Greek Power – My Cretan Ketogenic Experiment

Greek Power - My Cretan Ketogenic Experiment


A partially failed experiment from April 2014 led to ~8 pounds (~3.2kgs) gain, out of which some was abdominal fat. The specifics of this experiment will be addressed in a future post, as it does not make the purpose of this article.

For the past 2 and a half weeks I’ve been on a workcation (80% work, 20% vacation) in Crete, a Greek Island. It was the second time I’ve been there and I had a great time. As I was flying to Crete my mind was constantly brainstorming on how to recover from the recently failed experiment. That’s when I laid out a plan that was to be enforced during my stay in Greece.

Cretan Keto

The recovery plan involved lots of sleep, 2 weekly Big 5 workouts, 3 weekly HIIT sessions (burpees+abs+sprinting), Cretan keto friendly food and some red wine. Here goes.

The major modification brought to my way of nourishment (won) was to: eat twice a day, allowing 12 hours to pass between meals. This was basically intermittent fasting.

I had taken some amino acids the first few days, but then I stopped doing so and started eating clean keto.

What does clean keto mean?

The main meal (in the afternoon) mostly consisted of eggs, some cheese, fatty meat, and a salad, while in the morning I ate ~3oz of peanuts and some cheese. Here’s a Greek food (gyros) which is included in the clean keto protocol. It usually comes with french fries (like all of the foods do) but I had requested a modified version. You asked for it David Hermann.

Greek Gyros in Crete

This feeding regimen was different from my 4-6 meals per day as of April 2014. Besides, I mostly removed dark chocolate, peanut butter, heavy cream, butter and coconut oil from my diet. I also reduced cheese intake. Calories came short as well.

Since I was in Crete, I took advantage of the many keto friendly foods you can find there.

I ate olives that were produced locally, I consumed olive oil and olive vinegar (which is great) everyday. I also added some Greek fatty yoghurt to the daily salad dressing.

Greek Yoghurt

I consumed some Greek cheese (either goat cheese or cow cheese) and I also tested a few local cheese based product (interestingly, the one below is Cyprus based).

Haloumi Cheese in Crete

One day I bought mirabelles (which are like plums) from the market. The particularity was that they were unriped, thus they weren’t sweet and carbohydrate rich. So, they were keto friendly.

Mirabelles in Crete

Throughout these past two weeks, I did four Big 5 workouts (I explained them in Ketone Power) and I also added 10 minutes of sprinting (HIIT) after each workout (which I had not been doing for months).

I find the 10-minute sprinting extremely beneficial and I will keep doing it.

I also did burpees + an abs workout (8 minutes) three times a week, in the days I didn’t go to the gym.

I had plenty of sleep as each night consisted of at least 8 hours of heavy dreaming, which was very different from my 5-6 hours average.

Taking advantage of the fact that I was there, I had to taste the local red dry wine, which is cheap, strong, and tastes very good. I had ~3-5 medium-sized glasses twice a week.

You know the study where they showed that a chemical in red wine doesn’t let your body excrete testosterone. Call that validation for consuming alcohol 🙂

In terms of goodies, I ate cocoa flavored tahini and a few tsp of peanut butter (way less than I eat on average).

Macedonian Tahini in Greece

I kept my supplementation regimen very similar to what I do at home: omega 3 fatty acids, multi vitamin, multi mineral, ALA (alpha lipoic acid), and garlic extract.

Results and Conclusion

I finished the workcation with a 38+ hour fasting, in which I consumed several cups of coffee. Throughout the fasting, I never felt hungry, dizzy or fatigued. Here are the before/after pics.

Not sure if I see the difference, but I definitely feel it, and the scale validates it too.

May 15 - June 08 2014

The bonus, besides the excess of vitamin D, was that I lost the ~8 pounds gained a month ago. I partially recovered my abs, but I still have some work to do to make up for the damage from April.



Jenkinson, C., Petroczi, A., & Naughton, D. P. (2012). Red wine and component flavonoids inhibit UGT2B17 in vitro. Nutr J, 11, 67.

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5 Responses to Greek Power – My Cretan Ketogenic Experiment

  1. What made you cut out the coconut oil and butter? Was it that they didn’t have those in Greece and Crete? You probably already know that there are other nuts and nut butters that are lower in carbs, if you want to cut them more, such as macadamias, walnuts, pecans….

    The meat and veggies in your picture look great!

    Kudos to you,

    Chef Rachel, followed an RKD (restricted ketogenic diet) for healing

    • Chris Chris says:

      Yes, you cannot find coconut oil in Crete. And most of the peanut butter I found there were not good in terms of their ingredients. Those are the major reasons for which I eliminated these foods…Besides, I was easily reducing caloric intake. Y

      Rachel, the meat was fabulous…with Greek seasoning and sauce. The veggies were great too, just that they had a bloating effect on me…I dont consume too many raw veggies which is why my gut bacteria was not used to it…But I started adding them back into my diet along with sulfur rich vegetables.

      Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. Michael says:

    Who needs coconut oil when you have the best olive oil in the world.

  3. Anya says:

    Great article! Where were you situated while in Crete? I am planning on going there myself and food in your pics seems really nice 🙂

    • Chris Chris says:

      Anya, I stayed very close to Hersonissos (wild night life) in a smaller resort called Analipsi. For convenience you may as well stay in Hersonissos. It’s about the same price 🙂

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