Nutrition is a topic which is complex and to a certain degree controversial. On Youtube high- and low-carb advocates compete with one another. Yet a high-carb, low-carb, keto, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, mediterranean or raw-food based diet is preferable to any type of diet which includes ready meals, and, in particular, fast food. Even a vegan diet is not automatically healthy. For example, foods such as fries, crisps, vegan pizza (with white flour) and drinks such as soft drinks, wine and beer are vegan but not particularly good for one's health.

In all of the above diets high quantities of local fruit and vegetables are recommended. Sweet desserts (with rafined sugar) and other sweets rarely make the cut. Thankfully, there are a growing number of sugar substitutes which provide real alternatives and, on top of that, are vegan.

My favourite dietary regimes are vegan (without fries and crisps), vegan-mediterranean, and vegan-ketogenic which is normally combined with sufficient amounts of raw foods which I sporadically eat exclusively. On a daily basis I attempt to include dishes with lentils and hummus. I consume restricted amounts of wine, olive oil (I use linseed-, rapeseed-, walnut-, thistle-, and grapeseed oil just as often) and nuts, and these form my daily drive towards a vegan, mediterranean slow-carb way of eating.

The book* “Ernährungskompass” (“Nutritional Compass”) categorizes, above all, olive oil as extremely healthy. Rüdiger Dahlke's book “Peacefood” talks of the high quantity of omega 3 in the oil. Nevertheless, a low-fat diet is thought to be preferable. The amount of oil which I should use remains, for now, unsettled. At the moment I either practice moderation or forego it completely. Renowned experts who suggest following a vegan diet recommend eating only small amounts of nuts and seeds. Oils should be used sparingly or not at all. Perhaps Neal D. Barnard's books will help me to make up my mind. Interesting films on the topic include “What the health“ and “Eating you alive”.

In the following I will explore a few core messages which I consider interesting. This will be informed by my personal history of illness. For vegetarians and vegans the standard high-carb diet is not the only option. With a bit of practice slow-, low-carb, or keto diets can be just as easily implemented. Segments of the material are no longer up-to-date, as these refer to the beginnings of my dietary changes, however, they contributed significantly to the development of my current dietary regime.

Meat, sausages and junk food once had a significant presence in my diet. As a result, making the changes required was a long process. For the most part I no longer miss the so-called “tasty morsels”, however, the temptation remains. For this reason I regularly investigate the benefits of a vegan, mediterranean diet and attempt to implement a diet containing purely raw, vegan and ketogenic food stuffs.

The ketogenic diet has received many positive endorsements, from those who have tried it as well as from experts. Refraining from eating sugar consistently does not just lead to a better quality of life for those with autism; it is also thought to enhance brain regeneration in cases of severe depression and phychosis. Other important factors to mention include cardio training, quality of sleep (up to 8 hours on a consistent basis), the consumption of omega 3 as a dietary supplement and a range of fasting techniques. A positive consequence of lower insulin levels brought about by forgoing sugar is the increased secretion of the growth hormone.

If the ketogenic diet were to be implemented strictly – meaning 60 percent fats, 35 percent proteins and 5 percent carbohydrates – the blood would be amply supplied with ketones. These would in turn replace sugar which would allow you to stay awake and productive all day long without caffeine. This is because growth hormone and ketones are a greater stimulant than any energy drink could be.

That is of course only partly true. During every meal insulin is secreted, regardless of what one eats. Nevertheless, the quantity is much smaller than it would be if a diet rich in carbohydrates was to be followed. Anyone who is willing to forego starch and sugar will be less tired after a meal and will not become immediately hungry afterwards. Furthermore, it is easier to maintain one's weight with a ketogenic diet. In my case the effects of a ketogenic diet were very pleasing, in particular with regard to medication and listlessness. My medication generally leads people to put on weight, and yet I was able to lose weight with this diet. My productivity gradually improved which was helped by my consistently healthy sleeping patterns and training regime.

At the moment I primarily use the ketogenic diet in order to smoothen the transition to a period of fasting. As already mentioned, there are many delicious ketogenic meals which can be enjoyed as part of a vegan, nutritious or raw food-based diet. Personally, I have made it my goal to exclusively, or rather, constantly provide my brain with ketones in the coming months.

