The ketogenic diet is legit. It’s not a fad or a trend despite what Instagram hashtags may lead you to believe. And you know what? It’s not a vanity thing either. Yes, you’ll shed massive amounts of weight so you can fit into those jeans you can’t even look at right now, but the keto diet also improves your health. Studies have proven that the ketogenic diet reduces factors for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Which makes perfect sense since it was developed for children with epilepsy in 1921. I’m passionate about the keto lifestyle because I lost over 90 pounds on the keto diet.
Those who are doing the vegetarian keto diet will have to pay extra attention to what they are putting in their mouths, says Davis. “It can be harder to manage your diet because you might have to spend more time calculating your carbohydrate intake and spend a lot of time planning meals and considering the foods you are eating. Many plant foods contain carbs, so it could be challenging to stay balanced, satisfied, and achieve ketosis,” she says.
So you've decided to take the plunge. Congratulations! The first thing you need to is to get an app so that you can closely count your carbs. There are a few to choose from. MyFitnessPal is certainly popular, and free, but there is also Cronometer, which is also popular, as well as some lesser known ones. Ultimately, the decision is personal preference.

“If you were only to do cardio and diet, you’d lose weight, but your metabolism would be compromised. Resistance training has a protein-sparing effect in that it doesn’t like for protein to be metabolized for energy. Cardio doesn’t make the same distinction — if you’re running and you’ve burned up all your carbohydrate stores, your body will start leeching from your fat and protein stores,” Sharp explains.
And it could be especially startling for vegetarians. Fort Lauderdale, Florida–based Jaime Mass, RDN, founder of Jaime Mass Nutritionals, LLC, says vegetarians commonly become “pasta-tarians.” Instead of replacing meat with healthy plant-based foods and whole grains, many load up on pasta, crackers, and other carb-heavy items. Transitioning to keto could be difficult for these pasta-tarians, but it could also be beneficial in helping them cut back on processed carbs.
For an overall view of what a successful vegetarian keto diet meal plan looks like, you have to consider your three main macronutrients first: Healthy fats, carbs, and protein. Because you're not eating meat, you'll have to turn to other sources for fat. Plus, "since some of the vegan meats on the market will contribute some carbs, you'll have to be extra careful about limiting portion sizes," says Sharp. "This means that the majority of your fat calories will need to be coming from foods like nuts, seeds, eggs, and oils."
As a general rule – pay special attention to your carb intake. Carbs are not your friend on keto because, as long as your body is getting enough of them, it will not enter ketosis. Fat, on the other hand, is the main fuel on this diet. Don't think that this higher fat intake is putting you at risk of weight gain because, on keto, your body burns fat.
And it could be especially startling for vegetarians. Fort Lauderdale, Florida–based Jaime Mass, RDN, founder of Jaime Mass Nutritionals, LLC, says vegetarians commonly become “pasta-tarians.” Instead of replacing meat with healthy plant-based foods and whole grains, many load up on pasta, crackers, and other carb-heavy items. Transitioning to keto could be difficult for these pasta-tarians, but it could also be beneficial in helping them cut back on processed carbs.
By eating the foods on the “Do Eat” list, you will be able to follow a vegan ketogenic diet and cover most of your nutritional bases. At first, however, it may be difficult to adapt to this new lifestyle with all of the low-carb and keto recipes that contain animal products. Luckily, there are some simple substitutions you can make that will allow you to “veganize” almost every keto recipe.
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.

I ate five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, cut out fried foods, and switched from eating refined carbohydrates like white bread to complex carbs like whole-wheat bread. I promised myself that after one year of living healthfully, I'd treat myself to fast-food fries (an old favorite), but I couldn't finish them. Now my cholesterol is in a healthy range, and I still walk 30 to 60 minutes four or five days a week.


