Sunday, July 2, 2017

Slimming Sunday - Vegans Vs Ketos

Vegetable Shakuka with eggs and cheese
My blogging friend Michelle from Mummy from the Heart, has been running a Linky called Slimming Sunday for about four months. I thought - great! I'll join that as soon as I have something significant to share. Sadly I'm still waiting. And I promised my real life friend Janet that I would stop writing about weight loss and just do it. Sorry Janet.

Added to that, this is not the post I should be writing today. The last few weeks of school were hectic with all the wrapping up activities, parties, reports, etc... I have about 10 posts backed up in my head and if I don't write about them soon they will become too historical for interest.

However and despite all of the above, here I am. Also because every so often I get asked on facebook how it's going. It wasn't going until yesterday. I was still at the stage of doing loads of research and not having the time to clear my mind and get it into the right place for this project. Every time I did make a good start, a party or a festival or a holiday or an invitation to dinner would open the flood gates and wash me back to the beginning. It was very frustrating.

About the research. There seem to be two camps with opposing views. On the one hand there are the vegans who advocate high carb (all whole grain and organic of course) and low fat but absolutely no animal products. I sympathize with this camp as I think veganism is the ethically correct way to go and it's certainly cheaper and more convenient to stock up on pasta, rice, couscous, oats, beans, etc... But the science doesn't add up. Carbs are just pre-glucose with little nutritional value. They keep you burning the glucose instead of burning your own body fat. They feed cancer cells, provoke insulin production until you have insulin overload and end up with a fatty liver, heart disease, and possibly Alzheimers. Go directly to type 2 diabetes, do not pass Go, do not collect a healthy old age (or even a healthy middle age).

On the other hand, you can find many testimonials that swear they have reached health Nirvana through high carb, low fat, veganism. I think some of them are too far in to back out gracefully having based their whole reputation on this theory. You'll have to do the reading/listening yourself and make up your own mind but it doesn't make sense to me. There is also some dodgy research behind it. For example Ancel Keys who showed that a high fat diet in 7 countries lead to heart disease. He conveniently left out the other 15 countries which he studied and that did not show this correlation. As a result a whole generation (us) have been brought up to fear fat and strive for a low fat diet while obesity has become epidemic. Something must be wrong.

The other camp is a combination of a ketogenic diet (to whatever degree you choose to follow it) and intermittent fasting. Just for the record, the keto diet is very low carb, moderate protein (so it's not Atkins) and loads of vegetables. To be fair, the vegans also advise loads of vegetables so that's the one thing we can all agree on.

Intermittent fasting is as little as no eating between meals to water fasts lasting several days. The most popular choices seem to be the 16 hours fasting/8 hours eating window per day or the 5 days eating:2 days very reduced calories. When I first brought this up a facebook friend commented - I bet your doctor didn't recommend fasting. I'd not spoken to my doctor about it specifically but when I did she actually said I should try to extend the fasting to 17 or even 19 hours a day.

Keto eating is not hard. Who doesn't like meat, fish, eggs, cheese, vegetables, and salad? The hard thing for me is giving up potatoes in any way, shape or form; and giving up the convenience of a sandwich as a meal on the go. And we choose not to have meat at home so that makes it even more difficult.

But I've never been a breakfast eater and I've always known that for me it's best not to eat at all than to try to eat moderately. So yesterday on July 1st, with 2 months of summer holidays ahead of us (although I am teaching a summer course but this is way less pressure than a full schedule), no festivals until mid-September, feeling relaxed and motivated, I ate between 2.30 pm (vegetable shakshuka with three eggs and covered in grated cheese and a small salad) and 5.30 pm (having finished a large salad bowl with tahina dressing).

The Slimming Sunday Linky is once a month so I'll report back about my progress on the first Sunday in August.



