Vegan Keto FAQ

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So if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know what veganism is (no animal products at all) but might not know what keto is. Or maybe you have an idea of what it is.

When I first heard of keto, I immediately thought of Atkins (bacon, eggs, and the founder died of a heart attack, no thanks). I was also seeing a bunch of people pushing a ketone beverage which was crazy expensive and just looked super artificial. It reminded me of those detox teas. 

As I got more and more into ultra running I started to research different ways of fueling and how important nutrition is. I kept hearing how more and more runners were becoming fat adapted. Basically, they could run on their own fat supplies which meant they didn't have to stop and fuel as much. They also didn't "bonk" during a race. Everything about it sounded awesome. The idea of doing a keto but as a vegan started to slowly form in my head but I wasn’t fully convinced.

This past year wasn’t the best for me running or weight wise. My usual diet was making me feel tired, and even though I was running consistently I was gaining weight. I started to crave sugar more and more. At the end of November I took an honest look at what I was eating and how it was making me feel. What I have been doing for a while just wasn’t working for me anymore. I was eating a super carb heavy diet, which in the past I thrived on but was now making me feel shitty. Your bodies can change and what use to work for you a year ago may not work for your now. So I decided that at the start of 2018 I would go completely vegan keto. I wanted to give myself a month to start cutting back on carbs and find some staple recipes.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a low carb diet (under 35 grams a day). You should get 70% of your calories from plant-based fats and  25% of your calories from plant based proteins.

How does it work?

When you stop eating a high carb diet your glucose levels drop the body starts to burn fat instead of glucose and produces ketones that can actually be measured in the blood.

Our bodies don’t produce glucose on their own, so when we stop eating carbs we have 24 hours of glucose stored in our bodies. Once that is gone we start burning fat stored in our bodies or fat from our diets.

 Simply put, the ketogenic diet makes your body burn fat instead of glucose for energy.

How is this different then Atkins?

The Ketogenic Diet is similar to Atkins is as they are both low carb diets. Keto focuses more on good fats while Atkins focused more on (acidic) protein.

So what can I eat?

Protein - hemp, tempeh, tofu, nuts, flaxseed, chia, some meat alternatives like beyond beef burgers

Fats - coconut oil, MCT oil, avocados, olives

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Dairy Replacements - nut milks, nut cheeses (I love Kite Hill), coconut milk, unsweetened coconut yogurts

Veggies - basically all of them, plus fermented veggies

Berries - raspberries, strawberries

Sweeteners - any low carb sweeteners.

What can't I eat? 

I hate to say can't eat, so I'll just say to eat these very sparingly. I'm going to omit all grains, but will put a piece of fruit in my smoothie here and there.

Grains - wheat, corn, rice

Sugar-  including maple syrup and honey

Fruit- bananas, apples, orange

Tubers- sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, yams

How do you keep track of what you eat?

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I've been using the Cronometer App after I read about it in Fat For Fuel. It's pretty easy to use and I like the graph breaking down the macros of what I ate.

Some people use a Ketone Meter which is a device where you prick your finger and the machine tells you if you are in ketosis by the level of ketones in your blood. Ketones are the by product of body burning fat for fuel. I'm going to be playing around with this in the next week or so. 

So over the next few months I'll be sharing more and more about my vegan keto experiment. My first race with my new diet will be the Donna Marathon in February and my first ultra (where I'll really be able to try it out) will be in April at the Leona Divide 50 miler in LA.

Any questions you guys have let me know. Or let me know if you've tried it out.

Here's to a (fat adapted) 2018!

xo