What Vegetables Are Best on a Ketogenic Diet?

I’ve always liked veggies.  You know those kids that sit and stare at the veggies on their plate refusing to eat them?  Absolutely never me.  If you put it in front of me, I ate it, with the exception of Lima beans.

Since I’ve started eating keto I’ve experimented with a lot of different veggie recipes and really had to look into the carb content of my veggies. It didn’t make a huge difference in the beginning but as I lost more and more weight, I really had to keep a tight rein on what I was eating to keep my carb content as low as possible.

So lets look at the different types of vegetables, their carb content and which ones we should focus on.

Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens are the best choice on keto.  This includes Spinach, Kale, Lettuces, Greens and Sprouts.  Basically if it looks like a leaf, you can eat it without worrying about the carb content.

Cruciferous vegetables

These are veggies from the cabbage family and include Arugula, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Collard greens, Daikon radish, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Land cress, Mustard greens, Radish, Rutabaga, Shepherd’s purse,  Turnip, and Watercress.  These veggies have a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients and are also very low in carbohydrates.

Other Low Carb Vegetables

There are a few other veggies that don’t fit into those 2 camps that are still very low carb.  These include Bamboo shoots, Asparagus, Cucumber, Pickles, Taro Shoots, Celery, Summer Squash, Endive, Nopales, Peppers, Green Beans, and tomatoes.

If you would like to see where your favorite veggie falls on the list or see how all vegetables stack up on carb count, just go to the USDA Nutrient Database and search.

Vegetables to Limit on Keto

Roots and Tubers

You have to very careful with vegetables that grow underground like roots and tubers, they are higher in carb content than the ones that grow above ground.  Some like carrots and onions are ok if you just have a serving or 2 a day.

If you have listened to one of the videos I do on this subject, you have heard me say that no one got fat from eating too many carrots.  Having said that though, please know that if you have a badly damages metabolism, you may need to totally eliminate all roots vegetables until you have at least somewhat healed your Insulin Resistance. (Although it is hard to imagine someone in worse health than I was and I never limited roots veggies.  I only cut out tubers and lost 200 lbs.)

As for tubers, these are things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Yams.  These are just too high in carbohydrate for them to be a part of your diet and consistently stay in a ketogenic state.

In case anyone is wondering, the difference between tubers and roots are in the root structure.  Root vegetables like carrots will only have one vegetable per plant but tubers like potatoes will have multiple vegetables per plant.

Grains and Legumes

Grains include things like Wheat, Corn, Rye, Barley, Rice, and Oats.  These are way too high in carbs to be enjoyed, especially when they are heavily processed.

Legumes are beans and include any bean you can think of.  Green beans are low in carbs but the rest of them are very “carby”.  Peanuts are also technically legumes and not nuts.

An Alternative

There is of course an alternative to all of this, the carnivore diet.  You don’t eat any vegetables whatsoever when you are doing this and many people report fantastic health benefits when doing this.  If you would like to do some research on this, I would start with the 2 podcasts I did with Amber O’Hearn here and here and check out the zerocarb subreddit.  The admin of that subreddit will be a future guest on the podcast.


Here are a few of my favorite vegetable recipes!

Crispy Keto Cauliflower Hashbrown Recipe!

Ketogenic Grilled Cheese Recipe!

Cheesy Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Recipe!

Keto Zucchini Dip Recipe!

Baked Kale Chips Recipe!

Broccoli Chips Recipe

Roasted Broccoli and Cheese Recipe!

Roasted Radishes and Lemon Greens Recipe!

My Super Simple Guacamole Recipe!

Sugar Free BBQ Squash Recipe!

Low Carb Stuffed Jalapenos Recipe!

Grilled Garlic Green Beans Recipe!

Low Carb Cauliflower Tots Recipe!

Sugar Free Recipe: How to Make Beet Chips!

Chili Lime Brussels Sprouts Recipe!

Sugar Free Cauliflower Mash Recipe!

