Vegetarian Keto Diet: A Complete Guide For Fast Weight Loss
Can you do Keto when you are vegetarian? Can you be Keto and vegetarian at the same time? Can a vegetarian be in Ketosis? These are the kind of questions we receive almost every day at our Keto weight loss clinic from people who are interested in a healthy Vegetarian Keto diet but have absolutely no idea where to begin.
In this article, we are not only going to answer these commonly asked questions about Ketogenic diet for vegetarians, we’re also going to give you all the tips and strategies you need to speed up fat loss and reach your target weight in the shortest possible time.
So let’s begin!
Can You Do Keto When You Are Vegetarian?
The short answer is yes! ? ???
A low-carb, fat-friendly Ketogenic diet is the solution that taps into the most basic bioscience of weight loss, which is why it is one of the most popular fat-burning methods in the world today.
But is it easy? The answer to that really depends on who you ask. Many Keto clinics and coaches will avoid the topic of Ketogenic fat loss for vegetarians (no meat and/or no fish and eggs) or vegans (no meat, fish, eggs and diary) because, in the absence of protein-rich meat, the diet plan has to be expertly customized with a fine balance of plant-based foods that supply the right amount of macronutrients without risking nutritional deficiencies.
But it can certainly be done, and done with great results that match the outcome for non-vegetarians on Keto.
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What Are The Health Benefits Of A Keto Vegetarian Diet?
Combine Keto with a Vegetarian diet, and there is plenty of existing evidence that points to the following health benefits:
• Fat Loss & Obesity Control
Innumerable studies have found a significant reduction in body mass index (BMI) for obese and over-weight people on a low carb Keto diet that is rich in healthy fats.
High fat, Ketogenic vegetarian diets also give you the feeling of being full for longer, which contributes to fat burn by controlling overeating.
• Protection Against Diseases
Research into Keto vegetarian diets has found that this way of eating helps control LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease. Diabetes is regulated and sensitivity to insulin, a hormone for blood sugar control, is increased. Other studies show that this high fat diet can offer reduced risk of brain diseases and assist in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Initial results from animal and test tube studies are also suggesting that there could be a therapeutic impact on malignant brain cancer, though more research is necessary.
Can A Vegetarian Be In Ketosis?
Absolutely. But it is important to know that a Vegetarian Keto diet food list, on its own, may not be sufficient to get you there.
To shift the body into Ketosis – and stay in that much-desired, fat burning state without getting knocked off – you need to pay close attention to the balance of macronutrients you are consuming.
• Eat too little protein, for example, and the body will start burning muscles (a major concern for vegetarians and vegans).
• Eat too much protein, and the excess will be turned to carbs and you will be knocked out of Ketosis.
• Eat too much fat and the body will not bother to dip into its own fat stores.
How Can Vegetarians Achieve Faster Weight Loss With A Keto Diet?
As we said earlier, getting results from a high fat, low carb Vegetarian Keto diet is a balancing act. To get it right, and then to accelerate results, you have to keep several food and lifestyle-related factors in mind.
In order to simplify all the useful information that is packed into this guide, we have organized our suggestions into bite-sized tips that are easy for you to read and remember:
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 1:
Eat The RIGHT Proteins To Avoid Nutritional Deficiencies
Proteins play many important roles in the human body. They are the major structural components of muscles, for example, and an adequate dietary intake of protein is essential for healthy muscle formation and function.
But not all proteins are created equal.
Protein quality is determined by something called the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score), and while most animal proteins are rated at about 1.0, which is maximum score, plant proteins (except soy) rank low enough on the PDCAAS scale to be a cause of concern when someone’s on a vegetarian Keto diet to lose weight.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 2:
Eat MORE Proteins To Prevent Muscle Loss
A vegetarian trying to lose weight may think they are getting sufficient protein to satisfy their Ketogenic diet needs, but in reality, the body does not absorb plant proteins as well as animal protein, so they need to eat more.
