All Things Keto, According to Suzanne Ryan of Keto Karma

Bloggers, Health and Wellness, Healthy Eating

After losing 120 pounds just by switching to a ketogenic lifestyle, Suzanne Ryan is probably the best person to talk to us about the keto diet. It helps that she also runs the wildly popular blog Keto Karma. Still not sure what keto actually is, despite hearing about it nonstop from your neighbor and everyone you follow on Insta? Simply put: It’s a high-fat, low-carb diet that works to shift the body’s metabolic focus away from burning carbs and sugar as fuel (because you’re not really eating them anymore) and, instead, targeting fat (via ketones), produced by the liver.

 

It takes a couple of days of eating very few carbohydrates in order to reach ketosis, usually cutting back to just 20 to 50 grams a day. (If you’re wondering, a banana has about 30 grams of carbs.) The diet is made up of lots of meat, eggs, cheese, high-fat dairy, poultry, seafood, and plant-based fats (avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.) Foods that are to be avoided include most fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and sugar.

Still have a few more questions? Ryan can clear things up with her insights, tips and tricks.

What does keto mean to you?

Keto is a way of eating that isn’t one size fits all. Keto is eating in a way in which your body uses ketones for energy instead of glucose. Keto paired with a mindset change means freedom from emotional and overeating, it’s a peaceful state, which allows you to stay away from food that causes cravings and leaves you feeling sluggish.

So many people don’t really seem to understand what keto is. How do you easily explain it to people?

Simply put: Keto is a low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet that switches your body over from running on sugar (glucose) to running on fat (ketones).

What exactly is on the menu for a keto diet? Walk us through a typical day. A typical busy day with morning meetings and social engagements, that is!

One of the best things about keto is how easy it is to eat on the run, in a hurry or even dining out. For busy mornings, I usually premake egg muffins (eggs, bacon and cheese baked in muffin tins), which reheat quickly for a grab and go breakfast. For lunch, a salad with ranch or Caesar—minus the croutons—with some chicken and avocado. For dinner or dining out, simply order a non-breaded protein, pair it with a non-starchy veggie and some butter and you’re good to go! Even ordering a lettuce-wrapped burger is easy to do at almost any restaurant!

What is it about keto that speaks to you? There are so many dietary plans these days—why is this the one that’s special?

I’ve tried nearly every diet under the sun to lose weight, and none of them have been as livable and easy to stick to as keto. Within the first month I was able to lose 21 pounds, and I remember being so excited when I finally felt that I could be successful! I struggle with emotional eating, and when I was eating sugar and lots of carbs, I felt like those foods worked against me and kept me stuck in a vicious cycle of hunger and food cravings. I remember that I used to feel hungry all the time before keto. Eating keto satisfies my appetite and majorly diminishes cravings and tendencies to overeat.

You do keep carbs in the house, despite the fact that they’re not part of the keto diet. How do you coexist with them like that?

I have a five-year-old who isn’t fully keto, so we do have carbs in the house. I recommend removing the temptation if possible, but for me, it was something I had to learn to deal with and it’s made me stronger, because the truth is that the world has carbs! I changed my focus and mindset: It’s not that I can’t have the carbs, it’s just that I don’t want to have them due to how they make me feel. With any lifestyle change, mindset really is key!

We’re guessing it wasn’t always that easy? In fact, we’ve heard the first few weeks of keto can be difficult. True or false?

The first two or three weeks of any change is tough, but the benefits outweigh the temporary struggle. Let’s face it, sugar is addictive and you literally detox and crave it at first. But the next thing you know, your tastes start to change, you don’t feel hungry all the time and feel more energetic and notice that you’re losing weight!

Do you cook differently for your daughter?

I do encourage her to try new foods and try to make things that we all enjoy. Since she isn’t fully keto, sometimes I just make her a different side, so it’s easy to accommodate people at dinner who are both keto and not keto!

What are some of your favorite keto recipes?

  • Keto Chili: There are no beans, and it’s super flavorful and easy to make. It just needs 30 minutes in an instant pot or a day-long stint in the slow cooker.
  • Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole: This is a delicious side with a comfort food feel! Replacing potatoes with cauliflower is an easy substitute and it’s always a crowd pleaser (even with people who aren’t keto or swear they don’t like cauliflower!). It’s always the first side dish to be eaten at a party!
  • A basic Cobb or a Caesar salad: They’re crisp and refreshing and you truly don’t miss the croutons!

We’re guessing you love the Instant Pot. Besides that, are there any kitchen gadgets or tools that help you stick to the keto lifestyle?

I love a spiralizer because it helps you easily make noodles out of zucchini! It’s great for days when you want a pasta dish without the carbs!

What’s your grocery shopping strategy?

I mostly shop on the outside aisles of the store—minus the bakery, of course! So we’re talking about fresh and whole ingredients: meats, fish, butter, cheese, non-starchy veggies, etc.

What’s the one thing you think people who are considering the keto diet need to know before they get started.

That there is truly a recipe for almost anything and everything you love—but made with low-carb ingredients. In my book, Simply Keto, I show the readers how you can still enjoy many of the foods you love but with modified ingredients! You just have to make some smart-but-simple swaps.

 

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