About our 30 Day Keto Challenge
In recent years, the keto diet has established itself as one of the most popular diets to achieve better health and shed extra pounds. Adopting this efficient low-carb, fat-rich diet can promote weight loss while also improving numerous medical conditions. To test whether the diet works for you, it’s a good idea to take up the 30-day keto challenge and experience its effects on your body.
If you are wondering how to get started with the diet, scroll down to learn the rules of the challenge, what you can eat and what you should avoid, how to stick to the diet, and how it can help you lose weight.
The Rules of the 30-Day Keto Challenge
The underlying principle of the 30 day keto diet challenge is to focus on minimizing the intake of carbs while consuming meals and snacks that are rich in fat and protein. You need to restrict carbohydrates to reach the state of ketosis and maintain it throughout the challenge.
If you follow the aforementioned rule, the diet lets you create your own guidelines that suit your specific goals and health. The key to the challenge is to stick with your meal choices for 30 days consistently, further measuring your results.
For most people, eating no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily works best for achieving ketosis, while others complete the challenge successfully even with higher carb consumption. However, the less carbs you have, the easier it is to enter and stay in ketosis. It’s recommended to restrict your carbs to 5 percent while replacing the majority of the cut carbs with fats. Fats must deliver around three-fourth of your total calorie intake, whereas proteins should fulfill around 10-30% of daily energy requirements.
The reduction in carbs makes your body use fats instead of glucose for the production of energy. While the body is in ketosis, it utilizes ketones as an alternative source of fuel, which are fat-derived molecules formed in the liver when glucose is limited. The ketones are further released into your bloodstream where the body cells use them to produce energy. In a nutshell, your muscles, as well as brain, are then fueled by fat instead of carbs.
What Foods to Eat
Below are the different kinds of snacks and food items that you can have throughout your 30-day keto challenge.
Meat and Poultry
Go for meat and poultry that has no added starch, sugars or bread. You can have pork, beef, lamb, and poultry of all kinds. Tofu, tempeh, sausages, and cold cuts are also good options.
Non-starch veggies, including salad vegetables, leafy greens, cucumber, radishes. cauliflower, avocado, cabbage, broccoli, and zucchini are apt for the keto diet, no matter fresh or frozen.
Fish and Seafood
Almost all varieties of fish are keto diet-friendly. Some of the best choices include fatty fishes such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, halibut, squid, shrimp, lobster, and trout.
Avoiding carbs doesn’t necessarily involve ditching dietary cholesterol. So you can have eggs as often as you like. You can prepare them boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, or in an omelet for a quick meal.
Cream, butter, and cheese can be part of a keto diet. Plain Greek yogurt is a good choice. But don’t snack on cheese when you aren’t hungry.
Most fruits contain lots of sugar, but small servings of tart fruits, such as lemons, berries, and limes are perfect for the keto challenge. Berries adorned with dark chocolate and whipped cream make a good keto diet treat.
Nuts and Seeds
Having a moderate amount of low-carb nuts and seeds works as a great snack. You can make pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pine nuts a part of your diet.
Fats and Sauces
Having fats will help you feel fuller longer, but it should come with protein-rich items. Try cooking in olive oil, add salad dressings, or top the meals with cheese. Sauces like garlic butter and mayo will make a good keto diet element.