As a rule of thumb, vegetarians are recommended to eat 10% more protein than meat-eaters, but when you’re on a Keto vegetarian diet you need significantly more to stop muscle loss.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 3:
Eat A VARIETY Of Proteins
The body cannot produce 9 essential amino acids on its own, so it sources them from our food. Unfortunately, most plant-based proteins in vegetarian diets do not contain all 9 amino acids (unlike animal protein), so you need to eat a variety of plant foods in order to get them all.
Some good low carb vegetarian protein sources include:
A fermented soybean product that is Indonesian in origin and a great substitute for fish and beef.
A calcium-rich soy protein product that has become a mainstay for Keto vegetarians and others looking for a tasty meat alternative among vegan protein sources.
Also known as `wheat meat’, Seitan is made from gluten, which is the main protein in wheat. High in protein and iron but low in fat, Seitan is a great low carb alternative for vegetarians, vegans and high blood sugar patients who cannot eat soy products.
• Protein Powders
Organic pea protein isolate and 100% grass-fed whey protein are great options, and environment-friendly as well.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 4:
Don’t Overshoot Your Daily Carb Allotment
To enter the much-desired, fat-burning state of Ketosis – the goal of a Keto dieting – carb intake has to be reduced drastically. This is particularly hard to achieve for vegetarians as most of their healthy food choices are also rich in carbs.
You have to always be mindful of net carbs, therefore, to keep within your daily allotment and choose low carb diet options in vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini noodles, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, kale, lettuce, and other leafy greens.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 5:
Focus On Healthy, Nutrient Dense Fats
Finding healthy sources of fatty acids that are also low carb and rich in essential nutrients may seem like a challenge at first for newbie vegetarians starting out on a Keto vegetarian diet. Especially those who do not eat fish, eggs and dairy.
Legumes, for example, are normally considered to be a good source of key nutrients and healthy fats for vegetarians, but the high amounts of net carbs in them would kick you right out of Ketosis.
You still need to get 70% to 80% of your calories from fat, so be sure to include nutrient dense fatty acids and fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, shea butter, ghee and grass-fed butter in your diet.
Vegetarian Keto Food List: What You CAN Eat
Non Starch Veggies ?
• Know which vegetables have a high amount of hidden carbs.
Some veggies to avoid are: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Bean Sprouts, Daikon, Eggplants, Dandelion Greens, Spinach, Bok Choy, Artichoke Hearts, Asparagus, Bamboo Shoots, Endive, Squash, Fennel, Jicama, Kohirabi, Onion, Garlic, Olives, Swiss Chard,
Collard Greens and most other leafy greens.
Healthy Fats ?
• Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, MCT Oil, Butter, Coconut Cream, Flaxseed Oil, Ghee, Cacao Butter, Olive Oil
Nuts And Seeds ?
• Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Cashews, Macadamia Nuts, Pistachios, Chia seeds, Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pecan, Pumpkin Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Hazel.
Dairy (Full Fat) ?
• Milk, Cheese, Sour Cream, Yogurt
• Eggs, Tofu, Tempeh, Whey Protein, Seitan, Protein Powders, Nutritional Yeast
• Basil, pepper, paprika, turmeric, oregano, pumpkin seeds powder, rosemary,.
* Not an exhaustive list
Vegetarian Keto Food List: What You CAN’T Eat
Produce / Starchy Vegetables / Nuts And Seeds / Grains ?
• Acorn Squash, Beets, Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Caramelized Onions, Coconut Products (except oil), Pumpkin, Bell Peppers (Yellow or Orange), Parsnip, Potatoes, Pea Protein, Rutabaga, Lentils, Water Chestnuts, Yam, Corn,
Crackers, Pasta, Rice.
Fats / Oils ?
• Partially Hydrogenated Fats, Non-Dairy Creamers (powdered), Salad dressings with any carbs, Some milk and dairy products.
Dressings / Sauces / Seasonings / Sweeteners ?
• Agave, Some artificial sweeteners, Balsamic
Vinegar, Wine Vinegar (unless zero carbs), Honey, Maple Syrup. BBQ Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce.
• Alcohol, Soda Pop, Sports Drinks, energy Drinks, Fruit juices, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, Sweetened alternative milks.
