For the longest time, the food pyramid is considered to be the standard in promoting good health.
What if I told you that it is wrong?
What if I told you that there exists a form of diet that is considered so controversial that it is shaking up the entire food industry and the health and sciences?
What if I told you that this form of diet existed for a long time but was hidden to everyone because of its effectiveness in making people lose weight and make themselves healthy in the simplest way possible?
This form of diet is currently making waves in the Philippines and has been helping many sick Filipinos have the body they want.
This, my friend, is the Ketogenic Diet.
But before anything else, a bit of a backgrounder on my coming across this strange diet, perhaps in the form of the Atkins diet, which was a fad back in the ’90s.
(Enter nostalgic music)
Basically, I didn’t eat any rice or drank any soda; back then, the reason it was because when I was obese in High School, I developed a form of skin asthma where you can write your name on my skin, and it will pop up.
I was afraid that I thought it was Diabetes, being that my family has a long history of Diabetes.
(Other than that, I also experienced a urinary tract infection (UTI) where I peed blood and was in pain for at least three days, thus my reason for forsaking soda.)
I can remember that I became skinny for not eating any rice, but I drank a lot of beer because our Judo teacher believes that after a good Judo practice, one should drink cold beer as it helps in recovery (bad, bad advice, really).
(I know, I know this is not an Atkins diet at all, but I just cut out on rice and sodas, and it worked immensely when I was trying to lose weight despite eating other foods. Now imagine if you do Keto properly?)
I was very interested in this approach when it came to diet and nutrition.
You see, I practice Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and I also fought in some amateur Muay Thai competitions, and I believe that training is just one part of the equation.
I even believe that training could be 80%, whereas 20% of the food that a person eats would make a great athlete.
So, when I went home, I decided to research more about this “strange” diet.
Because it goes against what has been appropriately regarded as the staple diet of the Philippines, which can be summed up into only four categories.
- Carbohydrate heavy
- Sour (sometimes)
Everyone in the Philippines eats rice, drinks anything sweet, and then eats lots of sweets after.
The salty thing would come across in the snacks and “meriendas,” which frequently would be another sweet thing.
It turns out; this is what kills most Filipinos.
Because it is the after-effects of this card-sugar, heavy diet that generates most of the diseases, particularly in the Philippines. (High Blood, Heart problem, Diabetes, etc.)
All of which can be considered “caused” by the typical Philippine Diet.
So, I thought to myself: “No matter how much I go to the gym and work out, my weight still doesn’t go down.”
It turns out it is not enough to just go to the gym and lift heavy or run on the treadmill for hours on end.
What you eat is more important than the workout that you do.
I understand that it’s complicated, but here’s my take on the Ketogenic Diet.
- Your body does not need that much sugar.
- The more you eat carbohydrates and the less you burn them, compounds in time, which eventually could “overwork” your internal organs, create more fat and then bring in more diseases.
- Your body (internal organs) needs to rest from all the digesting (ex: extended fasting, intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating).
- Processed food is bad for you.
- Fat is good (we’ll delve into this deeper later)
This is a good enough reason for me to test this Ketogenic Diet while at the back of my head, looking at it that perhaps it is just a fad that would eventually die away.
(A disclaimer: Before I started doing Keto, I wasn’t eating rice anymore, and I’ve already shifted to Corn Rice; that is because despite only eating half a cup of red rice, my triglycerides are still exceedingly high.)
Despite this, my weight remained the same as if nothing happened.
I still had no health problems, however, except for the occasional migraines (which I believe is brought upon by the high triglycerides)
I was still 200lbs (and increasing I am 5’9, by the way, so this was NOT good)
I also ate every after lunch or breakfast as a snack some “Stick-O” (Chocolate Wafer Stick) and “Nutella.” (I eat a spoonful of Nutella or three to five sticks of Stick-O, both are very sweet, by the way)
I did the cold-turkey type of Ketogenic diet because I take myself as an “All or Nothing Guy” and perhaps to tell myself that I experienced the diet first hand without conditions.
IT WASN’T FUN AT ALL. AT FIRST. (BEWARE)
I removed all carbs in my diet, took Bullet Proof Coffee (BPC) with stevia, ate pork chicharon for a snack (with rind), and ate an egg omelet with butter and cream cheese plus other viands for lunch.
And drank lots and lots of water.
First three days of the diet, my head hurts like hell, and I poop like there’s no tomorrow. (Poop is very watery)
It turns out this is the body’s way of detoxifying as per the Ketogenic Diet standards.
This is called the Keto Flu.
On the fourth day, my eating pattern changed because I was not that hungry anymore.
I mean, I felt that my stomach was always full. This was because of the BPC and (Virgin Coconut Oil) VCO.
On the fifth day, I felt a change in my body, my stomach isn’t as bloated as before, and I can bend and move properly.
I also noticed that my sleeping patterns became normal, saying I didn’t stay up as late as 1-2 a.m., unlike before.
