And speaking of working out, if you’re a gym rat or avid runner, prepare for your workouts to suck for a while until your body fully adapts to the diet. If you’re cutting out carbs for the first time, your body will need two weeks or more (and sometimes months) to fully support the demands of exercise with ketones. And if you’ve been relying on animal products, you may find it difficult to recover without the full array of amino acids that every serving of animal protein provides. You’ve chosen a hard road to travel, nutritionally, but don’t lose heart. Time and persistence will force your body to accommodate just about any regimen you subject it to, and there are plenty of people whose performance has thrived on unconventional diets.
I know others of you are probably like, “Finally! A keto vegan/vegetarian post is just what I’ve been waiting for!” If that’s you, I am so excited to be able to help you out. I know limited food options can lead to a bit of a monotonous and dreary existence, and can eventually result in a horrendous bout of binge eating and crushing guilt later on. My mission is to help you avoid that vicious cycle and discover the wonderful opportunities that are out there in the small, but vivacious, world of vegan and vegetarian ketogenic living!
Vegetarians following the keto diet could also run the risk of becoming deficient in certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Three big ones: B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. "B12 is largely found in animal products; heme-iron, which is most readily absorbed, is only obtained in animal products; and fish is a great source of omega-3s," explains Sharp. Unfortunately, those aren't the only elements at risk of being deficient. Zinc, an important antioxidant, most often comes from meat and poultry; calcium and vitamin D—two nutrients that are crucial for bone health—are mostly found in dairy products; and magnesium, another important nutrient for bone health (and energy) is typically ingested via grains, which are on the no-no list for vegetarian keto followers.
Jay Te thank you for pointing out the health concerns of some of the recommendations on the site. I have to admit that a red flag went off for me but still is unsure of piecing together a healthy meal plan for vegetarians or pescetarian. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed with the meal plans here on my own account of not liking several of the ingredients. Can you recommend a healthy list that is not in contradiction to health risk for others like me? Thank you.
Barley got its hunger-fighting reputation after Swedish researchers found that eating barley or rye kernels for breakfast kept blood sugar on an even keel. That's because the carbs in barley and rye kernels are "low glycemic index," meaning they raise blood sugar more slowly than some other carbohydrate foods. This helps you avoid a spike, and then a drop, in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling famished.
"I started working with a weight-loss coach at Healthy Fit for Women in Woburn, MA. The key was slowly making changes in the way I ate, which eventually led to permanent habits. I used to think I was eating 'healthy' foods, but my portions were way too large, not to mention packed with sugar. I started eating breakfast, then tried to eat five small meals a day, every three hours, instead of larger ones later in the day."
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.
This diet plan may not be suitable for everyone. You may have to make small adjustments. If you need to have less protein, reduce the portions of dairy and eggs. Don't worry about small excess of protein, it will not kick you out of ketosis. In fact, protein will keep hunger at bay. If you need to add more fat (or less), focus on added oils and fatty foods when making your adjustments. You can find your ideal macros using KetoDiet Buddy. If you need to add snacks and more food to serve with the meals, have a look at this list.
Red Palm Oil. Being an incredible source of Vitamins A and E, red palm oil doubles as a vitamin supplement. It has a mild carrot-like flavor and a rich, buttery texture. You’ll find that cooking with it can enhance the flavor of your vegan meat, nuts, and seeds. Caution: When buying palm oil, however, you must be extremely careful because many of these products are made in a way that devastates the wildlife and their environment. If you do want to add red palm oil to your keto diet, make sure you only buy RSPO-certified or Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) products.
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.
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.
Some people, however, go into the diet in hopes of controlling a chronic illness or just to ensure that they are eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones in their everyday lives. “How someone monitors their diet will depend on their desired health outcomes. Although there is usually quite a bit of initial weight loss, losing one to two pounds per week is ideal. Any more, and you’re likely not eating enough and the diet won’t be sustainable,” says Henry-Barron. Check out 14 amazing before-and-after pictures of people who followed the keto diet.
“I have met the most amazing and supportive runners over the past year from all over the world who have become life long friends of mine. They helped me out and answered all the questions I had when I first started running. The highlight and most rewarding part of running for me is getting to run with my daughter Amanda. I have always supported her in her running over the years, but I never thought we would ever get to run together. Now, we run occasionally in the mornings, and do long runs together on weekends. The biggest highlight was running the Hershey Half together in October in 2:29 the day before my 56th birthday.”
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.
“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.”
Don't think we forgot about those eggs we skipped out on at breakfast! We are putting them to good use at lunch with an Asparagus and Jalapeno Frittata! Not only is this recipe high protein and deliciously simple, but it makes for an easy prep and clean up! All you have to do is combine the ingredients in an oven safe pan and bake. When did meal prep get so easy?! #ketosis