Eating sisig and the other benefits of the Keto diet

Jun 11, 2019
PHOTO: bea faicol

IT'S 2019 and the hopeful New Year resolutions are back again. You might be reluctant to dive in though if you've experienced going back on a diet. We've all been there-giving up before we even get results. But hey, maybe this is the year you win at dieting. All you need are the inspiring stories of these three people on how the ketogenic diet changed them for the better.

First, what is the ketogenic diet? Should you try it?

The Ketogenic "keto" diet rose to fame because of its promise: its unique formula for weight loss might ask you to give up carbs, but it then urges you to eat more fat.According to Dr. Geraldine Lazaro from Makati Medical Center, who has spoken as a keto-expert on CNN, you're supposed to eat 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. With a diet that only consists of 5% carbohydrates, its glucose supply is depleted, and thus, will have to find another way to fuel itself. Enter 70% of your diet and those deposits in your body, fat, which your body then starts to burn in a state of ketosis.

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There are three kinds of keto diet to choose from: standard keto diet wherein you prescribe to the diet all the time, cyclical keto diet which gives you 5 strict keto days and 2 carb days which is for athletes and bodybuilders, and targeted keto which means you consume carbs when you work out.

Dr. Lazaro recommends the diet for most of everyone, as she's seen the results with herself, but would restrict people with Diabetes Meritus Type 1. She also recommends that before going on the diet, "you need to have a complete medical checkup first". This goes with any diet you want to go on.

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The results speak for itself.
Photo by Courtesy of Owell Morales

Meet Owell Morales, he's been on the keto diet for a year.

Last January 2018, Owell was almost 200 pounds heavy and he was starting to have difficulty with his clothes already. He's dieted before, the "Aljur Albrenica Diet" last 2014 of eating only plantains, sweet potatoes, eggs and tuna. It worked, but not for long. He then went on the keto diet and not only did he lose weight from 192 pounds to 146 pounds, but he also got a couple of other benefits too.

He found his overall quality of living so improved that he inspired friends, family, and colleagues to also try and follow the "lifestyle." He even had a one-day event at his office during Nutrition month named "Keto 101". He prepared keto meals for 50 attendees and seven of them went on the diet after.

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The last few pounds can be the hardest to rid.
Photo by Courtesy of Melody Lalata

Meet Melody Lalata, she's been on the keto diet for a little over a year.

She started the keto diet to lose a few stubborn few pounds. Apart from that, she was concerned about her family medical history having diabetes and hypertension. She's been on the Paleo diet but the menu from the diet delivery service got tiring. Although she could also easily recreate the meals, they weren't even to her liking. Just like Owell, she found it unsustainable. Now, she's found that keto works for her. From 128.5 pounds, she reached her ideal weight of 109.5 pounds.

Meet Jayvee Chun, he's been on the keto diet for 2 years

Unlike the two other dieters, Jayvee wasn't aiming for weight loss but simply wanted to be healthier. Prior, he managed his weight through "the usual low-fat Calorie way." He wasn't satisfied so he did some research and found "got good data from great doctors and scientists," leading him to the Keto diet.

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Keto became his lifestyle to the point that he even made his own keto bread! Just a year after getting on the diet, he started Coco Keto Breadery, selling his homemade loaves.

They went beyond losing weight.

Apart from finding their weight easier to manage and being the lightest they've ever been, they got more than they could have imagined.

They found that they had fewer hunger pangs and even fewer cravings. Jayvee describes a satisfaction gotten from that, that he wasn't a "slave to hunger." When they did have cravings, it was nothing a little creativity couldn't fix.

They always found a substitute. Owell made his cauliflower rice or have keto desserts at Rabbit Hole, Podium or Gourmet Gyspy Art Café, Quezon City. Melo eats keto desserts and makes her own. Jayvee bakes his own bread with coconut flour and has even begun selling it.

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They all also found more energy. Jayvee describes a stable source of energy that doesn't fluctuate-which is the case with starchy foods like rice which causes energy spikes and crashes. Owell and Melo find that they both can train harder.

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Can you believe this diet embraces this cake?
Photo by Rabbit Hole MNL official Facebook page

Perhaps most impressive is that they had less sick days. Owell and Melo both haven't gotten sick the past year.

This is what they typically eat.

So you can imagine what it's going to be like on the keto diet, we asked what they usually ate.

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Sisig as a dietary requirement? Where do I sign up?
Photo by Bea Faicol

Owell has mainly taken to easy-cook meals like "leafy vegetables that are sautéed in garlic and butter, olive oil, or coconut oil for my breakfast or just a simple green salad," for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, he prepares cauliflower rice that's paired with any sugarless meat viand. His favorite combo has to be "the cauliflower rice, egg, and Sisig or Bicol Express."

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Keto pizza for the win.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

Melo's diet includes Greek yogurt, bulletproof coffee, and keto versions of granola and pancakes for breakfast. For lunch, she goes for "anything fatty from the office carinderia [like] grilled liempo, bagnet, chicken skin, [and] sinigang ." Then she gets fried or steamed veggies. Dinner is similar but through her own devices, she concocts Parmesan wings, keto pizza, calzone or baked salmon. She specifically loves keto pizza made of fathead dough, and enjoys a mindful snack of chicharon. Late night, she sneaks in more bulletproof coffee paired with a homemade keto treat.

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Healthy can be simple.
Photo by Courtesy of Jayvee Chun of Coco Keto Breadery

Jayvee's breakfast would be eggs with something like bangus or chicken. Lunch and dinner is also a combo of meat and vegetables. When he's eating out during lunch time, he usually goes for chicken wings, lettuce wraps or trade in his rice for an egg. For weekends, he indulges in his "own baked goods."

Sounds pretty good to us!

Here are important reminders before you go on keto.

Don't surprise your body! There's a proper, safe and healthy way to go keto. Make sure to have a "complete medical examination and baseline blood chemistry prior to starting the Ketogenic Diet." Then, when planning and consuming your meals, do as Dr. Lazaro recommends: "make sure to also take in the right proportion of micronutrients or macros." This means, "eat[ing] more healthy fats [like] olive oil, avocado, salmon." Also, as tempting as it is, a proper keto diet doesn't mean gorging on your favorite bacon and ham and going one-to-sawa with chicharon. It's better to "avoid processed foods [such as] Spam and hotdogs."

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Don't be surprised as well of possible side-effects. In the beginning, you can expect fatigue, headache, and dehydration. Effects differ from one person to another, as some may not experience it at all, but it's commonly known as "keto flu." Owell and Melo both experienced it but it can actually be avoided. Dr. Lazaro recommends, "hydration and replacement of electrolytes." Jayvee also adds that salting your food helps. Some people can also initially experience hair loss which can be avoided with supplements.

Do you still want to go on the keto diet?

Like most diets, keto asks you to give up what may be your favorite sources of happiness. It also promises though to give you new sources of joy. If you really want this diet to work, you need to go all in and give it your all and the rewards you reap might surprise you.

Owell, who loves sweets, says it delightfully, "I learned that there is more to life than carbs." For Melo, she doesn't "need to eat such sweet things to feel good." Jayvee has found that, "fat is incredibly healthy and satisfying." They've gained a new appreciation for food. They can enjoy food in the fattiest, most flavorful way all while being healthy. Owell has become more involved with his food, becoming more organized, strategic, and creative with his homecooked meals. Melo gets to enjoy the fact that what she eats is not just delicious, but also good for her body. Jayvee's reached a point of turning his passion for keto into a business.

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PHOTO: bea faicol
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