21 comments:

  1. Oh, boy- what research have you been doing??? EVERY specialist I've seen, both in the US and Israel, (I inherited a bunch of bad genes) has advocated a vegan diet. A few years ago I underwent an angiogram and my arteries- much to the surprise and delight of the cardiac team- were completely clear. This was when I was in my late 50's with a strong history of family members dying of heart disease before age 50. The team said the only explanation was my decades of vegetarianism, followed by several years of veganism. Latest was my nephrologist (more bad genes). Forty years ago my nephrologist at the time pretty muched jumped for joy when I told him I was thinking abut going vegetarian. My current nephrologist was very happy to find out I now follow a vegan diet, and said he recommends it to his patients. In addition, decades of high carb eating, and with a family history of diabetes- and my sugar levels are fine.

    I do agree that we have been mislead re fats and sugars. Healthy fats are fine (but not in abundance). But white, refined sugars are really really bad for you. There are loads of articles about how the sugar industry paid off researchers to promote fat as the enemy, and deflect from sugar. All that obesity you bemoan? Check out any supermarket, and compare the amount and location of fresh produce vs processed foods (just about all processed foods contain sugar). My personal experience? I decided to completely cut out processed sugar in my diet, and my cholesterol levels dropped to even lower than they were the month I agreed to go on Lipitor (that family history again, but I hated Lipitor and went right off it, and never went on a substitute).

    I figure we can each find research or a doctor to back up the sort of diet which most appeals to us. And each of us is different, both in our taste pereferences, ethical imperatives, and body metabolism. The key is to really tune into your body, maybe experiment a bit, and then make a decision (and declaration) based on personal experience- and understand that others do not have the same beliefs, desires, and experience as you. Personally, I couldn't contemplate a keto diet, but hey, if it works for you and your labs back that up, go for it. If it brings you a healthy body, peace of mind and spirit, an active libido, and love for the world you've got all you need :-).

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    1. Funnily enough, the diet that most appeals to me is the vegan with whole grain carbs. This appeals to me from an ethical point of view and also taste ans enjoyment. However, I am addicted to carbs and I cannot eat bread or potatoes in moderation. Also the scinece of eating low carbs makes the most sense to me.

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  2. Interesting! I've also been looking into intermittent fasting and am eager to hear what you think! Good luck, you can do it!

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    1. Thanks my friend. I'll keep you posted. I'm absolutely hooked on some of the you tube videos. If you're interested my favourite sources are Dr Jason Fung, Keto with Casey, and just today I found Keto Christina.

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  3. My cardiologist encourages the Keto style diet - he knows that most of us can't totally give up grains/carbs but prefers quinoa over rice and lentils over rice/potatoes, that sort of thing. Good quality protein at every meal and lots of veg plus a few servings of fruit.
    It is difficult at first since I LOVE carbs, especially bread but it does work. I also try to follow the intermittent fasting routine - at least 13 hours between and longer when I can.

    I had done really well following this for about 18 months - lost nearly 60 pounds but I slacked off the past 6 months and clothes have become snug again. I am now back on the keto plan and have to say - I don't feel hungry - I do have cravings for sweets though - that is my downfall. I don't subscribe to the current "all sugar is evil dictum" but I do agree that most of us in the West eat far too much of it. I am not doing any baking at home for the summer and I'm trying not to bring home any treats as I have no willpower! I will have the occasional treat when out - including my favourite ice-cream but limiting it in this way means it truly is a treat and not a daily ritual.
    Good Luck!

    PS - In reply to Ruth - the doctors that I have seen over the years have recommended a form of the Keto diet - and while many of us are now voluntarily reducing our consumption of meat, I think I could probably find a number who would not recommend a Vegan diet for various reasons. But she is right in saying that we all need to find what works best for us and then stick with it. The constant barrage (and ever changing) articles about what is and isn't good for us has gotten to the point of being totally ridiculous! We have started to obsess over every bite and what has it got us but the extremes of anorexia & obesity! don't think any food is inherently evil, nor do I think there are superfoods or supplements that will solve all our problems. I think Michael Pollen sums things up nicely "Eat Food - Not too Much - Mostly Plants"!

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    1. Wow, well done on losing 60lbs. That's an amazing achievement. You know that I do think processed sugar (and corn syrup) is evil but mainly because it is so cheap and manufacturers use it to make food more addictive - never mind the health consequences.

