keto basics – my shopping list

When we started keto, we’ve been advised to exclude dairy from it, because of the character of symptoms that my partner has had. We wanted to make sure that his health problems are not a consequence of dairy allergy. After six months, we’ve started including different kind of cheese and cream to our diet (but no milk) and non of the symptoms came back.

If you want to start keto diet and you suspect, that you might have dairy intolerance, you can try to exclude it from the diet for 1-3 months to see if your symptoms disappear.

There’s a common information that eating a lot of dairy triggers mucus production. So you have probably heard that you should avoid consuming dairy products when you have a cold (or other chronic problems like COPD for example) because milk creates mucus. I’ve been looking for different researches about this subject, and most of them shows, that there’s no evidence that dairy has an impact on mucus production. But 2019 study shows that dairy-free diet may indeed reduce mucus. Researchers randomly assigned 108 people to either did or did not contain dairy for six days and found self-reported levels of congestion were lower in the dairy-free group.
Other research suggests the effect milk has on mucus production depends on the person’s genetic makeup and the type of dairy protein.
Because of that, my theory is to not to follow the others opinions, but investigate for ourselves how our own body reacts to dairy.

There are two types of allergies based on the type of protein:

1. Casein allergy is characterized by more severe symptoms and is persistent – cow’s milk allergy will last longer in such people. Additionally, people allergic to casein cannot tolerate milk and dairy products in any form – neither fresh nor cooked.
2. Allergy to the so-called whey proteins (approx. 20% of milk proteins), such as: alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin, lactoferrin, may expect a milder form of milk allergy. Such persons are also likely to be tolerant of heat-treated milk and dairy products (Cheddar cheese, yogurt, cream, butter).

What symptoms could indicate a dairy intolerance?

  • from digestive system – in childhood, frequent downpours, colic, diarrhea, and later blood in the stool, reflux or problems with weight gain, also as an adult: bloating, nausea, a feeling of fullness and tension in the abdomen, characteristic “overflow” and audible peristaltic movements of the intestines
  • from respiratory system – wheezing, chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma or rhinitis
  • from skin – rashes, hives or atopic dermatitis
  • from nervous system – hyperactivity, fainting, convulsions, headaches or sleep disturbances.

If you suspect you are allergic to milk and milk products, you can also do a blood test. They are based on the detection of specific IgE class antibodies in the patient’s blood, which, correlated with clinical symptoms, confirm milk allergy. The easiest way, however, is to completely exclude dairy from the diet and to carefully observe whether and what changes take place in our body.

Why I start keto shopping list post with this informations?

Because I think it might be very important. Ketogenic diet should improve your digestion, eliminate bloating, a feeling of fullness and tension in the abdomen, improve your skin and calm your nervous system. And since lot of these problems, might be associated with dairy allergy, it would be very disappointing if this symtoms would not stop on keto diet. This way you might decide that keto doesn’t work for you at all. So if you’re on keto already and feel like it doesn’t work as good as it should, consider excluding dairy from your meals.

My keto shopping list includes all the dairy products, because we don’t see any major problem with it. However I have reservations about couple products and I believe, that you should pay special attention to them as well. Greek yogurt (also coconut jogurt), kefir, buttermilk and all sorts of cream – be very careful with them, because lots of them are not natural. These days I think it’s very difficult to find for example naturally fermented kefir or buttermilk. Other products like yogurts (especially this “extra healthy” coconut ones) has added: starches, modified maize starch, thickeners, sweeteners, sugar, gelatin. So if you’re not fancy and don’t feel the urge to eat these products simply skip them. If you like them, always check the ingredients list.

I will try to answer couple of questions you might ask if you’re new to ketogenic diet, and the questions I’ve been asking when started keto.

If I decide to exclude dairy from my diet, do I need to exclude butter?

