My Vegan Keto Experience
So for 21 days I limited my carb intake to under 50 grams following the guidelines in Primal Endurance. My goal was to switch my body from burning on glucose to burning fat for fuel. I also hadn't been feeling the best and felt like I was getting super addicted to sugar. As in, I may or may not have bought king size packages of Twizzlers and ate them in secret in my car.
Before I actually took the plunge, I started introducing more low carb foods into my diet to kind of start to wean myself off of my high carb diet. I think this really helped me with the "keto flu", although I did get a little cloudy and spacey the first few days. I think it's always easier to take a week or two to start to ease into something then just go cold turkey.
The first few days I did feel a little mental cloudiness and was tired. I still had energy to run and go about my day to day routine but was going to be super early. After about 5 days I felt back to normal energy wise. I also got into a good rhythm of what to cook and eat. I basically ate all of my meals at home unless I could look up the restaurant's nutritional info. Dig Inn was perfect for this. For my meals I made a ton of low fruit or fruit free smoothies, tofu scrambles, roasted veggies and Beyond Meat Burgers.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all easy. I definitely had a few WTF am I going to eat moments when I didn't bring my own snacks with me. I also would get frustrated going into places where I thought I could grab something and realized I couldn't eat anything. I also had to get creative with my ordering. People gave me some weird looks when I omitted all of the fruit or added sweetner from my smoothie. I just started carrying my own when I knew I'd be out for a while.
So here's some of the positive things:
- My skin got better. All winter I've been dealing with patches of red scaly skin on my face and it started clearing up. I think cutting out gluten/grains and eating a ton of avocado helped.
- I felt slimmer. I don't own a scale and wasn't doing this to lose a lot of weight. My stomach was a lot flatter. I just felt leaner.
- My PMS and cramping disappeared. Before I get my period I usually have one day where I'm just miserable with cramps. Like, all I want to do is lay in bed and sleep in a fetal position. This was the first time since I've gone off of birth control that I've had a pain free period.
- I wasn't starving as soon as I woke up. After about a week the insane hunger I experienced as soon as I woke up started to dissapear. I was able to do all of my week day runs in a fasted state.
- My sugar cravings have definitely been subdued. I used to crave Twizzlers and Swedish Fish everyday, especially if I was stressed out. For the most part sugary treats don't interest me.
- My runs have felt better. I def feel more energetic and more fluid while running.
- I become open to cooking more vegetables and eating a lot more greens. I felt like I was eating more whole foods and less processed shit.....because I was.
- I started experimenting with new recipes.
Here's some of the negative things:
- I became one of the people who was looking at every. single. label. It was hassle.
- I hated having to count things. I've never been a fan of diets that involved counting macros or that were super restrictive.
- Somethings like putting an extra bell pepper in my scramble would put me over my carb limit. It was super frustrating.
- Going out to eat was pretty impossible.
- I missed fruit.
- I had to bring my own food with me a lot of the time.
For me, the positive outweighs the negative, especially the fact that I had no cramps or bloating when I got my period. That was friggen huge.
After the initial 21 days it's recommended that you can increase your carb consumption to 50-100 grams, which means I can have some fruit and sweet potatoes, which I've missed so much. Plus, it coincides with an increase in my training. I'm definitely going to stick with no gluten, I think that's a large part of why I've been feeling so good. Before this I noticed that anytime I ate oats my stomach would hurt so I've had a suspicion that grains didn't do me any favors. (BTW I recently picked up the book Grain Brain so I'm going to be doing more research on this)
Now that I've gotten the hang of it, I'm going to keep doing it. Don't get me wrong, after a race I'm still going to have my pizza, but I think the biggest thing I took away from this experiment is that I was eating a lot of shit that wasn't working for me. A lot of processed grains, processed food in general. I can't tell you how much better I feel.