The diet of the moment is the ketogenic plan—people turn to it to lose weight, to manage chronic illness, or to find a healthier lifestyle. This high-protein plan focuses on meat, however. The goal is to eliminate carbs, jack up the protein, and force the body to burn fat for fuel (instead of its preferred source: carbohydrates). This phenomenon is called ketosis—but the meat focus prevents vegetarians from experimenting with the plan. Now there’s a vegetarian keto diet—dubbed ketotarian—that draws on nonmeat sources of protein. Here’s what you need to know about the vegetarian keto diet. Read the 13 things people get wrong about the keto diet.
Opting for high-fat plant foods like avocados, coconuts, and nut butters is one way to meet your keto macros on a vegetarian ketogenic diet. Making sure you're eating high-quality protein is also important. But one of the biggest concerns on a vegetarian ketogenic diet is omega-3 fatty acids intake. These essential nutrients are difficult to obtain on plant-based diets, so make sure to eat foods rich in this fatty acid or go for supplements.
Vegetarian diets are touted as one of the healthiest on the planet. However, the exclusion of meat is not the only thing that makes these diets healthy. It's also the inclusion of real food and wholesome ingredients. Besides, a vegetarian binging on donuts, fries, and cheese is doing their health and environment a disservice as much as any other food junkie.
I want to be totally honest about what I experienced on a vegan keto diet so that you know what you are getting into. My intention is not to turn anyone away from the diet, just be transparent about my experience with it. I would do a lot of research before starting it so that you know what you are getting into and how to maintain it without any symptoms.
But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Because, at their core, a typical vegetarian diet and a traditional keto diet contradict one another. "The essence of a vegetarian diet is healthful carbohydrates, and keto diets are very low in carbs," says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N. And depending how strict a vegetarian diet you follow, you most likely avoid all meats, poultry, and fish—the main sources of protein recommended in a typical ketogenic diet, adds Sheth. Not to mention that many plant-based protein sources, such as beans and lentils, are high in carbs—so they'd be a no-go on a vegetarian keto diet plan.
Some diets are set up to include an initial phase where you lose more weight. Atkins, South Beach and many other popular programs include a jump start for a week or two when food restriction is more intense and you lose more weight. You can lose five pounds or more per week during this initial phase. As a result, the weight loss will be noticeable sooner.
By monitoring the things you may be insufficient in, you could (and should) stack up on nourishment that is wealthy in those supplements, for example, cheddar for nutrient B12, eggs for nutrient D, and verdant greens like kale for calcium. On the off chance that you are occupied with attempting ketogenic diet without eating meat, Mass likewise suggests facilitating up on how strict of a veggie lover you are and eating fish on the off chance that you don’t as of now since it’s an incredible wellspring of omega-3s and protein.
In order to get into ketosis and remain there, limit your net carb intake to 20 grams per day. This means you’ll need to avoid many popular vegetarian protein sources, such as quinoa, buckwheat, legumes, and pulses. These foods are simply too high in carbs to be included on a ketogenic lifestyle. Also be sure to steer clear of milk and low fat dairy products, starchy vegetables, and fruits, other than perhaps a few berries.
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When you are following a vegetarian keto meal plan, though, Palmer recommends focusing mostly on whole foods. Not only will those help you hit your nutrient checkboxes, but they're also rich in slow-digesting carbs and help maintain energy levels longer. And as with any healthy diet, you should avoid processed foods and refined carbs and sugars, which are stripped of important nutrients that prevent sugar from being absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly. (Not sure which drinks are keto-approved? Check out this list.)
There are other side effects as well when your body is first adjusting, like difficulty focusing, flu-like symptoms (keto flu), drowsiness, frequent urination, constipation, diarrhea, and reduced strength and physical performance. Most of these symptoms occur mainly in the first few days, while others can come and go depending upon how many electrolytes you are getting and your macronutrient intake.
Walking felt like the easiest change to make, so I started going out near my home for just 10 minutes a day on a local trail along a river. Being in nature was key. Gradually, I increased from 10 minutes to 2 hours a day and added hilly hikes on the weekends. While I strolled, I listened to podcasts and soaked up the scenery. My cholesterol and blood pressure are now in healthy ranges—without medication. It's wild how much I've changed, not just physically but emotionally too. I remember trying to hike when I was heavy—my knees hurt and I could barely breathe. I thought, I'll just look at nature; I don't have to walk in it. I can't believe the limited mindset I had. What was I thinking? I feel so much more confident and capable now.
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.
When you’re restricting certain food groups from your diet, it’s even more important to take a multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps. “If symptoms like fatigue, aches, weakness, moodiness, and trouble sleeping persist for more than two weeks, consider ending the diet and consuming a larger variety of foods,” says Dr. Axe. “It’s usually recommended that the keto diet is followed short-term, for about three months at a time (up to six months). Although, it’s important to always listen to your body and make changes if you’re reacting negatively.”
Opt for low-carb and high-fat vegetables whenever possible. There's a range of low-carb fruit you can enjoy on your vegetarian ketogenic diet. You can also find a few high-fat examples with avocado being the most notable. Make sure to track your carb intake when making meals with these as it's easy to go overboard with carbs on a vegetarian ketogenic diet.
