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.
If you feel like everything is off limits, we're here to help. Yes, following a keto diet when you're vegan is difficult...but not impossible! You may not be living off bacon and eggs like some of your other keto friends, but with these avocado, almond butter, and coconut milk-filled recipes, your stomach will still be full and happy. And if you're vegan-ish, be sure to check out our vegetarian keto recipes too, for those times you want to slip in a little dairy.
You tell yourself you're not going to order dessert, but the minute you see the fudgy chocolate cake delivered to the table next to you, all your good intentions go out the door. To help you ward off temptations, Abbey Sharp, RD, a nutrition consultant in Toronto, recommends having a treat waiting at home. "Before you go out to eat, put aside a portion-controlled sweet for yourself at home, like a small cookie or a square of melted dark chocolate with fresh berries," says Sharp. Or try whipping up a dessert for the entire family, like a light angel food cake with fresh berries, that will give everyone something to look forward to.
This keto cookie recipe is loaded with fat and protein but skips the baking process, for a recipe that's incredibly quick and easy. While the texture might be similar to your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, there's not an oat in sight! With just 6 ingredients and 20 minutes of time, you can whip up these delicious healthy keto treat that also happens to be gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, paleo, and vegan!
I hope I’ve shown you that you can have a lot of fun exploring the ins and outs of vegetarian keto. There are tons of good foods and recipes out there just waiting to be tried. Shop local if you can, supporting local farmers is great for the environment. Don’t be afraid of meat substitutes. Go crazy with the cheese. Listen to your body. Most people, upon switching off from keto, say they feel sick after eating carbs, even once they reach their goal weight. Don’t get down if you mess up, just get back on the horse.
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.
Look for your weight loss results after a few weeks of dieting and exercise, but be kind and patient with yourself. Each person's body is unique and the rate at which you lose weight may be different than it is for someone else. Stay consistent and remind yourself of the many benefits of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight so that you stay motivated for the duration of your journey.
If you’re longing for carbs so badly that you feel your resolve to stay on the diet is breaking, it’s possible to trick your brain that you’re eating them by making approved foods look more like your starchy favorites. Cauliflower can be grated into “rice,” or boiled and mashed like potatoes. You can slice zucchini into noodles to (sort of) replicate pasta. See “Vegan Substitutions for the Keto Diet” below.
Another food you'll find to be a good source of protein on your vegetarian keto diet is cheese, which I'm sure you could have guessed. Cheese comes in a variety of of textures, tastes and colors, but don't let this delicious ingredient fool you -it'll help you hit your protein goals! One thing to note, however, is the varying carb count in different cheeses. It ranges from a low .10 net carbs per 1 oz serving of Gruyere cheese to a higher 1.5 net carbs per 1 oz serving of Swiss cheese.
If you were doing a more conventional ketogenic diet previously and relying on animal foods, you may have only counted the protein in those foods toward your allotment for the day because they are complete sources. In other words, the protein in animal products contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs from food and in substantial amounts. This is a rare find in plant foods, and the reason that bodybuilders have historically kept track of the protein they eat from chicken, beef, and fish, but don’t consider the amount they take in from vegetables, grains, and nuts. The thing is, though, while they may be less bioavailable than animal foods, plant proteins are still usable by your body and still count toward your total—and if you’re going to forgo animal products entirely, you’ll need to get them in to support muscle, performance, and general health. Otherwise, you’ll be protein deficient.
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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.
You may already be exercising, but adding Tabata training to your routine may help speed up your weight loss. ‘Tabata’ intervals are quick, 20-second bouts of heavy exertion (to the point where your breathing is very labored), followed by 10 seconds of rest—repeating the cycle a total of 8 times. Whether you jump rope, ride your bike or do other cardio, studies have shown this magic formula seems to help your body continue to burn calories long after you finish your workout, says Gretchen Zelek, co-creator of Do or Die Fitness.
Although fat makes a low-carb diet filling, studies show that protein is the most sating macronutrient by far. A common mistake for low-carbers is that they eat less protein in fear that they will go out of ketosis (as a result of gluconeogenesis). However, the truth is that you'd have to eat significantly more protein consistently to disrupt ketosis.
Keto baking is particularly difficult because many of our favorite recipes rely on traditional flour, sugar, and dairy as the main ingredients. Unfortunately, converting traditional recipes with keto and paleo ingredient substitutions doesn't usually work. This is because while almond and coconut flour certainly make delicious baked goods, the texture and binding properties are very different from traditional flours.
If you want to add a little variety of breakfast so it’s not always about eggs and you’re in the mood for some texture, this low-carb cinnamon cereal is the ideal keto breakfast to dig into. There’s something about plunging that round spoon into a cold, creamy bowl of milk and picking up crisp little squares that’ll transport you straight back to childhood. Make a big batch and store it in an air-tight jar so that the rest of the week’s breakfasts are a breeze. It’ll stay crunchy for about as long as a regular breakfast cereal.
My weight loss has definitely slowed like it normally does after the first 2 weeks, but I also think I was getting a little too comfortable with my cheat days. I let them happen more frequently than I should have. So now, going into the month of February, I’ll be more diligent about not cheating unless it’s the right day, rather than just deciding on a whim to have a cheat day, just because I wanted what everyone else was having. I’m going to be traveling to Breckenridge, Colorado for a ski trip this month, so I’m sure that the trip will be difficult on me. At least, I’ll probably burn a lot of it while I’m skiing. #ketoacidosis