[0:01:01] Podcast Sponsors
[0:04:28] What’s in Part 1 of the Podcast?
[0:05:49] What’s in the Part 2?
[0:06:30] The Best Way to Go About A Plant-Based Diet
[0:08:33] Top 10 Strategies If You Want to Go Plant-Based
[0:20:22] Podcast Sponsors
[0:23:21] Best Practices When Doing A Ketogenic Diet
[0:28:57] Nutrient Deficiencies on A Ketogenic Diet
[0:36:04] How to Support and Sustain the Environment with Your Food Choices
[0:42:51] Website Resources to Make More Sustainable Choices
[0:44:05] My Top Resources on How to Turn Yourself into A Health and Nutrition NINJA!
[0:45:55] Closing the Podcast
[0:47:17] End of Podcast
Ben: I have a master's degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I've spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world's toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world's top experts and performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Oh, hello. I didn't see you down, Wabbit. I used to do lots of Looney Tunes voices when I was a kid, annoyed people, Looney Tunes and The Muppets. “Hello. Kermit the Frog here.”
It's Ben Greenfield. I want to tell you about something before we jump into Part 2 of the nutrition solosode, picking up from where we left off last week.
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Hey, it's me again, Ben Greenfield. And as promised, I am not a flake. I want to bring you Part 2 of the two-part series, that was a little redundant yes, on the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect diet for you. Now, if you're totally–because you aren't aware of Part 1, then I'd highly recommend you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets to hear Part 1 of this series. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. And in there, I laid down all the groundwork of what's called biochemical individuality. I laid out how to test your body to determine the perfect diet for you. I went into a whole range of dietary options that were vetted by me that I have found to be very useful for my own purposes and the people who I work with for coaching, for everything from fixing the gut to building muscle to losing fat. I laid it all out in that podcast. So, that's at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. Really comprehensive shownotes over there as well.
Now, I've also got comprehensive show notes for today's show for you. That's just at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets2. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets2. You guessed it, of course. Now, in this podcast, you're going to learn how to customize your diet even more, specifically, if you want to eat a plant-based diet, one that I get a lot of questions about. Also, the notorious mistakes made on a ketogenic diet and how to fix those. I want to get into how to support and sustain the environment with your food choices, which is very important. A lot of people don't think about that. Some very simple things you can do. And then, my top books and top resources for really truly turning yourself into a complete and total nutrition ninja. So, let's go ahead and jump in.
Okay. So, where we are going to begin is how to actually fill in the gaping nutritional holes that are often present in a plant-based diet, the things that you can do to avoid lasting damage to your body if you're wanting to be vegan or go plant-based. Now, here's my stance on this just so you know. I believe that the human body can be perfectly sustained on plants and produce and seeds and nuts and legumes and that one can get by their entire life on the complete absence of eggs and fish and dairy and meat. I think it's possible to do.
The problem is that many people go the route of rice crackers and tofu and packaged and processed vegan or plant-based or vegetarian products and they build up deficits. They feel very good on a plant-based diet short-term, but long-term can build up deficits. In a very similar way that long-term on a ketogenic diet, you can build up phytonutrient, flavonoid deficits, long-term on a carnivore diet. You could build up microbiome deficits, fiber deficits, same thing on a plant-based diet unless you fill in the holes.
So, what are my recommendations for supporting yourself if you're going to go vegan or plant-based? I'm going to give you some of my top recommendations and I'm going to tell you what to do if you wanted to be ketogenic and go plant-based because as you learned from the last episode, controlling glycemic variability is very important and I think it's a bigger problem. If you go back and listen to my interview, for example, with Rick Rubin, he transformed himself into almost like obesity or an overweight state when he was eating a vegan diet because he was just eating tons and tons of sugar and processed foods, granted they were vegan but it wasn't doing his body any favors.
Now, it is possible to be vegan or eat plant-based and not embark upon those types of blood sugar fluctuations. So, I'll get into that too in a moment. But first, here are my top strategies for you. I'm going to give you 10, 10 of my top strategies if you want to go plant-based. So, the first is to, as I've already alluded to, this is a very basic one, eat real food. So, you want to avoid plant-based Frankenfoods like fake meats, textured vegetable proteins, seitan, processed soy products, unfermented soy products which can contain digestive irritants and digestive enzyme inhibitors like lectins or phytates or protease inhibitors. And granted, most of those problematic compounds can be rendered mostly harmless through fermenting soy and consuming soy in the form of miso and natto and tempeh, but you should avoid popular processed soy foods like soy milk and toifu, toifu? Tofu, if I can talk. Soy also contains very high levels of goitrogens, which are compounds that could potentially inhibit the thyroid's ability to be able to utilize iodine correctly. So, that could lead to hypothyroid problems if you have a very high soy consumption.
So, you need to vary your protein intake if you're a vegan and not just rely upon soy sources. And soy also contains plant estrogens in the form of isoflavones. The research goes back and forth on this. Those could potentially raise your estrogen levels, potentially lower your testosterone levels. So, I think that women with estrogen dominance or men with andropause or testosterone deficiency should be very careful about too much soy in their diet.
