It is no secret that the KetoFLEX 12/3 diet is full of nutrient-rich non-starchy vegetables, but how many vegetables are we talking about? The Bredesen Protocol's KetoFLEX 12/3 diet plan recommends an intake of six to nine cups of non-starchy vegetables daily. Transitioning to eating this many vegetables a day can be a process, and depending on how many vegetables you’re currently consuming, you may have to slowly work up to that goal. To aid in this transition, you can consume bitter herbs, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, organic lemon juice, or peel as seasonings, which can serve as natural digestive enzymes.
On the Bredesen Protocol, half of your vegetables should be consumed raw, and half will be enjoyed cooked. Once you have reached the recommended vegetable intake goal, half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables, and a quarter of the plate will be vegetables specifically geared towards optimizing gastrointestinal health: prebiotics (e.g., asparagus, jicama), resistant starches (e.g., colored potatoes, parsnips), and probiotics (e.g., kimchi, sauerkraut). Check out the picture below for a visual representation:
You will note that clean proteins make up one quarter of your daily intake. Low mercury, wild-caught seafood (for DHA) and pasture-raised eggs (for choline) are prioritized for brain health, although other proteins like grass-fed beef and sustainable poultry are allowed. KetoFLEX 12/3 can even be practiced as a vegan or vegetarian with some specific precautions. We will discuss vegan and vegetarianism on the KetoFLEX 12/3 diet in a future blog!
When it comes to healthy fats, don't forget to add high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which is the Bredesen Protocol's top recommendation to pair with vegetables. By adding up to 4 TBSP with each meal, it calorically makes up the bulk of the diet, helping to create a state of mild ketosis to help fuel the brain. Research has shown that EVOO may improve brain structure, function, and even cognition. Consider using it in vinaigrettes, sauces like aioli, or as a finishing oil for cooked vegetables. Other healthy fats that are recommended on KetoFLEX 12/3 include avocados, nuts, and seeds.
You may be wondering how you can achieve ketosis with all of these vegetables. No problem! You can easily reach your goal of six to nine cups per day when you add generous amounts of EVOO and stick to non-starchy vegetables that are below 35 on the glycemic index.
We will be tackling the KetoFLEX 12/3 glycemic index rating system in the following blog, so stay tuned!