Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan | for Optimal Gut Health!
Ketogenic + Vegetarian = Optimal Gut Health!
The Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan blends the wisdom and practices of 2 diets, which are generally considered polar opposites into a perfect food plan that is a great choice for creating optimal Gut Health.
With a Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan you can get the best from two very different worlds:
- You can access many of the nutritional benefits of eating plant-based foods, which will supply many important vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, as well as the right kinds of fiber.
- Your diet will also be rich in healthy fats which help to optimize your brain health, metabolic pathways, stabilize hormones, lower inflammation, as well as improve your overall health.
- Your body will learn to convert energy production from burning sugar to burning fat. Fats are more sustainable and a more efficient fuel than sugars. And, in addition, burning fat for fuel lowers your blood sugar and normalizes your insulin levels. Both of these things will help you to avoid a whole variety of damaging health conditions.
A great Podcast about a Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan.
I recently stumbled upon this podcast…
I was driving and had another podcast queued up, but this episode came on instead. And it was easier to stay with this podcast than change it, so I listened… And I was thrilled! I have been wanting to figure out a way to follow a ketogenic diet, but I don’t want to eat a carnivore’s delight all the time. And here is the perfect answer! A Plant-based Keto diet that is Vegetarian (Mostly) leaves room for a few forms of animal protein: wild-caught fish, fish oils, grass-fed butter as ghee, and bone broth. It just makes so much sense to me!
I invite you to listen to this podcast with Dr. Will Cole, interviewed here as a part of the Broken Brain podcast series.
Video: “How our Government made us fat and sick!”
By Dr. Mark Hyman.
(Re-designing of the Food Pyramid.)
Dr. Mark Hyman writes a great post on this topic!
Read his blog post (here).
In this post, he explains the problems with the old Food Pyramid and Dietary Guidelines and the progression of bad information and misunderstandings originating in the 1970s which still continues today. Dr. Hyman writes:
“Here’s the truth: The 1980 low fat recommendations that were then made even worse by the 1992 Food Pyramid that told us to eat 6-11 servings of bread, rice, cereal and pasta a day and eat fats and oils “only sparingly” catapulted us into the worst epidemic of obesity and diabetes in history.To understand why the government told us to do something that actually turns out to be making us fat and killing us, let’s take a look its background.”
From the above video, by Dr. Hyman on Youtube. (1)
Our body’s energy production.
A simple introduction. There are 2 sources of Fuel for your body: Glucose and Ketones.
“Most people walking around today are burning carbohydrates (sugar) for their energy. Breaking down carbs into glucose is the simplest energy source, and insulin is there to help carry the glucose around your bloodstream through out your body. And because high blood sugar is toxic, it is your body’s priority to use the sugar “kindling” whenever it is around. The sugar your body doesn’t burn is stored as fat around your liver and stomach, and as circulating fat (triglycerides).”
Above quote from the book: Ketotarian, by Dr. Will Cole, p. 22. More information about his book here. (2)
When protein and carbohydrates are eaten, your body’s blood sugar levels increase, which triggers the pancreas to produce the hormone, insulin. Insulin regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood; hence, it is necessary for the body to function normally. Insulin basically pushes the sugars into the cells of the body where it is converted to energy. But if this happens too much, or for too long, it can be a bad situation.
“Continually eating carbs keeps insulin elevated, eventually creating insulin resistance when your cells have received too much and begin to resist this master hormone. When this happens, your blood sugar continues to rise and sets the stage for Type 2 diabetes and all of it’s detrimental (and deadly) consequences.”
If you drastically cut the calories you consume as carbs, your body will still find a way to provide energy to all of the cells in your body.
“As proponents of keto eating can attest, there is another way. Instead of burning sugar, burning fat is a more efficient fuel source for your metabolism. When you lower your carbohydrates, it lowers your blood sugar and your insulin levels. As insulin levels normalize and energy is needed, fatty acids are released from fat stores into the blood stream, through a process called beta-oxidation. This process creates a molecule called acetyl-CoA. And as more fatty acids are produced and metabolized, acetyl Co-A levels continues to rise causing a metabolic feedback loop, which tells your liver to use the acetyl-CoA for Ketogenisis, or the making of ketone bodies.
The liver puts the ketone bodies in your blood stream and fuels your body. Your brain can also use ketones as an alternative fuel source when blood levels are high enough to cross the blood-brain barrier, making ketones a brain superfood!”
"The keto diet isn't about starving your body of food - it's about allowing your body to be in a better metabolic state.
Think of ketosis as converting your metabolism from a gasoline-burning to a hybrid engine, using fuel more efficiently."
Above quote from the book: Keto-tarian, by Dr. Will Cole. p.22-23. (2)
When the blood sugar and insulin levels are healthy, meaning low, this alternative fuel – ketones – will supply the energy required by your brain and the rest of your body to function. And, as a result, when you are in the state of “ketosis” these ketones become your body’s primary source of fuel. To stay in ketosis you must maintain your dietary fat intake while consuming moderate protein, and only a very limited amount of carbohydrates.
“For most of our evolutionary existence, we didn’t eat carbs, especially not in the quantity or frequency we do today. Among other problems, eating copious quantities of flour, sugar and processed foods (staples of the Standard American Diet) creates inflammation, the root cause of nearly every disease, including obesity.”
Above quote from an article: “Keto Alkaline Diet: The Missing Link of the Ketogenic Diet”, by Dr. Anna Cabeca. (3)
Ketogenic diets are taking the Nutrition world by storm!
