Watch this before you attempt the ketogenic diet

Welcome to the Raw Food Health Empowerment Show! I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Liz McDowell of Meat-Free Keto We talked about why she went from vegan to a ketogenic diet, the pitfall she's experienced, the positive benefits of doing keto and some things to look out for if you're interested in doing a ketogenic diet the healthy way She has some valuable tips and valuable resources so take a listen

So it's so nice to officially meet you Thank you for having this interview with me I am so keto curious right now because everyone is talking about it okay yeah and from what I've read you know some people are getting great benefits from it even within the vegan community People who have been vegan for a long time for some reason or another have decided to try keto and that's what I want to ask you is like what even inspired you to get here but just to kind of backtrack a little bit I found you because I joined some vegan keto groups on Facebook and you are one of their go-to resources

Yeah yeah and it's so niche so It really is Yeah so maybe just kind of like talk about yourself, all of what you're doing and how you got started in veganism and blogging Yeah absolutely um so hi I'm Liz from MeatFreeKetocom basically I'm a vegan low-carb er or keto'er I guess we could say too and I've been vegetarian actually since I was 12 years old and then only vegan for like five years now but um yeah you know how it is like you go vegetarian and you're all idealistic and then you realize being vegetarian doesn't really eliminate a lot of the problems that you were hoping to at least with animal cruelty

That's kind of the thing I'm in veganism for so I finally made the leap and educated myself and went vegan and I at the time I was really into high carb veganism which I know works for so many people it's so good for so many people and I wish I were one of those people I love food and I loved eating that way but it really just wasn't working for me so I did some I was in school for nutrition at the time so I kind of did exploring and thought well there's a whole bunch of people doing this whole low-carb keto thing

I wonder if I could apply that to a vegan diet so I started experimenting and then I started blogging to kind of just keep track of it really because there wasn't anything out there that I found and I wanted to remember what I was doing and I figured if any one other person read it, it would help them maybe Yeah then it just kept going on for like five years and here we are so what nutrition school were you going to? So I did a distance program through Bowman College and they're located in Pembroke, California It's a great program I highly recommend it to anyone Okay yeah you got your bachelor's in nutrition or

? I actually went back to school for nutrition I got my Bachelor's in art history and then I went back to school and so it's a certificate it's not like a bachelor's but it's a two-year intensive program Okay okay cool, so you got into veganism basically because you're an animal rights activist? Is that fair to say? I feel like I'm not cool enough to actually be an activist but yeah I'm an animal lover and a bleeding-heart and I want to be an activist but I want to be able to be there but baby steps We're taking baby steps to the activist but yeah it was for the animals

Okay okay got it You said that it wasn't working for you like it's working for other people so what were you looking for the vegan diet to do for you? Oh sure well so I followed a lot of YouTubers at the time and I think the friends years ago and even now still to a certain degree is into the 80/10/10 diet where you're very high carb and that really that works for those people it definitely does You see it they're very healthy looking they're very healthy sounding They seem very happy but for me um I was cold all the time I mean gaining weight was weird because I didn't think I was eating that much I was hungry all the time I was exhausted I was really cranky like super cranky towards my roommates and I kind of figured I love being vegan but I'm not sure the way I'm being vegan is particularly helpful Okay

Yeah so well you know it's like it's when you're tired all the time and you're cold all the time It was the middle of summer too so it wasn't winter I felt like I shouldn't be shivering in July and maybe I was doing something wrong that wasn't working Have you learned anything from that point? Do you feel like if you were to do veganism 80/10/10 again, you would do it differently? I think I probably would do differently I was very into fruit At the time Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was really trendy that documentary So all my friends we were all doing juice cleanses and we were smashing in bananas so to speak and um you know just trying to get as much fruit in as possible and I think that if I were to try an 80 10 10 approach again I would definitely go more towards cooked starches and I think high carb Hannah actually on YouTube does something more like that and I would probably attempt that approach

