Diet Lab: New Diet, New You

Having spent my whole life overweight, I’m no stranger when it comes to dieting and, for better or for worse, if I’m not “on a diet,” I get stressed out. Lately, I’ve really been searching for some way to eat that isn’t obsessive about “tracking” but gives me some structure. Sadly, left to my own devices, I can become a real junk food junkie.

For the past year, I’ve been “tryng out” different eating styles to assess which ones really take me in the direction of my goals: weight loss, improved mobility, more energy. I’ve come to an interesting realization.

Woe is Keto

You guys, I love the keto diet but it doesn’t love me and I’ve been trying to work my way through that rejection. Here’s the problem: I can be in ketosis for a long time with no fat loss, no weight loss, digestion issues, and not great skin. Despite those issues I feel great and joints feel so much better. But, I mean, can we read that sentence again…those are a lot of issues to de-spite. I can’t live like that.

To assuage my sadness at having to let keto go, apparently, without another viable choice, I started examining what might causing these issues and here’s what some lab testing confirmed: I’m lactose intolerant, I’m potassium deficient, I’m severely Vitamin D deficient, I’m Vitamin B deficient…I’ve got food sensitivities to a whole bunch of stuff including both coconut and a major culprit here: EGGS. Both yolks and whites.

So here’s the thing: even with a clean Keto diet (aka “Not eating bacon at every meal) keto’s not a great choice. All of these vitamin deficiencies say to me: “Katie, run to the vegetables” and the no eggs, no dairy is a real blow to keto success. Here’s another kicker: I’m wary of almond flour. There’s only so many dense, heavy almond flour breads and muffins you can eat before saying to yourself, “I just need a friggin cookie that tastes like a cookie.”

So I learned a couple things here:

  • I’ve got some serious dietary sensitives mucking up the works
  • I need a cookie every now and then
  • I’m riding low on nutrients
  • Food is an emotional things for me and I know it and I like it that way. Over and over, keto tells you to consider food fuel. I get it…but I need the ability to enjoy food and not just tolerate it.

Listening to My Gut and My Gut says “Plant-Based”

I’ve been hesitant to say it because I didn’t want to go there but all of my signs and symptoms lead me to wondering if much more plant-based, recreational veganism isn’t something I should be thinking about.

Here’s what I’ll say about the cult of veganism: I don’t need it. I eat meat without guilt (especially because I buy as small-farmed, organic, ethically treated meats as possible). This is why I call it recreational: because it coincides with a lot of my dietary needs, like no dairy, no eggs, lots of veggies, and alternate sources of protein that won’t wreck me.

Also, a lot of the vegan recipes I’ve looked at are seriously delicious: designed to be high in flavor, squeaky clean, and very, very enjoyable. I made a Thai green curry the other day from Pick Up Limes…good God, it was amazing.

Most importantly, this style of eating is balanced and I love a good balance (I’m a Libra so…you know…it’s in my blood). In all seriousness, it orients me in a way that helps me avoid the stuff that really creates inflammation in my diet, steers me toward nutrient-dense delicious whole foods, AND does not negate a cookie every now and then.

I’ve always resisted plant-based eating because I thought it was restrictive and gross. Turns out, that’s only the cult of veganism. Otherwise, it might be just what I need right now.

File this one under my growing “never say never” pile.

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