This new high-fat diet is the latest way forward for weight watchers
I am an admirer of Gautam Krishnankutty’s cooking skills — he produces simple, yet amazingly delicious food, which ticks all the right boxes. I follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and love his stuff – right from classic family recipes by his mother (pickled sardines), to funky stuff made off-the-cuff (such as, smoked meats and a killer Habanero chilly sauce) all served up with a dash of irrepressible humour.
Recently, I was surprised to see he had introduced a new ketogenic menu at his Café Thulp outlets. The first of its kind in India, I’m willing to swear. To the uninitiated, the ketogenic diet is a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet which is sweeping the West and gradually making inroads here in India. Unlike many short term eating plans, the keto diet is known for several pluses besides just weight loss – it reduces cholesterol, hunger and sugar cravings, among other benefits. Forbidden are nut oils, carbohydrates (except those in your veggies), and sugar.
I met GK at the Thulp outlet in Ulsoor, where he was munching on a bowl of almonds. He has lost an amazing 28 kilos in nine months, through the diet. “I’ve been overweight since I was 14,” he tells me, “Forget about looking good. What started bothering me was my health. I’d tried all forms of diets and exercises. Nothing.” Until he was introduced to Delhi-based keto coach, Aniruddha Shankar online and his life changed.
“Within the first month, I lost 10 kgs and it got better. Today, my energy levels are different. My sleep cycle is naturally synced, my blood tests are perfect. Yes, I miss my daily rice, but am getting used to the changes now.” So why bring the so-specialised keto menu to Thulp? “Comments on my WhatsApp keto diet group made me realise that it’s difficult for people with running kitchens to start cooking for keto dieters – the diet is so specialised. So I started by offering a simple keto menu. It wasn’t about the money. But it’s really taken off.”
His current menu has 10 dishes — starters, mains and desserts with more additions planned. These include smoked chicken/paneer salad with broccoli, rocket, red peppers, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan in extra virgin olive oil dressing; chicken, pork or beef burgers and sandwiches made with the famous Oopsie bread — a cream cheese, eggs and almond-based flat bread replacing whole wheat; a dense, yum pork curry; and my favourite – smoked ham steak with mushroom cream sauce, cauliflower mash and grilled veggies. Dessert? Mixed berries with Natura-sweetened whipped cream. Not a drop of sugar or refined flour anywhere, and plenty of veggie choices. “People are now realising that fat isn’t the problem, sugar is,” he points out. Keto-friendly ingredients are easily got abroad but are a problem in India. Almond flour and milk are tough to source. GK makes his own. “I keep things as simple as possible,” he says, “Keto is an expensive diet, but its health benefits means what I spend now on shopping for olive oil and protein, I save by not ending up in hospital later in life.”