There are so many ways to do the keto diet, it can get confusing. I want to explain to you the difference between doing it the right and healthy way (clean keto, or, organic keto), versus doing it the unhealthy way (dirty keto).
Instead of clean keto, I prefer to call it organic keto because the original keto diet focused on eating nothing but organic foods. Organic keto better describes what the diet is all about.
Focus on the word organic. Can this food item be found in nature? If it isn’t found in nature then it isn’t truly a clean, or organic, way of eating. If you are eating food items not found in nature, you are doing dirty keto.
Artificial sweeteners, for example, are not clean (or organic). Eating organic means hot dogs, processed meats, lunch meat, and canned meat are all out because these are high in MSG’s, GMO’s, and other preservatives.
Most boxed & canned goods are highly processed and unhealthy. You can’t drink diet drinks or have that occasional Atkins snack bar on organic keto.
Do they help you lose weight? Yes, most likely. But they are not healthy for your body.
Most foods found in the middle of the store, on the shelf isles, are not keto-approved. There are exceptions you can make but you will want to be sure that most of the ingredients are low-carb wholesome ingredients. If there is an additive in the ingredient list that you can’t pronounce, you probably don’t need to eat it if you are doing organic keto.
If you want to do organic keto, you will have to shop around the outside walls of the grocery store or go to a local farmers market, where the organic vegetables and meats are found. You will also have to do most of your eating at home, as this is the best way to ensure you know what is in your food.
I buy mostly fresh meats, vegetables, and fresh unbleached eggs. I do my best to pick food items that have not been highly processed.
One time, my husband and I spent about two hours in the grocery store reading food ingredients and nutrition labels. Nearly everything on the shelves is unhealthy to eat! They pack in copious amounts of salt, sugar, & preservatives.
It is easier to find low-carb products than keto but beware that they may be filled with unhealthy ingredients. Try to stick to the ones with ingredient names you can pronounce and are familiar with.
Most of my food choices are healthy and organic. I’ll be quite honest though, I do want stuff that isn’t keto-approved every now and then. I also feel the diet is so restrictive that it is hard to do. This is why I do keto cycling where I include days of dirty keto and low-carb.
Dirty keto is essentially the same as clean keto when it comes to your macros (carb, fat, and protein limits). On dirty keto, you can pretty much eat anything as long as it fits into your macros. Beware that you will more than likely not remain in ketosis during this time unless you are extremely active or have a high metabolism.
I am trying to train myself to choose water when I am thirsty. I keep Core water sitting beside me most of the time but it gets boring only having water. I will also add that I still want brownies with my coffee as well. If you’re like me and still want the occasional treat, I found a keto brownie recipe the other day that turned out fairly well.
Sweeteners and products marketed as “low-carb” should only be used for a very short amount of time, just long enough to help you get rid of the carb cravings and reach ketosis. Once you reach ketosis, hunger & cravings shouldn’t be a problem.
Even after all of my hard work trying to learn to eat and shop healthily, I still get home from the grocery store only to realize there are several food items in my shopping bags that are not necessarily healthy to eat. I don’t throw them out. I just simply eat them and try to remember to not buy them again.
There is no reason to become obsessed. It’s a learning curve.
There are things that I grab by habit, or, things that I grabbed in order to feel like I have enough food choices to do the diet. I find it extremely hard to eat only organic food, but I’m getting better as I learn. You will not learn how to do organic keto overnight.
This world is set up to make us unhealthy and I guarantee you it is completely intentional. Manufacturers, doctors, attorneys, ad companies, and grocery stores all make money off our ignorance.
The key is to educate yourself and do the best you can do to combat the problem, through eating better and making healthier choices. Even if you don’t always do the keto diet correctly, it is a healthier way of eating than choosing sugar-filled or highly-processed foods. You can not go wrong eating organic food.
The original keto diet, once used to cure epilepsy, only contained healthy and organic food. If your goal is to get healthy, this is the best way to do it.
If your only goal is to lose weight, dirty keto will be perfectly fine and you may be able to stay more faithful to it because it isn’t as restrictive.
The purpose of the original keto diet was to create a peaceful environment in the body. This “clean” way of eating lowered inflammation, brought many health benefits, and even cured diseases.
Dirty keto may help you to lose weight but it will not help you to get as healthy.
I find that it is worth the sacrifice but I honestly still struggle with doing the diet correctly.
Organic food lowers my body’s inflammation factors, which lowers pain levels. It also produces more energy, which means I have more of a drive to work out at the gym or stay active around the house. I also have better mental clarity on keto.
