I was also bugged by the keto fever and decided to give it a shot. Let me tell you I exercise at least 4-5 days a week. And generally, try to keep myself fit. I usually don’t eat out, hardly take sugar. So when I decided to try Keto diet my reason was to shed a few extra kgs and see if it removes brain fog or helps in clarity.
I started by reading and talking to my friend who has been very supportive of my keto diet. He always had some ideas to help me. The first thing you will need is to plan your diet. I am a vegetarian, I do eat eggs but not during summers as it generates a lot of heat in my body. So when I decided to go Keto in summers even eggs were not a possibility. So carving out a proper keto diet plan was a challenge. Everything we eat specifically in Northern parts of India is full of carbs and it will become quite difficult to plan a high fat and low carb diet. Below is my experience about going through the whole Keto thing. I would stick to intermittent fasting i.e. I would fast for 15 hours at a go which means skipping breakfast. You can take an early lunch at about 12 noon. Your eating window is open till 8 pm. I have tried different apps for recipes on the keto diet but in reality, they were of no use. The primary reason was that the ingredients they suggested are hard to find where I live or else they are too expensive to be consumed daily e.g. avocados, unsweetened butter, high-quality cheeses etc. I feel we usually forget the cost factor while talking about fitness. India is a very cost sensitive market.
1. Carving a vegetarian keto diet is extremely difficult with very less option. I started my day with a half cup (small) coffee with whole milk (1/4 milk) and close to no sugar. I have a sweet tooth so it takes a lot of effort to stay away from sugar. You can also use stevia granules but again it will be expensive. Try growing the stevia plant.
2. Next, I use to eat paneer (cottage cheese) for my early lunch. Initially, I bought paneer packets and used an air fryer to cook it. Once you start eating paneer continuously you feel something strange in your stomach. Maybe it is hard for the stomach to digest. Another thing I figured was making paneer at home was a better choice. Homemade paneer did not give that strange feeling. Hence, now I eat homemade paneer only. (This is some extra work in the whole meal planning).
3. For snacks, I made almond and peanut butter. I usually have my snack around 4 pm. I tried eating unsweetened butter but it did not work with me at least. I added a very small amount of sugar in the homemade butter and it works quite well. I eat it with a half slice of brown bread.
4. For dinner- I am not a rice eater and hence brown rice was not a great option for me. I eat jowar and besan mix roti with some subzi (cooked vegetable). It is a complex carbohydrate. I try to eat lots of daal but sometimes it does not happen. I also realized that I need some form of carbs by end of day.
5. I reduced my milk intake.
There is not much I can do with diet in summers. In winters I could replace dinner with eggs/omelets.
How will you feel when you follow keto diet & other things:
1. Hunger Pangs- If you are also following intermittent fasting you will get hangry. Learn to control your temper. Others should not suffer because you want to achieve your fitness goals.
2. Once you start eating paneer everyday for lunch you might feel very strange in your stomach and also puckish. Drink hot water it has helped me.
3. Boredom- Having the same kind of food every day will bore you. Whenever you feel like this think about why you are following this diet and your purpose. Usually, this has helped me stick.
4. Write your macros. Be a little obsessed with your fitness. There are a lot of apps that help you track your calorie intake. I used a pen and paper and made sure it is simple. Just write the Carbs, Fats, Proteins. I used myfitnesspal.com for checking the nutrition value of what I was eating. Learn to approximate, do not make it complex. Writing down my macros on a paper had a very different effect on me.
5. You can have a cheat day it is okay. Only have one thing you like in moderate quantity once a week for e.g. single scoop of ice cream.
6. Once you reduce on sugar you will stop liking sugary stuff. This will happen.
7. You can have MCT oil in moderation.
8. You will feel very tired but that is a part of Keto.
9. Drink lemon and salt water throughout the day. You will lose a lot of electrolytes and hence it will be helpful. You will also feel less tired.
10. Get keto strips to check if you are in ketosis. This is quite handy.
11. Don’t lose your mind over it. This usually happens and then we give up. So stay practical.
12. You will not be able to follow a full keto diet in first go or even in the second and it is okay.
13. Observe your body. Listen to it. It will tell you what kind of keto you should do. Maybe zero carb is not for you which is also fine. I figured out I cannot go zero carbs. I do need some carb every day and I fine with that. Anything you do should help you make feel better and more fit in the long run instead off lethargic, tired and irritated.
14. If you have a medical condition like thyroid, diabetes first ask your doctor for the diet changes.
15. Drink lots of water. Hot is better.
16. Get friend/s who will support you in this. I have a good one.
17. I reduced my fruits intake considerably. Almost stopped.
18. I ate nuts like walnuts and almonds. Avoid cashews.
So far my keto experience has been good. I feel more energetic because of low carb diet. There is more clarity as well. I feel full for longer. My general fitness is fine. I also learned few things about myself following this regime:
1. I don’t need a zero carb diet as of now.
2. I learned to control my temper and act rationally when I am hungry. This happened maybe because I had put myself under such conditions more often by following this diet.
3. I started drinking a lot of water.
4. Increased my willpower.
5. Nowadays I don’t like sugary drinks that we find in markets- cold coffee, etc. I like homemade stuff.
6. With keto, I had to cook my own meals. In a way, it is good as I have very less dependency on anyone.