I Don’t Eat Meat, so I Can’t Do Keto. Truth or Fiction?

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My Personal Keto Experience (from my book, ReSet Your Ideal Weight)

I’ve heard about the Keto Diet for decades. Unfortunately, the first experience I had was a negative one. An obese, diabetic patient told me that when she did the Keto Diet, she ended up in hospital with ketoacidosis and worsening of her psychiatric symptoms. Based on that one case, I avoided the Keto Diet for many years. I read about its success in cases of epilepsy where nothing else was helping. Then I gradually unplugged my ears enough to hear about its success in weight loss. Finally, customers started asking me about the diet and I knew I could no longer hide my head in the sand – or in my case, in a basket of fruit!

But, once I did more research, found the work of Dr. Jason Fung, and tried intermittent fasting with modified keto, I’ve been doing the Keto Diet for over a year now and I’m still on it! I thought it was going to be a short-term diet for weight loss. Or as one of my customer service people says, “To clean the yeast and clear the fat!”

Why Keto Works for Me

The diet is very close to my Yeast ReSet Diet and the O Blood Type Diet (includes animal-based proteins) so it’s easy to maintain and I eat much less because the extra fat keeps me from feeling hungry. At this point I’m happy to be 3-5 pounds over my ideal weight because those few pounds of fat help make hormones.

I calculate ideal weight this way: for a five-foot woman, the ideal weight is 100 pounds. For every inch add 5 pounds. I am 5’1 ¼ inches, so my ideal weight is 107 pounds. After my initial fast of 5 days, each week I fast 1 or 2 days and lose 1 more pound. I’ll use the Keto Diet and keep in the fat burning zone to maintain my weight. When I travel, I do gain weight because I’m eating out all the time but then I can drop the carbs back to 20 grams a day and easily drop the few extra pounds. So far it seems to be a very workable system and it’s great to finally be in control of my weight.

I said last year that perhaps I’d continue the Keto Diet 80% of the time, as a way of maintaining my weight, protecting my pancreas, keeping insulin from surging, and preventing diabetes and that’s what I seem to be doing. Of course, the Completement Formulas provide their own layer of protection against nutrient deficiencies and help the body stay as healthy as possible.

Why Keto Can Be a Good Diet

Everyone tries every diet under the sun to lose weight. They count calories. Then, they stop counting calories and count carbs. Then, they stop that and count fats. Then, they go back to counting carbs. But what people are looking for is an eating plan where they get quick and lasting results, aren’t hungry on the meal plan, and feel better, all with a minimum of fuss and a high degree of sustainability (especially not gaining the weight back). That’s why Keto works for many people.

Typically, the Keto Diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. Macronutrients (macros) generally are organized in this way:

60-75% (or more) of calories from fat
15-30% of calories from protein
5-10% of calories from carbs (with a range of 20-50g of carbs per day)

and most proponents of Keto Dieting use animal-based proteins and fats as a part of their eating plan.

But, for purposes of discussion, let’s use this definition of a Ketogenic Diet:

In a nutshell, a ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein way of eating that shifts your body from burning glucose (sugar) for energy to a state of ketosis, in which your body preferentially uses ketone bodies and fat as a fuel source. Your liver creates ketone bodies from fat when your body needs to make energy, but no glucose is present. This process most commonly occurs during periods of carbohydrate restriction, very limited food intake, and intense exercise.

(Quote from Vegan Keto by Liz MacDowell)

But I’ve Read Keto Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Yes, that is correct. The first instance where I found that the Keto Diet plan that works for me doesn’t work for everyone came to my attention after I presented my ReSet Your Ideal Weight webinar.  At that time, I had several customers/readers ask me whether someone who had had their gallbladder removed can do a Keto Diet. 

So, I had a member of my staff investigate this. We found many articles that stated that people without gallbladders could modify the Keto Eating Plan by finding out how little fat they could eat and remain in ketosis. We also found that fat-specific digestive enzymes and bile salts also helped support folks without gallbladders on the Keto Diet. See, for example. Does Keto Work without a Gallbladder?

Myth: I Don’t Eat Meat. Surely, I Can’t Do Keto!

We’ve had many customers and readers who don’t eat meat ask about the Keto Diet. For our beginning readers’ education, I would like to identify three different groups.

  • Blood Type A’s
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
Who is a “Blood Type A?”

In his book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo explores eating and living with the genetic signals of your blood type. In his book, Dr. D’Adamo describes Blood Type A’s:

The gene for Blood Type A emerged at a point in history when humans were evolving from hunter-gatherers and settling into more permanent agrarian communities. The Type A gene enabled your ancestors to survive and thrive on a vegetarian-based diet. Amazingly, in the twenty-first century, your immune and digestive systems still maintain a predisposition for foods that your Type A Ancestors ate.

I’ve worked with the Blood Type Diet in the past (You can hear what I said in my Review of Today’s Most Popular Diets webinar.). I certainly found that Blood Type A patients and customers feel better, lose weight, and gain more health when they eat a predominately vegetarian diet, with little or no meat, and some fish.

What Does Being a Vegetarian Mean?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons. So, some vegetarians only eat plant-based food (no meat or fish). Others will add eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt, kefir, and so on to their food plan.