* Not an exhaustive list
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 6:
Don’t Trust All Keto Friendly Snacks
Many delicious-looking, low carb snacks in the grocery store may say `Keto-friendly’ on the front label, but that doesn’t mean they’re always healthy. There are plenty of processed Keto junk food out there, in fact, that are high in unhealthy fats and low in nutrients.
Another thing to remember about snacking on low carbohydrate diets based on whole foods is this: the more often you snack, the more often your blood sugar levels will spike. And if you’re on the threshold or fully into Ketosis at that time, any unnecessary or frequent `comfort snacking’ will cheat you out of this precious, fat-burning state.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 7:
Watch Your Portion Sizes For Ketogenic Weight Loss
Can you load up on fatty foods like bacon (for those eating meat) and cheese and still be eating your way to a healthier, slimmer body? Yes, on Keto you can. But the statement comes with caveats.
Portion control is one of them. Many beginners on a vegetarian Ketogenic diet make the mistake of thinking they can eat all they like as long as it is a low carb, plant based diet. But this is not true. In spite of joyful allowances like tofu bacon in Keto recipes, you cannot overeat on Keto without upsetting the fine balance of nutrients that forces the body to tap into its own fat stores.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 8:
Replenish Water Loss
When you’re on a low carb diet, your body loses a lot of water. (For every gram of carb you eat, your body tends to hold on to about 4 grams of water.) This water loss because of low carbohydrate intake can deprive the body of sufficient fluids to carry out its vital functions.
Aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water every day and remember that by the time you actually `feel’ thirsty, the dehydration process has already begun.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 9:
Resist Temptations To Cheat
Unlike many other diets for weight reduction, a healthy Ketogenic diet does not allow cheating. And there’s a very good reason for this.
A cheat meal is likely to be rich in carbs because you’re `making up’ for all the treats that you have done without. But as soon as you reintroduce carbs on a cheat day, the body goes right back to its old habits and stops burning fat for energy.
It can take anywhere between 2-4 days to get back on track, so adding cheat meals to your vegetarian or vegan Keto diet plan would keep you yo-yoing in and out of Ketosis.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 10:
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Many beginners on a low carb and whole foods based Ketogenic diets report they have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. The sudden onset of a carb deficit, high fat diet can impact sleep patterns during the initial days, so it is important to prioritize 7-8 hours of rest each night, and do whatever works for you to make sure you’re getting it.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 11:
Consider A Keto Diet Coach
Keto is one of the most effective diet plans in the world that offer long-lasting results. But it is also pretty unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. There is simply no room for error as even a small miscalculation in the proportion of macronutrients can knock you right out of your fat burning state. For a Keto vegetarian dieter, the going is even harder because their food restrictions already make losing weight so difficult.
This is why most DIY attempts do not yield desired results, fast results or long-term results that can be maintained over the years.
Under these circumstances, a professional Keto coach is your best chance at success. When you join a Keto weight loss program, your coach assesses your individual metabolic profile to create a custom plan, and then tracks your progress with it, making tiny changes along the way to make sure you reach your target weight as fast and as safely as possible. They counsel you, teach you all about plant nutrition, separate myths from facts, hold you accountable and get you the sustainable results you sacrificed so much to attain.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 12:
Try A Keto Meal Delivery Service
Meal delivery services can be especially helpful if you’re still learning about vegetarian Keto food lists, don’t have time to try out Keto recipes or concerned about nutritional deficiencies. You can get started with a variety of Keto diet led, nutrient dense foods for lunch, dinner and snacks and save time on meal preparation and clean up as well.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 13:
Add Intermittent Fasting To Your Ketogenic Veg Diet
If you are following a vegan Keto or a vegetarian Ketogenic diet to lose weight, you may want to consider adding intermittent fasting to your regime.
There are several reasons why these two weight reduction systems can deliver excellent results with body weight when practiced in tandem. For example:
• During extended periods of fasting, insulin levels drop and the body is more likely to use its fat stores instead of the net carbs in your food for energy. This augments the efforts of a Ketogenic vegetarian diet plan to push the body into a fat-burning state of Ketosis and get results faster.
