Vegetarian, Vegan and Ketodiet. Can it happen?
Being a vegetarian means that you have already cut off half of the available food on the table, following a ketogenic diet too will restrict even more food ingredients, so is it worth it?
Whether you are a vegetarian because you are an environmentalist or an animal lover or simply because you believe it is much healthier than other lifestyle options, you have voluntarily chosen to cut off your food options into half!
In Ketodiet you eat more fats, like meat, chicken thighs, eggs and loads of dairy products! Which is the opposite of vegetarianism!
On the other hand, in veganism, you eat more potato, beans and quinoa which is the exact opposite of ketogenic diet! So, can Ketodiet and vegetarians meet on a third ground?
But why do they need to meet at the first place?
Being a true vegetarian means you hit hard on high carb food so you can feel full and avoid craving junk food and animal products that you used to drool for.
In this journey, if you are not counting your calories right, you may find yourself gaining weight even if it is a healthy lifestyle! This means you need to change something so you can get back to your ideal weight and eliminate all risk factors for cardiac diseases, atherosclerosis, diabetes and more!
You can simply count your calories so you can create a caloric deficit and lose the extra weight without compromising your lifestyle!
Sounds easy? Actually not, counting calories is very deceiving as you feel hungry most of the time and instead of creating a deficit you create a caloric surplus!
Ok, you turn your head to other diet plans, like for example ketogenic diet? You heard of ketogenic diet and want to know is it good to follow it and strict to your vegan lifestyle? But you also heard that Ketodiet is full of animal products and by-products so are they mutually exclusive?
Well, Dietlife will give you every possible info about it, so you can decide for yourself!
It is possible to combine a vegetarian lifestyle with Ketodiet, but take care you are restricting and deficient many nutrients and adding Ketodiet to your meal plans means restricting a few other more important nutrients!
But what can you add and what to eliminate depends mainly on what type of vegetarian are you?
Strict vegetarian (Vegan):
Vegans follow an exclusive plant-based diet! They do not eat any animal meat (like beef, pork or bacon) , animal byproduct (like gelatin or beef broth) , and poultry meat (like chicken, duck or turkey) , any poultry byproduct (like eggs) , no seafood, no milk (animal origin) and any of its products like cheese and butter and they do not consume any bee-related products like honey or beeswax. This means their diet is highly restrictive already, and following a Ketodiet will leave only few nutritious ingredients on their menu. This is not good for your body because after all it still needs all its macronutrients!
if you are a lacto-vegetarian then you are a vegan but who can consume dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and yogurt. This gives you better options in following Ketodiet.
if you are an ovo-vegetarian then you are a vegetarian but who can eat poultry products like eggs. This is even a better option in ketogenic diet, as you can highly depend on eggs as your main source of protein and fats too.
The most common type of vegetarianism where you don’t eat meat or chicken or seafood but can eat their byproducts like eggs, milk, cheese and butter, then you can definitely consider a ketogenic diet.
This is technically a lose term of vegetarianism as their followers don’t eat meat or chicken but can eat everything else! They depend mainly on seafood as their source of protein! If you are a pescatarian then you are one of the perfect candidates for ketogenic diet.
if you are a vegan who indulge every once in a while, in a fatty burger or dig a rib-eye steak simply because it is delicious and you are human, then you are a flexitarian! you are not a vegetarian but thanks for the efforts! Of course, a flexitarian can easily follow a ketogenic diet.
What does ketogenic diet and vegetarians have in common?
- They are both healthy plans to maintain a healthy lifestyle, ideal weight and avoid complications of obesity and all its health risks.
- They have a lot in common more than you imagine, first in both plans you totally cut carb loaded food like sugary snacks, flour, bread and others.
- In both plans, you depend on fresh food rather than frozen ones, you are seeking organic options and always care for the benefit of the environment!
So, is it worth it to combine both?
Many studies have confirmed the beneficial effect of following a plant-based diet or vegetarianism in significantly reducing risk factors for cardiac problems, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, all health risks of obesity, lowering high blood pressure and much more.
Ketogenic diet offers the same benefits, added to a significant weight loss of pure fats, less seizures, more mental focus and function, treating epilepsy and diabetes type 2 even cancer! (find the benefits here)
But there are no studies to compare the synergistic effect of combining vegetarianism with Ketodiet. Until further notice, we will depend on personal observations and success stories. We will keep you updated once a scientific paper is published to confirm or deny these benefits.
How to do it? So, what is the best plan to follow a ketogenic diet while being a vegetarian? Ketogenic diet is a low carbs, high fat, moderate protein diet so you must cut off your carbs and add more fatty options to your plan, this totally depends on your leniency in your vegetarian lifestyle!
First, what not to eat when on a vegan keto diet?
- You must avoid sugary drinks, like smoothies, sport drinks and fresh juices! Also adding sweeteners like white or brown sugar or even agave to your tea is not an option!
- Grains and carb loaded food like bread, rice, pasta and cereals are off the table!
- (Sweet) Potatoes, beets, carrots and peas are not the main item on your menu anymore!
