Keto series - which are the best vegetables?

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Most keto experts are big fans of getting as many low carb veges into the diet as possible. Me, I'm not so sure...

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Keto posts so far:

How we were made to fear dietary fat, why we don’t need to, and why that was disastrous.
Metabolic flexibility and how that ties in with ancestral eating
The importance of not eating continually, and how we can benefit from even a short break in eating
How to switch from being a carb burner to a fat burner more easily
The first part of a step by step “How To” of actually changing the food - cut back on processed foods and eat good quality fats - if you’re on a high carb, standard Western diet, this is probably more useful to start with than the last post
An example of a day on keto for me
A useful keto food - mayo, and more meal examples
A useful keto snack - macadamia muffins, and more meal examples
Recap, overview on cutting back carbs, and more meal examples
Breads for various diets, including keto

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Before we start looking at which veges are best, you probably want to know why I'm not such a fan of them, when everybody knows how healthy they are.

Most keto experts will say - eat meat, good fats and some vegetables. But there are other people who are asking other questions. People like Georgia Ede, Stephen Gundry and the guy who promotes the snake juice diet and shouts in all his videos.

The thing is, fruits want to be eaten as that is how their seeds are spread. Vegetables on the other hand, don't want to be eaten and are full of natural pesticides. Now that is probably a gross generalisation, and I'll leave you to do your own research with those names.

But I know that for myself, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I do better on small amounts of fruit than on most vegetables. Some others do great on veges in their keto diet. So you do what feels right for you. For today, let's look at some benefits and drawbacks of specific vegetables.

Leafy greens

If we're just looking at the carb count, most greens are right up there at the top of the list for the amount you can have for your small carb allowance. Things like:

• Spinach
• Lettuce
• Mesclun Greens
• Kale
• Collard Greens
• Watercress

The softer lettuces are good to eat raw, and make a nice base for salad.

lettuce.jpg

But the drawback of the darker greens is that they are full of oxalates and phytates which glom onto your minerals and stop them being absorbed. So they are safer to eat if they are well cooked.

Personally, greens go through me like a dose of salts, whether they are cooked or raw. I suspect a lot of people can't digest them, as we don't have digestive systems like cows. Especially kale. I don't agree that it's the healthiest food on the planet, I think it's nasty tasting, indigestible cow food. Don't eat it. And don't put it into your smoothies raw. That's my take anyway, but you may go wonderfully on greens.

Brassicas

These include:

• Cauli
• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Brussel sprouts
• Kohl rabi (pictured below)

These are generally pretty low carb, with 100 grams giving you between 3 and 5 grams of net carbs (ie total carbs less fibre).

kohlrabi.jpg

Cauliflower is an especially useful keto vegetable, and can be used to make:

• Faux-tatos (mashed spud substitute)
• Pizza base
• Rice substitute
• Cauli cheese
• Roasted (caramelised) cauli

The drawback is that brassicas tend to be goitrogenic. So if you have any issues with your thyroid, be careful not to eat too many of them.

Nightshades

Apart from potatoes, most veges in this family are actually botanically fruits, and are fairly low carb with 100 grams giving you between 3 and 5 grams of net carbs. We're talking:

• Eggplant
• Tomatoes
• Red, green or yellow peppers

Eggplant (am I allowed to be judgemental and go "blergh!"?) can be used to make fries or dip, and the others will make tasty sauces and condiments.

nightshades.png

The drawback with these is that many people don't tolerate the chemical compounds in them. They have specifically been implicated in making arthritic conditions worse.

Other low carb veges

Zucchini is top of my list, as it makes great noodle substitutes (zoodles), using a mandolin slicer or spiraliser. @frot loves them baked till caramalised, as a fries substitute. Other squashes, like pumpkin and butternut, can be included in a keto diet in small amounts.

Some people like to use the little red radishes as a potato substitute in stews or for roasting. Daikon radishes also make great noodles (doodles maybe?).

Cucumber is excellent for salads, along with some we've already covered like lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, bell peppers and kohl rabi.

These next two are actually fruits, and are great fat sources, but some categorise them as veges, so we'll mention them - avocados and olives. Also great to throw in your salad.

Other recommended veges include asparagus and green beans, and although not generally recommended, I seem to do quite well on a small serve (up to 50gm) of green peas.

Although they are not actually vegetables, mushrooms are a very useful keto food and the big ones can be used as a pizza base or burger bun.

bbq-portobello-mushroom.jpg

Underground veges

Potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and parsnips are off the table, being just too high carb to be able to have much. But there are others that you could have in moderation. These ones will give you between 6 and 8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, so you will need to be careful to have only small amounts:

• Carrots
• Beetroot
• Onions
• Celeriac
• Rutabaga (swede)

So, yes, @steveblucher, your wife can add raw carrot to her salad, as long as she weighs everything and calcs her macros, so she can make sure she isn't having too much.

For all of these, the nutrients are more accessible if they are cooked.

