Due to blog migration and other reasons I couldn’t continue the favorite series on my blog however am so glad I revived this series again with one of my favorite Insta(gram)Inspiration Radhika. I have always admired women who are multi-talented,bold,strong,straight forward & Radhika is definitely one among them.
Amidst negativity, bad attitude, criticisms, jealousy filled Social Media there are only very few who spread positivity, who speak straight from their heart. That frankness is what I admire the most in Radhika. Her tweets are never sugar coated. Whoever it might be she doesn’t shy away from voicing out her genuine opinion. Also we are living in an era where people blindly follows/copies someone, tries to imitate them and lose their individuality. Rads is an exception. She never follows the crowd. Excellent writer, fitness enthusiast,very warm positive person altogether.
In this Q & A session Radhika shares her thoughts about Keto diet, her transformation journey, her passion which is writing/cycling, her thoughts about giving back to society etc.
A little about yourself Rads
Am originally an optometrist from India, but moved to the US 23 years ago and switched careers to IT. I live with my husband and 3 kids and a dog near Washington DC. I am curious by nature, so I have plenty interests that I follow up on and I am grateful that I have the freedom and privilege to be able to. I freelance: write, take pictures, make jewelry, speak at events, fundraise and volunteer what I know and can. I try to make a difference in whatever way possible, while submerging myself fully in it. I called myself a meanderer in life for many years, now there’s a new definition called “multipotentialite” – so that’s me 🙂
When the whole social media crazily shared just pics & stories on #100Sareepact , you are the only one to use that #sareepact campaign with a purpose & raised money for educating girls in India. In the same way I still remember your struggles when you tried to send relief materials to Chennai (during floods in 2015) from USA. What is that one thing that motivates you to involve yourself in such selfless activities? Have you ever thought of starting an NGO and work towards welfare of the people?
#SariForEducation was easily one of the most hardest yet gratifying project of that magnitude I had ever undertaken. Chennai flood relief overlapped then too, and that was a short but intense project. It just felt that was the right thing to do. When my kids were small, I used to volunteer in their schools. I was amazed at how much the teachers do and so happily for the kids and I’ve seen the environment flourish because of the need to give back to the community.
We recieve so much from the society, that it’s only fair we give back in whatever way we can. When people appreciate or see something in you, it becomes a responsibility to give to them. I also believe that our purpose in life is to give and share what we have. There is just so much to go around, why horde? You aren’t leaving with all those tangibles anyway, but goodwill can be your legacy.
NGO? Oh gosh no, I don’t think I am capable or have that kind of leverage or stamina, not at this stage in my life at least. Though I can see it happening in the future, maybe NGO, maybe just helping in a focused way.
How and when did the journey towards your fitness began?
Exactly last April. I know the date I snapped and said enough! It was April 10th 2016 🙂
March 11th 2016, I went through a spinal discectomy for a herniated disc. Just after I shipped the clothes out to Chennai relief, two days later, on December 13th 2015, I had a sharp sciatic pain and it got progressively worse despite injections and therapy. I went to Chennai, India in January because of the clothes release and came back worse. Those two months were painful and no steroid, painkiller, cushion or rest helped. There was constant pain and it was pretty severe too. I was tired and so had surgery and felt better, but I still had extra weight and inflammation in my knee joints. I’ve had some cartilage tears and repairs (from my dancing years) done the previous years for that.
I felt I had to do something, so I decided to cut carbs. I’ve known about low carb diet for a few years now, but as an Indian the thought of giving up rice and wheat was frightening! Another friend said she also adopted it and it worked wonders for her. So I plunged into it headlong. Read a lot on reddit, spoke to a couple who had adopted it, jumped into conversations and over a period of one week realized this was worth a shot, and haven’t looked back.
Easily a life and game changer for me. I am back to my old self, strong, secure, focused and productive and even agile! I don’t think I’ve felt this “young”, fit and happy for a very long time. It isn’t just about losing 23 pounds and two dress sizes, but it’s about how good I feel on the INSIDE. It’s like a fog has lifted in my head!
