If you’ve read my “Health & Research: Possibly, A Parallel Connection” blog post, you would know that I have followed fad diets for a long time now, despite my lack of acknowledgement of it until now. From my semi-logical perspective, following fad diets is like, well, following pop cultures’ advice on fashion: just wrong.
But, I am an individual of experiment. I enjoyed writing my research paper because it gave me an element of surprise: therefore, I prolonged the process to one, even two years. I also enjoy the principle of causation: one action influencing a reaction. So, if you’re to think that I am a very inquisitive person, especially when it comes to health and fitness, you’d be right. And, I shouldn’t completely discourage my underlining element in all of this: my interest in losing the handful of stubborn pounds that my total age of 28 is slowing the progression of— either that or my undevoted love for French fries and chocolate cake is the reason; who knows.
Ketogenic Diet: From a total beginner’s perspective
I was introduced to the Ketogenic diet literally a whole five days ago. Before that, I had absolute zero knowledge of this diet plan, and never actually heard anyone talk about it. One Tuesday night, I was talking to my fiancé and ‘eating his ear off’ as he dubbed it (as a result of hunger I think I get chattier apparently), and he told me about the ketogenic diet his brother went to lose 30 pounds on. He didn’t know much about it, either, but mentioned that it involved eating a lot of fat and protein.
I was intrigued.
I want to eat fat and lose weight.
Before I go on about this diet, I want to disclaim that I know nothing about it but what I have intensely researched for the last 5 days. I hardly know the facts, and I am a total beginner. However, if you have tried it, or is on it (as it is a lifestyle, I believe), please share your thoughts with me.
I immediately started the Ketogenic diet the Tuesday I spoke with my fiancé. Funny, right? But if you knew my fiancé, you would know that he is an intellectual man with precise words—and those words I would run to the woods with wholeheartedly.
I knew the basics when I began. I immediately took out my laptop and began reading. Endless reading. The amount of reading I did makes me think that I could, after all, go after my Ph.D. I got the logistics of it: super low carb, high fat, moderate protein. In hindsight, it sounded simple. But as with anything meaningful and attuned in life, getting to the results requires more than that. I am still reading and figuring it out. I think my body, as a complete beginner on this diet, is starting to slowly adjust to the high fat intake and super low carb deficit (20 grams/5%). I will admit, though, having butter lathered on my meals was something I could not wrap my head around (and as a result, felt very sick the first 2 days).
Again, I don’t know much about this diet, so please take my words with a grain of salt. I believe you should do your own research because a lot of recipes online, I found, were named ‘Keto’ but involved some ingredients that are not so keto friendly. I could tell you right now that baking powder isn’t so keto-friendly because it has gluten in it. I have bought all keto-friendly ingredients to cook and bake with, except baking powder! But I’ll get to that soon. So watch out!
I am definitely mixing this diet with intense workouts (mainly cycling and running). I am someone who has always enjoyed working out intensely (although I found out that working out 5 days a week was not ‘intense’ but rather ‘moderate’- jeez). However, this diet works best with weights and cardio, on and off. And most people online say that at the beginning stage, working out should be minimal due to something they call ‘The Keto Flu’.
Side-effects: good & bad
The Keto flu is when one starts out on the diet and goes on to experience headaches, nausea, drowsiness, etc., all of which I am currently under. Not so much headaches as much as drowsiness. I feel as though I cannot function, walk, or even have a proper conversation with someone at times. My motivation is low but I read that its completely normal the first couple of weeks. The good thing is: I know it’s from my diet change and my body adjusting to burning fat rather than carbohydrates as a source of energy. So, I move a lot, and I try to beat it by staying active and continuing on with my daily activities. I also feel great, honestly. I am never hungry, and my mood has exceptionally changed (it’s a lot better now).
The main goal of this diet is to kick your body into ketosis. Apparently, its when sugar and carbs are low, and fat is high? I just purchased the KetoStix to test my level of ketosis and I am fairly high (meaning my body did not reach ketosis yet). But, people reach ketosis in weeks. I just bought it because I was excited; to be honest.
