The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet Menu
So you want to start vegetarian keto?
I wouldn’t call myself a veteran, but I did the diet for a few months with pretty astounding results. I went from 190lbs to a slim 150lbs over the course of a year. This wasn’t all keto, I also started the couch to 5k program, and started doing light weight lifting. Keto was great for me, because I started losing weight quickly. Keto was the driving force behind my weight loss because I no longer doubted that I could lose weight and be healthy.
As a vegetarian I’m so used to eating carbs all day. Bread is easy, it’s incredibly easy to eat (and overeat for that matter), so when I switched to keto I felt like I was always eating, struggling to just hit my macros. It’s a difficult thing to get over, but just force yourself to eat this way, count your macros, and once you get used to eating that way you can stop counting calories (if you want) because you know how much you can eat and what you can eat. After a month I stopped counting, and I kept losing weight.
The Keto Diet for Vegetarians
I just wanted to make a post, because I see a lot of dieters making some mistakes when it comes to what they are eating, or how they are interpreting their results.
The things you NEED to stay away from on ketosis are sugar and carbs (specifically net carbs), so it’s odd to me when I see people eating a lot of the high-in-sugar vegetables (like tomatoes) or the high carb vegetarian substitutes like legumes for every meal.
The main goal of your eating should be stay within your macros, this means staying under 25g net carbs a day. The easiest way to get into ketosis, and stay in ketosis, is to stay safely within that amount. A common rule that I often see is to first meet your macros, then worry about calories, then worry about exercise. macro>calories>exercise
The Ketogenic Diet for Vegetarians Needs Tracking
I always use Nutrition Data whenever I’m looking up whether something is ketofriendly or not. Everyone is different, and you should figure out what your threshold is early on so that you can get up to that point later. Remember, your threshold is also affected by your level of activity. Some people can eat bread right before a workout and still be ketosis because they burned the carbs off. This doesn’t mean that you should eat carbs, it’s better to be safe than sorry, because if you get knocked out of ketosis it can take up to 3 days to get back into ketosis.
If you’re worried about if you’re in ketosis or not, you should buy some ketostix. They easily measure ketones in your urine, and it only takes a few seconds to figure out if you’re in ketosis or not. I bought 50 of them when I first started, but I only used up about 10 in two months. Ketostix Reagent Strips, 100-Count Box
I also see a lot of people worrying about the color of your ketostix. The only thing that matters is if your body is producing ketones or isn’t, color doesn’t matter. Color can vary, deep colors might not indicate your body producing more ketones it might indicate that you aren’t drinking enough water. If your strips are very faintly registering ketones, it might because you’ve been in ketosis long enough and your kidneys aren’t excreting as many ketones. Again, the quanitity of ketones you are peeing out doesn’t matter (and for people who are going to say “But ketones are calories”, they only account for about 5 calories), just that you are peeing out ketones. It’s easy to tell if you aren’t producing ketones because the strip will not change color. Here’s a detailed article on ketostix color
I used a stick after two days of starting, just to make sure. From that point forward I would only use them when I had tried something new, like peanut butter or dreamfields pasta, or was feeling unsure.
Vegetarian Keto Danger Foods
Which brings me to my next topic. Danger foods. This is where many people mess up. Unlike our fellow meat eating ketogoers, vegetarian ketoers eat a lot more veggies with their food. The goal of keto is to keep your fat intake high, with a moderate protein intake, and keep your carbs and sugar intake very low. Again, if you are unsure of something, look it up. In fact, just look it up anyways. Everyone is different. Some people can eat 50g net carbs a day without getting thrown out of keto, others can’t. I err on the safe side and stay at about 10g net carbs a day, and it hasn’t failed me once. Easy to read spreadsheet with many common keto foods.
A lot of web resources will say “low carb”, but what they really mean is “low carb when compared to high carb”. So that “low carb” food they’re touting is still high in carbs compared to what you should be eating. You want to eat under 25g of net carbs a day, and when 300 calories of your food includes 12g net carbs it really doesn’t leave much room for the rest of the day.
