflammation, and improve metabolic health, but beginners shouldn’t do it without fasting experience.

To avoid any negative impact on your health, take the necessary steps to prep your mind and body before attempting your first intermittent dry fast.

Worried About Carbs in Potatoes? 6 Low Carb Potato Substitutes

Potatoes are a staple seen at most dinner tables. You can find them baked, scalloped, roasted or pan-fried; you can enjoy them as hash browns, french fries, tater tots, or a salad.

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves or others as a real “meat and potatoes” type? Or maybe you’ve heard someone say, “Let’s get the meat and potatoes of the conversation”, when they want to get to the point.

White potatoes are affordable, and one of the most common side dishes listed on menus, but the carbs in potatoes make them non-compliant with keto. Complex carbohydrates and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, white rice, brown rice, and even sweet potatoes are not suitable for a low-carb diet. Below, you’ll find out why you should avoid potatoes on the keto diet and which foods you can use as a substitute.

Why Aren’t Potatoes Low Carb Friendly?

Potatoes are starchy root vegetables. Many different types of potatoes contain different macronutrients. Some of the types of potatoes include red potatoes, yellow, purple, fingerling, petite and russet potatoes.

Potatoes are a great source of micronutrients. They are abundant in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. One potato (around 5 ounces) contains about 25 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and zero grams of fat.

Unfortunately, they only contain two grams of dietary fibre, so they still contain about 24 grams of net carbs. They also rank higher on the glycemic index than a slice of white bread. A potato will spike your blood sugar levels more than eating bread.

While eating a whole potato is not low carb friendly, there are plenty of low carb alternatives to potatoes that can make you feel satiated and complete without the abundant starchy carbs.

6 Low Carb Substitutes for Potatoes

Potatoes have always been known as a staple starch. While they’re a popular addition to any plate, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from if you’re looking for a low carb or ketogenic substitute.

Most of these low carb alternatives will fit your macronutrient goals and can be found right in the produce section of your local grocery store.

1: Celeriac (Celery Root)

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Celeriac is — you guessed it — the root of celery.

Ever walk by the produce section of your local grocery store and notice a spherical brown vegetable with green sprouts coming out of the top and wonder, “what the heck is that thing?” That would be celery root.

While it may not be the best-looking vegetable, it has a great history behind it. Celery root dates back to the 7th century BC, growing as wild celery. However, it didn’t make its way to modern kitchens until the 1600s.

For a 100 gram serving of celery root, you consume just 7 grams of net carbs and 42 total calories. The net carbs in celeriac are higher than the other potato alternatives on this list. However, it remains a favourite starch substitute for its versatility.

How to Prepare It

Celery root can be boiled and mashed as a mashed potato substitute, roasted and served with a dollop of grass-fed butter, fried into french fries or made into a serving of homemade “potato” chips.

To make celeriac chips, peel the outer skin, cut into slices, boil them quickly, drain, spread the slices onto a baking sheet, add oil with a high smoke point (such as avocado oil), and then roast in the oven at around 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

2: Daikon (Mooli)

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Daikon is a variety of radish popular in southeast Asia. Daikon is most similar to potatoes when steamed, boiled or fried. One daikon radish (about seven inches long) is 61 total calories with 9 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of protein and zero grams of fat.

Daikon has some fantastic health benefits. It has been shown to help improve digestion and combat cancer cells. Daikon is also a good source of vitamins A, C, E and B6. It contains potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.

How to Prepare It

One of the more popular ways to prepare a daikon radish is to boil it. To boil them, the steps include peeling the daikon, then slicing it into thick, circular slices, and boiling in a large pan for about 30 minutes. The texture should become similar to boiled potatoes, then finish by draining them and serving them with butter or oil.

You can pan-sear the daikon in grass-fed butter to make low carb breakfast potatoes if you have leftovers. You can also use a cheese grater to shred it into hash browns.

3: Swede (Rutabaga)

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Rutabaga is a root vegetable cross between a cabbage and turnip. While popular in Scandinavia, they can be found throughout different countries.

Rutabaga is a nutritional powerhouse. It is rich in beta-carotene, a pigment found in plant structures that are a precursor of vitamin A. It is also a rich source of potassium, manganese, fibre, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, manganese and phosphorus.

Rutabaga is perfect for individuals on a low carb or ketogenic diet, containing only 5 grams of net carbs and 35 calories per 100 grams.

