I’m Natalie and I’m delighted to welcome you to Vegan Keto Fitness. I’m so glad you’re here and I invite you to make yourself comfy and have a look around. It is my sincere hope that you will find some information here that will help you on your vegan ketogenic fitness and wellness journey.
A Bit About Me
I live in Brighton in the UK with my husband, 8 year old son, Persian cat and guinea pigs. I’ve been in the wellness industry since 2006, a yoga teacher since 2012 and a holistic health coach since 2017. I was also a raw food teacher and coach for many years. I have been veggie since I was 9 years old and vegan since 2012. During this time, I have been on my own journey of health and wellness.
I first discovered I had digestive issues in my early twenties. Every time I ate something with wheat in it I became massively bloated with sharp pains in my abdomen. I’d also become extremely tired. I’m talking ‘after eating Christmas dinner’ sort of tired! I quit eating wheat for 2 weeks and those issues went away. I felt lighter, more energised and happier. To test the results, I ate a pizza and the effects were so bad I had to go to bed for the rest of the day to recover.
Carb Sensitivity Symptoms
Now I haven’t eaten wheat for over 15 years, but over this time, especially since having my son 8 years ago, I have discovered that my body and digestive system do not cope well with any sort of starchy, carby foods. My body has a tendency to gain weight quickly when I eat too many carbs (yes, even unprocessed wholegrains).
I get very bloated after eating a carb-rich meal, or when I have over-eaten on foods high in sugar (yes, even fruit). Additionally, I also suffer from tiredness, brain fog, lethargy, lack of motivation, mild depression and joint inflammation, all due to excess carb consumption.
Weight Loss with The Atkins Diet
I had heard about a ketogenic diet years ago in the form of the Atkins diet. Being a serial dieter since my teenage years I was intrigued about this radical weight loss system that all the celebrities were following. I tried it out for myself but found it difficult to follow because I was vegetarian at the time and the diet was written for meat-eaters. Let’s just say I never thought I’d get sick of cheese until I tried Atkins!
Looking back, it was a horrible way to be eating. I did lose weight, but my skin and hair became really greasy and I felt awful. I came off that particular diet and continued with my vegetarian yo-yo dieting lifestyle of misery.
Fast forward to 2011 when I discovered raw food. This was a real delight for me! Being able to eat pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cake, all in a ‘healthy’ way was amazing! I threw myself into this new way of eating and went 100% raw for 6 months. I was also experimenting with juice fasting during this time and even did an extreme 21 day fast.
Over the first year or so of eating raw, I did lose weight and feel the benefits, but I still had my digestive issues. I still got bloated after eating. I still felt tired all the time. In hindsight (isn’t it a wonderful thing?) I realise I was eating a lot of sugar. Back then, I thought that if you chose ‘natural’ ‘unprocessed’ ‘healthy’ sugars, it was OK, you could go for it. But obviously, to your body, sugar is sugar is sugar. There’s no sugar-coating (!) the truth. Sugar is not good for your body.
I went vegan in 2012 and continued my raw vegan lifestyle for a few more years, still unaware as to what was causing my symptoms. After all, I was eating a clean, wholefood, raw plant-based diet. How could I possibly eat any healthier?
I drifted away from the raw food lifestyle around 2016, around the same time as I began my health coaching course with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I returned to a regular, wholefood, plant-based diet including cooked foods, even trying vegan macrobiotic for around 6 months. This made my symptoms worse and was the first spark of the idea that it wasn’t just gluten, it was excess carbs that agitated my digestion.
I began lowering my carb intake and cutting out all added sugars (including fruit) from my diet. I noticed that I had less bloating and more energy. This was amazing! I continued with this, but as there wasn’t a proper framework I did tend to yo-yo on the carb front, and so my symptoms would get better and worse depending on what life threw at me at the time.
Vegan Bodybuilding Diet
At the beginning of 2019, I started getting into fitness. I’d never been a gym bunny before, having always preferred dancing and yoga to running and weights. But reaching the age of 37 and realising that although my weight and BMI were normal, I wasn’t actually very fit or toned and I wanted to do something about that. After months of training on my own, a friend of mine found a vegan bodybuilding 4-week program and we decided to do it.
