It’s Not Questionable: You Need to Eat Your Vegetables!
A Keto Discourse: Human Diet Is Veggie-Base. Natural health opinions are, to put it mildly, varied. Different. Even wildly diverse. As the cliché goes: “One person’s meat is another person’s poison.” Eat Your Vegetables. I Rest My Case.
Seems pundits and aficionados can pull up some science to support their opinions and comfort zones, no matter how quirky, even whacky—especially if it’s directly contradictory to what other studies or people tout.
For some people, that’s the fun.
The fun ones understand that with seven billion biochemically-unique individuals running around planet earth, there’s a wide gamut of cellular life processes. They know that there are wheels-within-wheels clockworks of human metabolic cascades, adaptations, and survival idiosyncrasies.
They also understand how sometimes (alarmingly often) scientific research can’t find a tree in the forest. It’s not all cut-and-dried as some would like to think.
Other people—unfortunately, those who are a wee-bit rigid in the brain synapses—are uncomfortable that science can’t get the facts straight. They want a system of rules and no exceptions. One and indivisible. Immutable. All figured out. “Just tell me what to do!”
Nature is highly organized chaos in the crucible of life’s trial and error experiment.
Truth is more like a chambered nautilus than a straight line. There are deeper chambers. More packages to unwrap.
Today’s arena is cellular metabolics. But, there’s also quantum mechanics and the atomic level of health. There’s innate intelligence of body, mind, spirit.
Nature bubbles and roils with brilliant variations of exacting precedents. It strains at its self-imposed boundaries. It’s paradoxically tolerant and intolerant, person and impersonal.
There are always a few people that respond with the military command, “About-face.” 180° opposite. Some don’t respond at all. Some aggravate. And, some find that a dietary minutia changed their life.
“After one sip of this golden elixir, Dude, I threw down my crutches, pogo-sticked over to Rio to win the SLS Skateboard World Championship, then scooted over to London to jam with the Stones.”
Life’s continuum is a bell curve.
Eat Your Vegetables! Momma Was Right when she spoke from the ancestral wisdom, common sense, and evidence-based facts.
Momma Was Wrong if she spoke from what doctors said. (“Smoking’s good for you and calms hysterical, pregnant women. Vioxx will help. Chemo is the only answer. Brac2 genes—let’s lop off those breasts. Here’s a script for opiates. Don’t eat fats. Take this antibiotic for your flu. Cholesterol is bad.” Yada, yada, yada, et al. nauseum.)
Eat Your Vegetables. One thing Momma knows for certain, you must eat those vegetables! It’s hardwired into our genes. That’s ancient wisdom.
So, eat your veggies is an enduring “Momma sez.” Don’t even try to argue with her. It’s historical. It’s instinctual. It’s true and necessary. It’s kind to the body.
When you construct your individualized diet for optimal health—whether it be Ketogenic, Paleo, Pro-Vita!, or George Burns’ Martini/Cigar diet—one immutable rule of Momma Nature is, “Shut up, open your mouth, and eat your veggies. Don’t dare get up from the table until you finish your vegetables. You can’t have dessert until you finish your veggies.”
“But gee, Mom. I’ve already had my veggies. The registered dietician at school says that ketchup and French fries are two of the vegetables required to make up the daily 8-ounce requirement. I already had two helpings of French fries and lots of ketchup.”
Pre-Biotic Fiber—An Arcane Nutrient Like Sunlight, Love, and Water.
Science tells us that the gut microbiome requires vegetable fibers as pre-biotics. Today we know that it’s the gut microbiome that feeds our bodies. As we say, it’s not “You are what you eat. You are what your gut microbiome eats.”
This perspective is import for people embracing Keto diets for health, longevity, disease prevention, and weight normalization. All the attention on eating fats, coconut oil, butter in coffee, fatty proteins, as well as what not to eat; vegetables are often neglected—always to a person’s nutrition chagrin.
In the 1980s, the groundbreaking book, “The Pro-Vita! Plan For Optimal Nutrition” presented an original thought to the natural health community. It was an original thought of yours truly (yeah, yeah, hubris) in presenting the foundational research of the eclectic healer, Alexander Stu (Doc) Wheelwright.
Eat Your Vegetables: New Food Group!
Rather than calling vegetables a carbohydrate, or citing their fat or starch content, they can be a 4th food group. Fats, Proteins, Carbohydrates, and VEGETABLES. A new keto mantra is High Fat, High Vegetable, Moderate Proteins, and Low Starch.