• Metabolism gets a boost as well, which increases heat production (thermogenesis) during fasting and helps fat loss from stubborn areas.
• As blood sugar control levels stabilize during fasting, people report a noticeable decrease in hunger pangs and carb cravings.
In a recent 8-week study into the impact of intermittent fasting on weight loss, the subjects who practiced the 16/8 method (fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour window) lost 14% more body fat than those with normal food eating patterns.
If you have never tried intermittent fasting in the past, it is recommended that you start slowly and increase the frequency and duration of your fasting gradually. It is important to be aware of all the intermittent fasting myths floating around on the internet that may derail your progress. And always listen to your body and make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 14:
Avoid/Manage Keto Flu
When you are first starting out on a Keto vegetarian diet, it is not uncommon to experience what has come to be known as the Keto Flu. This is not a flu of course, but includes symptoms like fatigue, headaches, brain fog and nausea.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help lessen the symptoms of Keto flu and make the transition to a Ketogenic diet much easier.
• Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. One of the main reasons people experience Keto Flu is because they become dehydrated and their electrolyte levels drop.
To avoid this, drink plenty of water and consume foods that are high in electrolytes such as coconut water, avocados and green leafy vegetables.
• Getting plenty of sleep is especially important in the early days of Keto as well. Sleep restores electrolytes and gives your body time to adjust to the sudden change in your normal eating habits.
• Eat the requisite amounts of fat. Good sources of healthy fat for vegetarians include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and grass-fed butter.
• Stress can contribute to many of the symptoms associated with Keto Flu, so you must find ways to reduce your stress levels. This might include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, spending time with nature, taking up a hobby and so on.
• If you are still struggling with the Keto Flu despite following these tips, consider taking a supplement like MCT Oil which can help increase energy levels and make the transition much more comfortable
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 15:
Include Supplements To Make Up For Nutrient Deficiencies
There are a few key nutrient deficiencies that Keto dieters who are vegetarians and vegans need to be aware of when following a plant based Ketogenic diet. While animal products are excellent sources of these nutrients, they may be lacking in a vegetarian or vegan diet with no fish, eggs and dairy and best available in the form of supplements.
• One of the most important supplements a vegetarian keto dieter can take is a high-quality, protein powder to help build and maintain muscle mass.
• Vitamin B12 (found in animal products).
• Vitamin D (found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, fortified milk and orange juice).
• Calcium (found in dairy products such as milk and yogurt.) If you’re following a Vegan keto diet, calcium is a very good supplement to consider.
• Iron (found in meat, poultry and fish).
• Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna).
Vegetarian Keto Diet Tip # 16:
Use Red Light Therapy To Lose Extra Inches
One of the best ways to speed up results as a Vegetarian Keto dieter is by using Red Light Therapy for weight loss. This breakthrough technology, approved by the FDA, literally melts away 99% of fat content in your surface fat cells when you’re exposed to a specialized near infrared light for 30 minutes per session.
After about 12 sessions, you should see remarkable inch loss, and we have personally witnessed people losing as much as 30 inches in that short period of time. Red Light Therapy is well proven, well documented, painless and 100% safe.
Look for a Red Light Therapy provider in your area who has the right equipment though. Ordinary red light machines offer many other benefits (such as skin rejuvenation and healing from injuries), but they are not approved for weight loss.
Making lasting dietary changes takes time and patience. Without animal foods in your protein intake, your vegetarian fat loss journey is already more challenging than others, and you may have to give yourself that extra space to figure out how your particular kind of metabolism works by trial and error. (This is why a vegetarian Keto diet coach is so valuable for fast and long-term results!)
Stick with it though as the going really gets a whole lot easier as you settle into your Keto routine. It’s a life-changing decision you have taken, so trust the process and look forward to a transformation that you truly deserve.
All that you have learnt so far in this fast weight loss guide should prepare you well to crush the Vegetarian Keto lifestyle with relative ease.
If you have any questions, comments or more tips, we’d love to read them in the Comments section below.