First, even nonvegetarian keto eaters shouldn’t focus too much on meat: “The misconception that keto diets require huge amounts of meat or meat products may scare off vegetarians, those concerned about the environment, or people that want to eat healthier,” says Bobbie Henry-Barron, a dietitian at the Adult Epilepsy Diet Center at Johns Hopkins University. “A vegetarian version of the ketogenic diet may be appealing for its weight loss and other health benefits.” Check out 12 things that happen to your body on the keto diet.
In the long term, dietitians warn that you could experience deficiencies in nutrients. “When eating a very low-carbohydrate diet, it is possible to become nutrient deficient because many of the food groups from which vegetarians get their nutrients (whole grains, legumes, root vegetables) are eliminated,” Davis notes. “So by eating vegetarian and keto, you could be at risk for nutrient deficiencies.” Learn about 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet.
Dr. Axe recommends getting no more than 20 percent of your daily calories from plant-based sources of proteins, since eating too much protein will interfere with ketosis. “Most beans and legumes will contribute too many carbs to your diet and too little protein,” he says. “The best sources of low-carb protein are plant-based protein powders (like hemp, brown rice, or pea protein) and fermented soy products like tempeh.” Other plant-based sources of protein in your diet can include nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds, and even vegetables.
Many dieters think that being ‘good’ during the week gives them a license to let go on the weekends, but if you add it up, eating poorly and not exercising Friday to Sunday comes out to 12 days “off” a month! Instead of letting the days of the week influence your habits, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable all month long (with the occasional indulgence) for lasting weight loss.
Great tips! I really love the keto diet and I’ve made a lot of progress in changing my eating habits in the past year. One thing that really helped me get started was having access to a quality ketogenic diet cookbook. Recently I found one that offers 148 ketogenic recipes complete with meal planning tips. It also provides you with handy list of high-carb foods to avoid and advice on how to neutralize your cravings for those foods. The recipes are amazing and there’s enough recipes there to keep you from getting bored with your diet. I highly recommend it. Just click the link below to get instant access:
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.
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Weight loss doesn’t always mean cutting down on things. In fact, adding in more fruits and vegetables helps you stay fuller, longer, with less calories and more nutrition. To lose weight without feeling hungry, eat at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with every snack and two with meals, recommends Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and food industry consultant in Rye Brook, N.Y.
While there are nutritional benefits associated with eating red meats and poultry in moderation, you can certainly still live a ketogenic lifestyle without them. In fact, looking at the bigger picture, the keto diet and vegetarian diet are more sustainable ways of dieting because they rely less on eating massive quantities of meat. Here are a few keto diet recipes you can try today:
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).
The keto diet works well for vegetarians. Sometimes a vegetarian diet ends up being high in carbohydrates if it’s lacking in protein. A lack of protein can cause you to crave carbs to feel full, resulting in weight gain and low energy. On the flip side, a low carb vegetarian diet can help you get back on track with your weight and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. It can curb your cravings and help you get into the habit of eating healthy foods that will fill you up, without going overboard.
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.)
“If you are considering starting any kind of ketogenic diet, you should discuss it first with your doctor. The diet may be harmful if you have existing kidney, liver, or heart disease. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure and are on medications, you should be in close contact with your physician to monitor changes and adjust medications as needed,” Vizthum says.
If you've upped your salt intake and you're still feeling groggy, order some magnesium or potassium supplements to help out. The unfortunate thing about potassium tablets in particular is that they usually have a really low dosage - NoSalt might be a better way to get the amount that you need. You usually have to go to specialty stores to find this stuff, which can be a bit intimidating, or you can order online. Keep in mind that keto flu is temporary and should pass after just a few days.
If you feel like everything is off limits, we're here to help. Yes, following a keto diet when you're vegan is difficult...but not impossible! You may not be living off bacon and eggs like some of your other keto friends, but with these avocado, almond butter, and coconut milk-filled recipes, your stomach will still be full and happy. And if you're vegan-ish, be sure to check out our vegetarian keto recipes too, for those times you want to slip in a little dairy.
This low carb, high protein vegan keto recipe is the perfect go-to when you’re looking for an afternoon snack that’s both filling and satisfying. Gluten-free and high in healthy fats, it’s also one of the easiest keto recipes you’ll come across. Just mix, spread, and bake – what could be simpler? Make several batches at once and keep them on hand for snacking emergencies!
Even though I added those into my diet, I may not have been getting enough, hence the leg cramps. I also may have had a few to many low carb cocktails that might have depleted said minerals. I have read other posts from vegans who went on the diet who had no problems. I don’t know if they were on it as long as I was, but it is something to watch out for.
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.”
This keto cookie recipe is loaded with fat and protein but skips the baking process, for a recipe that's incredibly quick and easy. While the texture might be similar to your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, there's not an oat in sight! With just 6 ingredients and 20 minutes of time, you can whip up these delicious healthy keto treat that also happens to be gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, paleo, and vegan!
While the jury is out on the diet’s long-term benefits, dietitians told Reader’s Digest that one of the most beneficial things about the vegetarian keto diet is that it incorporates fresh foods and eliminates many processed foods. “I encourage people to eat a whole-foods-based diet,” Vizthum says. “The parameters of a ketogenic diet are simply grams of macronutrients—protein, fat, carbs. The vegetarian ketogenic diet tries to also focus on the quality of foods eaten, increasing the micronutrient content of the diet.” Read more about 10 surprising health benefits of the keto diet.
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