But everyone, in my opinion, in a very similar manner to the way that I feel that you can eat wheat if it's been fermented and predigested like a slow-fermented sourdough bread, I feel the same thing about soy, like I have a wonderful batch of miso up in my pantry right now that I made in Japan. It's been fermenting for four months. Those soybeans are going to be a lot different now than they would have been over the last fall when I was in Japan actually making the miso. So, sometimes you got to be patient and learn about a lot of these food prep techniques if you're going to be a vegan or plant-based and want to extract as much goodness as you can out of these plant-based foods that have natural built-in defense mechanisms that admittedly can be down-regulated or deactivated. You just have to know what to do.
So, number two would be to be cognizant of the inflammatory omega-6 vegetable oils that are prevalent in a lot of processed and packaged vegan or plant-based products. You'll look on the label and many times see soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, margarine. I think most of you listening in are probably pretty aware of this, but just know that it would be better for you to get your fats from Mediterranean sources, especially if you fall into one of the categories that you learned about in the last podcast who doesn't do well with coconut oil, with butter, with a lot of these saturated fat sources. So, you'd probably be better served by extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, et cetera, oils that would be a little bit more liquid.
And then, at the same time, you would want to get really good omega-3 fatty acid intake. If you're not going to be doing fish or fish oil, if you're going purely plant-based, you should actually look into more absorbable DHA supplements like vegan forms of DHA. I'm a fan of chlorella and spirulina, for example. I'm a fan to a certain extent of some amount of ALA from chia seeds and hemp seeds and flax seeds and some of these so-called parent essential oils, but you also want to make sure that you don't neglect your omega-3 fatty acid and your DHA needs. So, I'm a huge fan of anyone on a plant-based diet eating a lot of algae. I also like marine phytoplankton, by the way. There are a couple of options for those as well.
Next, is vitamin K2. Now, vitamin K2 is notoriously absent in a lot of vegan or plant-based diets but it's critical for a healthy heart, skeletal system, and it's critical for vitamin D absorption too. So, I recommend, if you're vegan or plant-based, that you not only eat natto, a fermented form of soy, if you can, but that you also use a vitamin K2 supplement. Usually, about 100 to 200 micrograms per day is sufficient. If you're consuming a multivitamin, just make sure that vitamin K2 is on the label.
The same can be said for vitamin D3. That one's also missing quite a bit on a plant-based diet. Mushrooms are really one of the best ways to get good absorbable vitamin D. There are a few vegan forms of vitamin D3 out there like Garden of Life, for example, has a brand. Next is to get adequate vitamin A. So, vitamin A is crucial for healthy bone tissue and vision and hormones but plants only contain beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A but at a very inefficient rate.
So, how can you enhance your vitamin A absorption? Well, you want to eat your beta-carotene rich foods with a lot of these Mediterranean fats like you could have your carrots and your sweet potatoes and your yams and a lot of these oranges and yellows and peppers, but have them with extra virgin olive oil, have them with avocado oil, have them with avocados, have them with forms of fat to increase the absorption. Cooking your beta-carotene rich foods also helps to increase absorption. So, any of these foods, like I mentioned, sweet potatoes or yams, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, a squash is a great form of beta-carotene, collard greens, cilantro, thyme, romaine lettuce, broccoli, a lot of these plants if you consume them, as we see a lot of these blue zones doing like bowls of plants that are just drowned in soupy amounts of extra virgin olive oil, very good strategy if you're going to eat plant-based to eat them with a lot of these fats to improve absorption.
In the same way, here's my next tip for you that you should properly choose your soy products or ferment them yourself. You should properly prepare grains and legumes and nuts. So, as you just learned fermentation can render soy more digestible, you can neutralize many of the anti-nutrients and mineral binding compounds in grains and legumes and nuts by learning how to properly soak or sprout or ferment them. There's a wonderful book by Sally Fallon called, “Nourishing Traditions.” I will link over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets2 to a useful soak time chart for grains and legumes and nuts.
For example, I a few times a year, now I'm doing a liver cleanse in which I eat a lot of what's called kitchari. It's an Ayurvedic cleansing stew. Part of that kitchari involves mixing mung beans with basmati rice because when you mix a grain and a legume, you get a complete protein. So, I'm not protein deficient when I'm eating kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner for five to seven days in a row. But when I prepare that, I'm taking my basmati rice and my split mung beans. I'm soaking those in water for 24 hours and then rinsing them and then soaking them again for a few more hours before I begin to cook them. Usually, I do a slow cook in a crock-pot.
Yeah, that's inconvenient. I got to think about making my kitchari a day and a half in advance when I do that. But when you begin to educate yourself on how to deactivate a lot of digestive enzyme inhibitors and enhance digestibility and nutrient availability from some of these foods that you're eating, it becomes far easier for your gut and you build up far fewer nutritional deficits when you're not eating things like meat and eggs and fish.
