Keto lifestyle

Since Tim Noake’s Real Meal Revolution book was released earlier this year, a lot of folks in South Africa started the Banting diet.

For months I was totally against the diet, being an advocate for regular exercise and a “balanced diet” (low fat, moderate protein, moderate to high carbs). Earlier this month, I started doing some research of my own – I landed upon the Keto diet resources which led to a number of interesting websites and reading material. I decided to give the keto diet a try.

Why?

I don’t have a weight problem. This year has been one of my healthiest years in terms of exercise and eating. One of the first reasons, is that Carol wanted to try the diet to see if burning fat for energy when exercising (running and cycling) is better for her than burning carbs. One of my reasons is that gluten has not been agreeing with me, causing a lot of discomfort. The Keto diet will compliment my alcohol-free experiment. I’ve always wanted to give up refined sugar and not be a slave to chocolates and desserts. I want to reduce my body fat percentage and increase my strength and lean muscle.

Some of the foods that I love and have eaten regularly:

Pasta, rice, pizza / foccacia. Tomato sauce with most foods. Sugar in my tea and coffee. Ice-cream, waffles, cakes, cupcakes, any dessert. Chocolates, potato chips, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes – POTATOES, sweet potatoes. Lentils, beans, paneer curries. Freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, cappaccinos. Chinese/Thai/Indian food, sandwiches, burgers, springrolls, samoosas, popcorn, corn chips, sweet corn.

I started the keto diet/way of life properly on the 12th November 2014. Carol joined me a week later. Besides letting go of sugar, I’ve been enjoying food more these past 2 and half weeks than this whole year! We’ve been cooking almost daily and eating fresh, wholesome, ‘clean’ food. I’ve been more creative with cooking which is making the whole experience so enjoyable. After each meal, I feel satisfied and sustained. Breakfast keeps me going for 4-5 hours – unlike if I had cereal or oats for breakfast, I would usually be hungry within 2 hours. I’m not snacking constantly during the day. I sleep well at night.

The first week was an adjustment – high fat! Low carb, moderate protein. Before this, I hadn’t eaten butter for almost a year, very little dairy, always cooked with minimal oil, felt bad if I indulged in high fat food, always bought low-fat or fat-free products.

Food that we’re enjoying cooking and baking with:

  • Double thick fresh cream, unsalted butter, organic unsweetened soya milk, mature cheddar, mozarella,
  • Almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, Philadelphia full fat cream cheese, avocados, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, macadamia, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Xylitol and Stevia for baking (Xylitol tastes like sugar, but should only be used minimally.  Stevia liquid has an awful aftertaste in my opinion, Carol prefers it).
  • Spinach, cabbage, cauliflour, pumpkin, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Beef, pork, lamb
  • Mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, hake, haddock, prawns (Carol is a dairy-free pescetarian – she eats fish and eggs but no dairy, red meat or chicken).
  • Extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil

It has taken two weeks for tea to finally taste good without sugar or a sweetner. Instant black coffee is also becoming more enjoyable. 90% dark chocolate is divine.

New favourite drink – black coffee or tea blended (using a blender stick) with a teaspoon of coconut oil is creamy and delicious! It can also keep you feeling full, with energy for several hours.  I’m drinking 8 – 10 glasses of water a day.  No more tummy issues, no cramping, no bloatedness, no smellies.

Since we’re just starting out, we’re finding the key to this change in lifestyle is to just do it, no trying to ease into it, no cheat days, just commit, and you’ll find it so much easier. The side-effects of losing weight, burning fat, eating healthy tasty food, far outweigh the not having alcohol, sugar and refined carbs in your life. If you live with someone or with your family, it will be best if everyone tries the new lifestyle together.  Using a food tracking app such as myfitnesspal to track your carb in-take is imperative to success, at least until you reach your goal. Our goal is to have our bodies keto-adapted which takes about 3 months. If you don’t have a weight problem – you can just adjust all your macros (fat, protein, carbs) and overall calorie intake to maintain your weight.

Here are links to reading material to find out more.
https://www.ruled.me – the site that started this journey for me
https://keto-calculator.ankerl.com – calculator
https://www.flexibleketogenic.com – check your ratio per meal or per day
https://www.reddit.com/r/keto/comments/1jqgav/in_ketosis_vs_ketoadapted/ – a brilliantly simple explanation of Ketosis vs. Keto Adapted
https://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketosis.html
https://primalnorth.blogspot.com/p/keto-adaptation-vs-low-carb-limbo.html

We’ve found very little info and recipes out there for people on a similar diet to Carol which is dairy-free pescetarian – i.e. you can eat fish, eggs, but no dairy or meat (red meat or chicken).  Despite Carol’s special dietary requirements, we’ve been cooking delicious meals by adapting vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Are you on a Keto, Banting, Low-Carb High Fat diet? What has your experience been like? How long have you been on the diet? What is your unique situation/eating requirements?