In the past, I’ve tried to stick to Keto during Ramadan. And to say that things didn’t go to plan, would be an overly polite understatement. For Ramadan 20201, I plan on actually lasting the whole month.
If you’re planning on doing the same; don’t worry. The trial and error journey I’ve gone down in the past has meant that I’ve picked up quite a few tips. Essentially, a Keto Ramadan is very much about planning. The temptations will be abundant, but at the heart of it, this is very much a time to reflect. And doing so is much easier, when you take stock of all of your choices. Food choices, included.
So, take a deep breath, try to block the taste of carbs, and let’s get started. These are my tips for a Keto Ramadan.
Start Keto At Least Three Days Before The First Day Of Ramadan
The so-called ‘Keto flu’ has become quite infamous. Essentially, when your body switches fuel sources, you could experience some sensations. Typically, during the first couple of days, as your body switches to a new fuel source, you could experience flu-like symptoms. This lasts between two to seven days. So, starting as early as you possibly can is the best course of action.
This allows your body to become used to the Ketogenic way of eating. Starting at least three days in advance will ensure that the first few days of Ramadan are easier for you. Either your body will have completely adapted to your new diet. Or, you’ll be in the process of doing so. At any rate, it will be a much better alternative to starting Keto during Ramadan.
Keep Track Of Your Micronutrients As Well
Even if you’ve only read the odd magazine article, you know the magic Keto ratio. Less than 20 grams of net carbs, enough protein to sustain you, and about 80% of your calories from fat. That’s the macro aspect out of the way; but most people often ignore micro numbers. Micronutrients that is. Think vitamins, minerals and the like.
In particular, when you switch to a low-carb way of eating, your body may experience an electrolyte imbalance. Supplementing sodium, potassium and magnesium helps with the ‘Keto flu’ and maintains overall health. You can either eat foods high in these minerals, like leafy greens, or opt for supplements.
Eat The Same Things Over And Over Again
Feel free to experiment or to be creative. But, make a list of meal ideas, and prepare for them in advance. This makes meal planning easier, and ensures that you have some failsafe options to go back on, if you’re pressed for time. If you’ll be dining at someone’s home, always feel that you can pack your meal and take it along.
Be Prepared For Temptations And Cravings
You will miss typical Ramadan treats. Moreover, your cravings may be indicating some kind of a deficiency. Prepare in advance. Stock up on Keto friendly foods that you can indulge in instead. And, do some research, and be mindful about what specific cravings mean.
Here’s a video that you can turn to whenever you’re confused.
Enjoy Keto Friendly Alternatives
Ramadan can conjure up a lot of memories, and nothing fuels nostalgia like food. So, practice some recipes of Keto alternatives that you can enjoy instead. For example, lemo pani sweetened with stevia, or chia seed pudding spiced with cardamom (to replace kheer).
Also, you might want to check out my YouTube channel; I love experimenting with Keto treats.
Don’t Under-Eat During Ramadan
Because 80% of your calories are made up of fat, Keto can be a very satiating diet. What this sometimes means is that people feel full, even if they haven’t eaten enough. However, this can be specifically disastrous during Ramadan.
If you think about it, what it’ll basically entail is a combination of intermittent fasting and the Keto diet. However, the fasts can be really prolonged. When I was in Canada, the fasts could get really long; so I completely empathise with this. The most effective thing to do would be to count your calories (annoying I know). But this will allow you to make sure that you’re not under-eating at a time when you really can’t afford to.
Take Care Of Your Gut Health
Often people think that the ONLY way to eat Keto is to cut out fruits and vegetables completely. There is a lot of debate about whether you NEED to eat vegetables and fruits. Or even, how much is necessary.
I’ll be honest, this is a debate that has personally confused and overwhelmed me. What I do think is that switching to a no-plant food diet too quickly may impact your gut negatively. If you’ll be trying the Keto diet in conjunction with a fast, be sure to include some gut healthy foods. Try kimchi, or sauerkraut; a little bit is often enough.
And if you do want to go down the carnivore route, please do your research, and if you can consult a professional.
Don’t Try ‘Dirty Keto’ During Ramadan
See, we all want to enjoy the most palatable, least labour intensive foods. I’d like to think that the ‘Dirty Keto’ trend is a product of this ethos.
For Dirty Keto, people stick to Keto macros, that is less than 20 grams of net carbs and a high fat diet. But they don’t focus on the quality of the food. So they’ll eat a diet high in processed foods, that are low-carb on paper, but have few nutritional benefits. This is never a good idea; but especially during Ramadan, the last thing you need is a nutritional deficiency. Minus the odd treat, of course, the majority of your diet should consist of healthy, whole foods.
Please note: I’m not a nutritionist, or healthcare professional, and am only sharing what worked for me based on my experienced. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any diet change.