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Day Zero On Keto: The 411 On Getting Started

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This is Part 3 in the Keto For Beginners Series. Find the rest of the series here, 1, 2, 4

Getting Started on Keto but Aren’t Sure Where to Begin?

A lot of us felt this way when we were getting started on Keto.

By the end of this article you should have answers to the most common Keto beginner questions asked, and

be ready to supercharge your weightloss. 

The good news is there is more than one way to do this Keto thing,

and I’m here to help you figure out which style (yep there are a few) works best with your goals.

And than how to Keto according to your Keto style.

We are going to cover the following to get you rolling!

1. What style of Keto best suits you (Dirty, Clean, Lazy, Strict)

2. Macro Tracking, to track, or not to track and how to do both (Lazy vs. Strict)

3. Ingredients: The difference between Dirty and Clean Keto

4. Wrap up: Quick note on calories and the keys to being successful 

What Style of Keto Best Suits me; Clean, Lazy, Strict, Dirty?

First, we are going to figure out the Keto style that works best for you, and then discuss how exactly you can go about becoming a Keto BEAST!

Determining your Keto Style:

There are 4 widely agreed upon styles of Keto, and we are going to cover each of them.

Several factors will help determine which Keto style will help you best achieve your goals, stay motivated, and stick to it for the long haul.

Consider the following when deciding what will work best for you.

  • How busy are you? Do you have time to cook? Meal plan?
  • Do you ENJOY cooking? 
  • Do you have a limited budget?
  • Are you having health concerns like headaches or inflammation? 
  • Do you have food allergies?
  • Are you doing this keto thing solo, or is your family along for the ride?

Quick, Dirty, Strict, Clean, Lazy…

Uh, is this 50 Shades of Keto???

You have probably heard these terms before (and many others); this is what they mean:

Let’s dive into what each of the styles mean and find the best one for you when getting started on the keto diet.

Dirty Lazy Keto explained:

Dirty Lazy Keto’ers are primarily concerned with staying under 20g net carbs daily.

They do not obsess over ingredients or worry over much about the other macros in the beginning.

This style lends itself to being more convenient, since you can grab a roller dog from the gas station (hold the bun!)

It is the most comfortable place to start for most people.

Consider this style if any of these sound like you:

 You don’t have food allergies or health concerns to address, and

  • Are busy
  • Keto-ing solo
  • Don’t enjoy cooking, or
  • Cringe at the thought of staring at a food tracker

My husband practices this particular style and he managed to lose 65 pounds in just 5 months, and has kept it off for coming up on a year and a half now. 

Dirty Strict Keto Explained:

Dirty Strict Keto is very similar to the previous style, but will track all their macros.

The strict food tracking side of this style will allow you to figure out portion sizes, while still being a little more convenient.

Consider this style if:

You don’t have food allergies or health concerns to address, and


  • Are busy
  • Keto-ing solo
  • Don’t enjoy cooking, or
  • Want to be accurate as possible on macro intake and amounts. 
Clean Lazy Keto Explained:

Clean Lazy Keto’ers don’t worry about macros, but are particular when it comes to Keto friendly ingredients as it relates to food allergies or health concerns. 

This is the best option for starting if you have food allergies, health concerns, or if you want to eat clean.

It does take a little more time and planning,

but by taking tracking out of the equation, it helps to balance out the added effort needed in the kitchen, without obsessing over every gram of this or that.

Consider this style if you:


  • Are busy, with limited time to meal plan and cook
  • Keto-ing solo, have another person, or the whole family keto-ing with you
  • Enjoy (or at least tolerate) cooking
Clean Strict Keto Explained:

Clean Strict Keto’ers are typically well into their Keto journey, and comfortable tracking both Ingredients as well as macros with ease.

For many, this will be something to strive for later.

It is easier to tackle one side of the mountain before climbing the other (macros vs ingredients tracking).

Although, if you are already eating pretty clean, it might not be a hard reach. 