The nutrition part of it was so hard for me. It was high protein (extremely high – made me feel physically sick), moderate carb and super low fat. My body didn’t like this at all. After a week or so I found myself becoming extremely irritable and sad. Fats actually regulate the production of hormones, and so this could have been one of the reasons for my mood changes.
The bodybuilding diet also messed with my digestion. I was eating moderate amounts of carbs, but not super high, mostly vegetables. I wasn’t sure why I was still getting bloated and tired. Having researched this in huge depth since I now know that excess proteins actually get converted to carbs in the body! No wonder I was feeling the carb sensitivity effects when eating 154g protein a day! It made me feel so nauseous too.
Appetite and Calories
The third thing about the bodybuilding diet for me was that I found it extremely hard to get enough calories each day. And I’m not talking -20% for weight loss, I’m talking my basal metabolic rate amount. That is the amount my body actually needs to function. Because I wasn’t allowed any added fat (not even olive oil on a salad), the high majority of my calories had to come from protein and carbs. The guidelines were to eat the 154g protein, 85g (or so, it changed every week) of carbs. Then get the rest of your calories from grazing on vegetables throughout the day.
I don’t have a huge appetite and without fat in my diet, I just couldn’t eat the volume of food needed to sustain me. Bearing in mind, a gram of protein and a gram of carbohydrate both provide 4 calories each, but a gram of fat provides 9 calories. I was only eating 700-800 calories a day without any oils, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, etc. PLUS, I was doing 45-60 minutes of cardio every day. PLUS 4-5 weight training sessions a week. No wonder I was feeling exhausted, irritable and sick. No, it’s fair to say the bodybuilding diet does not work for me.
Vegan Ketogenic Happiness
It was then that I realised just how perfect the vegan keto diet is for me. I need the fats for the extra calories. My body is super happy with a low carb and moderate protein intake. Now I am fat-adapted, I enjoy beautiful, sustained energy throughout the day. Neither do I experience any energy crashes that come with high carb consumption.
I don’t crave carbs at all or any foods for that matter. I am so satisfied after my meals, it’s easy for me to go hours without eating or snacking. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting (IF) is so much easier on a ketogenic diet, and many ketoers choose to do this for weight loss and general health and longevity.
I feel more stable in my moods, I don’t have depression anymore, I sleep well, I am at my ideal weight and I am improving my fitness and muscle definition week on week.
But What About Fitness? Surely You Can’t Build Muscle on a Vegan Keto Diet!
Wrong! You absolutely can. My Boditrax readings have proved it:
- I lost 4kg in weight
- Went from 22% to 17% body fat
- Reduced my visceral fat (internal fat around your organs – the dangerous fat) from 2cc to 1cc
- AND increased my muscle percentage from 74% to 78%
- And all of that was in just 4 weeks! I am currently embarking on an in-depth training program with my personal trainer and will be focusing on building muscle. I will keep you updated on my progress, and go into more depth about the science behind vegan keto fitness on the blog so stay tuned.
Why I Want to Help Others
As you can see from my story, I have been through so much on my weight loss, digestive health, and general wellbeing journey. I have tried so many diets, many more than I could talk about here, I already feel like I’ve rabbited on way too long haha! 😉
Point is, I’ve experienced so much myself, and I am continuing to experience and learn as I go deeper into this keto lifestyle. I am an avid researcher and learner (as you could probably tell). Currently I’m training to be a Personal Trainer. I feel all this knowledge, plus my health coaching qualification, plus what I have learned from coaching people over the past few years will be of help to others on the same path as me.
My Goals With This Site
To keep it real and always tell you the truth. To share as much of my knowledge and research as I can with you so that you can benefit, and maybe reduce your length of suffering to be less than mine was.
I will be sharing recipes I make (and have tested), the research I discover about the vegan keto diet, my workouts, my muscle-building progress, and all the science and facts behind this way of eating for health and fitness.
So if any of my story sounds familiar to you, or you just want to learn about the types of food and workouts to do on a vegan keto lifestyle for weight loss or building muscle, or you want to learn more about the science behind vegan keto for weight loss, health and fitness, please do subscribe so that I can send you the latest blog posts. I promise not to bombard you or keep trying to sell you shit you don’t want. My friends tell me I’m too generous, but that’s just me, so expect free gifts and goodies if you are a subscriber to my site.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to get in touch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below this page, or DM me on Instagram (nat_heath) and I will be more than happy to do what I can to help you.