When starting a ketogenic diet, grocery shopping can become a confusing task. You may begin to question each item, unsure if it supports or hinders your new eating approach. Is this the right kind of fat? What cut of meat should I be buying? Does this constitute “very low carb?” I created this guide to simplify your next trip to the grocery store. Don’t feel like you have to buy every item listed. See these as options to get you started. As you learn what foods you prefer, and what your version of keto looks like, you can customize as you go along. This breakdown is organized by section in the typical grocery store, but don’t limit yourself to shopping the supermarket. Check out your local farmer’s market and co-ops. Peruse online retailers for good deals to fit your budget, as well as community supported agriculture (CSAs) shares. CLICK HERE to download a pdf of the Keto Shopping List! Produce (Fresh or Frozen) All vegetables are “allowed” on keto. The trick is finding the ones that have the fewest carbs and, hence, the most bang for your macro buck. Fruit is harder to include because of the relatively high sugar content, but it’s not strictly forbidden. Thus, there is some nuance to choosing the most keto-friendly produce options. Here are some of my favorites to get you started, but it’s not an all-inclusive list: Leafy Greens Arugula Beet greens Dandelion greens Endive Lettuce (romaine, red, green, bibb, etc.) Mustard greens Purslane Spinach Swiss chard Watercress Cruciferous Veggies Bok choy Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cabbage (red and green) Cauliflower Collard greens Kale Other Produce Artichokes Asparagus Avocados Bell peppers Berries Broccolini Chili peppers Cucumbers Eggplant Fiddlehead ferns Garlic Green beans Leeks Lemons Limes Mushrooms (all varieties) Okra Olives Onions (green, red, white, yellow) Rhubarb Spaghetti squash Sprouts Summer squash Tomatoes Zucchini Fermented vegetables (refrigerated) Pickles Sauerkraut Kimchi Meats/Fish/Eggs Prioritize pastured, grass-fed, or organic meat and wild-caught seafood when possible. Seafood Anchovies Bass Clams Cod Flounder Halibut Mahi Mahi Mussels Oysters Salmon Sardines Scallops Shrimp (wild) Sole Trout Tuna Meat/Poultry Beef Chicken Duck Elk Lamb Pork Rabbit Turkey Venison Organ meats Cured/Preserved Meats (sugar-free) Bacon Biltong Ham Jerky Pemmican Prosciutto Salami Sausage Eggs Chicken eggs Duck eggs Goose eggs Quail eggs Dairy Prioritize pastured, grass-fed, or organic varieties. Hard Cheeses Cheddar Emmental Gouda Parmesan Swiss Soft Cheeses Blue Brie Cream cheese Crème fraîche Feta Goat cheese Queso fresco Other Dairy Full-fat cottage cheese Full-fat Greek or regular plain yogurt Half & half Heavy whipping cream Healthy Fats and Oils Avocado oil Butter (preferably pastured and organic) Coconut oil Duck fat Extra virgin olive oil Ghee Lard (preferably pastured and organic) Macadamia nut oil Tallow (preferably pastured and organic) Walnut oil Pantry Items (Packaged, Shelf-stable, and Bulk Bin Foods) Broth/stock Canned wild fish (anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna) Coconut (manna aka coconut butter, shredded coconut) Coconut milk Collagen peptides Dark chocolate (85% or higher cacao content) Nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, … Continue reading “Keto Shopping List”
Now and then I’ll read comments on keto discussion forums that gloat about being able to eat anything if they’re just sure to stay below 50 grams of carbs a day. I’ll be direct here and say this is the wrong way to do keto. Unfortunately, many people get overzealous about macro counts and lose sight of the bigger picture. Reaching ketosis is never the end goal. You want health, energy, vitality. How you get there matters. It’s true that the ketogenic diet uses a macronutrient framework that looks roughly like this: Carbohydrates below 50 grams per day (around 5-10% of total caloric intake) Protein sufficient to meet physiological needs and goals (generally 15-25% caloric intake) The rest from healthy fats Within that framework, there is generous room to fulfill your body’s nutrient requirements and include ample vegetable—and even some fruit—intake. My hope is that this guide will leave you feeling you have an incredibly vast array of appetizing, nutritious options. The truth is you CAN create an effective keto diet from an expansive range of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Healthy Fats Because we want to increase our healthy fat intake on a ketogenic plan, I’m starting with fats. First and foremost, avoid industrial seed oils. Steer clear of anything hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Choosing the right fats to keep your fatty acids in balance is important, but it’s not something to get overly stressed about. Use fats appropriately at temperatures and in storage conditions that maintain their stability and nutrient value. Here are some healthy fat options: Saturated and monounsaturated fats: Great for higher temp cooking and for making fat bombs. Cheese (see dairy) Butter Ghee Coconut Oil Lard Tallow Sustainably Sourced Red Palm Oil Avocado oil Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs): Best for low temp sauteeing and cold use. Extra virgin olive oil Extra virgin avocado oil Bacon fat—actually a mix of saturated and monounsaturated, but surprisingly high in monounsaturated fat; great for sautéed vegetables Duck fat—also a mix of saturated and monounsaturated, but surprisingly