A vegetarian keto diet could be the best of both worlds. You get the fat-burning, weight loss benefits of a low carb diet along with the anti-inflammatory and gut health benefits of a plant-based diet.
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Today we’re going to cover a lot of ground:
What Is The Keto Diet
Can You Do Keto As A Vegetarian
What Are The Benefits of A Vegetarian Keto Diet?
What Foods To Eat
What Foods To Avoid
90 Vegetarian Keto Diet Recipes To Try
The keto diet can be confusing, especially if you are a vegetarian. One minute you’ve got it all together, searching for dinner recipes, and next thing you know, you’re googling macro counts and plant-based proteins because you think you may be doing the whole keto diet wrong!
It happens to the best of us.
That’s why I wrote this guide – Total Keto Diet For Beginners to help folks navigate the keto diet without losing their mind.
Hey, I understand second-guessing the weight-loss gurus out there.
You should be skeptical!
But this is not just another keto blog. Seriously, the keto diet changed my life.
Six years ago I was a little heavier than I am now. Ok, a lot heavier:)
After a series of unfortunate events, including over-hearing one of my daughter’s friends calling me fat, and realizing I was becoming a shut-in due to my weight and a heavy cloud of depression, I decided to start this life-changing keto diet that I didn’t believe in at first. It appealed to me because I loved food & I refused to starve myself. I saw results immediately, and once I gained momentum there was no stopping me. I lost more than 20 pounds in the first two months. That’s when I started to believe in the keto diet. You can read more here.
Over the past six years I’ve learned a few things that I think will help you get control of your health and lose weight on the keto diet too. This guide outlines everything you need to know.
As cheesy as it may sound, you can change your life with this diet.
Not just shed a few pounds for a wedding, or get in shape for bikini season, I’m talking about real life altering progress.
The keto diet offers many health benefits in addition to weight loss that have impacted my life big time. It helped with my depression, balanced my hormones, stabilized my crazy migraines and I look ten years younger. Hell, let’s be honest. I’m a different person now. And that’s fine. Because I hated who I had allowed myself to become.
But enough about me, let’s get to keto!
What Is The Keto Diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that helps you lose weight by entering a natural metabolic state known as ketosis.
In addition to weight loss, numerous studies have indicated that a ketogenic diet reduces factors for cardiovascular disease (diabetes, heart disease, stroke), and some suggest it to be beneficial for certain types of cancer.
The ketogenic diet works by forcing your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state. Ketones are produced when you eat minimal amounts of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein. When your body doesn’t have carbohydrates to burn for energy, it burns fat.
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
Whole food, plant-based diets are heart healthy, environment-friendly, type-2 diabetes-fighting lifestyle eating plans that celebrate food and nourish your body.
On a plant-based diet, you’ll focus on eating whole or non-processed foods and plants like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
The major difference in a vegetarian keto diet and a plant-based diet?
You’ll omit the fruits (at first), grains, and legumes.
Benefits of A Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based diets that are full of whole grains, legumes, and seeds support gut health by increasing the healthy bacteria in our GI tract.
Both The American Diabetes Association and The American Academy of Dietetics recommend the plant-based diet for patients with diabetes.
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women (& men) in the United States. Plant-based diets reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and helping with weight loss.
Recent research shows us plant-based diets may help with slowing the progression of some cancers due to the antioxidant content of whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables.
How To Go Keto When You’re A Vegetarian
Ok, so there are a ton of carnivores on the keto diet. But here’s the truth:
You can make a vegetarian keto diet work by focusing on whole, plant-based low carb vegetables and lots of healthy fats.
What’s the down-low on fat? I thought fat was the enemy?
The way I see it, the low-fat trend that led to SnackWells cookies becoming a “healthy choice” is to blame for our obesity epidemic.
I’ll spare you the boring details of the backstory and hit the high-points.
Our long and sorted tale of misinformation begins back in 1911 with Proctor and Gamble’s patent for Crisco, which made trans fats a staple in margarine, shortenings, doughnuts, packaged cookies, baked goods, and fast-food fryers.
1956: Legislation to form the highway system gave McDonald’s, Burger King, and other fast-food joints (who used partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to transport their foods on the cheap) easy access to everyone’s hometown.
1976: Cut to 1976 when Senator George McGovern voiced concerns about possible links to diet and disease. McGovern called upon head guru of the day Nathan Pritikin whose belief was that you could reverse heart disease with nutrition.
The theory was that fat was the problem.
This hearing led to the first set of American dietary guidelines that listed eat more carbs as a goal.
1981: Then it gets super shady when a1981 Welsh study that found a link to these oils and heart disease gets ignored.
