“Health is not valued till sickness comes” – Thomas Fuller
It’s been 75 days since I embarked on this keto journey and I must admit, I quite like it!
I like how I look but more importantly, I love how I feel – a million bucks!
Prior to attending Keto On lessons, I was stuck at 47kg for the longest time. I had done all I knew how to do to try and shed those extra two kilos so I could achieve my ideal weight of 45kg, but nothing worked. Until keto, that is.
Some of the improvements I noticed about my body include heightened mental alertness and clarity. I also experienced increased energy levels. And because we’re encouraged to have 70 per cent fat per day, I feel full almost all the time. Hence, I stopped snacking and very soon I was down to 45kg, almost effortlessly.
Now if you’re thinking of making that switch to keto, let’s go through some basics.
Just as a general guideline, aim to have, everyday:
25 per cent protein and (eggs, cheese, meat and seafood)
5 per cent carb (green leafy veggies)
Here’s how to calculate your macros:-
70 per cent fat is calculated as three times your ideal body weight in grams. So for example, you currently weigh 55kg and you’d like to go down to 50kg (ideal weight), then:-
50 X 3 = 150g (daily fat intake)
25 per cent protein is simply your ideal weight in grams. Again, if your ideal weight is 50kg, then your daily protein intake should not exceed 50g (weight of raw food)
5 per cent carbs refer to green leafy vegetables not exceeding 20g (daily carb intake)
The key here is really to cut out all processed carbs like rice, noodles, breads, pasta, flour products including cakes and biscuits from your diet. Unless you’re an Olympic athlete or training for a marathon, the excess carbs will not only spike your insulin levels but also turn to sugar in your body and store as fat.
Over-consumption of proteins can also have the same effect and promote fat storage in our bodies.
Follow this guideline as best you can and you should be in ketosis in five to ten days.
Whilst waiting for your body to adapt from running on glucose to running on ketones, it’s a great idea to clean house, literally.
And a good place to start is actually your kitchen.
Throw out all the unhealthy food. Foods, laced with sugar or hidden sugars, that usually come in pretty packages that you can keep for months on end. Another way to identify unhealthy food is by reading the label. Usually the first three ingredients listed come in larger quantities. Then, there’s usually a salt marker and then after that, all the other listed ingredients come in negligible amounts usually less than one per cent.
Another thing to note while reading food labels is this. Look out for super long ingredients lists with hard to pronounce names or words starting with the letter E or E-numbers. These are usually artificial food chemicals, additives or preservatives that help increase their shelf life.
So as a standard, buy foods that’ll expire within a week and only buy foods that have no more than three or four ingredients listed.
If you have children at home, and they love cheese. Make sure you’re getting them the real deal and not some “cheese product”. Natural cheese is usually made from not more than four ingredients namely: milk, salt, cheese culture and non-animal rennet.
Closely related to cheese is butter. Again, it’s always good to check that you’re getting real butter made from 80 per cent milk fat from grass-fed cows, pasteurised cream, water and salt.
With all that in mind, what can you eat? Lots of great tasting, natural, whole foods!
Here’s a quick keto shopping list to get you started:
cauliflower, finely chopped, to replace rice
zucchini or omelet, julienned to replace noodles
lettuce to replace tortilla wraps
coconut/almond flour to replace normal flour
Olive oil, coconut oil, lard or other animal fat, butter to replace all vegetable oils, which are inflammatory and toxic in excess
Natural spices to enhance the flavours in your food
Pink Sea Salt/Celtic Salt to replace normal table salt
Tamari to replace soya sauce
Sprouted nuts (not more than a handful a day)
Seeds (not more than one tablespoon a day)
Chicken, duck, turkey
Notice sugar is not in the above list? That’s because our bodies cannot tell the difference between natural and synthetic sugar. Both cause our pancreas to overwork and spike insulin so it’s best to cut it out, especially “diet sodas”. But, if you must include a little in your cooking or baking, then plant-based xylitol would be the best option.
Hope that helps but what if you don’t have the luxury of cooking at home? Or it’s just the two of you and you’d much prefer to eat out?
Of course there are options.
Generally, you’d wanna avoid fast foods or deeply fried foods simply because the “vegetable oils” or more accurately inflammatory seed oils used are toxic in excess. It can also significantly increase your risk of heart disease. Further, although it’s mandatory to refresh and change out these “vegetable oils” weekly, some don’t.
So that leaves us with still many other food choices like stir-fries, grilled or barbequed meats and seafood, soups and steamboat.
Stir-fried foods are broadly ok but, it’s the sauces they come in that contain hidden sugars and “vegetable oils”. So one way to remove them is to do the food spa – cleanse and wash away the harmful sugars and “vegetable oils” in soup and eat the food as is.
Speaking of hidden sugars, when eating salads, ask for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) instead of the commercial salad dressings that contain tons of chemicals and sugars. Or you can always bring your own EVOO.
But say you don’t have the means to wash away the unhealthy sauces and “vegetable oils” and you can’t convince the chef/food vendor to replace or leave out processed carbs. Then, order your food as it is on the menu, eat the proteins and leafy greens and just leave the processed carbs behind.
More tips coming up on how to keto adapt, whether you’re switching to the keto diet for weight loss, or contemplating a complete change to keto lifestyle long term to stay healthy.
Remember you still get to enjoy your favourite foods, keto style!