“It’s been a real confidence builder to realize that I can set goals and accomplish them. I was never athletic as a kid, and now as a person eligible for Social Security, I’m signed up for two 10 mile races and a half marathon in 2017—and I know I’ll finish them. As a matter of fact, running has improved my mental health as much or more as my physical health. Running is the one thing that I do just for me, which is needed in a life full of stress.”

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.
According to nutritionist Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, the ketogenic diet "is basically low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein." Generally, it consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrates. The goal of this diet is to put the body in a state of ketosis, which means you're body burns fat as its main energy source—not carbs or protein. People say it could aid in healthy weight loss, decrease inflammation, and more. But what many people don't know is if it can pair with a vegetarian lifestyle since it so strictly emphasizes fat and protein over carbohydrate consumption. It's no secret that many followers of the keto diet load up on meat and fish, which makes the diet seem rather murky and unapproachable for vegetarians.
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.)

Seasonings. One of the biggest complaints for people on vegetarian keto is the lack of variety. If you’re having eggs for breakfast every day, this is pretty understandable. If you pick up and experiment with different seasonings, you can create a lot of variety for yourself with the same foods. By way of example, the other day I made an egg scramble, but I added chili powder, cumin, and garlic to give it a southwestern feel.
As, yes, the age-old question: but where do you get your protein? If you’ve been plant-based for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard this asked in at least five different ways. At least here in North America, it seems as though people really struggle to wrap their heads around the idea that you can get enough protein without eating meat, dairy or eggs. This issue becomes especially pronounced when we talk about vegan keto diets.
Important disclaimer: Throughout this article, I have linked to various products and ingredients that I have tried or used. Purchases made through some of these links provide me a small kickback which is used to produce more awesome articles like this one….and to fuel my stevia & meat substitute addictions. That said, all endorsements are truly my own and are what I personally recommend. Thanks for your support!

As I'm sure you've heard time and time again, a keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. On a vegetarian keto diet, hitting your macros, especially protein, can be more of a challenge than for those who eat meat. Maybe you're not a fan of protein powders or the vegetarian meat substitutes you like are high in carbs. So, what options do you have?

“I was supposed to be a leader of soldiers, and I could barely pass the Army physical test,” Cines — who weighed 200 lbs. at her highest — told PEOPLE. “I was embarrassed. My soldiers looked up to me and I had to counsel them when they couldn’t meet the standards, and yet I myself couldn’t meet the standards. I just felt like a hypocrite and a fake.”
Meat substitutes. Meat substitutes are often the punching bag of vegetarians and vegans, and I’m not really sure why. Some say that soy is a poison that gives you cancer and disrupts your hormones and things like that, but the science says otherwise. Meat substitutes are healthy, good for you, and a godsend for vegetarian keto. Gardein, MorningStar, Quorn, Boca, Beyond Meat, Lightlife, almost all of them are GREAT for low carb, high fat, high protein meals. I would not be able to do vegetarian keto without fake meat products.

Soy contains goitrogens, which are plant compounds that can impair thyroid function. If you experience fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, or unexplained weight gain as a result of upping your intake of soy-based products, then you should limit the amount of soy you consume (more on this and other vegan health concerns later in the article).


​One word. Avocado. Just kidding! Well, your snack in this meal prep is an avocado, but there is so much more to say. The best part about this snack is that it can easily top your frittata at lunch or be thrown into your salad at dinner! It also lacks any preparation, except for the dreaded task of finding 5 perfect avocados that will be ripe enough to eat, but not over ripe. It's a fine line to walk, we know.

