Getting started on keto can be confusing. There’s a lot to learn, and it’s likely very different from how you currently eat (and how we’ve been told to eat for decades). That’s why I always tell people to keep it simple at first. Choose a few simple low-carb, high-fat meals that work for you and rotate through them while you get adapted. You don’t have to do fancy keto copycat recipes, unless that’s your thing. (It’s not mine, and it’s not necessary for success with keto.)

You also don’t have to do all the things that it may seem like everyone else is doing. There are lots of different ways you can approach keto. You can do lazy keto. You can do whole foods keto (my approach). You can do dairy-free keto. You can even do vegan keto if that’s your preference. Everyone’s keto experience looks a little different. So don’t feel pressured to do anything that seems overwhelming or confusing right now.

The following are four common keto practices that you do NOT have to do in order to be successful. So unless these appeal to you, don’t worry that they are required for success or that you’re sabotaging your keto results by omitting them or saving them for later.

  1. You do NOT have to eat eggs. Eggs are a classic keto food because they are a good source of fat and protein. But some people just don’t like eggs, or can’t tolerate them, or just get sick of them. And that’s okay. You don’t have to eat them. I wrote a whole blog post about keto breakfast options that are not eggs.
  2. You do NOT have to drink bulletproof coffee (BPC). Bulletproof Coffee is actually a brand name, but it is also commonly used in keto circles to refer to any kind of fatty coffee, often made with butter or MCT oil. You do not have to put butter in your coffee. Try it if you’re curious, but it is not a keto requirement. You can drink any kind of fatty coffee — I often put coconut oil in mine. You can drink coffee with heavy whipping cream. You can drink black coffee. You can drink tea. You do you. Just follow the keto rule of no sugar or gross sweeteners that contain things like corn syrup. Some people opt to continue to use artificial sweeteners in their coffee (continuing to use processed foods is often referred to as lazy keto). I don’t recommend this as artificial sweeteners can be hazardous to your health and can also stall weight loss, so be mindful of that if weight loss is your goal.
  3. You do NOT have to fast. Fasting is a common practice among keto people. It’s not completely necessary, especially not in the beginning, but it does offer numerous health benefits. You may find yourself wanting to do it after you’ve become accustomed to the keto diet, but whether you do it and how you do it depends on your individual goals. There are lots of different ways to approach fasting, such as intermittent fasting or time-restricted fasting, which don’t require you to completely go without food. One of the great things about keto is that it stabilizes your appetite, so after you’re keto-adapted, you may naturally find yourself waiting longer between meals. That makes fasting much easier. So don’t force fasting while you’re still getting fat adapted. There will be plenty of time for it later.
  4. You do NOT have to eat a ton of meat. There’s a common misconception that keto diets are nothing but meat, or that you’re eating bacon at every meal. It’s important to understand that the keto diet is high fat, not high protein. And while meat is one source of fat, there are lots of others that sometimes don’t get as much emphasis. Fish, nuts, coconut, avocado, olives, olive oil, and seeds are all sources of fat that should be included in a healthy ketogenic diet. Leafy greens and green vegetables also play an important role. You should strive to include some form of plant foods in every meal. You can eat a lot of leafy greens and still stay well below your target carb intake. One cup of spinach is about 0.4 net carbs. So anyone who tries to tell you that keto doesn’t allow for greens and vegetables is just plain wrong. Go ahead and make yourself a delicious spinach avocado salad or a green smoothie with coconut oil.

Have questions about adapting to keto? Contact me or leave a comment below!