Can vegetarians go full keto without consuming animal protein? The answer is yes! But it would be best if you explored more about the benefits and side effects of vegetarian keto, probable risks, and vegetarian food lists before you board the keto train. So here we tell you everything about how you can adopt a vegetarian keto diet with meal ideas and food lists.
What is a Vegetarian Keto diet?
It is an eating plan where we combine a vegetarian diet and a keto diet. “Herbivore keto” or “plant-based keto” would be appropriate terms for the vegetarian keto diet. A vegetarian avoids meat of all kinds but consumes dairy and eggs.
Keto is usually associated with large meat steaks, eggs with vegetable sides. However, protein nutrition can be fulfilled by eggs, dairy, nuts, and supplements if you want to try veg keto.
The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. We need to debunk the myth of “keto as a high protein diet.” You only need to consume 25% of your calories from proteins. It’s quite a win-win situation for vegetarians who want to adopt a plant-friendly keto lifestyle. You can easily consume low-carb, high-fat vegetarian foods on your veg keto plan.
How can you adopt a vegetarian keto diet plan?
Most of the vegetarian diet is comprised of starchy carbs, tubers, high-carb vegetables, and fruits. Legumes and Chickpeas are major protein sources in a vegetarian eating plan. All of these non-keto-friendly foods can kick you out of ketosis. It would help if you made big changes to your diet. This might be hard in the beginning but completely doable.
Focus on your Protein source:
The biggest concern in the vegetarian keto diet is protein. You can’t consume legumes because of their high-carb content. So meat and fish is a big no-no on the vegetarian keto meal plan. Instead, we advise you to indulge eggs, tofu, and dairy in your daily diet.
Choose Vegetarian-friendly Fat source:
Cut on butter and ghee in veg keto plan and consume plant-based keto-friendly fats. Keto is a 70% fat diet, but it doesn’t mean you can have fried French fries! Choice of fats is essential on the keto diet. Wrong fat selection can put a strain on your heart and vessels.
You should consume mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, and medium-chain fatty acids. The best resources are olive oil and coconut oil.
Eat low-carb veggies:
Only opt for low-carb, non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, avocado, Brussel sprouts, green beans. Avoid tubers like potato, carrot, onion at all costs.
Risks of vegetarian keto diet
As you are not consuming meat, protein, and carbohydrate-rich whole foods, vegetarian keto foods can impose some serious health issues:
Meat and whole carbohydrates are rich in iron. If your food is deprived of them, it can put you into an iron deficiency state. This is because meat contains heme iron that is readily absorbed, while plants have non-heme iron that takes longer to absorb.
Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, but supplementations can help you get out of the iron deficiency phase. Vitamin or protein supplements should be added with your vegetarian keto plan to avoid iron deficiency.
Certain vitamins are naturally found in animal proteins. When on a keto diet, you can miss some essential micronutrients like vitamin B12, niacin amine, thiamine, and iron. Opting for vegetables high in these micronutrients can fulfill your deficiency and make you feel healthy all the time.
What should you eat on the vegetarian keto diet?
Protein and fat options might be limited for vegetarians in the keto diet, but the following are some plant-based keto foods that you can enjoy guiltlessly.
Eggs are the perfect combo of good fats and proteins, making it a superfood to eat on a vegetarian keto diet. Eggs are also rich in vitamin B12, thiamine, omega3, iron, and vitamin A. They can fulfill your macro and micronutrients need on a keto diet. One egg contains almost 7g of protein.
There are just a few options of dairy in a veg keto diet. Cheese and greek yogurt being on top of the keto-approved dairy products. You can enjoy cottage cheese, cheddar, blue cheese, mozzarella, greek yogurt on a plant-based keto plan.
Nut and Nut butter
Almond, walnut, peanuts, macadamia nuts are some of the nut choices you can enjoy on a vegetarian keto diet plan. The protein and good fat content of these nuts make it a superfood choice for vegetarians that want to go full keto.
On a vegetarian keto meal plan, you can become deficient in iron and fiber. It is essential to keep up with the fiber for good gut health and to avoid constipation. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, parsley are packed with iron.
Other great vegetable choices on a vegetarian keto diet are cabbage, lettuce, Zucchini, asparagus, cucumber, avocado, Brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, and even berries. Don’t miss on your salads and vegetable sides when on a keto diet as a vegetarian.
Tofu is made from soy milk. It is a plant-based protein that goes well with your keto diet. 100g tofu contains 8g protein. So you can enjoy this food without being worried about macros.
We advise using Vegan protein powder as a protein supplement on the vegetarian keto meal plan. Why? Because It is a quick source of protein. Vegan protein powders are animal-free. Another choice for supplements is vitamin supplements in the form of capsules.
The Bottom Line
The vegetarian keto diet is a kickstart to your weight loss journey. It is a plant-based keto where you do not consume meat or fish. However, you can enjoy eggs and dairy. Before jumping on the keto bandwagon as a vegetarian, you must know what you can eat on a vegetarian keto plan and some challenges.
Major concerns are protein selection and micronutrients deficiency. Planning and making wise choices can help you achieve ketosis and shed all those extra pounds.
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.