3 weeks. The halfway mark on my self-imposed low carb challenge. Here’s how the keto diet has been treating me so far!
As you already know, I have recently adopted the Keto diet – the Low Carb High Fat diet that everyone is talking about. Meaning I have drastically reduced my carbohydrate intake, while increasing my intake of healthy fats (ghee, coconut oil, and butter). As promised, here’s the first of my week-by-week updates.
I’ll start by saying that the keto diet has so far, been rather enjoyable! The only thing I probably really miss is my morning milky coffee, which has now been replaced with either black coffee with heavy cream, or coconut milk coffee. I’m getting used to the flavours of both, but still kinda miss my regular coffee. And as for the food, while I initially struggled with (and got quickly bored with) making cauliflower rice and butter-fried chicken every day, the wonderful people at Grow Fit saw me flailing, and were kind enough to step in and take over my nutrition for my 6-week experiment!
I hate weighing scales, but for the purpose of this experiment, I shall be logging it weekly. My starting weight before getting on the diet was 70.2kg.
So what have I been eating? Take a look! (I’ve left out my troubled days of homemade stuff, but if you want me to share those meals and recipes, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll do a separate post.)
I started out a tad nervous, to be honest. I mean, the concept of being put “on a diet” was an unnerving one for me. I had visions of lacklustre salads and bland meat flashing before my eyes.
Boy, was I wrong!
My breakfast on the first day was Grow Fit’s Ketogenic Coconut Flake Cereal. Loaded with coconut, flax seeds, chia seeds, and a whole lot more, this substitute for breakfast cereal is delicious! I opted for the vanilla one, and it was like a delightful puddingy dessert for breakfast. Great way to start the day.
Lunch was my first “meal” from Grow Fit, and I was expecting the blah stuff I mentioned earlier. But when I checked the day’s menu on the Grow fit app, I was pleasantly surprised — Chicken Satay! I confess, I did a double-take when I read that. How could Chicken Satay possibly be “diet” food?!
The handy nutrition label on my food delivery box allayed any doubts I may have had about it being healthy. Talk about low-carb!
By the way, did I mention that the meal included dessert? That’s right, DESSERT! And not some insipid little token dessert, it was an honest-to-goodness coffee coconut pudding, and it was creamy and delicious. Perfect end to the meal!
And if you thought that was good, take a look at dinner.
That’s right. Pizza! Chicken Tikka Pizza, to be precise, on a low-carb crust. The crust had cauliflower and cheese in it, and it was crispy and absolutely scrumptious. By far the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, and no, they didn’t pay me to say that!
I should also mention, both lunch and dinner were accompanied by one of Grow Fit’s signature Power Drinks, which are a blend of electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These help balance all the keto diet-induced imbalances in the body, and minimise carb flu symptoms like fatigue and headaches. Each meal had a differently flavoured drink — Lunch was accompanied by a slightly spicier drink (I tasted cumin for sure), and dinner was sweeter (couldn’t identify the flavours exactly).
My second day on the keto diet started with a Power Smoothie, that had been delivered to me with dinner the previous day. Loaded with protein (25g!) and super-low on carbohydrates, it made a great meal replacement and a filling start to the day. It was butterscotch-flavoured and just a little thicker than normal milk, so it wasn’t a struggle to drink or digest.
Lunch on the second day was a Chicken Black Bean Burrito with Sour Cream. The wrap itself was made from Grow Fit’s signature Ultra Low Carb Flour, so it barely dented my carb intake. And goodness, it was delicious! (I know, I’ve been saying that a lot, but I swear it’s true!)
And yes, there was dessert again! This time it was a light and spongey vanilla cake. Had a delightfully homemade feel to it, and was just enough to give me that hit of “sweet” to wrap up the meal.
For those of you wondering, all their desserts are made using healthy and natural sugar substitutes like Erythritol which offer the sweetness of sugar, without the carbs — meaning they do not spike your blood sugar. You can use Erythritol at home when making sweets or baking cakes, to significantly reduce your carb intake.
Dinner was Grilled Chicken Steak in BBQ sauce. I’m going to spare you the description and just show you the picture, and let you imagine my Churchgate-to-Borivali grin.
Dessert was cake again, so that grin stayed on a while!
