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September 3, 2017 by Leanne Vogel December 12, 2018
Interview with Liz MacDowell, chatting about how many net carbs she eats, the protein source go-to for a keto vegan, signs that it’s time for a carb up, soy intake being a keto vegan, supplements, overcoming objections within the keto community, and The Meat Free Keto eBook.
When most people think of keto, they immediately think of bacon and eggs. But perhaps you’ve experienced a moment when it felt like there could be more to your keto life than just BAE. Maybe you’ve even thought about cutting back on your animal products entirely … but can it be done?
I’m here with today’s podcast guest to tell you that it can.
In today’s podcast, we’re chatting about what you can do to transition to a more plant-based keto diet, including practical tips and crave-worthy recipes. Today’s interview is with Liz MacDowell, who has embraced the keto vegan lifestyle with a delicious flair. This episode is all about how to eat keto, without eating meat … whether that be for a meal, a day, or a lifetime.
Let’s get to the interview!
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
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Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 49 of the Keto Diet Podcast. Today we’re chatting about how to transition from a high-carb vegan to a low-carb vegan diet, keto vegan meal ideas, and practicing a cyclical vegan ketogenic diet. That’s a mouthful. Stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low carb high fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines.
All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at HealthfulPursuit.com/ketomeal. The link will also be in the show notes for today’s episode. Perfect if your daily keto meals have become a bit lackluster, if you’re new to keto and a bit lost when it comes to eating what and how much, or thrive on being guided on what to do and when to do it. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e49. They’ll include all of the resources that we chat about in today’s episode. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode, and let’s hear from one our awesome partners.
The show is partnered up with Paleovalley, the makers of the only 100% grass-fed and finished fermented beef stick. Each stick contains 1 billion probiotic CFUs. We all know how important fermented foods are to the health of our gut and the strength of our immune system. Chowing down on Paleovalley’s fermented beef sticks provides your body with all of the beneficial bacteria it loves in one convenient little beef stick. Their gut-friendly sticks are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, freaky chemical additive, dye, and preservative free, as well as being 100% free from carbs and sugar, and made with the highest quality ingredients.
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If you have an idea for a podcast episode or want to submit praise over and above the review, which you can leave by going to healthfulpursuit.com/review, you can reach me at email@example.com.
I got one announcement today and it’s a super-special, awesome announcement that you’re going to want to hear. I have a program called Balanced Keto, some of you may be familiar with it. Basically, it is a meal plan subscription program where when you sign up, you get a keto meal plan delivered to your inbox every single week on Tuesdays.
You get a shopping list, everything that you can make for an entire week. It’s good for one person and the reason we did this is because if you’re feeding two people, you just duplicate everything and the recipes are really easy to manipulate. All you gotta do is go to the grocery store, buy the things, follow along the meal plan. All the recipes are super easy, and things that I make and whip up really quickly in my own home.
So, because it’s back to school, and it’s probably crazy for all of us right now, you can use the coupon code SCHOOL, that’s all in caps, no spaces, for 20% off your meal plan. Meal plans come in monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscriptions. This coupon code is valid from now, September 3, 2017, until September 20, 2017. We rarely do these sorts of specials on Balanced Keto because it’s such a great program, and you guys all really love it. Take advantage of this now. You can go to healthfulpursuit.com/balancedketo to check out the program, or you can head on over to the show notes, and the link will be there for you.
Today’s guest is Liz MacDowell. She’s a certified holistic nutrition consultant specializing in a whole foods, plant-based, low-carb way of eating as well as an outdoor enthusiast and avid gamer. She just came out with her new digital book called Meat Free Keto, which includes 70 pages on everything keto and meat-free living. I’ll include a link in the show notes for her Meat Free Keto book. It is awesome. There’s lots of great tips in there so I highly recommend it.
Before we get to the interview, there were a couple of questions that our community has specifically about eating keto and vegan all together, so I just want to answer some of your questions. The first question was, “If I’m vegan or vegetarian, which Fat Fueled profile is best for me?” I would stick with Daily Fat Burner Fat Fueled profile, or maybe Adapted Fat Burner, so just play around with that, see how you go. If you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, you can find more information in my program, Fat Fueled.
The second question was, “How many of your recipes in The Keto Diet,” my paperback, available basically anywhere, “are vegan or vegetarian?” To answer your question, there are exactly 42% of the recipes in the Keto Diet are vegan and/or have vegan replacements and suggestions on that.
Then, if you’re looking even further for how do I make vegan recipes that are also keto? I put together a free resource for you guys. If you just go to healthfulpursuit.com/veganketo, you can check out all the recipes that are also keto and vegan all together. So let’s cut over to our interview.
Hey Liz. How’s it going?
Liz MacDowell: Hey Leanne. It’s great. Thanks for asking. How are you doing?
Leanne Vogel: I’m doing so fabulous, and I love that you’re on the show. I was on your show a while ago now, it’s being September now. It was a while ago, but I had such a blast.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, I think it was about six months now, but that was so much fun. We just laughed so hard the whole time.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, we did. We totally did, and I knew that I needed to have you on the show because we’ve never been able to chat with somebody specifically about doing keto without animals and meat and things and being vegan on a ketogenic diet.
