The first time I read about keto diet, it had my full attention. Speedy was skeptical; Alex said it sounded expensive; Sam never heard that I read about it. I Googled it after a couple of readers asked me if I could tag the recipes in the blog “according to diet”—you know, like gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, Paleo, etcetera. It’s all too much work for me, sorry, but I did manage to identify which among the recipes I have already published are keto diet friendly.
Does that mean I’m going on a diet? Me? On a diet? I who have always scoffed at fad diets am now thinking of trying one? Sounds like sheer madness, doesn’t it? But… BUT… I have to admit that, for longer than a millionth of a second, I was tempted. The attraction was in the diet itself. No eating small portions, no giving up butter and cheese and lechon kawali and fried chicken…
Keto is a low-carb and high-fat diet originally developed to manage paediatric epilepsy. I am no expert, I am no nutritionist and I am certainly not a doctor, so, you can just Google “keto” for more details about how a diet meant to reduce seizures among epileptic patients became a craze among people intent on losing weight.
The long and short of it is that keto diet doesn’t require you to eat like a bird. You can eat regular sized high-fat meals and lose weight. Isn’t that everyone’s dream? And not only that, there are claims that keto diet can even reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. All that makes it sound like no diet at all. Too good to be true? There’s a catch.
Keto diet requires that you give up sugar. Well, almost. And because carbohydrates are transformed into glucose in your body, too much carbs is like not almost giving up sugar at all. Ergo, the high-fat diet must be balanced by a low-carb regimen.
How can a high-fat diet lead to weight loss?
According to what I’ve read, if there isn’t enough glucose for your body to burn to give you energy, the body shifts to burning fats. It’s called the state of “ketosis.” When the body burns all the fat you consume to keep you alive and mobile and your brain functioning properly and, at the same time, no glucose is retained in your system, you lose weight.
That’s a simplistic way of putting it, actually. There are several types of ketogenic diet, the amount of carbs allowed to be consumed varies, but none calls for zero carbs consumption. It’s all pretty fascinating reading but the whole concept also includes scientific jargon that I can’t even pronounce, much less remember. Like I said, there’s Google. What I gather is that unlike diets like Paleo which defies the reality of human evolution, keto diet has some pretty good scientific stuff to back it up.
Am I going on a keto diet? No, I am not.
I’ve spent two days reading about it and found out that there are conditions that preclude going into the keto diet. Those conditions include “active gall bladder disease” which I may or may not have because my gall bladder had been surgically removed nine years ago. I will have to ask my doctor if not having a gall bladder is equivalent to having an “active gall bladder disease”. And there is a second reason why I’m not on keto diet but more about that later.
So, what’s the point of writing about keto diet? Well, after all that I’ve read, I realized that had I been eating much less rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes and all those veggies that grow under the soil, I could have been on a keto diet for years. So many recipes in the archive are keto diet friendly IF served without rice or bread or pasta or any other high carb food.
Not kidding. I counted 279 keto friendly recipes and I haven’t even gone through half of the recipe archive yet. Some of them won’t appear to be keto friendly if you just look at the photos that accompany the recipes because I often photograph dishes over rice or noodles or with bread on the side. Just disregard the suggestion to serve this or that dish with rice or bread and you have keto friendly recipes.
So, what’s the second reason why I’m not on keto diet? I was just telling Speedy that I could ditch sugar altogether (no kidding) but I love carbs too much. I like my rice, I like good bread and I do occasionally crave noodles. I mean, seriously, how can I give up ramen, Chinese-style fried rice and steamed dim sum? I can’t.
And that’s more important than losing weight? Well, at this point, yes. I have no weight-related health issues to begin with. I don’t have body image issues either. I am aware that I am not reed thin but I don’t mind. I don’t have insecurities about not fitting into society’s definition of “sexy”. In fact, I pity people who starve themselves or undergo expensive procedures, or both, just to feel accepted. I pity even more people my age (I am over 50) who spend fortunes and willingly go through deprivations to “look younger”. Remember Death Becomes Her? Oh, please. Save me from the insanity.
But if, at some point, a trustworthy doctor should recommend that I lose weight for health reasons rather than for vanity’s sake, I’ll have to clarify if not having a gall bladder is equivalent to having an “active gall bladder disease”. If it isn’t, I will wholeheartedly embrace this keto diet. There is simply no other weight loss diet that I am willing to consider. Reducing carb consumption sounds good compared to starvation diets—including those darn liquid diets and detox madness. I’m not going to starve myself. And I won’t deprive myself of good food either.
It helps to know that if the time should ever come when I have to go on keto diet, I have 279 recipes to re-cook and enjoy with much less carbs. If you’re curious about these keto friendly dishes (at least, they are according to what I have read), view the archive of keto diet friendly recipes.