This is going to be tough, but always ask your server for help. Usually they’ll be more than happy to help you find what you need (especially since they’re expecting a tip). Look out for side/garnishing sauces or glazes, many of which will contain a lot of sugar. Most restaurants have their nutritional information online somewhere, so take a look at their options online before you go or on your phone while you’re there.
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.”
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.
Anybody here who doesn’t love mac and cheese? We thought so! This creamy, cheesy pasta radiates a deep sun yellow as a result of the turmeric, mustard, and cheddar cheese. It looks startlingly similar to the boxed variety you’ll feel like you’re really naughty when, actually, you’re enjoying a bright and warm keto dinner. The recipe is pretty straightforward, and you can put the cheese sauce together while the cauliflower is cooking.
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.
aThese results were from a 56-week trial of adults with excess weight (BMI ≥27) with at least 1 weight-related condition, or obesity (BMI ≥30), not including patients with type 2 diabetes. On average, 27% of people on Saxenda® and 34% on placebo did not complete the study. In the study, 62% of patients on Saxenda® lost ≥5% of their body weight (vs 34% placebo) and 34% lost ≥10% body weight (vs 15% placebo). Significant weight loss was only evaluated at 56 weeks, as per study design.
Although many people avoid eating meat due to concerns about animal welfare or the environment, others choose vegetarianism because they believe it is healthier. However, vegetarian diets are typically high in grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, which aren’t appropriate for individuals with diabetes, who want to control their blood sugar without medication. Additionally, many people find that they are constantly hungry when following a low-fat, high-carb vegetarian way of eating.
The Wisconsin native also struggled with health issues. In her early teens she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and sleep apnea. “It is extremely difficult to lose weight and maintain weight loss with PCOS,” says Stolfi, who hit her highest weight of 286 lbs. at age 18. “And the lack of good sleep caused me to be lethargic, which meant I didn’t have the energy to work out.”
“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.”

High-fat dairy - Nutritionists claim milk products are likely the best sources of high-quality protein [4]. That's because milk proteins contains all 9 essential amino acids and are easier to digest than either beef or soy proteins. Just make sure you're going for products higher in fat to make it more keto. Examples include sour cream, cheese, and full-fat yogurt.
For anyone following any vegan diet, and athletes especially, the question always comes up: “How do you get enough protein?” Nelson recommends about 0.7g of protein per pound of your goal body weight as a baseline daily intake for active people—and most nutritionists recommend up to one gram per pound if you’re weight training. (Goal body weight means the amount you want to weigh—not the number that currently comes up on the scale. So, if you weigh 205 pounds but remember looking and feeling your best when you weighed 175, eat 0.7g of protein x 175, or about 120 grams daily.)

Throughout this article, we will focus on how to implement a vegetarian ketogenic diet that includes eggs and dairy. (No meat, fish, or poultry products will be recommended at all.) On the other hand, if you want to eliminate all animal products for your ketogenic diet, then you will find much better suggestions — like a complete list of dairy and egg alternatives — in our comprehensive guide to the vegan ketogenic diet.
Although many people avoid eating meat due to concerns about animal welfare or the environment, others choose vegetarianism because they believe it is healthier. However, vegetarian diets are typically high in grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, which aren’t appropriate for individuals with diabetes, who want to control their blood sugar without medication. Additionally, many people find that they are constantly hungry when following a low-fat, high-carb vegetarian way of eating.
I like to cook dinner pretty much every night. Cooking is something that I really enjoy, and as I’m always working on new vegan keto recipes, it kind of just makes sense to test them every chance I get. Of course, there are nights that I just don’t feel like cooking, so I like to have some options available that I can just heat up and dig into without much fuss. This recipe for vegan keto sloppy joes really fits the bill there. It makes six servings in one go, so you can have dinner ready to go every day without more than 1 hour of effort. 🙂 (more…)
Protein is also a big concern. “Since the keto diet is relying on protein and fat for your calorie intake, you are cutting out many of the complete proteins you would be attaining — say from legumes and grains — on a regular vegetarian diet,” Mass says. “On a keto diet, this source of complete proteins is now essentially eliminated.” Protein is important to help the body build bones, muscles, and skin, according to Medline Plus.
"I weighed 200 pounds when I had to get a hysterectomy in 2011 to undo damage caused by an infection. Afterward, I was lethargic and gained 53 pounds. I was put on two different medications for high blood pressure and another one for acid reflux, plus I had high cholesterol and was prediabetic. I was also having heart palpitations, so I went to a cardiologist and was diagnosed with sleep apnea and put on an oxygen tank at night. My family doctor told me that my sleep apnea would probably go away if I lost weight." Faster fat burning secret is caloric deficit. The maximum of 1200 calories per day in each of the three days to look better in a bathing suit.
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