Liz MacDowell: It’s hard to find us in the wild.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. Good joke. I like that. Why don’t we start off by you introducing yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you’re all about.
Liz MacDowell: Sure. As previously mentioned, I’m Liz. I go by healthygamergirl on most of my social channels, and I’ve been vegetarian, actually, since I was 13 years old, or 12. I don’t know, one of those. I initially went vegetarian because of the animals, which I think is kind of the instinct of all middle-schoolers who go vegetarian. I wasn’t really doing it for health or planetary reasons. It was very much that animals are cute, and I don’t want to eat them.
Unfortunately, I really still have so much of that in me left. It’s so motivated by how cute animals are, but I’m okay with that. I came across keto five years ago or so, and I think it was on Reddit, but I can’t be totally positive. I had been in a nutrition program for a few months and had been learning about all these different ways of eating and had really started studying hormone balances, and I guess biodiversity and how different we all are and bio-individuality.
I started to realize that this high-carb vegan diet I was on, that I thought was healthy, really wasn’t doing anything for me, and that there had to be alternatives. So again, I think I found it just searching Reddit and started doing an absurd amount of YouTube research about keto. At the time, I was vegan, and I noticed that it was really meat-based, so I figured there had to be a way to adapt to that. Then I guess, tons of trial and error later, here we are.
Leanne Vogel: That’s awesome. You said that you were high-carb vegan. Now being a keto vegan, what kind of experience did you have with the changes because I know when I was vegan, I thought I felt pretty good, until I wasn’t anymore. Then I was like, whoa, I feel so much better. So what was that transition like to the problems you know you were experiencing as a vegan, and now the changes you’ve seen as a keto vegan?
Liz MacDowell: I fell into that trap of following all those YouTube gurus who were eating, just like smashing in the carbs and supposedly losing tons of weight on a vegan diet. At the time, I was very weight-loss focused and very set on getting thin at any cost, that kind of thing. I was like, “You know what? The key is eating all this fruit. These people feel great. I’ll feel great, too.”
The thing is, I kind of knew within a few weeks, that I did not feel great. I was starting to gain weight. I was exhausted all the time, and this is on a raw, high-carb, vegan diet that according to the, and I quote, “experts” is like the ideal human diet, and we should all be doing this, and we’ll all feel so amazing. But I felt awful. I was cold, and it was the middle of July here in the States. That’s a pretty telling thing, if you can’t stay warm when it’s like a million degrees out. I was starting to get hangry just night and day. I would just always be eating, but I was always hungry.
It occurred to me that none of these things were being portrayed by any of the YouTube gurus I was watching. None of these things were being talked about in the community, so I felt like I was doing something wrong, or like I was just a failure. After a little bit of unnecessary self-pity, I realized that I should probably look into alternatives. And being a little bit impulsive and a little bit, I guess, crazy, as I am, I decided to just go the entire opposite route. I was like, oh okay, I’ve been doing high-carb and it sucks. I’ll just go with low-carb now, and we’ll see how that works out.
And it did. I mean instantly, and I know that part of that is just that initial kind of keto high that you get when you get into ketosis. I never really experienced the keto flu, so sorry.
Leanne Vogel: I always have to apologize as well because I’m like, “Sorry, it was like half a day, and then I was fine. I’m really sorry.”
Liz MacDowell: I know right? I hear it’s weeks for other people, but for me, it was maybe yeah, say like half a day. Oops.
Leanne Vogel: Oh sorry.
Liz MacDowell: But yeah, I had so much more energy to the point where before I had been crashing at maybe 9:00 PM and just falling asleep. I never felt like I got enough sleep. As soon as I got into ketosis, it’s almost like I couldn’t fall asleep, I just had so much energy up until 11:00 at night. I was just ready to go, I only needed like six hours of sleep, which for me is not a lot.
Then I wasn’t cold all the time. I actually started running hot, which is a first for me. I’ve always had a low, low temperature when I went to the doctor, and I became a normal person. The thing that was biggest for me I think was that I stopped thinking about food at every second of the day. That was so freeing. I can’t even express how freeing that was.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. That is probably the number one reason why I continue to eat keto to this day.
Liz MacDowell: Right.
Leanne Vogel: It’s just not having to worry about food.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, and not having that, I guess, compulsion where you think, “Oh I need to plan out all my meals,” or you wake up, and you start thinking, “What am I gonna eat for lunch?” “What am I gonna eat for dinner?” I don’t know.
Leanne Vogel: What do you eat for lunch and dinner?
Liz MacDowell: That’s a great question?
Leanne Vogel: What do you eat as a keto vegan?
Liz MacDowell: I get that question so often, and I totally understand why. This is gonna make me sound like a bird, but I eat a lot of nuts and seeds and vegetables. That’s pretty much it.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, and do you count your carbs?
