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.
If you’re interested in finding out what nutrients you actually might be needing more of based on your age, body, activity levels, etc., check out this calculator from the US Department of Agriculture. However, vegetarians have been known to lack nutrients including but not limited to iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D (read more about deficiencies below). While supplements for these deficiencies are fairly easy to get, you should check with a doctor to make sure you need them before purchasing.
There are plenty of plant-based fat sources but in order to meet your protein needs you will need to incorporate high protein, vegan friendly foods such as nuts and seeds, tempeh, tofu, and vegan protein powder. Food companies such as Beyond Meat are now providing alternative meat products that are a great source of protein while still relatively low in carb. Unlike meat, some of these vegetable based proteins do not contain complete proteins but if you are good about eating a variety of plant-based foods you can meet all of your essential amino acids needs.

Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost ketogenic diet researchers and founder of ketonutrition.org, agrees. “I generally avoid soy isolate and soy milk,” he says. “But I don’t think this is a major concern unless you are consuming large amounts of soy.” Note that fermented soy products—such as soy sauce and tempeh—don’t pose the same risk, and can, therefore, be eaten more liberally.


Okay, I kid, but seriously. I have been skipping breakfast for as long as I can remember. I really only eat it on special occasions, if ever. It makes my calorie goals much easier to attain, and my body is totally cool with it. I don’t often wake up hungry. If you think you could handle waiting until noon to eat for the first time, give intermittent fasting a try. Even harder is to only do one meal a day, OMAD. This isn’t for everyone, especially if you get really hangry really quickly, but it is a great way to cut costs.

If you have an understanding of the keto diet and how it works, you will realize that the whole essence of the diet does not tally with what an average vegetarian consumes. Keto diet is all for high-fat, moderate protein and low carbs, vegetarian diet, on the other hand, is packed with carbohydrates and the struggle of balancing protein intake. Therefore, it is not surprising that a number of vegetarians find it difficult reconciling both diets.
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.
Here, we’ve broken down our protein grocery list into animal and plant sourced — so depending on where on the plant-based eating spectrum you find yourself, you have ample choices available. If you go for soy products, try to stick to non-GMO and organic options, and pick ones that are fermented as they are even more abundant in nutrients (think organic tempeh).
“Physiologically speaking, to lose weight, you have to burn more than you eat. It requires a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose a pound,” says Meg Sharp, director of personal training for the Cambridge Group of Clubs. “This can be done through either diet or exercise alone, but the human body is complicated. It’s a bit of an oversimplification that you can choose to either burn your calories or reduce their intake.”
If you’re interested in receiving more coupons from the store you usually go to, make sure you sign up for their rewards program or at the very least you should use the same credit or debit card every time you pay. Kind of creepy, but they track your purchases based on your card number. I have started getting tons of meat substitute coupons since I pay with the same card and consistently buy them.
I ate five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, cut out fried foods, and switched from eating refined carbohydrates like white bread to complex carbs like whole-wheat bread. I promised myself that after one year of living healthfully, I'd treat myself to fast-food fries (an old favorite), but I couldn't finish them. Now my cholesterol is in a healthy range, and I still walk 30 to 60 minutes four or five days a week.
Not only that, but increasing your intake of healthy fats and protein while reducing your intake of empty carbs can help ensure that you’re getting all of the essential nutrients that you need with none of the added ingredients and chemicals that you don’t. Studies have also shown that a higher intake of fat and protein can suppress your appetite and lower levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, more effectively than carbohydrates. (3, 4)

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.
MacDowell has been following the veggie lover ketogenic diet for a long time. She’d been a veggie lover for quite a while before that yet chose to attempt keto in view of weight reduction. Some examination recommends the ketogenic diet might be helpful, therefore: An investigation distributed in May 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition found the ketogenic diet prompted more prominent weight reduction than a low-fat diet and could be valuable in battling corpulence.
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.

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.


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I’m trying a new(ish) tactic, where I build in cheat days, trying to keep my metabolism guessing a little.  On those cheat days, I eat whatever I want without overstuffing myself and I drink soda, too if I want to.  That helps me feel like I’m not totally depriving myself the whole time.  I can already tell that I do eat so much healthier as an overall whole, than I used to.  I was getting into some seriously bad habits of snacking on sweets, carbs and soda any time I wanted to, without thinking of the consequences.  The only problem was that those wants were getting more and more frequent.  The desire for sugar seemed to be growing, the more I gave myself sugar.
Meat substitutes. Meat substitutes are often the punching bag of vegetarians and vegans, and I’m not really sure why. Some say that soy is a poison that gives you cancer and disrupts your hormones and things like that, but the science says otherwise. Meat substitutes are healthy, good for you, and a godsend for vegetarian keto. Gardein, MorningStar, Quorn, Boca, Beyond Meat, Lightlife, almost all of them are GREAT for low carb, high fat, high protein meals. I would not be able to do vegetarian keto without fake meat products.
MCT Oil. This oil is commonly derived from coconut oil and palm oil. It contains medium chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids that skip normal fat digestion and go right to the liver where they are converted into ketones for fuel. Add it to your salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, fat bombs, and hot drinks like coffee or tea for a potent energy boost.
Powell was overweight as a child, eating a diet full of processed foods and little water and vegetables. In college, Powell says she dramatically gained more weight. “I walked into my apartment, stared at my reflection in the mirror and asked, ‘Who is that?’ It was a defining moment for me,” says Powell, 38, who is now a holistic health practitioner and fitness trainer who has founded the company Black Girls Nutrition.
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Stevia: Stevia has a glycemic index of zero, which makes it perfect for a keto diet. Additionally, it's not actually an artificial sweetener, it is a natural one. The liquid version is extremely strong which means that you don't have to use much to add the sweetness you need. Steer clear of any powdered version so as not to add extra carbs. The biggest issue with liquid stevia is that it can't be used in baking. That’s where allulose comes in!
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! #keto diet tracker
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