If you’re already a keto eater used to animal products, the list below will give you ideas on how to switch to zero-cruelty food options while keeping carbs low. (Likewise, it will help vegans find lower-carb alternatives to their starchy or sugary favorites.) As always, be extra sure you’re staying faithful to the diet by checking labels for the presence of added sugar, carbs, and hydrogenated oils (harmful, processed fats that have no place in any healthy diet).
You know you probably shouldn’t, but sometimes you eat in front of the TV or computer. But do you know how much it affects your waistline? Studies show that we eat around 40 percent more when watching TV and we’re more likely to eat junk food while distracted. To lose weight without major sacrifice, power down your TV, computer or smart phone during dinner and concentrate only on your meal.
The Ketogenic diet (or keto diet as it’s more commonly referred to as) is the latest diet craze that has taken the world by storm. But the keto diet isn’t a fad diet, far from it. The benefits of a well-balanced keto diet have been proven to have many health benefits – as well as the obvious one of losing unwanted weight. The keto diet works on a basis of low carb, high fat. Which while easy for some, can be more challenging if you have to work around other dietary restrictions.
This sugar-free macadamia shortbread cookie recipe is so lovely in its simplicity. Dipped in a sugar-free dark chocolate glaze and sprinkled with macadamia nuts, this keto twist on the classic holiday shortbread is a real beauty. This low carb shortbread is the perfect solution if you're feeling stuck between staying keto and craving your favorite holiday treats.
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Some people who lose significant weight may still feel as if they're carrying the same amount of fat, despite wearing smaller sizes and reading lower numbers on the scale. They continue to feel larger for years after they've lost dozens of pounds. The weight loss provides health improvements and a new appearance, but they don't feel smaller. In serious cases, people who have this distorted body image may need counseling to shift their mindset.
“Before I started running and eating well, I was 205 pounds. While I was in grad school, my friends and I went out every night drinking, stayed out until the bars closed, and then went to Taco Bell before going home. I rarely cooked at home and often ate out. Looking back at what I ate then makes me realize just how unhealthy I was. I would cook a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and eat the entire box or eat an entire frozen pizza and wash it all down with Dr. Pepper, and then go to Cookout or Taco Bell later—gross. I joined Weight Watchers in July of 2013 and now I weigh 133.5 pounds and I’ve been able to keep it off by exercising and maintaining my healthy eating.”
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.
Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. Carrots and onions are okay in a keto diet as long as they are eaten in moderation. Obviously, I am not saying this chili should be eaten everyday if you are on keto. It is fine if you are having it once in a while and watching your carb intake throughout the day. The canned tomatoes I used do not have any added sugar or additives so that is okay. Thanks for your comment and I am in no way trying to lie to my viewers.
The following menu, courtesy of Dr. Nelson, will give you an idea of how a day of eating on a vegan keto diet could look (with a Mod Keto carb allowance). One thing’s for sure: you can eat a high volume of food without having to worry about taking in too many calories, so you’re unlikely to gain weight by accident with this style of eating. It’s easy to stay satiated due to the fat content and the abundance of fresh vegetables makes this diet rich in phytonutrients and fiber. On the downside, it’s very tough to get enough protein in. As you can see, aiming for the bare minimum amount—20% of calories—almost certainly requires supplementation.
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.
“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!
“A completely vegan or plant-based keto diet would require the elimination of all animal-derived foods (including all meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and other animal fats and products, like bone broth or butter), plus nearly all sources of carbohydrates,” explains Josh Axe, D.N.M., D.C., C.N.S., doctor of natural medicine, chiropractor, clinical nutritionist, and author. “This results in a limited diet that’s going to be hard to follow and [will be] repetitive.”
Although treats like chocolate, candy, and cookies may look beautiful on your countertop in clear glass jars, having them front and center will make them a constant temptation. "Keep [treats] in very inconvenient places — like in your garage or in hard-to-access areas of your kitchen," suggests Julie Upton, MS, RD, blogger at Appetite for Health. "If you keep them in your fridge or pantry, cover them with aluminum foil so you can't see the food and won't be as tempted by it."
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 keto diet works well for vegetarians. Sometimes a vegetarian diet ends up being high in carbohydrates if it’s lacking in protein. A lack of protein can cause you to crave carbs to feel full, resulting in weight gain and low energy. On the flip side, a low carb vegetarian diet can help you get back on track with your weight and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. It can curb your cravings and help you get into the habit of eating healthy foods that will fill you up, without going overboard.
“The most rewarding part of running for me is the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it, and pushing myself beyond what l ever thought was possible. It has been rewarding to see a transformation in my body, and to feel a transformation mentally and emotionally. My husband sporadically runs and he used to tell me that I should run, too. At the time, I was more than 100 pounds overweight, and that seemed like a ridiculous thing to say. I recall telling my husband back then that, ‘I will never run.’ I laugh now because he rarely runs, and I run all the time.”
