Transitioning to a ketogenic diet can be daunting, not always knowing what to buy at the store, not knowing what to use for quick, easy snacking, and trying to prevent weight loss on a therapeutic ketogenic diet.
Some of my favorite “hacks” for these and other qualms are found below. This is what works for me, and it may not work for you… “your mileage may vary” ! Note that many of the items are available from Thrive Market online, and Thrive has prices significantly below most retail health food stores (at least in my area), so it is worth the annual membership fee for us. Ordering online and having it come to me can be priceless. It usually comes fairly fast, apparently there is a distribution center in Indiana (our boxes’ UPS tracking histories sometimes indicate this). Please note I have no financial relationship with any of the brands, stores, or products mentioned in this writing, other than my habitual purchases!
Chocolate: Eat only the darkest (highest percentage) chocolate that you can; start with 70% to 85%. it may be challenging at first, if you are used to regular sweet chocolate or common commercial sweeter “dark” chocolates like Hershey or Dove brands. Even dark chocolate bars still contain carbs (sugar), so keep the amounts low. I also enjoy real cacao nibs which are 100% cacao (no other ingredients, no sugar, just straight from the tree and broken up); you can add eat them plain, or add them to smoothies or recipes instead of chocolate chips (we’ll get to that one next).
Snack bars: Try Bulletproof’s bars, they are high fat and also have 12 gm protein and 9 gm net carbs, so this will need to be accounted for in your total daily intake. Our favorite is the “chocolate chip cookie dough” flavor. You can make your own version at home, of these bars, using Bulletproof’s Homemade Collagen Protein Bar Recipe. Very tempting, hard to stop eating these gems! Add cacao nibs to the recipe as an “optional add-in” (1 Tbsp per batch). Nutritional info for this home-made recipe has similar caution.
Snack drinks: If you like peach tea or peach lemonade, try Perfect Keto brand’s peach flavor Exogenous Ketone Base. It is made from ketones (which is what the ketogenic diet is trying to put into the bloodstream), so you can feed your body with this drink. We also keep some of their brownie-like Keto Bars and Hot Chocolate mix on hand (well, ok, really they just call it Keto Collagen). Contains protein so use in moderation.
Higher-calorie Keto foods to combat weight loss: Mayonnaise, Yum! Slather it on lots of foods, you’d be surprised, everything from asparagus to grilled salmon to fried eggs, many meats and veggies… stir in some gluten-free curry or chili spice mix for an even more impressive flare. Remember, too, that mayonnaise was one of the first “salad dressings”, wasn’t it? Eat more low-carb nuts, especially Pecans and Brazil nuts. Try Pine Nuts too, they are great, mild-flavored additions to salads or even straight out of the bag. Remember Kalamata Olives? or any kind of olives. Drizzle your finished, cooked foods with some EVOO or MCT oil or Bulletproof’s Brain Octane Oil. Stock up on Avocado and eat plain with salt/pepper or turn it into super-simple Guacamole by mashing with some of your favorite oil and a splash of lime and salt. I know this may sound gross to some, but you can take small “shots” of an oil, like MCT oil or EVOO. Try a half-teaspoon to start with, see how that goes. You know the dipping oil that some restaurants provide before a meal? You can do similar things with the EVOO and add salt & pepper (& maybe minced garlic or your other savory spices), and dip anything you want in it. And you don’t have to ask a waiter for a refill.
Need something CRUNCHY? Try these Epic brand Pork Rinds, they are nearly addictive. My favorite is the Salt & Pepper flavor. (Oh, go ahead… dip them in the mayo). Of course you could always gnaw on celery (is that something my mother might say?) or try slicing up a raw vegetable called Jicama (but watch total amounts as it does have a few carbs). Something that may be new to you is KimChi, a fermented food, made of things like Nappa Cabbage spiked with some hot pepper, we always keep some Wildbrine brand “Korean” kimchi on hand because it has zing to it. By the way, it is nice as a side condiment with just about any meal too, to add some color and variety, let alone its value as a live probiotic.
Something SALTY? Try something new, I’m sure glad I did with this one. Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks! These are squares of super-thin, sheet-like, dark green flavor bursts. It looks similar to the green layer of nori that is wrapped around some styles of sushi.
Want some interesting ZING? Keep a piece of whole ginger root in the fridge, cut off a little chunk and chew on it! No, it’s not tender or soft necessarily, it will seem like a root, but it is intense flavor if you happen to like things like Ginger Snaps. This is the real ginger deal.
Sugar? Perhaps you have already forgotten about that one, with all of the above ideas! Well, I think really the point of the therapeutic ketogenic diet would be to not use any? Your taste buds will re-acclimate and adjust to the point that natural foods are sweet by themselves! Some folks must have a little bit of something in their morning coffee, though, and if that’s all you use sweetener for, I can forgive you if you use a sweet-tasting amino acid called Glycine “powder”. It looks like sugar but is pure protein. Not quite as sweet as sugar is, but useable in these small application amounts nonetheless. Using this does count as calories, though, and you are technically no longer fasting if you ingest it. Note the name’s Greek root word (glukús, “sweet”). Check around on Amazon for the brand that has the best price, as there are several that should be just fine, just as like buying sugar, there are always several brands available.
Now we’d like to hear from you! What are your favorite Gluten-Free Dairy-Free KETO diet hacks & snacks?