Keto Diet Cookbook

125+ Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease


By Dr. Josh Axe

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The companion cookbook to Josh Axe’s bestselling Keto Diet, featuring 75 full-color photos and 125 recipes to help you lose weight, balance hormones, boost brain health, and reverse disease.

The ketogenic diet is the world’s fastest growing diet, and with good reason. When practiced correctly, the keto diet has been proven to burn fat, reduce inflammation, fight cancer, balance hormones and gut bacteria, improve neurological diseases, and even increase lifespan. Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of several important factors that are crucial to the diet’s success, setting them up for frustration, failure, and relapse.

In KETO DIET COOKBOOK, Josh Axe builds on his nationalbestseller KETO DIET, offering 125 mouthwatering, keto-friendly recipes to lose weight, fight inflammation, and optimize your body’s function, no matter your lifestyle or budget. Featuring a dazzling range of options for every meal of the day — plus craving-busting snacks and decadent desserts — KETO DIET COOKBOOK will never leave you without a delicious, satisfying option whenever hunger strikes.

Complete with 75 full-color photos, shopping lists, a meal plan, and explanations of the science confirming the diet’s powerful effects, KETO DIET COOKBOOK gives you all the recipes and inspiration you’ll need to say goodbye to stubborn fat and chronic disease once and for all.


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If, like so many other people, you haven’t had success following diets that require making bland or tasteless recipes, counting calories, limiting yourself to small portion sizes, or cooking with unusual ingredients, then the keto diet may be the game changer you’ve been looking for. No more going hungry, fighting cravings, cooking flavorless foods, or avoiding some of your favorite foods that actually fill you up and leave you satisfied, like quality oils, real butter, nuts, and more.

Those who have been successful on the keto diet are a testament to just how transformative a clean keto diet and lifestyle can be. Tens of thousands of people have experienced significant improvements in their health by embracing a high-fat, very low-carb lifestyle—whether it’s for just a few months or on-and-off for years, depending on their goals.

No other diet is capable of actually shifting your body’s source of fuel from carbohydrates to primarily fats. This is why, for many people, virtually no other diet can be credited with such dramatic changes in their physical and mental health. We’re talking about changes like a boost in focus, endurance capacity, muscle power, metabolic health, and weight management.

Here’s the thing about recipes that are keto-compliant: There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. While it’s true that the macronutrient components of the two types of eating plans—a “dirty” keto diet and a “clean” keto diet—may be very similar, the foods that are emphasized differ dramatically. You may be able to stay in ketosis while eating mostly bacon, burgers, and fried cheese, but do you really think this will leave you feeling your best or move you closer to your goals?

If you want to experience a boost in your heart health, cognitive function, physical performance, and mood by following the keto diet, you need to supply your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and macronutrients that it needs to thrive. In order not only to lose weight (if this is one of your goals), but also protect yourself from disease and enhance your quality of life, it’s critical to cook with nutrient-dense foods. These include healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and salmon, and also a variety of vegetables, herbs, broths, and quality proteins. These are the types of healing foods you’ll find in the recipes throughout this book.

Whether you’re ready to commit 100 percent to the keto diet and eager to jump right into ketosis, or you’re simply looking for inspiration when it comes to preparing more nutrient-dense, high-fat, low-carb meals at home, I hope this becomes your go-to cookbook for delicious, health-promoting recipes. I’m confident that with help from the grocery store and your kitchen, you’ll find these keto recipes satisfying, simple to make, and worth serving regularly at your table.

Wishing you many blessings,

Dr. Josh Axe

What Is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic (or “keto”) diet is a high-fat, very low-carb diet that has been used by doctors since the 1920s. Doctors first developed the keto diet to help control seizures among patients with epilepsy.

The purpose of the keto diet is to put your body into a metabolic state called nutritional ketosis, in which you burn fat for energy, rather than glucose from carbohydrates. Ketosis is characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically the by-product of eating a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.

Most mammals, including humans, have the ability to use fat for fuel during times of famine, low energy intake, and when carbs are scarce. Our bodies store glucose and reserved glycogen in order to make sure we don’t run out of energy, but if no carbs are coming in, these will eventually run out. After several days on a very low-carb diet, our bodies start producing compounds called ketone bodies (or ketones) from our own stored body fat, as well as from fats in our diet, as an alternative fuel source.

