Why A Plant-Based Keto Diet May Be The Key To Better Health

How To Eat a Plant-Based Keto Diet, a review of "Ketotarian" by Dr. Will Cole. Includes info on recipes.

The ketogenic, or “keto,” diet is all the rage right now. And a quick Pinterest search for keto recipes will show you exactly why: you can breakfast on sausage, egg, and cheese cups, enjoy a breadless BLT for lunch, and gorge on more meat and cheese for dinner. For me — as for many people – that kind of diet is a digestive disaster. But according to Dr. Will Cole’s new book, Ketotarian, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr. Cole has written a great primer for keto-curious peeps who want to keep it plant-based. He outlines how to achieve ketogenesis using plant fats and wild caught fish as opposed to meat and dairy. And really, shouldn’t we be eating more plants and sustainable fishes anyway? This common-sense approach piqued my interest and is influencing how I feed our family.

The Mind-Gut Connection

Cole devotes the first 61 pages to a succinct, science-based explanation for his keto diet recommendations. As a migraine sufferer, I was particularly interested in his explanation of the mind-gut connection. It goes like this: a quarter of the body’s cholesterol is found in the brain, which also happens to be 60% fat. Not only that, but the brain and the gut develop from the same fetal tissue, and most of our serotonin (the happy chemical) is produced in the gut. So when we run our bodies on healthy, anti-inflammatory fats instead of sugars, both systems run better.

I’m already supplementing with magnesium and riboflavin to help combat my migraines. (Doctor’s orders!) But I wonder if an anti-inflammatory diet rich in minerals and healthy fats could be beneficial. It’s definitely food for thought.

Keto diet for beginners - fat balls from Dr. Will Cole's Ketotarian book.

Ketotarian vs. Classic Keto Diet

As I suspected, the problem with the way most of people do the keto diet is that they eat too much dairy and processed meats and too few veggies. The result: an angry gut, systemic inflammation, and deficiencies in fiber, electrolytes, and key nutrients like magnesium.

Instead, Dr. Cole advocates for an essentially pescatarian diet rich in plants like avocado, leafy green veggies, and  lower fructose fruits along with plenty of nuts, pastured eggs, and wild-caught fish. The book includes an in-depth breakdown of what to eat and why, and guides for achieving and maintaining ketogenisis.

Why I’m Really Into this Book

Even with all this info, I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll try to jump on the keto diet bandwagon. I don’t doubt the science; I just don’t know if limiting my starches would be as healthy for my mind as it would be for my body. Instead, I’ve been incorporating the book’s philosophy into my healthy lifestyle using the recipes it contains.

On the whole, they’re easy, delicious, and contain pantry staples or easy-to-source ingredients. I mostly turn to keto diet recipes for quick breakfasts and snacks like the Spirulina Super Smoothie, a lemony,  avocado-fueled, low-sugar smoothie. I like to add three scoops of grass-fed collagen  to his recipe for a protein-rich breakfast.

I’ve also dogeared a few quick and easy dinners for nights when I’ve got a fully-stocked fridge but am short on both time and inspiration. The Cauliflower Fried Rice Bowl, which is topped with a pastured egg, is one recipe I’m keeping in my back pocket.

In short: the info and recipes inside this book are accessible and applicable even for someone who isn’t exactly keto. If you see it, pick it up. It’s definitely worth a read!

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