A common question that dietitians get asked is- Can vegetarians go for a keto diet?
Generally, a keto diet is a focused meal plan that includes a lot of meat, poultry, seafood that are rich in a lot of healthy fats, good amounts of protein, but low in carbohydrates. The objective is to acquire more calories from fat rather than from carbs.
Veggie Keto/plant-based vegetarian keto diet is possible if the diet plan is wisely designed. Consult a professional dietitian to get the right vegan keto plan that provides you with adequate nutrition.
Veggie keto or Plant-based keto diet
According to studies, health experts should recommend a plant-based diet to patients, especially those facing high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular, or obesity issues. An ideal veggie keto diet should include vegetables low in starch, but high in proteins.
A plant-based keto diet can include:
- Vegetables: Cabbage, Cucumber, eggplant, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers, etc.
- Fruits: Avocadoes, strawberries, lemon, watermelon, peaches, raspberries, etc. (in moderation)
- Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated fat: Olive, peanut, almond, coconut, MCT, canola, and avocado oil
- Healthy Nuts: Pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and brazil nuts
- Seeds: Chia, sesame, hemp, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese (if your gut tolerates them)
- Protein: tofu, tempeh, spirulina, nattokinase, and yeast
- Herbs and spices: basil, coriander, taco seasoning, paprika, pepper, turmeric, salt, oregano, rosemary, and thyme
Remember: Legumes are a good source of proteins but they aren’t included in the Keto diet because they contain a high quantity of carbs that kicks off ketosis.
Need for supplements during veggie keto
If you stick to a purely vegan diet, you might miss out on key nutrients. As such you can take the following supplements to balance your nutrition requirements-
#1. Creatine- To improve strength and lean muscle mass
#2. Carnosine- It boosts the immune system, improves mood, enhances memory, combats wrinkles, and prevents eye problems.
#3. Taurine- It lowers blood pressure and calms the nervous system.
#4. Vitamins like- B12, Niaspan, and thiamine for boosting energy
#5. Omega-3 algae supplements to support your brain health.
Did you know, you can easily determine your personal macros by using the macro calculator on The Wellness Corner App.
Benefits of a vegetarian keto diet
There are no specific studies that state the benefits of vegetarianism with Keto but as per individual analysis, both the diets are associated with the following benefits-
#1. Significant reductions in weight
#2. Reduction in the risk of high blood pressure
#3. Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
#4. Drops the risk of cancer
#5. Helps in maintaining lower body mass index
#6. Reduces the risk of chronic diseases
Sample Vegetarian Keto diet plan may look like-
- Breakfast: Chia seed pudding with protein powder or protein pancakes made from cottage cheese (paneer).
- Snack: Sliced cucumber with paprika cream cheese dip or cottage cheese (paneer) with sunflower seeds or roasted unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Lunch: Large bowl of salad with avocado, vegetables, seeds, and nuts or an egg omelet with herbed goat cheese and pesto, or Mushroom or zucchini with cottage cheese (paneer) roasted in salt and pepper.
- Dinner: Zucchini noodles (zoodles) with pesto and tofu; sautéed vegetables with tempeh; or spinach salad with tofu, grilled zucchini, cubed feta, and olive oil, or bowl of soupy veggies with sautéed mushrooms.
A word of caution from The Wellness Corner
While Keto diets can be amazing for a short time, they might also cause troubles like nutritional deficiencies, kidney stones, or constipation. It is also not suitable for pregnant/breastfeeding women as well as those with thyroid problems. Thus, it is advised to consult a professional nutritionist before following any sample diet.