I’ve been off an on the dieting bandwagon for as long as I can remember, and rarely have I succeeded at sustainable results.
The buzzword ‘Keto’ caught my fancy quite a few months ago, and I could see the radically positive change it was having on quite a few people in my circle. I was intrigued, yet all the jargon around macros had me in limbo.
A casual chat over a work lunch with my colleague Rasha got us started. We are both Keto newbies and decided to start this journey together.
So What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a high fat and extremely low carb diet. More than calories, you are encouraged to up the fat in your diet and really limit your carbs.
But wouldn’t eating more fat make you fatter? The idea behind the keto diet is to make the body reach the state of ketogenesis. When you starve the body of carbohydrates, the body automatically starts burning its fat reserves.
Getting the body in a ketogenetic state has a number of healthful benefits. Apart from weight loss and fat burning, a keto diet promises to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as overall triglyceride levels.
When on a Keto Diet, your Macros are more important than calorie counting.
The macros I have been aiming to achieve are as follows:
- 95 grams fat*
- 55 grams protein
- 20 grams (or less) carbs
I am doing this within a 1,200 daily calorie limit.
To find your macros, here’s a couple of free handy online calculators:
- If you are new to keto or don’t work out much, use this calculator: https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/
- If you are fully fat adapted, or very active in the gym, use this calculator:https://www.ketogains.com/calculator/
*Remember not all fats are created equal! The keto diet relies on ‘good’ fat. I’ll leave out the details for another post, but here’s a list of high-fat items that will see you reaching your fat intake goals:
- Grass-fed Butter
- Ghee (clarified butter. Great for vegans and the dairy-intolerant)
- Organic Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Cream
- Various Cheeses (my favorites are aged cheddar, haloumi and roomy cheese)
How I Started the Keto Diet
Get Tracking: I downloaded Carb Calculator, a free mobile app and religiously inputted everything I ate for every meal. I even used this app to figure out the macros of popular food items, and to plan out my meals beforehand. It really is a very handy app.
Talk to Those in the Know: I talked to people who’ve enjoyed Keto success. My sister in-law Sharmin introduced me to the Carb Calculator. She also shared a number of handy contacts of suppliers selling keto-friendly snacks and meals. My friend Jason Dalmeida simplified all the yucky maths involved and worked out the ideal macros for me. I also joined a few Keto Facebook groups for inspiration.
Make a Keto Friend: I started this journey with my colleague Rasha. We compare notes constantly and share any new knowledge that comes our way with each other. We cheer each other on. I don’t think I would have ever started without her.
Get Your Meals Organized: I am a working mum, and super lazy with prepping my own meals. I do 9-hour weekdays at a sedentary desk job, and often find myself ordering takeaways for lunch. The Keto Diet has been a game changer in this respect. I cook a few meals over the weekend and have been finding quick and easy prep meals to see me through the rest of the time. Surprisingly, putting together a Keto-friendly meal is super easy, and can be super delicious too!
Shopping List: Once you’ve explored a few quick and easy recipes, its essential to work on that Keto-friendly shopping list and stock the pantry with plenty of heathy ingredients to keep you encouraged. Variety is key. Get experimental in the kitchen. Just remember to diligently keep track of your macros.
Super Easy Keto Meals
After a week of Keto, I’ve got a few go-to recipes that are super easy to whip up and I dare say, taste pretty awesome too! Go on, give these a try:
- Keto Egg Salad: Mash up 2 boiled eggs with a whole avocado. Add a tablespoon of ghee. Season with Himalayan Salt and cracked pepper.
Cheesy Omlette: Heat a pan and add a tablespoon of ghee. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl, and season with Himalayan Salt. Pour onto the hot pan. Add 100 grams of chopped up Roomy Cheese and add a handful of fresh spinach. Fold omlette and cook on both sides till done.
Cauliflower Rice: I’ve used this as a base for many of my meals to make them more substantial, and to add much-needed fiber. I washed an entire cauliflower and whizzed it up into ‘rice’ in my food processor. I heated a tablespoon of ghee in a large pot and added a teaspoon of Nigella seeds for flavor depth. I then stir-fried the ‘rice’, and covered the pot till semi-done. I divided the rice into 1-cup portions and stored them in flattened sandwich bags that I froze in the freezer for easy storage and usage. They can last up to 2 weeks.
Minced Beef: Look for high-fat mince to get your fat intake in sync. Minced meat is a super easy option to stir-fry for any meal. Personalize it with your favorite condiments. I love mine with loads of chili flakes.
Fish Fillet: I get my fillet portioned into 200 grams at the fish monger’s. I marinated each fillet with different marinades. I did one with chili powder, cumin, coriander and garlic. I did another with a dash of soya sauce, minced garlic and chili flakes. Let your imagination run wild. Let them marinate for 20 minutes or so, then freeze. Cook on a hot pan right out of the freezer for a quick and hassle-free weeknight dinner.
Keto Diet Challenges
- Limiting the Protein: This has been the hardest macro to keep in track. I am planning to try ‘fat fasting’ soon to counteract this.
- Eating Out: I am a food blogger, and weekends are always booked out with reviews. I had to cancel a few this week. Getting my priorities right… for the time being.
- Social Pressure: I did have a lunch date with friends. We were dining at an Indian restaurant, and I had to watch them eat my favorite meals while I nibbled on an appetizer platter of seasoned paneer.
Keto Diet Week 1 Insights
- The key to keeping on track is to be super organized. Shop for the week in advance, keep a few meals in the freezer for easy reach.
- Keep track of your macros diligently.
- It’s great to have a Keto friend with whom you can share your triumphs and woes, tips and recipes.
- The Keto diet allows for absolutely delicious meals. I love how I can eat ghee with most of my meals and still loose weight!
- Keto teaches you to feel satiated without the bloat. I am full most of the time with my high-fat meals that are small packs of energy without the bulk.
Keto Diet Week 1 Results
I lost 2 kilograms! And that too without any strenuous exercise. This result is really encouraging. Bring it on Week 2!