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A Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet

Perhaps one of the most talked about diets available in the market right now is the Ketogenic Diet (also known as the Keto Diet). I’ve been hearing friends and colleagues constantly talk about it, yet the only thing I really know is that it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that instantly results in weight loss.

And so, for the benefit of everyone who is just as curious as me, I’ve made it my mission to learn more—and what better way to do that than  by interviewing: 1. experts on the Ketogenic Diet, and 2. someone who is currently on it!

Calyxta Conversations with Ketos of Manila

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do? What is your lifestyle like?

We’re James and Neil, and we’re the Keto Titos! We’re marketing professionals, fitness fanatics, and health-food addicts.

We’re both very active. We work out every day of the week, sometimes, twice a day. We both went on Keto three months ago and we were amazed at the results. We both lost around 8% to 10% body fat in 3 weeks. But what made it even better was the extra boost of energy and mental clarity that we experienced throughout the day – no more post-lunch carb crashes and late-night cravings!

We’ve always focused on working out, but we never paid enough attention to the food that we were eating. It’s true what they say: fitness is 20% exercise and 80% diet. With Keto, we felt healthier and fitter, so we were hooked!

2. What made you decide to start Ketos of Manila?

We were instant Keto converts, but we realized how difficult it was to follow this way of eating. There were very few Keto meal delivery options then. Preparing Keto meals was time consuming and sourcing ingredients was challenging. We were getting a lot of Keto questions from friends so we were compelled to do something about it.

James is a creative and passionate cook, so we put our heads together and moved quickly to set up Ketos of Manila.

When we started Ketos of Manila, our mission was simple: to help people become the fittest version of themselves, one Ketogenic meal at a time. We didn’t realize the impact that our meals could make, but as more clients shared their weight loss successes, we knew we were on the right track. There’s always a sparkle in people’s eyes when they share that they’ve lost several pounds or have dropped a dress size or feel fitter than they’ve ever felt. We realized that we weren’t just offering a meal delivery service, we were in fact, starting a low-carb, feel-good food and fitness movement! And we’re just getting started!

3. What is Ketos of Manila?

Ketos of Manila is a delicious Ketogenic meal delivery service in Metro Manila. Our meals are High Fat, Low Carb and Full Flavor.  We know how hard it is to work out and stay in shape, so we want to help make dieting zero-effort.  Our daily packages come with 4 macro-calculated meals and we deliver to most parts of Metro Manila.

Our clients have told us that our meals are full of flavor. We think that’s what sets us apart. People tend to think that healthy food is bland. So our insight is that healthy food SHOULDN’T taste healthy.  James has a lot of fun creating menus with a Keto twist. Our best dishes so far are Fried Chicken in Chicharon batter, Croque Monsieur on Keto bread, Chicken Curry with Cauli Rice, Eggplant Beef Lasagna, and Nut Butter Cheesecake, to name a few.

Chicharon Fried Chiken

Keto Bread

Dry Rub Sinigang Pork Belly

4. For those who aren’t familiar with the Ketogenic diet, can you explain what it is?

A Ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs. To illustrate, let’s talk math. That means 75% of your daily calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbs. The recommended carb intake is around 20g of net carbs a day (that’s equivalent to one banana!)

When you switch from a carb-based diet to a carb deficit, your body goes through a state of Ketosis, where your liver burns fat (or Ketones) for energy instead of glucose. Ketones supply a steady energy supply for the body and the brain. Going Keto has a wide range of benefits such as weight loss, body fat reduction, improved mental clarity, increased energy and many others.

“When you switch from a carb-based diet to a carb deficit, your body goes through a state of Ketosis, where your liver burns fat (or Ketones) for energy instead of glucose. Ketones supply a steady energy supply for the body and the brain.”

5. What advice can you give those who are about to transition to the Keto diet?

Don’t Fear Fat! Recent research shows that eating fats are actually healthy. When we tell people to load up on healthy fats like cheese, butter, nuts, cream, olive oil, and avocados, they’re actually surprised! Everyone seems to think that you have to eat Chicharon all day! Haha!

Quality of Food over Calories. For Keto, what matters more are macros and ensuring you follow the 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carb guideline. It can be challenging, but there are meal plans, apps, and infographics that can help you stay on track.

Before you start, measure yourself and keep track of your progress. If you decide to go into Keto, set a target (such as weight loss or body fat reduction). Some clients have lost up to 6 lbs. in their first week on Keto, so it’s always encouraging to monitor your progress.

