Chances are you have a rough idea what the Atkins diet is, and now you're hearing people talk about being on a 'keto' diet. But what does it mean? Is it an effective way of losing weight or just another fad diet?
What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is an extreme low carb diet plan which aims to aid weight loss through achieving a state called 'ketosis'. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it burns fat as fuel instead of carbohydrate and the theory is that this is a good way to drop body fat. However, it is an extremely complicated and scientific process and must be followed very strictly for it to work.
With regards to what you can eat, the keto diet is strictly high fat, low carb. To be more specific, nearly no carbs at all. As soon as you slip and eat a small amount of carbohydrates, your body will snap out of ketosis and you will pile on weight due to your body storing the carbs. Ketosis is a state our body adapts to naturally when food supplies are low; it is a form of starvation mode. Whenever the body is in starvation mode, it naturally wants to hold on to as much energy as possible because it thinks there's a low food supply. So if you slip up or eat a snack, you'll hold on to it more so than if you were not following a keto diet.
A typical keto meal plan will consist of eggs, bacon and other fatty meats, double cream and other high fat dairy, and vegetables. You strictly cannot eat any sugar so that means no fruit or junk food, no starch so no potatoes, beans, or legumes, and no grains so no bread or cereals. It is a ridiculously tough 'diet' to stick to and it is advised that you should employ the help of a trained physician or medical professional as it is so complicated. This is not a diet to be taken lightly and it is strongly recommended not to follow it if you have not done proper research first.
Is the ketogenic diet safe?
The ketogenic diet was actually originally created as a way of controlling and treating epilepsy, and diet regimens like this have been used for hundreds of years. When modern treatments and anti-epileptic drugs became more widely available in the early 20th century, the use of extreme fasting diets declined. However, people began adopting this regimen for weight loss and interest has spiked in recent years, especially following the fame of the notorious Atkins diet.
There are a lot of negative side effects to being in a state of ketosis. Most infamously is the bad breath you will suffer. You will also suffer from increased urination as ketosis is a natural diuretic and this will also lead to suffering from an extremely dry mouth. It is also highly likely that you'll suffer from the 'keto flu' which has symptoms including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and cramping. As the ketogenic diet employs a lot of fasting, be prepared to be very hungry a lot of the time too!
In answer to the question, "is it safe?" the answer is only if it is followed properly. Any type of fasting or extreme change in diet should be monitored by a healthcare professional otherwise it could be potentially dangerous. If you still want to try this diet after reading the above, make sure you do your research first and are fully prepared.
How many carbs can you eat and still be in ketosis?
If you limit your carbohydrate intake severely by eating less than 15g per day, you will enter ketosis more quickly. You can eat up to 25g of carbs per day and still be in ketosis. Any more than this and you risk snapping back and storing fat. Your total carbohydrate intake should be no more than 5% of your total daily calories. You should have 75% fat and 25% protein. This is really not a recommendable ratio of macros and you should proceed with extreme caution.
Veganism is on the rise and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, this January, many people are pledging to go vegan for Veganuary. But what are the benefits?
Is it healthy to be a vegan?
In 2016, a survey found that over half a million people in the UK over the age of 15 are vegan. This has increased from only 150,000 ten years previously. A vegan diet omits any products derived from animals, including meat and dairy. There are various different levels of veganism as some people choose to adhere to it differently to others. Some vegans extend their philosophy into everyday life by refusing to wear fur and leather while others will only follow the diet. Depending on a person's reason for being vegan, it can be quite a varying lifestyle.
Many people follow a vegan diet purely for the health benefits. While it has been proven that eating meat can contribute to heart disease, a lot of vegan diets lack in protein and essential nutrients. In order to be a healthy vegan, you need to do your research first and make sure you are eating enough of the right nutrients while limiting your carbohydrate intake.
What are the benefits of a vegan diet?
Aside from the animal welfare and environmental benefits of following a vegan diet, it can be very beneficial for your health. Eating natural, whole foods is better for our digestion and blood sugar levels and can even improve your energy levels. By following a vegan diet, you are more likely to eat natural foods that are low in sugar and contain 'healthy' fats rather than hydrogenated oils.
How is veganism good for the environment?
Livestock globally contributes to a whopping 7.1 Gigatonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Sundried is an ethical activewear brand and as such we care deeply about the environment. Several of our ambassadors are proudly vegan and love sharing their vegan lifestyle and tips with others in order to help them live a healthier, more responsible life.
Farming livestock and producing animal products uses a lot of water and produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. By following a plant-based or vegan diet, you are helping the ecosystem to stay more natural and are contributing to a natural, healthy environment.
Tips for going vegan
Track your food intake
Tracking your food intake doesn't only mean making a note of everything you eat in a day, you can also use it to plan your meals and figure out what you need to eat each day in order to achieve your calorie and macronutrient goals. In order to be healthy, you should have at least a rough idea of how many calories you should be eating each day as well as how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs you need each day. You can use an app like myfitnesspal to track your food so that you know your diet is healthy. A vegan diet can be very high in carbohydrates so it's important to keep an eye on your ratios and make sure you're having enough fat and protein too.
