When you are on a keto diet, you have to eat lots of fatty foods and less of carbs. Now, when you think of fatty foods, to be more precise foods containing healthy fats, the first thing that comes to your mind is fish!
Another requirement of a keto diet is consuming moderate amounts of proteins and what better than eggs to meet this demand!
Well… It does seem neat!
But Here’s The Shocker!
Aren’t these foods non-vegetarian?
So, does it mean that vegetarians cannot follow a keto diet? Will they remain deprived of its immense benefits? Will they have to take a longer and more difficult route to weight loss?
Of course not!
Vegetarians too can follow the keto diet and enjoy its numerous health benefits.
Read on to find the suitable modifications in the Ketogenic Diet for Vegetarians.
You Might Be Wondering…
Which Diet Is Healthier, a Keto Diet or a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet is usually regarded as a highly healthy diet. Several studies have revealed that the vegetarian diets can reduce the likelihood of numerous prevalent diseases including heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.(1)
It can also improve your health more efficiently than an average non-vegetarian diet. However, that doesn’t mean the vegetarian diet is the best diet for your health.
Take for example; the ketogenic diet.
This diet has been found to help you lose weight more efficiently and in a much shorter duration compared to the vegetarian diet.
A keto diet can also provide other benefits like controlling your cholesterol and triglycerides and lowering your blood sugar levels.
It can also reduce the severity of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, polycystic ovary syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancer.
But, There Is A Caveat Here!
Why is A Keto Diet Not So Perfect?
The ketogenic diet comes with a few health and environmental concerns. The environmental issue with this diet stems from the source of the products such as meat.
Meat obtained from the animals raised conventionally on the controlled animal feeding operations are nutritionally inferior and even contribute to the climate changes.
Furthermore, if the meat you consume is predominantly packaged meat such as bacon, ham, sausages, hot dogs, and salami, you may be worsening your risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
What these facts mean is that even keto diet is not perfect or superior to the vegetarian diet.
So, What’s The Final Call?
Should you opt for the ketogenic diet or stick to a vegetarian diet?
Here’s The Deal!
Follows both the diets!
You can enjoy the benefits of the ketogenic diet by eating only vegetarian foods. This way, you can lose considerate weight while your body derives the dual benefits of both these diets.
By borrowing the principles from the vegetarian diet and the keto diet, you can formulate a unique eating plan that is safer and healthier for humans, animals, as well as the environment.
Here are some ways by which you can combine the goodness of both the diets into a single ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
What’s The Ketogenic Diet for Vegetarians?
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A simple definition of a vegetarian ketogenic diet is a healthy diet free of fish, meat, and fowl flesh, which restricts the amount of carbohydrates.
This diet can allow you to reap all the benefits of a keto diet while reducing the carbon footprints, preventing animal abuse, and improving your health.
Let us focus on how you can implement a ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
To Begin With…
An Overview of The Ketogenic Diet for Vegetarians
To implement this special diet correctly, you must follow the rules given below:
- Eliminate animal flesh completely from your diet and that includes all forms of fish, meat, and poultry
- Limit your daily carbohydrate consumption to not more than 35 grams per day
- Consume approximately 25% of the daily calories from the plant-based proteins
- Get minimum 70% of your daily calories from healthy fats
- Consume plenty of low-carb veggies.
- Supplement with nutrients as you may not be getting enough of some such as vitamin D3, zinc, and iron.
Continue reading for the precise recommendations for a ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
How Can You Limit Your Carbohydrate Intake While on a Ketogenic Diet For Vegetarians?
The common mistake most vegetarians make while on the ketogenic diet is consuming too many carbs.
Most of the vegetarian favorites include the carb-laden foods such as:
- Grains such as wheat, rice, corn, and cereals
- Legumes like lentils, peas, and black beans
- Sugars in the forms of honey, maple syrup, and agave
- Fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges
- Tubers like potato, and yams
When you are following a keto diet, do not eat these foods as they are so high in carbs that getting into ketosis can only become harder for you!
Instead, replace these foods with some of the keto-friendly vegetarian options as given below:
- Vegan “meats” like tempeh, tofu, and seitan
- Above-ground vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, and cauliflower
- Leafy greens such as spinach, and kale
- Nuts and seeds such as pistachios, sunflower seeds, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
- High-fat dairy products like hard cheese, high-fat cream, and butter
- Avocado and berries like blackberries, raspberries, and similar low-glycemic berries
- Sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol
- Other fats including coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, and red palm oil
By sticking to the ketogenic diet for vegetarians keeping in mind the low-carbohydrate foods listed above will help you get into ketosis faster and allow you to lose weight more efficiently.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can meet the demand for healthy fats while on a ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
At first, it may seem too difficult to get enough fats without consuming meat or fish. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat dozens of eggs or the sticks of butter to meet your fat requirements.
