Ketogenic Diet Tools & Tips for Beginners
Are you ready to give up those beloved carbs?
If you are cooking your own food, you know exactly what has gone into it. Store-bought might be convenient, but you still have to read all the ingredients just to make sure.- Angela Coleby, cookbook author and founder of DivaliciousRecipes.com
Contrary to popular belief, the ketogenic diet is utilized for more than just weight loss. In fact, this way of eating also helps mitigate – and may even reverse – the negative effects of several chronic health conditions, including, but not limited to, Type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and inflammation. According to a recent report from ResearchAndMarkets.com, in 2018, the global ketogenic diet market generated $9.6 billion and is projected to increase to $15.6 billion by 2027. If you’re considering going keto for the first time, consider the below tools, tips, and tricks.
It’s a Numbers Game
To begin, all ketogenic dieters must enter what is referred to as a “state of ketosis,” which can take from a few days up to a few weeks. To achieve this state, you need to adjust your macronutrients (aka macros) to 5:25:70 (5% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 70% fats). On the stricter end, this typically amounts to only 20 grams of carbs per day. To put this into perspective, the average apple contains 25g of carbs – and no, apples are not on the keto-friendly foods list. Once you are in ketosis, the goal is to maintain this state, as your brain and body begin to run off of fat and newly produced ketones as fuel (instead of carbohydrates and sugar).
For a keto newbie, that might sound like a lot of work! Luckily, there’s an app for that. To illustrate, several million users have downloaded the Carb Manager smartphone app. Although the user base skews slightly female, the average age range spans the spectrum. “Different age groups tend to use the app in different ways, and for different goals,” says VP Growth Trever Clark, who has been immersed in all things keto for approximately 5 years.
“No matter the diet, starting on a new path with a new way of eating involves a bit of a learning curve,” explains Clark. “In addition, because keto is a macros-based diet, which might be a new concept for many casual dieters, using a Keto diet app like Carb Manager can offer a shortcut to reaching your goals by providing a toolkit tailored for this way of eating.” When discovering this “toolkit,” users will learn how to track their macros, ensure they remain on target to reach their goals, and feel confident about their keto food choices, according to Clark.
Unpacking the Carb Manager App
As you begin your foray into the world of keto, the Carb Manager app can assist with all of the most important aspects. “Keto is so much more than just another ‘fad diet,’” Clark urges. “It's a revolution in the way that we understand nutrition.” And, Carb Manager aims to aid in this revolution. Clark shares the top features of the Carb Manager app, which include:
• Macros Calculator – Enter your stats and your goals, and Carb Manager can calculate your macros and calorie targets automatically.
• Macros Tracker – Log meals and then review – at a glance – exactly how much of each macro you've eaten each day, as well as your allotted remainder, so you can stay on track with your goals.
• Barcode Scanner and Food Database – Look up any food item by either typing it in, saying it out loud, scanning a barcode, or even just snapping a picture of the food. You can then see the food's macros, as well as receive a custom keto food-grade.
• Keto Recipes – You get access to a database of more than 350,000 keto recipes that you can add to your food log with a single tap (no hours lost scouring the internet for keto-friendly recipes) or enter them into your food log manually.
• Meal Planning Tools – Curated meal plans, custom meal plans, and a shopping list generator save you time and will help you stick to your diet.
Still, the Carb Manager app encourages users to track their daily exercise. “Adding exercise to your keto journey can get you faster results, and improve your health and body composition beyond weight loss,” says Clark. “Exercise also has some interesting synergies with keto, where the combination is greater than the sum of the parts.”
If you’re still not convinced you should download the Carb Manager app, keep in mind that it is free. If you love the app, you can also upgrade to the premium version, which, according to Clark, is loaded with features designed to streamline the path toward a user’s goals, as well as help you save time – and money – when both planning and managing your keto lifestyle.
Popular features include access to premium recipes, connection to fitness devices, an informative keto eBook, a weight-loss predictor, and more. Furthermore, to complement your keto experience, if you are incorporating intermittent fasting, the Carb Manager team recommends the Zero app, as well as Headspace, which can teach you about mindful eating.
