Ketogenic Diet and Electrolytes:
keto dangers and how to avoid them
How to Safely Go Keto Vegan
So you’ve been rocking our 21 day meal plan and carb-dropping like a superstar. Weight is falling off, you’re in the keto zone. Mission accomplished…happy dancing!
Then you fall in a big heap. Twitchy, feverish, confusion and fatigue…and so…very…THIRSTY. What gives? You were supposed to feel amazing right? Yeah you got it. The dreaded “Keto Flu.” But before you throw your (cashew) nuts in the air and run off to the carb-o-market, let me explain what’s happening. And the good news, it’s quite an easy fix. Firstly, give your body a pat on the bum, it’s being a champion adjusting to a whole new way of eating and burning energy. Change is a change, and all change takes some getting used to. The reason why you drop weight rapidly when you first get into the low carb zone is because you’re burning fat, yes; but also because you lose a LOT of water. With lower levels of insulin, your kidneys retain less water, and out with the water goes electrolytes. Please don’t start drowning yourself in Gatorade, that’s not good for you – there’s a healthier, more efficient way.
Meander with me through historical cultures and salt. Salt has been long treasured in our history. There have been wars over salt. In ancient times it was used as currency. Consider the ancient proverb “not worth their salt.” The Ancient Greeks traded their slaves for salt.
Appearing in the records of the Chinese Xia Dynasty, salt was used to preserve fish in around 2,000 BC. By 500 BC they had a go at preserving soy beans with salt. As a result, soy sauce was born! Oh what I would give to get my hands on a jar of ancient organic soy sauce. In Egypt, salt was mixed with water and vinegar into “Oxalme.” This concoction was then combined with fish and fish parts (poor fishy) to make an ancestor of today’s fish sauce. One ancient Epicurean philosopher wrote, “There is no better food than salted vegetables.” Profound.
So revered, the value of salt has taken on a superstitious, supernatural application. It was sprinkled on the stage of traditional Japanese theatres to protect the actors from evil spirits. My personal favourite…in Haiti the only way to bring a zombie back to life is with salt. lol. To this day, I still throw a pinch over my left shoulder if I spill salt (for God knows what reason) thanks to the Ancient Romans. Many of Napoleon’s troops died while on retreat from Moscow due to a salt deficiency. Don’t worry – that’s not gonna happen to you. Ok, so you get it, salt is good. But what on Earth (or in the lab) actually is it?
So electrolytes are good hey? I thought salt was bad…what’s the story?
Well electrolytes are basically salt. Since I was a child it had been drummed into me that salt was bad news – not true. The key is getting healthy, natural salts and not the iodized imposters, we’ll get into that more later; but firstlet’s appreciate salt.
Sciency physiological electrolyte stuff (well, as far as I can decipher it)
The primary ion composition of electrolytes are:
Salt – naturally occuring chemical compound (sodium) OR Sodium 23NA – Chemical derived from saltChloride – Negatively charged Ion responsible for acid balance, fluid regulation and nerve transmission.Potassium – Alkali metal first isolated from the ashes of plants. Vital for the function of all living cells.Calcium – Reactive alkaline earth metal. Fifth most abundant element in the human body. Bone formation, cell messenger, fertilizer.Magnesium – Alkaline earth metal essential to all human body cells and around 300 enzymes.Phosphate – Polyatomic ion. Their presence in the proteins in our cells are responsible for regulating our metabolism.Bicarbonate – An anion second most abundant in the blood. Maintain the body’s acid-base.
Bicarbonate ions are created by a chemical beginning with oxygen and water. We really are creatures composed of the Earth.
Natural ocean or spring sources salt vs processed iodized salt
Pure white table salt is the result of highly processed natural salts that have been chemically cleaned to remove all “impurities.” These so-called impurities happen to be the vast majority of the above essential minerals. What you are served with is 99% Sodium Chloride – not in its natural form. Additives such as Aluminium hydroxide are introduced to prevent ‘clumping’ so it can be easily poured. Oh, how convenient.
Naturally occurring crystalline ocean or spring salts retain buckets of trace minerals. Unrefined, with no additives the flavour is rich and complex. Himalayan pink salt is the most mineral-packed, cleanest salt presented to us by our planet.
Containing over 84 minerals and trace elements including all the electrolyte essentials and more. You get so much more out of this gift of nature. I have tried tons of brands – this is my all-time favourite. Yes it can be pricey – but I find I use a lot less of this one because it’s so dense with goodies.
How to do salt right
So vegan keto peeps, if you’re suffering in these early stages, stay out of this salt-less dehydrated rut you need to add more salt to your diet. We get some salts and minerals out of our veggies and whole foods; but when we’re dropping so much fluid it’s not enough.
For the love of salt don’t touch salty, sugary, processed drinks – a tasty sprinkle of the Gem of the Himalayas on your meals and a plenty of water with a pinch of the earth’s electrolytes is all you should need. In saying that, I do usually keep an electrolyte supplement on hand just in case.
Did you know age-defying athlete Tom Brady adds Himalayan salt to every glass of water he drinks. Tom and Giselle are onto something, and now we are too! Who’s the cool hydrated cucumber now?!
Sharing is caring…