When you’ve decided that you want to eat healthier, the best way to do that is by eating a low carb, high fat diet. You’ll be eating foods that are good for you and that also help you shed weight if that’s your goal.
This kind diet is also known as the LCHF diet, for short. You’ll be eating foods that consist of protein, the kind of fats that are good for you (such as avocados) and plenty of vegetables.
Why Choose a Low Carb High Fat Diet?
This diet plan has more people choosing the LCHF diet for two reasons. First, because it’s a diet that’s based on eating whole, healthy foods. Second, because it’s simple to use and to stick to.
You won’t have to spend extra money buying specialty foods and you won’t have constantly count the calories that you eat. It surprises some people to discover that they’ll be eating more fat on this diet than other diets suggest.
But this kind of keto-based diet works with your body to use the fats for your benefit. Contrary to popular advice, eating a diet that contains high fat isn’t bad for you at all. What’s bad for you are the foods that are labeled as diet but are filled with so many preservatives and questionable ingredients.
The kinds of fats that you’ll be eating will be ones that are natural. You will be eating fatty meats and fatty cheeses – which on other diets is always considered a no-no. But the fats in these foods are helpful and not harmful.
What you’ll end up doing on this diet is cutting out sugar and starchy food because those are the categories that can send your body into a tailspin. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, it makes your body want to hold onto fat.
That leads to weight gain and yet, you’ll still feel hungry. It’s been proven that diets that are low in carbs and high in fat are actually better for you than diets that tell that you should cut out the fat.
Only natural fats can be used, though. Instead of margarine, you would choose real butter. You would eat things like fish, meat and vegetables. You wouldn’t eat things like potatoes, beans or any of those foods that are known starches.
Once you’re on the diet, you don’t have to keep a food journal. The foods you’ll be eating will be more natural, so you won’t be dealing with a lot of label reading, either. You don’t really have to watch your portion sizes – which is hard for some people to grasp because it flies in the face of conventional diet advice.
But remember this: if portion control really worked, the diet industry wouldn’t be a billion dollar market. With this diet, you eat the low carb, high fat foods and you stop when you feel full.
That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to buy foods that are diet, low fat or low anything. You just eat low carb, high fat foods that you enjoy. As a huge plus for being on the LCHF diet, you stand to gain many health benefits – one of these being the fact that it helps keep type 2 diabetes from developing.
How to Get Started with LCHF Dieting
When you’re ready to get started with LCHF dieting, you’re going to have to clean out your pantry and your refrigerator. Toss the foods that aren’t healthy for you to eat. You’re going to be doing a lot or replacing – but the switch is going to be worth it because you’ll feel better.
You’ll want to get rid of all those boxes of breakfast cereal that you have in your pantry – and even the kind that’s supposedly good for you needs to go. Toss out the breakfast pastries, the granola breakfast bars and anything breakfast related that has sugar in it.
You’ll also be getting rid of starches like rice, potatoes and any starchy vegetables. You can replace these foods by using cauliflower as a base. You’ll end up with an almost identical mashed potato taste, but without the slow build in your glucose or the carbs.
If you have anything pasta related in your pantry, then it needs to go. You can replace these with vegetables that can be used in place of pasta. Many vegetables can be cut into ribbons just like pasta and you can’t tell the difference.
Throw out your bags of sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, powered sugar and substitute sugar all need to go. None of it’s good for you and not only that, but when you have even a little bit of sugar, it triggers something in your brain.
One bite is never enough. You’ll have sugar cravings if you eat even a taste of it. You’ll also be tossing out all your breads. That includes sandwich style, biscuits, rolls, buns, Italian bread, French bread and so on.
You’ll also get rid of any boxes of crackers – include saltine crackers. At the thought of tossing out all that carb rich food, you might be thinking that you’re going to end up going hungry, but when you have the right amount of fats in your diet, you actually don’t miss the carbs.
It’s important on a LCHF diet that you have a good fat intake and that you have a good protein intake. These are necessary because your body won’t have the same carb intake.
It’ll burn fat, which is what you want it to do. One thing to keep in mind is there is no “easing into it” where you’re onboard one day and totally off the plan the next. You have to take an all or nothing approach and not do it a little at a time.
You don’t eat healthy when you’re still putting things that are bad for you into your body.
When you’re ready to start the process of planning your meals, you’ll have to decide on your total carb count.
This is the part where it’s a completely personal decision. Some people want more carbs in their diet, but others are wanting to stay more keto. A LCHF diet that’s low carb but is considered plentiful in carbs would have a range of between 50 to 100 carbs.
Having a carb eating plan where you get a mid-sized amount of carbs would mean that you’re going to stay between 20 to 50 carbs. For those who want to stay in ketosis, you would eat 20 carbs or less.
This is considered the strictest level, but is good for people who have issues with carbs and their health like people with diabetes or people who have weight induced health problems.
What Foods to Buy and How to Plan Your Meals
Because you need to eat high fat, you’re obviously going to be switching out the fats that you’re currently using for different ones. Remember that these are fats that you need and they offer some great health benefits for your body.
Don’t use oils made from peanut, canola oil or sunflower oil. You’ll want to use fats like coconut oil, avocado, cheese, olive oil, butter and cream. Avoid any foods that come from boxes, frozen packages or cans that are already processed.