Why did you choose the Keto diet? There is a popular myth that high amount of fat intake can increase Cholesterol levels? Is that true? Since keto is all about low carb & high fat how do you overcome the issue?
I was stuck in a vicious circle. My knees were bad, so couldn’t exercise like everyone else and be a gym rat. I was cycling crazy distances and losing 500-1000 calories but weight and inches weren’t reducing. I thought earlier (I know better now) that exercise was the way to lose weight. I was not feeling good.
Keto reduced inflammation and dropped that extra water weight out within a month. I got flexible, knees didn’t hurt, and I could move more freely and that in itself was such a motivating thing!
Now I *know* abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. That’s a powerful realization.
Yes, cholesterol does go up briefly, and then it goes down, a lot. My HDL was bad, and now it’s under control. Plenty folks have seen significant health benefits to keto. Losing weight is honestly just the beautiful perk to going keto. Folks with diabetes, with high cholesterol, women with PCOS, kids with ADHD and epilepsy have all benefited from going low carb. I could go on, but there is plenty research out there to support it.
Whether you choose to go keto or not, I strongly feel low-carb is a great way of eating/living. My personal opinion of course 🙂
Since most diets call for reduce in Carb intake & increase in Protein & other things , do you find it difficult to follow this diet being a vegetarian?
Yes, compared to a non-vegetarian, yes it is hard for a vegetarian. If anyone’s telling you it is easy, they are lying 🙂 Is it doable? Of course YES! It requires some framework and thought and planning and it can be done. There is NOTHING in this world that cannot be done if you want the results and believe you can do it. Nothing in the world that is worth it, is easy either!
Everything’s relative right>? Let’s say all the edibles in the world are at 100%
So if someone who eats meat (or anything that once moved) is eating all 100%
Ones who eat only chicken of those meats can eat perhaps 60%
Ones who are vegetarian can eat only 50% of available food.
Ones who do not eat eggs can eat only 40%
So now with Keto – you are removing at least 25% of the above. BUT you are also increasing the food that you did not eat before.
Cheeses are so tasty! So are nut milks. The vegetables (no tubers) are all super tasty and you get creative with how you make them. Keto’s definitely made my taste buds sensitive, and I can taste better. You start appreciating and enjoying what you eat. Does that make sense? 🙂
I see most of the Keto based breakfast recipes include eggs. Are there any alternative to Eggs?
Eggs bring in the protein part of diet, so if you are a ovo-vegetarian like me, then that’s probably the only easy pure source. If you can’t/do not eat eggs, then it gets challenging. Doable, but sustaining could be hard and am being very practical here. And protein is important in the Keto diet.
My trick is to not think of the traditional sense of breakfast items. For in Indian cuisine, we eat dosa to puri to even rice as breakfast! In the western cuisine, we have cereal to waffles to bacon to porridge to eggs. What if we eat because we are hungry and not narrow our thinking based on years of conditioning that *only these* are breakfast items?
I forced myself to think outside the box. I eat paneer, tofu, chia, protein smoothie, or just stir fried vegetables with a combination and breakfast’s really just a meal for me.
It’s about breaking free from the norms and how things are always done. Once you master that in one area, it’s not too hard to do it in others. I have a post on my blog for egg-free breakfasts 🙂
Most women of this generation suffer from PCOS issues. Do you think that Keto diet can help in regularising hormones?
Yea, isn’t that sad that so many are affected? I’ve had two girls message me and am helping them both and they seem happier with the diet.
Without getting into too much physiology, why a low carb diet works for someone with PCOS is knowing why it’s caused. Plenty research online but essentially PCOS is a hormonal disorder where testosterone (androgens or male hormones) goes into overdrive. One of the reasons it is caused is by insulin resistance, and a low grade inflammation.
Low carb diet reduces the insulin dependency and also removes inflammation. I can vouch for that 100% and so can folks who have gotten pregnant once they’ve adopted Keto or low carb diet. Hormones get balanced after a couple of months on it.
Not saying it’s a cure, but it reduces the damage within and having your body in control is probably the most amazing feeling of control one can have.
Is it easier to source ingredients for this diet? Is it economical?