So you were feeling cold right and didn't have energy You didn't feel in your best health so at that time I'm just trying to think back to like when you were even thinking about possibly doing keto, did you ever think well maybe I should go back to vegetarianism? I did a little of course you always have those thoughts and like my boyfriend at the time ate dairy and eggs and in fact there are recipes on my blog that have dairy and eggs for things I made for him and so I thought well oh maybe I should give that a try My doctor told me to include animal products again because she thought that that would be helpful but I kind of you know when you just find veganism and you're so passionate and enthusiastic and I really wanted to make it work Yeah okay okay and so then what even had keto come into your mind as a possibility? So it was while I was in school and we were kind of studying as silly as this sounds, fad diets, so I was looking into paleo and keto and then I started thinking well firstly you know keto is disgusting if you just look at conventional keto bacon, burgers, tons of cheese yeah they advocate no vegetables but I was lookingor not no [vegetables] but minimal I was looking at these results that people were getting and thinking oh if they're actually stabilizing their blood level they're like blood sugar levels and their cholesterol is not abysmal like I anticipated it would be you know like if they're doing their blood markers are all improving and they're becoming healthier doing this what would happen if you did this with actual good foods for you and actual positive nutrition It was more of like a what if this crazy thing could happen Let's just see because I figured you know how it is when you first you're trying to find a diet that works for you so you experiment a lot

I thought this would be another little experiment and wouldn't it be cool if this could work Yeah it's such a mind shift to go from 80/10/10 and all of that you know the sound so negative like indoctrination right? I know I totally understand And then keto which is like for most people which makes sense it's like the exact opposite flipping the whole thing on its head High high fat, not as much protein right so they kind of maybe are in agreement with the protein situation with not having excessive amounts of that but the carbs so it's like the and like the high carbers are anti-fat Yeah so how did you how did you so you wanted to try this you're like okay let me see if this could work and then you're like of course I'm gonna try and do it vegan because this is my value system right now Exactly Okay and then how was the beginning for you? So it wasn't hard because fortunately at the time I worked at a natural food store so I had access to a lot of like you know the crappy vegan foods like high-fat vegan foods that aren't the best for you but they're vegan and they fit the macro profile at the time so I'd be putting my vegan cream cheese on my flax crackers and eating just noodles with tons of like shirataki noodles with tons of oil and like peanut butter to make my own peanut sauce and everything which I still do sometimes cause it's really tasty? But you liked it? You liked all the foods? Weirdly, I did I've always been more of a salt person so the fact that I could eat all these savory foods and I didn't miss sugar that much because I could eat food filled with peanut butter at a whim and of course over the years I've refined that and I realized that a certain point in time that you have to add in tons of vegetables in order to really feel good and to I think to obtain a balanced macro and micro nutrient profile

Right yeah which is important you know a lot of these diets they're very much focused on the macros Right And not a lot is spoken of regarding the micronutrients which science doesn't even know all of the nutrients that are in fruits and vegetables We just know that we need them Exactly