This was a day I had to make most of my own food, since the Grow Fit kitchens were closed for Diwali. But awesome people that they are, they sent me a huge box of ingredients and snacks to make it easier for me to stick to my diet plan.
Breakfast was the Power Smoothie that had been delivered to me with the previous night’s dinner. This one was Mango flavoured, and yummy!
For lunch, I decided to try out the Bamboo Seed Dosa mix that they had sent me. Preparation was simple enough, just mix the powder with water, add a little salt, and use as you normally would a dosa batter. One of the main ingredients in the mix is curcumin, which is derived from turmeric, so the dosas are really yellow! They taste something like Tamilian adai that I’ve eaten earlier.
Since Day 03 was also Diwali, I was going to visit friends. Since I knew I wouldn’t have many keto diet options to eat in a festive home, I made myself a 3-egg cheese omelette (fried in butter) for dinner before heading out. In addition, my hostess was kind enough to make me some butter-fried cauliflower with cheese to munch on. And no, I didn’t eat any sweets — Hooray, fauji willpower!
On this day too, the Grow Fit kitchen was closed. So I made myself one of their Ultra Low Carb Meal Replacement Smoothies for breakfast. Preparation of this was pretty simple — add the mix and some cold water in a blender, whip it for about 15 seconds, and ta-daah! I tried the strawberry one, and it was a nice delicate flavour, not the overpowering synthetic flavouring you find in a lot of milkshakes and mixes.
They recommend that you sip the Meal Replacement Smoothie slowly, over maybe an hour even. This is because the smoothie contains all the nutrients of a full meal, and drinking it too quickly can overload the stomach. I sipped it over about 40-45 minutes, and had no trouble after.
Lunch was the Bamboo Seed Dosa again, and dinner was a 3-egg spinach & cheese omelette, with a couple of chicken kebabs on the side.
I also snacked on the Peanut Butter Cookies they sent me (which are keto diet friendly, yay!) I love the flavour of peanut butter, so I really liked these.
This is when the dreaded ‘carb flu’ started to hit. Carb Flu is a term used to denote the feeling of withdrawal your body experiences as it’s deprived of carbs. This isn’t really a flu — there’s no infection or anything — but it can present as flu-like symptoms. Common symptoms are fatigue, headaches, body aches, and even nausea for some. For me however, it was just a whole lotta fatigue! I was falling asleep where I sat, and yawning my head off all day — despite doing nothing! The good part is, this is a sure sign that your body is entering ketosis, and starting to burn fat as fuel. And thankfully, it only lasts a few days. So I’m just going to power through it!
Breakfast was a bowl of the Ketogenic Coconut Flake Cereal again. The kitchens were back in business this day, so I was really looking forward to lunch — and I wasn’t disappointed!
Ultra Low Carb rotis with Chicken Thai Green Curry. I know a lot of you are wondering how on earth I’m being fed rotis as part of a keto diet, but Grow Fit uses their own proprietary flour, which is a mix of almond flour, flax, psyllium, and a whole lot of other good stuff — but no wheat. So the carb quotient is super low, at less than 5gm a roti (as compared to a regular roti which has around 30gm!) The ULC rotis are also doused in ghee, to provide all the good fats I need on this diet.
I was also sent some ghee-roasted almonds to snack on. Yay!
Dinner was… wait for it… Ultra Low Carb Chicken & Cheese Parathas! I know, right?! Look at it, the cheese was literally oozing out of those parathas. Beyond delicious!
Aauuuggh, this carb flu! I’m SO ridiculously sleepy through the day, despite sleeping a solid 10 hours last night. But I’m thanking my stars that drowsiness seems to be the only symptom I’m feeling. And luckily it’s a Sunday, so I’m taking full advantage and sleeping through most of my day.
Today’s breakfast smoothie was coffee flavoured, which I loved! Nutrition and a pick-me-up in one!
Lunch was CauliFalafel with Chicken, which was like little cauliflower and chicken tikkis. Very crispy, and really delicious, served with a Tahini dip. The portion size was substantial, so I even saved a couple for my evening snack.
Dinner was Peri Peri Chicken Wings with a pan-fried salad of white & purple cabbage, green beans, and zucchini. A bit messy to eat (I’m not a big fan of eating chicken wings), but these were really tasty. The peri peri spice had a lovely zing, and really awakened those tastebuds (and my brain!).
