From Vegan to “Keto:” 8 Ways my Health Improved.

steak meat protein dish 

Editor’s Note: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.


Two years ago, in an effort to address systemic inflammation from a chronic medical condition, my doctor put me on a plant-based diet.

While I had extraordinary results at the beginning of my plant-based diet regimen, all of my symptoms gradually returned over time.

It was frustrating, to say the least.

Deeming that not all bodies are the same and that not everyone responds to a particular diet in the same way, my doctor decided that I needed to try another approach and recommended a high-fat, high-protein Ketogenic (Keto) diet.

Overnight, I went from eating a diet that consisted of fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes with reduced fats and oils, to a diet that consisted of natural fats from meat, dairy, and meat products that restricted carbohydrates such as fruit, whole grains and legumes.

It was quite a change from dinner on Friday night consisting of roasted veggies and brown rice with almonds and raisins to dinner on Saturday night consisting of chicken cooked in butter with creamed spinach and bacon for dinner.

Although I felt hesitant about switching my diet at first, once I started on the Keto bandwagon, I noticed many unexpected positive health changes.

When I first switched to Keto however, I didn’t feel good. My doctor told me that I might feel “a little foggy, fatigued and weak” while my body adapted to using ketones rather than glucose for energy and she was right. It’s not that I was bed-ridden, but I was definitely not at the top of my game.

I hadn’t really eaten butter since the 1970s when the fat-free boom hit American consciousness, and boy oh boy, does eating butter ever bring back flavorful memories—Italian garlic bread made with butter, fettuccini with nothing but butter and parmesan cheese on it.

It took me by surprise just how much of a comfort food butter was—not that I would be eating the bread and the pasta!

While the plant-based diet I had previously been on had reduced my inflammation and swelling at first, it had come back and after only a week. On Keto it was gone again.

I slept better.

I went from sleeping lightly and intermittently to sleeping deeply and restfully through a whole night. I especially noticed that I wasn’t having nightmares anymore! Could it be that old wives’ tale about nightmares being caused by what you eat was always true?

My digestion improved.

The thing that surprised me the most was that my chronic indigestion disappeared. I’d expected that eating all that fat and meat protein would give me problems, but quite the opposite was true.

I lost weight

My scale did show a two pound loss after one week on the Keto plan.

I felt full

Since I felt sated all day long, I didn’t get “hangry.” This not only made me a much friendlier restaurant patron, but also kept me from the I’m Starving/Feed Me Right Now/I Can’t Get Enough to Eat blues.

Less cravings.

Wonder of wonders: My craving for sugars and sweets, including alcohol, disappeared. During the first two to three days I noticed that I missed my pre-dinner cocktail but the desire didn’t last long and it wasn’t hard to handle at all.

Sounds good, huh?

There’s more though—more that doesn’t have as much to do with the physical effects of my change to Keto than it has to do with the ethical/environmental/spiritual effects, (which I’ll discuss in another article),

Summary of the benefits I noticed from changing to a Keto Diet:

1.      Comfort foods

2.      Reduction in swelling

3.      Improved quality of sleep

4.      Better digestion

6.      Sated feeling

7.      Elimination of food-induced mood swings

8.      Less cravings

I’m glad to have this dietary option to continue addressing my pain and discomfort.




Author: Carmelene Siani

Images: Flickr/hegyessy, Featured Image: Video Still

Editor: Travis May





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Carmelene Melanie Siani Dec 16, 2016 1:04am

Yes. You are ccorrect. I didn't state that well or as specifically in my article. Thanks.

Roger L. Cauvin Nov 28, 2016 10:37pm

Just a note that high protein inhibits ketosis. The body has a short metabolic path to produce glucose from protein. If you eat a lot of protein, it will tend to choose the glucose path instead of the path to producing ketones and fatty acids as the primary fuel. Typically, a ketogenic diet is high in fat, *moderate* in protein, and low in carbs.

Carmelene Melanie Siani Nov 27, 2016 11:17pm

Liz Schroeder The thing I am now convinced of is that we have to listen to our OWN bodies! There really is no one-diet-fits-all. I appreciate the fact that my doctor is aware of this -- after all, she was the one who recommended Vegan to begin with. Thank your comment. It feels supportive and validating and it is so good to hear from someone who has "been there and done that."

Liz Schroeder Nov 27, 2016 10:38pm

I do keto and I love it. Paige, just because it's not right for you doesn't mean it's bad. Keto is my body's preferred mode. And what about the use of a ketogenic diet to halt seizures? That is very real science with proven benefits. However, having been keto for many years off and on, I prefer vegan foods to many animal products now. Yes! It's possible. I eat lots of olives, nuts, coconut oil, green veggies, hemp seeds, eggs, and smaller amounts of meat and dairy. My body loves to run on fat, but I find my appetite doesn't always want flesh and too much dairy can be problematic for me.

Carmelene Melanie Siani Nov 27, 2016 6:03pm

Forgot to that there are arguments on both sides about the healthiness of both keto and vegan. I am not making a recommendation with my article --- but am merely sharing my personal experience.

Carmelene Melanie Siani Nov 27, 2016 5:51pm

Veggies-2 years. Keto-1 month. Weight loss isn't my goal -- addressing systemic inflammation and low metabolism is. Keto is a short term intervention to accomplish that goal.

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Carmelene Siani

Carmelene is a 77-year-old freelance writer who has been published at Elephant Journal, Better after 50, Huffington Post, The Reader, and Broad Magazine among others. Her stories are personal narratives on grief, family, food, and late-life love. Her aim is to help others see the ways that life is constantly opening to reveal its own lessons. She lives by the dictum of Muriel Rukeyser that “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

Follow her on Facebook, on her blog and at Twitter.