Avoid the Keto Flu. In your first few days of Keto, you may experience flu-like symptoms as your body adjusts to a carb-deficit. Fight it by hydrating and taking electrolytes.

And of course, as with any diet, it’s always good to consult your Doctor or Dietitian if you have any health or medical questions.

“Don’t fear fat! Recent research shows that eating fats are actually healthy.”

6. They say there’s a diet depending on the needs of different people. Who can benefit most from this type of diet?

Switching to Keto works well for people who want to lose weight, curb their appetite, boost their energy and mental focus, or who want to improve their overall lifestyle.

Scientific studies also show that Keto can help in various health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

7. How can people avail of Ketos of Manila?

They can look us up on Facebook or Instagram and send us a quick email at [email protected] 

Calyxta Conversations with Lyda Aguinaldo

1. How long have you been doing the Keto Diet?

Almost 3 months but I’m not counting my first month because I was not strictly following the diet. I went for the easier route which was to drop carbs and sugar; but did not take in more fats. So technically, I was not burning anything. On my 2nd month, I started monitoring my macros (percentage of fats vs. carbs vs. proteins) and made sure I commit to the required split among the three. That’s when I started going through the “keto flu,” which is basically a phase wherein one gets in ketosis (the
metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in our tissues) . Which means I was doing it right!

 

2. What were the changes you noticed ever since you got into the diet?

I don’t get hungry at odd hours or during breaks. I can take my first meal close to lunch (but of course, would have to take my bulletproof coffee at around 7:30am) even after my daily workout.  So now, I don’t eat junk food or carb-loaded snacks anymore. If ever, I snack on cheese or nuts.

3. Do you recommend the Keto Diet? Who do you think will benefit most from this type of diet?

Honestly, I’m still considering this as my trial phase. I might have lost some pounds in the span of almost 2 months doing it, but I have yet to make sure my cholesterol levels are manageable. Right now, the reading is not so good, however, I’ve been told that it’s because my body is still getting used to it. I will check again my cholesterol in January, four months after, to see if it has stabilized. If not, then I have to review the diet and see how it can work for me. Until I’ve validated this myself, I cannot recommend it fully to others.

Zoodles Chicken

4. What do you like about this diet?

I can withstand not eating all the time and not feeling bad about it. Before, I would skip rice but would feel so terrible. Now, I feel that I don’t need it—so the acceptance not to eat certain types of food is easier.

5. What are the biggest challenges or struggles you’ve experienced so far?

I’m a carb-loving person—paella, pancit, bread, etc. I’m getting used to not eating it even if it’s right beside me already. But sometimes, I can’t help but give in. I just have a bite or two!

6. What advice can you give those who are interested to try out this diet?

Check your cholesterol first before starting it so you have a basis after four months of doing the diet. Join a group who follows this diet as well, like a Facebook group for support (because you will really need it), and the tips they share! At first, you’ll think it’s hard to follow because of the restrictions—but really, you just need to be creative about it. That’s why I save ideas posted on the Facebook group so I can also do it myself.

Find out where you can buy products that are keto friendly, especially those that can match your current cravings. I buy shirataki noodles and rice to replace my pasta and rice cravings for example; or I order a keto friendly chocolate cake for my sweet cravings!

7. Do you ever have cheat days? What do you eat during your cheat days?

Not really a day, but moments. It’s hard to cheat for a day because your body will feel weird. I usually don’t monitor my macros on weekends. Instead, I just estimate it. I don’t over-eat but I try not to be strict because that’s when I usually eat out with my family. I also don’t work out on weekends.

8. On a normal day, what are your usual meals like? (Breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner)

I take bulletproof coffee (that’s with ghee butter, MCT oil, and cream) at around 8:30am. Then for lunch, whatever protein and fat I can order: lechon kawali, sisig, adobo, etc. I also try to put veggies. That’s where I’m weak though—vegetables. So I try to make a small salad at night. I also make sure there’s no sugar for dinner.

9. Do you complement this diet with exercise? If so, what kind of workouts or exercises do you do?

Yes, though I’ve been told even without exercise you will lose the pounds. I do 30 to 40-minute workouts every morning (because I get bored if it’s more than that). I alternate it between cardio and yoga, then I try to walk 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

Text by: Gretchen Gatan

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