One week down! The drowsiness hasn’t let up yet, so I pumped myself with some black coffee first thing in the morning. Followed that up with today’s Power Smoothie, which was kesar-pista (saffron and pistachio) flavoured. That kept me awake for like, an hour. Post that, I started struggling again.
Lunch was a mighty delicious combination of ULC rotis and Chicken Chettinad! My Mallu genes were dancing at the very label, and more so at the flavour.
I was also sent Flax Almond Crackers to snack on, accompanied by a cheesy dip. And you know you’ll never hear me complain about cheese!
Dinner was Ultra Low Carb Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas. Once again, they definitely weren’t stingy with the cheese, or the chicken for that matter. Super filling too, I could barely finish the portion!
Aaaaand that wraps up Week 01 of my keto diet! I am happy to announce that I’m stuffed happy full of cheese and ghee, and not complaining one damn bit 😀
Aside from the drowsiness of carb flu, I’ve felt pretty great on the keto diet so far. I’ve had noticeably better stamina during my workouts, and am able to hold a steady pace on the treadmill for about 10 minutes, which I couldn’t do a few weeks ago. I’ve also noticed significantly less bloating, if any at all. That’s making me wonder what part of my earlier diets might have been causing the bloat, since the major eliminations have been milk and wheat. (Oh dear Lord, please don’t let it be milk!)
In addition, I’ve been receiving a tonne of compliments from people saying my skin has been looking better and glowing, so I guess all those healthy fats have been making their way to the right places!
Stay tuned for my updates from Week 2. If you’d like to subscribe to Grow Fit’s keto diet (or any other) meal plans, or even order their packaged foods or ingredients, you can use my code TGF15 at checkout for a special discount!
If you’ve been following the TwitterGetsFitter 2.0 program, you’d know that I have now incorporated LISS into the routine once a week. This form of exercise is a great addition to your fitness regime, and an increasing number of fitness experts and coaches now recommend including it to intense routines. But the million-dollar question a lot of people are asking is — what is LISS?
LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. Essentially, that translates to any sort of cardio or aerobic activity that you perform at a low but consistent intensity, for a prolonged period of time. LISS is usually recommended for between 30 and 60 minute sessions.
Some examples of LISS are brisk walks, jogs, cycling, and swimming. In case you don’t have the luxury of parks or spaces to do all that (ew of us do anymore), there are even LISS exercises you can do at the gym. The treadmill, the elliptical, the rowing machine, stationary bikes, or even a Zumba class, are all good ways to add some LISS to your gym routine.
So what are the benefits of LISS?
Well for starters, it isn’t scary. Going for a walk or a swim is infinitely less daunting than trying CrossFit, for example. It’s also a good way to introduce your body to regular exercise, and build your endurance before you graduate to more intense workouts.
And for those of you who are already working on more intense exercise routines, LISS is great for active rest and recovery days. Your body is kept moving, while still being given a bit of a break. This allows recovery from hardcore exercises, and since it has a considerably lower risk of injury, it’s also great to do when you’re nursing muscle strains or soreness.
It’s also a good option for the “lazier” among us — that is, those of us who would love to get results with minimal effort and intensity (FYI, there’s nothing wrong with that!). If you’re someone who would rather walk for an hour every day than do 30 minutes of HIIT 3 times a week, then LISS is for you.
In that case, is LISS a better fitness option than HIIT? Well, as with most such debates, there’s really no right or wrong. When it comes to fitness, a big part of what’s “right” is what’s right for you. That said, the kind of results do vary between workouts. If you choose to do only LISS, you’re likely to metabolise a lot of fat, but you may also lose lean muscle mass. This could affect your strength, if not supplemented correctly.
Most experts recommend combining more intense workouts with LISS a couple of times a week. Personally, that’s what I do as well. But allow me to reiterate, it’s about what suits your body, your schedule, and your interests. Remember, it’s always easier to stick to your workouts when you enjoy them. So if HIIT is what drives you, do it. If you prefer martial arts or kickboxing, do it. If you’re more a yoga person, do it. Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s good to stay informed, and read up about the potential benefits of different workouts, nutrition plans, and activities.
So what kind of workout do you prefer? Leave me a comment, and let’s see which way the scales tip! 😀