By: Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, D.C.
Like many people, my diet has evolved over the years. As a functional medicine practitioner, I have spent time studying the human body and how to use food as medicine for optimal health. With my growing knowledge base, I have adapted my diet to follow suit. When I first started eating healthier, I followed a strict conventional vegan diet, but I realized over time that my high-carb diet of whole grains and legumes, irritated my gut and left me feeling less than healthy.
I saw that my conventional vegan diet lacked essential nutrients that my body specifically needed and instead, was made up of foods that were contributing to my struggle with adrenal fatigue and skin problems. What I have found through my own journey, and years of clinical experience, is that there are three principles that are generally true for everyone:
- Eat plants – Plants are powerful disease fighters and detoxifiers.
- Go easy on carbs – Carbs can fuel inflammation.
- Eat more healthy fats – These are essential for metabolic and brain health
Following these basic principles, I developed Ketotarian – a plant-centric ketogenic diet. The Ketotarian diet marries the benefits of a traditional ketogenic diet but gives it a plant-based twist by removing all of the inflammatory foods from a traditional keto diet such as dairy and processed and conventional meats. Additionally, Ketotarian also removed inflammatory foods from traditional plant-based diets like grains and legumes. In my book I dive deeper into the benefits and science behind Ketotarian, along with practical tips, and delicious recipes.
Here’s a glimpse into a typical day on a Ketotarian diet along with a few of my favorite tips to make Ketotarian work for your everyday life.
Breakfast – Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl
This breakfast bowl is easy to prep the night before with a combination of full-fat coconut milk, chia seeds, hemp protein powder, and a few low-fructose blueberries. Mix together, let sit in the refrigerator overnight, and grab and go in the morning.
Lunch – Frittata
I have found that while eggs don’t work for everyone, I do better adding cage-free eggs into my diet occasionally. Since they are high in choline, calcium, iron, and vitamins D, E, A, and B, they are a great option to help support my methylation pathways since I have the MTHFR gene mutation which can interfere with proper methylation. In fact, close to 40 percent of the population also has this gene mutation.
A frittata is not only easy to make, but you can change up the ingredients to whatever you are feeling at the time. I like to add olives and some vegan cheese to mine for flavor and to up the fat content. I’ll also toss in whatever dark leafy greens I have on hand. You can keep this in the fridge and enjoy a slice or two for a couple meals if you aren’t sharing.
Since healthy fats keep you feeling fuller for longer, you may find that you are satisfied enough between meals to not need to snack.
Dinner – Spring Veggie Lettuce Wraps
After a long day at work it’s nice to come home to a dinner that is quick to put together. These lettuce wraps are great since all I need to do is roast up some veggies, fill up the lettuce, and top with some healthy fat loaded guac!
It’s also easy to follow ketotarian wherever you are. Some of my favorite ketotarian on-the-go choices include:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Seaweed snacks
- Shredded unsweetened coconut with your favorite nuts
- Homemade fat bombs
- Canned wild-caught seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Single-serve packets of almond butter
As you can see, Ketotarian is an easy and delicious way to go keto. Plant-based diets don’t have to be restrictive. Instead, meals should be viewed as a time to enjoy fueling our bodies. Whether you decide to be 100 percent vegan, add in eggs, or wild-caught fish – fueling your diet with healthy fat-rich plant foods can be extremely beneficial for your health.