Ketogenic diets originated in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, but they’ve since been credited for promoting a number of health benefits ranging from improved insulin sensitivity to everyday mental clarity, in addition to fast weight loss. Strict ketogenic—or “keto”—dieters limit carbohydrate intake to about 5% of their daily calories while keeping protein intake at around 20%. Fats, then, make up close to 75% of their calories. (For more details on setting up various ketogenic diets, see our guide HERE.)
This makes my life so much easier. I'm a busy work at home/stay at home mom, wife, business woman and I feel like dinner is always the thing I just never get time to do. We have done like 15 of the crockpot recipes from Sarah and they are all very yummy. They get a thumbs up from my husband and kids every time. And there is always enough for my husband to take the left overs at least 2x per recipe. I have a family of 5, 2 adults, 21, 13, 16. So it makes plenty. Thank you Sarah.
Fat is important on the keto diet, but especially so if you are vegan or vegetarian. “Aim to get 75 percent or more of your calories from plant-based fats like coconut oil, coconut cream/butter, MCT oil, olive oil, avocado, and—in lesser amounts—nuts and seeds,” says Dr. Axe. “Keep nut and seed consumption to about 1/4 cup per day (or two tablespoons of nut butter), since these do provide some carbs and can also be hard to digest in large amounts.” To help with absorption of minerals, he recommends soaking or sprouting nuts first.
A study published in The International Journal of Obesity studied 420 overweight and obese adults and found those who ate their major meal after 3 p.m. — lunch for this Spanish cohort — lost less weight than those who ate earlier in the day despite similar calorie consumption and activity levels. Scheer, who co-authored the paper with professors Marta Garaulet, believes diet-induced thermogenesis, the increased energy expenditure after food intake, could be the reason for the results.
As with any new diet, you should consult a professional before committing, as it might not necessarily apply to extenuating health circumstances. It's also helpful to hear an expert's opinion firsthand. As for Smith, she's not entirely sold on the keto diet in the first place. "Some principles of the keto diet can be helpful," she says, such as few refined carbs and sugars. "When done right (more plant-based that is) it can be a great way to get some healthy fats in, but I don't find, especially for women, that it contributes to significant weight loss if that's a goal." While we're on the topic, it's also possible that you might need supplementation to your diet to achieve utmost wellness. "this is case by case, but often, in general, vegans/vegetarians need iron, B complex, b12, extra protein, and potentially zinc and biotin as well," Smith tells us. This is just another reason consulting an expert can be so helpful.
As far as calories are concerned, you will come to find that many of the high-carb foods you are cutting out were the same foods that contributed so many calories to your diet. A restriction in food groups naturally leads to a reduction in calories. Ketosis also suppresses appetite, however, so you really need to make sure you're bringing in enough calories to keep your body happy and healthy.
MacDowell has been following the vegetarian keto diet for six years. She’d been a vegetarian for a long time before that but decided to try keto with weight loss in mind. Some research suggests the keto diet may be beneficial for that reason: A study published in May 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition found the keto diet led to greater weight loss than a low-fat diet and could be useful in fighting obesity.
Since the intake of meat and other animal by-products which constitutes the percentage of protein intake is a no go, you have to focus more on fat intake. You should, however, be mindful of the vegetables you take in. In order to source for proteins, vegetarians consume foods like legumes, grain sprouted bread, apples, bananas, oranges etc. which are high in carbs, and so extra caution is advised.
This was mentioned just recently, but deserves some more spotlight. Nut milks are great for vegetarian keto. Dairy milk is more carb-heavy than many drinks, and should not be your first choice if you’re going for milk due to the lactose. Nut milks are especially good if you’re trying to accomplish vegan keto. Just make sure to avoid the sweetened versions - they contain sugar!
You might be wondering why we calculate net carbs instead of total carbs. The reason is simply because our bodies don't transform fiber into sugar the way they do for other carbs. In actuality, some keto experts say that even having too many carbs from fiber can knock you out of ketosis. In order to get around the carb rules, some companies make keto food using sugar alcohols, which don't fall under the sugar or the dietary fiber categories.
Here's a keto, dairy-free and egg-free recipe for shortbread cookies. Yes, you read that right. Keeping this keto cookie recipe dairy-free means that it's one of the rare keto shortbreads that skips on butter! Cristina points out that chocolate and hazelnut are a match made in heaven and I couldn't agree more. This recipe is delicious, easy, and comes together in approximately 30 minutes. Perfect if you're whipping up a last-minute batch for an upcoming cookie exchange!
If you have an understanding of the keto diet and how it works, you will realize that the whole essence of the diet does not tally with what an average vegetarian consumes. Keto diet is all for high-fat, moderate protein and low carbs, vegetarian diet, on the other hand, is packed with carbohydrates and the struggle of balancing protein intake. Therefore, it is not surprising that a number of vegetarians find it difficult reconciling both diets.
To prove to yourself that you are making progress—even when your weight stays the same—Dulan recommends doing a jeans test. Find a pair you’re aiming to squeeze into, and see how your body feels in them. As you clean up your diet and clock more sweat sessions, you’ll likely notice a gap between your belly and jeans because your body is becoming leaner—even if that isn’t immediately obvious when you step on the scale.
Not only that, but increasing your intake of healthy fats and protein while reducing your intake of empty carbs can help ensure that you’re getting all of the essential nutrients that you need with none of the added ingredients and chemicals that you don’t. Studies have also shown that a higher intake of fat and protein can suppress your appetite and lower levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, more effectively than carbohydrates. (3, 4)
Taking cues from your body on what to eat on a daily basis can help you eat less, says Jasia Steinmetz, a registered dietitian and author of Eat Local: Simple Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food. Next time you’re hungry, pay attention to what foods seem appealing to you—and why. Craving sweets, for example, may be a cue that you need energy. If you really want a Snickers, for instance, enjoy a bite-size. Don’t limit yourself—if nothing is off limits, you may find yourself craving nutritional food as well. “The vitamins and minerals that are so essential to the various functions of your body will come from a wide variety of foods, and choosing which foods appeal to you each day will help you tune into your body. Paying attention before, during and after you eat will help you respond to the positive feeling you get from eating healthfully and lovingly.”
The biggest thing to watch out for (aside from keto flu, which you should read about just above this section) when it comes to vegetarian keto is vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies. This is something that vegetarians and vegans are all too familiar with. Before getting any kind of vitamin supplement, make sure you consult with a doctor and have them check the vitamin levels in your bloodstream.
If you're looking to lose weight, fiber really is your secret weapon. High-fiber foods like legumes, nuts, and whole-grain products help to keep you full after a meal. They also stabilize your blood sugar, protecting you from the temptation to crash-snack. Erika Kaufman, R.D, a registered dietitian at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, advises eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, aiming for 3 grams in each bread serving and at least 5 grams of fiber in your cereal.
You may have noticed that glycerin and HSH are both absent from this chart. In one 1990 study, researchers found that HSH corresponded to a glycemic increase that was 71% as strong as pure glucose. According to this website, the glycemic index for glycerin is only 5, which is significantly smaller than glucose's 100. Although the site doesn't cite a source, the table is a good guide for most sugars and sugar alcohols.
But, with tips from the internet, I learned that these noodles are best prepared by draining, rinsing, and then sauteeing until much of the liquid is cooked away from these spaghetti-like noodles. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got yourself a really great base for a vegan keto dinner. Now, with spaghetti comes sauce, and sauces are often laden with carbs from all their hidden sugars. Try making a tomato based sauce from scratch, or opting for a bruschetta mixture instead.