If you are the type of person that enjoys laser focusing on stuff like this,

being super clean and strict might appeal to you.

I have a small piece of advice:

You do NOT need to be perfect right out of the gate. Don’t get overwhelmed and quit, or worse yet, never start! 

 Consider this style if you:


  • Have allergies or health concerns
  • Have time to cook, meal plan and track your food
  • Keto-ing solo, have another person, or the whole family keto-ing with you
  • Are a veritable chef in the kitchen
But Sterling, Can I do all of these on a budget?

100% YES

All of these are possible on a limited budget;

It just takes a little planning and passing on some of the fancy ingredients or products that are out there.

For a great example of a clean, budget-friendly meal plan, check out my FREE 7-day meal plan + Bonus shopping lists! 

By now we have figured out your Keto Style, ‘WOOT WOOT”

Now let’s talk about macro tracking and how it applies to your Keto style. 


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From now until Christmas CulturedKeto is giving away a Dash Mini Waffle Maker



Culminating in our Keto Essentials Grand Prize Bundle Give-Away.

Macro Tracking, To Track Or Not To Track (Lazy vs Strict)

We are now going to dive more in depth on tracking macros according to your Keto Style.

First, we will take a look at the pros and cons of tracking,

then I’ll address how to go about executing your plan, whether you chose Lazy or Strict. 

The argument for tracking macros when you are getting started on a Keto diet.

There are a few reasons:

  • In the beginning, since this is probably a drastic change in diet for you, it DOES help to measure and weigh to learn portion sizes. It helps you learn what foods to eat, and in what ratios to hit (close) to your macros. 
  • Once you get going and stall, it may be a good idea to track for a little while if you haven’t been. It can help identify if you are going over on carbs. *Stalls can be normal too, article on this coming soon! 
  • Tracking food will also help you identify foods or ingredients that are causing headaches, acne, stalls, etc.
Lazy Keto and Macros – How to Keto without tracking everything.

Lazy Keto as it pertains to tracking macros is going to focus on not going over Carbs, while getting you close to your other macros. 


The absolute MUST – You have to track your carbohydrate intake with this, or any of the styles, especially in the beginning.

The reason for this is:

  • Lowering your carb intake is the most important thing to get you into ketosis.
  • You have to learn where the carbs are and pay close attention, because they can add up fast!
  • See more on this in Finding Hidden Carbs and Sugar’s Alter Egos. (coming soon)

It doesn’t have to be hard. You have to be aware of where the carbs are and keep track of what you’ve had.


Here are some tips on watching carbs:

  • Don’t worry so much about leafy greens like romaine, spinach, kale, etc. They are very low in net carbs.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes and how many portions you have of things like nuts and berries. These are more carb-dense, and it can be easy to go over with them.
  • Some veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and green beans can also put you over on carbs without you realizing it. Be mindful of portion sizes here.
  • Eating Keto baked goods with almond flour or coconut flour should be counted carefully as well.
  • Watch for carbs in items that are pre-made, like protein shakes or bars, beef jerky, seasoning packets, condiments, etc.


With protein, you can get by just eyeballing portion sizes! Easy peasy!

  • A 3 oz portion of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards (my hubby is ranting about variables in thickness of meat cuts, marbling etc. FYI) this is why it’s lazy Keto…
  • Each 3 oz piece of meat contains approx. 22-26 grams of protein
  • One large egg has 6 grams of protein
  • 1 oz of cheese (about the size of a pair of dice) has 7 grams of protein


Eat enough to feel full.

You should increase fat in your diet; but only as much as you need to to stay satiated.

Remember, if your goal is to lose weight, you don’t want to go overboard.

Some easy ways to get fat into your diet:

Choose fattier meats, like chicken thighs, ground beef or ribeyes 

  • Eat more eggs – they are the perfect Keto food
  • If you need to snack, some good fat choices are olives, cheese, almonds (watch carbs), and avocado.
Strict Keto and Macros – How to Keto while tracking everything.