Let me reveal some of the healthy plant-based options for fulfilling the higher demand for fats on a keto diet.
How Can you Get Enough Fats on The Ketogenic Diet for Vegetarians?
High-fat dairy and eggs are often the significant components of the keto meals. However, they will no longer be your source of fats when you are following a ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
In fact, there are several healthier, plant-based oils to replace the animal fats that you have been using in cooking and baking. Let us have a look at them one by one:
Which Healthy Oils Can Be Used for a Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet?
1. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil contains tons of healthy monounsaturated fats. It also has a very high smoke point (at 520 degrees Fahrenheit) that makes it a perfect option for cooking, deep frying, and baking.
2. Coconut Oil
It provides an abundance of healthy fatty acids, which are the ideal sources of fuel for keto dieters. It is also an excellent oil that can be used for preparing desserts, and fat bombs, and when baking at a temperature under 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. MCT Oil
This oil is usually derived from coconut and palm oil. MCT refers to the medium chain triglycerides that are saturated fatty acids.
The advantage of including MCT oils in your ketogenic diet for vegetarians as it skips the normal fat digestion and goes directly to the liver where it is converted into ketone bodies.
This can allow you to get into ketosis faster than any other non-vegetarian food.
You may add MCT oils to your salad dressings, smoothies, sauces, fat bombs, or hot beverages such as coffee and tea.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil offers a rich concentration of omega 3 fatty acids, which makes it one of the healthiest oils to consume on a ketogenic diet for vegetarians.
It can also enhance the flavor of your dishes and add to the fat content of your ketogenic vegetarian meals.
5. Red Palm Oil
Red Palm Oil is an incredible plant-based source of vitamin A, and vitamin E. The mild carrot-like flavor and the buttery texture of this oil makes it a tasty addition to your keto diet.
Can We Get Healthy Fats only From These Plant-Based Oils?
If you think that the only options you have for your requirement of healthy fats are the plant-based oils, then you are in for a pleasant surprise!
Though the oils we discussed above are the healthiest and highly versatile, you need not depend just on them to get all the fats.
There are a few other vegetarian sources of healthy fats that also provide the essential vitamins and minerals as given below:
- Just like avocado oil, avocado fruits are also packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants.
You can include this fruit in your ketogenic diet for vegetarians to maximize the benefits.
- Nuts such as cashews and macadamia nuts offer a rich source of healthy fats that make a perfect addition to your vegetarian keto diet.
These nuts have the highest content of monounsaturated fats and can help you stay into ketosis for longer.
- You can also include seeds such as pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in your diet to meet the demand for high-fat foods.
These seeds can also improve the fat burning rate and help you lose considerable weight in a shorter duration.
What are the best vegetarian-friendly sources of proteins for your ketogenic diet?
Although meat is a dense source of proteins, it is not the only option you have for fulfilling your body’s protein needs during a vegetarian keto diet.
You can simply replace meat with some plant-based sources of proteins to get into ketosis without relying on the non-vegetarian sources.
Here are some of the healthy sources of proteins you can include in the ketogenic diet for vegetarians:
Tofu, made from soybeans, is high in proteins, antioxidants, and calcium. You can use it as a tasty alternative to meat, fish, and poultry.
Though tofu tends to be mushy and soft, you can make it more firm and chewy just like meat by freezing them before cooking.
You can season Tofu or marinate it before cooking to ensure it has soaked up all of the flavors.
Tempeh, a fermented form of soy, is firmer compared to tofu. It has a grainy texture, which makes it a great substitute for ground beef and fish.
Seitan, sometimes called the wheat meat, offer a vegetarian substitute for meat. It is made of wheat gluten, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, and seaweed.
This vegetarian “meat” contains a moderate to high amount of protein and is also a good source of iron.
4. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with proteins. Some of them include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
However, you should limit your consumption of these nuts and seeds as they also contain a high amount of carbohydrates.
You may consume them as a replacement for breakfast or mid-meal snacks. But, you must avoid going overboard with them.
The ketogenic diet for vegetarians is undoubtedly one of the most sustainable and healthiest diets for your health, the environment, and animal health.
Just make sure you restrict your carbohydrate consumption to less than 35 grams a day and eat plenty of fats and proteins sourced from the plants.
Following the tips and tricks given here will help you enjoy the combined benefits of the ketogenic diet as well as the vegetarian diet while also avoiding the pitfalls associated with both.