In the past, I had so many health issues the doctors called me a “special case.” I truly believe all of the following issues were strongly related to my past dietary habits:
-I’ve had widespread arthritis beginning with juvenile arthritis onset at the age of about 14.
-I’ve had fibromyalgia symptoms for about 16 years.
-I had my gallbladder removed due to gallstones.
-Due to having precancerous cells and many female anatomy issues, I had a total hysterectomy. I now have no female organs.
-Losing my female organs caused side effects such as thin skin, increased inflammation, mood swings, hot flashes, breast tenderness, headaches/migraines, depression, trouble concentrating, and fatigue. It also caused a decrease in estrogen. Estrogen regulates food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
-After the hysterectomy, I had increased widespread inflammation and constant joint pain. Without estrogen, the body creates inflammation as it tries to pull hormones from somewhere that is no longer available.
-Estrogen is involved in bone and cholesterol metabolism. I’ve dealt with high cholesterol, dehydration, and blood clotting issues since the year after having the hysterectomy.
-Within 6 months of having a hysterectomy I was overweight and became obese as a result. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t get the weight off. Gym, dieting, nothing made much of a difference. I continually gained weight until the day I started intermittent fasting and eventually keto.
-I’ve had chronic nerve pain related to scoliosis, skeletal issues such as bulging and deteriorating discs, bone spurs, and many other skeletal-related issues such as fractures and tears. The doctor can’t explain why any of this is happening.
-Within a year of having a hysterectomy, I was prediabetic.
The list is even longer than this, but I will stop there. You get the idea. One thing led to another until I was sick. I believe much of this was caused by my past sugar addiction.
I’m now on a mission to help others realize that sugar and flour are an enemy to your body’s health.
Sugar was my comfort food. Too much sugar causes the body to react to it as though it is poison. Eventually, the body’s cells will close as an attempt to protect itself from the overload.
This is called insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance eventually leads to prediabetes and that usually leads to type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, I found out about the keto diet before prediabetes led to type 2 diabetes.
After doing low-carb for the majority of the past 3 years, I no longer have low blood sugar symptoms, diet-related heart palpitations, and my blood pressure is more regulated. I also have less inflammation or tendency to get sick with the everyday cold or flu.
I am getting healthier and that motivates me to live organically.
In order to overcome insulin resistance, you will need to eat foods that heal the body. If you have type 2 diabetes, I feel that it is more appropriate and healthier to try dieting and exercise before getting on prescribed medications.
I am not a doctor, so please consult your physician before taking my advice, but it is common sense that organic foods help our bodies to heal. The purpose of food is to provide nutrients to our cells.
I have now completely reversed prediabetes. I now have a normal A1C. I did this by eating organic food on a consistent basis. It is what you do daily that matters.
I used to take a long break from the diet during the holidays, but this year I plan to stay faithful to feeding my body what is healing it. The results don’t lie.
If you did nothing else for your body, removing sugar and flour from your diet would do a world of good. Replacing sugar with high fiber foods & resistant starches would be a better diet than a high sugar diet.
These include oats, rice, whole grains, beans, raw potato starch, green bananas, and cooked and cooled starchy carbs.
A small amount of these is preferred over sugar because they are high in resistant starch which can help your body’s gut bacteria and increase the production of short-chain fatty acids. These have been known to help aid in digestion and even promote weight loss if eaten in combination with other healthy foods.
It is for this reason I like keto cycling. I do not feel so restricted when I take a break from keto. I feel that our bodies need certain high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, & oats, which are not allowed on keto. I do keto cycling to allow these foods into my diet.
During this cycling period, I do low-carb instead of keto. I cycle in a carb day or carb meal to allow for all of the things I can’t have on keto (AKA -junk food). This helps me to not feel so restricted and to stay faithful to my diet the rest of the time.
When it comes to giving up sugar or whatever your food weakness is, just remember to take baby steps.
Everything in moderation is key.
However you do the keto diet, it is a much healthier way to eat.
That doesn’t mean you can never cheat in the future. Or, that you have to treat it like a religion. No one is going to punish you if you take a break from your diet for one meal or for one snack. I certainly will not judge you if you mess up.
Messing up is part of learning.
I would wait until you have created a life of discipline before cheating, but all foods can be enjoyed in moderation if your daily eating habits are healthy.
Break free from those bad habits, daily. 🙂
If you are up for the challenge and can handle the carb restrictions, keto and low-carb will get you on the right path to good health. If you prefer and are disciplined in the way you eat, Keto cycling can allow you to have the foods you miss.
No matter how you do it, overall, I think you will see that making sacrifices is worth the health benefits you will reap.