I was just going to say that another reason I think it's just important to not focus on counting carbs and vegetables and just like eat the spinach without caring about it because there's so much going on in that spinach It's more than just vitamin A or like vitamin K there's a whole world that we don't even understand that's clearly doing stuff for our bodies so we could just stop worrying about the carbs in spinach and just eat the spinach Yeah, have faith in the infinite wisdom of fruits and vegetables Exactly! So in the beginning you were loving the food because long did it take for you so I had IBS pretty much my entire life and within a week that had normalized which I know sounds crazy but it was weirdly true like I didn't realize that being regular was a real thing I thought that was more than one of those TV commercials try to sell you Metamucil buy thing like oh you can be regular too and I was like alright whatever but um after starting keto I don't know whether there's something in my gut flora to you maybe it was the less sugar and and switched everything I don't I honestly don't know but it just that normalized and um I lost weight like most people do without was it really even my goal at the time so I was very happy and I know it was mostly just water weight but so I think about good to get rid of that inflammation yeah and then a weird thing was that I had joint pain which sounds crazy because I was about 25 at the time and pretty young for joint pain but I'm thought disappeared I didn't realize that that was was one of those things that you didn't realize you had until it was gone and I woke up and I wasn't stiff everywhere every day yeah that's awesome so within a week and at that point you're basically eating like what was a typical day of meals for you um time I wasn't at all thinking about meals I was doing that thing where you track all your food and you just eat and then track it and then say oh I have X amount of carb Club so basically I would like impulse eat almonds and fresh coconut was pretty much for in macadamia nuts on most of my day and then by the end of the day I would get home and do something like the noodles with the spinach and hot sauce on it and that wasn't bad it was it's so unhealthy compared to how I eat now and it's so weird because it wasn't even structured meals it was just me eating like knots and peanut butter foot and not interesting so so when they were just left were you following like a Cheeto or yeah so when I first started very much the dogma and it is Padma in the community was 20 grams of carbs or less or you're not on a ketogenic diet it was like you had to be under 20 grams now that seems insane to me but I was very determined to follow things just to see how this experiment would go so I would try to keep it to 20 grams sometimes going up to 25 if I was feeling crazy okay so you it was just right and it was pretty much all from the spinach and almond interesting yeah so did you experience any negative effects since you've been not just from the beginning but like since you started this whole keto journey yeah of course one was definitely financial at the beginning it is expensive to eat that many masks and I was definitely a little bit healthier yeah and then there are definitely times where I feel tired and rundown and I have hog cravings breathing rather and all the quality parts per weekend and refuel my body and go with it but those are the things that you you know you have to feel your body out and you have to say this is what works for me this is what bugling what I want right now so this is what we're doing yeah so it sounds like you're not like strict with yourself you're very flexible yeah okay which is good I think that's a very healthy space to be in because like what for me personally what I love about like you saw the last episode I did paleo yeah and doing all that vegan is that all of them have something great to add to the conversation and we don't have to be dogmatic about it we're all different and so like our levels should adjust accordingly to our lifestyle our needs of time because even like you now like your early 20s I'm sure what you needed maybe was marquart's and then you didn't meet so many cards do you know it's like we change as the agent exactly yeah so that's great so for vegans who are interested in Quito what would you recommend that they do how long have you been kiddo vegan um so I'm not in pieces all the time but I've been doing this for about five years a long time yeah he actually came from LA where you are he was my AB so maybe he sent a Californian is sending me much appreciated man um so I guess for vegans are interested I would say don't do what I did I just do – it and I think that that was probably not the best way because you end up spending a lot of money and I didn't have a plan and I just I wasn't eating the best food I would recommend kind of starting off slow and taking a look at what you eat every day and thing okay uh maybe if you have like a fruit smoothie for breakfast every day you find pumping this low-carb to replace that way or or even something simpler like if you are used to eating a lot of curries with rice this looks like the right some cauliflower rice for a while and then as you make all these little changes throughout the week eventually you'll be at a place where you're pretty low carb and then you can see how you feel doing it I love that I think that's brilliant and like you had a situation where you didn't feel good in your body so let me experiment and try this because I naturally intuitively feel called to try this and you experimented and within the first week you know wasn't perfect you know benefit which is a win you know I think because you learn a lot the process so right now what do your keto macros look like wait are you doing 60% yeah so I normally don't talk but every once in a while I've been flying this track lately especially since you contacted me so I can actually get a handle on like okay I have an answer for her yeah I do tend to eat around 60% I and