The Ketogenic diet (or keto diet as it’s more commonly referred to as) is the latest diet craze that has taken the world by storm. But the keto diet isn’t a fad diet, far from it. The benefits of a well-balanced keto diet have been proven to have many health benefits – as well as the obvious one of losing unwanted weight. The keto diet works on a basis of low carb, high fat. Which while easy for some, can be more challenging if you have to work around other dietary restrictions.
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)
The biggest thing to watch out for (aside from keto flu, which you should read about just above this section) when it comes to vegetarian keto is vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies. This is something that vegetarians and vegans are all too familiar with. Before getting any kind of vitamin supplement, make sure you consult with a doctor and have them check the vitamin levels in your bloodstream.
“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.”
According to a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, swapping out your morning bagel for eggs could help you lose 65 percent more weight. Subjects who ate eggs for breakfast lost more weight, body fat and inches from their waist than those who ate the same amount of calories in the form of a bagel. Researchers believe the higher protein content of the eggs helps you stay fuller, longer and leads to eating less throughout the day.
I’ve never worked with a personal trainer and had quite a few fears. I was afraid it would hurt to lift weights. I was afraid that I would develop big muscles. I was afraid that I would need to work out constantly to lose weight. I was afraid that I would never eat the things that I enjoyed. Well, none of these fears came true. Samantha helped me put everything together and calmed my fears.
With all that in mind, one thing is clear: A vegetarian keto diet has the potential to get confusing, fast. So if you're considering it, Sheth recommends meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist to ensure that you are adequately meeting your nutritional needs. (You could also share this beginner keto-friendly meal plan with non-vegetarians.)
I get asked for meatless keto recipes for the low carb vegetarian all the time, and with the help of my assistant Stacey, I finally put together a collection of the 101 Best Keto Vegetarian Recipes we could find! We will be adding more meatless low carb recipes to a Keto Vegetarian Recipes Pinterest Board in the coming months so be sure to follow IBIH on Pinterest if you aren’t already!
I like to cook dinner pretty much every night. Cooking is something that I really enjoy, and as I’m always working on new vegan keto recipes, it kind of just makes sense to test them every chance I get. Of course, there are nights that I just don’t feel like cooking, so I like to have some options available that I can just heat up and dig into without much fuss. This recipe for vegan keto sloppy joes really fits the bill there. It makes six servings in one go, so you can have dinner ready to go every day without more than 1 hour of effort. 🙂 (more…)
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.
Several studies, for example, have shown that both vegetarians and vegans are prone to deficiencies in B12, calcium, iron, zinc, the long-chain fatty acids EPA & DHA, and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, & K2. Vegans and vegetarians may also suffer from hormonal issues if their bodies aren’t producing enough cholesterol and if plant compounds called goitrogens are impairing their thyroid function.
“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.