Don't be afraid to try new foods
It's a complete myth that vegan diets have to be restrictive. There are endless exciting and delicious foods you can enjoy while following a vegan diet and you should never feel limited otherwise you won't be able to sustain it. If you are newly vegan, you may find that there are lots of new foods that you need to try, so don't be afraid! Go into this experience with an open mind and you will most certainly find a whole host of new foods that you never knew even existed.
Avoid processed vegan foods and fake foods
As previously mentioned, there are many different types of veganism. Those who follow a 'plant-based' diet eat only foods which are derived from plants, such as fruits and vegetables. it is very easy to get sucked into the fake vegan foods on offer, such as fake chicken and fake cheese. These vegan substitutes are often full of chemicals and are no healthier for you than a non-vegan diet. A vegan diet can be unhealthy! If you eat just chips, crisps, and fake vegan foods, you will not be healthy at all. it's definitely better to stick to a plant-based diet and don't try to recreate your old favourite omnivorous foods. As mentioned above, try new things and discover amazing flavours you haven't tried before. There are so many options, you don't need to be eating fake chicken and fake cheese just because you're vegan.
Jackfruit is a spiky fruit grown in Sri Lanka which has a 'meaty' texture when cooked in stews and curries. Because of this, it is hugely popular among vegans who are looking for a meat substitute for healthy, delicious recipes. High in fibre, this barbecue jackfruit with avocado salsa will be a hit at dinner time for vegans and non-vegans alike.
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 red onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 250g organic jackfruit (drained)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp chipotle paste
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 80g brown rice
- Large handful of fresh coriander
547 calories • 82g carbs • 21g fat • 10g protein
1. Boil a kettle. Rinse the brown rice and place in a saucepan with 400ml boiling water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 20-25 mins, then drain.
2. Finely slice the red onion and dice the red pepper. Drain and rinse the jackfruit.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil on a medium heat and cook 3/4 of the red onion for 5 mins until softening. Then add the jackfruit to the pan for 3 mins, breaking it up slightly with a wooden spoon.
4. To the jackfruit pan, add the red pepper, tomato puree, chipotle paste (add as much as desired), maple syrup, smoked paprika, ground cumin and 200ml boiling water. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until the jackfruit has softened. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and pull the pieces of jackfruit apart with two forks. Add more water to thin the sauce if needed.
5. Meanwhile, to make that avocado salsa; peel and de-stone the avocado and roughly chop into small cubes. Roughly chop the coriander leaves. Place the avocado cubes, coriander and remaining red onion slices into a bowl with half of the juice from the lime and a pinch of sea salt.
6. Spoon the pulled barbecue jackfruit onto two warm plates alongside the rice and the avocado salsa. Drizzle over the remaining lime juice.
Recipe for two people, halve the ingredients for one person.
Many thanks to the guys at Mindful Chef for this fantastic healthy vegan recipe. With Mindful Chef, you will have all of these fresh, quality ingredients prepped and delivered to your door, so all you need to do is cook!
If you follow a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, it can be difficult finding healthy, on-the-go snacks to tide you over between meals. Stock your cupboard with these organic, natural, vegan-friendly snacks so that you've always got something to grab when hunger strikes!
1. Primal Pantry Cocoa Brownie Protein Bar
This delicious, high protein bar from Primal Pantry is just as tasty as it sounds and packs 15g of vegan protein to boost your energy and help you recover quicker after exercise. Featuring only natural ingredients, there are no nasty surprises in this protein chocolate brownie and it's a guilt-free way to curb those chocolate cravings when they inevitably strike!
2. Squirrel Sisters Raspberry Ripple Raw Energy Bar
Together, Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell are the Squirrel Sisters and they create healthy, appetising energy bars which are vegan and gluten-free. These bite-sized raspberry ripple bars are delightfully tangy and will cure any sweet cravings without the guilt! They are low calorie and a source of fibre, as well as featuring acclaimed superfood goji berries which are packed with antioxidants and pack a powerful punch of flavour. Who said vegan food has to be boring?
3. Rude Health Ginger & Turmeric Oaties
Ginger and turmeric are two foods that Sundried have explored recently with regards to their anti-inflammatory properties, making them great flavours for Rude Health to have chosen for their delectable oaties. These satisfying yet moreish biscuits are made with Scottish oats and the ginger gives them an exciting zing while the turmeric keeps them soft and earthy. These palatable aromatic snacks make the perfect grab-and-go vegan treat with minimal ingredients and nothing artificial.
4. Primrose's Kitchen Organic Goji Berries
If you're looking to stock your pantry with exotic, tantalising ingredients, look no further than Primrose's Kitchen. Goji berries are renowned for providing high levels of antioxidants and nutrients as well as boosting your mood and promoting healthy eyes, skin, and hair. Add to your cereal/muesli or eat on their own as a tasty snack to supplement your diet while keeping it interesting.
Primrose's Kitchen pack all their pantry products by hand into a recycled/recyclable bag to reduce waste and help to keep your product fresh. An ethos that Sundried definitely supports!
