A Natural Approach to Better Health

5 Basics You Need to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet (psst: it’s pretty simple!)

You’ve been spending months pinning keto recipes on Pinterest, reading blogs and watching YouTube videos all on this high fat way of life. You’ve even made yourself a bulletproof coffee or two. It’s time, you’ve decided, to jump in with both feet!
Now what?

Here are a few basics that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone getting ready to embrace this awesome lifestyle!


Please let me take a minute to let you know that this whole keto thing does NOT have to be complicated! It really doesn’t! You can easily get overwhelmed and tripped up by all the differing opinions and perspectives out there. But if you take ONE piece of advice from me let it be this: YOU DO YOU! You decide how you want to do Keto and let everyone else do it in their own way as well.

What do I mean by this??

Some people like to track macros, some don’t. Some include dairy and peanut butter, some don’t. Some people test their ketones, others don’t…. and on and on. You get it. There are only truly a few MUSTS for success on the ketogenic diet.

Here are my recommendations:


This is a FREE APP you can download on your phone & it makes it super convenient to TRACK YOUR MACROS.

Do you have to track? NOPE. But, I would recommend doing it in the beginning if you are totally new to this whole thing. Why? You will be surprised with what foods have carbs and how high they can be! If you truly want to get into ketosis, it is important to figure this piece out early on.

Do you have to use myfitnesspal as your tool of choice? NOPE. But, it’s FREE and pretty easy to use. There are others out there. If there’s something else you prefer: go for it! Remember: YOU DO YOU. I just caution against making things too complicated for yourself.

Do you need to purchase the PAID version of myfitnesspal? NOPE. Don’t need it. Everything you need you get with the free version.


They are important for everyone, but EXTRA important when you’re following a ketogenic protocol. When you are starting out with this new way of eating your kidneys will shift from retaining water & sodium to getting rid of them at a faster rate. Of course our bodies will work to keep everything balanced and due to this our blood volume shrinks to maintain sodium blood concentration. What does this feel like? Irritability, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, constipation…KETO FLU

But don’t worry! We can do something about it! ??

Making sure you are getting enough electrolytes will help stave off these keto flu symptoms! You need:

  • Sodium (5000-7000mg)
  • Potassium (1000-3500mg)
  • Magnesium (300-500mg)

SODIUM: I use sea salt & Himalayan salt & just make sure to use it on my food. If I am having a day where I am particularly fatigued, irritable, having brain fog…I’ll put some in my water with lemon. I also take a little pinch before a workout & it helps with stamina.

POTASSIUM: You can typically get what you need from potassium rich foods (listed below) & you do need to be careful that you do not overdo Potassium as that can be dangerous.

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Kale

You really need to supplement for this. Over 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient which causes a whole host of issues. When you are following a ketogenic diet, your levels will drop even further, as mentioned above. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! You MUST supplement in order to feel good and replenish your electrolytes!

You can find a pill form or powdered drink. Also, soaking in a bath for 20 min in Epsom salt is an excellent way to absorb magnesium into your body {magnesium also helps with muscle fatigue & cramps, constipation and sleep}. What I recommend and use {a couple different options}:

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Plus Calcium Magnesium Anti Stress, Organic, Raspbery Lemon, 16 oz

Triple Calm Magnesium – 150mg of Magnesium Taurate, Glycinate, and Malate for Optimal Relaxation, Stress and Anxiety Relief, and Improved Sleep. 120 Capsules.


In order to stick to this, you need to set yourself up for success! Remove the garbage from your house & keep a basic supply of keto foods stocked at all times so you don’t find yourself reaching for things that will derail you.

As a holistic health coach, I encourage people to buy things that don’t just match the macronutrient profile you need to aim for, but also are free of chemicals, hormones, preservatives, nitrates & nitrites & pesticides, etc.


All of these artificial and harmful substances in our foods cause underlying issues that have HUGE long-term impacts on our health. Everything from hormone disruption, chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions to neurological conditions. I sure hope your goals in regards to your health go beyond just looking good in a bathing suit.

Where can you shop and not spend a FORTUNE??

The good news here is that a lot of grocery stores are starting to carry healthier options that are free of all the crap. This is AWESOME! However, if you’re like me you A) like a good deal and B) love convenience.

If this is you, I invite you to check out Thrive Market online! They offer TONS of amazing options that are organic and HEALTHY at a fraction of what you would pay at most grocery stores. Their mission is to make healthy foods more accessible to everyone both financially and by delivering them right to your door {I know not everyone has a grocery store in their that offers good options}.

With Thrive Market you pay a yearly membership fee {like Costco}. HOWEVER, you get to try your first 30 days FREE! Also: shipping is always FREE on orders over $49 {HELLO…do you EVER walk out of the store with less than $49 worth of groceries when you go for more than just a couple of items?? Me neither!}.

Use my link for Thrive Market here and get 25% OFF your first order!