There are also certain pastas that are deemed “low carb”, such as dreamfields. You can read about what people are saying here I tried it, thinking I wouldn’t have to give up pasta, and it kicked me out of ketosis. They say you aren’t supposed to cook it for too long or wait to eat it, but that seems overly complicated, and I’m not entirely sure it works. If something seems too good to be true, it’s sadly probably too good to be true. Do your research.
There are plenty of other things you CAN eat, so make sure you focus on those. I’m sure you know about eggs, which are pretty much the staple of the keto diet. There is one-hundred-and-one ways to cook an egg. After a week of eating scrambled eggs every day I got sick of them, because thats no way to live. So I stopped eating eggs for a few days, looked up some recipes that got my hunger back for the great little keto buddies. Don’t be afraid to cool it on eggs if it means you’re actually finishing your diet, there are plenty of other things you can eat in the meantime.
I’ve also seen people eating egg-whites only. Now I know you’ve been taught that yellows are bad, because they contain cholesterol, but they contain HDL (the good cholesterol). On the keto diet my cholesterol actually dropped down to a very health amount. When I went to give blood a few weeks ago the lady doubted that I was a vegetarian because my cholesterol levels were so healthy. She asked me what I ate (after I cleared up the bit that I was an ovo lacto vegetarian, not a pescatarian) that I could have such healthy cholesterol. So stop it with the egg whites. They’re great if you’re not in keto (for a food with very little nutritional value), but since you’re in keto you WANT the extra cholesterol and fat and calories.
Getting Enough to Eat on the Vegetarian Keto Diet
One of the most difficult things about being a vegetarian keto user, is that it’s difficult to eat enough. You don’t want such a large calorie deficit that you won’t be able to make it through the day, so I struggled for a long time with meeting that amount. I kept thinking “I have to eat another 500 calories today, this sucks.” What I needed was a quick filler. I’ve since found out that olive oil is fantastic for that. It’s basically pure fat. Drizzle it on everything, take shots of it, it’s a great way to hit your macros. Keto yogurt is also a staple of mine.
Another great filler on the other end of the spectrum is protein powder. Now not all protein powder is created equal, a lot of protein powders add a lot of sugar and carbs, but the kind I’ve found to be the best for you and the best tasting is 100% gold standard whey
Xenical Online helped me a lot. Orlistat tablets had to be taken continuously for 4 months, but I am very pleased that I received such a result. My height is 165 cm and weight is 66 kg. Before I have started use Xenical I weighted 84 kg. Now I have bought another pack to take it from time to time.
I love the chocolate malt flavor. Mix in a little heavy cream, add some ice, and blend it and you basically have a healthy chocolate malt. You can even add in some zero cal stevia to make it taste even more like a chocolate malt. It also helps me hit my protein macros for the day. Protein is important, especially for vegetarian ketoers. A lot of the food we eat has very little in the form of protein, so it’s almost necessary to get that extra amount from a supplement like this. Be careful not to eat too much protein, just stick to your macro.
Peanut Butter Can Be Your Biggest Mistake On the Vegetarian Keto Diet
The last food I wanted to touch on is peanut butter. Now peanut butter is great, lots of fat, plenty of calories, delicious. Only issue that the makers love to throw extra sugar into it. If you look at regular store bought peanut butter it’s really not the sort of thing you should be eating lots of if you want stay under 25g net carbs.
Almond butter isn’t much better, and often it’s much more expensive than peanut butter. There is a solution to all of this: You can make your own and it’s simple enough that you shouldn’t mess up. It’s considerably cheaper, and you can have the peace of mind that you know it’s going to be good for your diet. Almond butter step-by-step
Your Body Expressed Calories Differently – Do What Works For You
The aged old question asked by nutrition scientists and dieters alike is, is a calorie a calorie? If you asked this question to a physicist the undoubted and correct answer would be a resounding YES without hesitation along with quoting part of the first law of thermodynamics “in an isolated system energy can be neither created nor destroyed” and that would be the end of the discussion. The laws of thermodynamics are 100% true and never need to be discussed again.
