“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.”
The vegetarian diet is one of the best out there for weight loss; research has even found that it's twice as effective at reducing body weight than traditional low-carb diets. But as trendy diets pop up, vegetarians may want to expand their horizons. That's how the vegetarian keto diet, a variation of the super-popular ketogenic diet, started drawing attention.
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.)
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.
Now this recipe looks like exactly the type of meal you’ll be craving when following a plant-based keto diet, but appearances aside, it’s actually not only vegan and keto-friendly, but paleo-proof too! Those noodles aren’t, in fact, your usual wheat or rice variety. They’re the miraculously carb-free, fat-free, sugar-free shirataki noodles! Top with an almond butter sauce and your favorite veggies and you’ve got one of the yummiest quick and easy keto recipes.
“If you were only to do cardio and diet, you’d lose weight, but your metabolism would be compromised. Resistance training has a protein-sparing effect in that it doesn’t like for protein to be metabolized for energy. Cardio doesn’t make the same distinction — if you’re running and you’ve burned up all your carbohydrate stores, your body will start leeching from your fat and protein stores,” Sharp explains.
There are a lot of you out there who hate on Tofu, and all soy products for that matter, but we are tofu advocates! Tofu is not only high in protein, and relatively high in fat, but it's low in carbs, which makes for a great protein source on a ketogenic diet. It's a good source of essential vitamins, such as magnesium, calcium and iron and absorbs flavors really well so whether or not you're a great cook, cooking with tofu is cooking made easy!
If you have bad memories of being yelled at for not finishing everything on your plate, forget them. "Stopping before you're full is better for your health," says Ericka Stachura, R.D., a registered dietitian in Boston. That's because it takes 20 minutes for our stomachs to tell our brains that we're full; leaving food on the plate allows your brain to play catch-up. Also, when dining out, consider sharing an entree with a friend—portion sizes are often way larger than the recommended size for one person. You'll still feel satisfied. Promise.
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)
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.
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.
Zucchini noodes (zoodles!) are a bit of a staple on the keto diet, when I first started cutting out carbs pasta was one of the biggest thing’s I missed. Pre-keto I would love making pasta as a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but actually the zucchini version is so much better, with more flavour and quicker too. This dish can be put together in under 10 minutes! #keto diet
Tofu and meat substitutes - Soy products are a bit controversial in the keto community. Some dieters claim that phytoestrogens and antinutrients in soy could have a negative effect on health and nutrition. On the other hand, soy is a rare plant source of all essential amino acids, making it a valuable vegan-friendly food. While soy milk may be high in carbs, tofu only has around 2 grams net carbs in a 7 oz. serving.
That depends. Mass says if going keto motivates an unhealthy vegetarian to clean up his or her carb game, it could be beneficial and lead to better blood sugar control. Plus, transitioning from a pasta-heavy diet to one that’s rich in veggies and healthy fats should help someone drop unwanted pounds, she says. But for vegetarians who eat relatively clean already and rely on healthy carbs like quinoa and oats — which are limited on the keto diet — to help them feel full, adopting low-carb keto might be overly restrictive.
Blue Diamond nut varieties - Blue Diamond nuts are notoriously low in carbs. Their typical salted almonds only have 2g net carbs per 24 nuts! Even their dark chocolate almonds only have 6g net carbs per serving. They have tons of other flavors as well, which makes for awesome variety in your snacking (a big problem for keto-goers) - you won’t get bored of this stuff.
Hey Madison, you’ll want to check with your doctor on this first. I can say that eating lots of fibrous vegetables will aid in your fiber consumption and when you do eat meat, choosing the highest quality, fattier cuts will be key to getting all the beneficial nutrients you need. You could also try out our Greens Powder which will help with consuming a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. You can check that out here: https://shop.perfectketo.com/products/perfect-keto-micros-greens-powder. Additionally, the scientific literature behind keto and seizure control is very extensive and many many people have found success with it. But like I said – it’s best to check with your doctor first. #ketogenic diet