I tipped the scale as a 238-pound diabetic in 2009, thanks to bouts of emotional eating. My doctor warned me that if I didn't lose weight, I'd need to take insulin injections, so I joined a nearby gym. I dropped the first 30 pounds by walking on the treadmill, but when my weight started to plateau, I knew I needed to up the intensity. I signed up for Zumba, Spinning and weight-training group classes and was immediately hooked. The sessions felt more like a social get-together than exercise. Best of all, the added activity helped me reach my goal weight in 2012.
"When I was really heavy, I felt like people were staring at me, so I didn't go into stores or restaurants by myself. I'd walk with my head down and avoid eye contact. My mom had a heart attack at age 41, when I was 19, and that was never far from my mind. On my 39th birthday in 2012, I hit 250 pounds and thought, I'm going to die if I don't do something. So I set a goal to get under 200 pounds by age 40."
Nuts. Nuts are a fat-rich and healthy addition to any diet. I tend to favor macadamia nuts and cashews over any other nut because they have the highest amount of healthy monounsaturated fats and the lowest amount of inflammatory omega 6 fats. Make sure, however, that you know the carb content of these nuts. Consuming too many cashews, for example, can easily kick you out of ketosis.
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.
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”Ketone bodies exert negative feedback on their own production by reducing hepatic FFA supply through βHB-mediated agonism of the PUMA-G receptor in adipose tissue, which suppresses lipolysis (Taggart et al., 2005). Exogenous ketones from either intravenous infusions (Balasse and Ooms, 1968; Mikkelsen et al., 2015) or ketone drinks, as studied here, inhibit adipose tissue lipolysis by the same mechanism, making the co-existence of low FFA and high βHB unique to exogenous ketosis.”
When you are following a vegetarian keto meal plan, though, Palmer recommends focusing mostly on whole foods. Not only will those help you hit your nutrient checkboxes, but they're also rich in slow-digesting carbs and help maintain energy levels longer. And as with any healthy diet, you should avoid processed foods and refined carbs and sugars, which are stripped of important nutrients that prevent sugar from being absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly. (Not sure which drinks are keto-approved? Check out this list.)

I am brand new to this concept! I just downloaded the app and transferred the vegetarian 2-week plan into my app settings. (Great app btw!). I noticed that the net carbs are really low. For example, day one is 10.3 for the day. I set a goal of ~20 based on what I am learning from app. Should I be concerned? I meet the calories for the day by not the protein or net carb goal.  Hope I am making sense!
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.
Scientists at the University of Toronto evaluated weight loss and facial attractiveness. Their findings, published in Social Psychology and Personality Science suggest that you need to lose about eight or nine pounds before others notice a difference in your face. That's the good news. The bad news is that you need to lose twice that amount before others find you more attractive.
Eggs are quite possibly the perfect food. They’re full of protein, easy to cook, simple to work with and they’re even easy to carry with you, thanks to their shell. A hardboiled egg might not be the most exciting breakfast, but if you’re on the go, it’s certainly a fast and filling way to get your protein. I like to cook a big batch of hardboiled eggs in my Instant Pot to use for snacks, fast breakfasts and meals all week long.

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.
MCT Oil. This oil is commonly derived from coconut oil and palm oil. It contains medium chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids that skip normal fat digestion and go right to the liver where they are converted into ketones for fuel. Add it to your salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, fat bombs, and hot drinks like coffee or tea for a potent energy boost.
Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. Tell your health care professional if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer. In studies with rats and mice, Saxenda® and medicines that work like Saxenda® caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if Saxenda® will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people.
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.
A fast includes any period of time in which you consume 0 calories. This includes drinks, snacks, and all of that. In addition to water, coffee and tea are extremely common drinks that you can rely on during a fast. The two drinks’ caffeine works as an appetite suppressant while allowing consumption of some type during the fast. The key with drinking during a fast is to not include any milk, cream, or sugar (unless it’s one of the keto-friendly sugar alternatives and is calorie-free).
Vegans have long known that they can’t get all the amino acids they need from one source of plant protein, so they make an effort to eat a diverse selection of them and often combine foods in the same meal to get a complimentary assortment of aminos. You don’t need to do this at every meal—your body can hold on to the aminos from one food a few hours until you eat another food with aminos that complement them and form a complete protein. But don’t get in the habit of basing your meals around only tofu or only hemp. Eat as broad a menu as you can to ensure the richest nutritional intake you can. (See more reasons to limit tofu under the vegan substitutes list below.)
The right types of oils are great for a ketogenic diet because they’re entirely made of fat. MCT’s in particular are a type of fat that is metabolized quicker than most and broken down into useable energy. It also can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why they are so beneficial to our mental clarity and performance. Perfect Keto made a convenient MCT Oil Powder just for this reason, and more can be found in our article Are MCT Supplements Worth Taking? Here are some more great options:
Walking felt like the easiest change to make, so I started going out near my home for just 10 minutes a day on a local trail along a river. Being in nature was key. Gradually, I increased from 10 minutes to 2 hours a day and added hilly hikes on the weekends. While I strolled, I listened to podcasts and soaked up the scenery. My cholesterol and blood pressure are now in healthy ranges—without medication. It's wild how much I've changed, not just physically but emotionally too. I remember trying to hike when I was heavy—my knees hurt and I could barely breathe. I thought, I'll just look at nature; I don't have to walk in it. I can't believe the limited mindset I had. What was I thinking? I feel so much more confident and capable now.

