Are you new to ketogenic diet? I am sure by now you all have heard of keto and the amazing benefits it can bring to your life. I have been doing a ketogenic lifestyle since officially June 2018. It hasn’t been a long time, but enough to help you navigate the early stages of keto.
Let’s start right away by disclosing that I am a major cookbook hoarder. I love cookbooks just as much as I love books in general. My house has entire bookshelves full of just cookbooks from the 60s through now. I love them all!
The second disclosure is you will need a lot of SALT. Keto and electrolytes go hand and hand. You can’t have one without the other. I know it is embedded in your mind that salt is bad, but if you are going to transition to low carb or full-on keto, salt is your best friend along with water. I drink Himalayan Pink Salt, but any high quality salt is key to the success of this way of eating (WOE). One of my favorite keto drinks is Dr. Ken Berry’s ketorade recipe . It will keep you away from keto flu. If you find Apple Cider Vinegar is not your thing, try adding more lemon juice. Seriously, do not ignore your electrolytes. To learn more about why, continue reading.
If you are just starting the ketogenic lifestyle and want a book to understand what is this about without overwhelm you with all the technicalities, then go for Craig and Maria Emmerich’s Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans . The book is very straightforward and easy to understand. They share a lot of their knowledge and life that will make you relate to them. It has just enough amount of science to get you up to speed on how the diet works, why it works and how can you optimize the benefits of it.
Nerds, Doctors, Medical Personnel and Long-Time Keto-ers
I am a nerd so I like books that go deeper with studies, journal reports, and lot of details of how things work. The keto community has many different ways of keto, but there is a main idea and principles that inspired all of this many decades and even centuries ago.
For those of you wanting a book proving why and how well-formulated carbohydrate restricted diets work, read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. I have this book and their second book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. The first book I feel is a bible of keto and low carb. It is a wealth of information, provided in an approachable format. The sections for the more medically savvy reader with a lot of biology and biochemistry are usually summarized in plain english after the tech part is over. It is one of my favorite books so far to demystifying keto. And it makes people like Jillian Michaels look a bit like they need to open a book or two before discussing keto or carbohydrate restriction with anybody.
Autoimmune Diseases and Anti-Inflammatory Diet Seekers
If you are starting keto because you have an autoimmune disease or want to reduce inflammation in your body, then go to these two books. Maria’s The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse and Cristina Curp’s Made Whole. If you are not working out or not very active during your day, I would go with Maria’s book. If you are very active then go with Cristina’s cookbook. The recipes in the Cleanse cookbook are usually pretty low in total carbs. And Made Whole has some pretty amazing recipes that are keto and AIP so win-win for many.
There are lot of cookbooks for keto that are coming from authors with autoimmune disease or have been battling specific conditions for years and a clean keto approach has saved their lives. Hence, always give them a try and check the author’s story before buying. You may want a different approach than theirs.
Real Food and No Gallbladder
I am currently reading Jimmy and Christine Moore book, Real Food Keto. I like the way this book is presenting the information and, particularly the Nutritional Therapy aspect of it, is something I needed. This aspect is new to me even though I have read a few books already going over ketogenic principles. Another thing that attracted me to Real Food Keto is that Christine Moore has many conditions and no gallbladder. My main interest was her input to the book considering I have no gallbladder either. This book has recipes from Maria Emmerich as an added bonus so great book that works for new keto-ers too.
It is very important in Keto to find your happy place with this way of eating. That goes for vitamins and supplements as well as your individual macros. Yes, under 20g is the recommended carb count, but do you need to do total carbs or net carbs? Have you been a yo-yo dieter for a long time? Then you may want to stick to total carbs until losing the weight and improve your insulin sensitivity. Most of the books I have read and am recommending here go over the insulin sensitivity factor in keto, which is so critical to the mechanisms of the ketogenic diet.
For Comfort Food Seekers
I have like a ton of books and bloggers that could fit here. Two of my favorite books in this category are Craveable Keto by Kyndra Holley and Keto Comfort Foods from Maria Emmerich. However, you can also check Maria’s Restaurant Favorites book, which will change the way you see keto as a lifestyle. As well as, Keto For Life from Mellissa Sevigny. Her cream cheese pancakes, desserts and drinks will make you think you are not going to lose weight, but sure enough you will.
Remember that even eating within ketogenic guidelines, you can gain weight if eating too many treats. So consider yourself warned with these books, because you will want to try almost every recipe in them. I know I have tried many of them and they are always a hit for me. Also, Craveable Keto is the book I use the most for my husband. It has helped him tons with staying low carb. Like I said before, everybody applies ketogenic principles in different ways according to what works for them. In my house, we have two ways.
Desserts and Entertaining
Did you know you can entertain non-keto eaters and they may not even know the difference? Yes, it is very possible! On top of the books above, I love Easy Keto Desserts by Carolyn Ketchum and Keto Happy Hour by Kyndra Holley with this purpose in mind. Easy Keto Desserts has one of my favorite brownies recipes and a choco-hazelnut spread equivalent to Nutella that I love. While Keto Happy Hour has enough drinks and finger food to keep any party going strong with keto. I like her pretzels and drinks of this book.
Fasting, Intermittent and Extended
Fasting comes naturally when living a ketogenic life. The fats keep you full and going for hours. You will not feel deprive of food because you are not hungry. This lifestyle leads to fasting the easy way. However, if you have eating disorder or had problems with that in the past, the experts do not recommend fasting for you.
The master of fasting I think is Dr. Jason Fung. I started reading Dr. Fung when I stumble upon The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Fung and Jimmy Moore. I follow Jimmy Moore because he tries what he shares. He experiments with all kind of variations and fasting protocols and gives you the honest review. Hence, after devouring The Complete Guide to Fasting, I felt attracted to learn more about Dr. Fung’s school of thought. I am currently reading his book, The Obesity Code. I like his clean and honest style. His doctor experience and frustrations are shared in this book. It reminds me a bit of Why We Get Fat from Gary Tubes (also a great book, but for beginners).
While fasting can be done without keto, it is recommended a very low carbohydrate (aka keto) diet to make the transition easier and help with other conditions affecting insulin.
Go give keto a try! Just like the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (Deming Cycle) go into it with a plan, do it, check what is working and what’s not, and modify/act if something needs improvement. Most likely a lot of things will need tweaking at the beginning in order to find your sweet spot. I am still finding tweaks that make my keto stronger.
Remember about electrolytes and salt. If you are feeling tired or lousy after the first couple of weeks of following a well-formulated ketogenic diet, you are likely low in electrolytes. Check Dr. Berry’s drink at the top of this post.
Two last recommendations that I am still working through them and trying the recipes are Keto Essentials and Southern Keto. Both books are great so far and the recipes are to die for. I feel a bit like Vanessa from Keto Essentials, where finding the right keto for her took some time and she provides valuable insight to this part of my keto journey. Not all the keto books I own made this post because they are not my typical go to books. I like them and enjoy their recipes occasionally, but don’t feel as impressed by their recipes or content as the ones listed here. However, all authors are respected in my eyes and admire for their efforts. Write a book takes time and courage, write a cookbook requires even more of that and a big stomach or lot of willing testers plus washing the dishes!
Do you have any recommendations you would like me to try? Feel free to chime in below and let me know your favorites.