It is Thiru onam day in Kerala and here in Melbourne it’s just another working day. The day begun just like any other day and I just cruised on autopilot mode till lunch time and then I started seeing WhatsApp messages and text messages flying around wishing all and sundry, a happy and prosperous onam!! Some greetings had the drool worthy Sadya(Onam feast) pics as an accompaniment. Needless to say my thoughts were on that sumptuous Onam lunch I used to have at my parent’s house, served on a banana leaf with all those myriad of side dishes.
In between all the messages I see this greeting from one of my relo (aussie for a relative) wishing me a happy Onam and also with a side compliment on my transformation from an overweight diabetic to a much fitter, lighter and disease free person that I am today!! Oh yes it felt good and I just replied to him saying that anyone can do it. And he came back to me saying that him and his wife did Keto for 20 days few months ago and they didn’t get the desired results from it!! That’s when I thought I should write on my Keto journey and should also attempt to dispel some of the myths associated with the Keto diet. Someone may benefit from what I have to say, after all sharing is caring!!
Early this year when I was living in Kuala Lumpur I had a chat with a mutual friend, at a dinner party, and she is from Perth and a dietician. Naturally our conversation drifted on to my weight loss and my diet. From my discussions with her it became obvious that she wouldn’t be able to wrap her head around the fact that being on high fat diet can result in effective weight loss, and above all, one can keep it off on a continuous basis. Even more confusing for her conventional thinking and understanding was the fact that I am diabetes free and not on any medications!! I could still see the confusion, and the disbelief, in here green eyes….And here my relo is also echoing the same sentiment, which was expressed by his brother, who is a specialist doctor, that it isn’t a long-term sustainable diet to follow. So, let me note a few things down here so that I can address some of the common misconception about Keto diet.
The Lifestyle change
It’s more a lifestyle change than a specific or prescribed diet. When you are in the state of Ketosis, where you use Ketons for your fuel instead of Carbohydrates. There are much more online resources on the subject and one can educate themselves. In these days and age, it isn’t that hard to find (mis)information online. The key to Keto based diet is that your food contains 70 to 80% fat(when I say fat it’s the good fats), 10 to 20% proteins and 5 to 10% Carbs. It is hard to measure precisely the quantity but there are many free apps like Lose it, Mealime which can be downloaded and used for tracking your macros and Calories.
While I religiously follow this lifestyle, I also take vitamin supplements to support my vital health. I do have Multivitamins, Flaxseed oil capsules, Magnesium and Zinc supplements, Vitamin D and Ashwagandha on a daily basis.
Keto diet and Weight loss
I get frequently asked on keto diet how fast you get your results. Well, there is no such thing as a fast track to rapid weight loss and Keto diet is no exception to that rule! Like everything in life good things take time to materialise. You cannot expect to follow ketogenic diet for 2 weeks or 3 weeks and expect to see dramatic results!! It took me a good 8 months to see significant results. One can encounter stages where you plateau out and there won’t be any changes in your weight. The key to success is persistence, you can try change the menu so that one doesn’t get bored with it. I persisted with my diet and I lost all that excess weight in stages. However, it could be different for different individuals based on your body type and how strict are you with your regime. I continued to stick to keto based diet even when I was traveling(that includes long haul flights where I used to carry 8 to 10 boiled eggs to eat while I am on a 16-hour flight!!). Contrary to what everyone says sticking to Ketogenic diet is not that hard, whether you’re traveling or just being out n’ about.
One key factor for weight loss is not the Calorie in and Calorie out method. It has got to do with the hormone levels in our body namely Testosterone, Insulin and Human Growth hormone. That I will write about another time.
The do’s and don’ts
- Stay away from packaged foods and highly processed foods. In short eat whole foods and organic as much as possible.
- Use only oils with high smoking point like Coconut oil for cooking and Extra Virgin Olive oil or Avocado oil for salad dressings. I personally use Coconut oil for my cooking and of late have started substituting butter with Virgin coconut oil. I have to say it is working well and the cakes are moister with not so much of the overpowering taste of coconut, however the shelf life may be reduced as a result of this.
- No refined flour or grains in the diet. Excess carbohydrates in the traditional flour and refined flour just converts to sugars and fats, which will result in weight gain and insulin resistance in older adults.
- No added sugars – Avoid all types of sodas, fruit juices and soft drinks. Read the macro information on the package to get an idea of the amount of added sugar you are ingesting into your system. Also avoid any artificial sweeteners, in my opinion, instead adopt sugar-alcohol based natural sweeteners like Erythritol, Xylitol, Monk fruit or Stevia. All of them may have a little after taste and laxative effect if used in excess. But its only a trivial price to pay for a healthy lifestyle!
I can go on to lengths about my take on the Ketogenic diet but let us get back to some cooking for now.
One of more misconception I want to address are that the Ketogenic diet is hard to follow in Indian cuisine. It’s so not true as my today’s roti recipe demonstrates. I substitute the coconut flour based Rotis for my occasional curry cravings. It tastes like, or even better, than the Rotis one makes with atta flour. Please try this at home.
Coconut flour Rotis
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
2 Tbsp Psyllium Husk
1 Tbsp Butter or Oil
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Tbsp Ghee to cook (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and make it into a dough ball. It will be soft and somewhat sticky. Leave it aside for 10 minutes to rest. Then cut into 6 equal pieces and roll them into ball shape. And make the rotis just as you make your traditional rotis or chapatis. Use parchment paper and sandwich the dough in between the sheets and roll out evenly to thin rotis. On a medium hot pan cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side.
These Rotis are incredibly soft and pliable unlike the traditional chapatis. You can have it with Indian style curries, or you can make a wrap with it. I made myself a filling of Smashed Avocados, Sour cream and garlic seasoned with Salt and pepper. I must say it tasted so incredible. You can make 6 Rotis out of this recipe. Macros listed as below:
Macros per serving:
Net Carbs: 1
About the Author
George Samuel is a food entrepreneur, currently working on a low-carb food startup business in Melbourne Australia. He has 30 years of experience as Project Manager in the IT and Telecomm sector. Food is his passion and he has appeared on Victorian Channel 31 delivering cookery shows for Black and White digital media in 2012. He is passionate about clean eating and whole foods and is also a big advocate of sugar free living. His mission is to help people to live a disease-free lifestyle.
Read more from the author:
- Dessert Time On A Winter’s Day – Coffee Panna Cotta
- Being on A Diet and Not Missing the Fun!
- Low-Carb Muffins