When discussing nutrition and what ‘healthy’ food means, I like to think of it in terms of the ‘HI’ (Human Interference) factor. That way, you don’t need to get hung up on the specifics of each macro but can view food in a more relaxed, simplistic way. When putting together a meal or snack, all you need to do is ask: “Was this plant/animal recently alive in nature running around or growing somewhere?” If the answer is yes – eat it. If you answer no, leave it! When you are shopping you will find most of the fresh, low HI foods to be on the outer edges of the supermarket. Avoid stepping into the aisles of brightly-coloured packaging and clever marketing – despite the claims, they will not help you on your journey to good health. You just need to step outside the square and reset.
I can reassure you, carbohydrate in its processed form is not an essential nutrient. We can get ample carbs for our needs in foods such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products to sustain our bodies. The bonus is that these low HI foods also contain a host of other important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, protein and fat. Starchy carbohydrates and grain-based foods provide very few micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and minimal protein and fat. This means they are quickly converted to sugar by the body and then stored as fat, not used efficiently for energy. Consuming a high-carb diet is likely to lead to inflammation and poor health in the long run.
By including a good amount and a wide variety of vegetables, along with a variety of other foods such as dairy, meats (especially organ meats), fruit, nuts and seeds, you don’t need to be concerned at all about nutrient deficiencies on a keto diet. In fact, by swapping carb-heavy foodstuffs such as bread and pasta with even more vegetables, you are further loading up on the good stuff!