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.
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).
According to a new Cornell University study, people who ate smaller, portion-controlled lunches consumed about 250 calories less per day (that’s about two pounds a month) than those who ate as much as they wanted. Portion control doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry. Reward yourself with a snack for sticking to smaller meals, which can help shave off pounds without major sacrifice.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Listen, I love Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods as much as the next guy. The simple fact is that all of their food is much higher priced than your average Walmart or Aldi. Aldi in particular is a great place to get all your staples since there are not many extras you can spend your money on. Their produce is spotty at times, but good at other times. Learn how to make good judgments about the freshness of produce and take the plunge. I have seen avocados at Aldi in the midwest for $1 per avocado. These prices really just can’t be beat. Also, Aldi has recently started carrying more meat substitutes like soy protein burgers, soy “meatballs,” veggie burgers, and more. Each store likely has different stocks. There are also rumors that this is a temporary thing, so your mileage may vary.
A challenge that you may face is keeping your carbohydrates below 30 grams per day because by nature, these plant-based protein products contain 2-10 grams of carb per serving. But these products are also higher in dietary fiber (aka low-digestible carbs) which has a reduced effect on blood glucose levels (Grabitske, 2008). This may give you a little more flexibility with the number of carbs you can eat while still maintaining ketosis (e.g. up to 50 grams per day), but this will require tracking to be sure.
Feeling positive about the future, rather than focusing on the past or present, is more likely to lead you toward a healthier snack, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. Instead of rewarding your happiness with a candy bar in the moment (or eating one for comfort), focus on the future outcome (like a healthier, lighter you) so you’ll make better choices in the present.
"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."

The biggest thing to watch out for (aside from keto flu, which you should read about just above this section) when it comes to vegetarian keto is vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies. This is something that vegetarians and vegans are all too familiar with. Before getting any kind of vitamin supplement, make sure you consult with a doctor and have them check the vitamin levels in your bloodstream.
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.
“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

If your starting weight falls into the obese range on the body mass index, it is not impossible for your weight to change up to 20 pounds in a single day. But that amount of weight loss may not be very noticeable on a larger frame. However, if you are a petite woman and you lose 20 pounds that amount of weight loss can be the difference between several clothing sizes. It would be nearly impossible (and terribly unsafe), however, for a tiny woman to lose that much weight in a day. If you are smaller, you are likely to have less weight to lose and it will come off a little bit slower. When your starting body size is larger, you are likely to lose more weight at a faster rate—especially in the early days of in your program. You should include flax seed oil in smoothies or fruit juices if you are working out to lose quick fat. The omega 3-rich element is high in fiber content, and it can decrease irregularity and water retention. It also helps in growing metabolism rate.
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