Gradually, I began to inform myself in ever more detail about different nutrition-related topics and came to the conclusion that the high quantity of cheese and meat products in the ketogenic diet is unhealthy in the long-term. In my first attempts to follow a ketogenic diet large quantities of meat (even cold cuts) and cheese formed part of my meal plans.

As previously mentioned, when I follow low-carb or ketogenic diets, I follow them exclusively. I use vegetable fats in moderation or completely forgo them temporarily. Currently, I am paying attention to my state of health with and without fats and am looking into the optimal way to supply the brain with nutrients. I already think it comprehensible that a low-fat, vegetarian diet may quickly act to improve circulation and prevent many diseases.

Should you find it difficult to make the change towards a completely vegan diet, it is worth reading the book “Der Ernährungskompass” (“The Nutritional Compass”) (simply click on books within this blog). It does not do any harm to consume a small amount of high-quality meat, taken exclusively from grass-fed animals. According to the “Nutritional Compass”, cheese and unsweetened yoghurt even have the effect of increasing one's life expectancy. Nonetheless, I believe it to be recommendable to observe one's state of health when no milk products are consumed.

As far as I know, the “China study” so often quoted by vegans only takes into account the harmful effects of normal, industrially processed meat and dairy products. However, in my opinion it is important to note that the consumption of milk – which in accordance with nature is only meant to be used for raising calves at a fast rate – is most likely unbeneficial. I used to think that lactose intolerance was a rare and singular occurence. In fact, the opposite is true as the majority of the world's population is lactose intolerant.

My new strategy and daily eating habits

This brings me back to my own philosophy or principle. It is clear that I need to make some changes. In order to reach my dietary objectives, I afford myself the odd “day of indulgence”. I use a similar strategy for my training. On such rare days I allow myself a few small sweet treats, as well as possibly a few crisps or a beer. It is true that vegan burgers are industrially processed. Nevertheless, I believe them to be a good alternative to meat. There are a few different types which are cooked using diverse ingredients and sometimes taste even better than meat. A vegan diet demands creativity and by now I find it easy to live up to this demand.

Before the change to veganism

In order to ease myself into the ketogenic diet I tried out the low-carb diet. One difference to the slow-carb diet was that I was able to eat practically any kind of cheese (this is also the case in the ketogenic diet). As a rule all food stuffs were allowed which contained less than five grams of sugar. Due to the sugars contained in fruits, these had to be excluded. This also applied to certain vegetables such as carrots. Despite their high quantity of carbohydrates, lentils formed a part of the diet. Even now a quarter of my meals are made up of lentils. It would be possible to think that this would result in the entire effect of the ketogenic diet being lost. Well, on the one hand it was easier financially to eat lentils instead of meat. On the other hand, this allowed the protein requirements to be met. Moreover, the carbohydrates contained in lentils are used up more slowly by the body.

Lentils and their advantages and disadvantages:

Kidney problems: people with reduced kindey function such as kidney stones should not consume pulses. Tip: cider vinegar and ginger serve to clean out the kidneys and prevent kidney stones.

Wind: after a month-long period spent getting used to this diet, I personally had no more problems with wind. Before cooking lentils it is advisable to soak them in water over night. This not only helps to avoid wind, but also releases the vitamins and nutrients. If negative experiences are had with regard to lentils and wind, it is recommended – particularly when used regularly and at the start – to buy the small, yellow lentils.

Muscle growth and regeneration: organs and muscles constantly require protein. Lentils contain all of the essential amino acids which are necessary for muscle growth and bodily function.

Improved digestion: the dietary fibres which are contained in lentils are good for the digestive system and act to counter constipation.

Heart health: Lentils contain fat-free proteins and thus promote heart health. The magnesium contained in lentils has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and reduces blood pressure.

Prevention of anteriosclerosis and dementia: Lentils, and the antioxidants contained within them, may help to prevent anteriosclerosis. Free radicals are also neutralized which has positive effects on the brain and slows down the aging process.

Prevention of cancer: international studies have shown that lentils act to control the growth of cancer cells.

Source of Vitamin B: this reduces tireness and is good for concentration and drive. It also strengthens the immune system. I personally no longer wish to go without the vitamins contained in lentils.

Weight management: Lentils are filling.

Healthy nervous system: The vitamins and minerals contained in lentils help to strengthen the nervous system and improve brain function.

Source of iron: Lentils contain a lot of iron and thus promote the production of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is, among other things, reponsible for oxygen distribution.

Lentils improve electrolyte activity.