“I felt ashamed of how I had changed from a veteran Army soldier into someone who I wasn’t proud to be,” Root, 35, tells PEOPLE for the 2018 Half Their Size issue. “When I transitioned out of the military, I was pregnant with my son, and that loss of structure meant I was eating what I wanted to with no regard, and being pregnant I just found myself eating a lot more than usual.”
The strategy can be a successful one: According to research published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, the keto diet may burn 10 times as much fat as other diets. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best option for everyone—including vegetarians. (Look at how the keto diet transformed Jen Widerstrom's body.)
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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.
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.
From restaurant menus to new products on store shelves, ketogenic foods are all the rage right now. The keto diet focuses on high-fat, low-carb foods that are low in sugar with a moderate amount of protein. And if you’re interested in giving this diet a try, you may be wondering what plant-based foods are keto-friendly and if it’s possible to be vegan on a keto diet.

On the other hand, keto and veganism don’t work very well together. As humans, we need to consume complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids (an “essential” nutrient can’t be made by the body and must instead be obtained through diet). Although animal protein provides all the essential amino acids in the amounts we need, plants only contain some of them.
Special vegetarian keto products - There are tons of non-meat snack options on Amazon like keto cookies, cheese bars, protein bars, etc. Be careful - the search results aren’t perfect, so some Paleo options might show up that aren’t supposed to or some non-vegetarian items might show up that aren’t supposed to. Almost every product has nutritional information, so make sure to consult it before making any purchases.
“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!
So I was inspired to make this Vegan Keto Walnut Chili from a Marilyn Denis segment I did for heart health. Walnuts are such a heart healthy ingredient, since they have about twice as many antioxidants as other nuts, and they pack both monounsaturated fats and omega 3s. I was brainstorming yummy easy ways to incorporate them in a recipe that was more than just a sprinkle on top and this recipe came to me. When crushed really fine, walnuts actually have a similar texture as ground beef but without the saturated fat. It also makes this recipe for Vegan Keto Walnut Chili totally safe for my plant-based friends, yet CRAZY satiating across the board.
Though the keto diet has been shown to be exceptionally helpful with weight loss, it’s important to know that as with any radical, new nutritional approach there are always some risks involved. As insulin levels dip when you are on a ketogenic diet, your body will also start to shed excess sodium and water. This can lead to those initial weight loss results, but can ultimately have a negative impact on your body, and lead to fatigue, lightheadedness, headaches and even constipation.
The goal of a traditional keto diet is to speed up weight loss through fat burning. It's done by following a meal plan that's high in fat, very low in carbs, and moderate in terms of protein, says Vandana Sheth, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Those ratios mean your diet should break down to approximately 80 percent fat, less than 5 percent carbs, and 15 to 20 percent protein.
You can usually be a little bit more loose on the dinners, since you have more time, although this will change based on your personal schedule. Meal planning should also help you to avoid going out to eat, although there’s almost zero way to do that on vegetarian keto anyhow. It’s not fun, but it gets the job done. In the vein of not being fun but getting the job done…
The scale isn't always the best marker of your results given that it doesn't tell you what type of weight you're losing -- water, lean tissue or fat. If you weight train as part of your weight-loss plan, you may actually acquire lean muscle mass, which may show up on the scale as a gain. You will notice that your clothes fit differently, and your appearance is slimmer and more taut, despite what the scale says. The results of weight training may be apparent in the first few weeks after you start the program, but visible results will slow down as your body becomes more accustomed to the routine.
The percent in carbs that will put you into ketosis is different for each individual. I don’t think there is an established scientific maximum amount that allows ketosis for all. In addition, the 43% in calories of fat of this meal plan is a long way from the 70% fat of a strongly ketogenic diet. However, the 29% protein is in line with a moderate protein ketogenic diet. To sum up, this meal plan is on the border of ketogenic at best. You would have to see if you can actually pink a urine stick on this diet. It’s an oxymoron to have a diet that is low carb and high carb at the same time!

I want to be totally honest about what I experienced on a vegan keto diet so that you know what you are getting into. My intention is not to turn anyone away from the diet, just be transparent about my experience with it. I would do a lot of research before starting it so that you know what you are getting into and how to maintain it without any symptoms. Now, there's nothing wrong with training in a fed state. Any exercise burns energy, which supports your weight-loss efforts. What many people don't know, however, is that training in a fasted state offers several unique fat loss benefits.

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