Liz MacDowell: Occasionally, if I feel like I’ve been putting a few extra blueberries in my smoothie. And by that, I mean once I start getting the measuring cups out. I’m like “Oh God, how many blueberries am I eating?” I’ll start counting again, but for the most part, I just kind of wing it, I do lazy keto. When I have counted and have tracked, usually I’m at around 40-50 grams of net carbs a day. I’m really lucky in that I can maintain a light state of ketosis with that many carbs.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, and you said “net carbs,” net carbs everyone, so that’s total carbs take away fiber. I’m the same way, I think I had a lot of metabolic damage when I started keto, so when I was first starting, for those first six months, I had to eat less carbohydrates. But now, I’m usually around like, when I do just check in with myself, and kind of see where my carbs are at because I get that question a lot. How many carbs do I eat? It’s usually around 80 grams, which usually works out to be 40-50 net grams. It’s kind of where I feel net carbs, rather, that’s usually where I feel the best. That’s good to know. So you talked about nuts, vegetables. What did you eat yesterday?
Liz MacDowell: Okay let’s see. Yesterday was a weird day because I was fasting. I’ve been trying like fasting experiments with myself just to see what’s going on. I think I fasted until like 3:00, which honestly isn’t that bad, but sometimes you feel like, “Oh I did such a great job fasting today.” Then when I got home from work, I had a bunch of sacha inchi seeds from Trader Joe’s because they went on sale last week near me. Yeah, and they’re really low in carb, and they’re high in good fats. They’ve got some ALA in them, which is always nice and impressive in a plant-based food. They taste weird though. Some people don’t like them. They’re my thing, but not for everyone.
After that, I just had … You’re gonna think I’m such a weirdo. I had like a bowl … It’s so hot here. It’s like 35 degrees Celsius, or like 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so I didn’t want to cook anything. And I basically made myself a bowl of greens and put some sauerkraut on top of it and a bunch of like tahini sauce and just went to town on that.
Leanne Vogel: That sounds great.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, it was delicious, and then I caved, and I had a protein bar afterwards because I just couldn’t imagine turning any sort of heat apparatus on.
Leanne Vogel: What kind of protein bar do you eat?
Liz MacDowell: Oh okay. My sister-in-law gave me some of her Pegan bars from Julian Bakery, or Pay-gan. I don’t really know how you say that, but they’re the paleo-vegan ones. That’s what I had yesterday.
Leanne Vogel: Okay.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: Cool. I would not be happy with eating all those things. That’s what you talked about, is that bio-individuality. That’s why I think it’s so important to, when we’re talking about a ketogenic diet, not to just look at the standard low-carb, 20 grams, total grams of carbs a day, and kind of look at the overall picture and how many of us are so different.
Liz MacDowell: Right.
Leanne Vogel: It’s just phenomenal. I mean, my husband Kevin, he can eat … I don’t know, I think our highest amount of fat he’s eaten in a day is 300 grams.
Liz MacDowell: That’s amazing.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah dude, like crushed the fat, crushed the fat. He wraps prosciutto with mayonnaise, like the Primal Kitchen mayo, wraps it up, and then puts like bacon on the bottom. I mean totally not vegan, but a ton of fat. He’ll eat that, doesn’t change his ketones at all.
Liz MacDowell: That’s amazing.
Leanne Vogel: Like just doesn’t even. Whereas with me, if I ate that much, my ketones would be so high.
Liz MacDowell: Me too!
Leanne Vogel: It’s just interesting to see that somebody can eat like that and feel great and have those same benefits that I experience on a keto diet, doing it completely different. That’s why I really wanted to have you on the show is to kind of show that there’s so many different ways to do this eating style. Especially because you’re coming from a place of health. To reiterate, is that kind of why you started? Just to be curious about making your health better?
Liz MacDowell: Yeah. Absolutely, and like I said, when I first started out on keto, I was very, unfortunately, concerned about weight and numbers. But as I progressed with it, I realized that so many health issues that I didn’t even realize I had were disappearing. Just those things that … Like achy joints at 24, which is insane when I think about it now. But like achy joints, and I would be out of breath while exercising, even though I’d always been athletic. Just little things, like seasonal allergies, which I know sounds like I’m a crackpot now, where I talk about how like keto made my allergies go away.
But I think it was just the fact that I was focusing now so much on the actual foods I was eating, and looking at ingredients and looking at macronutrients and really paying attention to the foods I ate as a whole and not as a, “Oh I’m hungry. I’m gonna grab a snack now,” kind of situation.
Leanne Vogel: What’s your stance on tofu? Do you ever do it, or what’s your go-to protein?
Liz MacDowell: I’m not a huge fan of tofu. Soy kind of upsets my stomach, and I know there’s research, soy is such an inflammatory topic because there’s so much research in both directions saying, “Oh soy is like this wonder protein,” and then also saying, “No, but soy will immediately give you cancer as soon as you look at it.” So it’s hard enough to wade through all that. I just kind of avoid it for the most part. I mean if I’m at a restaurant with friends or family or something, and the only option that I have is soy-based, I’m not gonna freak out. I’ll eat it. You know?
