Newbies & Keto

Newbies & Keto

My top question of everyday is “where do I begin?!” So that’s what we are going to cover today. When I type or write, I have to have everything organized with bullet points or numbers. There might be a chart every now and then. I’m a very visual person, so I learn best when I have stuff broken down, and put into perspective. Visuals are a must, so be prepared.

Today, we will cover the general beginners’ questions. Below is a meal plan and a grocery list to get started. Remember, the first week is always the hardest but if you follow this meal plan and use your “tools”, you can’t fail.

Here is what we will cover today:

  • What is a Ketogenic Diet?
  • HIGH Fat? – Are you sure?
  • How do I count Carbs?
    • What are Macros and why are they important?
  • Where do I begin?
    • 1st weeks meal plan
    • Grocery List
  • How do I track my carbs?

Let’s get started, shall we?

  • What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Basically, the ketogenic diet switches your body’s metabolism to burn fat as energy instead of glucose, or carbs. According to Live Science, “Carbohydrates are the sugar, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk products.”


If you’re familiar with Keto at all, then you might know of someone called Jason Wittrock. If not, he is a personal trainer, fitness model, physique competitor, and spokesmodel. He specializes in the Ketogenic diet and has some really cool videos and a lot of information on his websites. I’ll be mentioning them quite a bit, because he is where I get a lot of my information from. Anyways, Keto Cycle states that “Carbohydrates in your diet are replaced with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein. By restricting carbohydrates, your body is able to release stored fatty acids trapped inside fat cells. These fatty acids travel to your liver and produce ‘ketone molecules’ to be used as energy for your brain and body, which puts your body in the ‘state of ketosis.’”


Keto Cycle explains it this way:


A ketogenic diet can help with fat loss, inflammation decrease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as curb cravings and suppress your appetite. It’s a wonderful way of eating with countless benefits!

  • HIGH Fat? – Are you sure?

So I’ve researched this quite a bit, and everyone says the same thing, fat is a huge factor in the ketogenic diet. Why, you ask? Because once your body is in Ketosis, it is no longer running off of glucose, or carbs. Your body has turned into a literal fat burning machine. To break it down even further here is a cool little graph from


So instead of your body using glucose and carbs for energy, your body is burning fatty acids to produce ketones which are energy!

  • How do I count carbs?

So this actually a lot easier than most people think. I hear a lot of “ohmygod!” when I tell people that I count carbs. Seriously y’all, it’s simple.

There are two ways of counting carbs: TOTAL Carbs and NET Carbs.

Total Carbs

Total carbs are just that, total. On the nutrition facts, the number beside “CARBS” is your total carbs for that item. I find that counting carbs this way, I am more hungry, so I stick with counting Net Carbs.

Net Carbs

Net carbs are a little more complex, but if you’re good at simple subtraction, you can do this. So the most normal thing you will see listed directly under Carbohydrates is Fiber. While counting net carbs, you will always subtract the fiber from the carbs. So if an item has 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber, then that item will be 1 net carb. 3-2=1. Simple right?

So now you’re probably asking why you subtract fiber. Well, fiber is a funny thing. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body just can’t digest, therefore it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels.  Since our bodies don’t digest fiber, the fiber in the food passes into the intestine and absorbs water. The undigested fiber basically creates “bulk” so the muscles in the intestine can push the waste (poo) out of the body.

Another thing you can subtract from carbohydrates is “Sugar Alcohols”. Sugar alcohols do not raise your blood sugar, so it is commonly subtracted. I would be careful about watching your sugar alcohol intake. Not only can they stall your weight loss, they can also cause stomach cramps and diarrhea. Trust me when I say to never trust a fart – I swear it will be a shart.

  • What are Macros and why are they important?

Macros is short for Macronutrients. According to Ketogasm, “Macronutrients are the energy-giving components of food that fuels our body. They include carbohydrates, protein, and fat; this is where your dietary calories come from. Grasping the concept of macros is important for the keto diet because you need to find the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats to get into ketosis, stay in ketosis, and turn your body into a fat burning machine.”

The average macro percentages go as follows: Carbs 5%, Protien 20%, Fat 75%. Please remember that the “average” isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of macro calulators to help you figure out what your macros should sit at. My personal favorite is from Keto Connect, you can find it here. My personal macros – according to the calculator – are Carbs 3%, Protien 15%, 82% Fat.

  • Where do I begin?

GOOD QUESTION! First, clean out your pantry and fridge. I find it the hardest to stay on track when there are Hot Cheetos and pizza in the house. Seriously. Next, stock up on good keto friendly snacks such as pepperoni, almonds, pork rinds, cheese, and pickles.

My first week was the hardest. I was so hungry ALL the time for the first few days, and I swear Wesley and I went through 2 giant bags of cheese in less than a week. However, once my body finally got into ketosis, I wasn’t hungry near as often as I was in the beginning, and I had SO much energy. I seriously felt like a three year old who was given one too many pixie sticks.

Since your body is withdrawing from carbs, its likely that you will feel sluggish, tired, and foggy, however it doesn’t last forever. If you experience this you may have a bout of Keto Flu. Now don’t panic, no need to run to the doctor for an antibiotic. It will go away on its own, but you may be lacking some important vitamins and nutrients. I will include a video from Jason Wittrock that explains the top 5 keto mistakes, this includes the potassium and magnesium that you might need to supplement with. If you feel like you are lacking in any vitamin or nutrient, go see a doctor immediately, and see what you can do to add that back into your diet. I personally try to eat as many leafy green vegetables and avocados as possible. Once I find a supplement that I like, I will post about it, but for now, I like veggies.

Here is the video I mentioned. Please, please, please watch this before going further! I promise it is worth it!

Meal prep is also a huuuuge factor in your success with this way of eating. If you are able to meal prep on your own, then go for it. I have included a first week meal plan with some of my favorite recipes, and a grocery list. All of the recipes will be attached to my Pinterest board which you can find here.


Once your first week of Keto is done, you will feel much more comfortable and be able to meal prep on your own. I keep the grocery list on hand because this is my usual list anyways. I added more vegetables and other items not needed for the meal plan, but you can swap anything out with whats on the grocery list.

  • How do I track my carbs?

There are a few different apps out there that make tracking your carbs easier. The most common one is My Fitness Pal. I used this one for a long time when I first started Keto. It’s very user friendly, and I would recommend it for beginners. There are two thing with MFP that I don’t particularly care for, it doesn’t track Net Carbs and most of the listed items are “verified” (little blue check) which means the nutrition facts might not be correct. However, it does show your nutrients so you’re able to subtract the fiber which is listed directly under carbohydrates, and if you scan the item you’re eating, your nutrition facts will be correct.

Another app is called CarbManager. Couple of downfalls with this one as well, I believe it is only out on Apple devices, it cost $2.99, and its not as user friendly. There’s a lot of unnecessary clicking when you have to create your own recipe – but hey, at least I can input my recipes, right? I really do enjoy this app the most, but I frequent both quite a lot.

Those are the only two I’m really familiar with. If you have something else that you use to track your carbs, let me know in the comments!

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!

Be sure to follow my Keto Facebook page: Arkansas’s Keto Kraze!

Thanks for reading!


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