Anyway, because I felt that my body needed to adapt to the new diet, I decided to forego going to the gym and lifting weights.
My only fear was that I might faint if I lift the same heavy weights I was lifting before. (Turns out I was wrong more on this later)
I made it a point that I would eat anything I want at least one day a week (Saturday or Sunday).
This was to keep me sane and grounded in what I was doing and in achieving my goals. I look at it as a piece of reward whenever I finish a good week of Keto.
It turns out whenever you go back to your regular diet, and you go back to doing Keto, you may suffer some headache
I suffered mine the next day but afterward rebounded the following day again.
My day usually starts and ends like this:
6:30-45: Wake up, drink BPC eat an egg omelet with cream cheese
As for the number of eggs you may eat and good to eat the yolk, I usually eat at least 2-4 eggs a day with yolk included.
Snack in between (pork chicharron)
Noon: Eat lunch (any meat will do and any food as long as there are no carbs in it, you can check the list of allowed foods in the image below)
Snack in between (pork chicharon) or another mug of BPC
7 pm Eat dinner (any meat will do and any food as long as there are no carbs in it, you can check the list of allowed foods in the image below)
Snack in between (pork chicharon) or another mug of BPC
10-11 pm sleep
(Remember to drink voluminous amounts of water in between perhaps this is the most critical part of doing Keto along with some salt from chicharron)
Now you may be asking, isn’t chicharron dangerous? Why chicharron? (Watch Juana Change’s Interview in ANC with Karen Davila)
You can choose not to eat chicharon; there are many other alternatives to it, as listed in the food list above.
It just so happens that it is the closest snack you can get the best source of protein and has no carbohydrates whatsoever.
You see, this is the mystery of the Ketogenic Diet. It stands that fat is not the problem; instead, the extreme amount of sugar everyone eats.
There have been many studies regarding the health benefits of Keto (I will post links below) that prove its effectiveness in keeping a person healthy while shedding away unwanted body fat.
I lost a lot of weight after that week and then the week after, but one has to remember that water weight is hefty and can never be an objective measure in judging one’s weight.
I would instead go for the muscle to fat ratio.
So, in my case, I was shedding away water weight and would need to add more muscle steadily.
I went to the gym after the second week when my body seemed well adjusted to the diet.
Honestly, I was afraid to test out how much I can lift, being that I was more inclined to lift weights while taking in carbs.
It turns out I was wrong.
Not only was I able to break my previous record. But I don’t feel tired after the lifts!
(Another disclaimer: if there’s one thing I know about myself, it is that I can’t stop exercising.
Once I stop exercising, I experience the following:
- Migraine – yes, an excruciating migraine that frequently stays for days. (three days is the most extreme one) the only drug that worked for me is Excedrin. I even had to order this from the U.S. because no medicine works for me in the Philippines.
- Lethargy – and I mean the horrible kind, where your brain doesn’t function, and it also does not want you to do anything.
- Fat – I gain approximately at least a pound a week or more, depending on my diet. And then I eventually can’t it in my clothes.
- Gout and Bad Stomach.
- Inflamed joints. (When I wake up in the morning, at least 60% of my joints crack and are painful.))
Also, my joints didn’t inflame the next day! And the day after that!
(Turns out carbs also assist in inflammation YUCK!)
I started on Keto carrying a bodyweight of 90 kilos in September 2017.
Today I am only 85 Kilos.
You might ask, “But Emmanuel, you only lost 5 kilos?! I wouldn’t call that losing weight at all?!”
You are correct; that is because I have been lifting weights heavier and heavier while doing Keto, and I haven’t looked back since.
And remember, muscle is heavier than fat correct?
Also, I never gained new pounds while doing Keto as compared to the other diets I did.
I would always consider that as a win! Knowing that my weight could continue to go down.
But wait! There will also come a time that your weight will stall, and when that happens, you might need to do some intermittent fasting (IF). (But honestly, I’d instead that you go to the gym. I mean, doing IF and Keto might be a bit of a stretch, but yes, I also did that when my weight stalled.)
You could consider me not wholly doing Keto; according to experts, one must completely immerse in strict Keto for a month before eating a bit of carb.
Unfortunately, I didn’t follow that rule.
Also, women are much harder to lose weight that is because they menstruate. Their water intake is a bit erratic, so I would suggest not looking too much on your weighing scale if you plan to do Keto.
If you want to practice the Ketogenic Diet, I would suggest the following:
- Consider your health first – If you are a bit older and have some previous health issues, please make sure to check with your doctor if you are going to shift your diet. (Unfortunately, some doctors frown upon this form of diet, so better scan your overall condition, especially when taking some maintenance drugs.)
- Do it slowly but surely – You can remove certain portions at first every week, just so you can ease your way into the diet itself.
