The #1 issue with the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) is a complete lack of focus on micronutrients.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Superfoods are the best source of micronutrients, but they are high in carbohydrates; and carbohydrates are only allowed in very small amounts by the SKD.
The meal plan we have devised follows the ketogenic diet and incorporates Superfoods to eliminate the typical problems people experience with The Standard Ketogenic Diet - such as constipation, bad breath, muscle cramps, low electrolytes, low vitamins and low intake of the foods with the most health benefits.
Instead of following the Standard Ketogenic Diet, we propose a different type of Ketogenic Diet called the Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (DCKD). In this diet, you are in ketosis for ~20 hours per day and out of ketosis for ~4 hours per day. During the ~4 hours per day that you are out of ketosis, you are eating high micronutrient foods (like superfoods, vegetables, and fruits).
If you are a little new to the Ketogenic Diet or want to really understand the details behind the what/how/why to what this diet is, please first read this article: Ketogenic Diet Overview - A Beginners Guide.
What is the Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
In the Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (DCKD), you will move in and out of ketosis each day. This plan has you in ketosis for approximately 20 hours per day and out of ketosis for 4 hours a day.
If you were prescribed the Ketogenic Diet by your doctor, please discuss the DCKD with him/her first, to validate that there's not a medical reason why you need to be in the ketosis state all day every day.
We recommend DCKD because it solves the #1 issue with the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) - which is that people are not consuming enough micronutrients, which leads to common complaints like constipation, bad breath, muscle cramps, low electrolytes, low vitamins and low intake of the foods with the most health benefits.
The SKD has a complete lack of focus on micronutrients (e.g. vitamins, minerals, anitoxidants, phytochemicals, etc.). It only focuses on the ratio of macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) that you should be eating. And that ratio is high fat, low carb. Low carb means low fruits and vegetables; and fruits and vegetables are known to be dense with micronutrients. Hence the problem.
The Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (DCKD) solves these problems. In this diet, you are in ketosis for ~20 hours per day and out of ketosis for ~4 hours per day. During the ~4 hours per day that you are out of ketosis, you are eating a high micronutrient foods (like superfoods, vegetables, and fruits).
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Meal Categories
The meal plan will consist of consuming foods in 4 different categories: Ketone Booster, Very Low Carb (VLCARB), High Micronutrient, and Intermittent Fast.
Ketone Booster Meal Category:
This meal category is meant to boost your ketone levels and provide you with energy.
Ketone Boosters are high in Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCT's), which your body is more easily able to convert into Ketones than other types of fat or stored fat. High levels of MCT's are found in Coconut Oil (65% of the fat in Coconut Oil is MCT's).
The most common Ketone boosters are:
- Keto Coffee (aka "Bulletproof" coffee)
- Matcha Keto Latte
Recipes for Keto Coffee and Matcha Keto Latte differ, but typically it's just:
- 1 Cup Coffee or Matcha Tea
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or MCT Oil
- 1 Tbsp Grass Fed Butter or Grass Fed Ghee
- Optional: Heavy Cream
We propose adding superfoods to this recipe to make them "Superfood Keto Coffee" and "Superfood Matcha Tea Latte".
Superfoods like Cacao, Cinnamon, and Maca are the most common superfoods added to Keto Coffee.
There are 2 primary reasons we recommend adding superfoods:
- Superfoods are dense in micronutrients. One of the biggest issues with the Standard Ketogenic Diet is a lack of micronutrients. Adding superfoods to your Ketone Booster will help overcome this gap.
- Superfoods are high in antioxidants, which remove free radicals from your body. The reason this is so important for the Keto Diet has to do with LDL ("Bad") Cholesterol. Keto Coffee and Keto Matcha Latte are very high in saturated fats - which can raise cholesterol levels. When LDL Cholesterol interacts with a free radical, the free radical will oxidize the LDL Cholesterol and turn it into Oxidized LDL ("Very Bad") Cholesterol. This is bad because Oxidized LDL Cholesterol is what can clog your arteries. By adding high antioxidant superfoods to these drinks, you are helping reduce your free radicals, thus lowering the ability of LDL Cholesterol from turning into Oxidized LDL Cholesterol.
Keto Coffee and Keto Matcha Latte are very high in saturated fats - which can raise LDL ("Bad") cholesterol levels.
Free Radicals can turn LDL Cholesterol into Oxidized LDL ("Very Bad") Cholesterol.
This is very bad because Oxidized LDL Cholesterol is what can clog your arteries.
Anxioxidants help remove free radicals from your body, thus lowering the ability for LDL Cholesterol to turn into Oxidized LDL Cholesterol.
This is why we recommended adding high antioxidant superfoods to these drinks; and to the Ketogenic Diet in general.
Very Low Carb Meal Category:
This meal category is meant to keep you in ketosis. You want to follow the standard SKD macronutrient breakout for this meal (70-80% fat calories, 15-20% protein calories, and <10% carb calories) for this meal.
Remember: for the keto diet, we are looking for very low carb, high fat, and low protein. This is because fats are converted into Ketones while protein is not.
Here are a list of foods we recommend:
- Best Seafood with Low Mercury: anchovy, butterfish, catfish, clam, crab, crawfish, croaker (Atlantic), flounder, haddock (Atlantic), hake, herring, jacksmelt, mackeral (north Atlantic), mullet, oyster, plaice, pollock, salmon (canned or wild), sardine, scallop, shrimp, sole (Pacific), calamari, trout (freshwater), whitefish, whiting.