The answer is NO. You don’t need to stop eating butter if you want to go dairy free. What you need to do is clarify your butter or buy ghee (which is more expensive, and for me it’s easier and cheaper to buy a batch of butter clarify it myself). Clarified butter is made by slowly heating the butter and removing it from water and non-fat solids, e.g. proteins which form foam on the surface of the fat or deposits at the bottom of the pan. You can easily see the process on YouTube , by typing: “how to make clarified butter”. Liquid clarified butter is transparent and has a yellow colour. When set, it looks like butter, but has a much more intense yellow colour and is more crumbly and difficult to spread. By evaporating the water and removing impurities, clarified butter becomes a very good frying fat. Its smoke point, i.e. the temperature at which fat starts to burn and produces toxins, is about 100°C higher than that of butter and amounts to 252°C. Thanks to this property and the content of mainly saturated fatty acids, clarified butter is suitable even for long-term deep frying. Another advantage of clarified butter is its very long shelf life. Closed in a jar, it can be stored at room temperature for up to 9 months, and in a refrigerator for up to 15 months. Such a long shelf life is due to the destruction of most bacteria at elevated temperature and the evaporation of water, which in regular butter is a factor enabling the growth of microorganisms and spoilage of the product. Due to the fact that clarified butter is practically clear fat, and mostly saturated, which is not susceptible to oxidation, it remains fresh for a long time.

Why there’s no milk on your list?

When I was about 20 years old I’ve started noticing that my body doesn’t like cows milk. Each time after drinking milk I had a feeling of nausea and bloating. I didn’t feel such things after eating cheese though. So I just stopped eating milk, and haven’t had any for years. That’s why it’s not on my list. We both just got used to drink veggie milk.

Eggs are dairy or not?

Eggs are not dairy product. There is not a gram of milk in them. In fact, they are similar in composition to dairy products, because they contain a lot of protein, calcium, fats and cholesterol. However, they do not contain, for example, lactose – milk sugar. In addition, the main protein fraction in an egg is albumin and in milk it is casein. Additionally, an egg allergy is extremely rare in adults.

Why do I need beef bones?

We buy beef bones to make broth. Obviously it’s not mandatory on keto diet, but it’s very healthy. Such a soup is a mineral bomb. A glass of collagen every day will improve the quality of every part of your body. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy). It also helps with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. Collagen also maintains healthy skin.

How to make bone broth?

Take the biggest pot you have and put the beef marrow bones into it. They are very big, so you need quite a big pot. It would be good if the bones were cut so that the marrow could find its way into the decoction more easily. We cover the bones to the brim with water and it is good to add some vinegar or lemon juice (I use apple cider vinegar) to the bones so that the bones can be etched better, a spoon or two is enough. We do not add salt or other spices at this stage. This broth should be kept on low heat for at least 24 hours. I usually cook it during weekend. Start cooking Saturday morning, switch off the heat before I go to sleep and cook again on Sunday morning again until I go to sleep. After cooling down, remove the bones and the broth is best poured into some smaller containers and frozen. We use this stock as a base for soups.

Why there’s no water on my shopping list?

Simply because we’ve stopped buying water bottles. Following the nutritionist advice, we have stopped buying bottled water and other beverages packed in plastic. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly used in the production of plastic. When liquid goes in reaction with the bottle, it absorbes BPA and starts acting like estrogen affecting the body’s hormones. That’s a wide subject, if you would like to read more about that, chceck this study made by WECF International “Plastics, Gender and the Environment. Life cycle of plastics and its impacts on women and men from production to (marine) litter” (you can find it online in pdf version).

There’s another study made by University of New York, 11 globally sourced brands of bottled water, purchased in 19 locations in nine different countries, were tested for microplastic contamination. Of the 259 total bottles processed, 93% showed some sign of microplastic contamination. They’ve also compared it with tap water and discovered that Even further, the bottled water contained on average nearly twice as much microplastic contamination as compared to tap water. While the impacts of microplastic contamination on human health are still unknown, these results strongly support a reduction in the bottling of water and in the consumption of bottled water, especially within locations in which clean, safe tap water exists.

Clean, safe tap water is key here. I don’t know if you know, but in many places around the world tap water is not only chlorinated (process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs) but also fluoride is added to it. Fluoride is added under the guise of preventing tooth decay. However, concerns have arisen regarding fluoride’s effect on health, including problems with bones, teeth, and neurological development. I remember when I was a kid and we’ve had fluorisation at school, we’ve been told not to accidentaly swallow the fluoride because we would poison ourselves. If you think you’re no excessively exposed on fluoride think about: toothpaste, mouthwash, tap water, fluoride is also added to bottled water and some foods. Also some geographical areas have drinking water that is naturally high in fluoride, for example, southern Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa.

