RACHEL'S RUMINATIONS: Yin (plant-based) versus yang (keto)


Like so many aspects of life, there is no one perfect diet for everyone.

In my household of three, one individual discovered that his gout remains under marvelous control if he incorporates a largely plant-based diet, while the other two individuals need additional animal protein and fat to optimize their glycemic control.

Recently, I read two fascinating cookbooks, each of which embraces one side of this diverse dietary spectrum.

“The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100”

First some background on “the blue zones” for those not familiar with this phrase.

The author, Dan Buettner, discovered five places in the world where people live the longest. The “blue zones” include the Barbagia region of Sardinia, Ikaria (Greece), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Okinawa (Japan), and Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda (California).


The nine common denominators among these particular places which confer longevity include moderate regular physical activity, sense of purpose, routines to shed stress, 80 percent rule (no overeating/moderate food consumption), plant-based diet, moderate wine consumption (1-2 servings per day), faith and emphasis on family life, community.

This book vies for a position on your coffee table or other home display area – it is filled with awesome photos.

The book has five chapters highlighting the cuisine from each blue zone.

The introduction includes the following tips for eating to 100 years old: add cruciferous vegetables, use fewer ingredients (blue zone diets tend to use the same 20 or so ingredients), make beans tasty, finish dishes with olive oil, supplement with fresh herbs and spices, fiber, enjoy your meals with red wine.

The intro also includes blue zone guidelines: 90-plus percent plant based, retreat from meat, limit fish, reduce dairy and eggs, daily beans, slash sugar, nuts as snacks, sourdough bread, whole goods and drink water.

The book ends by summarizing the top longevity ingredients from each region.

“The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet”

Admittedly, I was not completely sold on this extreme dietary modification with its emphasis on 80 percent fat intake and many anecdotes of copious amounts of dairy fat.

I am happy to report that I have found an invaluable resource with this thorough guide on implementing the keto diet with minimal dairy fat and fewer limitations on low-starch vegetables. She lists five separate fat fueled profiles: classic keto, pumped keto, full keto, adapted fat burner, and daily fat burner, with guidance on how to determine which profile matches individual health goals.


This program is certainly not ideal for those individuals with nut and/or avocado food allergies as many of the recipes call for coconut or almond. Leanne Vogel does list alternate suggestions for those with almond allergies, but some of the recipes might still be difficult to incorporate.

She provides 437 pages of solid guidance on why and how to implement her variation on the keto diet. There are more than 125 recipes and she includes photos with each recipe, which I find helpful to envision what the finished product should look like.

No matter where a person is on their wellness journey, either of these books will provide motivation to tweak a person’s daily habits and offer a new approach to wellness.

As I mentioned in my last article, gut health is paramount for proper immune function and what you put in your mouth directly impacts intestinal and immune health.

Rachel Oppitz has lived in Park Rapids with her husband, daughter and dog since 2006. She is a naturopathic doctor and owns Itasca Naturopathic Clinic in Park Rapids and Bemidji. In her spare time, she loves to read, workout with friends, play games, do jigsaw puzzles, camp, hike, bike, canoe, travel, do guided meditations on Insight Timer, try new recipes, listen to music and journal.


Related Topics: BOOKS
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