The ketogenic diet is hugely popular and with good reason; it’s been shown to reduce inflammation, improve depression and anxiety, curb epileptic seizures and help people lose weight. It can be incredibly healing, especially for those with diabetes, mood disorders, Alzheimer’s and gut infections. However, in following along on social media and seeing the huge explosion of this way of eating, I’ve also seen a lot of ways people kind of botch it. I’ve decided to share five things people do wrong when going keto because I’m seeing these mistakes repeatedly.
NOT ENOUGH VEGGIES
I see so many people avoiding vegetables on keto. Here’s the thing: keto can be a very healthy and well balanced diet. But you know what the backbone of keto is that people don’t realize? VEGETABLES.
Veggies should make up the bulk of every ketogenic plate of food. Vegetables are loaded with so many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are the backbone not just of a ketogenic diet, but of any healthy diet. Vegetables should not be limited on keto, they should be the forefront of each meal.
Low carb vegetables and fruits include:
- leafy greens
- bell peppers
- SO MANY MORE
LACK OF FIBER
Healthy gut bacteria thrive on fiber from vegetables. So many people avoid veggies to keep their carbs low and this in turn can negatively impact the microbiome. The microbiome influences so many aspects of our health – our hormones, our mood, our skin, etc. It is crucial to consume fiber, at least 25g, at least – every single day.
Some great sources of low carbohydrate fiber include:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
ALL THE MEAT AND CHEESE
When I scroll through #keto, I can’t believe how many posts of straight up meat and cheese meals I see. The biggest one is probably a keto pizza, which is melted cheese topped with pepperoni. That’s the whole meal. A pizza made out of cheese and pepperoni.
This is not healthy. This is not a well balanced meal. And so many people are using inorganic meat and dairy products. I’m not anti-dairy and certainly not anti-meat, but I do think dairy should be limited, particularly if you have any hormonal or gut issues.
Keto can be fairly meat heavy, so it’s incredibly important to use organic, pasture raised meat. Keep in mind that the bulk of each meal should be low carbohydrate vegetables, healthy fats (organic ghee/butter, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil) and a moderate amount of protein.
EATING TOO MUCH FAT + THE WRONG KIND OF FAT
I see so many people eating cheese on cheese on sausage on bacon. Listen, I love myself a good piece of grass-fed cheese and pastured bacon. But this becomes an issue when it makes up the bulk of meals. I recently saw a woman post her child’s ketogenic lunch, it consisted of slices of American cheese, bacon and bell peppers stuffed with cheese and mayo.
This is not a healthy meal. It’s simply too much dairy, too much fat and not enough vegetables. Dairy can be particularly difficult to digest, especially if your meals basically consists of only dairy.
Dairy should be limited in a ketogenic diet – not the basis of a ketogenic diet. Again, I don’t hate dairy. But it really should be a condiment, not the main course.
The fats that should be included in a ketogenic diet are:
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- wild fatty fish
- grass-fed pork and beef
- avocado oil
- grass-fed butter
- grass-fed ghee
- coconut oil
The other issue is I see too many people consuming an additional and unnecessary amounts of fats. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you don’t have to force yourself to eat extra fat on a ketogenic diet. Particularly if you have a lot of body fat to lose, your body can use your fat stores. There is no need to go out of your way to eat all of that extra fat. Just include healthy fats at each meal but don’t overdo it!
TOO MANY KETO FRIENDLY JUNK FOODS
When I see people dousing their food in commercial ranch dressing or Hellman’s mayo because it’s low carb, I cringe. These are made with incredibly unhealthy, rancid vegetable oils that promote inflammation: soy and canola oils. These oils, as well as corn, safflower, cottonseed and sunflower oil should be avoided at all costs. These oils are incredibly processed, usually with hexane – a neurotoxin.
Additionally, they have a less than ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. They’re much higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation and have been linked to heart disease, obesity and mood disorders. Keep in mind that inflammation is the basis of all disease, so it’s incredibly important to avoid inflammatory foods (and eat anti-inflammatory foods, like veggies)!
The second thing I see if a LOT of ketogenic desserts. These absolutely play a role in a well balanced ketogenic diet. I’m not saying low carb desserts should be avoided completely, but they are still desserts. They are not meant to be eaten regularly, especially if you’re on a ketogenic diet to improve a health condition.
There are so many unhealthy ketogenic sweeteners on the market. I’m fine with a little stevia or monkfruit, but using all of these sugar alcohols to make ketogenic versions of typical desserts should definitely be limited.
EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY KETO MEALS
- an omelet with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes
- a piece of wild salmon with kale salad and avocado
- taco salad with grass-fed ground beef, romaine, bell peppers, avocado and pico de gallo
- tuna salad with avocado oil mayo over mixed greens
- a bunless burger with tomato, lettuce and onion + a side of brussels
- chicken noodle soup without the noodles
- cobb salad with romaine, hard boiled egg, bacon, chicken, tomato, avocado and Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing
What are some of your favorite keto friendly meals?