Okay. The next one is iron. So, non-heme-based iron is the form that's found in a lot of plant foods. It's less bioavailable than the heme iron that you find in meat. But you can increase iron absorption from plant foods in the same way that you can increase beta-carotene absorption from plant foods when you consume them in the presence of vitamin C. So, combining foods like your Swiss chard and your spinach and your beet greens, your lentils, your beans, your quinoa, a lot of these foods that are non-heme sources of iron with foods high in vitamin C like tomatoes and bell pepper and lemons and lemon juice and strawberries, papayas, kiwis, goji berries, pineapple, grapefruit, annone. There are a lot of these superfoods that are high in vitamin C.
Well, when you do that, you're going to enhance your iron absorption from these vegetables. In a similar way, you should also be cognizant of drinking a lot of teas and a lot of coffees and a lot of red wines that are rich in tannins because those can reduce iron absorption. So, you want to be cognizant of if you're going to go plant-based not doing too much of the tea and the coffee and the red wine because you can inhibit iron absorption, or at least separate those from some of these non-heme plant-based sources of iron that you're eating.
The next would be iodine. A plant-based diet is notoriously iodine deficient. So, there are sea vegetables, and I love the inclusion of sea vegetables in a good, broad, widely varied plant-based diet. Sea vegetables like nori and kelp and dulse. Those are very good sources of iodine. You could check out the website, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. Excellent website. You can find a lot more iodine sources that you can easily read about an order. You can also consider taking supplemental iodine like Lugol's iodine or liquid iodine. Typically for that, a lot of folks are doing anywhere from 1 up to 6 milligrams per day. And I'll link to a lot of these tips, as well as a whole article. I wrote about this in the show notes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets2. I know I keep saying that but I want you guys to be able to access because I put a lot of work into the shownotes for you.
Next would be vitamin B12. So, nearly, every single study conducted on vegans show much higher rates of vitamin B12 deficiency than omnivores, and that can result in elevated homocysteine. Homocysteine increases blood clotting and it raises your risk of heart disease. So, I highly recommend that you include a very absorbable form of B12 in your diet. That could be, in my opinion, or should be a highly absorbable liposomal, like a sublingual vitamin B12 that you spray into your mouth. That's a really good way for plant-based eaters to get their B12. I think it was my friend, Joe Kahn, who on the Joe Rogan episode in which he debated Chris Kresser. He talked about B12 and he pulled out that spray and sprayed under his tongue. I actually agree with that strategy for B12 for a plant-based diet.
And then finally, a couple others I would throw at you. One would be taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that's only found in animal foods. It's crucial for brain development, blood pressure, stabilizing blood glucose, fighting free radicals, protecting your vision. Your body can make taurine from a combination of other amino acids, but that can be very hard for vegans to pull off an adequate volume.
So, there are companies out there making vegan sources of taurine like NOW Foods has a vegan taurine powder, and you can just use like one gram a day to get adequate taurine. You can also, in my opinion, and should especially if you're a vegan athlete, but even–it's a nootropic, it's known to stave off sarcopenia, it has a range of research-proven benefits, it's safe. That would be creatine. I think that most people on a plant-based diet should be on about 5 grams of creatine per day. Please know that you can only absorb about one and a half milligrams at a time, two max. So, you would actually split that into two to three daily servings of creatine.
So, those would be the biggies as far as filling in the gaps on a vegan diet, like eat real food, avoid processed and packaged food, prepare the food wisely, avoid high intake of the omega-6 vegetable oils you'll so commonly find in a plant-based diet, supplement with K2, supplement with D3, supplement with vitamin A, supplement with iodine, B12, taurine, creatine. Make sure you're properly preparing your grains, your legumes, your nuts and your soy. Maximize iron absorption with good food combination and you'll be well on your way to ensuring you're filling in a lot of the gaps that can exist on a plant-based diet.
Yow, I want to interrupt today's show. I bought my first sauna, my first Clearlight sauna three years ago. I got this infrared sauna because I wanted to detox heavy metals, which based on my pre and post urine testing, it actually did. I wanted something I could sit in my own little personal Sanctuary in the morning that I could sweat in. But I also wanted to be able to lift weights in there, do yoga, pull on elastic bands, do all sorts of crazy stretching moves in there, and then hit the cold pool afterwards. I also wanted something I could sit in at night, maybe vape a little bit, get my body ready for sleep, hang out, read a book, read a magazine, and feel my body recovering faster from my workouts as I'm doing that.
There's even a well-known finished study that shows that when you hop in the sauna about four times a week for around 20 minutes, you actually live longer, decrease risk of mortality. That's the same as living longer, so that was kind of redundant. Decrease rate for cardiovascular disease, decrease rate for Alzheimer's, if I can talk. And so I chose the Clearlight sauna and I got one. I got their Sanctuary model. It's low EMF. It doesn't microwave you like a lot of other saunas do. It's got 100% lifetime warranty on this bad boy. They've got near-infrared, mid-infrared, far-infrared, all in one, all in the sauna. So, you just kick it all up to full speed all at once. No need for anything else.