What do we use instead then? We have bought water ozonator, and we use it to clean the tap water from bacteria, viruses, spores, parasites, and chemicals. You can also use ozonator to ozone vegetables, fruits, meat and even your house or car (but we haven’t tried yet). We use this water to drink, for teas and coffees and all the cooking. You may not believe me but drinking ozonated water make us feel ten times more hydrated than when drinking bottled water.

Do I need to drink tea/coffee/herbal tea?

Obviously not! They are on my list because we like them. But do not push yourself to to drink or eat any of the foods that you don’t like. Eating should be a pleasure experience. For example I don’t like lamb, but my partner loves it. On the other hand I like liver, he hates it. However if you’ve never tried some of this foods, and you feel like you might hate them, I recommend to try them first. You might be surprised.

Natural rock salt – what’s that?

Table salt you can buy in every shop, is heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping (anti-caking agent). This kind of salt is stripped off all the minerals, doesn’t have any nutritious value. Other salts like: sea salt, natural rock salt or himalayan salt are rich in different trace minerals. Different natural salts have different mineralities depending on their source, giving each one a unique flavour. If you like, you can add a small pinch of natural salt to your water, and this way make a natural isotonic drink.

Do I need to buy sweeteners/coconut&almond flour?

Also NO! The same with coconut flour and almond flour. We never sugar our coffee or tea, so we didn’t need to use any sweetener during keto. But if you’re addicted to sugar, and you won’t be able to drink coffee/tea without sweetener, use it. But slowly try to reduce the amount of sweetener. Longer you’ll be on keto easier it will be. I’ve included sweetener (and almond & coconut flour) to my list, because I’ve started baking keto. If you don’t plan to, you don’t have skills, time or simply you’re not fancy, just skip it. If you plan to use sweetener choose from the natural ones: xylitol, sevia, erythritol, monk fruit.

That’s my shopping list, you can also download it from the file below the image.

Products recommended during your body’s adaptation to the keto diet:

Without limits:

  • eggs
  • high in fat good quality meat for example: bacon, pork knuckle, ribs, pork shoulder, steaks, liver, lamb etc.
  • beef bones broth
  • avocado
  • fermented veggies like: sauerkraut, kimchi, sour pickled cucumbers and other fermented vegetables
  • veggies: spinach, kale, cabbage, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, asparagus, leek, mushrooms, all the green salads leaves (rocket, watercress, chard etc.)
  • healthy fats: clarified butter, virgin & raw coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, goose fat, duck fat, lard (the best homemade)
  • fish and seafood: herring, mackerel, wild salmon, sardines etc.
  • herbs and spices: turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram etc.

Relatively unlimited:

  • olives, brussel sprouts, green beans, green peas, cucumber, celery, kohlrabi, courgette, bell pepper, tomatoes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dessicated coconut
  • coconut flour, almond flour, psyllium husk
  • soups based on meat and bone broth

Limited amount:

  • fruits: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, black currants, red currants, lime and lemon, plums, cherries
  • carrots, celeriac, parsley root, beetroot and other root veggies (preferably raw)
  • mayonnaise
  • cacao and 80%, 90% chocolate

Adaptation process might take couple of days or couple of weeks. It really depends of the person. When you feel like your body adapted to new eating habits, you can start including low carb desserts, cakes etc. Obviously the best is to make them at home, so you can control what’s inside. But it also depend of the person. Some people don’t really need any fancy desserts or snacks, not everyone even likes fruits. So there will be a lot of you, who will be happy with very simple diet.

If you have any questions about the products: what kind of products I buy, where I buy or other questions taht will come to your head, simply ask in the comment section below. I will be happy to answer.

The sources I used to write this post:


One thought on “keto basics – my shopping list

  1. Pingback: 10 tips for beginners: how to start keto in 2021 (with free printable lists)

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