Blood ketometer and blood ketone reagent strips
To monitor your ketones we recommend the Precision Xtra Advanced Diabetes Management System. It is one meter that measures both ketones and glucose with a drop of blood from a finger prick. You can order it from Amazon for under $50. If you are interested in knowing your glucose levels as you adapt, also buy some Precision Xtra glucose strips to use in your monitor. You can buy them online from 40-50 cents each. Especially if you suffer from high blood sugar, it is a good idea to see what happens over the course of adaptation.
You will need at least 100 ketone test strips to complete keto-boot camp. They can be very expensive in the US. We buy them from a foreign supplier in large quantities and make them available at a discounted price. They are also available from Canada, order online from www.universaldrugstore.com. It takes about two weeks to receive once you order them so make sure you plan ahead.
Being able to monitor your blood ketones during keto-adaptation with a finger-stick test is extremely helpful—a real game changer. I have found a huge difference in the amount and types of carbohydrates that people need to eat in order to stay in ketosis. Some people can eat 100 grams of carbs and include some nuts, lentils, starchy veggies, and some fruits, and still stay in ketosis. For others, eating more than 20 grams of carbs will knock them out of the zone. Without finger-stick monitoring there is no way to know if and when you are in ketosis. Monitoring your blood is the only way to truly individualize your program for the best results.
For example, a man and his wife were eating the same meals. She was consistently in ketosis, losing weight, going through all of the changes of keto-adaptation and was seeing some real positive change. He was not because he could not get into ketosis on the same diet as she could. Without the testing there is no way they would have known that he wasn’t in ketosis. Because he was not in ketosis, he was not actually adapting, and would not have had the same benefits as her and most likely would have given up on the program. Monitoring takes the strict dietary formula away from keto-adapting, allows for individual variance in metabolism, and eliminates the need for carb counting. And it gives important feedback on exactly what you need to do to have success.
You will have to find out for yourself how well you handle carbs during boot camp. The best way to know is to measure your ketones until you have a pretty good idea how various foods affect you, and how much of them you can eat and still stay in ketosis. Also, watch to see any patterns of blood ketone level with changes in exercise, sleep, and stress. Use the daily tracking charts to keep track of what you are doing so you can see patterns and adjust your program as you go for optimal ease and success.
When you get your meter, make sure you get your baseline values before you start your program, of both ketones and glucose if you have glucose strips. You will want a couple of overnight fasting readings and several post-prandial readings one to two hours after a meal. Fasting overnight means having dinner the night before and testing first thing in the morning before food or exercise. Post-prandial means waiting a set time after eating a mea. Try to be consistent with the exact timing of this reading. For example, if you test an hour after a meal, always test an hour after eating, not an hour and a half or two hours. Glucose will be higher at one hour than at two and ketones will be higher at two hours than at one. Use your tracking sheet to write down what you ate, how long after eating you tested, and what your numbers were. Early testing will let you know how far you’ve gone by the end of your program, and will offer clues as to what you need to do to be successful during boot camp and after you have adapted.