Heavy Metal Keto - Interview with Sahil Makhija from Headbanger's Kitchen

Heavy Metal Keto - Interview with Sahil Makhija from Headbanger's Kitchen

What do you think of when someone mentions the keto diet? Most likely, it’s fitness-obsessed men and women with chiseled abs leaving a gym in tight workout attire. While the fitness-enthusiasts and CrossFit addicts may seem like they’re in the key demographic for keto, the truth is, the keto lifestyle is really for everyone.

Sahil “Demonstealer” Makhija is here to show us that your keto experience can be loud, wild, and fun. As the guitarist in metal bands like Demon Resurrection and Workshop, and as someone who readily admits that he’s not a huge fan of working out, Sahil isn’t your typical keto advocate. Known best for his YouTube Show, The Headbanger’s Kitchen, Sahil’s popular keto show has recently reached 147,000 subscribers. Check out this interview with one of the most energetic and eclectic keto personalities in the world today, Sahil “Demonstealer” Makhija.

How Did Sahil Makhija Become Interested in the Keto Diet?

Sahil’s path to being committed to the keto diet wasn’t instantaneous. Even after his first introduction to the keto diet, Sahil remained skeptical until he witnessed the powerful results for himself.

I was introduced to the Keto diet by my friend and bandmate Aditya Kadam who played bass for my comedy rock band Workshop. He was overweight and had gone to a dietician who put him on to the Keto diet.

When Aditya first told me about the diet and that he had to eat high fat I thought he was crazy and I even lectured him that he would get a heart attack or something. In my defense he didn’t explain the science behind it. So I wasn’t convinced.

He lost 30kgs and my wife wanted to lose weight too. She hates exercising so she actually started the diet. I wasn’t convinced yet. She did research and read up, understood the science behind it and explained it to me. It was only after she did it for 2 months, lost weight and I saw first hand how Keto works did I get on board with it. So it was my wife’s weight loss that motivated me to start Keto myself.

Sahil Explains the Challenges of Going Keto

Any major shift takes some time to get used to and major dietary changes are no different. Switching to the keto diet means leaving out the bread and grain products such as potatoes and rice that many of us have become accustomed to. Sahil describes the biggest challenges with sticking to the keto diet early on.

The most challenging part was changing your approach to food. From constantly avoiding ‘fat’ to making it the key component in your diet. Learning to eat butter chicken without naan, learning to have a beef stew without rice or a steak without mashed potatoes. It is quite a mental shift from something you’ve been doing all your life. In terms of physical challenges, it was really only the Keto flu in the start, which passed as quickly as it came.

Starting His Popular YouTube Show, Headbanger’s Kitchen

Combining his love for metal music with a love of the keto diet, Headbanger’s Kitchen celebrates both with its three seasons of episodes. Ranging from interviews with legendary metal bands like Lamb of God to straight up cooking segments that highlight recipes that are perfect for the keto diet, there’s really nothing else out there like The Headbanger’s Kitchen.

Performing is in His Blood

Many people would have apprehensions about putting themselves and their ideas out for the world to critique in a YouTube show. For Sahil, these fears were never a problem. He describes always being involved in some type of artistic performance.

I have never really been camera shy or afraid to put myself out there as an artist. When I was a kid I used to do speech and drama, elocution, and even acted in plays. So performance was something I was comfortable with. I started my band in the year 2000 and have been regularly gigging, so interacting with people, being on camera for interviews, etc. is something I’ve been rather familiar with.

In 2010 when I started the show it was a normal cooking show with me interviewing metal bands and them tasting my food. I was a bit nervous about the concept then because cooking is perhaps not the most metal thing to do, but the show received a great response. I guess after doing a few episodes it was pretty natural for me to do. What I do today on the channel is a continuation in some ways, just the focus and format has changed.

Obstacles Inherent in Creating a Hit YouTube Show

Any production has a lot of moving parts. For a cooking show, a crew has to be somewhere on time, cooking appliances need to work on command, and there is a lot going on overall. Sahil describes some of the challenges he ran into when recording Headbanger’s Kitchen, and how he shifted the show’s focus to adapt.

Initially the show was done once a month and I had trouble with keeping the crew because the show made money so I struggled with consistency and just building it up as a bigger thing on youtube. Also, I think the audience for what I was doing was too limited. So eventually I felt the show was taking too much time from me which I could spend on my music. So I actually gave up and decided I would just do cooking videos, no band interviews, as and when time permitted. After that when I started the Keto recipes, it all exploded.

Does Sahil Have a Favorite Episode of Headbanger’s Kitchen?

I think from the older format my interview with George Kollias is one of my favorites. It was my first time interviewing one of my personal drum heroes and it really was a special moment for me. When it comes to the Keto recipes, I think my Lemon Pepper Chicken recipe would be a personal favorite.

Best Keto Recipe of All Time?

People often fear to try any new diet because of the dietary sacrifices they’ll have to make --they don’t want to feel like they can’t eat anything they like and they hate the feeling of being hungry. The Headbanger’s Kitchen not only shows that there are hundreds of tempting recipes on the keto diet, many of them are easy to make in your own kitchen. Out of the numerous keto recipes covered by Sahil, which is the all-time best?

I think I would pick the Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. If you can eat cake on a diet and still lose weight, that’s just perfect. I think the main reason would be to show people it’s not a diet where you are deprived but in fact, can eat so many incredible foods.


The Only 3 Things You Need for a Hit YouTube Series?

YouTube stars are quickly becoming what TV stars were a few decades ago, and it’s a safe assumption that thousands of young people also want to start their own shows on YouTube. As someone who has grown his show to over 100,000 followers, what advice does Sahil have for aspiring YouTubers?

Just start doing it, don’t overthink it. The only things you need are passion, consistency and hard work.

Keto in the World of Metal Music

As a guitarist in several metal bands, Sahil is deep into the heavy metal community. With his brilliant juxtaposition of heavy metal music and the keto diet, you can’t help but wonder if keto is actually a popular diet in the metal community. When asked if there are other bands that champion the keto lifestyle, Sahil admits that there’s not, but that another diet is popular among metal musicians.

I don’t think there is one actually. I’m one of the only metal musicians I know who does Keto. In fact, I think veganism is popular with metal musicians these days as many are turning to the lifestyle. Couple of my friends Dan Presland (Ne Obliviscaris), Mendel (Aborted), and Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor) are all vegans.

Does Keto Occasionally Come Up During Sahil’s Jam Sessions?

Hahaha nope, we don’t really discuss my diet during jam sessions.


Sahil on the Present and Future of Keto

While many people follow the keto diet, few have their finger on the pulse of keto culture like Sahil Makhija. Although keto began as a cure for epilepsy in the 1920’s, it’s resurgence as a weight loss solution has proven to be a game-changer. Check out Sahil’s thoughts on the keto trend as a whole.

One Thing That’s Misunderstood about the Keto Diet?

I think they don’t understand that it’s more a lifestyle than just a fad diet and that it’s not a magic button to lose fat immediately. Like anything, weight loss requires work and time.

Message for Those Who Have Never Heard of the Keto Diet?

I would actually tell them to check out my channel and try some of the recipes. To be honest, I’m not one of those people who feels the need to impose or get everyone on the Keto diet. If you are looking to try something different, give it a go. If it works for you, great, if not, no biggie. I think everyone needs to choose what works for them and makes them feel good at the end of the day.

Sahil’s Final Thoughts for Readers

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will check out the channel and try some of the recipes, Keto or non Keto. They’re delicious. :)