Summary of foods you can eat
- Beef, chicken, game, lamb, pork, and veal
- Bacon, hotdogs*, organ meats, and sausage*
- Fatty fish and white fish (see our recipes for keto fish meals)
- Crab, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, shrimp, and squid
- Lettuce (Boston, butter, endive, field greens, iceberg, matcha, romaine, and watercress)
- Greens (collard, kale, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip)
- Asparagus, avocados, bok choy, celery, eggplant, herbs, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes, rapini (broccoli raab), tomatoes, and zucchini (find recipes for these veggies in our collection of keto side dishes)
- Artichokes, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, fennel, green beans, jicama, okra, snap peas, snow peas, and turnips (see our visual guide to keto vegetables)
- Blackberries and raspberries (see our visual guide to keto fruits)
- Sliced chicken, corned beef, ham, pancetta, pastrami, prosciutto, roast beef, speck, and turkey
- Sliced chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and soppressata (perfect on our simple keto plates)
- Prepared chicken salad*, egg salad*, and tuna salad*
- Sliced cheese
- Bologna and mortadella
- Butter and ghee
- Heavy cream
- Softer cheeses (blue, buffalo mozzarella, brie, camembert, colby, goat, gouda) and harder cheeses (cheddar, havarti, mozzarella, parmesan, pepper jack, muenster, provolone, and Swiss)
- Eggs (try our delicious collection of keto egg dishes)
- Full fat crème fraîche, feta, cream cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (plain), mascarpone, ricotta, and sour cream
- Whole milk, used sparingly (no more than a couple of tablespoons) in coffee or tea
- Avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, nut oils, and olive oil
- Duck fat, lard, schmaltz (chicken fat), and tallow
- Canned fish or seafood (anchovies, crab, salmon, sardines, and tuna)
- Canned or jarred olives* and sauerkraut
- Hot sauce*, mayonnaise*, mustard*, and vinegar*
- Bouillon cubes and broth
- Dried herbs, psyllium husk powder, and spices
- Pork rinds* and parmesan crisps (for more ideas, visit our keto snacks guide)
- Club soda, coffee, tea, and unsweetened cold brewed coffee or iced tea
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and pili nuts
- Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin)
- Beef jerky* and meat bars*
- Canned coconut milk
- Artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, pickles*, pizza sauce*, tomato sauce*, and soy sauce*
- Cold brewed Bulletproof coffee
Foods To Avoid
To stay true to the keto challenge, here are some things to avoid.
Grains and Legumes
Avoid grains like quinoa, oats, rice, corn, as well as pasta or bread made from whole wheat. Grains and legumes contain lots of carbs and may slow down the weight loss process.
Avoid fruits like bananas, mangoes, oranges, pears, and apples as they are high in carbs and sugar. Go only for low glycemic choices such as avocados, tomatoes, berries, and olives.
Some vegetables contain lots of starch and carbohydrates. So make sure to avoid starchy options such as yams, parsnips, and potatoes.
While milk contains loads of nutrients, it’s also high in carb content, so avoid having milk. However, you may include small amounts of milk in your coffee once a day. Cream is still a better choice for those who have coffee frequently. Consider having unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk if you like smoothies.
Sugary items must be limited on the keto diet. Avoid candy, soda, sports drinks, biscuits, cookies, cakes, desserts, ice cream, and cereals. Make sure to read labels before you purchase anything. Also avoid natural sweeteners, including maple syrup, honey, and agave.
What to Expect During the Keto Challenge
Your body undergoes a few changes in terms of your physical and mental state when you follow the keto challenge. However, those changes are short-term and are only a sign that you have begun your journey towards effective weight loss through the challenge. You can expect the following changes :
In the initial stages of Ketosis, you will feel less hungry as the brain suppresses food cravings and the urge to eat when you ditch carbs.
Increased Urge for Water
As your body gets rid of all the glucose storage, it also loses the stored water and you experience an increased urge to have more water.
Sharpened Cognitive Function
Getting into ketosis improves your brain cells, further making you mentally sharper and function better.
You may experience foul breath when you follow the keto diet challenge. Your breath may become rancid as the ketones, mainly acetone in the body increase which leads to foul breath.
Reduced Energy Levels Soon Followed By an Increase
As the glucose present in your body depletes, you will feel weak initially and may witness a drop in your physical performance. However, you will see a spike in the energy levels once you adapt to the changed fuel source.
Weight loss is surely a major visible sign of entering ketosis. During the challenge, you lose weight due to the drop in fluid levels. Plus, your body burns up the stored fats which further leads to weight loss.
You Might Experience the Keto Flu
The sudden reduction of your carb intake may have its side effects, commonly called the keto flu. Symptoms of the flu include fatigue, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, lack of endurance, constipation, dizziness, and headaches. However, it’s a short-term effect that only lasts only for a few days or some weeks at the maximum.
Drop In Carbohydrate Consumption
When changing your diet, the body immediately reacts to the sudden carbohydrate drop and starts using up the carbs in your system. This creates sugar cravings and resisting that urge may lead to detoxification. But when your body wins over these urges, things fall back to normal.
Drop in Electrolyte Level
The depletion in the body’s glucose levels decreases the production of insulin, which further makes it use the stored up water and sodium. As a result, the levels of magnesium and calcium in your body also decrease. The drop in the 4 electrolytes, including magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium has some effects on the body that you experience as keto flu.
