Ten years ago, California-based entrepreneur Thomas DeLauer was smashing goals in his professional life. But at nearly 300 pounds, he was overweight and unhealthy—and it was affecting more than his physical health. “The world just seemed less vibrant and more gray,” he recalls.
Discovering the low-carb, high-fat keto diet through his work in the healthcare industry was a lightbulb moment. He dropped 100 pounds, and today he helps others incorporate keto into their own wellness journeys through his popular YouTube channel and as a nutrition coach. “[Now] the grass is greener and the sky is bluer,” he says. “I live a healthy lifestyle so that I can set the example for my children—so they can see the world the way I do now.”
In short, if you’re curious about the keto diet, Thomas DeLauer is your guy. Read on for DeLauer’s top 10 tips, then stock up on essentials by shopping the “keto” value at Thrive Market.
Wondering whether the keto diet is for you? DeLauer suggests there are two types of people who can really benefit from this way of eating: “Those that want more mental clarity while also losing weight, [and] those that are doing a lot of endurance workouts and weight training.”
If you’re just getting started and the precision required of following the keto diet sounds intimidating (net carbs? Intermittent fasting?), the only number you need to remember is this one: 2:1, the golden ratio for keto. That means, aim for two parts fat to one part protein.
…And speaking of intermittent fasting: it’s commonly associated with the keto diet because both practices work similarly in the body to help burn fat. Although DeLauer says being in ketosis makes fasting easier because it reduces cravings, he acknowledges that it can be tough at first. His advice? “Fast on a busy day so you don’t think about food!”
Looking for a keto-friendly way to wake up your digestive system and metabolism? Mix up DeLauer’s morning elixir: one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt mixed into a glass of water.
To avoid a “keto-mergency,” keep your kitchen stocked with compliant foods—which is easier than it sounds. “Don’t be afraid of convenience foods that are healthy, as long as you do your due diligence,” DeLauer advises, noting to check the label and skip things that include soybean oil. His top Thrive Market keto essentials? Sardines, MCT oil, Thrive Market Organic Ghee, macadamia nuts, and Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (which can be used to make keto-friendly treats).
If you’re new to keto and experiencing symptoms like headaches, G.I. distress, or muscle cramps, you may have what’s known as the keto flu. Don’t be alarmed—it generally passes within a few days of making the dietary shift. In the meantime, one of the best ways to ease the symptoms is to hydrate. Try DeLauer’s easy hack to keep dehydration at bay: add a sprinkle of salt to your water. The salt adds electrolytes, which help correct imbalances that could be preventing your cells from getting the hydration they need.
DeLauer often sings the praises of sardines—in fact, he believes they’re the “perfect keto food”—but acknowledges that cold fish straight from the can doesn’t always appeal. His advice? Throw boneless sardine fillets in a hot pan with a little coconut oil, sprinkle with chili pepper and Himalayan salt, cook for about 15 seconds a side and you have a quick, healthy, keto-friendly dish that’s high in DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain health.
High-quality oils are key on keto, but cooking with olive oil? Not so fast. “You don’t want to heat up olive oil,” DeLauer says. Because of its low smoke point, olive oil goes through a process called lipid peroxidation when it hits the heat, which can cause unhealthy compounds to form. Stick with ghee or avocado oil when cooking, and use olive oil in dressings.
When it comes to incorporating dairy into the keto diet, DeLauer advises being selective. Go for high-quality, grass-fed dairy products, enjoyed in moderation. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is: what about cheese? DeLauer says that the longer a cheese is aged, the better, because that means less lactose. He notes that parmesan is a good option because it’s usually aged for 12 months. He’s also a big fan of goat cheese because it’s low in potentially inflammatory A1 casein protein.
Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.
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