The Dilemma of the Ketogenic Vegan

Fasting is the first principle of medicine;

fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.”

Rumi

One of my biggest challenges has been my conflict between veganism and the ketogenic lifestyle.  I have for many years been a promoter of the ketogenic diet.  I have experimented with a number of different eating styles over the years, from Atkins to Paleo to Health Point to Banting; and eventually found my own style which was a hybrid of the various plans.  Essentially what all these plans have in common is that they take your body into ketosis which is a high fat-burning state.  This is achieved by limiting the intake of carbohydrates.  Depending on the plan, some encourage an increase in healthy fats; some prohibit dairy, some prohibit legumes etc.  but the common denominator is always restricted carbohydrates.  As a result, I have been conditioned to see carbohydrates as the enemy (which it’s not, by the way).

Over the past few years, as I have grown and become more conscious, I have been attracted to a more plant-based lifestyle.  My preference for plant-based eating is motivated by health, environmental and compassion reasons.  I was vegetarian and then later vegan; but I had difficulty sustaining the lifestyle.  Although I had lost a lot of weight following a ketogenic plan, I still had more to lose.  I found that trying to keep a low-carb lifestyle while being vegan was really challenging.  In the absence of meat, there wasn’t much to bulk up my meals if I was avoiding carbs, resulting in a “on-again-off-again” relationship with veganism and ketogenic eating as I gave into either meat or carbs.  The result has been, that while I have not put on any of the weight again, I haven’t lost any more either.

“But, vegans are always skinny”, you say!  Yes, often people who follow a plant-based lifestyle tend to be smaller because the calorie consumption is much lower.  But, for me, I have learned that my body responds really well to ketosis.  I am generally at my optimum in a ketogenic state, not only because my metabolism is in hyper-drive but I also have considerably more energy.  And, I don’t think this challenge is unusual if you see the rise of eating styles like Pegan (paleo-vegan) and Kegan (keto-vegan), which may work for some, but are not sustainable for me.

So, what to do?  Enter: intermittent fasting.  I have had an interest in this for quite sometime and have started researching this trend that seems to be taking the weight-loss world by storm.  Could this be the solution to my challenge?  Is this a way that I can keep my body in ketosis while being able to introduce some carbs into my plant-based lifestyle?  This is certainly a proposition worthy of my attention.

Watch Episode 20 of The Flying Phoenix’s Weekly Facebook Live Broadcast and find out about some of the specific steps I took.  (Due to technical issues at the time of broadcast, some of the audio isn’t clear.)

What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear from you.  What has your experience been with this topic?  Do you have some tips or strategies in addition to the one’s mentioned above?  Maybe you have a burning question?  Perhaps you have the solution to someone else’s question.

The best growth and learning comes from engagement and sharing, please comment below and share your thoughts, questions and personal experiences.

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