I started Keto about a month ago and it has been a life-changing experience. It started with a single day at the gym where I ran for about 15 minutes. I was completely out of breath, unfit and nauseated. I felt that my stamina was waning as I watched the treadmill total the calories I had burned for that effort. The number was an abysmal 20 calories. Not only did I run slow, but a single bite into my KFC Tuesday special was more than the calories I worked to shed in 15 minutes. Feeling a bit dismayed, I went home and felt like eating nothing.
Luckily, I stumbled across a Youtube video describing the struggles I had felt. I felt like I needed to work out but how could I make my workouts sustainable if I enjoyed eating takeout every day? That’s when I decided to give the keto diet a try. It was something I’ve heard about but never bothered to think that a carbohydrate-free diet could be palatable for myself. The first day, I skipped pasta. I cooked a meatball marinara with cauliflower. Luckily, stir-fried cauliflower without salt was a delicious substitute for pasta, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
One of the most challenging things I’ve noticed after starting this new lifestyle is how quickly I become hungry. I was hungry in between meals. After some careful examination, I realized I was not consuming enough proteins to replace the energy I had received from carbohydrates before. That’s when I became intrigued with plant proteins and protein shakes. Though true die-hard keto-dieters would consider chickpeas and blackbeans non-keto, it helped fill my cravings in between meals. It also kept me full so that I didn’t have to resort to carbohydrate snacks.
Some of the biggest changes I’ve noticed since starting keto is the immense energy I have throughout the day. Whereas previously the afternoon slumps had me napping, a carbohydrate-free lunch meant I had sustained energy throughout the afternoon. I was awake, focused, and productive rather than sluggish after the sharp blood sugar spike after a heavy lunch. My lunches now consist of 50% veggies and 50% protein.
The change from take-out dinners to home-made dinners also helped reduce my spending by the end of the month. It means I can invest in better ingredients that go a long way in building muscle and energy for the long term. Keto certainly has helped cut down on the sugary snacking habits I’ve developed over the pandemic.
While a keto diet isn’t for everyone, for me it has been a game-changer in my lifestyle, in appreciating my body and energy levels. Initially it took some adjusting in changing the palate to enjoy less sugary, less immediately-satisfying foods (I still miss my breadsticks and rice!) but has challenged me to be more creative in finding delicious food with simple ingredients.