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Following the keto diet isn’t easy. For starters, it requires severely cutting back on carbs and sugars, which show up in a lot of foods — and are admittedly delicious.
It also requires careful calculations of your daily macros in order to get and keep your body in ketosis, the state when your body burns fat for energy. And then you have to find a way to feed yourself keto-friendly foods every day with enough variety so you don’t get sick of the whole thing.
It’s no wonder, then, that the diet is notoriously hard to follow, especially for the long term. Still, plenty of people are on the keto diet and have huge success with it.
We tracked down several keto fans and got their tips on the products that helped make and keep their journey to ketosis seamless. Here are their recommendations.
Health coach Tracee Gluhaich tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she adopted the keto lifestyle “after a lot of research … and I absolutely love it.” This kit, which is among her must-haves, uses blood testing to get an accurate read of your ketone and glucose (blood sugar) levels. To use the device, you prick your finger, put a drop of blood on a testing strip, stick it in the machine and get your results. “The strips are very reasonably priced compared to all the other brands,” Gluhaich says.
Keto fan Kyle Todd tells Yahoo Lifestyle that there’s “definitely an adjustment period” when you first start following the keto diet. But, he adds, “once you get in the groove of knowing where hidden carbs are lurking, it is super easy to maintain.” Todd credits Carolyn Ketchum’s cookbooks, like the Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen cookbook, for helping him build up an arsenal of great recipes. This book has more than 150 low-carb, high-fat recipes for keto fans — and Ketchum has written plenty more.
After losing 140 pounds on the keto diet, Stephanie Laska, author of Dirty, Lazy Keto: Getting Started, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she’s “so passionate” about the eating plan. “My favorite tool is the Instant Pot,” she says. “I swear to you that space-aged gadget has changed my life!” Instant Pots, which do the work of several kitchen gadgets in one, can work as a slow cooker, steamer and pressure cooker, among other things. “Once I figured out how to use it by watching a couple of YouTube videos, my keto life improved instantly,” Laska says.
MCT oil (aka medium chain triglycerides oil) is a popular supplement used by people on the keto diet. The fatty acids in the oil helps stabilize your blood sugar and enhance your body’s production of ketones, byproducts of your body breaking down fat for energy. Keto fans will usually add the oil to smoothies or their morning coffee. MCT oil “helps you get into ketosis quicker while allowing you to eat a bit more carbohydrates,” keto follower Aurimas Juodka tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Vitamixes have a reputation for being top-tier blenders — and they can blend just about anything. Ten variable speeds in this blender let you make pretty much every texture, from smooth purees to hearty soups and everything in between. They’re also amazing at crushing ice and can coarsely chop vegetables. Oh! And they clean themselves in less than 60 seconds with just a drop of dish soap and water. “My Vitamix is essential for smoothies and rocket fuel beverages,” Vienna Blum tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Kristen Mancinelli, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Jump Start Ketosis, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her cast iron skillet is one of her favorite keto tools. “It’s the best way to cook something like bacon slices or chicken thighs that are high in fat,” she says. “The fat renders off into the pan and serves as a cooking oil and flavor enhancer for the next item, which ideally is a nonstarchy vegetable like kale or Brussels sprouts.” One of her favorite keto breakfasts involves cooking bacon slices in her pan, followed by kale cooked in the bacon fat, with a few slices of avocado on the side, topped with sea salt.
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