Where to Start with Keto in the UAE
So, you’ve finally found the awesome keto diet!! Congratulations and welcome :)
The keto community in the UAE & GCC is really starting to grow as the power of keto is starting to shine through on social media. Social media can be a bit of a pain, let’s be honest, but it’s done wonders for exposing truth and what you’re probably starting to learn is that everything you’ve been taught about nutrition is wrong.
Enter the keto!!
Simply put, the keto diet is one of the most simple, proven interventions for a long list of health issues. You’ve probably found your way to this page as you're interested in the weight loss benefits but you should know that there are many many more reasons to switch to keto.
How about a diet that could boost your mental performance, or help you control your hunger, rebalance your hormones or even help in the fight against cancer?
Yep, true story!
So, if you’re in the UAE and are looking to start your keto journey, you’re probably wondering where to start.
Well, we've put together this simple step by step guide get you up and running the right way!
We started our online store as we were getting super frustrated at how difficult it was to get keto products in the UAE. But we’re more than just a store as we have an amazing keto community ready to give you a helping hand, so before you start buying things, here’s a step by step guide on what to do next.
Step 1 – Research the Keto Diet
One of the biggest mistakes people make on any diet is not doing their homework first. The truth is, if you’re looking to transform your health then you need to transform your behavior and the first step is to take full responsibility!
You don’t have to spend months doing this but please spend at least 1-2 weeks and treat yourself to some learning. It will be a short-term investment that will pay off big time in the long-term. To get started, check out our article ‘What Is The Ketogenic Diet’ and head over to our resources page where you’ll find books, podcasts, keto personalities and much more!
Step 2 – Join the Community
Our Facebook group, Keto & Primal Health UAE, is a support platform for anyone interested in following a low-carb, keto or paleo lifestyle. It’s a closed, private group so can have confidence that you’ll get some protection from the social trolls out there.
Please head over to the group page, ask for an invite and introduce yourself. Give us a follow on IG too to become a part of the vibrant #uaeketocommunity there and get some great tips and meal ideas!
Step 3 – Subscribe to our Email List
As an existing customer and a member of our Facebook Group you’re entitled to lots of cool benefits. If you’re on our email list you’ll be the first to know about super cool offers and new products. Sign up now!
On sign up, don't forget to confirm your email address and watch our for your welcome email which will contain details of your promo codes :)
Step 4 - Learn how to Calculate Macros
The primary thing that will kick your metabolism into fat burning mode is macronutrient balance: that is, the ratio between carbs, protein and fat. Broadly speaking, if you focus on getting your NET carbs to 20g a day or less you’ll get yourself into ketosis in a few days!
Note: the state of nutritional ketosis is defined by blood levels of ketones greater than 0.5 mmol/l.
It’s important to get your head around this: low carb is the means, not the end: the end goal is nutritional ketosis. As you get more experienced and fat adapted, chances are you can start to increase your carb intake and if you’re very active, or metabolically flexible, you may be able to get your carbs up to around 100g per day! This is much more advanced though so when you’re starting out, your target should be <20g NET carbs per day to keep it simple.
NET carbs = total carbs - fiber - sugar alcohols
You can see some examples of how we’ve calculated net carbs for some of our products here and here. We calculate net carbs for you on almost all the foods we sell so you can be sure everything will fit a keto diet perfectly well. If the carbs are a little higher than usual, we will label the food 'paleo' to make it crystal clear.
Step 5 – Download Carb Manager
To be honest, it would be a bit of a chore trying to calculate macros manually but fortunately there are a couple of apps which do this for you, the most popular being Carb Manager.
Tracking things is something we massively encourage as it is a powerful tool to help you learn about your own body. Everyone is different so reactions to certain foods differs greatly from person to person. There are a bunch of things that we recommend you measure but the highest priority is your macros and calories and Carb Manager is perfect for that job.
So download Carb Manager and enter in your target calories in the settings, and 20g net carbs as your carbohydrate target (this will generally be around 5% of your daily caloric intake). You will then want to be getting around 70% of your calories from fat and 20% from protein, however these are not set in stone, and as long as you remain consistent on your carbohydrate limit the rest isn’t quite as important.
Step 6 – Prepare for Keto Flu
Carbohydrates retain water in your body, and electrolytes are stored in water, so it’s important to monitor your electrolytes as this retained water is released, and along with it a flood of electrolytes. This causes what many refer to as ‘the keto flu’ which is essentially just your body crying out for the electrolytes it’s losing in the stored water.
This will be more or less severe depending on your metabolic state when you start the diet. Eat foods high in potassium (avocados are your best bet) and sodium (pink himilayan is best) and supplement magnesium. Magnesium supplements should be selected with care, for more info on how to make sure you aren't wasting your money when choosing, check out our podcast on the best forms of magnesium. This should ensure that any symptoms of the ‘keto flu’ you may experience in your adaptation period will be minimized.
Step 7 – Get Some Blood Tests Done
This is not a mandatory step, but one which we highly encourage as, although not common, some people may experience adverse reactions to keto. The most notable of which is a significant increase in cholesterol but it can also cause issues with energy and even hair loss, especially in the short-term.
Keto is not for everyone folks so please tread cautiously and treated your body with respect. This is why we advocate some learning and that you measure some key metrics. Ideally you should get a whole suite of blood tests done before you start your keto journey so you can do a before and after. Here’s our recommended hit list:
- Standard Lipid Panel
- ApoB / ApoA1
- Hemoglobin A1C
- Uric Acid
- Vitamin D
Step 8 – Create a Meal Plan – Your Roadmap to Success
Okay, as Health Coaches, we strongly recommend that you develop a meal plan based around high quality, whole foods.Having a detailed keto meal plan, particularly for the first month or two will help you guard against falling off plan because you were too tired and hungry to be creative!
There are a variety of ways you could do this. If you decided to purchase membership on Carb Manager there are already amazing keto recipes in there with the macros calculated for you, so you could simply sit down with a spreadsheet for the week and select your meals depending on whether it’s just you going keto or whether your family is coming along for the healthy (and delicious) ride! If you prefer a good old fashioned recipe book then there are a wide variety to choose from. Here’s a great list to start with. There are also hundreds of awesome IG accounts to follow who post free recipes all the time! Here are a few to get you started, ditchthecarbs, Maria Emmerich, and Diet Doctor.
Easier even than this is the Diet Doctor keto meal plan creator. This has over 80 keto meal plans and is FREE for the first month!
If you still feel a bit overwhelmed with all this new information and would like to have this particular worry taken off your hands, then it may be worth appointing one of our ingfit approved keto coaches to give you a helping hand.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to make a comprehensive shopping list at the end to ensure you have everything you need to get started. This leads us to step 9.
Step 9 - Stock up on Keto Products!
Moving whole foods aside, we know from experience that the biggest thing people struggle with when they start keto is products.
What to cook with, where to buy, the best keto snacks and protein bars? These are the most frequent questions we get.
Rest assured, everything that you will find in our store is 100% keto friendly and with a guarantee that there are no harmful ingredients such as sugar, vegetable oils or high GI sweeteners.
A good place to start is the catalog page which shows everything we currently have in stock. And to welcome you to the keto community, snag 10% off your first order by using the code LOVEKETO at check out!
If you have any questions, the best place to contact us is on our WhatsApp channel.
Keto On and Good Luck!