Why We Suspect Krishna Was on a Keto Diet

But first, pass the butter

Disclaimer: This column does not promote keto diets. This is a fictional interpretation and a figment of the writer’s imagination. We respect the faith of Krishna-bhakts and wish you good health (unless you choose to follow a keto-diet and ruin it yourself). Hare Krishna!


A few millennia after Kanha raided kitchens of Nandgaon for soft balls of melt-in-your-mouth dairy fat, Keto-dieters are slathering pale-yellow salted slabs of butter on roasted veggies, meats, sausages, eggs and what have you. Would you veto the keto? Here's why we suspect Krishna didn't. 



He believes there's no such thing as too much butter

He scooped out balls of butter; they snack on buttercream bombs. He egged his friends on to steal butter from pots hanging high above the kitchen larder; they have a free pass to steal butter from the refrigerator. 

Not milk, not ice-cream, not sugar-free dairy desserts, they all have lactose, a sugar, which in-turn is a carb, and anathema for keto-diets. This high-fat, adequate-protein and low-carb diet forces the body to burn fat instead of carbs. Which makes butter the ideal fat. Why? Because butter has zero carbs and 11 grams of fat per tablespoon. And while we lay out the butter and cream, let's turn our attention to the folklore around the Blue God.

Makhan was his go-to food. He’s a butter-smeared prankster and cherub with a taste for the creamy fat that bubbled up when his mother and the other Gopis churned milk. And he encouraged the Gopals and Gopis to enjoy the wonders of life, listen to his music, drink copious amounts of milk and eat butter. Here’s a delicious little tale from Bhagavat Purana, where one day, little Krishna gazes at the full moon and begins to cry. The Gopikas try to calm him down with goodies, 

“Do you want some Kheer Krishna?” 

No, says the petulant child 

“Some yoghurt?”

No, he bawls

“Some cheese?” 

NO. I want some freshly churned condensed butter! 

“What do you mean by condensed butter, Kanha?”

Pointing his chubby fingers at the moon, little Krishna says “I want that freshly churned condensed butter.”

Yashodha has to quickly intervene to diffuse the situation.



He loves and protects his cows because happy grass-fed cows make the best…

Butter! Yes, this dairy fat gets a thumbs up from keto-ites, but not just any butter. Table butter that comes out of a packet is great for your health, said no one ever! If you’re following a keto diet and presumably eating a fair share of the fat, go look for grass-fed butter. Why? Because butter churned from the milk of grass-fed cows has a high content of good fats (remember omega-3?) and beta carotene. It’s the best kind of butter there is! Picture this—happy cows merrily chomping on fresh green grass, mesmerized by the lilting music of a flute being played by their lovable cowherd. Aspirational organic, free-range food goals today, but a way of life for Nandgoan and its butter-loving residents a few millennia ago! 


Also read: 10 curd-based south Indian delicacies for Janmashtami


He eats one grain of rice and the universe burps in contentment

For some Keto clarity-this is a low or no carb diet. So rice is practically out of the picture. But one grain of rice is allowed. This story got us thinking if Krishna was on keto...and if he was truly the progenitor of the great Indian burp that Indian men have a sense of entitlement over. Even today in many regional Indian cultures, a loud, languid burp is a non-verbal cue to the guest, signaling a full belly and a satisfied meal.

“Why don’t you have another bowl of kheer, you absolutely mus….” 

“Buuuuurrrp”

“Ahhhh, I’m glad you enjoyed the meal”

If that's the only way to stop an effusive host after working through a mound of rice, a few side dishes, chutneys, chapatis, curries, pickle, yoghurt, kheer and a few other sundry items, so be it. But what if you’re a keto-bhakt, and most of those dishes were to vanish from your plate? (remember, only 5-10% of your meal can be carb-based!) Keto-diets train you to skip carbs, and carbs form the bulk on the Indian thali. How then should you signal your satiety? 

There’s a story of Krishna’s satisfying burp upon eating a grain of rice. 

Draupadi and her five husbands were in Vanavasa (exile), and food was scarce. One afternoon, after the Pandavas and Draupadi had finished lunch, sage Durvasa turned up at their cottage with a retinue. He expected to be served lunch and went to the river to wash up first. Now Durvasa had serious anger management issues and a petrified Draupadi who had nothing to cook with, began to weep. That’s when her good friend Krishna appeared before her, nudging her to look in the cooking pots for some scraps. All she found was a single grain of rice stuck to the bottom of a pan, which Krishna dutifully ate, and let out what could have been the first great Indian burp. This celestial burb travelled through space and time across the universe defying all laws of physics and all living beings are said to have burped with him in unison. Amusing little story, but shows the power of a teeny-tiny single grain of carbohydrate. We rest our case.

This Janmashtami, here's to a state of eternal bliss....and ahem...ketosis?!

Don't miss Chappan bhog gives us 56 reasons reasons to love Janmashthami

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