- Remember when you used to get all your protein from your beans and legumes, unfortunately chickpeas and kidney beans are no longer a protein option!
- Fruits were at some point, the only kind of dessert you are allowed to have as a vegan, well fruits are not allowed at all in Ketodiet as they are heavy on sugar! Condiments and dressings (especially low-fat options) are fired from your pantry!
- Needless to say, that processed and packaged food are off the shopping list indefinitely!
Slim pickings? Not so much! You still have lots of stuff to chose from. Don’t believe me? Let’s check what can you eat in a vegan keto diet together!
- Avocado is your new best friend! You can have it as a fruit, a dressing, a guacamole dip, a spread, you can even add it to your keto-brownie (check recipe here).
- Leafy green vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and romaine lettuce.
- Broccoli: You can add it to your salad, a side plate or even mash it up for a new taste.
- Brussels sprouts, Kale, Spinach and Artichokes. Tomatoes and Eggplant in moderation.
- Zucchini: Ever heard of zucchini noodles? Yeah, they are a true thing (find how here)
- Cauliflower: craving rice? Try cauliflower rice and pizza crust! This is not blasphemy it is true and people are swearing by it (check it here)
- Colored peppers: They can be your salad base; you can have them roasted and you can eat them raw!
- Mushrooms: act as a very good source of plant-based protein!
- Coconut products: you can cook all these veggies in coconut oil and use it as a fat source in your Ketodiet. If you are vegan then coconut milk and cream are good options for your Ketodiet too.
- Unsweetened coconut shreds or flakes are very tasty to add to your yogurt or ketodessert or even to coat your shrimps with.
- Other oils: olive oil, nut oil and avocado oil are good keto options to cook with too.
- Nuts and seeds are very healthy snacks that you can use to cut any cravings without compromising your vegan lifestyle or your Ketodiet! You can have a handful of any of these nuts: Macadamia nuts, almonds, chia seeds (and pudding) walnuts and more.
- Nut butters are good options too: they decrease the sweet tooth need and are very nutritious breakfast options! Add peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter to your yogurt or chia seed pudding for extra flavor.
- Dairy alternatives: coconut milk and yogurt. Vegan butter, cashew cheese, almond milk and vegan cream cheese.
- Condiments like nutritional yeast, lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices will make tasty additions to your meals.
- Berries: Still craving something sweet, then you can add berries (strawberries, blueberries and blackberries) to your vegan list but they can only be enjoyed in moderation!
What about my vegan protein’s sources? If you are a strict vegan then full fat tofu is one of your best options! Tempeh serves as a protein source too. Mushrooms are full of vegan protein and they are easily available too.
But if you are a little lenient on your veganism then your options have just doubled! Your new options include:
- Seafood if you are a pescatarian then you can have all your proteins from fatty fish like salmon, clams, mussels and squids.
- Eggs and Dairy products: if you are a lacto-ovo-vegetarian you can add organic and grass-fed products like:
- Eggs in all its forms: scrambled, hard-boiled, frittatas, omelets, Sunnyside up, poached and even raw eggs in your mayonnaise.
- Cheese: like cream cheese, cottage cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, Feta and brie cheese.
- Full fat Greek yogurt is a very nutritious option and makes great breakfasts meals.
- Grass-fed butter and ghee are good keto options.
Vegetarianism and ketogenic diet have a lot in common, they both give you a healthier you! How to follow them both is totally up to you; it depends on your personal choices and your lifestyle.
If you are gaining weight with your vegetarian lifestyle then you can definitely benefit from ketogenic diet, so if you are trying to combine them both, all you have to do is eat the exact same vegetarian options just cut off the carbohydrate’s sources from it!
Still don’t know how? Check this sample vegan menu:
- Breakfast: Full-fat coconut yogurt with crushed nuts with unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Lunch: Tofu (as your vegan protein source) with veggies and coconut curry.
- Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza topped with spinach or basil and vegan cheese.
If you are less of a strict vegan, you can try this sample menu:
Breakfast: Egg frittata with asparagus and avocado.
Lunch: Stir-fried cauliflower rice with lemon drizzled grilled salmon.
Dinner: Egg salad with added avocado and parmesan cheese.
- Woodbury, Courtney Anne Louise. “Benefits of a Plant Based Diet for Prevention of Cholecystitis.” (2019).https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bd94/5b8988fea5a05aa4f3c2e94b0642bfa89be0.pdf
- Royston, Kendra J., and Trygve O. Tollefsbol. “The epigenetic impact of cruciferous vegetables on cancer prevention.” Current pharmacology reports1 (2015): 46-51.
- Borude, Sanjay. “Which Is a Good Diet—Veg or Non-veg? Faith-Based Vegetarianism for Protection from Obesity—a Myth or Actuality?” Obesity surgery4 (2019): 1276-1280.
- Maxwell, Alexie C., et al. “Factors Determining the Choice of Vegetarian vs. Meat-Eating Diets.” International Journal of Studies in Nursing3 (2019): 15.