Most ketogenic diet plans emphasize the consumption of animal-based products such as grass-fed butter and unprocessed meats, which can make it hard if you’re trying to cut back on your intake of these foods or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fortunately, however, there are also plenty of other high-fat, plant-based choices available for you to choose from as well.
“Understand that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days may not be great but don’t beat yourself up. Also understand what works for you—maybe only for you. Tracking my food and running have been my unlock, but everyone must figure out what’s best for them. It could be meal prep, cutting out certain foods, doing more cross training... Whatever it is, do what you can practically manage, and also enjoy.”
Just like on a standard keto diet, the key is to trade in your starchy veggies for low-carb vegetarian options and also be sure to get in a hearty dose of healthy fats and protein. By cutting down on your intake of carbohydrates, your body is forced to start burning up fats to use for fuel instead of sugar, putting you into a metabolic state known as ketosis and allowing the health benefits to start racking up.
Ketogenic diets originated in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, but they’ve since been credited for promoting a number of health benefits ranging from improved insulin sensitivity to everyday mental clarity, in addition to fast weight loss. Strict ketogenic—or “keto”—dieters limit carbohydrate intake to about 5% of their daily calories while keeping protein intake at around 20%. Fats, then, make up close to 75% of their calories. (For more details on setting up various ketogenic diets, see our guide HERE.)
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.
This noodle dish from SuperGoldenBakes looks stunning and colourful, with a delicious peanut sauce for a hit of healthy fats. Smoked tofu is a delicious alternative to meat, with a richness that some people miss when switching to a vegetable based diet. Spiralized vegetables are a really flexible way to turn just about any dish into a keto friendly one, it’s definitely worth investing in a good spiralizer!
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.
Processed soy-based meat substitutes (such as Boca Burgers) and protein powders are major go-to’s for people transitioning to vegan diets, but they come with a catch. A 2016 position paper published by Virginia State University explains that soy contains isoflavones, a kind of plant estrogen that can act like the female hormone in humans. While typical serving sizes (one to three of soy foods, or less than 25g of soy protein from non-concentrated sources like tofu) have not been shown to be problematic, amounts more than that (totaling around 100mg isoflavones or greater daily) could negatively impact testosterone. To our thinking, why take the risk? It may be best for a keto dieter to get the majority of his/her protein from nuts, seeds, vegetables, and supplements and less from soy products, apart from the occasional slice of tofu.
Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. Tell your health care professional if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer. In studies with rats and mice, Saxenda® and medicines that work like Saxenda® caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if Saxenda® will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people.
Special vegetarian keto products - There are tons of non-meat snack options on Amazon like keto cookies, cheese bars, protein bars, etc. Be careful - the search results aren’t perfect, so some Paleo options might show up that aren’t supposed to or some non-vegetarian items might show up that aren’t supposed to. Almost every product has nutritional information, so make sure to consult it before making any purchases.
Although it’s just recently entered the limelight in the past few years, the ketogenic diet actually has a pretty extensive history that stretches back for centuries. Since at least 500 B.C., fasting has been used as a natural method to treat epilepsy. In the 1920s, the ketogenic diet was developed as a way to mimic the effects of fasting and aid in the treatment of seizures in children. (1)
According to a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, swapping out your morning bagel for eggs could help you lose 65 percent more weight. Subjects who ate eggs for breakfast lost more weight, body fat and inches from their waist than those who ate the same amount of calories in the form of a bagel. Researchers believe the higher protein content of the eggs helps you stay fuller, longer and leads to eating less throughout the day.
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.