If you follow our 5-step plan, eating good-quality vegetarian protein sources and plenty of very-low-carb vegetables, you should manage your micronutrient intake well on a keto vegetarian diet. If you want to be extra sure, eating a range of the following nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis will ensure that you provide your body with the range of micronutrients that keto vegetarians are most at risk of being deficient in.
Vegetable-sourced iron, known as non-heme iron, is harder to absorb than heme iron, which is found in animal products. This is why iron levels can plummet even when a plant-based dieter eats iron-rich foods like Swiss chard, nuts, and seeds. It’s wise, then, for vegan keto eaters to add a vegan-based iron supplement to their diets. This goes double for women, who lose some iron every month through menstruation. For women 19–50, 18mg of iron per day is recommended.
Protein - It is well documented that vegetarians supposedly lack protein sources. It is also well documented that vegetarians and vegans usually aren't deficient in protein at all. It is true, however, that vegetarian keto restricts some of the usual sources of protein for vegetarians, like beans, for example (except for these 1g net carb black soybeans).
Some people, however, go into the diet in hopes of controlling a chronic illness or just to ensure that they are eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones in their everyday lives. “How someone monitors their diet will depend on their desired health outcomes. Although there is usually quite a bit of initial weight loss, losing one to two pounds per week is ideal. Any more, and you’re likely not eating enough and the diet won’t be sustainable,” says Henry-Barron. Check out 14 amazing before-and-after pictures of people who followed the keto diet.
Don't think we forgot about those eggs we skipped out on at breakfast! We are putting them to good use at lunch with an Asparagus and Jalapeno Frittata! Not only is this recipe high protein and deliciously simple, but it makes for an easy prep and clean up! All you have to do is combine the ingredients in an oven safe pan and bake. When did meal prep get so easy?!
These keto cookie recipes are all designed to use coconut or almond flour (some are even flourless!) so you don't have to worry about converting recipes. And these recipes use keto-friendly low carb sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit—or baking blends like these substitutes for white sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar. And of course, the chocolate chip cookies use no sugar added chocolate chips.
But what if a vegetarian decides to go keto? Do people risk developing deficiencies and side effects by following a vegetarian ketogenic diet? More importantly, is this type of diet even sustainable? The short answer is yes – a keto vegetarian diet can be nutritious, sustainable, and healthy when you plan it right. It can also be satisfying enough to make you stick for the long haul.
To help lower their carb intake, keto dieters are advised to cut out all grains, legumes, and high-carb fruit and vegetables. Ketoers are also encouraged to boost their intake of high-fat dairy, fatty cuts of meat, fatty fish, and nuts and seeds. Ketoers also need to stay moderate with protein-rich food like eggs, lean cuts of meat, meat substitutes, and low-carb fruit and vegetables.
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.”
Eggs are going to play a huge role in your diet as a vegetarian. In fact, they are going to become your new best friend! Eggs are made up of 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat - they are almost the perfect food. Eggs can also be manipulated in enough ways that you'll never even have the chance to get bored of eating them! Fry them up, bake them into a frittata or add mayo to make an egg salad. You can't go wrong.
So what’s the difference between a vegan and vegetarian keto diet? Unlike vegetarians, vegans are more restricted in their use of animal products. While both diets eliminate meat entirely from the diet, vegetarians can include non-meat animal foods like eggs, grass-fed butter and ghee to help meet their protein and fat needs while vegans rely solely on plant products such as nuts, seeds and veggies.
Eating keto foods while still enjoying your favorite dishes can be a big challenge especially if you're just starting a keto, low carb, or paleo lifestyle. Fear not! Committing to healthier eating doesn't mean that you need to miss out on an occasional chocolate chip cookie or your favorite holiday shortbread. It simply means that you need to find a new recipe!
Despite the vegetarian diet's links to weight loss, it is possible for vegetarians to be overweight. That's because vegetarian diets, with their focus on fruits and vegetables, tend to be more carb-heavy and fat-deficient than other diets. Science has shown that overloading on carbs and sugars can lead to weight gain, and considering protein's positive effects on satiety and metabolism, skimping on the nutrient can also cause pounds to pile on.
In the vein of not being afraid to ask: connect with someone (a friend, neighbor, family member, coworker, etc.) that has a vehicle and ask to tag along on their grocery trips. They get to have a friend with you while you shop and you get a ride to the store, so it’s a win-win all around. People are eager and willing to help out, they just need to know how first!
“The original keto diet is extremely high in fatty meats, which is not good for our cardiovascular system,” says Melissa Bailey, RD, creator of the Nourished Fork. “The vegetarian version eliminates these meats and allows for more plant-based options, such as avocado and nuts and seeds. In general, the population is going towards a more plant-based, whole-foods diet, which is why the ketotarian diet is emerging.”
The benefits of a low-carb keto diet are also hard to pass up. It's one of, if not the strongest weight loss diet through ketosis. Keto may also improve acne, brain health, and seizure frequency, improve heart health, and combat type 2 diabetes, as well as assist with a host of other conditions. Others that adhere to the keto diet also self-report other benefits:
Even though MacDowell has stuck with it for so long, she admits this way of eating can be tough in social situations. “It’s not only the reaction of your family members who will tell you eating that much fat will kill you, but going out for appetizers and drinks with friends is challenging,” she says. “You learn to work around it, but there’s a learning curve for sure.”
“What is a keto diet?” you might ask. The keto diet plan involves eating lots of fat, a modest amount of protein, and tiny amounts of carbohydrates and sugar. Following a keto diet plan will eventually bring your body into a state of ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This supports quick, but safe and healthy, weight loss!
These omega-3 fats provide building blocks for cellular structures throughout the body and aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Fish oil is the most common source of DHA and EPA, but a good vegan source—and one that, arguably, offers a better concentration of DHA—is algae (which is where those oily fish get their omega-3s from anyway). By supplementing with algae oil, you’re effectively cutting out the middle-fish. Aim for about 300mg/day.
According to a new Cornell University study, people who ate smaller, portion-controlled lunches consumed about 250 calories less per day (that’s about two pounds a month) than those who ate as much as they wanted. Portion control doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry. Reward yourself with a snack for sticking to smaller meals, which can help shave off pounds without major sacrifice.
Common side effects of Saxenda® include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headache, vomiting, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), decreased appetite, upset stomach, tiredness, dizziness, stomach pain, and changes in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood. Nausea is most common when first starting Saxenda®, but decreases over time in most people as their body gets used to the medicine. Tell your health care professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Your best bet for low-carb vegan protein may be hemp seeds, which provides 30g protein and 8g fiber (NOT counted as carbs) in a mere half cup. Seitan, which is made from wheat, is another good choice and offers about 18g protein and 2g carbs every three ounces. Tofu and tempeh rank high as well (tofu has an 8:1 ratio of protein to carbs; tempeh is about 6:1).
I made this last night. I rarely comment on stuff but need to as I often use other people’s comments for inspiration! My partner enjoyed this and I thought it was okay. I halved the recipe, added a chopped serrano, and omitted the celery and chipotle and I think the latter was a mistake. I have some chipolte chili powder I could have subbed but forgot. So I felt like it was missing something in my version. Next time I would cut some of the walnuts in half, too.
Often a vegetarian diet is perceived as one packed with carbohydrates and twinned with the struggle of eating enough protein, so it’s normal that some vegetarians may feel trepidation when encountering the ketogenic approach to nutrition. Is it possible to enter a state of ketosis and get the same results on a vegetarian keto diet as someone on an omnivorous diet? The answer is yes — especially if you’re still consuming some animal-sourced products as a lacto-ovo vegetarian.