- 1st week – No sweets (chocolates, candies, sweet snacks, and certain types of fruits)
- 2nd week – No carbs (rice, bread, pasta)
- 3rd week – No Sodas (or juices too)
- 4th week – No Lethargy (exercise by doing brisk walking or Yoga)
- Find a support group – In my case, I became a part of an FB chat group that closely observes Keto. And we often have Keto parties (Keto-gethers) while we mourn our good old non-Keto days. Your support group could be in the form of a friend that is willing to share your journey. Also, my wife is the best partner in checking out the foods I eat at home.
- Be a part of a Keto FB group – This might sound cliche, but honestly, sometimes you can’t rely on what you already know. It would be best if you asked other people you don’t know that have been doing the same thing longer than you and learn from them.
The advantage of also being in one is finding some incredible finds on Keto foods for the lowest price!
5. Have a strong mindset – Keto is a lifestyle and a habit. Changing your eating habits is like cutting out cigarettes when you’ve been a smoker all your life.
I promise that sometimes you will fail, you will cheat, one chocolate bar would suddenly become ten chocolate bars.
Keto will challenge you mentally and emotionally. That is because you’ve been trained your entire life to eat what you’ve been eating ever since.
And don’t get me started with the eating out problems where you can’t choose what you eat, especially at parties and other occasions.
- Start with the end in mind – Whenever you reach out for some sweets, remember why you started. Look at the long-term gain of doing Keto than the short-term sacrifice.
- Set aside a cheat day – seriously, deep in our hearts, we want to eat everything, especially if you are someone like me who can’t seem to stop enjoying eating. Look at it as a reward for a job well done.
In my case, I notice that my threshold for sweets became lower. Whereas before I can down 3-5 Dunkin Donuts Boston Creme.
Today I can’t even finish one because I find it too sweet.
- The essential part of doing Keto is the exercise – I can’t emphasize this more. The benefits of exercise exceed that of doing any diet out there. Look at it this way, Keto is a gem on its own, you can get thin without moving a muscle, but it will take a longer time. Complementing it with exercise triples the effect and leaves your body healthier than when you started.
- Read and research about it – Keto is a lifestyle, knowing its effects will strengthen your fortitude and conviction to say no to sweets and carbs.
- If you fail once, stand up and start again – Keto is a journey; sometimes you stumble, sometimes you cheat ahead of the cheat day itself, dust yourself up and try again.
Now, will I continue doing Keto?
Personally, YES. I’ve known its impact, and I’m enjoying it!
Favorite brand of Chicharon: Go for Dolores Chicharon, it is cheaper, and it has rind. You can check it out in Timog in front of Pepetons.
Favorite brand of Stevia: I usually go for Equal Gold Zero Calorie Sweetener or Natleaf Stevia; both can be bought from Lazada (cheaper too)
Favorite brand of VCO: I usually go for Laurin MCT Boost or Laurin VCO. You can also get it from Lazada, but I have a contact where I buy it for a lower price.
By the way, you can also eat bread while doing Keto; this is either a cloud bread or good old Keto bread that you can also find in SF. (I am partial when it comes to SF because I know the owner and the quality of their work.)
Other recommended places to eat Keto-friendly food: Go for Gourmet Gypsy, the owner Waya Araos is a good friend, and the original mentors on Keto. Great location and great people! I couldn’t recommend it more! See: These places will convince you to go on a Keto diet.
What kind of exercise do you recommend for people doing Keto: It depends on many factors such as age, current weight, gender, but the best so far is to go and do Yoga and brisk walking. Set a schedule and stick to it. After a few days, it becomes a habit, and then eventually, you’ll be shedding more pounds if you plan to do some lifting in a gym. That is another story and perhaps a new article altogether. But if you want some good-quality instructionals, go to Ketogains.
What Apps do you recommend in doing Keto: At first, I used My Fitness Pal in counting my macros, but then I grew tired of using it and instead relied on my gut if I still feel hungry, although, for rigorous ones, this is highly recommendable. You might need to change some settings inside, though, to correctly calculate your calorie intake. Also better to use the free ones first as there’s a paid option for this. I also used BodyFast for Intermittent Fasting, and so far, it has helped me a lot. I got the premium one.
Is Keto expensive: Honestly, No. that is because you don’t eat that much, and you don’t crave that much as well. So technically, you are saving more money than you ever know. The only thing I spend much on is for the VCO, and that’s it. Sometimes I crave sweets, and I run to SF and get my fix, but their prices are so cheap that I don’t even bother looking at it as an expense.
What books do I recommend for people who want to start Keto:
How do I prepare my Bullet Proof Coffee (BPC):
- Hot Water
- Brewed coffee (I am a coffee addict, as I even roast my coffee) can also settle for instant coffees as long as it has no cream or sugar.
- One tablespoon butter1 tablespoon VCO
- Natural Sweetener (depends on taste)
- One tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
(Better to mix everything using a frother.)
I hope you find this article helpful; please go ahead and comment below, share with me your thoughts on Ketogenic Diet in the Philippines.
P.S. Here is an excellent video on Ketogenic Diet that I endorse. ^_^
Also, I am trying out another kind of diet, and it is called The Carnivore Diet. Check it out!