Leanne Vogel: Totally, and I think too, I’m pretty sensitive to soy, and when I was vegan, I’d go for more of the fermented stuff, and that would help a little bit.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, definitely. I’ll eat tempeh on occasion, as weird as it sounds, because I like the taste of it. I definitely have an easier time digesting that.
Leanne Vogel: What are your other protein go-tos?
Liz MacDowell: Again, a lot of nuts and seeds, which I know sounds insane, but nuts and seeds are so rich in protein, hemp seeds in particular. I just try to eat a good variety to get that array of amino acids. Then occasionally, I’ll have a protein bar or a protein shake, but I always am surprised, if I start tracking, how much actual protein I will be consuming just without trying from eating a ketogenic diet. Especially a vegan ketogenic diet, where there isn’t really a vegan fat that exists in nature by itself. It’s always packaged with something else like proteins or carbohydrates. Since I’m eating a low-carb diet, all the vegan fats that are out there are pretty protein-rich.
Leanne Vogel: What are your favorite keto vegan fats? I’m guessing like avocado oil, coconut oil.
Liz MacDowell: You’d be guessing correctly. Yeah, sesame oil too. I love sesame lately. I don’t know what that is, but I’m just going with it. Tahini also, I love to make sauces out of tahini that I put on literally everything, including avocados. Macadamia nuts are probably my favorite thing ever. I’m just gonna throw that out there.
Leanne Vogel: They are so good. Have you tried it with coconut oil and salt?
Liz MacDowell: I have. I know, so good.
Leanne Vogel: So good. I remember, I was craving sesame a lot right before I ended my experience with amenorrhea. I was craving anything with calcium, and I went to sesame. I could down an entire jar of tahini in one sitting, and it’s so interesting now that I have my period back, and I’m ovulating. I can’t even smell tahini. Just the smell of it turns me off.
Liz MacDowell: That’s so funny.
Leanne Vogel: I can’t even. It’s nuts. Also, when I was writing the Keto Diet, I learned that sesame oil is really inflammatory. Did you know this?
Liz MacDowell: I actually didn’t know that. That’s good to … That’s so annoying.
Leanne Vogel: I know right? Because you think, “Oh sesame, it’s good for you.” And then when you look at sesame oil, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is really off, so it’s really, really high in omega-6.
Liz MacDowell: Oh that does make a lot of sense. Okay.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, sad. I know.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah. All right.
Leanne Vogel: I enjoy it sometimes. It’s just like what you said about tofu. It may not be responding to you well, but when you’re out with friends, or you have it in your fridge, and you feel like sesame, nobody’s gonna stop me from having sesame oil. I mean, come on.
Liz MacDowell: Right, exactly.
Leanne Vogel: It’s just good to know those things so you can make a decision for yourself on what you want to do.
Liz MacDowell: Absolutely, and to say, “Oh I’ve had a lot of relatively pro-inflammatory foods today, maybe I’ll hold off on the sesame oil in this dressing and use something else.”
Leanne Vogel: Totally, I agree.
More on my interview with Liz MacDowell after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Now, question. Do you practice carb-ups? Do you know what those are, and do you do them?
Liz MacDowell: Oh my gosh. I love carb-ups.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. Let’s chat about carb-ups on a keto vegan diet. What does that look like for you, and how often are you doing them?
Liz MacDowell: I’ll tend to do them … I don’t really plan things. I’m not a planner. I hate sticking to food plans or like specific regimens, so it’s kind of a feeling if that makes sense. You know when you’re just feeling a little bit rundown, or maybe I’ve had a really active week, and I just think, you know, I really want some carbs today. I’m craving carbs. I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. I’m gonna go for it. It usually looks like waffles, these Van’s gluten-free waffles, that I’m obsessed with. They don’t sponsor me, obviously, they’re not really keto, but that’s my carb-up item of choice.
Leanne Vogel: What do you put on the waffles? What’s your go-to?
Liz MacDowell: Okay, again you’re gonna laugh at me.
Leanne Vogel: I love that you start everything with, “You’re gonna think I’m crazy,” “You’re gonna laugh at me.” No we’re not. We’re loving it.
Liz MacDowell: Oh excellent. Saying all this aloud to another human is making me realize how quirky it is. I’ll eat them dry. I just put them in the oven, and I eat them as is. Sometimes I’ll put peanut butter, not almond butter. I’m allergic to almonds, but everyone … My biggest blog comment is, “Oh did you know that almonds are lower in carbs. You should use almonds for this.” I’m like, “No, I know, but they make me anaphylactic, so maybe next time.” But yeah, I just put peanut butter on them and kind of go to town.
Leanne Vogel: Wow, that’s really interesting.
Liz MacDowell: Really weird.
Leanne Vogel: I love it. Okay, do you ever worry about your amino acid intake. I know as a vegan, I was always really stressed out about it, once I learned that there was a thing called an amino acid, and I should probably balance those things.
