Switching your body from a glucose burning to fat burning is a big change. And with change comes a period of adjustment.
When you first begin a ketogenic diet, it is important to monitor your electrolytes, focus on nutrient-dense foods, and get plenty of rest during this time of healing for your body.
Electrolytes are certain nutrients or chemicals in the body that have many important functions, including stimulating muscles, nerves, maintaining cellular function, regulating your heartbeat, and more.
If your electrolytes are out of balance, you will feel tired or just “off.”
Manage your electrolytes to minimize the “keto flu” when you are first starting keto
When you begin to follow a ketogenic diet, your body will go through a detox period as it flushes out the carbohydrates and sugar in your system.
If you are like most people, you have been eating carbs your whole life, so your body will be making a big adjustment. You may experience side effects, such as lightheadedness, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Stay strong; this detox period is only temporary. The key to minimizing the side effects is managing your electrolytes in these ways:
- Drink plenty of water with electrolytes. I prefer the Smartwater.
- Get plenty of salt. Consume pink Himalayan salt or broth (meat or veggie), or you can even drink shots of pickle juice.
- Eat foods rich in potassium but low in sugar, like avocado and spinach.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium, like nuts, spinach, artichokes, and fish.
- Get plenty of rest, because your body is healing.
Drink a lot of water
Throughout your keto journey, you will need to drink a lot of water, likely more than you are currently drinking.
In the beginning stages of the keto diet, you will be shedding a lot of water. The carbs in your body tend to hold on to water, and when you stop eating them, your body will begin to release that water, so you need to replenish it.
A good guide is to make sure you get at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink at least 100 ounces of water (a bit more than 3 quarts) every day.
Get plenty of salt
In a standard American diet, people are typically eating foods that have a lot of salt added to them: bread, for example.
On keto, you are not, so don’t be afraid to salt your food (using high-quality salt), and if you feel like you still need more salt, sip some meat or vegetable broth.
I recommend pink Himalayan salt because it has more minerals than traditional table salt, such as potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron.
Find easy ways to get your fat in
It may sound daunting to consume 70 to 75 percent of your daily diet in fat, but there are lots of easy ways to take it in throughout the day.
The easiest way is to add butter and/or healthy oils to almost everything you eat.
Do your research before eating out
One of the things I really love about the ketogenic diet is that I can find something keto-friendly on almost any restaurant menu, but it does take some practice!
If you can, before you go out, look online at the restaurant’s menu to figure out the good keto options. Meat and vegetables are usually a great place to start.
Be careful with sauces, dressings, and marinades; they can have lots of hidden carbohydrates.
When in doubt, ask your server for the ingredients in the sauces, and if they don’t know, I suggest asking to have the sauce left off. Restaurants are used to special requests, so don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you do and don’t want.
Read also: Go Keto Diet In Five Steps