So, Clearlight sauna. You get $500 off the regular price of the sauna. May I recommend you the one I have. It's called the Sanctuary, like I mentioned. And they'll throw in a free gift, too. All you do is you go to healwithheat.com and use code BEN. That will get you the $500 off. It'll give you the gift, everything. You can also check them out on Instagram and their Instagram handle is @clearlightsaunas just like it sounds, @clearlightsaunas.
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Now, another question that I get of course is how do you go keto when you're eating a vegetarian or vegan or plant-based diet? So, first of all, one recommendation is that if you want to go keto and you want to eat primarily plants, I would highly encourage you to consider branching out. If you really want to optimize the diet and to include some things that would not be considered purely plant-based, eggs particularly, if you eat eggs, you're going to get long chain omega-3 fatty acids, you're going to get animal protein, you're going to get choline, which is very important because your liver needs that to be able to metabolize a high intake of fats without running the risk of developing fatty liver disease or compromising overall liver function.
Vitamin B12. Eggs are going to give you a really decent amount of that. Five of them give you over 100% of the RDA for vitamin B12. And then, retinol. So, if you can get eggs, use them and eat them whole, eat the yolks, eat the whites, everything. I realize that might be kind of a cop-out for vegan or vegetarian or plant-based diet but if you can, do it.
The next would be that if you don't have an issue with dairy, try to include that in your diet. If you're eating a plant-based diet for ethical reasons, of course as you know, animals are not going to die. There are ways that you can harvest dairy sustainably. And if you look at a lot of successful vegetarian cultures like India, for example, dairy plays a pretty major role in their diet. They eat yogurts and cheeses and milks and creams. And it's very possible to fill in a lot of the protein and the nutrient gaps if you do include dairy and healthy dairy like yogurt and kefir and hard-aged cheeses like Pecorino and Gouda and Parmigiano in your diet. That can be very useful.
So, if you can, try to get good natural sources of dairy. Try to get eggs, especially if you want to go with a high-fat diet eating as a plant-based eater. But I understand that many folks are eating plant-based diet, want to stay strictly vegan and aren't going to do the eggs and the dairy. So, a few other recommendations that I can give to you, one would be to take niacin and thiamine. Take niacin and thiamine because those are also very hard to obtain. You'll tend to fly through those a lot more quickly if you're eating a high-fat, plant-based diet. So, you can get niacin from, for example, sunflower seeds. You can get it in supplemental form. You can get it from peanuts, but I'm not a huge fan of those as a source. For thiamine, you can also get them from sunflower seeds and get them from legumes.
If you don't want to eat too many of those food groups, you could just take niacin and thiamine as a supplemental source in addition to some of the other supplements I recommended in general. But if you want to go high-fat as a vegan, I would take niacin and thiamine for sure. Another one that I would include is a very high amount of algal oil because that will get you EPA and DHA. It's not just algae but algal oil, you also get a lot of your omega-3 fatty acids if you eat those as well.
For example, if you're going to go vegetarian and you're going to be keto, then a typical day for you, a typical keto day might involve eggs and then some kind of a full-fat yogurt, and then some kind of like a Pecorino cheese, some almonds, some macadamia nuts, some avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, olives, Brazil nuts, et cetera. And that's going to give you a lot of the fats and then you can get avocados oil mayonnaise, you can do a lot more of the seeds and the nuts and the nut butters. So, there are ways that you can get a lot of these fats in and still stay kind of plant-based on a vegetarian or vegan diet. It's just a little bit more difficult to do, to be plant-based keto but it is actually possible.
Now, there's one book out there, and I'll link to this one in the shownotes, that's actually a very good kind of starting source for those of you who do wants to limit glycemic variability and still eat a plant-based diet. It's called, “Ketotarian.” “Ketotarian: A Plant-Based Plan To Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, And Calm Inflammation.” Pretty new book. And I will link to that in the shownotes as well.
But essentially, you're looking at eating a lot of healthy fats, especially olive oils, some amounts of coconut oil, avocado oil, a lot of leafy greens, a lot of healthy nuts preferably that have been sprouted or soaked or fermented, a lot of low sugar foods like blackberries and blueberries and raspberries, a lot of non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms or peppers, a lot of seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and then a lot of fermented soy products like natto and tempeh along with quite a bit of algae in the form of spirulina and chlorella, and then a lot of like plant-based protein powders like hemp protein, pea protein, rice protein, and then your avocados and your olives.
And that's kind of like how that diet matches up. And what you'll see that will be absent on that would be a lot of grains, a lot of high sugar fruits like apples and oranges and bananas and grapes, a high intake of starchy vegetables like high intake of potatoes, for example, and a high intake of sugar like honey and maple syrup and agave syrup, et cetera. So, those will hopefully give you a few clues as to how you could do a vegan or a plant-based or relatively vegetarian ketogenic type of diet.
Now like I mentioned, I also wanted to kind of fill you in on some of the ways that you can avoid the nutrient deficiencies or the issues that tend to pop up over and over again on a ketogenic diet even if you're not eating a plant-based ketogenic diet but you just want to eat ketogenic. Well, there are a few things I'd highly recommend that you take. First, if you're going to consume a ketogenic diet, one of the key nutrients that's going to be missing from that is sodium because when you shift to a low-carb or a ketogenic diet, your body lose–it loses storage carbohydrate and glycogen can carry up to about four times its weight in water.