Liz MacDowell: I used to be really worried about that. Again, when I first started out, I was so obsessed with tracking everything and counting everything and wondering, “Oh am I getting enough leucine today? How is my valine doing?” Now I kind of just, you know, you settle into routines, and I try to eat a diverse enough amount of foods that my protein sources are varied. I will track occasionally, just like input my food to see how many grams of protein, and it’s usually above the recommendation enough that I feel comfortable saying, “Okay, I’m getting enough.”
Leanne Vogel: What about B-12 or iron?
Liz MacDowell: Oh so I actually supplement B-12 because I’m not insane, and I realize that despite the fact that people seem to think that you can get B-12 from plant-based sources, the research on that is so shaky and so paper-thin, that I honestly don’t trust it. So I just supplement.
Leanne Vogel: And iron?
Liz MacDowell: Iron, I also supplement sometimes, but it’s more of like again, a feeling thing. I have been anemic in the past, surprisingly when I was just vegetarian. Well, not surprisingly, I wasn’t eating red meat then either. I have been iron deficient in the past, but I haven’t been in so long that I kind of don’t worry about it.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, that’s fair. I know that I didn’t worry too much about my B-12 as a vegan, and then I got a B-12 test, I don’t know, about six months into eating keto, and my B-12 was so low. It took me about three years to get it back to normal.
Liz MacDowell: That’s kind of scary because your liver can store like seven years of B-12.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I was vegan eight-and-a-half years.
Liz MacDowell: I gotcha. Okay, yeah because usually people don’t notice signs of a B-12 deficiency until much later because your liver stores so much. All of my vegan friends who insist that they can get B-12 from plant sources because they, and I quote, “feel fine,” I want to shake them.
Leanne Vogel: It’s like, “Stop it! Don’t let it get to nine years until you figure out that you’re totally screwed.”
Liz MacDowell: Yeah. It’s not too late. Yeah, so I think it’s really important to supplement B-12.
Leanne Vogel: How do you supplement it? What’s your go-to?
Liz MacDowell: It’s in my multi-vitamin, which is super lame. Yeah, it’s just in a multi that I take, and I find that … It’s by Innate Pharmaceuticals, which is a small company near the town where I was born up in New Hampshire, very exciting. They’re all food-based and really … Well I guess except for the B-12, but for the most part, their vitamins are food-based. I don’t know, I really appreciate that. They’re organic, you can tour the factory.
Leanne Vogel: I know that if you get B-12 shots, there’s two different types of shots that people will usually use. If you go to a pharmacy, it’s probably gonna be cyanocobalamin.
Liz MacDowell: Cobalimin, yeah.
Leanne Vogel: Cyanocobalamin, that’s the garbage one. Don’t do it.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, that’s the one that’s found in like kelp and all of this stuff. It’s not the active form in the human body.
Leanne Vogel: Exactly, so you’re looking for methylcobalamin.
Liz MacDowell: Exactly.
Leanne Vogel: Methylcobalamin, so if you’re at your pharmacist, and they’re like, “Oh yeah totally. We have B-12. We’ll just do it.” Ask them what kind it is because the cyanocobalamin will do basically nothing.
Liz MacDowell: Mm-hmm. It will make your pee very expensive.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, that’s the best thing. I actually had a friend tell me many years ago. She’s like, “I don’t mind my pee being really expensive.” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I mean you’re spending all that money on supplements and stuff. You kind of want to make sure. Sure it’s gonna go into your pee, and a lot of us probably have really expensive urine. But you kind of want most of it to go where it needs to go.”
Liz MacDowell: I know.
Leanne Vogel: It’s crazy.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, I actually pared down my supplements at one point in time a couple of years ago. I worked at a health-food store at the time, so you kind of get caught up in things. But I realized, there’s no way my body is utilizing like 90% of this. I’m throwing money down the toilet.
Leanne Vogel: It’s so true. I have a supplement problem. This is a real thing. When I studied nutrition, I started taking so many. It was like $500 a month or something ridiculous.
Liz MacDowell: Wow!
Leanne Vogel: And I was making no money. I was living in a basement suite with three dudes because I couldn’t afford to live by myself. This was my life, and my supplements were more expensive than my rent.
Liz MacDowell: That’s crazy.
Leanne Vogel: It was insane, and it took me probably eight years from there to realize that spending that much money on supplements or having it be such a huge priority in my life before lifestyle factors just wasn’t the right choice. I mean, I would choose a bottle of supplements over going out for dinner with friends any day. That was like, of course, I would do that.
Liz MacDowell: Right. Why wouldn’t I?
Leanne Vogel: Crazy. So lesson learned on that. Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about, well I guess it’s supplementation too. I guess, what are your thoughts on collagen or gelatin in a vegan diet.
Liz MacDowell: I think honestly, everyone is their own person. You make your own decisions. If you want to consume gelatin or collagen, good on you. Just do it. It’s rich in protein and good for you, so if you have no problem with it, I don’t know. I think people get really caught up in trying to limit things and saying, “Oh, you can’t eat this on a _______ diet.” I don’t know. I’m over that, so eat what you want, if it makes you feel good.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, totally. And even if that feeling good is like emotional or …
Liz MacDowell: Right.
