Now, before continuing, we recognize that many believe the ketogenic diet to be potentially “harmful” or counterintuitive to the dietary regime competitive athletes undergo on a regular basis. However, in 2020, there are new players on the field we need to recognize: health-tech and COVID-19.

We focus on how keto diet can still maintain an active status in an athletes life, despite the self-quarantining and social distancing the world has been forced to abide by thanks to COVID-19.

With COVID-19 still at large, it’s important to ‘digitally detox’ and know when to react to news and when to turn that screen off. 

For the uninitiated, coronaviruses are nothing new. In fact, they have been around for centuries. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans, according to the World Health Organization. In humans, however, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

The most recently discovered coronavirus came about December 2019 which causes the coronavirus disease, which we call COVID-19.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump issued guidelines on “social distancing” on March 16, which was meant to prevent and/or minimize the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. as well as abroad have taken this more seriously than initially thought–and for good reason.

Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, what are athletes and fitness aficionados to do when they are stuck indoors?

Lyle McDonald and TKD

How can individuals who have a strict dietary regime continue to abide by their routine without going stir crazy (aka the literal inability to walk into any fitness center or gym)? We looked at the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) and how using technology in conjunction with this regime could actually benefit an athlete, rather than harm them.

So what is TKD? It’s nothing more than the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) with carbohydrates consumed at specific times around exercise. In other words, carbohydrates are consumed on days when exercise is performed (indoors or outdoors)–in our COVID-19 era, definitely indoors.

According to Lyle McDonald, physiologist and author who has spent over a decade obsessively finding ways to apply cutting-edge scientific research to sports nutrition, fat loss and muscle growth, the TKD is a compromise approach between the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) and cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).

“The TKD will allow individuals on a ketogenic diet to perform high intensity activity (or aerobic exercise for long periods of time) without having to interrupt ketosis for long periods of time”, McDonald shared in his book, The Ketogenic Diet.”

Martina Slajerova and KetoDiet App

We also turned to food blogger and entrepreneur Martina Slajerova, who is the author of five best-selling books, including The KetoDiet Cookbook and Sweet and Savory Fat Bombs about how strict diets, like keto, could really benefit athletes–especially during these dark and trivial times.

Her app, the KetoDiet App, became a solution to something Slajerova struggled with for many years: Hashimoto’s Disease. For women, Hashimoto’s Disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include fatigue, weight gain, depression, and joint pain.

And for Slajerova, it left her struggling to maintain a healthy weight. But for individuals who eat his or her daily doses of fruits and vegetables, not consuming too much meat, and regularly exercising, how can maintaining a healthy diet and weight be so complex or damn near impossible?

That’s where the ketogenic diet (Keto Diet) comes into play, which offers a high fat, very low carb diet that’s often recommended to provide relief from menopause symptoms. It’s important to emphasize that following the Keto Diet may also come with several side effects that may not always be a great fit for everyone.

Taking that knowledge and compiling it into a one-stop-shop for women also suffering from Hashimoto’s, Slajerova came up with the KetoDiet App, which contains not just her personal knowledge and experience, but the collective knowledge from cookbooks, blogs, videos, and experts in a one-stop shop location. 

Men’s Health ranked Slajerova’s app as number 9 of its top thirteen best keto Instagram accounts, along with Healthline rating the app as one of the best amongst paleo apps in 2019.

Pre-coronavirus, however, Slajerova’s focus has been to provide a complete application that can guide users through the ketogenic diet–which she described as overwhelming:

When I started following a low-carb diet, everything felt overwhelming. Knowing which foods to eat and avoid, staying under my carb limit and hitting my daily protein intake were some of the challenges I was facing.”

With most businesses, including restaurants shut down, cooking has become the easiest way to eat (and no, you better not be DoorDashing). Admittingly, Slajerova shared that cooking can be difficult when you’re forced to skip carbs and sugar. 

“Still, keto experts have found ways to cut carbs while still enjoying good meals and a variety of tastes. The trick is knowing what foods to avoid outright and what carb-filled ingredients can be swapped with lower carb substitutes.”

At the end of the day, athlete or not, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. Slajerova’s app brings us organization and easy dietary management together in a time where all hell has seemed to break loose.