Andrew Heffernan, C.S.C.S., is an award-winning health and fitness journalist whose work appears regularly in Men’s Health and Experience Life. He is the co-author of two fitness books—The Exercise Cure and Your New Prime—and is a frequent top-five finisher as an age-group triathlete and competitive obstacle-course racer. Andrew lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Visit him at andrewheffernan.com.
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).
One thing many people miss when following a plant-based keto diet is fruit. Whether it’s in your morning smoothie, an afternoon pick me up, or after dinner as a sweet treat, fruit plays a big part in a vegan diet normally. But with this fruitless green smoothie bowl, you’re guaranteed not to miss the sweet stuff at all! Put this on your rotation of plant-based breakfast recipes and you’ll start the day with a boost of energy.
The benefits of a low-carb keto diet are also hard to pass up. It's one of, if not the strongest weight loss diet through ketosis. Keto may also improve acne, brain health, and seizure frequency, improve heart health, and combat type 2 diabetes, as well as assist with a host of other conditions. Others that adhere to the keto diet also self-report other benefits:
For many vegetarians, beans and grains constitute a large portion of their daily protein consumption, so limiting them means you'll need to supplement your diet with something else. Smith suggests looking to "organic dairy or a low-carb protein powder that's plant-based" for meeting healthy protein consumption standards. Perhaps you could try incorporating low-carb Greek yogurt, nut butter, or whole eggs into your daily diet.
Getting enough fat and protein on the vegan ketogenic diet shouldn’t be a problem either. Plant-based oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts, and seeds, will cover all of your fat needs. Moreover, to help cover your protein needs, make sure you have a vegan meat alternative, vegan protein powder, or high protein nuts and seeds with each meal.
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.
“I lost most of my weight (200 lbs.) in about 18 months so I have had to stay busy to keep it off,” he says. “I am extremely competitive and have an amazing network of friends and the From Fat To Finish Line (FFTFL) community. I like to join training groups and training clubs because of the friendships and accountability it creates. It would be easy for me to blow off a 10-mile run at 5:30 on a Friday morning, but I know I have two friends meeting me, who I would never let down.”
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).
Nuts and seeds - Most nuts and seeds are rich in protein. However, they usually don't contain all essential amino acids. That's why you will need to eat a variety of nuts and seeds to ensure you're meeting your protein needs. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, and chia seeds are great options on keto. Nut butters should also be on your keto food list.
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.
Not only that, but increasing your intake of healthy fats and protein while reducing your intake of empty carbs can help ensure that you’re getting all of the essential nutrients that you need with none of the added ingredients and chemicals that you don’t. Studies have also shown that a higher intake of fat and protein can suppress your appetite and lower levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, more effectively than carbohydrates. (3, 4)
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.
“I love how our bodies are designed to respond to exercise. If I am willing to be consistent and work hard, I’ve learned my body can accomplish amazing things. I enjoy hard work and running as fast as I can, for as far as I can, in the most efficient way possible. Because I haven’t always enjoyed good health, I really appreciate being able to run and exercise. Each day I am able to run and be active fills me with gratitude because I personally understand how so many others aren’t as blessed.”
Vitamin D - Vitamin D is another essential vitamin for the body, which uses it for many tasks. Vitamin D is required to move your muscles, fire your neurons, and fight off foreign pathogens. It also helps the body absorb calcium, aiding in the strengthening of bones. Vitamin D might also help combat depression. Unfortunately, it is also nearly exclusively derived from animal products.
Reading ingredient labels is also important. You should know what’s in the food that you put into your body! Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet are used to checking ingredient labels to make sure that they’re not unknowingly consuming an animal product or byproduct. When on the keto diet, you have to look out for food that contains sugar and flours. They can interfere with ketosis. “Don’t consume any added sugar from desserts, juice or soft drinks, grains, beans or legumes. Instead of consuming sugar or even honey, try using stevia extract or monk fruit to sweeten meals,” says Dr. Axe. “Even starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and beets provide carbs that can interfere with ketosis. These should be avoided or [eaten] in very small amounts.”
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.)
With all that in mind, one thing is clear: A vegetarian keto diet has the potential to get confusing, fast. So if you're considering it, Sheth recommends meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist to ensure that you are adequately meeting your nutritional needs. (You could also share this beginner keto-friendly meal plan with non-vegetarians.)
How it works: Intermittent fasting requires you to eat within a certain window of time and fast during the rest. There are several different methods for intermittent fasting, some of which are more restrictive than others. The 16:8 method, for example, requires you to eat within an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. You would only eat two meals a day, for example, your first meal starting at noon and your last around 8 p.m.
Happy Valentine’s Day! What’s that, you say? I should have posted this before the actual day, so you could make them today? Yeah, that would have been better, but that’s just not where my life is at right now. Anyway, I’ve really been in the mood for red velvet flavored things lately, and these vegan keto red velvet cupcakes just so happen to fit the bill. (more…)
"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.
Most of the studies about ACV have been done on animals—or in really small groups of people, explains Eliza Whetzel-Savage, R.D., a registered dietitian at Middleburg Nutrition in New York City. “There is one study of people that showed ACV may slow digestion of food and liquid, which may help stabilize blood sugar,” she says. “But overall, there is not much science to support many of the claims.”
The first few days of switching to a ketogenic diet sucks. You'll feel hunger pangs, cravings, grumpy and probably suffer flu-like symptoms. You may even feel light-headed, sometimes. There are a number of reasons for this, including changes in gut biota, as various colonies are "screaming at you" for food, but mainly as your body initially will be looking for a quick glucose energy source, before switching metabolic states and preferring ketones, instead. This takes some patience and discipline.
The amount of carbs are like calories, it depends on what kind and how much you are eating. Eat fruit, it has much needed nutrients but some choices are better than others. Eat whole fruits rather than drinking the juice because the fruit has fiber and the juice is pure sugar. Eat a serving of fruit at a time and not an entire bowl of it. Eating less bad carbs will reduce your cravings. A piece of fruit here and there will soon become a more than adequate sweet for you.
Don't shy away from a handful of processed foods if they help you meet your macros. Normally, you'll hear that excluding processed food is the way to go on keto. And while that is a wise thing to do, it can cause trouble when you adopt a more restricted version of the ketogenic diet. Adding TVP, trans-free margarine, and canned goods can be a convenient way to get all the nutrients you need on your vegetarian ketogenic diet as long as it's low-carb and rich in healthy fats.
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.
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