However, when it comes to nutrition there seems to be debate on this topic. Although a calorie is a calorie as the food sits on your plate, when it enters your body it is introduced to a highly complex organism that has many biochemical processes that will use, store and “dump” the calories in your food in different ways. The notion that we are just a simple calorie formula, adding and subtracting calories from a predetermined daily energy expenditure by nature is a fundamental flaw in how we perceive food and go about weight management. In a clear and concise statement, a calorie is a calorie but the nutrients of the food and your individual biochemistry dictate how your body expresses those calories.
How Do You Get Your Magnesium and Potassium?
Practically everything I eat has magnesium and potassium in it. Pumpkin seed kernels, flax, brazil nuts, chia, macadamia, poppy seed, avocado, cocoa, hazelnut, coconut, etc. For me, the question is less “how do I get enough magnesium/potassium on a vegan keto diet” and more so “how do I get inadequate magnesium/potassium on a vegan keto diet”?
I’m an assiduous nutrition and fitness tracker. I track everything. But I actually stopped bothering pretty immediately with Magnesium and Potassium, when it became clear that my Magnesium was always hugely in excess of daily requirements, and my Potassium was always sufficient. I still track sodium, since there’s no appreciable quantity of sodium in any whole food diet which does not include seafood. But Magnesium and Potassium are just a given.
Here are a few quick tips for Staying In Ketosis – Vegetarian
*Caesar Salads are great, mix in some cheese and you have a way to cure those carb cravings without ruining your macros. Remember that caesar salad dressing isn’t just for caesar salads, try it on eggs, avacados, brocoli, cheese, etc.
*Drinks lots of water, you don’t want your kidneys shutting down.
*Do some light cardio 3 times a day to increase your metabolism. Burpees are fantastic for this. Literally doing this 3 times a day for a minute will increase your overall body strength, burn some calories, and increase your metabolism. If you’re short on time, these are perfect (youtube).
*Don’t have cheat days. I know some people do them, but it seems counterproductive. If it takes you 3 days to get back into ketosis after being knocked out , then you’re essentially wasting over half your time by having a cheat day once a week. If you need it to get through your week, that’s another thing entirely. It took me two weeks to get over my carb cravings, some people it takes them a month, some it takes two months.
*Use a great calorie counting app, like myfitnesspal. It makes the entire process almost fun. Weigh/measure everything, generally when people eye things up they think they’re having too little when in actuality they’re having too much (1 spoon of peanut butter is 1 tablespoon right? No. No it isn’t). If you have to guess, then guess too much, not too little.
*I didn’t eat out a single time when i was dieting. As a vegetarian and a ketoer I didn’t have that luxury. Even if I did have some place nearby that did serve “low carb”, I’m not sure I would trust it.
*Hot sauce is a life saver. When I’m tired of eating the same thing, it can really add a different flavor to what I’m eating, or make those scrambled eggs bearable. Just make sure it’s 0 carb/0 sugar hot sauce.
*Everyone is different, if you figure out your limits right away, you’ll have an easier run in the long run. Figure out if diet soda knocks you out, find out if eating a lot of sugary vegetables knocks you out, find out what works for you!
I hope you found this somewhat informative, and I hope I helped a few of you out on your road to a lower weight and higher self esteem.
If you have questions about what my favorite foods are (and I have plenty, as I was doing this on a cheap college student budget) go ahead and ask.
4 thoughts on “The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet Menu”
Im overwhelmed with life sometimes. I have a 4 year old and a 11 month old. I am 40lbs over weight since having my baby and its not budging. I am a vegetarian. Ovo lacto. Do you have a meal plan. I just want to follow something easy and go for it. Thanks alot. Your article was very informative 🙂
Thanks for the kind words on the article. Meal plans are tricky. I’m not a dietitian nor do I know your lifestyle and body’s needs. Meeting with a nutritionist (not the same as a dietitian) really helped me when I needed to lose weight. You can get an idea of different keto foods from this list but a professional may help more.
But you really can lose weight going keto. The first few days are going to be rough but you can do it! Let us know how it goes.
Keto is so hard! I can’t imagine doing it being a vegetarian. What on earth would you eat all day?
Keto is actually quite easy! Follow Dr. Berg & he’ll help you all the way!!
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