Sugar Free Butternut Squash Recipe!

Sugar Free Cucumber Dill Salad Recipe!

Sugar Free Fire Roasted Salsa Recipe!

Sugar Free Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe!

Delicious Slow Cooker Okra and Tomato Sugar Free Recipe!

Easy Sugar Free Sauteed Cabbage Recipe!

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8/1 Weightloss Wednesday: Operation OMAD

It’s time for Weightloss Wednesday!  As of this morning I am 234.6 lbs and my weight has gone crazy up and down by more than 5 lbs in the last 2 weeks.  I’m not used to seeing it vary that much in a few days.  I know some of that is water but still it’s a lot more than normal.

I like to do little experiments from time to time and see how they affect my body.  I talked last time how I’ve cut out tea to see if the tannins are causing my elevated blood pressure.  In addition to that, I think August is going to be OMAD month as I commit to eating just one meal a day to see what happens.

This isn’t coming out of nowhere.  I have been eating one meal a day on most of the days I work for a while and enjoy it but try to eat 3 meals on my days off as well as the occasional snack.  There are a couple reasons why I want to make the change.  First of all, I just want to see if I can do it.  While keto has helped me no be hungry often, I still do occasionally get hungry and want to see if that is something I can manipulate.

Second, I feel like there are times when I eat because I’ve run out of other things to do, especially on my days off.  I’ll be sitting here working on my blog or watching TV and just start running through all the things in the kitchen I could eat.  It is actually quite annoying and I’d like to see if I can break that habit.

Third, I want to lose about 40 lbs.  I know that’s not happening this month but I sure would like to move the needle a bit.  These 35 lbs that have kind of crept on over the last year annoy the living Hell out of me and I’m ready for them to go away.  My pants I bought when I was 200 lbs are…let’s just say snug.

So that’s my goal for August and I will definitely keep you guys apprised of how things are going.

In the meantime, let me know how you guys are doing on your health journey in the comments below!

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This Week in Low Carb News: Raccoons are Getting Fat Like Us and South Park Gets it Right!

Every week I come across a bunch of articles I want to tweet about and comment on and every week I run out of time to do it.  This is my attempt to clear out the open tabs on my browser by putting them all in one place.  Enjoy!

How the Cereal Industry Wins Friends and Targets Enemies – A really great look at how the cereal industry works to influence politicians and tastemakers to get you to eat more grains.

Cereal could be over with declining sales forcing companies to think of new products – This article blames “snackification” for the decline in breakfast cereals but maybe are wising up to the fact that eating breakfast cereal is a great way to get fat.

Overbranded, Underprotected – How crappy foods are marketed to your kids.

Urban diet leading to fat, hyperglycemic raccoons, new study finds – So I live next to a nature preserve and fight a never-ending and mostly losing battle to keep raccoons and other critters out of my trash.  Turns out eating human foods is as good for the raccoons as it is for the humans.

Vegetarian And ‘Healthy’ Diets May Actually Be Worse For The Environment, Study Finds – Yes!  Of course wide spread monoculture agriculture is bad for the environment!

Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse – Remember when the American Heart Association said exactly the opposite?  I remember.  Shame on you!

You certainly don’t expect South Park to get this right.

Great tweet pointing out that once again, vegans are wrong about everything.

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The My Sugar Free Journey Podcast – Episode 93: Amber O’Hearn and the Carnivore Diet

In this week’s My Sugar Free Journey Podcast, we are talking to Amber O’Hearn about the Carnivore Diet!

Remember that you can follow us on iTunes and I would really appreciate a review there on iTunes.  Thanks!

Podcast Shownotes

If you would like to hear more from Amber, follow her on Twitter here, Or read her Ketotic website here or her empiri.ca website here.

You can also hear the previous interview with Amber here.

6 Quick Health Improvements From Lowering Insulin!

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6 Quick Health Improvements From Lowering Insulin!

