What is Dirty, Clean, Lazy or Strict Keto?

What is strict Keto? Does lazy Keto let you have more carbs? What can I eat if I do “dirty” Keto?
These questions are asked daily in our group Keto New Zealand.   

When you are eating Keto, it means that you will be keeping your carbs ultra low. This is non-negotiable as if you raise them a bit, it’s low carb instead of keto and you will find you are no longer in ketosis. Generally, this is under 20g net, but some tolerate a little more.

Dirty Lazy Keto

There are two continuums or scales that describe how you will eat Keto and you’ll be somewhere on the continuum of each. 

The first continuum is from Strict (Tracked) to Lazy (Intuitive). This describes how much you track your food – Whether on paper or in an app like Carb Manager. The second is from Clean to Dirty (Relaxed). This what describes what ingredients you choose to eat and whether you avoid inflammatory ingredients for health reasons.  

Strict Clean Keto

The definition of each of these are:

  • ❤ Strict (aka tracked) keto: You track all your macros (or just carbs) and make sure you are hitting them. You may choose to not hit the fat macro.
  • 💛 Intuative (aka Lazy) keto: You don’t track your macros (fat, protein, carbs), but you eat in a way that if you did track them, you’d be under 20g carbs and approximately hitting the others. You might track occasionally to make sure you are on track.
  • 💚 Clean keto: You are concerned about the ingredients and don’t eat inflammatory foods which some believe is a component of being in ketosis.
  • 💙 Relaxed (aka Dirty) keto: You don’t worry about what foods you eat, as long as you eat under 20g carbs.

Most people aren’t strictly lazy/strict and clean/dirty, but sit somewhere along the line from one to another, with different beliefs, decisions and ways you’ve chosen to do it.

You can choose to do keto in a way that works for you. For some, that will mean strict tracked keto with non-inflammatory ingredients. For another that might mean tracking carbs only, but being more flexible about ingredients. For someone else, it might be eating mainly carnivore (animal products only) without tracking. It’s about making it work for YOU… And it’s about not judging others for their personal choices. 

Some of us have come from a low inflammatory ingredient background, so going that route is easy – others don’t feel the need to go strict and track, or eat less inflammatory ingredients and that’s just as appropriate. 

Remember, what you eat or what someone else eats doesn’t make your value any higher or less than someone else’s. Our value is not connected to the way we eat. We are all at our own pace in this journey – And none of us are on a journey towards eating exactly the same way someone else eats.