Keto for Vegetarians: Can Vegetarians follow a ketogenic Diet?

Keto for Vegetarians

Keto is a viral health-related trend that mainly focused on the diet pattern and characterized the macronutrient percentages to high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein. However, it is a diet plan which involves a significant portion of animal products. Still, a very impressive vegetarian version is also available and very much used by the vegetarian community.

This approach to the keto diet is very new and modern than the regular one. It involves a wide variety of plant-based foods and animal product alternatives that make this vegetarian keto diet more comforting and exciting.

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What does it mean to be a Vegetarian?

A Vegetarian is a person who does not consume meat, fish, or its by-product and follows a diet plan containing vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds. Often people get confused between a vegan and a vegetarian. The vegan person excludes every animal meat, fish, poultry, seafood, and even eggs and dairy products; however, a vegetarian person excludes animal meat, poultry, fish, seafood and consumes eggs and dairy products so that the distinction in both of these diets.

Read my article about Is Keto safe for Vegans?

The main reason why people switched to a vegetarian diet from a non-vegetarian is that to stop the slaughtering and cruelty that happens to animals for utilizing all the meat and related products. It is the primary concern behind all the vegan campaigns and lifestyles. Another reason for a vegetarian diet to be adopted is based upon the concept that a vegetarian diet is healthier and more nutritional than a non-veg as it contains more fruits, veggies, nuts.

Different Versions of a Vegetarian:

Here are the different approaches of a vegetarian diet that people follow for a keto diet;

  1. Lacto-vegetarian: In this veg category, the only animal product that is allowed is dairy.
  2. Lacto-Ovo vegetarian: In this vegetarian diet, eggs and dairy are allowed, while meat, fish, seafood, and poultry are restricted.
  3. Ovo-vegetarian: The only animal product allowed in an ovo-vegetarian diet is eggs. All other animal products are restricted.
  4. Pescatarian: In the pescatarian diet, eggs, fish, dairy are all allowed; however, meat and poultry are not included.
  5. Vegan: This is the most restricted version of a vegetarian diet as no animal product is included.

Keto Vegetarian Diet:

Keto vegetarian is a combination of keto with a vegetarian diet pattern. You eliminate the animal products from the menu and instead include more plant-based foods. Usually, keto involves 70 % fat, 20 % of protein, and 10 % of carbs. These macronutrient percentages stimulate the ketosis metabolism in the body, which causes fat burn and serves as an energy source.

Animal products are a significant portion of a keto diet as they are the main contributors to fat and protein nutrients. Still, the vegetarian version of this diet also contains many plant-based sources that can fulfil the fat and protein requirements for keto.

Some people still include eggs and dairy products in the vegetarian keto diet. Still, some restrict all animal-related products.

Food Basics:

The food basics of keto vegetarianism are pretty different from the standard diet plan. It excludes a significant food category: animal meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and related products.

Foods to include:

Here is a list of foods that are included in a vegetarian keto diet:

  • Healthy fats such as avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, and the avocado fruit.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, kale, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, cauliflower, .
  • Low-carb fruits such as berries, strawberries, watermelon, avocado, lemon, lime, and citrus food consume in moderation.
  • Condiments such as herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.
  • Protein foods such as tofu, tempeh, natto, seitan, nutritional yeast, and eggs (only if you are not following the proper vegan diet)
  • High-fat dairy products (not for the proper vegan dieters) include hard cheeses, Greek yoghurt, whole, and cottage cream.
  • Nut butter

Foods to exclude:

Here is a list of foods that should be excluded from the vegetarian keto diet:

  • Highly processed oils and foods
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams.
  • Sugary foods such as soda drinks, fruit juices, candy, cake.
  • Grains such as rice, wheat, rye, oats.
  • High-carb fruits such as apples, mangoes, peaches, plums, apricot.
  • Condiment sauces such as honey mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise.
  • Legumes, beans, and lentils
  • Red meat, beef, and poultry.
  • Fish and other seafood

What are the Major Vegetarian Keto Concerns?

The vegetarian keto has the following significant concerns for the dieter:

  • Micronutrient deficiency
  • Excessive carb intake
  • Limited protein sources
  • Essential fatty acids concerns

These concerns are pretty valid as this diet plan restricts animal products that contain a higher proportion of protein and essential fatty acids. It is also low in carbs which makes it even more difficult. Still, if you manage the diet plan and balances the nutrients, you can easily pull off this vegetarian diet.

How to Reduce the Carb Intake in a Vegetarian Keto Diet?

