Ah the days of ‘new year new me’ seem long gone now that the season’s changing and we are putting on more clothes than we’re taking off, but I still must write about my experience on the keto diet which I started this January. And here’s the main reason – the benefits of this diet far surpasses the summer bod aesthetic as its health benefits could change your life (if you need it). Now not everybody needs a diet, or this diet, and I’m sure a lot of people would say that I most certainly do not need to be on a diet, which is why I hesitated in writing this blog post, but if you are struggling to lose weight or are trying to get your body up to standard then this might just tickle your fancy.
Doing a Low Carb High Fat diet sounded much like a fad when I first heard about Banting some years ago and to be honest, when I started the diet in January without much research (don’t try this at home) I thought I was doing keto but in actual fact I was just Banting. Yeah let me throw Banting in their so nonchalantly like it’s no big deal but the mere shock of cutting carbs IS A BIG DEAL. Almost luckily, I was doing a low carb Banting diet so I was still eating fruit and the odd sweet potato fry to save my life. This way of eating was really difficult and felt impossible after only a few days. Oh have I not mentioned what this diet entails, oh my bad, brace yourself. So the ketogenic diet or keto (for us cool kids forward slash losers) is actually a no carb diet. I mean you get like 5% carbs grace but ‘they’ really want you to not eat any carbs on this diet. So after much research (post dying) I finally managed to figure out which foods I could actually eat and this made all the difference, because they were actually a lot of my favourite foods anyway.
Keto friendly foods: eggs, salmon, avocado, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, more eggs, more salmon, more avo and many more plates of vegetables.
So the keto diet consists of foods which are high in good fats, extremely low in carbs (even the good ones) and you get a helping of moderate protein to complete your macros. Do note that this is not a high protein diet. Keeping your protein moderate to low and making more room for fats would really kickstart weightloss. So the gist of it – Without consuming carbohydrates your body is forced to burn fat for fuel to give you energy throughout the day, thereby attacking your fat stores and allowing you to shed those centimetres right off. Okay I made it sound simple but it kind of is. Oh, unless you want to speak about ketosis, the main point of the keto diet, duh. Ah ketosis..we have fond memories, more so of side effects that make you doubt everything about the diet in the first place but that is indeed the goal, to get your body is a state of ketosis, where your liver is depleted from something something and thus produces ketones, somehow scientifically but not magically (I’m an Arts major not a doctor) and then these ketone bodies become an army against all your fat and basically kills but probably not literally kills your fat cells or maybe it shrinks your fat cells, clearly I didn’t do enough research (again, do not try this at home) and voila you pee and you lose weight. Wow that was a terrible explanation of a very effective diet but let’s be serious for a moment.
The ketogenic diet is not without its side effects. You will pee A LOT, especially in the beginning stages, your body won’t retain water especially after workouts when you feel you need to most and once you’re in ketosis and you think you’ve hit the jackpot, you will most probably experience the keto rash which is a terrible itchy experience, not to mention an ugly situation which if it’s summer is more likely to be visible and just unappealing. I have also experienced weakness in the beginning as my body transitioned from crabs to fats but I also expected that. If you’re big at the gym then you probably won’t be able to handle your workouts that well without carbs so this diet is not for everyone. So who’s it for? (answering my own questions now)
The ketogenic diet is an anti inflammatory diet so it’s easy on the gut. I guess anyone suffering from bad gut health would have at some point looked into keto, even by accident. Its anti inflammatory properties are promising as gluten is completely cut out of the diet and dairy, if not organic and trusted, is a solid meh. But we should all err on the side of caution with the dairy industry. Speaking of which, one of the main reasons I am advocating this diet is the fact that it completely transformed my gut health to the point where I am no longer lactose intolerant. Even now that I am off the diet (touch wood), I am still enjoying milk in my coffee (damn didn’t I just tell you to distrust global dairy manufacturers) but yes gone are the days of milk alternatives, yo girl can finally get a good up of coffee without paying an arm and a leg for 2% almond milk (smiles all round). Another benefit of the diet is that you’re eating almost exclusively what I like to call Brain Food which are just neuro-protective foods that support brain health and functionality. And what I became good at throughout this diet is becoming in tuned with what my body needs and just being able to listen to my body more attentively helps a lot in feeding it good food. So it’s a lot more than just looks, though there’s nothing wrong with going on a diet to look better, I was just surprised that I got so much more out of doing keto than a slimmer waist.
Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below!