The ketogenic diet is the diet on everyone’s lips right now.

While the “keto” diet is a hot topic right now, the diet itself is nothing new. Developed almost 100 years ago to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, researchers discovered that fasting helped reduce the number of seizures patients were experiencing. What they also found was that patients were reducing levels of body fat, cholesterol, blood sugar and hunger.

The keto diet was designed with the idea that a significant reduction of carbohydrates and an increase of fats might produce the same health benefits by tricking the body into thinking it were fasting, even when it wasn’t. Clever.

Studies suggest the most significant ketogenic activity is linked to enhanced mitochondrial function and the reduction of oxidative stress (inflammation). Inflammation is associated with almost every known chronic disease. The keto diet has been used to manage conditions related to auto-immunity, neurological deficits, metabolic health, heart health, type 2 diabetes and PCOS.

The goal is to reach a state of ketosis – that is, when the body switches it’s primary source of energy from glycogen to burning fat for fuel. Other health benefits from achieving nutritional ketosis may include:

• Increased energy
• Mental clarity
• Improved blood pressure
• Reduced serum triglycerides and total cholesterol + increased HDL (good) cholesterol
• Improved skin conditions, including acne
• Improved blood sugar control and fewer food cravings (4pm snack attack anyone?)
• Weight loss

All ketogenic diets are not created equal.

Many people embark on a keto diet with a widely-held view that it’s primarily bacon, eggs, steak and cheese. What if the keto and the plant-based worlds collide? More nutrients from vegetables, particularly leafy greens, and healthy plant-based fats like plant oils, avocados, coconuts/ coconut products, nuts and seeds. The plant-full version offers a nutrient profile that is much higher in fibre, antioxidants, plant phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids – all of which are indicated as heart healthy, disease-preventative, anti-inflammatory gifts of nature.

Venerdi delivers their new Keto Hemp & Linseed bread that packs a superpower punch of ingredients which fit this plant-rich criteria. Ingredients like green banana flour (GBF), hemp seeds and konjac are nutrient ninjas well suited to the keto diet, and any diet!

Low carbohydrate, moderate protein, generous amounts of healthy fats and a celebration of nutrient-dense, plant-based ingredients – this is what a healthy ketogenic approach to nutrition is all about!

The consumption of Green banana flour (GBF) is fast-growing due to its nutritional value and known health benefits. Rich in essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin E and zinc, GBF is considered a “functional food” – one which is health-giving beyond what basic nutrition can provide. GBF is so abundant in potassium that just two tablespoons contain the potassium of seven whole bananas. Studies have shown GBF consumption may increase satiety and improve body composition, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and overall inflammatory markers.

Konjac fibre has played a role in nutrition and traditional medicine for thousands of years in Asian cultures. As a plant-based medicine, konjac root was traditionally used for such things as detoxification, and for blood and skin disorders. Konjac is high in fibre and low in calories. Glucomannan is the superstar constituent of this plant – a sugar made from the root. Glucomannan has been shown to:
• Act as a natural prebiotic to feed friendly gut bacteria
• Increase satiety after eating
• Provide constipation relief
• Reduce cholesterol
• Improve blood sugar control.

Hemp seeds are also known as hemp hearts. Learning this immediately gives the impression that these tiny treats have a lot of love to give. With nature’s signature, hemp hearts are also heart protective. Nature is cool like that. Deliciously rich in fatty acids, they provide a cardio-protective omega balance that is ideal for optimal wellbeing.

Not only do hemp hearts contain important plant-based fats, they are a great source of protein (40g protein/cup). Hemp hearts serve up all 20 amino acids, 9 of which are “essential”. This means we must obtain them from our diet as our bodies cannot produce their own. Amino acid arginine also adds to the cardioprotective qualities of this super seed. A complete protein served with generous helpings of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sulfur, vitamin E and zinc, make hemp hearts the total package.

There is never a “one size fits all” when it comes to nutrition. We all have our own unique biochemistry that must be nourished in a way that supports a body that is also your home – one that feels really good to live in. Listen to your body and find what works best for you.

Niki Loe
Naturopath & Medical herbalist – Holistic nutritionist – Personal Trainer – Pilates & Yoga