Recognizing the Signs of Ketosis

While in nutritional ketosis, ketone bodies provide your brain, muscles, and organs with a steady source of energy. Your body basically operates as a “fat burner” instead of a “carbohydrate burner.” Once you become “fat adapted” (i.e., your body can use fat rather than carbs for energy), you should experience not only weight loss but also mental clarity, appetite suppression, improved digestion, and more consistent energy throughout the day.

Here are five signs that you’re likely in ketosis:

Weight loss: Many people will notice weight loss quickly due to losing a combination of water weight (from cutting carbs), excess body fat that’s being burned, and by reducing inflammation.

Reduced hunger levels/appetite: Ketones are naturally appetite-suppressing, which means it’s easier to control calorie intake and to go longer periods of time without eating (i.e., it’s easier to practice intermittent fasting if you choose to try this).

Stabilized energy: When your body is in ketosis, you’ll experience fewer ups and downs in terms of energy and cravings, since your blood sugar will be steadier.

Decreased sluggishness and brain-fog: Your energy won’t only stabilize, but will also show improved endurance and stamina. You can also expect greater mental clarity and sharpness.

Less bloating and gas: This results from cutting out sugar, processed foods, and refined grains from your diet, the primary culprits of gastrointestinal discomfort.

Ketones are a by-product of fatty acid breakdown, and testing your blood, breath, or urine for ketones can be a useful indication of whether or not your body has reached ketosis. If you want to know for sure that you’re officially in ketosis, there are several ways to test ketone levels: urine strips (the easiest and most popular method), blood tests, or breathalyzer tests. Keto strips are available at most pharmacies near the diabetic supplies.

The Benefits of Entering Ketosis

By following the keto diet and entering a state of ketosis, you can reap the many benefits of turning your body into a fat-burning machine. Here are the top health benefits of the keto diet.

1. Supports metabolism

When it comes to helping you reach and maintain a healthy weight, the keto diet has a number of unique anti-obesity and disease-modifying effects. The keto diet is unlike any other diet because it forces your body to use fat, from both your diet and your stored adipose tissue, for energy rather than glucose (sugar).

There’s evidence that a non–calorie-restricted keto diet (in which you eat to the point of feeling satisfied) may be more effective at helping with weight maintenance compared to a very low-calorie diet. That’s because the keto diet can help you hold onto lean muscle mass if you also engage in strength-training exercises, and it doesn’t cause your metabolic rate to slow down like many other low-calorie “crash diets” do.

Based on our research findings, people who are overweight and obese can expect the keto diet to significantly reduce body weight and body mass index (BMI), lead to improved appetite control, and also improve their lipid profile and blood glucose levels without causing any significant negative side effects. Although the keto diet alone can definitely lead to weight loss, the effects are even more impressive when it works in tandem with exercise. A keto diet plus exercise can lead to an improvement in fat oxidation, more desirable body composition, and a decrease of RER (respiratory exchange ratio, which shows the muscle’s oxidative capacity to get energy), all without significantly reducing your resting metabolic rate.

2. Fights food cravings

One mechanism of the keto diet that leads to weight loss is by reducing your appetite and promoting satiety (the feeling of fullness). This is attributed to a higher intake of filling foods that provide protein and fats that take longer to burn than carbohydrates, and due to the effects that ketones have on appetite-controlling hormones, including ghrelin. Even during a period of weight loss, the keto diet does not typically increase circulating ghrelin levels, and this is a good thing because ghrelin is a hormone that makes people feel hungry.

Many people find that they can control calorie intake more easily and quit snacking on empty-calorie junk foods between meals while in ketosis without feeling deprived. Additionally, because hunger is kept under control thanks to ketones, many people find they can be successful with intermittent fasting if they choose to do this.

3. Balances blood sugar levels

Very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are safe and effective when it comes to reducing blood sugar fluctuations in diabetic and pre-diabetic adults. Following a very low-carb diet causes your body to release less insulin, which is an energy-storing hormone that is released into the bloodstream when you consume sugar and carbohydrates.

Because the keto diet prevents excessive release of insulin, it helps to balance blood glucose levels, leading to fewer spikes and dips in blood sugar, which can eventually contribute to metabolic disease. Normalizing blood glucose levels via the keto diet can be useful for reversing “insulin resistance,” which is the underlying problem contributing to type 2 diabetes.

4. Promotes heart health

Despite the fact that the keto diet is high in fat—including saturated fat, which is often demonized by health authorities—it can actually have protective effects when it comes to cardiovascular function. This depends on the quality of your food choices, which is why not all fats are created equal, and eating a “clean” keto diet is so important.