Meanwhile, the food industry is capitalizing on the new recommendations, and the general public gets inundated with all sorts of “healthy” low-fat foods.
The story gets slightly better when Harvard researchers published findings similar to the Welsh study in 1993 – This time, people paid attention.
But in between, the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes and heart disease skyrocketed. And now here we are with today’s confusion about eating fat. Oh, and over 70% of our population is overweight.
Bottom Line: Let go of the past and embrace heart-healthy fats.
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Olive Oil
- Macadamia Nut Oil
- Walnut Oil (Use Small Amounts)
- MCT Oil
- Palm Oil
Also, stock up on healthy, low carb veggies.
Having them on hand when hunger strikes is your best bet.
Best Low Carb Vegetables For A Vegetarian Keto Diet
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Swiss Chard
Eating fiber and nutrient-rich veggies will make you feel full during and after meals and help provide the vitamins & minerals your body needs.
**The complete list of ketogenic diet foods can be found & downloaded here.
Where To Get Your Protein On A Vegetarian Keto Diet
Concerned about protein? Or lack thereof?
I get it.
Since meat is out of the question, many people are left wondering if a vegetarian keto diet leads to protein deficiencies.
The answer is no!
You can get all the daily protein you need from eggs and cheese.
Still, eggs and cheese can only be prepared so many ways until they get so boring you can’t take it anymore.
Here are 5 tasty sources of protein that are keto-approved.
- Eggs & Dairy
- Unsweetened Coconuts
Foods To Avoid
Ok, so it is always better to focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t. My experience has taught me that the moment I tell myself a food is off-limits, the more I want it. But these foods are what I call universally unhealthy ( meaning no matter what “diet” you choose – these need to be on the avoid list.
Sugar-Filled Drinks: Energy Drinks, Soda, Fruit Juice
Refined Grains: White Rice, White Pasta, White Bread
Processed Foods: Candy, Cake, Pastries, Chips
+ Foods To Avoid On A Vegetarian Keto Diet
So, if you’re ready to try the vegetarian keto diet, here is a sample meal plan that includes 90 recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus snacks.
Keto Diet For Vegetarians – Breakfast
Adding fat – in this case – coconut oil – to your morning cup of coffee will boost energy & fat burning! Try this Vegan recipe via Create Mindfully
Cheesy Egg Muffins ~ Nom Nom Paleo
Low Carb Egg Breakfast Muffins (Vegetarian) ~ Hurry The Food Up
Low Carb Blueberry Pancakes ~ Tastaholics
Coconut Low Carb Porridge ~ Low Carb Yum
Crustless Spinach Cheese Pie ~ Low Carb Yum
Vanilla Waffles ~ The Big Man’s World
Keto Overnight “Oats” ~ Healthful Pursuit
Simple Tofu Scramble ~ V Nutrition
Baby Kale, Mozzarella, And Egg Bake Recipe ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Mini Eggplant Parmesan Breakfast Pizzas ~ Inspector Gorgeous
Vegan [Eggplant] Bacon ~ PopSugar Fitness
My Favorite Breakfast Frittata ~ Eat Yourself Skinny
Chia Pudding [5 VARIATIONS] ~ Wellness Mama
Cinnamon French Tofu Sticks ~ VegAnnie
Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Breakfast Casserole ~ What A Girl Eats
Very-Veggie Cauliflower Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl ~ Iowa Girl Eats
Omega-3 Keto Porridge ~ The Castaway Kitchen
Breakfast Kale Salad ~ Glue & Glitter
Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Breakfast Casserole ~ What A Girl Eats
Green Low Carb Breakfast Smoothie ~ Tastaholics
Breakfast Keto Smoothie ~ Broke Foodies
Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins ~ The Big Man’s World
Vegetarian Mushroom Breakfast Casserole ~ Plaid & Paleo
Blueberry Muffins With Almond Flour ~ Wholesome Yum
Vegan Keto Peanut Butter Donuts ~ Meat Free Keto
Healthy Fluffy Low Carb Pancakes [VEGAN OPTION] ~ The Big Man’s World
Vegetarian Keto Diet Recipes – Lunch
Caprese Salad ~ Tastaholics
Vegan Keto Bento Box ~ Julie’s Lifestyle
Rainbow Cauliflower Crust Pizza ~ Gimme Delicious
Margherita Pizza With Portobello Mushroom Crust ~ 80 Twenty Nutrition
Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese ~ The Iron You
Keto Tabbouleh ~ Two Sleevers
Guacamole Salad In A Jar ~ PopSugar
Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower Salad ~ Sugar Free Mom
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup ~ Tastaholics
