The most visited page on this site is, hands down, that plain old PDF found under the 'Resources' tab labeled 'Casey's Keto Food List'. To be clear, it's not really my food list. It's the list I followed when I commenced on the ketogenic diet although at the time I didn't event know the word ketogenic. I just wanted to change my life so as to avoid having to take insulin - or any medication - to deal with Type 2 Diabetes. I hadn't yet been diagnosed with that insidious disease but I knew it really was just a matter of time. I come from a large family of people with metabolic challenges and I was on deck. I've written about the day it all hit home for me previously.
I was also really fat. I had given up on that ever changing. I had been overweight for about thirty years and was sadly resigned to the situation. I've written about this previously. Let me attest to the fact that loss of hope is demoralizing. But while I was pretty sure it was my role to the be the fat lady in the room, the prospect of losing my feet or eyesight or a kidney to diabetes was a bridge too far. I might have been demoralized, but I wasn’t dead.
And so I did what we all do when we need information. I started typing and Ms. Google returned some results for my ‘how to not take insulin for diabetes’ query. I don’t know whether it was the first link I clicked on but I was taken to a video of Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University where he was talking to his clinic patients, as he continues to do every Monday to this day, about how his program addresses obesity and Type 2 Diabetes with food. Not with insulin. On this particular video, whoever had uploaded it had included a link to the food list to which Dr. Westman makes reference several times - "if its' not on page 4, don't eat it" ( 'page 4' because it was the fourth of a five or so page handout for the patients). That seemed simple enough. At the time I didn't understand the physiology of why keeping ones carbohydrate intake to 20 grams or fewer a day would have such a dramatic effect on my body, but the protocol was simple. Always a good thing for me. So I copied the list to my computer, perused it a few times and, the next time I ate something, I left off the carbs.
It was that simple. Really
And what’s really simple is the food list. The thing is, it’s not a magical list. Not a special combination of foods and condiments. It’s a list of various animal products and some non-starchy vegetables. It’s not comprehensive as far as all the fatty sources of protein is concerned. After all, it’s one page. There’s only so much space on a PDF document. For instance, I don’t think bison is listed. Like bison? Have at it. Ditto alligator. You get the idea.
Here’s the thing: while a list is a handy guide as you get started, it’s not a sacred scroll. Once you recognize which foods you like and are likely to go to, the list isn’t needed. In truth, I haven’t referenced it for myself since about the first week into following the diet. Again, it’s animal flesh and a few veggies. And let’s face it, no matter what food routines we have had over the years, have we ever needed 365 different dishes? Heck, have we often deviated from the same half dozen or so? But, the list is there. Use it for what it’s worth. But keep in mind that you can create your own list. Those foods that you like, that you can find in your local market. That suits your life. In our house? Mostly beef, sometimes nice, fatty pork, less frequently poultry and fish. Our veggies, when we eat them at all, rotate between broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini and sometimes Brussels sprouts. Romaine and cabbage for leafy greens. Maybe we’re unusually boring but I bet we’re actually unusually common, to use an oxymoron.
So, try to not fret over that danged list. Or over the protocol itself, which is: keeping carbohydrates to 20g or fewer a day, eat fatty sources of protein (meat with the fat, poultry with the skin, eggs with the yolks, fish), don’t eat if you’re not hungry and stop eating when satiated. Simple. That is not say easy.
That, though, is a topic for another day.
Disclaimer: I’ve been fortunate to have had the time and resources to research the ketogenic diet, also known as LCHF (low carb/high fat). The information I share is based solely on my understanding of that research. We are all responsible for our own choices, including what we put in our mouths and there’s no substitute for each of us checking things out ourselves. And I’m not a medical professional in any way. Go Keto With Casey is not a medical site. “Duh,” you might say. But best to make it clear to all. I welcome questions, comments and even civil criticism. I’m still learning. So, if you have something to add, go for it. Links in this post and all others may direct you to affiliate links, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through those links. Thanks!