Leanne Vogel: I think that’s totally fine, to eat emotionally. Sometimes I do it. Sometimes I know I’m eating emotionally, and I’m like, can I do something else that would make me feel this way? And I’m like, no, I’m good right here. Thanks. I think that’s totally okay.
Liz MacDowell: I have that too. Oh sorry.
Leanne Vogel: No that’s fine. That’s all I was gonna say.
Liz MacDowell: My microphone cut out, or my headphones cut out for a second. So I couldn’t quite hear what was going on.
Leanne Vogel: Oh that’s okay. Technology, it’ll do that to us sometimes. Sometimes my microphone does crazy things. I was actually interviewing someone a couple of months ago. My entire microphone setup completely fell off my desk. And it’s clipped in. It’s like bolted in. I don’t know what happened. I just like … “zing” like a slingshot. It was crazy. We had to record that episode again because it was just too much.
Tell us about your book.
Liz MacDowell: Oh yes. Thank you. I recently self-published an eBook, actually, called Meat Free Keto. I tried to keep everything on brand. It’s basically the guide that I wish I had had when I went vegan keto five years ago. It’s all the information you need on what to eat every day. Where to get your protein from, and I honestly, I include fake meat sources because you know what? People are gonna eat them, so you might as well know about them.
It’s vegetables, fruits that you can eat because you can eat fruit on keto. That’s a common misconception. It’s got great fat sources. I have information on supplementation. Honestly, most of that is about how you don’t need all of these supplements, but it does list B-12 as something you should do. Then I just have a week-long meal plan and recipes and a shopping list to go along with it to get you jump-started.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome, and sorry, are there recipes in it and how many?
Liz MacDowell: There are recipes. I don’t actually know. It’s all the recipes that are in the meal plan for that week. I should have counted that. There’s at least 8-10 recipes.
Leanne Vogel: Oh that’s awesome. Where is your go-to for recipes outside of your book? Then we’ll go back to book stuff because I have more questions about that.
Liz MacDowell: I love your website. I go to healthfulpursuit.com a lot because you have so many great allergen-friendly recipes, and I also have a few weird food allergies, so I try to avoid allergens. Pinterest is another one. Oftentimes I’ll just for keto recipes that I already know I don’t have to do anything to, I’ll look at your website, or I go to Reddit to the keto subreddit. But if there’s something that I really have a craving for, I just go to Pinterest. Find the most simple-looking of all the recipes for that thing, and then sit there and figure out how to make it vegan and keto.
Leanne Vogel: So that other people don’t have to.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah. And really, I mean my prime motivation is so that I can eat that thing within two hours, but also so that other people don’t have to.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I mean yourself first and then other people second. That’s fair totally.
Liz MacDowell: Exactly.
Leanne Vogel: What’s your favorite resource in the book. You mentioned you wished that you had had this resource when you were first starting out. What’s one thing that you really, really struggled with when you were starting out with vegan keto, and what you wanted to put in the book more than anything else?
Liz MacDowell: Protein. I know we talked about this, but finding protein sources, and I list out the … I don’t go by specific aminos because I think that in an introduction, that’s a little overwhelming. Just where to get proteins sources, when I first started out, I think I was basically just doing protein powder for protein because I didn’t know where else to find it.
I mean I knew the typical, oh like plants, or rice and beans or all the vegans’ recommendations that they give you, where they’re like, “No, but spinach has so much protein.” It’s like, “Okay, it kind of does, but I’m not gonna eat a cow’s worth of spinach to get that protein.” So I think just protein sources.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome, and we’ll include a link to your digital product in the show notes guys. So if you’re curious about Liz’s book, definitely go to healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e49, and we’ll have links directly to it. Such a great resource for people, and I don’t think there’s anything out there like this. Right?
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, and thank you. I’ve been told. I’ve done a lot of searching, and I have not found anything that’s comparable. I have found some eBooks on Amazon that say, “low-carb vegan”, but it turns out, it’s just like a regular keto recipe book that they took the meat out of the recipes, which okay.
Leanne Vogel: Like thanks for that.
Liz MacDowell: I could have done that.
Leanne Vogel: Oh totally. We chatted a little bit about the benefits that you’ve seen on keto. Anything else that we’ve kind of left out when it comes to just your keto experience, and where you’re at right now with everything?
Liz MacDowell: I think mostly just right now because my blog is getting more attention and because my Instagram account and everything is getting more attention, I’m dealing with a lot of people trying to help me and tell me that what I’m doing isn’t really keto-friendly because you can’t eat all of these foods on keto. I eat a lot of vegetables. I eat chickpeas sometimes because I like them.
I think the biggest thing that I just want to constantly remind people about is that we are each our own beautiful and wonderful snowflake, and we all have our own dietary preferences. Also, that keto isn’t a specific set of rules. It’s literally like a state of being. You are in ketosis, and however you get there is your own choice, and its own method. If it works with keto, you know?