Chopped Thai Salad With Coconut Curry Dressing ~ The Wicked Noodle
Easy Spinach Pie
Butternut Squash Bisque ~ Civilized Caveman
Low Carb Vegan Bibimbap ~ Low Carb Vegan
Greek Collard Wraps
Low Carb Pizza With Kale Pesto ~ Contentedness Cooking
Marinated Eggplant & Tomatoes ~ i Food Blogger
Portobello Mushroom Bacon [Vegan Bacon] ~ Veganosity
Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Soup ~ Delightful Mom Food
Charred Veggie & Hot Goat Cheese Salad ~ ruled.me
Low Carb Zucchini Fritters ~ Low Carb Maven
High Protein Salad In A Jar ~ The Flexitarian
Spicy Southwestern Vegetarian Burger ~ SkinnyMs
Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza ~ Wholesome Yum
Spinach Artichoke Squares ~ From A Chef’s Kitchen
Supreme Green Bean Casserole ~ Low Carb Maven
Low Carb Gnocchi ~ Tastaholics
Epic Low Carb Mash ~ Potluck At Oh My Veggies
Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini ~ Damn Delicious
Vegetarian Keto Club Salad ~ Ruled.Me
Ginger Sesame Walnut & Hemp Seed Lettuce Wraps ~ Create Mindfully
Eggplant Pizza Bites [LOW CARB GF DF] ~ Avocado Pesto
Vegetarian Keto Diet Recipes Dinner
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole ~ Peas and Crayons
Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna ~ The Iron You
One Pot Zucchini Pasta ~ Making Thyme For Good Health
Crockpot Low Carb Lasagna ~ Well Plated
Skinny Southwestern Crustless Quiche Recipe [Vegetarian] ~ Cookin Canuck
Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Zoodles ~ Running On Real Food
Vegan Keto Walnut Chili ~ Abbey’s Kitchen
Zucchini Noodles With Avocado Sauce ~ Simple Vegan Blog
Egg Roll In A Bowl ~ DETOXINSTA
Vegan Low Carb Cauliflower Nuggets ~ Meat Free Keto
Keto Creamy Avocado Pasta With Shirataki ~ Happy Keto
Veggie Noodle Pad Thai [ONE SKILLET MEAL]~ The Castaway Kitchen
Vegan Keto Carbonara ~ Meat Free Keto
Keto Mushroom Pasta ~ Happy Keto
Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole ~ The Iron You
Low Carb Mushroom Risotto With Cauliflower Rice ~ Peace, Love & Low Carb
Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Peppers ~ Delish
Super Skinny Creamy Spinach Pasta Primavera [SHIRATAKI NOODLES]~ Home Sweet Jones
Low Carb Spanakopita Cottage Cheese & Egg Casserole ~ Mom Foodie
Cabbage Lasagna ~ Low Carb Yum
Spinach & Feta Pie [CROCKPOT RECIPE] ~ Ditch The Carbs
Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegan Quiche ~ VegAnnie
Black Garlic Shirataki Noodles With King Oyster Mushrooms ~ Pups With Chopsticks
Olive Oil Roasted Sugar Snap Peas – Forget Sugar Friday
Parmesan Squash Chips – A Few Shortcuts
Oven Baked Zucchini Chips – Low Carb Yum
Easy Cucumber Bites – Eating On A Dime
Low Carb Crackers – Real Balanced
Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs – Word To Your Mother Blog
Cheesecake Fat Bombs – Savory Tooth
Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs – Create Mindfully
Cacao & Cashew Fat Bombs – Kettle & Fire
Peanut Butter Fat Bombs – Sweet As Honey
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Low Carb, Keto, Gluten-Free) – Word To Your Mother Blog
Did I Miss Anything?
Do you have enough information to decide if a vegetarian keto diet is right for you?
Or are you still on the fence?
Either way, please let me know by leaving a comment below!
Need More Keto Recipes?
Check out the Balanced Weekly Meal Plans from Healthful Pursuit!
You’ll get 7 days of meal planning – done for you – with complete, organized shopping lists & tips to keep you on track.
Plus allergen guides, alternatives – including Low-FODMAP, dairy-free, grain-free, nightshade-free, egg-free & nut-free alternative lists!
And…timesaving 5 minute recipes & the entire family guide to going low carb!
Check it out here!
More Keto Recipes You’ll Love:
Don’t forget to save these vegetarian keto recipes!
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Hey! Thanks for sticking around.I started this blog to help people like you take control of their health – achieve their fitness goals – lose weight – and gain the confidence they need to go out and live life to the fullest. (Because that’s what losing 100 pounds on the keto diet did for me:) If you need help, please reach out. In addition to blogging full-time, I’m a Health Coach, and I’m a mom of three awesome kids – 2 girls & one son who happens to have autism.
I’m continually seeking balance to do all of the things – and I’d love to help you do the same.
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