So you'll excrete sodium, you'll excrete water, your blood pressure quickly drops, and a lot of the low energy, standing up, getting dizzy, keto flu, whatever you want to name it. It's due to low blood pressure. So, you should include extra sodium in your diet, liberal use of Celtic salt and Aztec salt on your meals. Liberal use–in some cases, there's a lot of people using vegetable bouillon cubes. You like it for extra sodium during the day. I'm a huge fan of like the hypertonic solution by Quicksilver Scientific, or the trace liquid minerals from Natural Vitality, or the trace liquid mineral drops by AquaTru.
So, you want to get a lot of sources of sodium and minerals, in general, in your diet. The next thing that I would look into would be glutamine. So, glutamine is another thing that can be a little bit more deficient on a ketogenic diet. And what glutamine can do is promote resynthesis of muscle glycogen stores. And there are some fascinating studies that have shown you can store carbohydrate a little bit more readily and have more available even if you're on a ketogenic diet, if you take somewhere in the range of about 6 to 8 grams of glutamine per day. So, I think especially if you're an athlete following a ketogenic diet, not only do I recommend refeeds in the evening especially on the more physically demanding days or on the night before your physically demanding days. But 6 to 8 grams of glutamine can help out tremendously with a lot of the muscle glycogen synthesis and whole-body carbohydrate storage.
The next would be amino acids. So, if you're eating a ketogenic diet, then you can run the risk of excess nitrogen balance or nitrogen toxicity if you're doing it all based on meat and eggs and fish. So, I'm a big fan of it. Most of my athletes who are following ketogenic diet are doing this about 20 to 40 grams of essential amino acids or EAAs every day. I realized that might sound like the fox guarding the hen house because I have a company called Kion and we make an amazing amino acids formula. And frankly, even before I had a company that was producing amino acids, I took and I recommend it to all my athletes to take, especially my ketogenic athletes, to take 20 to 40 grams of essential amino acids each day. It really helps to stave off a lot of the muscle loss or the catabolic state that can occur if you're eating a ketogenic diet as well.
So, the next thing would be taurine. Interestingly, taurine, similar to glutamine, may allow for better carbohydrate storage and more efficient carbohydrate utilization. So, in a similar way that I recommend that vegans can consume taurine. I think people on a strict ketogenic diet especially should be doing somewhere in the range of about two grams of taurine per day.
The next would be medium chain triglycerides. And most ketogenic enthusiasts are already doing this but that can be a tremendous asset for keeping your energy levels high. That ketone salts or ketone esters allow you to get a huge throughput of ketones without eating excess calorie. So, I do like those as a weapon in a ketogenic arsenal for sure. Magnesium is another. A lot of folks who are eating a low-carb diet, they get massive depletions in magnesium. So, I'm a fan of, for example, the–in the podcast I did with Thomas DeLauer, we talked about a triplicate form of magnesium made by jigsaw health. And I'll link to that podcast episode that I did with him in the shownotes. But ultimately, doing some kind of magnesium supplement each day can help out quite a bit in terms of supporting a ketogenic diet.
So, a few others that tend to be notoriously deficient in a ketogenic diet in addition to sodium, magnesium, amino acids, taurine, and glutamine would be–one would be prebiotics. So, prebiotics, they can be tough to get on a real ketogenic diet. So, we're talking about things like resistant starches in the form of green unripe bananas or green unripe banana powder, leeks, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, a lot of these could be included in the evening prior to bed. They can assist with sleep. You can even get like inulin powders. You can get–one of my favorites is acacia fiber powder. And these can be used to give you adequate amounts of inulin or prebiotics that will be able to support your microbiome on a ketogenic diet.
Another one very similar to plant-based eaters that I think that ketogenic folks get too little love would be choline. If you're eating a lot of organ meats on a ketogenic diet, you're probably getting adequate amounts of choline. But if not, you'll want to either start to eat more organ meats or supplement with choline because it's a powerful regulator of hepatic fat metabolism. And, in order to manufacture, for example, LDL particles, a transport fat from the liver, you must have choline. Without that, you run the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease especially for eating a high-fat diet. So, supplementation with choline is another one that I recommend.
And then finally, I am a big fan of, for folks on a ketogenic diet, potassium. A lot of times, the body responds to declining sodium levels by also shutting potassium. And potassium is another one of those electrolytes that you need for proper cellular function. It can cause dizziness that a lot of people get when they're following a low-carb diet, especially active folks. So, supplementing with some form of potassium is something that I also recommend because you're probably not going to be eating bananas and potatoes and a lot of the other starchy foods that have high amounts of potassium in it. Avocados and leafy greens have some amounts of potassium but extra potassium can help.
So, in a nutshell, if you're ketogenic, you want to include your MCT oils, ketone salts or ketone esters, sodium, potassium, magnesium, choline, prebiotics and essential amino acids along with some glutamine and taurine. If you do that, you're going to fill in the gaps and feel amazing even if you're not doing a lot of carbohydrate refeeds. But in many cases, people feel crappy on a ketogenic diet because they're not including a lot of those sources.