In December of 2017, Sophie Muir wrote a forward-thinking article about the increasing popularity of Keto diets titled, “Experts are calling it: this will be the Number One Diet in 2018”. in this article, Muir quotes Dr. Josh Axe who predicts “The keto diet will be the fastest growing diet of 2018 … and possibly the next 10 years” From MyDomain.com (4)
The book: Keto-tarian, by Dr. Will Cole.
To conclude, a comparison of these completely opposite food plans.
The summary below is based on information from Dr. Will Cole’s book, Keto-tarian, published by Penguin Random House, 2018. (2)
The benefits of Ketosis include:
“Weight loss, Increased energy, Mental clarity, Better blood pressure, Improved acne and skin problems, Lowered inflammation throughout the body, Curbed food cravings, Reduced (if not eliminated) seizures in most people with epilepsy, Lowered risk of some cancers, Reversed or improved symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, Improved (if not reversed) type 2 diabetes.” Dr. Will Cole, Keto-tarian. p. 22-23. (2)
A decrease in Inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is the root factor to almost every chronic health problem and disease we face today.
“A storm is brewing in our society; the storm of inflammation. At least fifty million Americans have an autoimmune condition, millions more are somewhere on the autoimmune spectrum, someone has a heart attack every thirty-four seconds, and a shocking one in two men and one in three woman will get cancer. Sadly, these numbers are increasing… All of these conditions have one thing in common: inflammation.”
Above quote from Keto-tarian. p. 13. (2)
The problems of a ketogenic diet:
- Just because a food is technically keto, doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice.
- In most keto diets, dairy is a big component. However, for most people dairy is a very inflammatory food and food allergen, along with the fact that millions of people are affected by a condition of inflammation, and are considered “Lactose intolerant”.
- Many animal protein sources are derived from non-organic, grain fed, and large operation-based feedlots. The meats from these sources, particularly when eaten in large quantities, day after day, can contribute to many health issues and diseases.
- And for many keto followers, the focus on avoiding any forms of carbs then equates to avoiding vegetables altogether. Thus creating a situation where it’s easy to eat too much meat and cheese and not enough vegetables.
The benefits of Plant-based eating:
- REMOVE TOXINS. Plants are a great source of antioxidant phytonutrients which help to remove toxins and chelate (meaning bind and remove) heavy metals that are now found in so many of our foods, and in the air and water in our environment.
- REDUCE INFLAMMATION. Plants and many herbs contain ingredients that also help to calm inflammation which helps with a myriad of inflammatory diseases.
- LESSEN ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS. Eating plant-based is also good for our environment, by eating these foods we can help to reduce emissions and lessen the pressures causing deforestation worldwide.
- ADD GOOD FIBER. And in addition, vegetables supply the body with healthy fiber. This supports good digestion and also provides nourishment for our gut microbiome (feeding the healthy bacteria in our gut).
The problems with Vegetarian diets:
Dr. Cole, titles this section in his book, “Where plant-based diets go wrong”.
His argument is that Vegetarian and Vegan diets often lack important nutrients because the foods most often eaten in this diet fuel inflammation.
Dr. Cole uses the terms “Carbatarians” and “Inflammatarians”:
“We live in a Grain-centric society.
Grains are the foundation of what people buy in grocery stores and of what people have on their plates: cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a grain as a side (at least) for dinner. They’re the backbone of industrial farming, which is a multibillion-dollar jaugernaut in politics and policy. Grains are even the foundation of the infamous food pyramid (or a huge slice of the USDA MyPlate) which educates the general public on what we should be eating.
It’s no surprise, then, that even the idea of elimination grains sounds radical to many. People get defensive and protective about their grains. The addiction runs deep!”
Above quote from Keto-tarian. p.52. (2)
The Blending of these two opposites creates a perfect solution.
In reading Dr. Cole’s book and doing research to find other authors who also promote a combination of Keto with either Vegetarian or Vegan programs, I am convinced of the validity and benefits of this idea! Taking the best of these two very opposite worlds and combining them into one food plan creates a program that can really support healing and promote a healthy lifestyle.
In my earlier writings for this website about the True Gut Health 30-day reboot!, I reference Dr. Mark Hyman’s blend of Paleo and Vegan diets into a term and a concept he calls “Pegan”.
Read my articles:
I think “Ketotarian” is a very similar concept to “Pegan”. However, it offers a program that may be more restrictive than the “Pegan” food plan; and therefore, could be more challenging for the beginner.
In my opinion, both Ketotarian and Pegan programs can create truly great health benefits for the person who is looking to improve their Gut health as well as their overall health!
The Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan vs. True Gut Health.
The idea of following a Keto Vegetarian diet plan is something that many Functional Medicine Practitioners are recommending. This is a great way to have a healthy eating plan and a way to support not only, optimal health, but also optimal gut health.
Even if you’re not ready to adopt this idea today – there are many ideas that you can glean from this information and put into practice when you are ready.
The Ketotarian guidelines are parallel to the guidelines suggested in the True Gut Health program
A helpful and simple summary from the book, Keto-tarian. p. 85. (2):
Eat real food.
Keep your carbs low.
Keep your healthy fats high.
If you eat a nonstarchy vegetable, then add some healthy fats.
If you eat healthy fat, then add some nonstarchy vegetables.
Eat when you are hungry.
Eat until you are satisfied.
** As always, if you are facing a serious health challenge you should check with a medical professional (preferably a Functional Medicine Practitioner) first before starting any new food regime or dieting plan.
A Keto Vegetarian Diet Plan includes recommendations that are similar to those found in the True Gut Health 30-day reboot!
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