then my cards are actually a little bit on the higher end like I'll eat around I'm lucky though I can get over the 40 to 50 grams of net carbs and still be in ketosis oh can you explain that oh yeah no absolutely and not everyone uses them so that's even more confusing that kind there basically it's um the total carbs you eat in a day and then you just subtract the number of grams and fiber so let's say I ate in grams it's hard and like 46 grams of fiber which is actually not unusual then I would have 34 grams of net carbs and then those net carbs count because your body actually utilizes those so as you know like fiber isn't digested by us it's either passed through or at ease by our gut bacteria keep it in the soluble fiber so this takes that out of the equation and says okay that sugar is not or those cards aren't impacting our blood sugar levels so we're just going to use the carbs that are starches and like sugars that actually impact blood sugar levels and get your insulin going so if you're not eating packaged food how are you tracking this information so I'm at this point in my life I just eyeball everything which isn't particularly helpful but when I'm making recipes for infants I just weigh out ingredients and then I use tonometer with information from the USDA database yeah yeah the 80/10/10 lifestyle they most likely know yeah which is very very detailed and I think I don't know but I kind of feel like if someone has themselves when it comes to food yeah I'm a person especially if you have any disordered eating in your past or which I mean a lot of especially women do and men as well we all have these no one has any idea how to eat until you figure it out with and as fab and we think about it but I think it's true it's crazy and then I think for some people weighing you super helpful in the beginning because it give you that idea like oh that's what a serving of lettuce is without for the serving of Methos I had no idea but then I think if you do it too much and if you keep doing it you develop these nervous you know most where you feel the needs are constantly weigh everything and if it's not perfect and you're not affecting your plan like everything's ruined them yeah so my money because I talk about like the benefits the normal diet or the natural diet for human beings I was in the Bay Area California and there was all the stuff that I was hearing and learning and I was I was learning it from the health perspective it was always cardiovascular health you know diabetes so that was always a concern and great you're doing okay to make sure eating enough now keto this whole people who are not and you're getting the nutrition that other people who are just like you know which it's fun if you're not feeling any any problems right and there's also like I like to do a combination of both those things most of the time well like half the time I just eat I just if I feel fine I consume that I'm doing but then I also like to check in and say what am i eating as you know if you really into nutrition you kind of have a little bit of a mental idea and I don't know about you but for me there's always a little almost like a ticker in the back of my head look oh okay good you get your greens in today you had about that many seeds so you're probably around as many calories so there's always almost like a subconscious factor in the back of my head yeah but every once in a while I think it's good to check in with fun-o-meter and say alright what am I getting like protein what am I getting for both my B vitamins what am am I getting any omega-3 fatty acids like where it was coming from what am i doing and I think the good two-strike a healthy balance between those things absolutely so today when you're in ketosis so at the beginning when I first started um I got those little sticks that you peed on with in person weird but what you need now is Audrey and the they're better for telling you any and obviously something you're exceeding isn't in that moment it's from whenever you would processing all that stuff so it's not minutes a minute but if you keep eating the same way you can kind of discern that oh okay I am in Quito Zoe's based on the packet this is how I was eating this morning and you stick that on kosis from then so it's not perfect but it worked a lot of people do the blood measuring foot seriously it's like two dollars and fifty cents per one of those strips and I do not have the castor that both I think that's a little intense like an you have to prick your finger yeah I'm not about that so I don't do that but after a while I started to kind of feel and understand okay like when I have you know your body just feels different when you eat your inky ptosis and you can when okay I'm kind of gross but like when you pee it looks a little different and because your excreting ketones now and so for me it's a little more clear because I tend to drink a lot of fluid when I'm on like a ketogenic diet but also a pretty weak thirsty yeah so what happened to them when your body is releasing all this glycogen so you release all the glycogen stores in your muscles and then you for glycogen you also store water that's just like how it's packaged in your body and so you shed a lot of water once you said all this thumb all these vicodin sores but you also just you just end up been drinking a lot of water essentially so you are more thirsty you tend to I don't actually know whether you metabolize things faster I don't some people say your metabolism speeds up I'm not actually sure that that's true I think that might just be a bro sciency thing but I know that you definitely end up drinking way more water and to compensate for that too you should increase your mineral intake and your salt intake just to keep your electrolytes from going out of out of whack but yeah so I'm thirstier than normal and he's like a little it sounds so weird it's less like warm yellow and almost like a cooler yep and I know that's a really bizarre to think than to pay attention to you but I mean you should know I guess what things are