The Keto Diet for Vegetarians
The latest health trends are all ablaze with the revolutionary weight loss benefits offered by Keto diets. On the other hand, vegetarian diets have been a part of mainstream fitness for decades. Both these diets have a large fan following of their own.
The Keto or Ketogenic diet involves eating food that is high in fat with little to no carbohydrates, and small amounts of protein. On the other hand, a vegetarian diet includes following a meal plan that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat.
Vegetarian diets are believed to be one of the best options for those hoping to detox, lose weight, and maintain healthier lifestyles. However, this diet includes consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables which are loaded with carbohydrates. Research also shows that eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates could lead to an increase in weight. If you are a vegetarian hoping to lose weight and reach your body goals, a Keto diet designed for plant-eaters may be just the right option for you.
Considering that these two diets are diametrically opposite, is it possible to find a balance that includes the best of both worlds? In short, yes. Here is everything you need to know about the Keto diet for vegetarians.
Planning a Balanced Vegetarian Keto Diet
While there are a number of variations in traditional vegetarian diets depending on whether or not you consume seafood, dairy, and/or eggs, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is the most common type in the US, Canada, and Europe. A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes eating eggs and dairy, but cutting out all seafood, fowl flesh, and meat.
So for a vegetarian, a Keto meal plan includes avoiding all meat, poultry, and seafood, and heavily restricting other carbohydrate-rich plant-based food items, too. Just like a typical Keto diet, the vegetarian version also includes getting about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from proteins, and a meagre 5-10% from carbohydrates.
This is where you can win or fail with your diet goals, since it is the primary component of Keto, and the least important one in a typical vegetarian diet.
There are plenty of options for you to choose from. Choose high-fat, low-carb nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, coconut, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
If you do not consume dairy products, choose from non-dairy healthy fats derived from coconut cream, olives, avocados, and cocoa butter.
Oils can potentially be the primary source of fats in a Keto diet for vegetarians. Flaxseed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, Macadamia nut oil, and olive oil are some of the best options. Choose the healthiest cold-pressed varieties of these oils to get the most out of your vegetarian Keto diet.
While a vegetarian diet is high in proteins, this energy source has an average importance in a typical Keto diet.
If you eat food sourced from animals, add parmesan, gruyere, cheddar, and other hard cheeses, fatty cottage cheese, no-sugar Greek yogurt, eggs, and goat cheese to your Keto diet. For a stricter vegetarian-Keto diet, choose plant-sourced protein options such as nut-based yogurt, tempeh, natto, and nutritional yeast.
Since there are so many fruits and vegetables out there, it might be a smart idea to keep a carbohydrate content list at hand so you can choose the right options for your Keto diet.
Vegetables like leafy greens, asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, green beans, mushrooms, eggplants, garlic, and tomatoes can easily be accommodated into a Keto diet for vegetarians.
Choosing fruits is a whole lot trickier because most fruits contain high amounts of carbohydrates in the form of sugars. Safe fruits include raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
Tips to Ensure a Keto Diet for Vegetarians Works for You
Since a Keto diet for vegetarians heavily restricts the types of foods you can eat, it is important to plan ahead. The success of the Keto diet depends on whether you can get into ketosis and stay there long enough to meet your weight loss goals. If you do not plan your meals and shop for ingredients ahead of time, you might fall off the wagon when the hunger pangs hit you.
Options like quinoa, legumes, pulses, and buckwheat are very popular amongst vegetarians. However, a Keto diet takes all of these alternatives out of the running. Similarly, low-fat dairy, vegetables with a lot of starch content, naturally-sweet fruits, and milk are off the table.
On a vegetarian Keto diet, most people require approximately 60-100gms of protein per day. In order to ensure that you get the most out of proteins in your diet, choose high quality options such as unsweetened Greek yogurt, hemp seeds, eggs, parmesan, unsweetened peanut or almond butter, soft and semi-hard cheeses like Brie, feta, cheddar, provolone, Swiss, Camembert, and Gouda, and cottage cheese. Options like firm tofu, tempeh, natto, and edamame beans are viable if you are not allergic to soy.
Other than being rich sources of nutrients and fiber, some vegetables were made for Keto owing to their super-low carbohydrates content – spinach, zucchini, avocado, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are optimal options.
Increase the efficacy of your vegetarian Keto diet by seasoning meals with herbs like basil, cinnamon, and rosemary. They are low in carbs and pack a tasty punch.
Attempting the keto diet as a vegetarian is a doable endeavor. Opting for healthy fats and planning ahead will help ensure that the Keto diet for vegetarians fits seamlessly with your fitness goals.