Okay. So, far, we've talked about how you could eat a plant-based diet and fill in the holes, how you could eat a ketogenic, relatively plant-based diet and also fill in the holes, how you could eat a ketogenic diet in general and fill in the holes. And then in Part 1, we talked a lot more. So, go back and listen to Part 1 because I think you should listen to that as a perfect accompaniment to this show. And again, Part 1 is at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets.
Now, as I told you, I also feel like I would be remiss not to discuss the impact that the dietary choices you make have on the environment. Harvesting and preparation techniques, animal product sourcing, processed food consumption, pesticide use, production scale of different foods like tree nuts and coffee and eggs, growing methods, these all significantly impact the local and the global environment, and that in turn impacts the quality of the foods that we eat. And experts have definitely suggested in America food production and consumption practices have a greater effect on our well-being than pretty much any other human activity.
And contrary to popular belief, healthy food isn't synonymous with high-quality nutrient-dense food. Instead, an ideal healthy diet needs to also be part of a sustainable production and consumption system that benefits not only human health but also the natural resources involved, the ecosystem in which the food is produced because, with a finite amount of land, water and resources along with the growing population and a deteriorating food system model or a mass production, our need to produce and consume food in a more sustainable way, in my opinion, has never been more pressing. If we accept the status quo, we're going to remain in like this ecological overshoot until the earth can likely no longer handle it.
So there are certain steps that you can take to ensure that you are taking into account the environment and the planet when you're eating any of these diets that I've talked about. I'm going to give you about four tips here. One would be to identify your minimum effective dose of animal products. So, your optimal intake for the environment is likely around 10% or less of your total daily calorie intake coming from animal products. When you do get animal products, try to choose them from farms that implement sustainable crop and livestock integration systems. Go and listen to my podcast with Joel Salatin, for example, to wrap your head better around that.
This is one of the reasons that I'm not a huge fan of the carnivore diet because I don't think that it's that great for the environment. In the same way that I don't think a purely grain-based diet or like a traditional vegan or vegetarian diet, traditional in the sense of like a modern westernized version of that is healthy for the environment because of all the soil and the crop damage that can occur from that. So, you want to eat about 10% or so of your daily calorie intake coming from animal products in my opinion, and then, you want to include tubers, root vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, nuts.
Well, nutrient-dense tree nuts and eggs can pack a little bit more of an environment harming punch, especially when they aren't organically grown tree nuts and pasture-raised eggs. You can eat nuts and eggs but I would do moderate amounts of those, and I would also take into account alternative protein sources. There's a very wide world of entomophagy, which is eating of insects like crickets and cricket protein powders and June bugs. And I think we're going to shift towards that heavily over the next century as we realize the damage that high intake of proteins, primarily from animal products, can have on the environment.
And then, like I mentioned earlier with my kitchari recipe, vegetarian strategies like combining lentils and rice to get a complete protein. So, think about more than just like eating purely animals for your protein and eat a widely varied diet like a Weston A. Price-ish diet, as soon as you get to the point where you can introduce a lot of complexity in your diet.
Number two would be to minimize food waste. So, use leftovers, plan meals, compost your food scraps, freeze, dehydrate. Learn to can or ferment. Give food scraps to livestock or pets like our dog is on a raw food diet so he eats all of our leftover meats and skin and bones and things like that.
You can make trips to the local homeless shelter or the soup kitchen. You can buy visually unappealing fruits and vegetables from the farmers' market, which are higher in nutrients anyways. You can minimize your intake of processed foods, which can cause metabolic food wastes. For example, right now, it's right after Thanksgiving. So, rather than scrapping all the turkey bones and the turkey skins and the drippings, I took the turkey liver and the turkey heart and I dredged those in coconut flour and butter and fried them in olive oil. And then I made a giant vat of bone broth with black pepper and turmeric and salt and saffron with the actual turkey bones.
So, there's always a creative and a tasty way to eat just about anything. And I would highly encourage you to make yourself familiar with all these methods. I mean, you can even freaking like blanch most vegetables and freeze them if you have leftover kale or spinach or arugula or any of these things that are going bad in your refrigerator. Next is to support sustainability and efficiency. So, whenever you can, buy your food from farmers' markets or from farms that incorporate efficient and sustainable growing methods like agroforestry or conservation tillage or integrative pest management or water harvesting or drip irrigation or appropriate livestock rotation.
These things are important. I know you don't see these especially if you're not a farmer but not only does doing this, and especially buying organic and local give you a better chance of not only eating a healthy seasonal diet, but it supports a lot of these sustainable practices. It also allows you to purchase food that's grown during the peak growing season, and that minimizes your chances of eating a large amount of processed and packaged foods. So, support sustainability and efficiency in your food choices.
And then finally, incorporate a wide variety of foods. Try new foods regularly. Try dishes with strange or unfamiliar ingredients. Try a variety of food choices. Hunter-gatherer tribes and many longevity hotspots around the world, literally dozens or sometimes hundreds of different plant varieties and foods throughout the year, I forget the exact number, but westernized societies, Americans in particular, we eat like a poultry, something like 12 to 20 different produce varieties throughout the year. There are so many more that you can eat.