coming out of you too they're just all in your house absolutely like I love when people talk about that stuff because the thing is most people when they get sick like first of all they wait till Vegas right they don't listen to the body cues they're not observing things and then they run to the doctor for like chronic issues when in my humble opinion I'm not a doctor but I feel like the doctor is more for acute issues chronic issues are really quiet Aryan lifestyle that we can take care of ourselves you know I can both agree and so if we pay attention to what's coming out of us so you know these are only signs that either something is not right or we're on the right path you know at least be observing because even if you're going to go to the doctor the doctor is going to ask you these questions in if you're not paying attention the doctor can't help you because the doctor doesn't know what's going on is nearby only you know it's happening so it's important to observe you know all of that stuff so I'm glad that you see I love talking about it with other nutrition centered people because really you get it I don't have to be embarrassed in front of you and be like why look at my feet pretty regularly you know you just understand that and we talk about openly absolutely I love that I am loving this conversation so your meals today yeah what do they look so since it's winter I've been eating a lot of like storage vegetables um so a lot of it is habits based which it's what we've gotten season right now um so I usually actually I do intermittent fasting so I tend not to eat any breakfast yeah I saw her go into the fasting I did yeah I didn't taste in season yeah it's kind of cool isn't it I had a dog again that's when you think that I'm not dogmatic about and if I'm not feeling it one day I will eat breakfast if I really want it but for the most part I tend to get breakfast on them just like head right into the lung space yeah but I was this this episode is not about animated fasting but I do want to just put a pin in there and just ask me quickly like have you and a breakfast person um so not really actually I think I remember being upset that my mom was for seating me breakfast but I was a kid the other year I would always be near a person like that is like the most important meal of food I look forward to breakfast um like the night prior and I think I'm sure and that's nothing to do with my childhood I don't remember ever being forced like to eat breakfast but I've always loved breakfast so like with intermittent fasting I struggle in the morning it so it looks like a mental thing but it's a lot I learned it's a lot easier for me to delay my eating in the morning so yeah like midday whether it be 12 or 2 it doesn't really matter as long as I stay hydrated because I tried it without water and except oh I can't imagine that to not eat after three it's hard it is how hard I'm at like way more and I think know if you've read her book it's a very interesting book she's had a history of addictions and then she played drug addictions then she got over the drug addictions but ended up food addiction and you know you've got obese from that then figured out if she just had these bright lines where she's weighing food and no snacking um then you can keep in line with your addictions if your addiction problem like she has so you're more big she'll phone stay within these bright lines and you don't fear from that and you're good you can keep your weight down and all that kind of stuff in her book what I like that she talks about like the psychology of eat where we're making all these decisions throughout the day that at a certain time like towards the you know from this perspective being vegan or transitioning to vegan like not you know not really because once I decided it was like you know but with this I get now what people are saying with trying to be vegan and being in a family now I understand you know as a health coach these people's experience yeah absolutely complete no it's a good campaign and it's true I have the same thing when I I tried eating breakfast so there was a period of time where I would just wake up starving every morning and I was like oh this is my body telling me breakfast time and so when I was trying to do intermittent fasting and eating it like starting my with it at 7:00 in the morning as you know that goes to what we and the balloon up to stop eating up crazy I get home same thing it was like my husband who's my boyfriend at the time and be eating all this food and I'm just sitting there looking at it for luan laying so like kind of hard to just lay to eat and I know some people who could do that but they're amazing but okay so your meals today oh yeah we kind of did and then my tangents around yeah so so far I've it's 2:30 for me right now and around noontime I actually had a bowl of coconut yogurt with peanut butter and blueberries with that's what I wanted and that's what I ate and so I have in my like crock pot right now I've got like a cabbage stupid thing so if I will be my my dinner or whatever my next meal is it doesn't know so I'm I tend to put it like like I put mushrooms which also don't have a lot of pollen but I'll have I'll probably put so Gerwin this this because sometimes you need you know you need like a good quick protein of yeah easy so I pretty much have five every meal and for dinner I I have a habit of putting hemp seeds on literally everything just everything and so I know it said the most appetizing thing but there dallisa and I buy them in bulk so I just yeah so I'll probably specific food exactly my agent my pocket it's true it's so much Oh basically I'll make a stew and I'll season a however and I do cook with a little bit of oil though I try to avoid using oil versus cold plant foods like I would prefer to use olives instead of olive oils but I put a little olive oil so I don't like blue in my pan um basically yeah exactly so um it'll be a little bit of oil but kind of a negligible amount and then yeah I'll just drown it in hemp seeds and put olives on