Keto vs Vegan: I Went From Keto to Vegan [AMA]
01 Apr, 2019
We are a quarter way through 2019 already and those once optimistic New Year’s goals have faded into distant memory like an Avenger after a Thanos finger snap.
One of my main goals was to lose weight… as it is every year. And you’d think by 31; I’d accept that my body is set in its ways. But know, like millions of Americans (I assume all of us) I set a goal to lose some weight… again. And when one extreme didn’t work, I went to the other… and my body responded in some interesting ways. Like, not losing any weight but boy oh boy, were my poops wild.
My Keto Experiment
I started the year putting my body into ketosis. This is when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy so it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. When you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. Many people have sworn by this. Jenna Jameson, porn star turned mom blogger, claimed to have lost 60 pounds doing keto and intermittent fasting. I only wanted to lose 15 pounds so this should be easy, I naively thought. I tried it for two months and have decided I may never eat bacon again. Before you get all preachy on me, I know “Keto is a way of life, not a diet.” I GET IT. It was a way of life that I was willing to subscribe to for a while, but my body said no thanks. I wasn’t getting enough calories because I felt too full from all the fat I was eating.
And dairy, though my heart loves it, my bowels do not. My body was in full ketosis mode for a month and a half, and not a lick of weight was lost. Only dry skin and meat sweats. You’d think one would cancel the other out.
There were some positives though. I did feel more energized after the initial two weeks. I woke up not feeling tired, which for me, is HUGE. Not as huge as my dumps.Like, not losing any weight but boy oh boy, were my poops wild.
My poops were grandiose during keto, and they smelled like someone took a cow plop and baked it until it was burnt to a crisp and then pooped on it one more time for good measure. I wanted to paint as vivid of a picture for you, so you understand what my body was experiencing without having to experience it yourself.
After Keto proved to be ineffective for me, I decided to try something else. Something I’d never done before and something I didn’t think I could do. I went vegan. I removed all animal products and anything made with animal products from my diet. No dairy, meat or fish. No cooking with butter. No honey. No bugs… with eliminates most New York restaurants…Ha, SICK BURN.
I Decided to Go.... Vegan?
Veganism also removes a lot of carbs from your diet because most bread is made with eggs, milk, and butter. Sure, there’s vegan bread but having tried it, I don’t like it. Also, I don’t eat soy, nut cheeses or any food that pretends to be other food, i.e., meat-less burgers, seitan wings, pork belly minus the pork, etc. I’m a picky eater, and I like what I like so I knew my stubbornness would make this difficult for me. Literally, all that was left for me to eat was vegetables and legumes. And veggies and legumes I did eat.
The first week of vegan, I ate a lot of Dig Inn and a lot of Indian food. I don’t have much time to cook for myself, so fast casual food is my primary source of sustenance. Luckily those places, along with Sweet Green and Whole Foods hot bar has options for me regardless of my extensive restrictions. I think, because I had overdone it on the dairy and meats the prior two months, I wasn’t experiencing cravings like I had when I was doing Whole 30. I thought, for a moment, that maybe this vegan life could be for me. I thought maybe, I could be that person who didn’t get uninvited to a wedding because I ate meat. I could be that person who makes their own “beet milk” by just soaking something random in water. I could be the person who goes to a bar-b-que joint and asks if there are vegan options. I saw this future for myself, so vivid, and bright. And then constipation came.
My fiber intake increased tremendously. I love me some root veggies and chickpeas. What can I say? But there is such a thing as too much fiber, and too much fiber can clog up your butt, which is precisely what happened for me. I experienced two intense days of constipation where it felt as though my asshole was ripped apart by a baby xenomorph playing peek-a-boo.
The only other time I had ever felt this level of constipation was when my mom had to stick her fingers in my adult butt to try to root out the culprit. (A story for another day.) I was not having fun. A very nice make-up artist also told me that being vegan is bad for your skin. I don't know if this is true; it was enough to deter me from continuing on this vegan journey.
With that said, I think I will continue to avoid eating dairy. I’ve grown quite fond of oat milk. It’s tasty and a great substitute for whole milk in my daily chai tea latte. I've also decided to try eating only fish and shrimp, avoiding poultry, beef, and pork. I think what I’ve learned, more than anything is that all of our bodies are different. What works for some may not work for others, and the food I eat should make me feel good. And I don’t mean that temporary high that dipping potato chips and ice cream give you. I mean a long-lasting good feeling that energizes you, sustains you, is super yummy… and leaves you with healthy, non-painful poops that are kind to your butt.