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    2. I do agree with you on that point - that it's been added to so many foods that people don't even think of as being sweet - I think this has done a real number on our taste buds and make us crave it even more. I do think that some people go a little overboard when they equate the "sugar" found in fruits with that found in corn syrup - but - we really do have to read labels these days - and understand them - so many manufacturers try to disguise the extra sugars by using many different names just to confuse people. It really is scandalous that it's allowed - the consumer is always at a disadvantage!

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  4. Your post has inspired me! I'm sat here on a Sunday night whinging about the fact that I'm 'back on the wagon' tomorrow, then WHAM! I read this.

    I'm calorie counting using My Fitness Pal (I've written a bit about it on my blog) and I've not lost anything significant. But only because I'm not on it properly.

    Now I'm very much ready for tomorrow, my whinging has stopped and I'm saying "Let's Do This". You with me? x

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    1. Good luck. I was the biggest calorie counter. I knew how many calories I'd eaten almost every day from age 16 till 50+. It is only with this keto way of eating with IF that I've let calories go and the weight still drops off.

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    2. I'm so glad you've found something that helps. It's so motivating when you see the results.

      Thank you so much for linking up with the #FeelGoodLinky.

      Beth x

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  5. Oh Rachel, you are sounding determined, I pray this is a really good moth for you (in all ways). So will you only eat for those 3 hours every day? The idea of that scares me a lot and I'm not sure I'd cope, but then I never go more than about 3 hours without eating. I wish there was one answer! I'm seeing my docs next Monday after having bloods done last week for a full MOT so I'll see what she says, Mich x

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    1. No, some days I only eat in a four hour window but mostly that's not long enough because I'm not hungry for my second meal after only 3 1/2 hours. Usually it spreads to a 6 or 8 hour eating window (usually 6). The important thing is that I fast for 16 - 20 hours every day(usually 18). I've also slipped a couple of time on the cabs but I've still managed to lose.

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  6. Very interesting especially as a certain family member here was determined to do a keto diet plus fasting, which resulted in scary weight loss :(

    As you know I am on a specific diet for medical reasons, and low fat is an important part of it, and I feel better for being on it. Lots of vegetables are involved though. I also can't fast as missing a meal at all makes me feel weak, confused and cranky!

    Good luck, I hope it works for you xx

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    1. I think the key to all healthy diets is to choose and adapt to what works for you and your circumstances. There's definitely room for adapting this so that, for example,you don't lose too much weight, you don't fast for longer than you can manage, you can be vegetarian or vegan, you can be dairy free, gluten free, etc... But you need to want to do it or it's not worth the sacrifices.

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  7. This is interesting reading - veganism may be the ethical choice but I can't see it ever being something I could (or would want to) do. I've done 5:2 fasting before and found it relatively easy but I found it a bit difficult to fit into family life. I hope that you've found something that works for you and look forward to reading your update next month. #SlimmingSunday

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    1. Thanks Toby. I'm finding the fasting easier to do that being strictly keto - I keep finding myself at meetings where they lay out sandwiches, or my daughter doesn't finish her chips.

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  8. Ohhhh a fab read! I am literally cramming as much keto diet related info in at the moment as I am looking to move over onto the lifestyle from a TFR diet. My body is used to being in ketosis but I am looking forward to eating slabs of meat and not feeling guilty! Looking forward to your progress! Sim xx #SlimmingSunday #FeelGoodLinky xx

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    1. Thanks Sim. I'm going to see if you're also on the linky.

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  9. I discovered your post though SimsLife linkie.

    I started Keto on the 29th May and have been loving it. 15lbs off, 12inches across my body off, PCOS symptoms improving and other things. Intermittent Fasting has just come on naturally because I'm not hungry all day so have a main meal in the evening, maybe snack beforehand if I get peckish.

    I tried Vegan for half a year, my willpower wasn't strong enough but lucky all the tasty carbs give me IBS (which I haven't suffered with since starting keto). I've had a few treats over the weeks but it's pretty easy to stick to, in my opinion.

    Good luck, I look forward to seeing how you get on and if you need a fellow keto blogger to chat to then drop me a message :)

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    1. Chammy, I think this is the most motivating comment for me. 15lbs in since 29th May is fantastic. I look forward to hearing more about your success.

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