- Best Dairy with Low Protein (try to find grass fed dairy): Butter, ghee, heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, sour cream, brie, cheddar and parmesan cheese
- Best Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, black cumin seeds, black sesame seeds, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Best Fruits: Avocados, Olives
- Best Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, any greens, kale, garlic, mushrooms, onion, parsnips, peppers, rutabaga, tomatoes, zucchini
- Best Meats: Bacon (nitrate free), Grass fed beef, lamb, wild game meats
- Best Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, cocoa butter, grass fed butter or ghee, lard or tallow from organically raised animals, duck fat, extra virgin olive oil (don’t heat)
- Best Sweeteners: Stevia
High Micronutrient Meal Category:
This meal category is meant to pack in dense micronutrient foods. We want these loaded with antioxidants. Just remember that the more carbs you consume during this meal - the longer you will stay out of ketosis. So you still want to watch your carbs, because our goal is to have you in ketosis for as long as possible.
The best foods to be eating during this meal is nutrient dense fruits, vegetables, and superfoods. We recommend a superfood smoothie and a very easy way to do this.
If you want to calculate how long you will be out of ketosis for, you can consider each calorie coming from net carbs = 1.4 minutes out of ketosis.
As an example, let's say you eat 128 calories from net carbs. You would take 128 ÷ 1.4 = 91 minutes. So you would be out of ketosis for roughly 1.5 hours if you consumed 128 calories of net carbs.
Want to see more detail for how/why? Read below (bullet points correlate with the picture that follows) ...
- "Net carbs" (Step 1) is a term that represents the total amount of carbs without the fiber included (since fiber cannot be converted into glucose, we don't need to worry about fiber). Or if you like math: Total Carbs - Fiber = Net Carbs.
- "Calories from Net Carbs" (Step 2) can be calculated by taking Net Carb Grams x 4 = Calories from Net Carbs.
- "Minutes out of Ketosis" (Step 5) can be calculated by taking the Calories from Net Carbs ÷ 1.4 = Minutes out of Ketosis.
- That "1.4" number from above can differ per person and represents how many minutes it takes your body to burn off 1 gram of net carb. The real number is dependent on a.) your metabolism rate and b.) how your body reacts to burning carbs vs. fat vs. protein. If you want, you can adjust this number based on your metabolim rate (Steps 3 and 4).
Here's an example:
Intermittent Fast Meal Category:
It may seem a little odd to have this as a "meal category", but this really just means "skip a meal" or consume 0 calories.
Many people following the Keto Diet to lose weight will also incorporate intermittent fasting (or meal skipping) into their plan. We like to promote consuming all your calories within a 6 hour window. So let's say you consume all your calories between noon - 6pm each day. You are then in a fasted state for 18 hours per day.
In a fasted state, you will be burning stored fat for energy - thus a fasted state is also a state of ketosis. In fact, fasting is the original Ketogenic Diet. The Ketogenic Diet was created to try to mimic the mental state of the body that occurs when you're fasting (e.g. having your braining running off ketones instead of glucose).
Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan
First 10 Days: Adaptation Period (Getting your body "Fat Adapted")
The first 10 days of this plan is to get your body "Fat Adapted".
Your body is so used to being fueled by carbs/glucose, that it isn't efficient at using fat as energy. Try skipping a meal sometime. If you are not fat adapted, your body will make meal skipping very painful because it's too used to getting glucose for energy and not efficient at using stored fat for energy.
For the first 10 days, we want you to to follow the Standard Ketogenic Diet. This means that all of your meals should be coming from the Very Low Carb and Ketone Booster food categories. Your total net carb intake for the day should be less than 10% of your total calories.
To make this process easiest, we do not recommend fasting or being calorie deficient during the adaptation period. Allow your body this time to adjust to using the fat from food for energy. After the fat adaptation period, then you can lower your calorie count or implement intermittent fasting - which will have your body using your stored body fat for energy.
The reason why most people say, "I could never skip a meal or I would feel terrible" is because they are not fat adapted and their bodies are not efficient at pulling energy from stored fat. We want to get your body to a place where the metabolic pathways can easily switch between getting its energy from glucose (from food), fat (from food), and fat (from your stored body fat).
Ongoing Plan (After the Adaptation Period): Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan
The general rule of the Daily Cyclical Ketogenic Diet is to have one High Micronutrient Meal per day and the rest of your meals or snacks should come from the other meal categories (Ketone Booster, Very Low Cart, or Intermittent Fast).
When you choose to have these meals - it is up to whatever works best for you. Most people will choose to have a Superfood Keto Coffee (a Ketone Booster) in the morning in place of their breakfast; and then do a high micronutrient meal as their lunch, followed by a very low carb meal for dinner.
Try not to consume more than about 200 calories (50 grams) of Net Carbs from your High Micronutrient Meal. Consuming too many carbs from this meal will prolong how long you are out of ketosis for. Here is a link to some low net carb superfood smoothie recipes that you should consider for the High Micronutrient Meal.
Below is an image of some example daily cyclical ketogenic meal plans that we like. The best plan(s) are the ones that you are likely to follow long-term. It will be different for everyone, which is why these are just examples. You may like doing Example 2 every day of the week, and there is nothing wrong with that.
If your goal is weight loss, you can lose weight using any of these examples, just as long as your total calorie consumption is less than your metabolism rate. However, if you want to really accelerate weight loss, see if you can do a fasting day (example 4) 1-2x per week and 6-hour window day (example 5) 4-5x per week.