At first glance, it may not look promising – the low carb, high fat diet scraps carbohydrates for a high-fat menu that most followers get from eating lots of meat. But with some simple switches and forward planning, it’s possible for vegetarians and vegans to board the keto diet trai.
Followers of the keto diet plan cut down on foods that contain carbohydrates to try to make their bodies burn more fat than usual. On a normal diet, our body’s first choice for fuel is glucose, which it gets from the carbs we eat.
However, on a low-carb ketogenic diet our glucose levels drop, and the body is forced to find another source of fuel to burn instead. And luckily, its second choice is the very thing most dieters want to get rid of – fat.
The ultimate goal of the keto diet is to stay in this low-glucose mode, called ketosis. Once in this stage, our liver uses fat supplies to produce molecules known as ketones. As we burn this new source of fuel, our fat stores begin to drop and so we shed excess pounds – which is why the keto diet plan has gained popularity with those looking to lose weight.
There are several variations of the keto diet, they are:
Yes, it is a bit of an unusual-sounding word, isn’t it? The keto diet has this name because it makes your body produce small fuel molecules called ‘ketones.’ They are essentially another energy source for your body that can be used when your blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.
When you eat very few carbs or very few calories, your liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then fuel the body, brain included.
The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose or ketones.On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels drop very low, the rate of fat burning can increase dramatically. In turn, it becomes easier to burn off the fat stores that are within your body.3
The standard ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet plan that cuts out carbs almost entirely, with followers restricting their menu of carbs to just vegetables, nuts and dairy.
Refined carbohydrates, such as wheat (found in bread and pasta), starch (found in potatoes and rice) and sugary fruits, should be cut out completely. Instead, the keto food list replaces these foods with alternatives that are high in fat, such as meat, cheese, milk and eggs.
As mentioned above, the aim is to have a daily diet that consists of around 5% carbohydrates, 25% proteins and 70% fats.
However, it’s a diet that consists of lots of fatty foods, so be sensible with what you fill up on; pick healthy fats (monounsaturated) over processed (saturated) ones – but then you knew that anyway, didn’t you?!
Stick to a weekly meal plan that includes all of the key nutrients and vitamins that a vegetarian diet can sometimes miss, like iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Omega 3.
Yes! – The keto diet is absolutely vegetarian-friendly, though there are some things to bear in mind.
A standard keto diet food list contains a lot of meat and fish, though there are many plant-based alternatives that can be used instead, along with an additional helping of eggs and dairy products.
|Meal time||Vegetarian keto meal suggestions|
|Breakfast||Almond flour waffles
Chocolate protein shakeCauliflower toast
|Lunch||Spinach, herb and feta wrap
Roasted bell pepper and cauliflower soup
Courgette ribbons and avocado walnut pesto
Mushroom omeletteEgg salad
|Dinner||Goat’s cheese and mushroom frittata
Broccoli and cheddar cheese quiche
Stir fry cauliflower riceSpaghetti squash bowl
Peanut butter cookie barsBanana blueberry bread
It’s essential that you incorporate as many high fat, low carb vegan foods into your diet. Here are some examples:
|Meal time||Vegan keto meal suggestions|
Tofu scrambleCarrot muffins
Tomato and mushroom spaghetti squash
Broccoli fried rice
Thai curry cauliflower soupStuffed avocado
Whole roasted cauliflower
Oven roasted sproutsCourgette noodles with avocado sauce
|Dessert||Avocado chocolate mousse
Carrot cake bites/muffins
Peanut butter cookiesCoconut yoghurt and toppings
Good question. If you’ve made the switch and are following either a vegan keto diet or vegetarian keto diet plan, you want to know when you’re likely to start seeing the results of your new eating regime.
As with most lifestyle changes, the impact of the keto diet differs from person-to-person. Some people find it takes them much longer to enter ketosis than others. What’s more, many struggle to enter ketosis in the first place.
Generally speaking, it can take between two and four days to enter ketosis, if you’re eating 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. However, some people may find it takes a week or longer to reach this state.
There are several factors that can impact how long it takes to for your body to enter ketosis. They include your typical daily carb intake, your daily fat and protein intake, exercise, your age and your body’s natural metabolism.For instance, people who used to eat a high carb diet before starting a keto diet may find that it may take them longer to enter ketosis than those who are used to eating a diet that contains low to moderate levels of carbs. This is because your body needs to deplete its glycogen stores before entering ketosis.5
Do you feel a little bit clearer on the keto diet and what it means if you’re vegan or vegetarian? Maybe you’re already embracing it and needed clarity on certain points or some keto diet plan ideas? Or maybe, it’s something that you’re planning to try and wanted to do your research on before you make the switch to eating keto diet foods?
Either way, we hope your keto journey goes well for you and that the information above has provided with the initial overview you need to start off on the best possible path.
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Last updated: 27 August 2020