The keto diet has been shown to help lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”), to lower triglycerides, and to raise HDL (“good cholesterol”), plus it can help to lower blood pressure and decrease obesity and metabolic syndrome, all of which are linked to heart-related problems. Some studies have found that adults who follow a keto diet tend to achieve better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor management when compared with adults assigned to conventional low-fat diets.

5. Regulates healthy inflammation response

When fat replaces glucose as the body’s primary energy source, the body produces three types of ketone bodies (or ketones): acetoacetate, ß-hydroxy-butyrate, and acetone, which studies show have anti-inflammatory effects and protect against cellular injury.

The high fatty acid load of the ketogenic diet seems to activate the body’s natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms and improves mitochondrial energy homeostasis, or the way our cells produce and use energy.

Another way in which ketosis fights inflammation is by fatty acids stimulating production of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARa), a protein that regulates the expression of certain genes and produces a potent anti-inflammatory response. Ketones also seem to help fight oxidative damage from free radicals and an unhealthy lifestyle. Finally, a clean keto diet can be anti-inflammatory because it includes lots of healing foods like olive oil, nuts, fish, and fresh vegetables, while also eliminating problematic foods with added sugar, refined grains, synthetic additives, and processed oils that all spike inflammation.

6. Keeps hormones balanced

The ketogenic diet has safe and therapeutic effects in both children and adults, especially when it comes to regulating functions of the endocrine, immune, and central nervous systems. In fact, the good, healthy fats that make up 75 percent of the standard keto diet are the same fats that serve as the building blocks for hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. As a result, consuming these fats actually helps support hormone production and balance.

7. Aids brain health

Remember when I mentioned that the keto diet was originally developed to help control epileptic seizures? Studies from the 1920s have shown that the keto diet has a strong neuroprotective effect, mostly due to its ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and normalize insulin levels. The diet has been used clinically for more than 90 years in the treatment of epilepsy and a number of difficult-to-treat neurological disorders. Today research continues to show that ketosis has a number of positive effects on the brain, such as improving the way that the mitochondria in our cells work to produce energy.

There is also evidence that the keto diet offers protection against a broad range of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. More recently, the diet has also been used to help manage multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington’s disease, brain cancer, schizophrenia, autism, and recurring headaches.

Some of the mechanisms by which the keto diet supports cognitive health include providing the brain with sustainable energy in the form of ketones, preventing insulin resistance, balancing blood sugar levels, enhancing cellular metabolic and mitochondrial functions, and protecting cells and neurons in the brain from oxidative stress and damage. While there’s still more to learn about these complex mechanisms that lead to neuroprotection, they seem to be tied to enhanced neuronal energy reserves, improved ability of neurons to resist metabolic challenges, and enhanced antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the brain during ketosis.

8. Boosts mental focus

The brain, which normally relies on glucose for energy, can switch to using ketone bodies during periods of glucose restriction, fasting, or starvation. Being in the metabolic state of nutritional ketosis means that your energy-guzzling brain is using fat as fuel, which is a steady, slow-burning energy compared to glucose from carbohydrates, which tends to spike after consumption and quickly dip. In addition to lowering your risk for cognitive disorders, a clean keto diet is also capable of improving high-level cognitive functions and mental performance, such as by enhancing focus, attention, memory, and potentially problem-solving and learning capacity.

If you normally experience brain-fog or an “afternoon slump,” you can expect to feel more clearheaded while in ketosis. An added benefit is that you won’t need to rely on caffeine and sugar to get you through your day.

9. Encourages uplifted mood

You can thank the steady supply of ketones that your brain receives when you’re in ketosis for keeping you feeling levelheaded and energized. Normally, when you’re burning glucose for energy, your blood sugar will tend to surge right after eating, then plummet shortly after, especially if you consume lots of processed carbs and sugar. This cycle negatively affects your moods, concentration, and energy. On the other hand, while you’re in ketosis, energy will be largely derived from the utilization of your own body fat and from the fat you consume from your diet, which has a slower and steadier release to keep you thriving.

Other ways that the keto diet can protect against mood-related problems, such as the symptoms of depression and anxiety, are by reducing inflammation and helping to balance the release of insulin, a hormone that affects many other hormones in the body that regulate your mood, including cortisol, melatonin, estrogen, and testosterone.

A healthy keto diet can also support gut health, and we know that inflammation inside your gut can affect the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that are needed to keep your mood up. This is one reason why the keto diet may be therapeutic for people experiencing mood swings that are tied to leaky gut or overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract derived from a high-sugar diet, chronic stress, or exhaustion.

