What can I eat on a keto diet?
Fran's Kitchen will limit your carbohydrates to ensure you maintain optimal ketosis levels. When you get carbs in your meal it will come from vegetables and nuts. We do not serve dairy or refined carbohydrates such as wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starch (potatoes, beans, legumes) or certain types of fruit. The exception to this are avocados, star fruit (when in season), and berries which we provide in moderation.
The keto diet can be very limited and restrictive, the following are good list of foods you want to eat and foods you'll want to avoid while on a keto diet:
Meats - Fish, Beef, Lamb, Poultry, Eggs, etc.
Leafy green - Spinach, Kale, Arugula, etc.
Vegetables - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, etc.
Nuts and seeds - Walnuts, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, etc.
Avocado and berries - Raspberries, Blackberries, strawberries, etc.
Fats - Coconut oil, Olive oil, etc.
Grains - Wheat, Corn, Rice, Cereal, etc.
Sugar - Honey, Agave, Maples syrup, etc.
Fruit - Apples, Bananas, Oranges, etc.
Tubers - Potatoes, Yams, etc.
Dark green and leafy vegetables are always the best choice for a keto meal plan. Mostly all of the meals Fran's Kitchen prepares consist of a protein with vegetables, and a healthy side of fat. For an example we will serve a grilled chicken breast cooked in olive oil and other herbs, topped with an oven roasted truffle Brussels sprouts paired with an avocado stuffed with capers.
The chart to your left is going to explain the most commonly used "net carb" vegetables. To get a full list of low carb vegetables, check out our blog.
You might be thinking to yourself what are net carb? Lets's say for example you want to eat a cup of cooked spinach.
There are a total of 7g of carbohydrates in 1 cup.
There is also 2g of fiber in 1 cup
We take the 7g (of carbs) and subtract 2g (of fiber). This will give you the "net carbs" of 5g
Low carb fruits and vegetables for the ketogenic diet
Although we only consume a very small percentage of our calories from carbs, it is absolutely vital that they come from fibre-rich, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. A common mistake made by people first trying the ketogenic diet is that they don’t eat enough fibre, and we know that fibre is vital for normal bowel movement and fibre is absolutely essential for gut health!
In order to really appreciate the importance of dietary fibre, we need to understand the role of the gut. The gut ‘is home to several groups of bacteria that are vital for regulating immunity and inflammation’ and this vital gut bacteria is dependent upon our intake of dietary fibre from nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. Our gut bacteria breaks down these complex carbohydrates: ‘The gut’s beneficial bacteria use the fibre we eat as fuel to promote their own growth.’
Prebiotics are also found in fibre-rich foods and feed the gut bacteria. The gut bacteria uses prebiotics to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and these ‘SCFAS activate a signaling pathway that tells the brain that the body has gotten enough food.’ So, if you are in a fibre deficit, your body will think it is starving and try to extract the maximum amount of calories from your food, which can cause weight gain. (Source: The Brain Grain Whole Life Plan Dr David Perlmutter).
Eat plenty of fibre and you will have happy gut bacteria, a strong immune system, reduced inflammation and a healthy body and mind! Now, who always told you to eat your greens?
Low Carb Vegetables
Be sure to consume plenty of leafy green vegetables, herbs and low carb fruits such as: Spinach, Kale, Broccolli, Chard, Bok Choi, Cabbage, Celery, Watercress, Lettuce, Aubergines, Courgettes, Spring Onion, Cauliflower and Avocado.
Ensure that you consume enough potassium as you lose sodium and potassium due to the diuretic effect the ketogenic diet. Make sure you stay hydrated and drink more water than usual. By increasing your intake of dried herbs, such as basil, oregano and saffron and eating more avocados and cocoa powder you can naturally replenish your potassium reserves. FYI avocados tend to become a staple on the keto diet!
Low Carb Fruits
The good news is that there are some absolutely delicious fruits that are congruent with the ketogenic diet. However, you can only eat these fruits in moderation, otherwise they will spike your blood sugar levels up and kick you out of ketosis. Thank heavens for berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are very low carb–especially raspberries. They have about 6-9g of carbs per 100g which is just perfect for getting some vital nutrients and vitamins whilst satisfying any fruit cravings you might have.
Vegetables to Avoid
Even though all vegetables are high in micronutrients, their sugar values take them off the keto diet.
Potatoes and other root vegetables are incredibly high in carbohydrates and these will kick you out of ketosis.
They can be fine for carb cycling but we will discuss cycling the keto diet in another post. Root vegetables rank extremely high on the glucose index (this measures the speed at which food’s sugar impacts your blood sugar levels, consequently causing a spike in insulin production). Did you know that white potatoes have a GI ranking of 98, whereas table sugar has a GI ranking of 66!
Watch this video and learn more about the metabolic origins of cancer and potential anticancer effects of ketones click here