Whenever I have seen people talking about a quick weight-loss programme - they are always talking about the keto diet. But there is never any information on how to go about losing weight with a vegetarian keto diet.
The keto diet is basically a high-fat, moderate protein and low carb diet.
The problem with being a vegetarian on this diet - is that you will be hard-pressed to find a good variety of recipes which do not require any meats and starchy vegetables.
As a disclaimer - I should say that I am not a nutritionist - or even an expert in the keto diet. However, I have tried the diet out - and I do believe it works - but I found it difficult to keep to the diet because it does require a heavy dosage of meat - and I am not a big meat eater - so it was time-consuming and difficult for me to find good vegetarian alternatives.
As it goes - a normal vegetarian diet is very practical for weight loss - because it is not as carbohydrate and fat heavy as a regular diet that includes meats.
But the problem is - when vegetarians start consuming lots of starchy vegetables and sweet fruits. This sort of produce is very carb and sugar heavy - leading to weight gain.
In case you are a vegetarian who is looking into getting on the keto diet, you should first understand the pros and the cons of this diet - before you go any further.
The keto diet claims to be - well - a miracle diet. Even though there is not too much sound data and research-based evidence on this diet, people do swear by it and the claims of this diet. This diet is said to be able to:
1. Help people with conditions such as:
c) High Blood Pressure
d) Liver Diseases
e) Obesity - that's an obvious one!
f) Severe migraines
2. Helps improve brain functions
3. Increase and maintain energy levels throughout the day
4. Decrease in inflammations
5. Improve the look and quality of skin, hair and nails
While the keto diet has many benefits - it has it's drawbacks too.
Some of the drawbacks are:
1. It takes a long time for you to adapt to the diet
2. You will likely go through a phase called "the keto flu" - which is your body's response to the lack of carbohydrates
3. Your breath will start to smell weird - this will go away in time
4. It will be difficult to add muscle mass whilst on this diet
5. You may find it difficult to eat out at restaurants
6. It is difficult to sustain over a long period of time
The vegetarian keto diet is actually very easy to follow. There are some basic fruits and vegetables that you need to avoid - and some that you will need to increase your consumption of.
1. Make sure that you continue to consume lots of fat - from butter, cheeses and most other non-sweetened dairy products.
2. Severely limit - or completely cut-off - your high-carb vegetables
3. Use a small number of legumes to provide you with the protein that you need. With the vegetarian keto diet, you are allowed to increase your net-carb intake, over what a non-vegetarian would consume.
4. Break your diet down into at least 70% calories from fat, 20% from proteins and the last 10% from carbs
Again, as a disclaimer - I am not a nutritionist - but through research - here are a few of the types of foods you should be consuming on the vegetarian keto diet.
a) Leafy greens - spinach, kale, lettuces
c) Carrots - in moderation
d) Cauliflower and broccoli
e) Onions and tomatoes - to add some flavour to your food
j) Sea Vegetables - Kelp, Seaweed etc
a) Berries - Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Cherries
a) Eggs - if you consume them usually
b) Nuts and Seeds - Especially almonds, peanuts, cashews and flax seeds
c) Legumes - In limited quantities, since they are also quite carbohydrate heavy
d) Soy-based products
c) Produce like avocados
d) Oils - Coconut, avocado and ghee are excellent sources of healthy - and tasty - fats
e) Paneer or Cottage Cheese - It is a great source of both, protein and fats
All of these different fruits and vegetables are easy to buy - but how you incorporate it into your vegetarian keto diet is key. It would be very difficult to make sure that you are meeting your macros levels correctly - while keeping to the keto diet requirements.
If you do your research, you will be able to find a lot of different recipes for ketogenic vegetarians and vegans too!
A couple of my favourite and easy-to-make recipes are:
This is an easy-to-make and very keto friendly recipe for a satisfying and very delicious dessert!
Butter - Unsalted
Vanilla Essence or Extract
1. Chop the nuts and berries of your choice into bite-sized pieces
2. Whip the Greek yoghurt with some vanilla essence or extract
3. Beat the nut butter of your choice with some regular butter - to a smooth and thinner consistency. You can add some milk to loosen the mixture up
4. Take a serving dish and make alternate layers with the nuts, berries, butter mixture and yoghurt
5. Chill for an hour or until set. Consume cold.
Capsicums - Halved and de-seeded
Salt, Pepper and Chilli Flakes
Spinach - Cleaned and chopped
Mozzarella - Grated
1. Preheat your oven - or get a heavy-bottomed frying pan heated
2. Mix all of the ingredients - except for the capsicum and oil - together in a large bowl
3. Stuff the capsicums with this mixture and drizzle over with oil
4. Grill in the oven or on the pan until the capsicum is just cooked through and all the cheese has melted
5. Serve hot!
As a vegetarian, the one thing you should be very careful of - is getting the adequate amount of protein in. It will be difficult at first, but my experience with the keto diet did show me that it is worth the trouble and sacrifice.
Sure, I missed bread and sweets, but this diet did help me in so many ways!
1. I was able to focus on things a lot better
2. I was able to pay attention to work tasks for a longer duration of time
3. I did not have energy spikes and crashes all day long
4. My weight dropped - obviously
5. I felt stronger, leaner and generally healthier
6. Did not feel dehydrated
7. I was full of energy - like constantly
8. I slept a lot better - no insomnia anymore!
9. Learnt to appreciate different kinds of foods
10. Broadened my horizons - in terms of how and what I consume in my daily life.
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