Meat is a cornerstone of the ketogenic diet, but that doesn’t mean the diet is off-limits for the vegetarian population. As the high-fat, low-carb approach has grown in popularity, many vegetarians have wanted in on the hype and have found a way to make it work for them, tweaking the typical keto diet menu and food list to fit within their meat-free lifestyles.

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.
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.
"When I contacted Pure Health & Fitness Studios in late June, I was desperate. I felt terrible about myself – I didn’t like my body, the way I felt and the way I looked in my clothes. I had been a chronic stress-eater and was never one to pay attention to portion sizes. I was suffering from a serious sugar addiction and would snack on cookies and chips late at night. I was completely frustrated – I would try to work out but by the end of the day, I had absolutely no energy. I would make attempts to eat healthier but the sad fact was, I didn’t even understand what "healthy" meant. I decided that I HAD to make a change when I saw a picture of myself from a recent vacation and I couldn’t believe how big I let myself get. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore!
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This way of consuming is hard to stay with because it combines two restrictive diets. Mass believes the dangers outweigh the advantages. But if making a decision to attempt it, Mass cautions to technique the food regimen cautiously, preferably below the guidance of a certified registered dietitian who will let you select your ingredients strategically and ensure you are supplementing the weight loss program in which wanted. Mass also shows lowering your carb intake regularly instead of going complete-blown vegetarian keto overnight so you don’t completely surprise your device.
Study author Nicholas Rule is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Perception and Cognition at the University of Toronto. In a release, he explained that they investigated facial adiposity (the amount of fatness in your face) because it is a "robust indicator of one's health." He went on to provide some good news for women. "Women's facial attractiveness may be more sensitive to changes in weight," said Rule. "This just means women attempting to lose weight need to shed slightly fewer pounds than men for people to find them more attractive."
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.
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.
It’s worth noting that while the ketogenic diet has many merits that extend beyond purely the weight loss benefits, at 8fit, we believe in well-rounded, balanced eating rooted in fresh, unprocessed whole foods. That’s why you’ll notice that even though we do have vegetarian and vegan options in our in our 8fit app recipe book at this point in time, this doesn’t include a vegetarian keto diet meal plan option. However, if you sign up for 8fit, you can create your personalized plan by reducing the carbs in your diet through the exclusion option in your onboarding. It’ll allow you to cut out high-carb foods from your meal plan, such as grains, pasta, and high-carb veggies. You’ll end up with low-carb recipes that are easy to cook and even easier to eat.
​One word. Avocado. Just kidding! Well, your snack in this meal prep is an avocado, but there is so much more to say. The best part about this snack is that it can easily top your frittata at lunch or be thrown into your salad at dinner! It also lacks any preparation, except for the dreaded task of finding 5 perfect avocados that will be ripe enough to eat, but not over ripe. It's a fine line to walk, we know.
Reading ingredient labels is also important. You should know what’s in the food that you put into your body! Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet are used to checking ingredient labels to make sure that they’re not unknowingly consuming an animal product or byproduct. When on the keto diet, you have to look out for food that contains sugar and flours. They can interfere with ketosis. “Don’t consume any added sugar from desserts, juice or soft drinks, grains, beans or legumes. Instead of consuming sugar or even honey, try using stevia extract or monk fruit to sweeten meals,” says Dr. Axe. “Even starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and beets provide carbs that can interfere with ketosis. These should be avoided or [eaten] in very small amounts.”
Reading ingredient labels is also important. You should know what’s in the food that you put into your body! Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet are used to checking ingredient labels to make sure that they’re not unknowingly consuming an animal product or byproduct. When on the keto diet, you have to look out for food that contains sugar and flours. They can interfere with ketosis. “Don’t consume any added sugar from desserts, juice or soft drinks, grains, beans or legumes. Instead of consuming sugar or even honey, try using stevia extract or monk fruit to sweeten meals,” says Dr. Axe. “Even starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and beets provide carbs that can interfere with ketosis. These should be avoided or [eaten] in very small amounts.”
When adopting a healthy-eating plan, salads are a nutritional no-brainer. But while loading up on non-starchy veggies is a smart choice for weight loss, it can also leave you feeling deprived, leading to binge-eating later on. To keep salads satisfying, add a crunchy, creamy, or sweet element, like nuts and seeds, avocado, or dried fruit. And be sure to top salad with a filling protein like grilled chicken or fish.
Vegetable-sourced iron, known as non-heme iron, is harder to absorb than heme iron, which is found in animal products. This is why iron levels can plummet even when a plant-based dieter eats iron-rich foods like Swiss chard, nuts, and seeds. It’s wise, then, for vegan keto eaters to add a vegan-based iron supplement to their diets. This goes double for women, who lose some iron every month through menstruation. For women 19–50, 18mg of iron per day is recommended.

When adopting a healthy-eating plan, salads are a nutritional no-brainer. But while loading up on non-starchy veggies is a smart choice for weight loss, it can also leave you feeling deprived, leading to binge-eating later on. To keep salads satisfying, add a crunchy, creamy, or sweet element, like nuts and seeds, avocado, or dried fruit. And be sure to top salad with a filling protein like grilled chicken or fish.

If you’re a vegetarian who eats eggs or egg whites (ovo-vegetarian), incorporating a carton of eggs or egg whites into your diet is a perfect way to make sure you have enough protein in your diet. Eggs are also loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, iron, b-vitamins, and high-quality fat. They’re also inexpensive and versatile, so they should be a staple in any keto diet plan, especially a vegetarian diet.


Research suggests that weight loss is impacted by when we eat as much as by what we eat, which means intermittent fasting may help spur metabolism. There are several different methods for intermittent fasting, some of which are more restrictive than others. Wright recommends starting out with a less restrictive regime until your body is accustomed to it.
When it comes to buying keto-friendly vegan dairy products, make sure you are not getting any extra added sugar, hidden carbs, or unhealthy ingredients like hydrogenated oils. Some of these products may also have “gums” in them like agar agar or guar gum. These compounds are used to make the product creamier, and they are safe for most people. However, some people may get gastrointestinal discomfort from eating them, so look out for gums when switching to vegan dairy products.
Another part of this is opting for frozen or canned foods over fresh. The frozen and canned options are going to last a lot longer than the fresh options, giving your more versatility if you accidentally make an impulse buy of something you don’t end up using before it goes bad. This goes against a lot of the popular culture right now, but it’s an underrated strategy of saving money
“The original keto diet is extremely high in fatty meats, which is not good for our cardiovascular system,” says Melissa Bailey, RD, creator of the Nourished Fork. “The vegetarian version eliminates these meats and allows for more plant-based options, such as avocado and nuts and seeds. In general, the population is going towards a more plant-based, whole-foods diet, which is why the ketotarian diet is emerging.” Luckily, you'll find that many of the best foods for weight loss are inexpensive, convenient, and easy to find in your local grocery store. When you learn how to plan and prepare meals in advance and fill your refrigerator with diet-friendly foods, you can even save time and money while you slim down.
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