If you have been trying to tone up and lose a little weight over the past year or so, you are most probably aware of a new diet that seems to have taken the world by storm. The keto diet (or Ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has not only been attributed to some rather amazing weight loss results in the celebrity world, but is also accredited with actually improving the health of those who engage with it.
For those looking on with intrigue at keto, it is worth noting that this is an extremely low-carb diet. If you have trouble keeping away from your carbs, this one could be particularly difficult for you. Over the course of a day, only 5% of your food intake can be carbohydrates. The rest is comprised of 75% fat, and 20% protein. Following this diet for a few days is all it takes before your body begins to burn fat instead of glucose (carbohydrates) for fuel. While this is the most popular version of keto, there are other ways people are integrating this particular diet into their lives.
If keto is too hard, try keto-lite
If the original version is a little brutal for your particular taste, perhaps try the cyclical keto diet (CKD), where you get two days a week to swap over to a high carb diet. Or, for the fitness fanatics out there who find the idea of working out without any carbs a bit daunting, the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) makes exceptions for eating carbs around your workout regime. Finally, if the original keto diet simply involves too much fat for your liking, then the high-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) might be more up your street, where the amount of protein you are allowed to consume is increased to 35%, and the fat lowered to 60%.
It is worth noting that the only version of the keto diet that has been studied in detail is the original one, while the others have anecdotal evidence to support them, it might be a few years before we have decerning evidence to back up the stories. If the original one proves too difficult, there is no reason not to move on and try one of the others, but just be aware that the results may not be as dramatic as you may have seen in various stories being shared around the internet.
Prep keto meals in advance, and avoid the temptation
So, if you find yourself becoming a little intrigued with keto, but don’t really know where to start, there are plenty of recipes out there that are easy to make, tasty, and adhere to keto rules! This is one diet that doesn’t require you to give up on tasty ingredients when cooking your meals. It is also a diet that lends itself well to meal prep, so even those of us who find it difficult to cook every single night can still try it out. Delicious meals such as Crack Chicken, is relatively easy to make in bulk, and freeze for the week ahead, when you are likely to be busy with work and family life. Lemon Butter Sauce drizzled over fresh fish will tantalize the pescatarians out there, while Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon will sit well with those of us who look for any excuse to get our pressure cooker out of the box, and into action.
Can’t use one ingredient? Look for a substitute
For the more adventurous cooks out there, pretty much any recipe you want can be adapted to fit in with the keto diet, so long as you adhere to the percentage rules. If a favourite desert happens to be heavy on the sugar, you can replace it with sweeteners, or even better, try replacing it with a spice or two. Ground cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger might not give your desserts as sweet a flavour, but you may find the new taste is to your liking while also managing to avoid ruining your new diet. If you are a lover of breadcrumbs (aren’t we all?), consider substituting those carbs with crushed pork and Parmesan cheese and coarsely chopped nuts. Are you someone who enjoys their gravy on their roast beef? Get rid of the all-purpose flour and use almond or coconut flour instead.
Often when people start on a new diet, they end up failing purely because they have to throw out all of their old staples and bring in a completely new set of meal ideas. With Keto, it can simply be a case of intelligently using substitutes. There are going to be some areas of your usual diet that can’t be recreated in a keto-friendly manner (sorry lager drinkers), but when you do find yourself craving a carb-heavy meal such as pizza, top some pork chops with pesto, cheese, and chopped tomatoes. Sure, it’s not a pizza, but the same flavours can help take the edge off your cravings.
Whether you are just starting a keto diet, or have been a devout follower of this new craze for a while, let us know about your successful strategies, delicious recipes, and any hurdles you have faced in the comments below, and good luck cutting out those carbs!