I remember my wife and I used to be part of this vegetable delivery service from local farms. A lot of cities have these. We just get this huge variety of vegetables. We're going to teach ourselves how to cook them and what they were and I'd pull these strangely shaped tubers out of this box that they derive. And I have no clue what it is but I would research it and find out, “Okay, this is a Jerusalem artichoke. We can make a risotto and we can chop this up. We can boil it and season it and put it in with the risotto or with the mushrooms.” So you learn how to use a lot of these different foods that you might not have otherwise eaten, and that's easier on the environment when we're spreading things out, needing a lot more horizontally rather than vertically.
So, there are some websites, and I'll link to a lot of these in the shownotes that can help you make more sustainable choices. There's seafoodwatch.org that helps you make more sustainable seafood choices. There is the Cornucopia Dairy Scorecard and the Cornucopia Egg Scorecard at cornucopia.org, and those ranked sustainable dairy and egg brands. There's buyingpoultry.com, which ranks a lot of sustainable poultry brands. There's eatwild.com, which has a lot of sustainable meat options. There's localharvest.org that helps you find local food options.
There's Better World Shoppers' Guide. That's at betterworldshopper.org, and that helps local companies engage in more environmentally friendly practices, all sorts of things that you can do. There's also a really good website called lessmeatlessheat.org, and that provides education on what I was mentioning earlier, the impact that high amounts of meat consumption can have in the environment. And again, I have nothing as meat consumption. I just think that sometimes we might eat too much of that versus branching out and going into other protein sources as options. So, I will link to all of those types of websites in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets also.
And then, like I mentioned, I wanted to give you, and I'm going to put a list of all these, but I wanted to give you a list of educational resources that I really like, as far as ways to learn more about this. Some I've mentioned already in Parts 1 and Parts 2, some that I haven't, but books. “Biochemical Individuality” by Roger Williams. Another really good one is “Returning to an Ancestral Diet” by Dr. Michael Smith, who has been a guest on this podcast episode. Another one is “The Jungle Effect,” which I mentioned in the first part of this podcast series about how to eat according to your ancestry. “Wired to Eat” by Robb Wolf that talks again about sugar-based individuality and our responses in terms of blood sugar response to certain foods.
I talked about “The Plant Paradox” book, “The Wahls Protocol” book, the “Paleo Autoimmune Protocol” book, and I will link to all of those in the shownotes as well. Another really good one, and if you wanted to be a true nutrition ninja, you just eventually read all these, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” by Dr. Cate Shanahan, one of my favorite nutrition books of all time. “The Art of Fermentation,” fantastic in-depth exploration of how to prepare your food properly, along with “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon, excellent books for that.
And then, I have a whole bunch of articles I've written like “Can a Vegan Go Keto?” And “F Diets” and “How To Use Genetic Testing To Personalize Your Workout And Diet” and “How To Be Extremely Active And Eat A Plant-Based Diet Without Destroying Your Body” and “Can a Vegan Go Keto?” I've got all these articles I've written. So, I'm going to link to those in the shownotes as well. And if you were to go through all these different educational resources that I'll put in the shownotes, you'd really truly be equipped, not only to help yourself but help a lot of other people make really smart nutrition and dietary choices.
So, that's what I have for you. And hopefully, across this Part 2 and Part 1, I helped you really wrap your head around why I'm disillusioned with the modern industry of just turning out diet books that's myopic one-size-fits-all approach, why we need a customized approach, why we need to be more aware of filling in nutritional holes, why we need to be more aware of Mother Earth and the planet in our eating choices, and just generally, why we need to be more smart and less lazy when it comes to what we're shoving into our gaping maws.
So, anyways, if you have comments, questions or feedback, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets2. That's F Diets then number two. If you want to listen to Part 1, just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fdiets. And then finally, if you like this stuff, leave a review. Go to iTunes or Stitcher or Overcast or wherever you listen to this podcast. And not only subscribe. Subscribing helps the podcast out tremendously, but if you're able to say something nice and leave a review, that kind of figures into the ranking algorithm and helps the podcast get more views and helps to spread the word about a lot of this stuff. So, I know that nutrition is highly polarizing. I may have generated more questions than I answered with this two-part series, but hopefully, now it is a little bit better equipped to make better choices. So, 'til next time. I'm Ben Greenfield. Have an amazing week.
Want more? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can subscribe to my information-packed and entertaining newsletter and click the link up on the right-hand side of that web page that says, “Ben recommends,” where you'll see a full list of everything I've ever recommended to enhance your body and your brain. Finally, to get your hands on all of the unique supplement formulations that I personally develop, you can visit the website of my company, Kion, at getK-I-O-N.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com.
If you read last week's article “What Is The Perfect Human Diet? Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Meal Plans From Ben Greenfield That Tell You Exactly How To Eat For Your Unique Body.“, then you are no doubt are already aware that I'm not a big fan of a myopic “one-size-fits-all” approach to diets.