5. Boost Ball Lemon Drizzle Cake Protein Balls
Boostball's protein balls are all made with only 7 natural ingredients and their lemon drizzle cake flavour protein balls are made with rice protein so can be enjoyed by anyone on a vegan or dairy-free diet. Each serving packs nearly 10g of protein and are made with lemon oil to give them an exquisite piquant flavour.
With 3 little balls in each pack, they are perfect as an on-the-go snack whether you're darting about between work meetings or out tackling an endurance activity like a marathon or triathlon.
6. The Protein Ball Co Peanut Butter + Jam Protein Balls
The Protein Ball Co have various different flavours made with different types of protein so that there's something for everyone. From whey and egg white to pea and rice protein, if you're on a free-from diet, you can still enjoy their delicious protein balls. Their peanut butter and jam protein balls are made with vegan protein and are also gluten- and wheat-free so are perfect for those with allergies or a food intolerance.
7. Ape Snacks Thai Chilli Coconut Puffs
Ape Snacks create delicious paleo snacks from coconut, whether it be in the form of curls or their newest creation: coconut puffs. Their Thai chilli coconut puffs will bring you all the flavours of the orient, such as lemon grass, chilli, and of course coconut, in a tasty, crunchy little puff. These inventive snacks are vegan friendly and free from any artificial additives so you can snack happy without any nasty surprises.
8. Mindful Bites Cashew & Baobab Crunchy Bites
Mindful Bites is a company founded on mindfulness and eating mindfully. When you really think about it, encouraging people to change their attitude towards food rather than just 'eat healthy' is an incredible message. This brand sells some amazing nut butters, but their crunchy bites are something really special.
This innovative snack consists of organic nut butter stuffed in biscuit pieces, making them the perfect nutrient-dense snack for pre- and post-workout, snacking on the go, or when travelling. The texture of crunchy on the outside while being smooth and creamy on the inside is truly indulgent and exciting and show that vegan food doesn't have to be tasteless and boring!
Going vegan is not just a trend, it's an entire lifestyle change, and with more and more people making the change we take a look at the best vegan protein powders on the market to boost your daily diet and help you achieve your fitness goals the plant-based way.
1. Vega Clean Protein
Vega boast a range that is 100% plant-based and was founded by a vegan Ironman triathlete. As such, they certainly know what a vegan athletes needs in the way of protein and plant-based supplements! Their vegan clean protein powder is made from pea, hemp, alfalfa, and pumpkin seed, all of which provide numerous health benefits and nutrition.
Vega's vegan protein is light and mixes well, so you can say goodbye to lumpy, unappealing protein shakes. They also have lots of delicious vegan protein recipes on their website so that you can make your own high protein vegan snacks.
2. Wheybox 'No Whey' Protein
Despite the word 'whey' being right there in their brand name, the guys at Wheybox have now introduced a range of delicious vegan protein powders under a new sub-brand called 'No Whey Box'. Clever right? Wheybox's protein shakes are possibly the most delicious I've ever tasted, so the fact they now have a vegan offering means more people can experience their delicious and indulgent protein shakes.
The No Whey Box features 5 new vegan flavours, including blueberry, gingerbread, salted caramel, chocolate, and vanilla. You can build your own subscription box of whichever flavours you like best and they are delivered to your door in handy 30g sachets so you can take them with you to the gym or out for training. It's no wonder they call it the most convenient whey!
3. BodyMe Organic Vegan Protein
BodyMe offer a selection of plant-based protein which is made from a blend of pea, brown rice, and hemp seeds which makes it an interesting mix! BodyMe's vegan protein blends really well with dairy-free milks such as soy or almond and tastes delicious, especially when blended into a smoothie or shake.
BodyMe's protein offers 22-24g of protein per serving which is really impressive for a plant-based powder. It is also made with complete protein and all 9 essential amino acids which are often what people following a vegan diet can lack. Added nourishment comes from naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fibre. What could be better?
4. Pulsin Plant-Based Protein
Pulsin specialise in healthy snacks as well as protein and their offerings of vegan protein come in soya, pea, hemp, and rice varieties. Pulsin don't just recommend blending your vegan protein powder into shakes or smoothies, instead they note how pea protein, for example, is heat stable meaning you can add it to hot soups and even casseroles. This means you can easily boost your daily protein intake without having to down endless gloopy shakes, something all vegans know can be a challenging prospect!
Another question vegans always get asked, as well as 'how do you get enough protein?' is 'how do you get enough vitamin B3?' but Pulsin's hemp protein can help you there as it's packed with all B vitamins, including B3.
5. Creative Nature Hemp Protein
Creative Nature offer one type of vegan protein and that is hemp protein. Founder Julianne Ponan explains why, "I wanted a protein that could be enjoyed by everyone; vegans, athletes, or those choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle. It had to be Hemp Protein for my protein of choice. I didn’t even have to look far as it is produced right here in the UK."
Creative Nature's hemp protein is a source of Omegas 3, 6, and 9 and is harvested right here in the UK, meaning it enjoys a low carbon footprint which we at Sundried definitely admire!