There aren't many diet plans that encourage you to eat bacon, flash-fried vegetables or even nibble on a cube of cheese. But the Ketogenic diet allows one to do just that. While the key to Keto, as with any diet, is moderation, it works on the principle of limiting carbohydrate intake to 90 grams a day, eating an adequate amount of proteins and using ketones, which are produced by one's liver, for energy. Traditionally, one's carbohydrate-dependant body is trained to burn glucose for energy. Once on a Keto diet, this switch is flipped, and the body starts to use fat as fuel - eventually using the fat stored in one's body.
Sudipta Dubey, a Delhi-based nutritionist who also runs Als Fitness Centre, says that most people are naturally Keto-adapted. "When we sleep, our bodies use fat for energy. It isn't difficult to switch to a lifestyle that enables the body to keep that fat-burning switch on at all times." In fact, the Keto diet relies on this "fasting" state of the body and besides a healthy fat-intake, a steady sleeping pattern is absolutely necessary.
Those who have tried Keto continue to swear by it. Sahil Makhija, label owner at Deamonstealer Records and a chef who runs the YouTube channel, Headbanger's Kitchen, adopted the diet plan once his partner did. "Initially, I was motivated because she lost so much weight. But later, I realised it has many other health benefits too." Shimla-based Priya Dogra Aurora's story is similar. Besides losing weight, Aurora, now a Keto coach, feels the Keto "lifestyle" keeps her fitter and more active. "For people like me who can't go to the gym, this works perfectly. Besides, you start paying attention to what you eat and, in the process, start eating much healthier." And paying that attention is a must. The greatest challenge can be finding a Keto-friendly snack or meal when one feels hungry. "If you don't stock up your kitchen, you'll keep looking at things you can't eat, feel frustrated and give up. A weekly trip to the grocery store is a must."
Foods that are allowed
Butter, ghee, full-cream, cheese and coconut oil and all low-glycemic index and green vegetables. Non-vegetarians can eat any form of meat and eggs. For vegetarians, the protein intake can be managed with cottage cheese, soyabean and whey protein.
What you cannot eat
Sugar, grains, fruit, milk and all low-fat condiments. Dubey advises to keep the salt intake at an adequate level to avoid electrolyte imbalance. "Since the glycogen depletion will begin in the first 72 hours, there is always a lot of salt loss."
Instead of looking for "versions" of regular food items that are Keto-friendly, stick to a truly Keto diet. "Cravings tend to come back if you don't fully commit. Keto needs to be adopted as a way of life."
- While one does not need a nutritionist to follow the diet plan, the initial few weeks can be difficult, especially when one's body is adapting to the metabolic changes. During this time, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a Keto coach.
- Eat when hungry and stop when full - this is a principle that goes a long way in healthy living. Insulin-dependent diabetes patients and pregnant women should avoid this diet. On the other hand, a monitored Keto diet can help prevent insulin-resistant strains of diabetes.
1 cup coconut powder
1/2 cup powdered almonds
50 grams butter
Stevia to taste
226 grams of cream cheese
1/2 cup of yogurt
Lemon juice to taste
For the base, melt the butter, add it to the powdered almonds and coconut powder. Mix together and set in the baking moulds. Chill in fridge for 10-15 minutes
Mix the cream cheese, egg, yogurt, stevia, lemon juice together for the cheesecake
Pour into the moulds
Bake for about 10 minutes at 170C till it's cooked through
Chill for 4 hours
- Garnish with strawberries
Chicken, 500 grams
Lemon pepper seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice)
Cheese, three cubes
Cream, half a Tetrapak
Fresh chives or spring onion greens
Season the chicken on both sides with the lemon pepper seasoning
Heat some olive oil on a pan
Fry chicken on both sides for 3-4 minutes till golden brown
Deglaze the pan with water
Sprinkle on the grated cheese and cream
Finish with chives and parsley
Find more Keto-friendly recipes at www.youtube.com/c/headbangerskitchen and www.ketoforindia.com