How to Prepare It

Rutabagas take longer to cook than regular potatoes. You’ll first have to remove the tough outer skin to prepare. Since the skin can be challenging to cut through, you may need a knife rather than a potato peeler.

Once the outer skin is removed, you can chop the rutabaga into two-inch squares and boil until fork tender. Do not be surprised if this takes upwards of 25 minutes. Mash the rutabaga into low carb faux potatoes and top with full-fat sour cream. You can also fry them into fries or roast them (recipe below).

4: Turnips

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Unlike the other foods on this list, turnips are not part of the same root vegetable family as potatoes. Instead, they belong to the Brassicaceae family, which holds other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Like rutabaga, turnips are also extremely low carb friendly. For a 100 gram serving, there are only 4 grams of net carbs and 128 total calories. Turnips are a great source of antioxidants and fibre, but those aren’t the only benefits they provide. Turnips are loaded with vitamin C, iron, calcium and vitamin K.

How to Prepare It

You can prepare turnips in several ways, including roasting, baking, boiling or steaming.

You can even prepare them like you would mashed potatoes. You have to peel and cut them into chunks, put them in a large pan of boiling water, and then simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. The last step is to drain and mash them, adding butter for that perfect taste.

5: Kohlrabi

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Kohlrabi is most prevalent in European countries but has also become a vegetable staple in northern India. While its popularity continues to grow, the health benefits of kohlrabi remain clear. It’s full of nutrients and minerals such as copper, potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium. It is rich in vitamins, including vitamins C, B, A, and K.

Kohlrabi has the smallest amount of carbs of any vegetable on this list. Kohlrabi contains only 2 grams of net carbs for a 100-gram serving and only 27 overall calories. How can you go wrong with macronutrients like that?

How to Prepare It

While the entire kohlrabi plant is edible, most people choose to discard the leaves and eat only the bulb. You can eat it either raw, roasted, boiled or pan-fried. Cut off the stems (you do not need to peel the bulb’s skin), then chop or slice into “fries.”

You’ll be happy to know that kohlrabi tastes just like a broccoli stem but is even more palatable for broccoli lovers out there. You might find it tastes best roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper.

6: Cauliflower

What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

Cauliflower is the most common and most recognizable substitute for potatoes. Cauliflower has been shown to fight inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and prevent cancer growth.

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetables known for its abundant source of antioxidants. These antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress — or the stress placed on our cells from damaging free radicals. Mainly free radical fighters found in cauliflower are beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, etc. kaempferol.

How to Prepare It

Cauliflower is used in many low carb dishes, from pizza crusts to mac and cheese. You will typically find it boiled and mashed as a substitute for potatoes. You can also use cauliflower in low carb fritters or latkes.

To make mashed cauliflower, chop a head of cauliflower into florets, then boil until tender. Using a food processor or blender, whip your cauliflower into mashed potatoes, adding full-fat milk or sour cream if necessary.



Is Sugar Low Carb Friendly? Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners on Keto

Have you ever noticed that when you’ve been consuming a lot of sugar, your body begins to crave it more and more? Yet when you cut sugar out of your diet completely, the cravings stop (after a little while).

Why is that? Does sugar have some magical power over us that completely neglects any impulse control we may have over this satiating taste?

Sugar plays a strong role in our reward systems like other carbohydrate sources. Your dopamine spikes up once you have a taste, leaving you begging for more.

Unfortunately, this can be a vicious cycle that often leads to weight gain, inflammation, or chronic disease. Even some ‘low carb’ sweeteners can still trigger that same dopamine response due to the sweetness your body reacts to.

This leads us to what is sugar and why it creates this strong response from our body?

What is Sugar?

First, it’s important to point out that a few different types of sugar come from different sources. The three types of sugars include:

1: Monosaccharides

Simple sugars with only three to seven carbon atoms are in the monosaccharide family, including glucose and fructose.

Glucose is the most important monosaccharide found naturally as it is the key source of fuel for cells to function properly. It’s present in most fruits as well as in your blood. However, fructose takes the cake as the sweetest monosaccharide and is present in most fruits and honey.

2: Disaccharides

Unlike monosaccharides with only one ring structure holding their atoms together, disaccharides have two rings.

These create more work for your body because breaking down the disaccharides has to go through. Just like anything, your body has first to be able to break it down before it can use it for energy.