I am following the 5% carbs, 75% fat, and 20% protein method. I make sure my meals are as close to that, with a lot of debate on my calorie count. Now, I will say, counting calories is a HEADACHE. I try to never over-eat, but seriously, this whole ordeal is a nuisance. There’s so much debate online on whether one should count calories on Keto or not, and I think most people say: yes, you should. Now where I am all over the place in understanding is in this: How can I count my calories and maintain my daily calorie count, and still eat my total fat percentage for the day, when fat weighs a lot in calories? For example, 4 tablespoons of butter is like, I don’t know, 400-500 calories. That’s just butter alone. How do I count that, and still count my protein and carb and not go over after, like, 2 meals? Some keto advice is needed here, please!
Other than that, I do not crave sweets that much. However, my blood sugar at night tends to drop, so I have created some recipes to have slithers of when my body is in-need. Of course you can have more or less, depending on what works for you. I just want to get my body into ketosis mode so badly, so I am being a tad bit more diligent on what I consume. Those in the Keto community do say that sometimes we will eat more or less of something depending on how our body is feeling; so I might skip a small piece of this chocolate cake today, but tomorrow I might over-work my body, and thus, tend to crave it more.
Ps. (very pompous of me to write an entire blog post about something I have no idea about).
A Layered Chocolate Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Now, finally, perhaps the only thing you clicked on this link for: the keto friendly chocolate cake recipe.
This chocolate cake recipe is adapted from my crowd-pleasing chocolate cake recipe that I often bake for friends and family. This chocolate cake recipe people go crazy over, so I decided to play around with it and see what I can do to make it keto-approved.
I think I did well; hence, this extensive blog post.
This recipe is definitely going to impress you if you love chocolate cake. And I mean, really love it. I added home-made whipped cream (sugar-free) to the recipe to lighten up the intensity of the dark chocolate; but, nonetheless, it’s a great recipe to try if you’re keto!
Total time: 60 minutes (includes bake time)
Serving size: 8-10
Ingredients for the cake
- 1 1/3 cup Almond flour
- 1/3 cup Coconut flour
- 1/4 cup Stevia
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (mixed 1 cup almond milk with 1 tbs vinegar)
- 1/2 cup Peanut oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 8-inch (1.2 L) round cake pans with butter and dust inside of pans with coconut flour and set aside.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add almond and coconut flour, stevia sweetener, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix together on low speed until combined.
- In medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add in the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture until just combined, scraping down side of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Reduce speed to low; gradually pour in hot coffee and mix until just combined.
- Spoon mixture equally into prepared cake pans. Bake in center of oven for about 30 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pans for 30 minutes or more.
** Cake will not turn out; the texture of the almond flour mixed with the coconut flour makes it very soft; thus, cake is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Go to Lessons Learned to see how I made this cake.
Ingredients for the icing
- 1 ¼ cup 80% good quality dark chocolate couverture
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 Tbs Stevia sweetener
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Place dark chocolate couverture in a small microwaveable bowl. Heat on HIGH for 1 to 1½ minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until melted; set aside to cool.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract for 1 minute.
- Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in Stevia until combined and smooth, scraping down side of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Increase speed to medium; beat in cooled couverture until combined.
Lessons Learned: The almond flour along with coconut flour create a good, but runny texture. Therefore, the cake turns out more like a soft brownie. If you follow this recipe precisely, it might turn out just fine. The cake itself does not hold together, therefore you can’t ice it as you would a regular cake. But, I have found a way around this that I will share with you.
I baked my cake in two 8’inch round pans. Then, after I took them out of the oven and cooled them down, I took a fork and broke the cake apart into small, tiny pieces. This was done because my cake was stuck to my pan (first time adapting this recipe to Keto). So, I instantly wore my improv hat and decided to create a layered cake, instead.
I took a round pan with a removable bottom (the ones used to bake cheesecake in) and I layered the bottom with my chocolate cake pieces. I pressed down on it so the pieces of chocolate cake were solid in the pan. Then, I topped it with home-made whipped cream, the chocolate buttercream icing, and repeated the process one more time. You can omit the whipped cream. I only added it because I was afraid that the intensity of the dark chocolate icing would take over.
Once I was done, I sarane-wrapped my cake and put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Then, I unlocked the cake bottom and my cake came out in one piece! Taraaaa..magic. An hour later, and it still holds its shape.
If you try this cake recipe, I would love to hear your feedback.
This cake serves 8-10. I personally think it serves more, if pieces are smaller. These macros are for 1 serving:
F: 22 grams
C: 4.9 net carbs