What is Vegetarian x Ketogenic Diet?
Can you be a vegetarian on a ketogenic diet? Or can you start vegetarian while you are already on ketogenic diet?
In both way, YES! You can!
This probably the top question pops up in your mind… It’s common, it’s usual, we faced that doubt a lot when we first started. Most of us, including you definitely know what’s a vegetarian diet and probably heard about ketogenic diet.
So Vegetarian diet has been regarded as one of the healthiest diets with result of preventing heart disease and diabetes and improve health overall.
And the Ketogenic diet, has been found to be more effective than the vegetarian diet for weight loss, improving triglyceride and blood sugar levels, and reducing the severity of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and some types of cancer.
It’s two extreme end diets and how can it be mix?
Now it’s true that both diets are effective to weight loss and better body, however there is still some health concern originating from the diet.
But what if…
What if we can borrow the principles from the ketogenic diet and the vegetarian diet and formulate an eating plan that is healthier for humans, animals, and the environment. In other words, we can get the benefits of the vegetarian diet and ketogenic diet in one diet — the Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet.
After lots of online research, book reading, forums and group discussion we choose to be on this diet. And we call ourselves #Veketorian!
Now before we go in-depth into this vegetarian ketogenic diet, let us understand the basis of the 2 diets plan – Vegetarian and Ketogenic.
What is Vegetarian Diet?
Lately we noticed a growth of people taking plant-based meal.
More salad bars appearing in the neighborhood (and the queue are super long!), and more of our friends are turning to have their meals focusing on vegetables and nuts.
In general, where everyone knows, a vegetarian diet consists mainly on fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. No meat, no animal products.
In fact, according to the Vegetarian Society, there is 4 main types of vegetarian:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; the most common type of vegetarian diet.
- Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
- Ovo-vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.
- Vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals.
From what we know, in the past, vegetarian diet is heavily connected to religious or the concerns of the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock.
And now, the reason for people turning their plate of food to greener leafy has changed over the years.
We’ve seen many researches, journals, talks and media educating how plant-based eating can help reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. Even the American Dietetic Association cited: “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
People like you and us are turning to vegetarian meal because we want a healthier lifestyle, a healthier body without the undesirable illnesses.
But, as we are getting all the nutrients from the veggies, beans, grains and nuts, we must be mindful that we could still be missing some of the nutrients that our body needs (that doesn’t come from the veggies) and overindulge on some that our body doesn’t require.
We will discuss more about this issue at the later part…
Now do you know what are some of the main ingredient for a vegetarian diet?
The Main food that Vegetarian can eat
Without the protein, iron and vitamins from meat source, we can still receive them including all other nutrients from alternative 7 basic food groups:
You probably aware there are high amount of corns, pasta, breads and quinoa in most vegetarian diet. Whole grains are never miss as they provide protein, fiber, B vitamins and carbohydrates as the source of energy.
We love beans – black beans, soya beans, and they can really bring up the taste of a salad bowl. Not only they are tasty, legumes are great sources of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins that is required by our body. We can easily get these nutrients from soy products such as tempeh, soymilk and tofu available anywhere.
One of the major food sources for this diet, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and many others, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. There are different types of veggies differentiated by their leaves color, yet all they are all so rich in the nutrients for our body needs that it is advice to have at least 4 servings or more per day.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds is good alternative to protein-rich animal products and high amount of iron, fiber, magnesium and zinc. We always recommend people to choose unblanched and unroasted nuts so that their nutrients are not lost during the process. And both nuts and seeds are very versatile ingredients which we can use it to create interesting meals and desserts dishes. Calcium-Fortified Plant Milks and Yogurts
Our body needs daily intake of calcium to manage our bone health. Some vegetarian diet doesn’t take milks but this can be replaced with calcium-fortified plant milks such as coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and oat milks. We need these plant milks and yogurt to give us the required calcium intake.