Maltose is a type of disaccharide that consists of two glucose molecules. Sucrose is another type of disaccharide that consists of glucose and fructose.

3: Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides require the most breakdown. They are large chains of simple sugars consisting of many monosaccharides. Starch and glycogen are prime examples of polysaccharides made up of many units of glucose and different bonds keeping them together.

Polysaccharides are important because they store energy and structural support and protection.

Different sugars can be found in different places. For example, sucrose is found in stems of sugarcane and roots of sugarbeet, but that’s not the only place you can find it. You can find fructose and glucose in some fruits and vegetables.

Where Does Sugar Come From?

Sugar is originally native to New Guinea. In 8,000 B.C., the people of New Guinea would chew reeds to enjoy the sweetness. It wasn’t until 2,000 years later that sugar cane began making its way to the Philippines and then to India, where it started the revolution of refining sugars.

We’ve all heard the term refined, and we know by now it’s best to stay away from any food described as such, but what does it mean?

Refined sugar means it has undergone a chemical process that removes different elements — some of which are beneficial nutrients.

Refined sugars are responsible for the rapid rise in blood sugar levels. It’s not great for your health — and not optimal for a low carb diet.

One cup of refined sugar has about 265 grams of total net carbs with no significant nutritional value or fibre.


How Does Sugar Fit Into a Low Carb Diet?

With that type of carb count, you may realize that if you want to try a low carb diet or maintain ketosis, sugar might be out of the question. And for refined or baking sugars, you would be correct.

However, there are still ways to get that dopamine rush from that sweet taste our bodies to crave so much.

While refined sugar should be avoided completely due to its damaging effects on the body, some healthier low carb sugar substitutes are available.

These options would be fine on a low carb or ketogenic diet if you need a healthy sugar substitute when you’re hoping to cook or bake up something delicious.

Perhaps even Keto Cheesecake? Yes, please.

When Should Sugar Be Avoided on a Low Carb Diet?

There’s no question that refined sugar should be avoided at all costs, but what exactly does it do to damage your body?

High sugar intake has been shown to lead to serious health issues. Some of these issues include:

  1. Increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  2. Increased risk of Fatty Liver Disease
  3. Higher chance of Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Increased chance of Leaky Gut Syndrome

1: Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Dietary fats have been taking the blame for this one for a while now. The real enemy behind the risk of cardiovascular disease is sugar.

   A study done in 2014 showed that individuals consuming 17 to 21 per cent of their total calories from sugar had a 38 per cent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who received only eight per cent of their total calories from sugar.

2: Increased Risk of Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease occurs when — you guessed it — fat builds up in the liver. This is referencing non-alcoholic fatty liver, so can you imagine if it factored in alcohol and sugar?


The statistical rise of fatty liver disease is becoming increasingly similar to those high-risk numbers of insulin resistance, obesity, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This increase is mainly due to the high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (sugar) found in artificial drinks and processed foods.

3: Higher Chance of Type 2 Diabetes

The journal PLOS ONE published a terrifying study. In 2013, they demonstrated that for every 150 calories of sugar an individual ingests a day, they increase their risk of type 2 diabetes by about one per cent. That’s as much as drinking a single can of soda once a day.

4: Increased Chance of Leaky Gut Syndrome

It turns out that sugar may affect much more than originally thought. Sugar negatively affects blood sugar and heart health, but it also tears up your gut microbiota. This creates many issues, but the main concern is leaky gut symptoms.

This means that substances from the gut can leak into the bloodstream, ultimately leading to obesity and other chronic diseases. This all happens because of the inflammation that sugar creates in the gut in the first place.

So Is Sugar Low Carb Friendly?

When it comes to refined sugar, it’s neither low carb friendly nor is it good for your health to consume. However, some great low carb sugar substitutes give you that same sweet taste without sugar’s damaging effects on your body. When used in moderation, these substitutes are low carb friendly if you’re looking for an alternative when baking or cooking.

If you’re concerned about your sugar intake strictly for your keto macronutrient intake, then a tiny amount would be okay during certain ketogenic diets. One of those diets is the cyclical keto diet (CKD). This diet allows you to have two carb-loading days while maintaining ketosis the other five days of the week.

However, this type of diet is only recommended for those who need to refill their glycogen stores, such as athletes who have extremely intense workouts and cannot completely refill their glycogen stores on a strictly ketogenic or low carb diet.