Leanne Vogel: Said like a champ. You couldn’t have said it better. Yes. Yes. I mean, have you noticed, kind of push back on your blog of hardcore keto people telling you, just no? Like what you’re doing is just horrible?
Liz MacDowell: Oh my gosh, I had one woman, and it was a Pinterest comment, which I never get Pinterest comments because I don’t think people really utilize that a lot. But she left me a comment that will stick with me forever. It was like, “This is such misinformation and lies. You can’t eat all this on keto. She eats cashews!” I was like, “What? What is going on here? Like sorry?”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, how do you deal with those? Because I know that a lot of women in our community and men too that are keto and vegan or even not wanting to eat as much meat. They just don’t respond well to it. How do they approach the keto community, or what’s your strategy for negative comments when it comes toward your eating style, and how you choose to fuel your body on a ketogenic diet?
Liz MacDowell: Yeah. I’m a firm believer in killing people with kindness, so instead of reacting … I’ll be real. In private, I will react and be like, “Why are these people so mean?” But then, when I comment, I just like to inform people and say, “Oh thanks for leaving the comment. It’s a very interesting perspective you have there. This is just what I found works for me, and I stay in ketosis this way. It’s nice to think of a ketogenic diet as a spectrum of different ways of eating.” You know something like that, where you just try to inform. I’ll sometimes include a few links to other blogs where people talk about eating a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet or just a less meat-heavy keto diet.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, definitely. Good for you for engaging with negative comments or even comments in general. I mean, I made the mistake a little while ago of going on Amazon and reading the reviews of my book.
Liz MacDowell: Oh never do that.
Leanne Vogel: I know. I know. I know this. This is like, I mean, there’s somebody on my team specifically that deals with every single comment and email that comes through, so that I don’t have to read them because there were years, years ago, where I’d have to read everything, and it was so just hurtful. And it’s hard to take that in, especially when you feel like you have this calling to share information, and then people are like, “You’re stupid.” It’s like, “Oh my gosh.”
And how do you get over that? I think even though we’re putting ourselves out in a public space, every day … I remember when I worked in an office, and I’d come in with these weird things. I remember when I used to do juice cleanses, and people would actually pick on me and bother me and make fun of me for drinking juice out of a mason jar, and that it was green, and it looked like grass. People had a lot of hurtful things to say.
So I think even whether you have a blog or not, or you’re just putting yourself out there with your eating style, and you’re passionate about it. You really just have to ignore everything, and just do you. Even if it’s positive or negative. I mean I love the positive comments and thank you for everyone for supporting. I’m sure you feel the same way Liz. It’s just, I mean positive/negative, it shouldn’t change the way you do anything as a human being ever.
Liz MacDowell: 100% agree. That was so well said, and it’s funny because I was thinking just now. You know you cycle through all the negative comments you’ve gotten recently, and so many of them are actually from the vegan community, and not the keto community because all of my keto Instagram followers are the best people ever. All of the people who read my blog regularly, I love you all because you leave these happy, great comments, and you’re so supportive.
Then you’ll get the rogue person who comes by and is like, “Fat is gonna kill us all,” and it’s like “Oh no, why? Can’t we all be in this together? Can’t we all just accept good health no matter how a person gets to it?”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, and just respect each other’s bodies.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah, and your own choices. My body, my choice.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, and I don’t know how people have time in the day to pick on other people. I’m so busy in a day. I mean, how do you have time to even look at what someone else is eating?
Liz MacDowell: It’s so funny. I had that thought too, and I was like thinking to myself, it kind of makes me sad because these people are, I don’t know, they have that negative energy in them, and this is the way they feel like they need to get it out. Instead of going on a hike, or as you said, getting work done or just going through your day. I don’t have time-
Leanne Vogel: Or like having a nap.
Liz MacDowell: Oh my God. Right? The ultimate anger cure. Just take a nap.
Leanne Vogel: Or meditate. I mean, yeah. I think no matter who in your life is negative, really what I’ve learned is you’re never gonna change their views, unless they’re open to it. Then they’re not negative. They’re more curious.
Liz MacDowell: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: So if there’s somebody negative in your life, or somebody that said something at work that you don’t really know or on the street or at a restaurant or whatever, usually, I just set aside some space right there to just kind of honor them, and be like, “I hope you’re not hurting, and I hope you’re just okay. You just do you, and I’ll just do me. I’m sending you some love right now.”
Liz MacDowell: Exactly. Exactly. You just keep on doing you, and they’ll keep on doing them. And eventually, I feel either they’ll get to a place of acceptance or not, but you can’t do anything about … Well, I mean-
Leanne Vogel: It’s not your deal. It’s totally not your responsibility.
Liz MacDowell: Exactly. It’s not your responsibility. Mm-hmm.
Leanne Vogel: More on my interview with Liz MacDowell after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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What do you feel is missing in the keto space specifically for women?
Liz MacDowell: More of a focus on acceptance and not stressing about really all of it. I think that so much of ketosis is focused on men and dropping 100 pounds in the first two weeks, and how you managed to have that … You drank 12 beers at that party, and look, you still dropped five pounds. Then where on like the lady keto forums, we’re like, “Well I lost a half pound in my first two weeks. I think I’m doing okay. Right? Am I doing okay?”