These foods not only have little nutritional value, but they’re higher in things like carbs and sugar. Learn how to make food substitutes for the foods that you love but that are high carb.
When you’re shopping for your foods, look for ones that are packed with nutritional value. You’ll want to buy your proteins like pork, beef, chicken turkey and so on. But remember, you can buy the fatty cuts if you want because the marbling will add flavor to your meal.
Eat fish such as salmon. Eat whole eggs in your diet, too. You can also have bacon. Vegetables that aren’t starchy are one of the mainstays of a LCHF diet because they’re good for you and have limited carbs.
You can eat ones that are in the leafy green family such as spinach or lettuce. You’ll also want to make sure that vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage are part of your meal planning.
You can use eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers as well. Cucumbers can satisfy crunch cravings as well as make a delicious side vegetable. Though you can choose your meals based on the carb limits ranging from low to high, most people start out somewhere in the middle and aim to get about 35 to 40 carbohydrates a day to start with.
Then they lower it as their body becomes adjusted to the new way of eating. One thing to remember when you’re counting carbs is that you’re going to also have to count any of the extras you may not have counted in the past.
This will be things like any sauces that are used in the making of the dishes. Just a few spoonfuls of sauce can add many more carbs that you might realize. You don’t have to suffer from hunger or eat bland foods when you’re on a LCHF diet.
You can eat things like low carb pizza, bacon and eggs, stir-fry, pesto chicken, hamburger patties, steak and more. Plan your meals by choosing your protein, your non-starchy vegetable and your fat. You’ll want to fill up on non-starchy vegetables, especially ones that are full of fiber because they help you keep that full feeling.
Cooking Tweaks to Make on a LCHF Diet
On a LCHF diet, you don’t want to skimp on the fats – especially when you’re preparing the meals. In fact, one the first things that you want to do when you’re making the change to a LCHF diet is you’re going to want to change the way you cook with fat in your foods.
Most people have the mindset that they need to cook using low fat methods. On the LCHF diet, you have to switch that and use high fats that are good for you. Instead of spraying a pan with nonstick cooking spray, you’re going to want to use butter.
Not only does butter give your foods a better flavor, but you’re getting the benefits of a healthy fat added to your diet. You can make your scrambled eggs in butter, and you can mix cheese in with scrambled eggs for more fat content.
You can also use butter to sauté vegetables and if you cook your steak in butter, it seals in that juicy flavor. Butter can be used to cook chicken, soups and sauces as well as to drip over things like turkey and fish.
Cook with olive oil if you’re not already. Olive oil can give your foods a great taste. Most people don’t think about using olive oil for cooking something like fried chicken but it gives the skin a nice crisp texture.
Eating the skin of the chicken gives you another added healthy fat for your meal as well. You can also use olive oil in cooking as the base for dressings. You can also mix it with garlic, parmesan cheese and creamed cauliflower to make a delicious side dish.
You’ll want to use olive oil in place of oils that don’t have a healthy natural high fat. You’ll want to tweak the way that you cook by using coconut oil to make your meals. One thing that this oil is good to use for is when you want to cook meat fast.
Because it gets hot quickly, it can reach fry temperatures faster than some of the other oils. Because of the way it holds up with high temperatures, you can also use coconut oil to sauté vegetables.
It can be used with recipes that you make in the oven for roasting as well as foods that you want to prepare using a slow cooker. It’s also a good idea to cook your foods using animal fats such as lard.
How to Deal with Keto Flu
When you switch the way that you eat to a LCHF diet, one of the things that you might encounter is something called the keto flu. This can be a common occurrence. It happens because your body is learning how to change the way that it processes fuel.
If you do end up developing the keto flu, there are some symptoms that are hallmarks of the condition. You may experience headaches. These can range from mild to moderate. You can also experience nausea and may not feel like eating anything.
Some people report dealing with nausea while others battle stomach upset to the point they feel like they’re going to vomit. Others end up feeling like they’re mentally clouded, like they can’t quite focus or concentrate on anything.
You may feel an overwhelming need to just sleep. You may also experience a severe case of fatigue. Some people have dry mouth or they experience a change in the way that their breath smells.
This is often a fruity smell. You may notice that when you go to the bathroom, the scent of your urine is pungent. You might feel dizzy, irritated and crave sugar. You just feel bad all over as if you’ve come down with the flu.
A ketone strip that you can buy over the counter can tell you definitely whether or not you’re in ketosis. If you are, you might feel bad for anywhere from 24 hours to several days.
But there are some steps you can take that you can use to treat yourself so that you’ll feel better, faster. You’ll need to make sure that you replenish your fluids. Being dehydrated and have keto flu are often linked and you’ll feel worse the longer you stay dehydrated.
You’ll need to make sure that your electrolytes are good. What this means is that you have to make sure that you replace what you’ve lost. You need to replace the potassium, sodium and magnesium that you’ve lost.
You can do that by taking certain supplements that replenish electrolytes. You can also use mineral sea salt mixed with lemon and water. Boost your carb intake along with your fat such as eating some bacon.
Also raise your salt intake for a few days until you feel better. You can also drink bone broth or chicken broth that you either buy or make. Warm it up and sip on it slowly until the nausea and discomfort eases.