high in monounsaturated fat) Macadamia nut oil—very low in PUFAs Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs): Know the difference. Some should be completely off the menu, like over-processed vegetable oils (corn and canola), but others can have a regular place at the ketogenic table. Most seed-based oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Unfortunately, seed oils are typically extracted in ways that can destroy the nutrients. Be sure to look for cold-pressed versions, and don’t heat these oils. Hemp oil Flax oil Chia oil Vegetables and Fruits Many people falsely assume they have to forgo the benefits of vegetables and especially fruit with a keto diet. The best source of vegetables are above-ground varieties, which are nutrient-dense yet low in carbohydrates. Dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are excellent options. Take time to learn how many carbs are in each kind of produce. I recommend carefully limiting root vegetables and tubers, as well as most fruits, during keto phases. These don’t deliver the best bang for your buck in terms … Continue reading “What to Eat When Going Keto”
Hi folks, we’re excited to have Primal Health Coach Institute’s Coaching Director Erin Power back to answer your questions. Got a question for our health coaches? Head over to our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or ask it in the comments below.
Tim asked: “Lately, I’ve been seeing Instagram posts saying don’t be scammed by ‘health foods’ like the Impossible Burger, celery juice, almond milk, and protein bars. I understand some of these (like fake meat!). Others have me confused. What’s wrong with celery juice? Is almond milk bad now too?!”
I know, right? There’s so much information out there, and everyone on social media has an opinion about the latest health trends.
As a health coach, I can help you break down that list of “scammy” suspects. Even more important, I can share some guidelines to help you figure out whether trending foods are healthy or a scam.
First and foremost, remember that eating real, whole food never has to be complicated. When working with coaching clients and in my own life, the core of my philosophy is to keep things simple.
I realize that social media hype and “food fights” can make food seem incredibly complex. In moments of doubt or overwhelm, come back to that key principle. It’s really what makes Primal living and eating so effortless: the simplicity just makes sense.
While it’s easy enough to pop down to the grocery store and buy butter, yogurt, or kefir, it can be very rewarding—and easier than you think—to make your own products at home. Making staple dairy foods at home allows you to control what goes into them, control the process, and reconnect to the traditional way of doing things.
Yogurt and kefir are also fermented foods that deliver those oh-so-important probiotics to feed the beneficial microbes in your gut. Rather than rely on store-bought products, which often contain sugar and other additives you wish to avoid, why not make your own at home? Being able to make your own butter, yogurt, and kefir gives you flexibility. It gives you power. Most importantly, it gives you agency: the ability to control what you feed yourself or your family.
For today’s Dear Mark, I’m answering a reader question about whether colostrum supplements are worth trying. Let’s get right into it.
A buddy of mine has been taking colostrum powder for a few months now. He swears it’s helping him bulk up in the gym. I’m training for a century ride this summer and he says I should start using colostrum for leg strength. Ever since he mentioned it I feel like I’m seeing more fitness types talking about it on social media too. I’d love to get your take before shelling out the money. Thanks Mark!
Ah yes, your phone heard you talking about colostrum. Now your social media feed is full of colostrum posts, and you want to know if it’s legit or just another empty promise.
Colostrum, as you might know, is the “first milk” that mammals produce in the two to three days after giving birth. Compared to regular milk, colostrum is particularly rich in antibodies, enzymes, growth factors, and other nutrients all designed to protect the newborn and kickstart their immune system and digestion. If you were breastfed at birth, you received colostrum from your mother. Colostrum that you buy as a supplement is almost always bovine (cow) colostrum, usually in powder or capsule form.
The relationship between dairy consumption, insulin, and our health can be confusing. It’s easy to see why: The most common types of dairy undeniably spike our insulin levels, and elevated insulin has been linked to dozens of diseases—most diseases, in fact. When insulin is high, your body holds onto body fat. And insulin resistance, which is when your body doesn’t respond to insulin and must release large amounts of the hormone, makes it harder to lose body fat and is the precipitating factor in a host of degenerative diseases.
So, dairy is bad, right? No. The opposite, in fact.
Insulin is an old, old hormone. Evolution has preserved its structure across hundreds of millions of years and hundreds of thousands of species. Fish, insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals all secrete insulin with fairly similar amino acid arrangements (insulin from certain species of fish has even been clinically effective in humans), so, clearly, it is a vital hormone required by life to flourish and prosper.