The keto diet Pakistan craze took off roughly a year ago, and ever since it’s one of the most popular diets here. In the past five years, I let myself go and let the pressures of my bachelors degree consume me. Burgers and fries and pizzas here and there because I had very less time to eat before classes started.
I also had/have PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, which further contributed to weight gain. And because PCOS made me insulin-resistant, I was at a higher risk of diabetes, heart diseases, etc.
Then this January I found the ketogenic diet
A friend of mine just happened to add me to a Facebook group named Ketogenic Diet Pakistan. As I scrolled down the posts, I could see story upon story about how people had transformed and improved their health with the diet in only a couple of weeks.
My priority, first and foremost, was to get rid of PCOS and having gone to many doctors, all of them had told me to lose weight if I wanted to get better. So I knew I had to push myself super hard.
I wasn’t aware of many diets before except for the high protein one (Atkins?) which was where my knowledge ended. I repeatedly told myself that this wasn’t going to be a crash diet – that I had to change my lifestyle and then focus on eating healthy even after I reach my target weight.
What is the ketogenic diet anyway?
The ketogenic diet is very simply put a high-fat, low-carb diet. It’s roughly 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
The keto in ketogenic comes from ketones. Ketones are small fuel molecules that are produced in the liver from fat and are an alternative source of energy when you eat a moderate amount of protein and very, very few carbs.
Hence, in keto, your body runs almost entirely on fat. Your insulin levels drop, after which fat burning picks up speed and you lose weight. When your body is in ketosis, the best thing about it is that you feel less hungry but never short on energy.
So I researched on the internet, read the pinned post in the Ketogenic Diet Pakistan group, even went through peoples meal plans
I tried to weigh in the goods and the bads. I came to the conclusion that I had to wave goodbye to sugar, even good sugars. Any kind of bread, roti were a big no-no.
Then I found myself a few essential lists and guides on Pinterest, saved or screenshotted those. I used YouTube to see how vloggers and influencers were executing the diet so that I know how practical it was. The Ketogenic Diet Pakistan group on Facebook was also a great help and provided me with support and motivation in times of worry, questions, etc.
Not that I did in my case, but I would totally recommend seeing a doctor or nutritionist before you embark upon the diet as I faced a few issues along the way that could’ve been avoided had I seen a doctor. This diet, however, is not for pregnant women and it most definitely isn’t for diabetic people on medication. I am not a doctor which is why I suggest you see one if you have some major health problems and illnesses.
Here is my diet plan for the entire month (later on I’ll jump into the specifics)
8 am – 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with 2 sips of water
8:15 am – 1 litre water
9:15 am – Omelette with 2 eggs, one slice of cheese and sliced mushrooms
11 am – Green tea (Tapal tea bags – simple)
1 pm – Salad (mostly greens, feta cheese, at times strawberries)
4 pm – Strawberries or almonds as snack, green tea
7 pm – Butter chicken, keema shimla mirch (cottage cheese on the side), palak paneer, sometimes bhindi and kerelay
8 pm – Green tea with lemon squeezed
I did all the cooking using desi ghee or white butter
Consumed a total of 3 – 5 litres of water a day
Now, the specifics
I didn’t complicate my diet enough. I only had green, leafy vegetables and sometimes tomatoes (even though I wouldn’t recommend the latter due to higher carb content). I had no milk because of lactose, which is more carbs than fat. I had desi ghee or white butter, both made at home. You can buy both from the market if they’re not homemade. People also have bulletproof coffee which contains butter, coconut oil to up their fat intake but I’d rather eat a spoonful of ghee than mix it in my coffee. You may feel different about that, it’s cool. I also ate full-fat cottage cheese/paneer when I felt my fat intake was low during the day.
You will lose around 3-4 kgs in the first week – water weight – and then it’s all about how you manage it. There are multiple lists available online showing what’s allowed, what isn’t. Check those out and you’ll get the idea.
Say bye bye to carbs
There were times in the beginning when I cheated, but later on, you forget about sugar or bread so you’ll be happy. Still, allow yourself a day in the week to cheat after having started the diet for two weeks. You can use almond flour and stuff, but I chose to completely stay away from it.
Take pink salt, it’s better. Up your water and salt intake – choosing to ignore them will result in a 5-minute long muscle spasm, in my case, my leg. I couldn’t walk properly for a week because my muscle was swollen up. It can be life-threatening so please don’t start the diet if you can’t be responsible for your water and salts.
Take multivitamins along with breakfast. In the first week you might get keto flu (Google it if needed) however it’ll go. You can even try intermittent fasting and you will lose weight, guaranteed. Stay away from low-fat and processed products as much as you can.
These are some meals I ate during my month-long keto diet
Strawberry Salad from Rina’s Kitchenette
This one was a lifesaver in times of confusion. I usually picked out the croutons in this and ate fork fulls of the rest. A few people might not like the leafy greens with the strawberries but it was good enough for me.
Turkish Bowl from Eat Smart
Has a lot of healthy options for keto-doers. You just have to be wary of a few carbs here and there, especially in sauces and high-carb vegetables like tomatoes and onions. This Turkish bowl is greek yogurt, mince, boiled eggs and loads of herbs. Melts in your mouth and sufficient for two meals.
Fish Handi from GreenHouse
This one’s great for when you want to ditch chicken and mutton and beef. It’s very flavorful, with the usual desi masala, and cooked to perfection. The serving was enough to last for lunch and dinner, so that’s what I did with it. I’d usually slice a cucumber and munch on it too. No harm was done!
Similar salads and dishes helped me lose 10 kgs in a month. It doesn’t matter if you eat from home or outside, but prefer eating from home because not many places cook with ghee or butter. I’m happy I found the Ketogenic Diet Pakistan group on Facebook, for I wouldn’t have stuck to any diet without seeing proper results.
I’m still on the diet, in my next month. Let me know if you want me to vlog my routine from this month and let’s all keto together! 😀