Tristan Haggard from Primal Edge Health said it best in his popular YouTube video “Stop Over-Complicating Keto”. Love him and his shirtless tirades or not (he sure has grown on me and now I don’t wear a shirt anymore, either) the man get’s to the point.
When we started out with Keto in our household, my wife and I were completely obsessed with our level of ketones. Were we in ketosis? Were we out of ketosis? We felt so great. We felt like crap. What were our levels???
It’s completely understandable when you are getting into ketosis for the first time to really want to know if you have entered the blissful “body is in ketosis” stage.
My diabetic educator (and Type 1 diabetic) sister gave us some urine test strips on day four of our new keto lifestyle.
96 hours after cutting carbs down under 20 grams (and slurping up coconut oil like the stores would run out soon) our test showed we were fairly deep in the purple.
Ahhhh. Sweet ketosis.
Well, bitter-freakin-sweet for about 40 days (your mileage may vary) but alas, the bliss did come.
Testing for Nutritional Ketosis
- Urine strips test for acetoacetate. 
- Breath Testers test for acetone. 
- Blood strips test for beta-Hydroxybutyric acid (the good stuff!) 
I can’t imagine paying around $5 usd per day to feed my blood testing meter. Blood ketone levels are the most accurate way to see, well, what your blood ketones levels are.
Urine strips don’t tell us how many usable ketones there are in the blood. Just how many are passing through the kidneys.
When we first start a keto diet, our body is still burning off carbs and converting protein to glucose as it hasn’t started up this ancient ketone burning machine since before General Mills started putting cartoon characters on my cereal box.
So with the body just starting to process the ketones, there are quite a few that just get dumped out the bladder.
Later as you become more adapted to the ketogenic diet, your blood ketone levels may be at a stable nutritional level and your urine ketones may drop down to the oh so slightly pink area on the test strip.
Unless you have been advised, or advised yourself via the interwebs, that you need to be in medical ketosis, metering your ketones is just a fun thing to do in the beginning.
(the author does highly suggest getting a bottle of the inexpensive 150 urine testing strips as it is very fun to see the color change when you start this amazing diet…)
So how do I know if I am in ketosis?
Your results may be different and we were also cutting around 500-800 calories out of our daily diet during our transition (which I highly don’t recommend) but here are a few points that let us know we were in ketosis.
- We felt like utter crap
- We felt amazing
- We were very weak (most likely caloric deficit)
- We could not add 17 + 32 ( I now know this equals 46)
- We were forced to drink bullion cubes around 56 times per day.
- We had a tough time figuring out complicated deductions like what day it was.
What helped us throughout the transition.
- Healthy Vegetables
- Coconut Oil and MCT Oil
- Each other
- Himalayan Salt, Magnesium Glycate, Potassium Citrate and Spinach
- Fresh-squeezed lime juice after exercise
- Those little beef bullion cubes in hot water (there is no beef in them, just so ya know)
- Protein Powder
- Keto Coffee
Week one was rough. Week two was rougher. Week three was better. Week four my body screamed out like “Save my life I’m going down for the last time…).
Week five the storm was over.
Eat the Food.
So instead of over-complicating keto, you can just eat the food.
If you just can’t stand the yucky-ucky taste of spinach and broccoli, this might not be a sustainable diet for you and you might just have to fill your sippy-cup with booze and have another pop-tart while watching your favorite re-run on the telley.
Please get over it and join us.
- Broccoli is amazing and provides just about every chemical you need to support your liver’s role in detoxification. Remember to chew, chew, chew and steam it. Chewing activates the compounds.
- Spinach and other organic above ground vegetables will give you nutrients and fiber.
- Eat lot’s of cocoa.
- Drink whey or ideally pea protein shakes.
- Have bacon and eggs for breakfast when it sounds good.
- MCT oil will help you get through the brain fog
- Salted bulk pumpkin seeds, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and a few Brazilian nuts do wonders (just don’t over consume)
- If you can’t afford organic, grass-fed, hand-raised, free-range, played Mozart to, beef, chicken, eggs, butter and vegetables then that sucks. Perhaps try to manipulate your budget so these things can be added in. Until then just buy what you can afford and don’t over-complicate it.
- Eat from the refrigerator and not from the pantry.
- Ditch all sugar and replace it with powdered stevia, liquid stevia and erythritol.
- Go through that pantry, and if possible, chunk all the processed food. Get rid of all the packaged fat-free sugared-up crap and wheat products. Eliminate grains for 30 days and see how you feel.
- If it says high fructose corn syrup on the label it goes in the trash.
- Ditch all the crap processed vegetable oil, Crisco, safflower, peanut and canola oil.
- Stop heating your olive oil.
- Stick to small amounts of raspberries and blueberries as your fruit for now.
- Don’t buy any more canned foods (BPA in the liner, especially tuna)
Stop over-complicating keto.
Pee strips are fun in the beginning. Going out and getting stocked up on great low-carb health food is always fun.
Nutritional ketosis is not complicated. Just by staying under max 20 grams of net carbs in the beginning you will most likely be in ketosis within 3 days. Make those carbs count from nutrient rich above ground veggies.
If you ditch the soda, the fast food and processed packaged foods in your pantry and replace them with healthy sources of protein, avocados and lovely large salads you will be in ketosis. (oh and go easy on the nuts, but do enjoy them…)
I did. I lost 26 lbs in 45 days and I feel better than I have in years. (20 more pounds to go…)
More links on the way. Thanks for tuning in.
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