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Keto vs. Plant Based Pescatarian Keto: My Experience

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I hopped on the keto/low carb/very low carb train many years ago. I kept my carbs as low as possible and ate a lot of animal products, cheese, fatty dairy, and some olive oil. I didn’t worry about how much protein I was eating as long as my carbs were low. I did everything “right”. And yet, I was ~30 lbs heavier than I am now. I struggled with cravings and I really struggled to control my eating. I was tired and had low energy. Some people absolutely thrive on any kind of low carb eating program such as Atkins, but I definitely was not one of them. I concluded that keto was just not for me (because the way I was doing it, it wasn’t), and thus I began a journey into whole food plant based eating (a story perhaps for another time).

Recently, I had decided to follow more of a South Beach Diet approach: lean protein (especially seafood), lots of non starchy veggies, low fat Greek yogurt, fatty cheese, and some beans (Phase 1) with introduction of some fruit and grains/starchy carbs like sweet potatoes (Phase 2). While I was not particularly overweight, I felt…not great: bloated, cravings, frustration with my eating. I felt deprived. I googled ways to overcome “boredom eating”, “emotional eating”, etc. I tried all kinds of strategies, none of which worked for very long.

I sat down with myself to try to figure this out. Through my experience with plant based/vegan eating, I knew an Atkins style diet would not be ideal for me. Plants are super great and whatever diet I followed must be plant-predominant. Too much animal protein is problematic for many reasons. Dairy is questionable, and cheese is something I was struggling to control portion size with anyway. I also knew that planning meals in advanced works really well for me; it’s how I was able to follow an 800 calorie diet for 30 days (a story perhaps for another time).

I decided to give 20 net carbs of a largely plant based diet with some organic pastured eggs and wild seafood a try for 2 weeks and see what would happen. After all, general keto was working for A LOT of people.

Within DAYS my bloating disappeared (bye bye tons of raw cauliflower!). I started dropping weight super quick and reached my “dream” goal weight without feeling any hunger or deprivation: all my “emotional” and “boredom” eating vanished. I stopped prowling the internet trying to find diet and weight loss hacks. Instead I used all that extra time and energy for projects and things and people in my life that are meaningful for me.

So, yes I have lost weight, and I’m feeling really good about that. But more importantly I have gained peace around food and my eating: I know what works for me. I know it is NOT normal for me to experience food cravings and frustration. That’s a sign that something is out of wack with my diet. I have way more energy and a much greater sense of wellbeing. Those feelings make sticking with this way of eating a no brainer.

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