If tracking is important to you, I suggest you put your recipes in Carb Manager  via PC, if possible, when you plan your meals. 

On my shopping day I would:

  • Find recipes
  • Meal plan
  • Make my shopping list
  • Enter recipes into Carb Manager
  • Eat a Culver’s bunless bacon cheeseburger and green beans, because I’m not cookin after all this plannin’ & shoppin’!

Then, the night before or early morning, set up what you are going to eat for the day ahead of time, and plug it in to the app early.

If you end up changing it, you can update it later.

I found that doing this alleviated much of the stress of trying to do it as I went along through my busy day and week. 

I will have a future post with more information on tracking and using Carb Manager.

Ingredients: The Difference Between Dirty And CLean Keto

Let’s talk about ingredients, and why they matter, and to what degree for your Keto Style.

Ingredients and foods play a central role in nutrition (obviously), and I have enough to say about it for a whole article, so I’m going to keep it brief here.

This graphic depicts the EXTREME of both ends of the spectrum.

You will likely fall somewhere in the middle.

Dirty Keto and Ingredients, what you need to know

You might hear the phrase “if it fits your macros (IIFYM).

What this means is that you will pay attention to the carb count on a nutrition label, and not bother to look at ingredients.

Dirty Keto-ers tend to eat more processed things like protein shakes or bars, meats like beef jerky sticks, low carb wraps, or some of the “Keto-Friendly” products that are all over now.

Dirty Keto allows things like artificial sweeteners, wheat, soy products, starches, and unhealthy oils like corn or soybean.

If you start with Dirty Keto, and continue to have inflammation, headaches, bloating, or weight loss stalls, you may want to start cutting some of these things out.

Some people may bounce between being Dirty Keto and Clean Keto too!

Clean Keto and Ingredients, what you need to know

Looking at the Squeaky Clean end of the spectrum above might scare you,

Just remember that there are degrees of clean.

I consider myself mostly clean.

  • I don’t always eat grass-fed meat and dairy, and I do enjoy sweeteners on occasion.
  • I do avoid grains and starches, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m not perfect…

sometimes, I indulge in things that are outside of my version of “Clean Keto.”

However, since I eat clean most of the time, I am able to identify which things I eat affect me negatively.

If you have health factors to consider, food allergies, or feel run down & low energy, I strongly urge you to start with a cleaner version of Keto. 

The most significant advantage of Clean Keto is that you are giving your body what it needs without giving it the stuff it doesn’t. 

Wrap up: Quick Note on Calories and The Keys to Being Successful

I know what I’m about to say is likely to set many in the health and wellness community on fire, that being said, regarding calories….

Don’t worry about them in the beginning.

What matters more than how many you are consuming, is where they are coming from. 

In the beginning we are also changing your relationship with food and how you view it, and interact with it,

Stressing about calories when you start is going to be counter-productive.

Wholesome food is fuel for your body, not empty calories from processed sugars and refined carbs. 

Calories are important, but with Keto, since you’re eating great, nutritious whole food, the calories you DO eat are doing a much better job of nourishing you.

The Keys to Being Successful 

I have some great inside tips on my routines to keep it simple when it comes to incorporating Keto into my busy day.

You can check out my 5 Keto Hacks to Make Life Easy if you’d like some tips for Keto when your busy.

Remember, finding balance is vital to your long term success.

Your Keto style will depend on many factors that are unique to your lifestyle and goals.

The key to making this work is to find that balance, and have support when it gets tough.

We have a wonderful active support group on facebook Cultured Keto FB Support group we’d love to have you in!

Don’t worry about being perfect right out of the gate.

Your Keto style can and WILL change and evolve over time as you get more comfortable.

Need a hand with week one?

We have you covered, check out our FREE 7-Day Meal Plan + Bonus Shopping Lists! Perfect for taking the guesswork out of the first week!

Taking a step in the right direction is the most important thing.


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