As many as 125 people who are part of a WhatsApp group, Desi Keto, meet every month to discuss their eating habits and fitness regime. They said as their keto diet restricts them from drinking alcohol and eating junk food, the only way they socialise is by meeting people from the group and talk about keto food and go trekking.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is followed by those who aim to lose weight.
Gopal Shenoy, an advocate and also one of the main members of the group, told The Indian Express that the idea behind making this group was to bring people across the country together and talk about their eating habits. “Indians have different food habits. We mostly eat carbs. So, the agenda is to make people change their food habits,” said Shenoy.
Rajashri Ghosh Anand started the WhatsApp group on Keto in 2012. Anand, who is from Kolkata, said he had wanted to lose weight and back then there was not much information available on Keto. “I created this group so that people will learn about keto diet and can learn about the required food and supplements,” said Anand.
Shenoy, who joined the Mumbai group in 2016, said initially WhatsApp had restrictions of allowing only 256 people to be part of the group. So, many groups were formed across the country and Anand is part of several groups. One of the groups from Mumbai, which currently has 126 people, decided to have their first meeting in 2016. Slowly, it became a ritual. The group has people from age groups between 23 and 45, coming from different professional backgrounds.
“After I became the part of the group, we decided to meet in person, to get to know each other. The members are basically those who are following similar diet. As our keto diet restricts us from drinking alcohol and eating junk food, meeting people on the group twice a month is our way of social interaction,” added Shenoy.
Shenoy said they meet at their favourite restaurants and talk about their eating habits, new keto recipes, food supplements, activities and weight issues. “We don’t take any expert advice, the idea is understand your body,” says Shenoy. He said in 2018, the group thought of doing something more, so they started going on trek. “During the trek we not only talk about our food habits, but also discuss our personal life,” said Shenoy.