Insulin.  Insulin.  Insulin.  Every time I speak to someone about how I eat and the benefits I’ve seen, the conversation hinges on insulin.  I have learned that if I can just get the one big idea that insulin is the body’s fat storage hormone into their head, I at least have a shot at making them understand what is going on.

However, weight loss isn’t the only benefit from reducing your insulin load but sometimes all the other health improvements I’ve seen just can’t be fit into the conversation no matter how much time I have.  So what I thought I would do is give a quick rundown of the benefits you typically see when reducing your insulin very soon into the process.  So we won’t be talking about how it protects you from the “diseases of civilization” like Alzheimer’s or cancer but the things you typically see on a blood test or a Doctor’s visit within the first 6 months or so of eating keto.

Weight Loss – I know that for most people, this is the biggie so I wanted to start with this one.  If you will lower your insulin you will lose weight pretty quickly at first but then as you keep it low over time, you will start losing body fat a little at a time.  You can see how I did it here but since insulin is your body’s fat storage hormone, the lower it is the more weight you lose.

Lower Triglycerides – An easy way to think of Triglycerides is to see them as energy without a use.  If you have high triglycerides, you have a lot of energy in your blood that doesn’t have a place to go.  You aren’t burning it through exercise or feeding hungry muscle tissue or even storing it in your overstuffed fat cells.  It just roams around your bloodstream causing problems.  Lower Trig numbers means the energy from your food is being used efficiently.  The lower that Trig number, the better.

Lower Small Dense LDL Particles – You’ve probably heard that LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol.  We now know that not all LDL particles are the same and the smaller and more dense an LDL particle is, the worse it is for.  These small dense LDL particles are so small they can fit between the cells in your tissues and act as a wedge causing tiny tears.  Your body responds to this by covering those tears with a layer of cholesterol, causing build ups within the arteries.  Eat fewer foods that raise insulin and lower your small dense LDL count.  Do that long enough and you may be able to reverse existing CVD or at least not let it get worse.

Lower Uric Acid – I remember a very defining moment in my journey.  In the very early days of doing research on this way of eating, I was reading a book on the dangers of sugar and Fructose in particular.  (I don’t remember which one exactly)  The author mentioned the link between Fructose and gout, saying that fructose caused increased uric acid which led to gout which was a precursor to serious cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.  It stuck out to me because at the time I thought gout was an “Old-Timey” disease that no one got anymore.  I mean, I remember reading in History class that King Louis VIII or somebody had it but no one I knew.  The next day I learned that one of the men I went to church with (who eventually became my son’s Father in Law) had gout and I remember thinking how odd it was to hear about that disease so close to reading that passage in the book.  I thought I should tell him what I read but I didn’t get the chance because he had a heart attack the next week.  He’s fine now but it was amazing how the truth of what I was reading was driven home so clearly to me.

Decreased Inflammation – The inflammation in your body goes away QUICK when you stop eating sugar and processed grains.  I had just changed my diet and hadn’t even really lost any weight when my wedding ring flew off my hand across a parking lot never to be seen again.  I noticed that I could see the veins and ligaments in my hand when previously they were so puffy, they might as well have been Mickey Mouse glove hands.  Since then my joint pain has gone as well as my asthma.  The inflammation going away is again one of the things that happens long before you lose the weight and you will feel noticeably better.

Lower Blood Pressure – The higher levels of uric acid in the blood also reduces levels of Nitric Oxide.  Nitric Oxide makes your blood vessels more flexible so if your Nitric Oxide levels are low, your stiffer blood vessels means your BP increases.  Hopefully it never gets as high as mine did (238/180) but anything over 120/80 (or the new level of 130/90) means you have a problem.  Once you get rid of the sugar and grains, you should see a drop in your BP as well.

So these are the things you will see improvements in very quickly once you start the Ketogenic diet.  Overall, the lower your insulin levels, the better your health will be, not just in the long term but the short term as well.

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