What is the Keto diet?
In this blog we are discussing kava and the keto diet. If you have tracked down this blog, then you are probably already aware, however for those that aren’t here is a quick summary of the keto diet.
The keto diet is a high intake fat, moderate to low protein, and low carbohydrate diet. It’s a way of eating that helps you burn fat rather than carbohydrates. The goal of the keto diet is to force your body into a state known as ketosis, which is when it burns fat instead of carbohydrates as its primary energy source.
What is Kava?
Kava is a pepper plant native to the majority of Pacific Islands. It has been used for centuries in rituals and ceremonies, and it has also been used for medicinal purposes. In more recent times (the past 100 years) it’s been more widely used as a social tonic. The root of the kava plant is dried and the milled into a powder that can be mixed with water.
Kava’s effects are similar to alcohol—it makes people feel relaxed and happy. However, unlike alcohol, kava does not cause hangovers or other side effects like depression or headaches in the morning.
Does Kava fit into keto carb requirements?
A typical serving of kava consists of 1-2 teaspoons, which has about 10 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
Kava root is made up partially of carbohydrates and can have an impact on your blood sugar levels. However, the amount of carbohydrates in kava is small enough that it should not be a concern for people who are following a keto diet.
Is kava like other low alcohol alternatives for keto?
There are many no carb or low carb beers on the market. There are equally as many low carb low calorie wines on the market. Whilst they do their best to taste like the real thing, they invariably don’t have to same bite on the palette as the real thing. However, there are more concerns with drinking alcohol whilst on a keto diet than just taste.
Skipping Carb’s has a negative effect on your overall alcohol tolerance. When you are on a keto diet, alcohol hits your system quicker and is more effective than it does when you are storing a lot of carbohydrates. This has 2 effects:
✔️ You get drunk much quicker
✔️ The Hangovers are MUCH worse.
Kava has the similar relaxing effect that alcohol does, however it does not cause you to be aggressive or anti-social. It also does not cause your body to produce a hangover effect like alcohol does.
Considerations for kava on keto
Noble Variety Kava only
Even when not on a keto diet, it is essential that you source kava from a supplier that has certified noble variety kava. There are 2 types of kavas:
Noble Drinking Kava
These kava cultivars are safe to drink and have been drunk in the Pacific for hundreds of years. Most noble variety kava cultivars take 3 years or more to reach maturity. This means there is a concerted effort to grow the plants by the kava farmers.
Tudei (pronounced Two Day) kava is named because of the hangover effect it can cause which can take up to 2 days to get rid of. Tudei kava is used traditionally for medicinal purposes and NOT for drinking. Studies have shown that drinking tudei kava can cause potential issues and it was widely understood that you shouldn’t drink them. However, due to their quick yield – 1-2 years, some unscrupulous vendors will sell it as they can purchase it cheap.
How you Prepare your kava matters when on a Keto diet.
The goal of Keto being to minimise or negate the intake of carbs, Therefore directly ingesting the dried kava root powder should be avoided. This means kava tablets are off the menu, that is no loss as they are relatively in effective anyways. Below we address the best ways to maximise your kava juice whilst still keeping it Keto friendly.
Prepare Your Kava Juice using Traditional or contemporary methods.
Below we have listed 2 videos that show how to prepare traditional kava powder. What is important to note here is that a purpose-built kava straining bag is being used. This keeps out the kava root and mitigate the intake of carbs during the squeezing process.
Prepare your Kava with the Alu ball Kava Shaker
This wonderful device was invented by an ex-NFL player who wanted a quick way to prepare kava on the go. The Alu ball is the key here as it keeps the kava fibres from leaking out into the kava juice.
Use real “Instant Kava” if you want convenience not micronized kava.
There are many Instant Kava products on the market. The ONLY ones that you should be drinking on a keto diet are the instant kava products that are made from dehydrated kava juice. They are normally easy to identify as they’re the more expensive of the Instant kava products on the market.
Some Instant Kava products on the market, are simply micronized kava root powder. This means that they aren’t soluble and you are actually ingesting the root powder. Even though kava is low in carbs, this goes against the mitigating of carb in take required for Keto. On top of this, they are relatively ineffective as the agitation process required to extract the feel-good component of kava – kava lactones are being left up to your stomach. To put it simply, your stomach is not built for this, therefore with minimal effects it can also make you feel bloated and nauseas