What would you say if I told you that you could eat cheese, mayonnaise, cream and everything yummy and still get killer abs? Would you believe me? Would you say that I’m insane? Well, I’m not, and here’s some real good news for you. I’m going to share tips on how you can eat cheese, cream and mayonnaise and still lose fat! I’ve done it; my friends have tried it and if you like, you can experiment with this too! But before you do, do check with your family doctor first.
Keto goes against all conventional wisdom and turns the diet pyramid on its head. It’s a HIGH FAT, MODERATE PROTEIN and very LOW CARB diet. The battle with getting onto the keto bandwagon is predominantly a psychological one that often make me wonder, “Seriously, what am I doing?” Will I die of a heart attack eating this much fat?
Research has shown consistently that there is no link between cardiac diseases, fried foods, and cholesterol intake. The true enemy is sugar. Whaaaaaatttt???
What is a ketogenic diet?
To understand the diet we have to first understand that our body is used to operating on carbohydrates, and has become extremely efficient at doing so. So much so that as time goes by the body requires less and less carbohydrates to function and the surplus carbohydrates are converted to glycogen and subsequently stored as fat. Coupled with our often sedentary lifestyle our body becomes a fat storing machine. Back when we were kids of course we would be playing sports and engage in more physical activities, so these carbohydrates got utilised completely. But as adults it’s difficult to sustain those levels of exercise.
Ketosis is a state induced in the body primarily when a person fasts. In this scenario the body is starved of carbohydrates and it goes into a backup mode converting fats transported to the liver and converted to ketones. These ketones are what fuel the body kick-starting the fat burning metabolic processes in the body. However it is not always possible or safe to starve oneself. The idea is to limit carbohydrates to a mere 5%, proteins to 20%, and fats to 75%. The exact quantity however will depend upon your height, weight and activity. You can get an accurate estimate on https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/
Typically for a Male weighing 75kg and 175cm the intake should be around
156g of fat
20g of carbs
106 g of protein
How do I Keto…?
To gain control over what you are eating, I would recommend downloading an App called ‘MyFitnessPal’ this has an exhaustive list of foods both retail and raw products with macros and calories in its database that will help you track of the same.
Count your macros not calories
Other macros to keep in mind is your salt intake Potassium, Sodium, Calcium and to a lesser extent Magnesium.
Affordable Ketogenic Diet Grid
Below is a list of vegetables that are commonly available in the markets. Of course there are a couple of ingredients that may have lesser carbs per unit but quite frankly asparagus and avocado are a luxury for our desi shopping lists.
Very low Carbohydrates Ingredients
||Powdered indian masalas (Coriander, Cumin, Garam masala, Chilli powder)
|| Peanut butter
||Oat husk flour
|pork belly with fat
|Mackerel, Sardines (oily fish) salmon
Foods to avoid like the plague!!
Any form of sugar (jaggery, honey, grain sugar). Pasta, Cereals, Rice, Bread, Chapati, Fruits(Barring small quantities of Raspberry/ Strawberry), ketchup, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, lentils.
Just to give you an idea of the carbohydrate restriction in place. 1 large slice of bread has 20g of carbs which is the intake limit a day.
The Four myths and their accompanying Commandments of Keto diet
- ‘I’m on a low carb diet so I’m going to have the largest bucket of fried chicken I’ve ever had’
Thou shalt not eat too much protein
Many people mistake keto diet with a high protein diet. If you eat too much protein your body is smart enough to convert the excess protein to glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis. Thus your vital fat reserves remain untouched.
- ‘Eating so much butter, cheese can’t be good. Will I die of a heart attack?’
Thou shalt not eat too less fat
This sounds a little strange to even seasoned keto followers. It’s a difficult psychological barrier to overcome when all your life you have been told that eating it can lead to health problems. Your body is the best signal, trust the unique body chemical processes that goes on in your system and be liberal with the use of oil, butter, ghee.
- ‘Eating very less salt is good for your health’
Thou shalt season your food properly with salt
Sodium: Insulin, besides keeping blood sugar levels in check is also is responsible for storing sodium in the kidneys. When it is suppressed (as a result of reduced blood sugar levels) the sodium is flushed out of the body. Hence it is essential to salt your food properly maybe even slightly over-salting.
‘I want to be healthy but I don’t want to eat my greens’
Thou shalt honour Popeye and eat your Spinach
Potassium: is critical in muscle contraction and reduced levels in the body can lead to fatigue.(and other green leafy vegetables of course) to replenish your potassium levels
‘Eating too many nuts will make me fat’
Thou shalt eat your quota of nuts.
Magnesium is another important nutrient important in several bodily functions can be supplemented by tablets and eating nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds.
- ‘Hey, if it says low carb it must be alright for me to eat.’
Thou shalt read the nutritional information carefully
It is very important that you read labels of every processed product that you purchase. Even the ones that state low carbs. Manufacturers have mastered the art of disguising sugars in their food by giving misleading names fructose, corn syrup, lactose, barley malt, dextrose, rice syrup, maltose, agave, molasses, cane juice, fruit juice, honey, and malt syrup. Sometimes it is mentioned as sugar alcohols and blatantly says zero carbohydrates but actually is sugar!! Don’t compromise. When in doubt ask for help or avoid that product altogether.
Useful Hacks to Keto
Nuts: You can eat nuts like almonds, peanuts in moderation. I would suggest going for unsalted nuts although I mentioned earlier that you must salt your food, simply because they are less addictive and tempting. Take a fixed amount and eat it at leisure. Don’t take a big bags of nuts and keep munching.
Crudites: Cut up some bell peppers and cucumbers into sticks and keep it sealed in a ziplock bag. Just before using, put the cut up vegetables in cold water for a minute. Strain. This will make them crunchy. Gorge on these guilt free with some spicy mayo.
Greentea and Buttermilk: You can have these both as much as you need through the day to keep yourself hydrated. The green tea will suppress your appetite (add some lemon) and it’s a delightful beverage to sip while working. If it’s too hot opt for spiced buttermilk
Eggs are probably the single most important ingredient that will save you when you are hungry. You can eat it by itself like an omelette. Boil, cut it up and add it to bulk up salads. Use it as a binder to coat chicken before crumbing it in some shaved parmesan/ almond meal and bake. Use it to make low carb pancakes.
3. Overcoming carb urges like rice and chapatti
Cauliflower couscous – There are times when the urge of having some starch is over-whelming. Check out the below recipe I found below. Gives satisfaction of having had something that resembles rice.
Word of caution: Do consult your doctor before trying this diet if you are a diabetic or have an existing heart condition.