10. Increases energy levels

Staying in ketosis helps to stabilize blood sugar by turning the body into a fat-burner instead of a sugar-burner. As we’ve discussed, fat burns at a much steadier rate than carbohydrates, which provide quick bursts of energy followed by the notorious “sugar crash.” On a keto diet, you don’t experience as many energy surges and lows. In fact, many people report increases in energy levels after following a keto diet for several weeks!

What to Expect on the Keto Diet

When you first begin the keto diet, you may experience the side effects that have been nicknamed the “keto flu.” This happens because your ketone levels are still rising and you’re experiencing withdrawal from carbs and sugar.

Side effects when starting the keto diet can include fatigue, constipation, cravings, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and even bad breath. These are temporary and typically last only one to two weeks. Eating a clean keto diet, drinking lots of water, getting enough electrolytes like salt and magnesium, and consuming exogenous ketones can help reduce the severity of these symptoms. Take a look below at some of the most common keto flu symptoms along with some helpful remedies.

Keto Flu Symptoms and Remedies

1. Low energy

The Problem: If you find that you’re feeling fatigued and low on energy no matter how much sleep you’re getting after starting to cut carbs, it could be caused by the keto flu.

The Fix: Try giving your energy levels a boost with a small dose of caffeine from ingredients like green tea, matcha, or yerba mate. Alternatively, add a few energizing adaptogens into your daily routine. Maca, ashwagandha, and ginseng are great options to help your body adapt to stress naturally and normalize energy levels.

2. Nausea

The Problem: Nausea is one of the most common—and most unpleasant—side effects of the keto flu.

The Fix: There are plenty of natural remedies that can help soothe the stomach and keep digestive distress at bay. In particular, essential oils like peppermint and ginger can prevent nausea caused by the keto flu. Simply add a few drops to a diffuser or massage a bit onto your stomach or wrists to ward off tummy troubles.

3. Hunger cravings

The Problem: Feeling extra-ravenous between meals? The keto flu may be to blame. Although the keto diet can help cut back on cravings in the long run, it may cause increased hunger when you’re first getting started.

The Fix: Try adding a few extra servings of healthy fats and bone broth to your daily diet. These foods can help keep you feeling fuller for longer, without kicking you out of ketosis.

4. Brain-fog

The Problem: This is another symptom that should clear up once you’re fully into ketosis. Brain-fog is often characterized by symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, and lack of focus, and it’s a common side effect of the keto flu.

The Fix: Squeezing a bit of light physical activity into your daily routine is an easy way to support mental clarity and battle brain-fog. Adding a few drops of rosemary oil to your diffuser has also been shown to increase memory and enhance concentration.

5. Constipation

The Problem: The keto flu can often throw off regularity, causing side effects like constipation and infrequent bowel movements. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to get your bathroom habits back on track.

The Fix: Drinking more water can help get things moving while also keeping you hydrated. Magnesium also acts as a natural laxative, so try adding more magnesium-rich foods into your diet such as leafy greens and avocado. Probiotics are another simple solution that can give the beneficial bacteria in your gut a boost to promote healthy digestion.

6. Difficulty sleeping

The Problem: Insomnia is a keto flu symptom that can take a serious toll on just about every aspect of health. Not getting enough sleep at night can also worsen other keto flu symptoms, causing a dip in energy levels and contributing to mood swings, brain-fog, and fatigue.

The Fix: Consider adding a collagen supplement to your routine, which contains a mix of amino acids that have been shown to support better sleep, such as glycine. Dabbing a few drops of lavender oil on your wrists before bedtime can also help relieve stress and promote relaxation.

7. Bad breath

The Problem: During the transition to ketosis, many report experiencing “keto breath,” which is caused by the production of acetone, a type of ketone with a fruitlike aroma that tends to leave the body through the breath and urine.

The Fix: Mixing 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil with a bit of water and swishing it around in your mouth for 30 seconds can help kill bacteria and freshen bad breath. Probiotics have also been shown to support oral hygiene and naturally eliminate odors.

8. Low libido

The Problem:


On Sale
Dec 3, 2019
Page Count
304 pages
Little Brown Spark

Dr. Josh Axe

About the Author

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is the founder of the world's #1 most visited natural health website, He is also the bestselling author of Eat Dirt and Keto Diet, and the co-founder of Ancient Nutrition supplement company. Dr. Axe appears regularly on the Dr. Oz Show and has written for Shape, PopSugar, HuffPost, Men's Health, Forbes, Business Insider, Muscle & FitnessHers, and Well+Good.

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