Diets, Plant Based, Uncategorized, Vegan Ketogenic

Vegan Low Carb Detox

I am planning a super exciting project for the end of January: a 21 Day Vegan Low Carb Detox. Detoxying helps support your body’s healing abilities. Environmental toxins, poor diet and lifestyle put incredible demands on our bodies and this is why we need to make sure we do a detox at least twice a year.

Why a Vegan Low Carb Detox?

A detox is like pushing the reset button. Avoiding certain foods during a detox doesn’t mean that these foods are harmful, but they might require your body to expend more energy using the nutrients they provide. Furthermore, eating the same foods over and over, no matter how healthy they are, can cause you to become sensitive to them. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is a common problem today. It increases the likelihood that you will react to what you eat because it allows undigested food particles to cross into your bloodstream. Your body will fight off these invaders and cause unpleasant symptoms.

This Detox will be vegan because most of us eat too much animal protein, which is harder to digest. Some argue that plants are hard to digest because of their cellulose content, but I think it is faulty reasoning. The cellulose is simply fiber, it helps clean out your digestive tracts and reduces your risks of cancer. Considering all the healing and detoxing protocols revolving around meat (GAPS,WHALS protocol, Whole 30, AIP, SCD), I have struggled for a while with the place of meat in a health promoting diet. I have come to the conclusion that eating meat is fine, but in moderation. Also, it is best to consume organic meat.

However, in the context of a detox, the goal is to consume nutrients dense foods while facilating the digestive process. It is well know that animal protein sources are highly thermogenic. For this reason, many weight loss programs require a clean source of animal protein with every meal. Since detoxing is the goal rather than weight loss, let’s make our meals as easily digestible as possible. When your body is not busy digesting, it is regenerating. Even so, you may find that you lose weight simply by avoiding sugar and inflammatory foods.

Now you know why I chose vegan. Why did I chose low carb? Because after years of overindulgence, most of us struggle with uneven blood sugars and some level of insulin resistance. And, yes, carbs increase insulin levels. By keeping your daily carb consumption to between 30 and 150 grams, you might see the following benefits:

  • fast weight loss;
  • reduced hunger;
  • better control over insulin and blood sugar;
  • enhanced cognitive performance;
  • lower risk for heart disease factors.

However, as for meat, I want to make it clear that is is a temporary detox measure, not a long term plan. For most of us, carbs are an important part of a healthy diet. Each of us is different and need to figure out what works for our body.

If you would like to join our January Detox group, comment below or email me. You can also join later in the year if you miss the January one. Here is what you will get: access to our Facebook community and our weekly live videos, a booklet explaining the plan and how it works, a meal plan, grocery shopping lists, recipes that will include all your nutritional information as well as advice on supplements and essential oils to support your detox. All this for free (all you need to purchase is your supplements if you decide you want them). I hope to see you there!

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Diets, Plant Based, Vegan Ketogenic

Plant-Based Ketosis

I recently was listening to an interview with Dr. Toni Bark, from the Center of Disease Prevention, talking about the ketogenic diet. I had already briefly considered this diet as an option to pursue optimal health, but I had put the idea aside because it doesn’t seem sustainable long term, some claim that it’s dangerous (the Paleo Mom does a great job at providing a balanced view of the risks vs benefits of the ketogenic diet here) and I have come to believe that limiting animal products is also important for maintaining optimal health. But in the interview, Dr. Bark mentioned a few things that made me reconsider :

1- The brain functions better on ketones, which explains why this diet has been used to treat brain disorders (like autism and epilepsy). It is interesting to note that the ketogenic diet is meant to emulate a state of starvation. It originated from the discovery that fasting, which changes the body’s metabolic state, reduces and even cures epileptic seizures. This state can be replicated with a very low carbohydrate intake.

2- Inflammatory markers dissipate when a person is in ketosis (Dr. Bark personally measured it on her patients).

3- Most interesting of all, she puts her cancer patients on a plant-based ketogenic diet. I had never heard of anyone doing this before and I wanted to learn more about it. Here are the fats she promotes: coconut oil, MCT oil, hemp oil, fish oil, oil ice oil, flax oil, krill oil, hemp hearts and chia seeds. She encourages the consumption of avocados, seeds and nuts to maintain ketosis.

Now, I would like to dwell longer on the plant-based ketogenic diet. As a reminder, the ketogenic diet is high fat (70% of your daily calorie intake), moderate protein (25%) and low carb (5%). After 2 or 3 days of eating less than 20g of carbs, most people enter ketosis.

I already mentioned the fats that can be used in a ketogenic plant based diet, but what about proteins? Think nuts and seeds! You might want to activate your nuts and seeds by soaking them for a few hours before consuming them, please read this on the topic. Also, people underestimate the amount of proteins found in vegetables. Still, it would be very difficult to get enough fat and proteins without increasing slightly the amount of carbs and, although it might slow down weight loss and take longer to enter ketosis, it is advisable to increase your net carb intake to 30-40g. Clean vegan protein powders (like SunWarrior and Garden of Life RAW) will provide more proteins and green powders will be helpful to ensure enough greens in your diet (since greens will have to be temporarily reduced to attain ketosis).

I think I might give it a try, and use this page for inspiration on meal ideas. I also found a great little ebook here, but although it is a great starting point for my meal plan, it doesn’t include the macronutrients ratio for each recipe. It claims to offer a vegan keto meal plan, but the daily carb amount provided doesn’t seem reliable. For example, on day 1, the plan says 34g of carbs for the day, but my calculations dictate otherwise. Breakfast has 20g of carbs, 37g of fat and 32g of proteins. Lunch has 14g of carbs, 13g of proteins and 22g of fat. Dinner has 12g of carbs, 5g of proteins and 4g of fat. Great low carb meal plan, but not quite keto! Still a helpful starting point!