Some of my favorites from Thrive: macadamia nuts, NuCo wraps {coconut wraps}, coconut oil, Lily’s dark chocolate, pink Himalayan salt, Swerve, Primal Kitchen mayo & dressings…to name just a few!


There are 3 ways you can test your ketone levels:

1. Urine Strips: super cheap but I would NOT RECOMMEND this.

When your body starts producing ketones at the beginning of your journey the urine strips will indicate this by showing you a color on your strip that lets you know what level of ketones it detects. HOWEVER, in the beginning your body spills ketones out through urine because it is not efficient at using ketones for fuel ⛽️. Weeks and months down the road your body becomes a pro at using ketones for fuel {yay!! ?} but then they won’t be as prevalent in your urine. DO NOT mess with your head by using urine strips!!! ? You could be deep in ketosis and not know it with these because we need to know what your ketone level is at in your BLOOD, not urine!!!

2. Breath meter: measures acetone in your breath. New machines are becoming available for this as we speak. I personally do not have experience with them so I cannot recommend either way. Research suggests that the level of acetone in your breath is a good indicator of ketones in your blood.

3. Blood ketone meter: ❤️
This is what I personally prefer & recommend. I want true measures of ketones in my blood therefore I love this method ?? There are spendy devices out there but I found one that is very affordable! {They also offer helpful tutorial videos which I watched to help when I first started and to be SUPER HONEST: I was scared to prick my finger ??‍♀️ But the video really helped calm my nerves and it’s truly no big deal now. Plus, the guy has a cool accent and somehow that just makes it all better. I know I’m not the only one thinking this.}

KETO MOJO is what I use. Any other device I found was well over what I was willing to spend. I bought mine for $49.99! AND the ketone strips are .99 right now {if you get in on their founders club offer} rather than $3-4/strip! NO JOKE.

SIDE NOTE about testing your ketones. Is it an absolute NECESSARY thing in order to be successful?? NOPE. Is it helpful YES! This is totally a personal choice and I started out not testing, but it sure does help keep me on track and teaches me a ton about how my body responds to certain foods and even exercise in terms of ketones.


When your body produces ketones they are considered “endogenous” ketones. When you consume ketones and take them into your body, they are considered “exogenous” ketones.

Considering the fact that you are reading a blog post about the ketogenic diet, it is highly likely you’ve heard of exogenous ketones and have seen advertisements for them. Let me give you a little insight into exogenous ketones:

Are exogenous ketones necessary to have success on the ketogenic diet? NOPE {are you surprised?}. Are they useful? They sure can be!

So, these guys are awesome in several different circumstances, but once again, it is a personal choice as to whether or not you use them.

1. Getting through the dreaded keto flu. Exogenous ketones can really help boost your energy and stamina through this period! If you are good about getting your electrolytes in, then this will add one more awesome tool against keto flu!

2. Mental clarity. I personally like using my exogenous ketones when I have a project to focus on or if I have had a crappy nights’ sleep and need that extra energy. What I LOVE about ketones is that you don’t get that caffeine high and then crash. It feels like natural energy…because it is! Our bodies LOVE ketones for fuel!

3. Before a workout. Exogenous ketones can offer that extra energy source for an intense workout.

4. To help get you back into ketosis. So…for my birthday I chose to indulge with my favorite meal: fish & chips and a hard cider. (Excuse me as I drool.) The next morning I took my exogenous ketones AND got right back on my keto plan with a bulletproof coffee!

IMPORTANT: Exogenous ketones are NOT meant to replace following a ketogenic diet. This is not a tool to use so that you can eat whatever you want. It does NOT work that way and you will cheat your body out of becoming a fat burner {and your results {or lack thereof} will show this. If used correctly, exogenous ketones can be a fantastic tool in your tool belt on your keto plan!

What I use & recommend {and WHY}:
I have tried several different exogenous ketone brands. I LOVE Perfect Keto because they were created by a functional practitioner (Dr. Anthony Gustin) who aims to provide a product without all the unneeded “junk” in it. He also purposes to have a more affordable product (there are some EXPENSIVE ones out there!) that you can easily access by just ordering online. I like simple. I like effective. I like functional. We have a winner!

Now for a plan…

If you are going to be successful with a ketogenic protocol, you need to be committed. Make sure it’s the right time for you. Make sure you are ready to dive in and not let distractions derail you {life will ALWAYS bring distractions: its ultimately up to you}.

If you’re ready but need some extra tools I would like to offer some of mine!

For $19 you will receive:

  • A list of keto friendly foods to stock your kitchen with
  • My very own list of staples that I personally always keep stocked in my kitchen
  • A 4 week meal guide complete with recipes that you can use & modify to help you start out on the right food

**please note, part of how I support this blog and my desire to help people with their health and fitness goals is by partnering with companies that I personally use and recommend. Therefor, there are affiliate links on this post. One of which includes: healthwithjessica.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to “www.healthwithjessica.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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