by Aly Findlay
Keto is now a world renowned low-carbohydrate diet but if you love carbs as much as we do, you might be wondering why you’d try this...Here’s our overview of the ketogenic food plan.
A keto food plan focuses on a high fat, high protein diet, whilst significantly limiting your carbohydrate intake. This macronutrient ratio forces your body into ketosis - a process by which your body burns fat, making things called ketones, which it uses for energy (as opposed to using glycogen from carbohydrate as its immediate energy source).
We run on two different types of fuel: glucose (from the carbohydrates in our food) and fat. Carbohydrates are readily broken down into glucose, and are the body's first source of fuel for the body. However, the reduction in carbs that the Keto diet entails eventually puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens our bodies switch to using fats as the principle source of energy, instead of carbohydrates. With less sugar available, our bodies start to convert fat in the liver into energy molecules called ketones that fuel the brain.
HEADS UP: it takes time for your body to adapt to the reduced reliance on sugars and won’t happen overnight —sometimes people experience reduced energy levels (known as keto flu) initially. But, once your blood sugar levels stabilise as a result of following the food plan, and your body adapts, this won’t be the case. Skip to section four for more tips around the practical realities of the diet.
A keto food plan has also been connected to reduced incidences of heartburn, the control of type II diabetes, fewer migraines and enhanced mental focus.
Both of these diets aim to boost health, reduce intake of processed foods and aid weight loss but there are differences between the two:
Just in case you were thinking that lowering carbohydrates and avoiding animal products was a little restrictive, we’ve provided the following list – which is just a sample – to show that those who follow a plant-based lifestyle still have plenty of choice when it comes to a vegan keto diet.
With a little planning, vegans can absolutely reap the benefits of a ketogenic diet. And combined, the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet and those connected with Keto, provide plenty of reasons to give it a try!
Protein + Fat Sources
Low carb veg
Low carb fruits
Sauces + condiments
Other low carb staple ingredients
If you’re wondering how to follow a vegan version of Keto and you’d like to give it a go, here’s a two day meal plan to get you started:
One of the main cons is that you do need to reduce carbs to a significant amount to actually enter ketosis, so you've got to a) be prepared b) understand how to enter ketosis and c) be healthy enough to do. It’s not a sustainable diet for everyone but if it is suitable for your lifestyle and you stick with it, you begin to feel more energised than before. The main challenge is maintaining the low carbohydrate intake. For a start, carbs taste great (right?) which makes avoiding them extra challenging. But the other challenge is getting past the initial energy slump.
As with enjoying a plant-based diet, there’s no risk of nutritional deficiencies if you’re aware of what you’re eating and follow a balanced diet. The good news for us is that whereas following a ‘normal’ ketogenic diet can lead to insufficient levels of fibre, because the plant-based options are higher in fibre, this isn’t a concern for vegan keto-ers.
The Keto diet isn’t recommended for some groups of people, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have:
Aly is our go-to nutrition hero as she studied Human Nutrition at uni (makes sense, right?). She’s also always on hand to help our customers, and provide our team with coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.