everything cuz I really like them and I'll eat an avocado for a snack here and there and just playing is it salt and pepper on it so you have pretty much sometimes I'll put salsa like I'll chop up a bunch of tomatoes and pepper so that type of eating like we're there any hints before did you eat those types of meals yourself that way I find your head yeah I had to kind of force it before I was keto and before my whole high carb 80/10/10 she's fasting then almost in I would be definitely doing like junk food veganism my roommates and I would just you know you buy like the box vegan mac and cheese or we have like an even pizza or just like fake meat all the time and just you know just all of the Oreos are vegan type done period by a woman Oreo so he worked at the health food store it was like a Nima knows all that kind of crap so I had to totally retrain my both to actually eat real food and now I can't imagine doing it any other way yeah yeah eating I've seen people who like naturally with snack on a pull-out picado I don't think I personally have gotten there so that's like where my disconnect no it's totally yeah she's my number one staple food in flaxseed too because I think it's important to balance your omegas and sir I tend to if I'm making a smoothie for instance it'll all we pop blackfeet in and it's yeah it's just you know it's another thing that I said to put in like yogurt or on top of my food if it's not have seen sake um another money saving tip buy them whole and then grind them yourself because one for some reason it's cheaper to do that but to the medical ran for the pussy I appreciate um then peanut butter is another staple and again it's cheap it's got a good balance of um the different amino acids which is helpful and it tastes good so you know when you really need yeah exactly and then I would say a green any green all types of green I love every green I've ever encountered but you can do everything with them you can make a salad out of them or saute that I'm gonna make them inputs do these are amazing and very nutrient sensing people to just eat humble things all the time yeah yeah so where would you save the majority of your fats are coming probably hemp seed um coconut yogurt really I make my own coconut you were out of coconut milk um but that and then that by that's so embarrassing this is it it's tsukina butter yeah yeah I I think it I guess it's not that I eat like few items just that I try to for instance my variation comes from like what type of berry am I putting in East Indies or what type of greens am i eating a salad and in the summer I eat a large variety of obstacles obviously cuz pops put some season and now it's like cabbage and potatoes and kohlrabi so you're really limited but um yeah but I tend to I mean I am I'm apparently allergic to almonds which I didn't realize when I started that though I eat very few types of nothin yeah I guess I do have a pretty limited diet but in a weirdly broad scope of potted plant right you can mix imagine do could you're so using spices oh yeah addictions is because you know food is just so readily available even more on demand our palates have been so excited that this we need more and more and having a simple diet it's completely fine when you have actual whole foods you're getting a whole array so this whole food plant-based yeah yeah it's I think it's pretty much best for everything at this point we're discovering the overall health of us for our planet at the point in time it's very important to say I totally agree I think it like as long as you're eating again plants of different colors but either plant of different plants and yeah so because I yeah so I tend to try to cook like us do basically every week I just make myself up do and then like that's what I'm doing right now and then I have lunches or dinners or whatever that is for like finding at my disposal and I think up time-saver and it helps with that as you said that like decision fatigue at night when you're like oh I don't want to make anything for dinner but you also don't want to do put a frozen pizza in the oven right right so you're getting basically the same thing every day um so this do would be the same every day but then like whether that's my one for my dinner all the other meals are pretty different because I'm not that person yeah I'm not that person who can eat the same thing every day I get super bored but I would say within the same my 20 meals all cycle through those so any often so I'm like the biggest doing me freaky dough it's all like a hundred percent on your micro the macros yeah so let me ask you if they followed the meal plans right and the lot is going to be in the description to this video are they so ketosis as you men scented it is pretty individual and for people who have extensive metabolic damage or who might be type-2 diabetic or have hypoglycemia it might take fewer carbs to get you in ketosis I think right now my plans hover around 30 grams of net carbs which allows for like a bit like an absurd amount of vegetables it's amazing but um I do put notes in the plans on kind of reducing that but for the most part I think I want to pay 80% of people should be able to achieve ketosis utilizing the very basic plan no modification just eat the way they are and then thank you so much for trying to figure it out thank you so much oh my pleasure that's basically my goal I just wanna help people in whatever way is there anything that I didn't ask you anything yes sir um and while you cover all the bases I think but I were to add anything it would just be kind of we touched on this earlier you don't have to listen to all the dog mothers out there and you don't have to listen to people telling you oh you have to eat these foods you can't have four you can't eat this you have to stick to this many cars it's more of a it's literally a state of being when your body is in ketosis and however you get there is kind of up to you so just do what feels good for your body and then you'll be golden thank you so much Lee thank you for having me I love dead