And yet, despite the enormous amount of biochemical individuality that exists from person to person, there is still a plethora of diet books published each year (particularly close to swimsuit season or the New Year) that promise to be the de facto final solution for everything from fat loss to banishing acne to beating cravings and building muscle when, in fact, the same ketogenic diet that helped your neighbor shed twenty pounds can result in rampant inflammation, brain fog and oxidized cholesterol for you. The same could be said for a vegan diet, a carnivore diet or many of the other currently popular eating approaches.
In last week's podcast, part 1 of a 2 part series on customizing your diet, you discovered more about the concept of biochemical individuality, along with how to test your body to determine the perfect diet for you, and a range of dietary options to choose from that have been vetted by yours truly.
In this episode, part 2, you're going to learn how to customize your diet even more if you are wanting to eat a plant-based diet, notorious mistakes made on a ketogenic diet and how to fix them, how to support and sustain the environment with your food choices, and my top books and resources for learning more. Enjoy!
During this solosode, you'll discover:
-The best way to go about a plant-based diet…6:25
- My own personal stance: While it's possible to live a healthy lifestyle minus eggs and meat, you must be very careful and knowledgeable about your diet.
- It's easy to feel good in the short term, while doing lasting damage to your body in the long term.
- You can build up deficits on any type of diet: ketogenic, carnivore, etc.
- 10 strategies to keep in mind to avoid deficiencies:
- Eat real food. Avoid processed foods.
- Be cognizant of inflammatory Omega 6 vegetable oils. Get fats from Mediterranean sources.
- Vitamin K2 supplement
- Get adequate Vitamin A
- Properly prepare soy products (or ferment them yourself)
- Non-heme-based iron
- Iodine intake
- Vitamin B12
-Best practices when doing a ketogenic diet…23:20
- If you want to go keto, consider including some things that are not purely plant-based (like eggs.)
- Consider adding dairy to your diet (if practicable)
- If the two above suggestions are not possible, take niacin and thiamin.
- High amounts of algal oil
- Book: Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation
- Beware of the following deficiencies:
- Amino acids
- Medium chain triglycerides
-How to support and sustain the environment with your food choices…36:00
- Identify your minimum effective dose of animal products. (Around 10%)
- Minimize food waste.
- Support sustainability and efficiency. (Farmers markets)
- Incorporate a wide variety of foods. (Experiment, try new things.)
-My top resources on how to turn yourself into a health and nutrition NINJA!…44:00
- Biochemical Individuality – Roger Williams
- Returning to an Ancestral Diet – Dr. Michael Smith
- The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World-Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You – Daphne Miller M.D
- Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You – Robb Wolf
- The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven R. Gundry
- Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food – Dr. Cate Shanahan, M.D.
- The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World – Sandor Ellix Katz
- A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – Eileen Laird
- Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat – Paul Jaminet Ph.D. and Shou-Ching Jaminet Ph.D.
-And much more…
Resources mentioned in this episode:
–The Zen Of Customizing Your Diet To Your Unique Body And Goals – For Vegans, Females, Seniors, Kids, Fasting, & Ketosis. <–contains many of the vegan, plant-based tips I give in this podcast
Article: Country Food (Inuit Food) in Canada
Microbiome: Diagnostics Solutions GI MAP
Microbiome: Viome – use code: FITNESS for $50 off
DNA: Youtrients Genomic Analysis from The Centre for Biological Medicine – use code CBMBGF ($50 off consultation, $520 off testing, $130 off monthly price for custom supplements)
Metabolic Test – To find a Metabolic Testing Center near you, Google the name of your city + Resting Metabolic Rate Test (RMR) and Metabolic Test (VO2 Max Protocol).
– SeafoodWatch.org, which can help you make more sustainable seafood choices.
– WaterCalculator.org, which can help you learn more about how much water your household uses.
– The Cornucopia dairy scorecard, which ranks more sustainable dairy brands.
– The Cornucopia egg scorecard, which ranks more sustainable egg brands.
– Buying Poultry, which ranks more sustainable poultry brands.
– Eat Wild, which includes sustainable meat options.
– Local Harvest, which helps you find local food options.
– Better World Shoppers Guide, which helps locate companies that engage in more environmentally friendly practices.
– CarboTax, which gives you a series of questions to help you compare how your climate impact compares to that of the average American.
– The Footprint calculator, which gives you a series of questions to help you identify your environmental footprint.
– Greener Choices, which provides consumer reports for environmentally friendly products.
– Less Meat Less Heat: The Climatarian Challenge App, which provides education on the impact that meat consumption can have on the environment.
–Kion Recovery Bundle. Kion's Recovery Supplement Trifecta! Contains: Kion Flex, Kion Aminos Tablets, LivingFuel SuperEssentials Omega 3EDA+
–MVMT Watches Need ideas for your holiday shopping? MVMT Watches has got you covered! Get 15% off + free shipping when you use my link.
–Organifi Hundreds of thousands of women and men use Organifi products to sleep better, get their energy back and achieve their weight loss goals. Are you next? Get 20% off your order when you use code here at checkout.