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Food diary over the past week

I might just quickly walk on past this part of the post. Though they do say confession is good for the soul...

On Saturday, it was my sister-in-law's 50th birthday party. My brother was throwing several hundred dollars worth of meat on the BBQ so the main was taken care of. But I had heard that the desserts were going to be birthday cake, cheesecake, fruit & marshmellow kebabs, ice cream, pikelets with jam, something else I've forgotten and some whipped cream (which will have had sugar added). So nothing for myself, @frot, @andysantics48 and anybody else on a special diet.

Now I could have just decided to take myself to another part of the garden at dessert time but noooo... I had the idea it might be nice to take a gluten free, low sugar, keto friendly dessert and I had just seen a recipe for an even more decadent brownie with loads of melted chocolate in it. After ringing up and requesting that some of the cream be left unsweetened, I set to work with melted chocolate, butter, eggs, ground almonds, lakanto (erythritol & monkfruit sweetener) and cocoa.

I won't go into the details now, but can do another post about the changes I made to the above recipe, if anyone is keen.

I didn't have lunch as I was too busy baking, but I did have a handful or two of grated cheese and there was a fair amount of taste testing and bowl licking indulged in. Technically, probably still keto, but hardly the spirit of it.

At the party I didn't do too badly - plenty of meat, some cheese, some brownie, some cream and a few blueberries. But I went a bit astray by having some alcohol. Not a lot, maybe 1/2 a glass of cider, topped up with some sparkling mineral water. But I hardly ever drink and am a very cheap drunk. Then all of us old ladies in our 50's and 60's boogied down till the witching hour, to the great detriment of our knees and backs, while the youngsters just chilled out.

old-lady-boogying.jpg
This old lady boogying down. If you're wondering what's wrong with the hem on my pants, we were outside, and the kids had been in and out of the pool, and the ground was wet. So I'd had to roll up my soggy hems!

On Sunday I got up feeling somewhat knackered, had my usual smoothie for breakfast and then things went a bit pear shaped. After @frot went to visit his mother I spent all afternoon sprawled on the bed reading and eating whatever I felt like, horrified gasp, without counting my calories and macros!

But I got back on the straight and narrow on Monday, and there are no more birthday celebrations till one mid Feb and then @andysantics48's 50th in March.

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Thanks for reading.

"Old lady boogying" photo taken by @frot and butchered in Photoshop by me. Other photos from Pixabay.

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Haha, I like those high water boosting pants.
You do marvellous to stick to your keto diet, Deb.
Most diets let you fall off the wagon once in awhile. 😊

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If I fall off the wagon into a pile of chocolate and cream once in a while, I'm a happy camper ;-)

I'm naturally slim and use the Sea food diet. I see food and eat it. haha

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Lucky bugger! I like the sound of that.

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Looking for inspiration in your post as I'm struggling to improve my diet. Had a good week with almost no sugar last week, but the main problem is cannot find any decent vegetables to include in my diet. Seriously, I don't know why the vast majority of them even exist! Besides potatoes, that is. The world would be much better without cauliflower and broccoli!
Went to the store earlier and the only decent thing I bought is some beetroot, to make some sort of salad out of it!

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Having tested my reaction to several, since my water fast in November, I have only a small list of ok's - peas, broccoli (don't love it, but it's ok with plenty of butter or cheese) and fermented carrots. I've still got some more to test out, so will cautiously try a few more. and will keep you posted. But I guess my main point here is - if you don't go well on veges, they're not really needed. If you didn't feel like you should eat veges, what would you go for instead?

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Meat!
Fact is I can eat veges. The spinach pie I make is quite good, but it just doesn't feel like food to me.
It's the same with fruits. I like a few, but most of them I just don't trust them!

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Maybe it's carnivore that you need right now, rather than keto? That has been very healing for a load of people.

When I did it, it was called Zero Carb and here's a helpful website https://zerocarbzen.com/ but a new wave of people seem to be calling it Carnivore now

I agree with you on Kale, horrible green stuff, I try to stick to vegetables that are grown above the soil :)

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Yes, they do tend to be the lower carb ones, so that's a good rule of thumb.

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Its what i stick with, makes shopping easier :)

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You got pissed and headbanged like a bogan :)

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Too right!

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You know I've got pics?

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Hmm, your edit of the photo is completely different to mine!

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Hmm, your edit of
The photo is completely
Different to mine!

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I am living on the edge

I'm on the Keto diet for the past few weeks and it has changed the way i look at food.

Getting rid off all the sugar and grains makes me feel amazing

Keto also makes me less hungry, most of the time i don't even have to eat 3 meals a day.

I usually take naps on the weekends but i can't fall asleep anymore because of the energy i have gained.

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Great to hear it's working so well for you.

Nice! Peppers made the list... I like leafy greens too though, LOL.

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It just goes to show how different we all are! Some people thrive on all these low carb veges, and some not so much, sadly.