Six years ago, after the birth of her second child, Leili Malakooti’s blood sugar had reached unhealthy levels. It was then that her doctor recommended keto, a high-fat, low-carb diet that can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
“This was not a surprise because diabetes runs in both sides of my family,” she says. “For me, keto was a lifesaver.”
Two and a half years after she started keto, Malakooti, a graphic designer by trade, felt that she needed to share her experiences with others, so she created the leili_keto Instagram account. So far, she’s lost 100 pounds.
“To do keto well, you need to eat real food,” she says. “What my readers see in my Instagram account is honesty. I know they trust my recipes because they try them, enjoy them, and give excellent feedback. I have been able to keep the weight off for almost six years because I found my unique way to stay on the program and not get bored.”
This journey led to Malakooti’s recently released cookbook I Can’t Believe It’s Keto!: 60 Incredible Low-Carb Recipes for Pizzas, Breads, Lasagnas and More
(Page Street Publishing Co). The book includes recipes for lasagna, doughnuts, and breadsticks as well as staples from her Persian upbringing.
“My goal was to create an excellent cookbook, one that would teach people how to use healthy food for a good life,” she says. “To do this, I perfected delicious family and holiday recipes that real people could use to follow the keto diet.”
Malakooti sees the book as one of her biggest accomplishments. And with more than 127,000 Instagram followers, she hopes it will provide some of them and others with more in-depth ways of introducing keto into their diets.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you are looking for in a new recipe or why you want it, and a cookbook is great for discovery,” she says. “You can learn something new—a flavor, ingredient, or technique—and those are the things that inspire you to make choices for continued success.”