“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.”

“I have met the most amazing and supportive runners over the past year from all over the world who have become life long friends of mine. They helped me out and answered all the questions I had when I first started running. The highlight and most rewarding part of running for me is getting to run with my daughter Amanda. I have always supported her in her running over the years, but I never thought we would ever get to run together. Now, we run occasionally in the mornings, and do long runs together on weekends. The biggest highlight was running the Hershey Half together in October in 2:29 the day before my 56th birthday.”

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).
The health benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets are well-documented; in fact, cutting meat out of your diet has been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. (5) Plus, just like regular keto, vegan keto results in some pretty impressive benefits as well, ranging from increased weight loss to improved heart health. (6)

I have been banting (LCHF) for a few months now (no comments on that please, very similar to keto) and would like to stop eating meat. I’ll still eat fish. Anyway, the protein isn’t the question. I don’t want to eat too many carbs. How big should a salad be? A breakfast bowl, or a soup bowl or 3 cups? How much steamed brocolli, for example; a cup? How many cups of steamed veg a day? I obviously won’t live on steamed veg, I’m just trying to get my portions sorted in my head.

Yes, you read that right. A vegetarian keto diet means you can load up on the cheese. Freshly sliced mozzarella is packed with protein and fat, making it a perfect accessory for a vegetarian keto diet. Simply top vegetables like portobello mushrooms, eggplant rounds, or zucchini noodles with mozzarella and/or grated Parmesan for an instant protein boost. If you want a cheesy snack that is anything but cheesy, a buffalo chicken dip – sans the chicken – is a delightful keto diet food that pairs perfectly with celery or carrots and fits nicely with a vegetarian lifestyle. This eggplant lasagna loaded with creamy ricotta cheese is perfect for any Italian lover. Just remove the sausage.
If you’re a vegetarian who eats eggs or egg whites (ovo-vegetarian), incorporating a carton of eggs or egg whites into your diet is a perfect way to make sure you have enough protein in your diet. Eggs are also loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, iron, b-vitamins, and high-quality fat. They’re also inexpensive and versatile, so they should be a staple in any keto diet plan, especially a vegetarian diet.
Eggs and dairy — two of the main animal products you can eat on the vegetarian ketogenic diet — are nutrient dense, and their production has much less of an impact on the environment than lamb, beef, farmed salmon, poultry, turkey, and pork. You can even take the positive effects one step further by sourcing your eggs and dairy from local, pasture-raised chickens and cows. By supporting these healthy and sustainable animal rearing practices, you will be investing in the most humane and healthy animal products (more on this later).
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).
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!

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

Just like the regular version of the keto diet, the vegetarian keto diet relies on your food choices to put your body into ketosis. “If you are going to try this diet, I recommend healthy fats such as nuts and seeds as well as avocados. These are rich in unsaturated fats. Try to limit cheese and other saturated fats, as they are not good for our cardiovascular system,” Bailey explains.

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.)

Of course, one of the big complaints about a keto diet is that—like a vegan approach—it’s very restrictive and can be hard to stick to. That’s why we like to make people aware of a slightly less rigid approach we call Mod Keto that offers much of the same benefits as a strict keto diet but is much easier to follow long-term. With Mod Keto, carbs are raised to about 20% of your total caloric intake, protein to 20–40%, and fat is reduced to 40–60%. While not technically ketogenic (your body will probably not produce appreciable ketones at these levels), the higher protein and carb allowance supports workouts and activity better while still stabilizing blood sugar and promoting fat burning.
I’ve also heard some of my vegan friends say that they’re going to give a keto lifestyle a try to help them lose weight. Personally, Travis and I don’t follow a vegan keto diet, we just live a very simple and easy vegan lifestyle and eat whatever we want (within reason). However, I wanted to put together a list of vegan keto recipes to help anyone thinking about trying a keto diet this year.

One thing you can rejoice about are hot drinks like coffee and tea. Both coffee and tea do not inherently have any sugar if made from scratch. Even coffee and tea K-cups tend not to have any sugar in them (and are, in fact, calorie free), but the other flavors of K-cups do. You can even order a black coffee at Starbucks or an Americano, which has only 3 carbs. Take a look at Starbucks’ menu organized by nutritional information too.
"I joined the Anytime Fitness gym near my house, but at first I could barely walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I didn't want to overdo it and get frustrated, so I decided to add just 1 minute of walking each day. After 20 days, I was up to 30 minutes of walking and the pounds were consistently coming off. If I couldn't make it to the gym, I'd stroll around town with my then-teenage daughters, Kayla and Kendra. Now, I feel like I am turning heads—in a good way. I hold my head up high with my shoulders back, I smile and make eye contact. I try to radiate positivity."

While the jury is out on the diet’s long-term benefits, dietitians told Reader’s Digest that one of the most beneficial things about the vegetarian keto diet is that it incorporates fresh foods and eliminates many processed foods. “I encourage people to eat a whole-foods-based diet,” Vizthum says. “The parameters of a ketogenic diet are simply grams of macronutrients—protein, fat, carbs. The vegetarian ketogenic diet tries to also focus on the quality of foods eaten, increasing the micronutrient content of the diet.” Read more about 10 surprising health benefits of the keto diet.


“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.”