While there are nutritional benefits associated with eating red meats and poultry in moderation, you can certainly still live a ketogenic lifestyle without them. In fact, looking at the bigger picture, the keto diet and vegetarian diet are more sustainable ways of dieting because they rely less on eating massive quantities of meat. Here are a few keto diet recipes you can try today:
You've been faithful to a healthier eating plan and working out at the gym, and the number on the scale is even going down. You notice your clothes buttoning a little easier, less bloat to your belly and a slimmer appearance to your face. Whether other people notice these changes really depends on several factors, including their relationship with you and your starting size. You usually notice that you've lost weight far sooner than other people.
Reaching for a bottle of water before you sit down to eat may help you shed those pounds faster. Research in the August 2015 Obesity journal found that obese patients who drank 500 milliliters (a 16-ounce bottle) of water 30 minutes before eating lost almost 3 pounds more than those who did not. Even more promising is that those who pre-loaded with water before each of the three main meals lost an average of 10 pounds over a 12-week period (compared to a 2-pound weight loss for those who preloaded before just one meal, or not at all).
Savoring each bite of food, and paying attention to the taste, texture, and temperature, helps you eat less because you’ll be more in tune with your hunger and satiety levels. "Simply putting down your utensil between bites of food could prevent you from mindlessly 'shoveling in' more than you need," says Sara Haas, RD, and chef. Haas suggests that you take a bite and then let your fork relax next to your plate while you chew. Mindful eating gives the body time to signal that you're full and aids in digestion.
Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost ketogenic diet researchers and founder of ketonutrition.org, agrees. “I generally avoid soy isolate and soy milk,” he says. “But I don’t think this is a major concern unless you are consuming large amounts of soy.” Note that fermented soy products—such as soy sauce and tempeh—don’t pose the same risk, and can, therefore, be eaten more liberally.
In addition to a plant-based keto diet being limited in nature, Dr. Axe explains that there’s also a high probability that someone on this diet would struggle to consume enough calories and essential fat-soluble vitamins. This could potentially lead to certain nutrient deficiencies and side effects, like fatigue, as a result. “If you’re at all open to the idea, I would highly recommend that you consider a vegetarian keto diet instead of a vegan keto diet. Include at least some animal products in your diet, such as pastured eggs or fermented cheeses or, even better, wild-caught fish like salmon,” he says. “These goods are great sources of protein, fat, choline and fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A and K) that are very difficult to get from plant foods alone.”
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.
"My New Years resolution for 2010 was to get back into shape and to improve my health. I was turning 40 in May and I wanted to make a significant change in my life but knew that it would not be easy for I did not want to start a program or a diet and give up like I had done for the past 10 years. We have two beautiful boys and like most mothers, I have struggled with weight ever since I gave birth. My boys are eight years apart and I started to feel like I did not have the energy to keep up with my youngest son. I was afraid that I was not going to be able to play with him the way I did with my older son because I was so much older and out of shape.
Top Tip: Move more to stress less. "I've learned to exercise instead of eating when I'm stressed," Sarah says. "I've started walking two to three miles outside two to three times a week. The fresh air instantly puts me in a good mood, and I think of it as time to unplug. Now I put exercise on my to-do list just like any task—it's about committing to myself. My mom bought a Fitbit and aims for 10,000 steps per day."
In one study, eating a high-fiber, higher protein dinner (30% of total calories from fiber and 17% of total calories from protein) and less saturated fat helped adults fall asleep faster than those who ate meals that were lower in fiber and higher in saturated fat and sugar. The researchers found eating a high-fiber, higher protein meal was also associated with more time in slow wave, deep sleep, which is essential for memory consolidation and immune function. Eating more saturated fat, in contrast, led to less restful sleep and more nighttime arousals.
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.
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