Choline may not be familiar to you, but it’s important for the health of your liver, brain and nervous system. Traces of them can be found in wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and grains. You have to make special effort to ensure they are sufficient on your plates.
I guess you love fruits, don’t you?
The juicy and sweet taste that keep you cool during summer. Fruits, is loaded with fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, and phytochemicals—special disease-fighting compounds found in plants. There is wide range of them, from apples, oranges, and bananas to mangoes, papayas, and watermelon to melons and strawberries all good choices of minerals.
Vegetarian diet is definitely a good choice if you are considering a diet for a healthier body. Highly nutrition and minerals, easily prepared…
But there is also food we need to take note when preparing, because there are food that vegetarian cannot eat, let’s explore…
The food that Vegetarian can’t eat
You may think meat product is the only food that vegetarian can’t eat for the diet.
As we’ve stated previously, there are 4 types of vegetarian diet and each has the type of food they can and cannot consume:
Food that cannot be consume: meat, poultry, fish products.
Food that cannot be consume: meat, poultry, fish products and eggs.
Food that cannot be consume: meat, poultry, fish products and dairy products.
Food that cannot be consume: meat, poultry, fish products, eggs, dairy products and any other products which are derived from animals
However, this doesn’t mean that the vegetarian diet is the best diet for everyone’s health ya?
The downside of Vegetarian diet
As we mentioned previously, when we started off our journey with vegetarian diet, we’ve notice the weight gain gradually. Before we done any in-depth research on this diet, we even came to the point thinking that probably the increase of weight is showing the sign that we’re getting healthier.
And that’s was a really, really wrong conception…
The research we’ve done and studies we’ve gone through later on, revealing the truth why vegetarian diet can make us fat.
Top Reason of Weight Gain in Vegetarian Diet
When you first change your diet to vegetarian, some food are removed from the food category and creates a misunderstanding that you only left mostly veggies & fruits for your meal. And with only vegetables & fruits, you need to increase other ingredients to provide you with the energy to work, study or even exercise.
And that ingredient is nevertheless – grain.
If you do notice, typical Vegetarian diet consist high amount of carbohydrates food source. Example refine grains, pasta, oats, breads, rice etc. Furthermore, if you’re living in Asia (like we do), there are pre-made vegetarian food that are made out of flour.
Like what has been mentioned in this research, many vegetarians fall into the trap of replacing meat with refined carbs. These grain consists of carbs and are broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into the bloodstream, fueling all of your activities. Unused glucose is then converted to fat, for long-term storage of energy, leading to high cholesterol and excessive weight gain for some people.
Now you see why you’ve been gaining weight?
The answer to solve this issue – to lose weight or even better, to loss fat is Ketogenic Diet which we going to share with you when you continue through this guide. Cool?
Other downside of Vegetarian Diet
Of cause, this is only one of the downside… What’s else?
Our body requires certain amount of nutrients daily to function well. We can get the nutrients for the veggies, seeds and nuts, there are still some nutrients may not be accessible from this plant-based diet.
So, what are they?
Having the complete proteins is a common concern for vegetarian diet. Although it is difficult to eat too little protein on a vegetarian diet, it is possible to obtain inadequate amounts of all essential amino acids. This typically happens when you rely solely on one source of protein or eat too few grains.
Shortage of protein is not common and not deadly. However, it does affect your body function in a bad way. Protein deficiency in oneself can easily leads to skin issue, brittle nails and even hair loss. And the most common deficiency can result in losing muscle mass, causing muscle degeneration.
If you decide to be a lacto-ovo vegetarians (which you can consume dairy & eggs), you generally get the recommended daily protein from dairy products and eggs.
Another common concern is the lack of vitamin B-12 with this diet. Vitamin B-12 is closely related to our red blood cells. And when we are low in B12, we may feel weak, tired, and easily short of breath.
The richest natural source of this vitamins originates from non-vegetarian foods, such as seafood, beef and animal organs. The only substitutes we can get is from B-12 supplement or B-12-fortified breakfast cereals.