Green leafy vegetables are low in carbs and high in necessary fibers that the gut microbiome requires to support peristalsis (motility) and cellular health. Such vegetables are not really carbs (starches and sugars) as are bread, mashed potatoes, white rice, and sweets. Veggies are enzymes, fibers, cellulose, vitamins, minerals, nascent phytonutrients, and soil-based organisms, plus a little carbohydrate to serve the body’s best interests.
Non-Nutrient Misnomer. The insoluble fibers in vegetables are often classified as “non-nutrients” and even “anti-nutrients” because the body does not digest them and incorporate them directly into “self.” But the gut bacteria love them, use them, need them, and will reward you for them.
Insoluble Fibers. (Do not dissolve in water.) Science counts insoluble fibers as carbs, but they don’t raise blood sugar or adversely impact insulin. Of Keto importance, they help lower insulin responses. So, they don’t count as carbs when calculating fat-to-protein-to-carb ratios.
You’ll find excellent insoluble fibers in seeds (sunflower, chia, flax, wild rice, etc.), nuts, green beans, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers/pickles, celery, broccoli, cabbage, and dark-green, leafy vegetables (kale, bok choy, chard, etc.)
Of course, all vegetables should be organic to avoid pesticides. They should be grown in soil (not hydroponic or Biologique) for the benefits of soil-based organisms and opportunity for a more extensive array of minerals.
Soluble Fibers (Dissolve in water). Vegetables also contain soluble fibers. The gut bacterial milieu loves them and converts them into nascent vitamins and metabolic nutrients.
Soluble fibers also bind with bile salts. This binding helps prevent reabsorption of toxins that the gall bladder banishes into the intestines via the bile for excretion.
Soluble fibers help regulate the much-needed, beneficial sterol called cholesterol—the molecule your body needs to make hormones, nerve sheaths, and cell membranes. The same molecule that without which, you’ll die.
You’ll find excellent soluble fibers in many of the same foods that have insoluble fibers, such as celery, seeds, nuts, cucumbers, and carrots. Also, in blueberries, strawberries, apples, oranges, pears, peas, to name a few.
Resistant Starch. (A type of insoluble fiber. Does not dissolve in water.) New to understanding the vegetable fiber scene is the helpful, pre-biotic fiber labeled ‘resistant starch.’ It’s a rare fiber found mostly in raw vegetables (green (unripe) bananas, plantains, potatoes, cooked-and-cooled rice, and not-yet-ripened fruit.
Resistant starch can be manufactured via a snap-freezing technique and sold as a supplement. Our ancestors ate unripe fruit out of necessity. It’s rare for people today.
Resistant starches “resist” digestion. Instead, the gut bacteria ferment them into short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate that supports the gut-brain connection (neurotrophic factors), bowel motility, and a positive mood. Science cites butyrate as helping prevent bowel cancer and balance cholesterol.
Eat Your Vegetables: Three In One.
Vegetables have all three kinds of helpful fibers. By seeking variety (many different veggies), the Keto diet supports a healthy G.I. tract which helps lower chronic inflammation and promotes healthy cellular metabolic activities.
People who flirt with keto and practice “dirty keto” often complain of hunger pangs. These pangs are the gut-microbiome saying, “Feed me veggies! Feed me fibers, please!”
Keto Practice. With Keto diets, the focus is often giving yourself permission to eat lots of fats—just like our ancestors. There’s also a focus on getting the right amount of protein (not too much, not too little). There’s a significant focus on avoiding starches that keep the mitochondrial sugar-burning furnaces choogling along on glucose instead of fats.
There’s a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater and neglect vegetables. People often think of vegetables as a carbohydrate food. They don’t particularly like them near as much as bacon. But, it’s essential to include lots of dark green, leafy, low-starch vegetables in a keto diet.
So, we must listen to Momma Nature, or she’ll whack us upside the head with a rutabaga.
New Universal Rule. First think, “What vegetable array will I eat for this meal?”
First, choose your array of vegetables. THEN add your fats and proteins. Even for breakfast!
It’s Veggies First. You’ll have a happy tummy, more optimal weight, smooth energy, and best of all a healthy body and clear mind.
As we say in Texas, “Momma toad ‘ja, so hop tuit, y’all!”
By WellnessWiz Jack Tips [Ph.D., C.C.N.]