Pescatarian Keto... give me your best plans!
December 16, 2018 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm fairly overweight, and my doctor and I have agreed to go on a ketogenic diet in January, likely for months. I've also been a pescatarian for the past four months or so, and I don't want to give that up. What are your best books, blogs, or other resources for vegetarian or fish-based keto diets? What worked well for you, and what did you do to deal with monotony and impulses? Thanks for helping!
posted by skookumsaurus rex to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
the blog has some keto fish and shrimp recipes on it (here, I did the keto seafood search for you) and everything she posts is reliable.

That said, what you're talking about is extremely challenging: keto already gets real monotonous, even with all the meat that forms the bulk of its standard practice. You might try a three week kickoff and then transition to a low carb diet that includes more vegetables.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2018

When I went keto like 20 years ago monotony was definitely an issue but what helped me is just kind of stop thinking of meals as more than refuelling. Not like: oh another plate of absolutely boring food. But once I had a good dozen or two standard easy to prep meals that meet dietary requirements and (important) taste good, I'd just pick whichever one seemed right, like what was my body asking for, make it, and eat it, and get on with the day. I lost a hundred pounds doing that, which has stayed off.

With impulses, you know, sometimes you do stupid things and you forgive yourself and remember that you just start again. However I did several times chew up some cookies and spit them out into the sink because I was just that desperate for a sweet flavour. But then you think: man, that's gross and wasteful and dumb, can you just not do that?

These days my diet isn't keto but instead gluten restricted, as well as a few other allergens, and I approach it much the same way: a couple dozen standard meals that I can prepare quickly, eat and enjoy, then move on with the day. A few times a week I'll have a treat (like a GF cupcake from my favourite bakery) or a restaurant (Korean or Thai) or something.

Good luck. It's hard, but keto does work. And you can reset your body weight setpoint with it. You may notice some emotional changes, and you will also benefit from some minor to moderate exertion, e.g. walking or swimming or bike riding as your are able.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:57 AM on December 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

My advice is to take one step at a time. Going onto a keto diet (once in full swing) will completely take care of monotony and impulses. You will not really be hungry often, and with that comes a lot of self control. However, getting to this stage can take a few weeks of crazy discipline.

I'd suggest start with the keto diet (including meat) for a month. It will get you into a head space where transitioning to pescatarian keto will be easy. Obviously, this really depends on your own impulses towards food. But if you need to do this for your health, try to make the first month as easy and non constraining as possible (considering the mandatory
keto constraints). After that phase, you'll be able to combine your previous diet with the new.
posted by KMoney at 8:57 AM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just google "keto chicken" etc when looking for recipes but I do sub to this subreddit -

You have to figure out where to get all the fat calories from, so fattier seafoods are obviously good, and if you lean a bit vegetarian anyway you'll have to get the bulk of your calories from dairy, nuts, and avocado / coconut.

Keto does get a little monotonous, but the thing with food that is fatty is that, well, fat tastes incredibly good, so it's never been that tough for me. It helps to learn how to piece meals together on the fly consisting of -

* meat choice
* fat "carrier" - dairy based cream sauces, coconut milk, etc
* spices - have different spice families ready to go - Italian (oregano / sage / thyme, etc), Jamaican jerk, etc
* Green vegetables - broccoli with cheese, sauteed spinach cooked in a lot of butter, etc

I miss the texture of bread when I'm on it, so I buy low carb tortillas sometimes, and I also bake things with almond and coconut flour. If you're a big sugar person start experimenting with artificially sweetened sodas, candy, or baking things like muffins with artificial sweeteners. The main issue with artificial sweeteners is that people's digestive systems variously react poorly to some of them, so figure out which ones if any your body dislikes. Also some people get serious hunger triggers from artificial sweeteners, so you'll have to determine if you can do sweets at all.

You'll need to up your electrolyte intake too - I'd google "keto flu and electrolytes" and read up on it. You'll need to take in a lot more salt than you've been taught is healthy for you. Salt and magnesium are easy to supplement if needed. Potassium less so as the toxicity is fairly low so you can't get much per pill legally, but one "secret" I use is "light salt" - you can get this at almost any grocery store. It's potassium chloride and it tastes just like regular salt.

I also agree with the previous poster, the first 2-3 weeks can be extremely difficult as your intestinal bacteria will complain wildly about the lack of sugar that they are used to, but after those few weeks your intestinal ecosystem will finish turning over to more fat oriented bacteria and you'll feel much better. You'll need less sleep and your mind will be clearer.
posted by MillMan at 9:18 AM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's plenty of vegetarian keto people ( like me!), you could follow #vegatarianketo on instagram for lots of ideas, and just add fish/seafood as needed?
Reddit also has vegetarianketo sub.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 12:09 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

From your username I suspect you already know this, but good wild salmon has lots healthy oils, and eat this skin! Crisp it up in a pan. It's basically fish bacon.
posted by The otter lady at 2:23 PM on December 16, 2018

Stocking up on Aldi smoked salmon works well for me. I add cream cheese, avocado or both and it's a perfect keto meal with very little effort.

I would say be ready for some surprises. My hormones have gone all wonky which is a bonus for mood stability but is causing some other issues. You may want your doctor to run a full hormone panel before you start so you've got a baseline.

Count your macros even when you think you don't need to anymore. It's easy to get too much protein, almonds will hit your carb limit faster than you realize, etc.
posted by crunchy potato at 6:29 PM on December 16, 2018 has a variety of recipes. You can pay a modest subscription to get "meal plans" but I'm pretty sure the individual recipes can all be accessed for free.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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