Optimal foods include:
- Meat! Beef, veal, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, fish, shellfish, lamb, etc. Organ meat if you enjoy it, liver, kidneys, and such like. Bacon, of course!
- Eggs; as many as you like. Yolks are delicious and good for you.
- Animal fats for cooking: beef fat (tallow), lard, (non-hydrogenated), bacon grease, duck fat, butter, ghee.
- Salt is fine. Some people limit salt; others have no problem with it. Sea salt is optimal if you want to add salt.
Less than Optimal foods include:
- Processed meats are allowed, but check labels and avoid sugars, fillers like breadcrumbs, and soy products. We love our bacon around here! Sausage, bacon, ham, pepperoni, and so on, are fine.
- Dairy, full fat, including cheese and heavy cream. Children, who don’t have weight to lose or other health issues, can also have whole milk and plain, full fat yogurt. (If you can get them raw milk, even better!)
*We frequently remind people that are new to this way of eating that including dairy may inhibit weight loss, and may increase your cravings, but if it helps stay on the zero carb path, then by all means include it in your diet.
- Spices, herbs, garlic, etc., even if the label says zero carbs. These can interfere with your true hunger signals. It is possible to eat a lot more meat if it is highly flavored, and you might not be truly hungry. We generally consider these “plant foods” as acceptable for light seasoning, especially as you make the transition to zero carb.
- Mustard or hot pepper sauce are acceptable.
- Coffee is tricky and is considered less than optimal! Caffeine will inhibit your hunger signals and can mess with your insulin response.
*Do not use coffee in place of a meal; this includes bullet proof coffee. Eat some meat first, and then have coffee afterwards, if you must. Drink it black, or heavy cream is fine, if you have decided to include dairy.
Many, many people use coffee as an appetite suppressant and are not even aware of this. If you drink coffee in the morning and are not hungry for hours, the coffee needs to go. Eat!
- Tea seems to have a lesser effect than coffee, but drink it black and be aware of the effects on hunger.
- Alcohol will lower your inhibitions and you might easily eat foods that you wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Alcohol interferes with weight loss and is not recommended for anyone trying to lose weight.
You will notice that it takes a lesser amount of alcohol to give you a “buzz” the longer you are on zero carbs. Choose dry wines or the clear hard stuff, like vodka and soda water, if you must.
- Mayonnaise made with vegetable oil. Many people object to the soybean oil that is used in commercial mayonnaise. Others still include mayo now and then for tuna salad or deviled eggs or such like. If these foods help you stick to zero carb, you may include mayo.
Some people make their own mayonnaise and there are many recipes around here. You can experiment if you like that sort of thing. We generally focus on animal fats and that is part of the objection to mayonnaise. It is included here as less than optimal, but acceptable. Your mileage may vary.
- Coconut oil. Yes, it is from a plant, and most of us don’t bother to include it anymore – we prefer animal fats. If you think coconut oil is superior and can’t let it go, it certainly is a better choice than any other vegetable oils. Coconut oil is also wonderful for topical uses!
Not included and not recommended:
- NO sugar, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, honey; NOTHING that tastes sweet. Stevia, sucralose, diet sodas, saccharine, 0-calorie flavored drinks, energy drink;, even if the label says “zero carbs” we highly recommend that you do not include any of these products.
- Any taste of something sweet will keep your cravings alive and can also interfere with your insulin response. Artificial sweeteners appear to be as addictive, if not more so, than regular sugar! This may be one of the most difficult things to give up but you will see so many benefits and improvements if you remove these products from your diet.
- No fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, or vegetable oils, including olive oil.
- No protein shakes or protein bars, no matter the ingredients. We eat meat – real food. No need for highly processed powders as a meal replacement.
Questions about the Zero Carb Diet? Please visit us in our Facebook Group.