Depends on where you live. I speak for the US/Western residents when I say that it’s affordable and not difficult sourcing the necessary vegetables, variety cheeses and nut/soy milks. Pretty much any grocery store will have a wide variety of cheese and nut milks. Even in India, if you live in the metros, it isn’t too hard, though I’ve heard folks mention that it gets expensive and costs add up.
The way I look at it is that it’s okay to spend on quality food and well being now than on later medical costs which unhealthy lifestyles lead to. So, it truly is about investing in your health now when you are younger and can benefit from it than later 🙂
Going by your IG feed, you attend various parties & get together with friends How do you manage to control temptation when in diet?
Oh, it’s very hard! Initially, and then you get used to resisting, coz cravings go away when your body is in ketosis. It’s also about choices and moderation. We honestly do not need the quantity of food we normally eat. Our body and brain functions on much little and qualitatively better food. I taste most stuff, but stay away from pure sugar.
Also, I do take breaks for a couple of weeks at a time. It’s balancing the wants and needs 🙂
Plus, all those outward benefits of going low carb of looking good 🙂
If we are doing something different we are always subjected to criticism. So how do you handle negativity in social media with respect to your diet & other things?
It is a work in progress. When you are convinced of the reasons and the beliefs on why you do what you do, everyone else is secondary. I usually disengage right away, and do what I have to so I can control my surroundings and stimuli. I stick to understanding that we can agree to disagree and still be civil, conversational and continue to be friends. Unfortunately, not many get that and there is a fair amount of judging going on, and then the sisterhood of negativity forms. It’s all very childish.
As long as no one is forcing you into a lifestyle, I don’t see why anyone should have a problem. It is about being respectful of others choices. Why should it hurt you to encourage or say a kind good word or help a sister out? All it takes is less than a minute and a kind heart. It’s incredibly sad to see women pull other women down. Am always saying ‘yay’ and ‘woohoo’ to folks’ work and sometimes even when I don’t understand it. It’s not my place to understand so much as how much that encouragement will help them. Silence is a choice and it can hurt.
We have such a long way to go for sisterhood to become real. People are usually fearful of things they do not understand. Fear manifests itself as snark, jealousy and gossip. Am hopeful.
All *I* can do is stay calm, be empathetic and kind, and let it go. That is all that is under my control 🙂
Few words about your passion for writing & cycling
I’ve always written my thoughts out. I was a shy, introverted child growing up. Even now, I prefer being alone doing my thing, am friendly, but not a huge social chatter as such. Writing came naturally to me, so blogging was a great outlet and so I continue to write. I’ve just become selective about what I want to share.
The blog’s doing great and has pulled in plenty readers and subscribers. I’ve also been published plenty for my fiction, and I have a publishing coming up shortly which I have been working on. Always a pleasure to hear back from readers who like what and how I write.
Am hopeful and cautiously excited for this year. 🙂
Cycling has been another lifesaver. I love how it all came together for me. My weak knees ensured I could not dance anymore, or do the usual running or zumba or kickboxing, but cycling helped me tons. Not just from exercise pov, but getting out into the open (alone with my thoughts) the confidence, the new people that I meet, it’s been simply great!
Am a big fan of the way how you carry yourself. Be it a traditional attire or a party wear, you mix & match your accessories so well. Share some tips & tricks ️️
Aw, thank you! I just go by two simple rules which also project into other areas of my life.
- Less is more.
- Be comfortably yourself.
It’s more about being groomed and stylish than fashionable I think. It is just you taking care of yourself. I mix and match between jewelry and east/west designs and clothes. ONE statement piece is all we need. There’s also an adage “Wear whatever you like, and then remove everything but one” 🙂
Just coz something looks good on someone doesn’t mean it will look good on you. So be adventurous, push boundaries but most importantly be honest. At the end of the day, what you wear on the outside is really the sidekick to what you are on the inside. Be confident, wear a smile, and walk out like you are a queen. A kind and a happy queen 🙂
Thank you so much Radhika for taking your time and sharing all this valuable information with us. Keep Inspiring us!
Here is the link below where you can find vegetarian keto recipes by Rads
You can also follow Rads in various social media platforms. Check the links below