The most common mistake that people often make on a vegetarian keto diet is consuming too many carbs. The options suitable to be vegetarian have more carbs content like tubers, fruits, grains. But as you are on a specific diet plan which restricts carb so consuming these starchy foods is not acceptable.

The thing that helps you reduce your carb intake is choosing more keto-friendly food items that are also vegetarian like leafy green and ground vegetables, healthy and rich fat-containing oils, avocado, nuts, and nuts seeds.

The key here is to manage and balance each serving portion so that you get every essential nutrient and a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.

Best Vegetarian Fast Food Sources:

The vegetarian keto version lacks animal fats as all animal products are restricted. However, there is still a lot of plant-based variety available that for this keto diet plan. Following are the best vegetarian fast food sources:

Healthy fats oils:

Healthy oils are an excellent source of fat nutrients as they contain pure fat, as there are no carbs or protein. Also, they are very beneficial for human health. Some of the best healthy oils for the vegetarian keto diet are:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • MCT oil
  • Coconut oil

Eggs and dairy:

These two products are very rich in fats, but you can skip eggs and dairy if you follow a vegan keto diet. But otherwise, you can use them very well for the diet.

Plant-based fat sources:

The plant-based fat sources are pretty popular and also very useful, which includes:

  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts.
  • Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, basil seeds.
  • Vegan alternatives for dairy and eggs are also available and keto-approved so that you can use them as a significant source of healthy fats for the diet plan.
  • Avocado is one of the healthiest sources of fats; it is packed with this nutrient and contains essential vitamins and minerals.

Best Vegetarian Protein Food Sources:

Usually, we consider meat, poultry, fish, and seafood as the primary protein sources. Still, as they are not allowed on the vegetarian keto diet that does not mean that there are no other protein sources for this version of a keto diet. Following are the richest protein sources for the vegetarian keto diet:

  • Tempeh:

Tempeh is a form of soybean which is fermented and has a grainy texture like ground beef.

  • Tofu:

Tofu is made of soybean blend, high in protein content, and perfect as a meat alternative.

  • Seitan:

Seitan is made of whole wheat with various spices and ingredients which is high in protein. If you are allergic to gluten, then do not consume this food as it contains gluten protein.

Vegetarian Alternatives for Eggs and High-fat Dairy Products:

If you are following the proper vegan keto diet, which restricts all animal products, even eggs, and dairy so here are the alternatives that you can use instead of eggs and dairy:

  • The best alternative for eggs is vegg.

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  • Use nut-based yoghurts in place of yoghurt or sour cream
  • Replace dairy cheese with vegan cheese
  • Instead of butter, use vegan butter or coconut oil
  • Replace heavy cream with coconut cream and cream cheese with vegan soft cheese.

1-day Menu Sample of a Vegetarian Keto Diet:

Following is a 1-day menu sample of a vegetarian keto diet:

  1. Breakfast: veggie omelette (use tofu if you are vegan) with olive oil and hard cheese or vegan-cheese
  2. Snack:

A piece of fruit

  1. Lunch:

Zucchini noodles with tempeh meatballs and topped with avocado sauce.

  1. Snack:

Handful of nuts

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  1. Dinner:

Coconut curry made with olive oil, tofu, and green vegetables

  1. Beverages:
  • Water
  • Herbal tea
  • Veggie smoothies
  • Protein shakes

Benefits of a Vegan Keto Diet:

The vegetarian keto diet has the following health benefits:

Weight loss:

The keto diet is mainly associated with weight loss due to the ketosis process; likewise, vegetarian keto is also an excellent diet plan for weight loss which is concluded by numerous scientific health studies as this specific diet plan excludes animal products so that it can be a good option for those people with high cholesterol levels.

Controlled blood sugar levels:

The vegetarian keto diet helps regulate blood sugar levels because of reduced carbs and sugars, which is a prominent sign of good health. It maintains the body’s functions and also keeps you more active and positive.

Protection against chronic diseases:

A vegetarian keto diet involves foods that contain antioxidants. These essential micronutrients enhance the immune system and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart problems.

Promotes healthy lifestyle:

This diet plan promotes a healthy lifestyle by excluding all the unhealthy, toxic, non-nutritional foods and also the ones that contain harmful ingredients. A vegetarian keto diet influences the dieter to choose more natural, organic, and 100 % grass-fed foods, which are a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusion

A keto diet is a very versatile health option that is also very suitable for a vegetarian person as he or she can also have the perks and benefits of the ketogenic diet. More overly, the vegetarian keto approach is very innovative and exciting as it enables you to be more creative to experiment with the diet plan, and indeed it will provide you with the best and effective results.

Founder, Certified Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis Health Coach.

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