Keto Newb


I have been creeping on the forum here for the past week or so. I am considering Keto but have questions and concerns.

Some say this is the easiest diet and then others I am reading are doing blood monitors, sticks, calculators, etc. These things no longer make it seem easy. Even the welcome email says simply replace carbs with fats and proteins but that seems like an oversimplification. Is all the monitoring necessary?

Any suggestions for supplement like protein shakes and bars? I rely on these things for when I am on the go. I know meal planning and prep is big but I still think I would be wise to have some grab and go options. Are there any that actually taste good?

I am thinking the first 3 days will be the toughest. I worry about the flu but have heard sodium helps with that. Someone told me dill pickles are helpful. Is true?

Any suggestions and advice is appreciated. Thanks.


The most important thing is to keep your carbs low…under 20g a day.

I have never used a blood monitor or a stick. Tracking your food intake can be useful in the beginning to learn what has carbs and how many to you are eating…but it is not necessary. I tracked in the beginning but I no longer do.

I do not eat meal replacements such as shakes or bars so I cannot advise you on that.

Look up ketoaid. It will help balance electrolytes and with carb withdrawal.

(Carl Keller) #3

For me the first 2 days were the toughest. Breaking patterns of when I eat and most importantly what I snack on in between meals were the toughest obstacles. But once I converted to low carbs and high fats I was really amazed at how much less my hunger was. I’m consuming a lot less calories but what I eat has greatly increased how full I felt. Snacks used to be a bowl of cereal or a few frozen waffles. Now it’s macadamian nuts, a few pork rinds, a deviled egg or a stick of string cheese.

You can buy Ketosis test strips at GNC if you feel like you need some monitor but those will just tell you if your body is making ketones. Honestly, I knew I was because of my heightened energy levels and because I wasn’t getting tired at work around the time I normally do. The test strips were $14.00 for 100.

(Jennifer) #4

This is a tough one since bars and shakes can have a lot of artificial ingredients in them, and a lot of carbs. For on the go I recommend nuts such as pecans and macadamias. I roast my pecans in butter and sea salt to make them even more satiating.

This. Always this. :point_up_2:

(bulkbiker) #5

Please remember that a whole load of us have had major health problems which have led us to this way of eating. Monitoring these problems and watching most of them disappear is very important when following a new way of eating for health. Keto eating is simple… keep carbs very low less than 20g per day and eat real food within that parameter. At its most basic that is it.
If you are a data nerd like me and want to keep an eye on improvements to your health then measuring stuff becomes an interesting hobby but its not essential.
What is your reason for trying a ketogenic way of eating?

(Regina) #6

Keeping carbs to under 20 is key - but when starting out it is helpful to use a tracking app to make sure you are that low. I am a data nerd, and love tracking my blood glucose and ketone levels. But absolutely not necessary.

(says mix it up! Let chaos reign!) #7

My basic rules to start:

  1. Clear the house of carbs (if possible)
  2. track your food intake (teaches you what is and isn’t sensible to eat in terms of carbs)
  3. eat plenty of real food (keto is not a calorie restricted eating system)
  4. keep carbs under 20g (make sure you do this)

It’s pretty simple stuff, you’ll have no issues.

(John) #8

I don’t do any of that.

That’s a challenge for me too. I usually prepare my lunch in advance, and cook breakfast every morning. I take an ounce or two of nuts in case I want a snack, or maybe a can of sardines. Those little Mini-Babybel cheeses are good if you are going to eat them soon or have a fridge at work. Two or three of those can do in a pinch. They claim 0 carbs per, but I would count them as 1 carb each since they are small portions and they round down on the labels.

If for some reason I don’t have anything with me I just don’t eat. One thing I have noticed is that since about week 4, I have full conscious control over my hunger. I can observe that my stomach is empty and growling and yet have no compulsion to eat something.

Personally I try to avoid any manufactured foods if possible, unless the ingredient list is nothing but real ingredients and no sugar, sugar substitutes, or other hidden carbs. So there are very few products I buy. A few exceptions are like Fage 5% Plain Yogurt, Primal Kitchen Mayo, things like that. I am not at the point where I make my own yogurt and mayo.


This is one of my struggles. I have a love/hate with nuts. Pecan, Walnuts, Macademia nuts-Hate them. Cashew, Peanuts, Pistachio’s-Love them. Don’t nuts have carbs too??? I would think they have a fair amount.

(bulkbiker) #10

Unfortunately the ones you like do… the one’s you hate less so…




This may be tougher than I thought. Some of the snacks I see-pork rines, sardines…yuck!

(bulkbiker) #13

Snacks are completely non essential though… just eat proper food 2 or 3 times a day.

(John) #14

So don’t snack. Eat normal-sized healthy meals. Let your insulin levels drop between meals. I almost never snack between meals now. That was one of my problems before - always nibbling.

I only keep the sardines as an emergency meal - it is not always easy for me to leave work to go eat lunch so sometimes I am stuck working and need to eat something, and the nearby vending machines have no good options. Plus fatty fish are very good for you. I draw the line at anchovies, though. They might work well in some recipes, but I am not going to just eat them straight from the tin again.

(says mix it up! Let chaos reign!) #15


Also, tracking/logging is part of the learning process, IMHO. So many things that look safe are in fact not 9ie a variety of nuts). It’s also a very good planning tool.

I use Cronometer because it has an official database that is controlled by the company, rather than one that anyone can add anything - no matter how incorrect - to. If I’m doing tracking to ensure I’m doing it right, I want to be sure I’m doing it right.


Good point. That is probably one of the things I am looking forward to most is not being hungry.


Cronometer downloaded. You are right tracking is good to start out. I have done it in the past and it can be very eye opening.

I need to figure out how to multi-quote. :pensive:

Do you guys make your own ketoaid? I see you can buy it but I found a recipe too.

(says mix it up! Let chaos reign!) #18

Basically the same as single-quoting - highlight the words you want and hit the quote popup.

I make my own, but as I’m in Australia it’s pretty useless for most people on here.


Why do you say that? Seems like it would help anyone suffering from carb withdrawal.

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #20

The keto “flu” is not a carbohydrate deficiency, but a sodium deficiency. It is perfectly avoidable if you remember to keep your salt intake up. Eating carbohydrate in quantity slows down the rate at which the kidneys excrete sodium. On a ketogenic diet, they return to excreting it at their normal, higher rate, so we have to work a bit to keep up.

The monitoring you mention in your original post is completely optional. If you like that sort of thing, go for it; otherwise, don’t. I’d never be able to eat keto if I had to monitor ketones or count macros or calories. I just avoid carbohydrate as much as possible (not easy for a sugar/carb addict!) and eat to satisfy my hunger. Some days that’s more food, some days less. I don’t intentionally restrict calories, I just let my body tell me how much to eat. I find fat very satisfying, and with a lot of fat in my diet I stop being hungry long before my belly is anywhere near full.

As for “grab and go” snacks, I like pepperoni, Brie cheese, and—sorry!—pork rinds. Whole-milk yoghurt with heavy cream (and possibly some blueberries) makes a great dessert.