Start with a very low number of carbs and slowly add more. For this method, start by eating a maximum of 15g net carbs per day. This is a very, very low number of carbs, even for most on keto. As you enter ketosis, you can slowly start adding more net carbs to see where your body's limit is. Once you eat a certain number of net carbs that causes you to exit ketosis, then you know what your net carb limit is!
Because different plant foods contain different types of amino acids, in excluding all animal products, vegans come to rely on a combination of grains, legumes, and seeds to get all of the essential amino acids their bodies need. Many of these foods are too high in carbs to be included on a keto diet, which is usually restricted to 20 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per day. However, those who want to avoid all animal products can follow a lower-carb, non-keto vegan diet, such as the “Eco-Atkins” diet.
Vitamin B12 - B12 is a vitamin required for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, so it is pretty important. Unfortunately, it is almost exclusively comes from animal products, so vegetarians might not get as much of it as they need. Vegans definitely will not. Interestingly, vitamin B12 is actually made by animals’ gut bacteria, so you can find vegan-friendly sources. Also interestingly, your body can store B12 for as long as 3 to 5 years before you become deficient, so it may take a while before symptoms show up.
“I was 18 years old and 230 pounds. I was unhappy and realized after my freshman year of college that I needed to change my lifestyle. I come from a family of marathoners, but in 2012 when I told everyone I wanted to run my first marathon, I was told I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it—by family, friends, and even professors in front of my whole class. I took that adversity and have run the Marine Corps Marathon five years in a row, competed in six half marathons, and lost 83 pounds along the way.”
Another trick to encourage mindful eating is to focus on the taste of food instead of the activity you're doing while eating (like staring at a TV screen or reading emails). "Cultivate [your] taste buds by focusing on the first three to six bites of food," says Chere Bork, MS, RD, a speaker and wellness coach in Minneapolis. "Taste buds are chemical sensors that get tired very quickly, so unless you're very hungry, the first few bites of a food will taste better than the next few bites. After a larger amount, you may actually have very little taste experience left." By savoring the early bites, especially when it comes to rich foods like chocolate and cheese, you will satisfy hunger and cravings without eating large portions.
I am a 59-year-old wife and mother of two grown children. I love your idea of fixing a lot of meals ahead of time and then pulling one out, put it in the crockpot, and you have dinner when you get home. I hate feeling rushed when I cook so Monday - Friday I use those crockpot meals and make enough that we have lunch the next day. I take Sunday afternoon, fix up what I need for the week (I don't have a lot of freezer space so I do a week's worth at a time) and I'm done with it! Saturdays I like to try new recipes from some of my cookbooks which I am finding I can freeze as well! So you have shown me a whole new way to organize my time and still put a healthy meal on the table. Thanks so much and I look forward to future blogs.
Starchy veggies, such as potatoes and corn, are carb-heavy, which is a no-no on the keto diet. Still, as a vegetarian, you’re likely going to consume veggies for every meal. Aim for variety. Include leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, etc. “Sea vegetables are also great additions to your diet since they provide iodine and other key minerals,” says Dr. Axe. “For help with digestion and gut health, also try to include fermented veggies in your diet every day, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.”
The ketogenic diet puts the body into the fat-consuming condition of ketosis and expects devotees to source 80 to 90 percent of their day by day calories from fat, 5 to 15 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from carbs. Most Americans get about a portion of their day by day calories from carbs, so this is a noteworthy move from the run of the mill American diet.
“The day I met Samantha, it changed my life. Before I met her, I felt invisible because of the continuing frustrations I had with my weight. Now I don’t feel invisible anymore! ** I WAS BUSTING OUT OF A 14, BUT NOW I CAN EASILY FIT INTO A SIZE 6! ** I was consumed by negative feelings about myself. I would fight myself all day long between eating, starving and binging; caught in a circle of guilt. Thoughts of food were obsessive, food was my consolation. My very first visit with Samantha changed my life. She had so much energy and this amazing belief in her own ability to help me be successful. She made me believe that I too could realize my personal goal, with a lot of hard work. I have lost 30 pounds and 50” in 12 weeks! It’s not just about reaching a number on the scale. I have changed inside; the way I think about food and myself. I’m a different, more confident person now with tons of energy. I have never felt healthier in my life. I have never been more motivated. Nothing tempts me. The old me always gave into temptation. The new me is excited to be alive and feeling good. My clothes are too big! I had to go shopping! And . . .the best part is I don’t feel invisible anymore!” - Laura 52
This one's kind of sneaky and a little difficult too, depending on your current dietary preference. If you're vegetarian, it's likely that a large portion of your diet is attributed to grains and beans like quinoa, rice, and lentils. According to Smith, these foods contain too many carbohydrates and not enough protein to make them foundational foods for following a keto diet. So instead of eating a quinoa bowl or a stir-fry on a bed of white rice, try making a keto-friendly vegetarian lasagna (head to our sister site MyDomaine for the recipe).
“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! #keto diet menus