This was mentioned just recently, but deserves some more spotlight. Nut milks are great for vegetarian keto. Dairy milk is more carb-heavy than many drinks, and should not be your first choice if you’re going for milk due to the lactose. Nut milks are especially good if you’re trying to accomplish vegan keto. Just make sure to avoid the sweetened versions - they contain sugar!
Rickard Lindroth is a developer, mountain bike enthusiast, climber and one of the most joyful characters in the Diet Doctor office. He prefers easy-to-prepare vegetarian dishes and his absolute favorite ingredients are halloumi, eggs and broccoli. It’s not a surprise that this is what you’ll be eating this week. According to Rickard, everything is better with garlic and you should devour the whole broccoli — even the stalk! Oh, and did we mention garlic…?
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.

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.


I’m getting a little bored with my food choices, so I’m going to have to get better about planning ahead and making more interesting food choices for myself.  WoMan cannot live on smoothies and salads alone. I mean, I can, but I don’t want to.  I really do love my smoothies, I just get hungry pretty quick, when I have them for breakfast.  I do love salad, but definitely can’t do them as a meal every day.
"Before I finally made a phone call to Samantha, I had seen her articles and advertisements in our local paper for several years! During those years, I gained about 10 pounds each year with a combination of bad eating habits, a stressful job and no exercise. At the beginning of last year I went on a cruise with my mother and when I got back I looked at the photos we took. I could not believe the person in the photos was me - how had I become so out of shape? I thought I didn't have time to work out but Samantha convinced me that I had to make time and also make the changes in my eating habits to become healthy and lose weight. The time I have spent with Samantha has been one of the best investments I've made in my life - she has inspired me to eat healthier and how to work out effectively to lose the fat I needed to lose without losing muscle. She has shown me a way that I can follow for the rest of my life. I have gone from a size 14 to a size 4 in 7 months and I've lost over 138 inches all over my entire body! I feel better and have more energy than I have in years. I encourage you to give her a call today - don't waste another day! You can do it too with her help."
Are you looking for a good, go-to recipe for breakfast sausage? The problem with sausage in the store is all the additives, preservatives, sweeteners and other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Instead, I like to buy ground pork and create my own sausage using a blend of herbs and spices. The flavor is amazing, and you’ll feel much better about what you’re eating when you use natural, whole and healthy ingredients.

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.


“There is no secret. The only thing that I did differently was stay committed. I made a promise to myself not to give up and even when I wanted to quit, or when I messed up I just kept pushing. I took on a low-carb diet and started to run consistently. I also joined a weight loss clinic named Transform Institute, which gave me the tools and support that I needed.”
If you're looking to lose weight, fiber really is your secret weapon. High-fiber foods like legumes, nuts, and whole-grain products help to keep you full after a meal. They also stabilize your blood sugar, protecting you from the temptation to crash-snack. Erika Kaufman, R.D, a registered dietitian at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, advises eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, aiming for 3 grams in each bread serving and at least 5 grams of fiber in your cereal.
Samantha gave me the tools, education and encouragement to get myself back. She has given me all that I need to go forward in my journey as a strong, healthy, empowered, slim and fit woman. I LOVE who I am and how I look. I even love how I feel after a good workout when I have proven to myself that I can do what seemed impossible just 12 weeks ago. My decision to work with Samantha was a life changing decision. What she taught me has changed how I look, feel and how I will live my life forever. Wow!!!! THANKS Samantha!" --- Leslie Atkins
A lot of this initial weight loss is water. Your fluid levels fluctuate often and can change dramatically when you alter your diet. For example, when you start a low-carbohydrate diet, you deplete the stored glycogen in your muscles. When you lose this glycogen, you also lose the water it retains. As a result of this loss of water weight, you may experience a flatter-feeling tummy and the first pounds lost on your scale. Lose just 2 cups of water, and it results in a pound lost on the scale, but it's not actual fat loss.
Do you know what personal triggers have you reaching for the snacks (think road trips, celebrations, weekends, etc.)? Heather Bauer, R.D., co-author of Bread Is the Devil, calls these triggers our "diet devils" because they keep us from making smart decisions. For example, how many cookies do you absentmindedly eat in front of the TV after dinner? What about that binge-inducing boredom devil or, most dangerous of all, that vacation-eating demon? Start taking note of your diet-ruining trigger situations and you'll be able to stop them from ruining your diet.
When it comes to buying keto-friendly vegan dairy products, make sure you are not getting any extra added sugar, hidden carbs, or unhealthy ingredients like hydrogenated oils. Some of these products may also have “gums” in them like agar agar or guar gum. These compounds are used to make the product creamier, and they are safe for most people. However, some people may get gastrointestinal discomfort from eating them, so look out for gums when switching to vegan dairy products.
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.
And speaking of working out, if you’re a gym rat or avid runner, prepare for your workouts to suck for a while until your body fully adapts to the diet. If you’re cutting out carbs for the first time, your body will need two weeks or more (and sometimes months) to fully support the demands of exercise with ketones. And if you’ve been relying on animal products, you may find it difficult to recover without the full array of amino acids that every serving of animal protein provides. You’ve chosen a hard road to travel, nutritionally, but don’t lose heart. Time and persistence will force your body to accommodate just about any regimen you subject it to, and there are plenty of people whose performance has thrived on unconventional diets.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
In our sandwich-with-a-side-of-bread culture, cutting carbs down to the wire trips many people up. “Exact numbers vary person to person, but in general, strict keto dieters need to consume less than 50 grams of carbs a day,” says exercise physiologist Michael T. Nelson, Ph.D. (miketnelson.com). “Some people need to go as low as 30 grams.” The Mod Keto approach allows two to three times as many, but it’s still very low-carb compared to the diet of the average American. (For reference, one banana, one apple, or a single slice of bread would put you over your daily carb allowance on a strict keto diet.) #ketones
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