A Seasoned Keto Cook
When she’s not spending time tracking her macros on Carb Manager, St. Lucia-based Angela Coleby is busy getting her hands dirty in her keto kitchen. Coleby is the author of several cookbooks and is the founder of 8-year-old DivaliciousRecipes.com, a keto, low-carb, and gluten-free recipe blog that receives nearly 600,000 hits per month. The venture was born on the heels of Coleby’s experimentation with keto while living in Dubai (it was even called “Divalicious in Dubai” originally), and sold keto baked goods at a local farmers market. “We’ve since moved around countries, so my baking is now for friends, but the website recipes are for everyone!” Coleby exclaims.
As you launch into the keto diet, the dos and don’ts can get confusing – especially when it comes to cooking with keto-friendly ingredients. However, once you establish your macro breakdown and do a bit of background research, Coleby says to keep it simple and stick to the basics, like meat, fish, eggs, avocados, green vegetables, cheese, and nuts. “And, if I don’t say bacon, there would be a keto riot!” she jokes.
Keto Food Hacks
Once you’re well-acquainted with keto – and in a state of ketosis – Coleby encourages you to experiment with your keto cooking techniques. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to cook with regular flour or sugar, and you cannot consume side dish staples like pasta and rice. However, thanks to the aforementioned $9.6 billion keto market, there are plenty of alternatives to keep you cooking.
For instance, some of Coleby’s favorite keto ingredient hacks are as follows:
• Coconut flour: It can take a while to get used to baking with coconut flour, as it sucks up liquid like a sponge, but once you are successful, it makes great cakes and bread.
• Psyllium husk powder: This is a keto bread recipe game-changer; it acts like gluten in low-carb baking. The high fiber content of it helps keep everything “regular,” too!
• Flaxseed: Ground and preferably golden, this makes the simplest keto crackers, as well as being a great addition to breads and cakes.
• Whey protein powder: Add some to your keto cake mixture for results that are almost like the wheat-based cakes. (The first time I used it in muffins, the husband shouted out with excitement when eating one!)
• Almond flour: If you are not allergic to nuts, this is a great flour alternative with which to bake cakes and bread. It also makes for a suitable breadcrumb replacement.
• Monkfruit: This is probably my favorite low-carb sweetener, and I enjoy a monkfruit/erythritol blend for baking. It doesn’t leave any aftertaste and is as sweet as sugar.
Keto Kitchen Gadgets
Although there are many exciting “keto” products available online and in marketplaces worldwide, Coleby is a major proponent of cooking keto at home. “If you are cooking your own food, you know exactly what has gone into it,” she says. “Store-bought might be convenient, but you still have to read all the ingredients just to make sure.”
Additionally, the sustainability factor of keto increases when you cook your own food. “There are so many recipes to try and new keto recipe ideas are always coming out,” says Coleby. To illustrate, the chaffle – a waffle made of egg and cheese – was simple, but a major keto revelation in 2019. “Suddenly, there were about 50 variations!”
Moreover, you can experiment and keep things interesting with the right tools. Coleby’s favorite keto kitchen gadget recommendations are:
• Waffle maker: Making waffles – and chaffles – are a weekend must!
• Spiralizer: Great for zoodles (zucchini noodles) and other vegetable-based noodles.
• Coffee grinder: Put your psyllium husks through the grinder for a smoother texture.
• Blender: Essential for a smoothie on the go, as well as easily crafted pancake mixtures.
And, although not necessarily a keto gadget, Coleby cannot do without her dishwasher. “It can seem like you are always cooking, and I hate washing dishes,” she admits. “I would forgo a hairdryer for a dishwasher anytime!”
Apps Mentioned in ArticleClick on an app to see more details
Carb Manager: Keto Diet Tracker & Macros Counter
Keto & low carb macro calculator: Lose weight with Keto recipes & meal planner1M+ Downloads
Zero - Simple Fasting Tracker
Fast for whole body health & reach your goals with the #1 fasting tracker.1M+ Downloads
Headspace: Meditation & Sleep
Meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.10M+ Downloads
I initiated my career as a lifestyle and entertainment writer/editor in Miami, Florida in 2006. Since then, I have worked with more than 100 clients, from startup ventures to established companies and new websites to veteran publications. My work has been featured on Zagat, NBC, Prevention, The Points Guy and Thrillist, just to name a few.
In 2013, I accepted the role of Content Team Manager at an internet marketing incubator, where I honed my content marketing skills. I recruited and managed a team of SEO writers and editors, contributed to hundreds of websites and developed different types of media products.
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Jul 10, 2020 11 min read