What Does Being Vegan Mean?

Here is a good working definition of what it means to be a vegan. It comes from http://vegan.com:

The word vegan was initially defined as a diet free of animal-based foods (such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and honey.) Nowadays, the word’s meaning is commonly extended to refer to non-food products—such as clothing, cosmetics, and medicine—that are made without animal-derived substances. Vegans also typically object to exploitative uses of animals, from animal testing to rodeos to zoos and dolphin shows.

Vegetable Dominant Diets

There are as many types of vegetable dominant diets as there are people who predominately eat vegetables. Above, you can see a range from vegetable and fish-eating Type A’s, to egg/dairy product eating vegetarians (lacto-ovo), to vegans who only eat vegetables. Many people thrive on these diets. However, I still get contacts from those who are vegetable-dominant that they would like the ease, quick success, and sustainability of the Keto Diet built into what they are doing. That’s why I sent my staff out to research, and we have good news!

The Keto Myth

Let me explain this to you. It’s a myth that there is one single “right way” to go into and maintain ketosis. There certainly are enough Keto Diet gurus doing webinars, YouTubes, blogs, and books that tell you their way is the only way. You can’t blame these folks. They have found an eating plan that works for them, and they want to share their excitement and knowledge.

But, what’s true about the Keto Diet is that if you restrict carbohydrates and there is:

too little circulating glucose in your bloodstream, the release of another hormone called, “glucagon,” is triggered. Glucagon tells your liver to convert stored glycogen back into glucose for use as fuel. Glucagon also tells your body to break down stored fat into free fatty acids for use as fuel. Burning free fatty acids produces ketone bodies, which your brain and body can then use for energy. This is the beginning of nutritional ketosis. If you continue to restrict carbohydrates, your body will continue burning fat as its main fuel source.

(Quote from Vegan Keto by Liz MacDowell)

It’s not about whether you eat animal-based or plant-based proteins and fats at all. It’s about switching your body from burning carbohydrates to burning free fatty acids.

The Good News – Plant-Based Keto Works!

My staff found several longstanding Keto Vegan websites and books. As you can already see from the quotes I’ve used above, one of their favorite writers is Liz MacDowell, whose blog, Meat Free Keto, shares her recipes, tips, and tricks after eating a Vegan Keto Diet for over 6 years. Although Ms. MacDowell limits her carbohydrate intake to the lower end of the 20-50g suggestion, she focuses more on eating balanced, nutrient-dense food.

Usually, the two areas of concern for vegetarians and vegans who contemplate Keto are protein and fat. So, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of suggestions in these areas. While these are not definitive lists, they will give you some idea of the variety of foods available for both plant-based Keto Diets.

Comparison of Proteins
Comparison of Fats

One of the things my staff liked about Liz’s approach is that she eats approximately 80% whole foods and only 20% vegan keto protein powders and bars, etc. This 80/20 ratio seems consistent with what works for my customers, readers, and me. 

Liz’s Suggested Day One Meal Plan
(Taken from Vegan Keto)

This is your entry day into Vegan Keto eating, and the meal plan is designed for 20 grams of net carbs per day. The goal is to become fully fat-adapted as you eat only 20g of carbs per day. This is the plan, and recipes can be found in her book (link above):

Meal One: Almond Butter and Raspberry Chia Pudding (almond milk, almond butter, raspberries, chia seeds, stevia)

Meal Two: Tahini Bagels with Keto Buttery Spread (or vegan butter substitute) and Mixed Greens (flax seeds, psyllium husks, tahini, sesame seeds, mixed leafy greens)

Meal Three: Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Cooked Spinach, Pepitas & Nooch (Olive oil, cauliflower, vegetable broth, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, chives, scallions)

What about Micronutrients?

What I found with the Keto Diet is that by using ReMagReMyte, and ReCalcia, my electrolytes stayed in balance, and I did not experience “Keto Flu” (detoxification/ mineral deficiency symptoms). I’ve added the links for these products to introduce vegetarians and vegans to the wonders of highly absorbed minerals. I also highly recommend hydrating by drinking half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water with 1/4 teaspoon of unprocessed sea or Himalayan salt in every 32 ounces of water your drink (including your ReMag/ReMyte/ReCalcia water).

In order to feed your body with a compliment of B Vitamins (methylated and naturally-sourced) and L-methionine and L-taurine, I highly suggest using ReAline capsules as one of your supplements. ReAline can support expanding liver function as you move into being fat adaptive.

Finally, if you are a Blood Type A or ovo-lacto Vegetarian, you may consider ReStructure as part of your daily food intake. ReStructure contains plant-based L-lysine which helps support your body’s normal growth and muscle turnover.

Do What Makes You Feel Good

Ultimately, there are a dozen of different ways to feed your body and expand your wellness. Most of the choices that include a selection of vegetables, not more than two fruits a day, the highest quality proteins available, and complex carbohydrates in small amounts are usually the most successful. But the best thing you can do for you is what makes you feel good. If you feel good and you are getting the results you want, then continue the diet you currently are eating. If you don’t feel good or are not getting results, I do urge you to investigate the Keto and Vegan Keto diets because they do have the benefit of improving digestion, quick results, no hassle, and sustainability.

Aloha,

Dr. Carolyn Dean

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