I think we just need to stop focusing on these crazy targets that only stress us out, and start realizing that we just, I don’t know, you gotta keep on keeping on. Eventually, either it works, or it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t work, you move on.
Leanne Vogel: Totally. My last question for you is what’s your favorite keto thing to eat right now? Like right now?
Liz MacDowell: Okay, I’m gonna start this off again by saying, you’re going to laugh at me. It’s been my favorite keto thing forever, and it’s a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, and I’m happy. That’s all I need in this world.
Leanne Vogel: Wow. I’m like deathly allergic to peanuts.
Liz MacDowell: Oh so probably not yours.
Leanne Vogel: Aw man. I’ve had them a couple of times by accident, and once on purpose. I think I was nine years old, and my sister and I would go to Dairy Queen all the time, and just have Blizzards. She’d always be like, “Na-na-na-boo-boo, you can’t have Reese’s Pieces Cups in your Blizzard.” I mean little sister, come on. She pretended she was the big sister. She always picked on me. So I was nine years old, and I remember taking the bus to Dairy Queen. I got an extra large Reese’s Pieces Blizzard. I took the bus home, not eating any. I got home. I called 911, and then I ate the blizzard.
Liz MacDowell: Oh my gosh. Oh my … You premeditated this. That is so devious.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, yeah. It’s like … I mean, as a nine year old, your parents tell you you’re allergic to peanuts. You’re allergic to peanuts. And you’re like, “But I can still have them right?”
Liz MacDowell: I like them.
Leanne Vogel: “But I want them. I mean my sister can have them. All my friends can have them.” Peanut butter jars and all the things, and the Reese’s Pieces, and I don’t think I totally understood. I knew I would need an ambulance, but I didn’t know that I could die. So ever since then-
Liz MacDowell: Oh sorry. Go on.
Leanne Vogel: Ever since then, yeah, I know exactly what happens when I eat peanuts, and I will never, ever intentionally ever do that ever again.
Liz MacDowell: That’s amazing, and I kind of need to know what you told the 911 operator.
Leanne Vogel: “I’m in anaphylactic shock. Please send help.” Or something like that.
Liz MacDowell: Okay, so you went the smart route. All right, you didn’t say, “I’m about to eat a peanut Blizzard, and I’m deathly allergic.”
Leanne Vogel: You know, you’re curious as a kid, and you don’t understand the consequences, and I grew up really quickly that day knowing that when people say that something’s dangerous. Yeah, probably it is.
Liz MacDowell: I have to respect the fact though, that you were aware that you had to call that ambulance first.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I knew that that’s what needed to happen, but I thought they would just like stab me with an epi-pen, and I’d be on my way. But I was in the hospital for almost two weeks.
Liz MacDowell: Wow!
Leanne Vogel: It was serious. It was serious, and I only got like one scoop in.
Liz MacDowell: Wow!
Leanne Vogel: It tasted horrible because I just had this reaction in my mouth, and it got all fuzzy. I just hated it, so I’m so jealous that you can actually taste peanut butter.
Liz MacDowell: Well, sunflower seed butter is a close approximation, if that makes you feel any better?
Leanne Vogel: Oh is it? Okay cool.
Liz MacDowell: It it. Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: You know, I don’t really like sunflower seed butter. Interesting.Liz MacDowell: Yeah, maybe you just genuinely don’t like peanuts. It’s just this alluring thing because you can’t have it. Leanne Vogel: Yes. Oh my gosh, do I have that in me. It’s like, “You can’t have that.” “Okay, well I’m gonna get that tomorrow then.” Liz MacDowell: And call an ambulance first. Leanne Vogel: Yeah, exactly, call an ambulance first. I’ll never do that again. Silly child. Where can people find more from you. Liz MacDowell: You can find me, all of my keto recipes are at meatfreeketo.com, and then I just have a bunch of nutrition rambling at healthygamergirl.com. Leanne Vogel: Love it. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today Liz. I had a blast as always. Liz MacDowell: Thank you so much for having me. Leanne Vogel: Of course, anytime. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e49. All the links we chatted about today will be on there and thanks again. Liz MacDowell: Thanks. Leanne Vogel: That does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. Check out all my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at HealthfulPursuit.com/shop, and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye!
I work on finding the best products that have quality ingredients, care about their customers, and have integrity. The brand(s) I’ve shared here are awesome, and I stand behind them 100%. Opinions in this blog post are never ever influenced by the partner. Like, never!
This entry was tagged: dairy-free keto, eating high-fat, eating keto, eating low-carb, health, high-fat cooking, holistic nutrition, how eat keto, keto, keto basics, keto diet, keto for women, ketogenic, ketogenic for women, low-carb, low-carb cooking, paleo
HI! I’M LEANNE
Nutrition educator + keto enthusiast. I want to live in a world where every woman loves her body, nourishing fats are enjoyed at every meal, and the word “restriction” isn’t in the dictionary.