The solution to combat the symptoms of the flu is to go for proper electrolyte management and take additional magnesium, sodium, and potassium during the keto challenge. You can eat nuts seeds, fatty fish, or artichokes to increase your magnesium consumption, or simply go for magnesium supplements.
For calcium, you can have salmon, sardines, dairy, kale, and broccoli. Also, make sure to increase your sodium intake to balance the insulin levels when going into ketosis. Adding salt to your meals will increase your body’s sodium levels, while you can have nuts, leafy greens, salmon, avocado, or mushrooms for potassium. Having a glass of water with some potassium salt every morning also boosts your potassium levels.
How Much Weight you may Lose on a Ketogenic Diet?
The exact amount of weight you lose on a keto diet largely varies with your age, height, weight, activity level, body mass index, and other medical conditions that affect your metabolism, However, on average, a sustainable healthy goal for the 30 day keto challenge remains 1-3 pounds per week.
For the first month on keto, if you rightly stay consistent with a calorie-deficit meal plan, you can probably lose around 10 pounds or more. After a month, your body becomes adapted to more fat and gains more efficiency at burning fat for body fuel.
Tips to Stick to the 30 Day Keto Challenge
Initially, it may seem a bit difficult to stick to a new diet routine, but following a few quick tips listed below would make it a lot easier.
Drink Plenty of Water
Being on the keto diet makes it too easy for the body to become dehydrated, so make sure to have at least 64 Oz of water every day. While this is the recommended minimum, you can always have more if possible, especially if you exercise daily.
Reduce Your Protein Portions by Half
Some believe that following a keto diet is about taking lots of protein. Gradually, they end up getting frustrated because they think they’re eating few carbs yet aren’t losing weight. They don’t realize that an over intake of protein is keeping them from losing weight. It’s good to cut proteins in half as compared to an average person.
Cook in Batches
Going for batch cooking is one of the best tips to stick to your keto diet as it eliminates the need to cook every day. Simply prepare the entire week’s meal in one day, later taking out the food from the freezer and reheating it when needed. Batch cooking ensures you’ve ample of keto-friendly food to cover all the meals, which can be a boon for those on a busy schedule. This prevents you from going for unhealthy takeaways due to lack of time.
Master Some Quick Dishes and Fatty Sauces
You mustn’t get bored of eating similar items repeatedly, and what comes to the rescue is some delicious sauces. Experts say that anyone going for the 30 day keto challenge should thoroughly learn to prepare a few go-to dishes and some fat-loaded sauces, like lemon-cream sauce or pesto sauce.
Keep Low-Carb Snacks Handy
You may feel hungry in the office or at unexpected hours as getting into a new diet regime isn’t always easy. Keep low-carb snacks on hand, such as low-carb hummus, hard-boiled eggs, keto-friendly yogurt, keto bars, or homemade trail mix to avoid eating fast food.
It’s good to go for some form of regular exercise as it helps you stick to your 30-day keto challenge and makes it easy for the body to adapt to the new lifestyle. Exercising increases the ketone levels of your body, while also removing any of its stored glucose.
Why the Keto Diet is Better Than Other Diets?
The basic principle behind the keto diet is quite similar to that of most other diets – burning more calories than you consume. But, the main difference is that having proteins and fats makes you feel full for longer as compared to carbohydrates. Though fat is avoided as it’s very high in calories, a ketogenic diet involves 90% of your daily calorie consumption to come from fat. Research exhibits that keto diet is much more effective at helping you lose weight than low-fat diets.
Additionally, the keto diet increases satiety and suppresses hunger, which can help if one is trying to lose weight. While most people go for the keto diet as a short-term solution, one can achieve weight loss much faster with a ketogenic meal plan than with a calorie-reduction diet. And that’s what makes the keto diet better than other diets.
Once you know what to eat and what not to eat to complete the 30 day keto challenge successfully, all it takes is some effort to stick to the regime, and you will start experiencing its positive effects in no time. Simply prepare a meal plan that contains a balanced amount of low-carb high-fat foods and combine the same with some physical activity, and voila! Soon, you will get in better shape as well as achieve overall physical and mental well-being.