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”
When most people think about whey protein, they think about building muscle. Protein shakes at the gym. Meal replacement drinks in lieu of real food.
The six-meal-and-three-snack-a-day bro who keeps a whey shake on his bedside table to maintain those 2 AM gains.
The up-at-dawn-to-beat-rush-hour woman who drinks a shake in the car in lieu of a pastry.
As most people see it, whey protein’s just for people who want more protein in their diets, people who don’t have the time to cook, or people who hate to cook and also need more protein. It’s for weight lifters and athletes. It’s a “poor replacement” for real food. It’s a compromise when life happens. If you can cook and eat real food regularly, the popular story goes, you don’t need whey protein. Just eat real food—right?
But there’s actually much more to whey than just building muscle.
On the surface, lab grown meat is a nice noble story.
Save all those poor defenseless cows from cruel factory farms and inhumane slaughterhouses. Save the environment from all those cow farts, burps, and emissions involved with animal agriculture. Handcraft meat to be healthy, nutritious, and good for the environment. Optimize the fatty acids. Eliminate the chance of animal-borne diseases or antibiotic resistant bacteria. No gross, unhygienic animal manure. No blood or guts. It’s clean, safe, clinical. We can even call it “clean meat” or “cultivated meat”.
Except it’s none of those things. So, what is it?
So you want to gain some weight, some mass. You want more muscle. You want to bulk up. And you want to do it in a healthy way within the context of the Primal Blueprint, but aren’t sure where to start. Most popular bulking advice consists of eating everything in sight—dirty bulking with fast food, TV dinners, PB&J, peanut butter on the spoon, whatever you have on hand. That’s not the way, folks.
As I’ve made pretty clear, our ultimate goal is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimum health, and extended longevity. In other words: To make the most out of the particular gene set you inherited.
These are my end goals, and I’ve modeled the Primal Blueprint Laws with them in mind. But that doesn’t mean packing on extra muscle can’t happen with additional input. After I retired from a life of chronic cardio and started living Primally, I added 15 pounds of muscle, while keeping low body fat levels without really trying, so it’s absolutely possible for a hardgainer to gain some. The question is how much and at what expense?
The Primal Blueprint classically recommends against legume consumption, but that stance has softened. Legumes aren’t bad in and of themselves. Many people have intolerance issues with them, and unresolved gut barrier leakiness or FODMAP intolerances can make legumes a painful, often cacaphonous indulgence. But the category of legume itself is not a simple thing. Some legumes are better than others. Some people will tolerate one legume but not another. So where does soy fit in?