Iron and Zinc
The other 2 minerals that are lack in the vegetarian diets are Iron and Zinc. Both of them can cause fatigue, feeling weak or even cold hands and feet. Our immune system can be affects as lacking of them increase the risk of infection to our body.
You may wonder, there are several vegetables rich in zinc and iron (like soy, nuts etc), so why is it still possible to be lack of these 2 nutrients?
This drills down to the function of our body. Our body does not easily absorb non-animal sources. Hence we need to work something to increase our body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron and non-animal sources of zinc.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vegetarian diets are typically high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 fatty acids which main source is from fish (which is no no here).
Omega-3 helps with our cells and health, and this can lead to dry skin (the external look) and even insomnia (internal issue).
And the only way to build up our body with this nutrient is to consume alternative veggies like seaweed, flax seed and soy products.
Now you can see, to counter the downside of vegetarian diet is to have a good mix of veggies so that our body has the sufficient amount of nutrients required. Over here at Veketorian, we focus on understanding the nutrients needed by our body and making home-made meals that is rich in these nutrients.
Sound good or good? Ok, let’s proceed to see how Ketogenic works.
How Ketogenic Diets works?
If you are aware of keto diet, the basis of how this diet works is to speed up weight loss through fat burning in your body.
Our body has get used to burn carbs ever since the day we are born. That’s the reason why we constantly carve for grain food (cakes, bread, rice etc) to fulfill our body desire. And Ketogenic diet works the opposite way. We want our body to switch the burning fuel from carbs to our greatest enemy fats.
And how we do that?
It’s fairly simple.
We just have to change our diet into a approximate ratio of 80% fats, less than 5% of carbs & around 15% of protein. So literally you’ll be consuming more fats than the past. And when you consume low carbs, our body metabolism goes into a state called ketosis. This happens when there is an increase in ketones in our bloodstream where ketones are created when our bodies use fat as fuel.
Why Ketogenic diet is good?
When you heard about this diet, you probably hear the successful story too. There are many research articles indicating how this diet has been used as the treatment for epilepsy and diabetes. And many reviews of weight loss case study showing keto diet may burn up to 10 times as much fat as other diets.
The main reason we choose to embark on keto path because we understand that our body doesn’t require carbs or even sugar to function healthy. When we have the right amount of nutrient for our body, we can build a better body with healthier lifestyle.
The food for Ketogenic Diet
The reason this low carb, high fat diet become so popular now is because of the type of food intake.
The usual or I would say the traditional health diet (like vegetarian etc) needs you to cut down some of your favourite food (like fatty meat…). Ketogenic works opposite. It focus on building protein and fat while lowering the intake of carbs and sugar. This means you will be eating fatty stuff more than the normal dieting meal. And of cause we are not saying you can indulge crazily. You still have to make sure you take in the required amount to reach the require nutrients level.
Now if you are new to this diet, below are the main food source for this diet:
Meat and Poultry
The staple food for ketogenic diet is fresh meat and poultry. They have high source of protein and vitamins B with no carb. Not only they are high in protein, if you choose grass-fed meat, you can have good amount of omega-3 fats, potassium, zinc and antioxidant.
Apart from meat, the other keto-friendly food that never miss out in this diet goes to fish and shellfish. Most of the seafood are carb free or very low in carbs. Food like salmon, sardines, shrimp, crab and other fatty fish have high level of omega-3 fats, potassium and B vitamins. And frequent intake of fish is also known to decrease the risk of disease.
You may think that all vegetables are food source with no or low net carbs. In fact, there is this range of starchy vegetables has the carb that one serving of this vegetables can put your entire carb limit for the day.
The common starchy vegetables are ingredients like potatoes, yams or beets that is high in carbs and needs to be avoid in this diet. Then what are low carb veggies?
We recommend vegetables with low carbs more mainly kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
Butter, Cream and Cheese
If you love any of the above mentioned, you are in a good treat if you take on ketogenic diet. Butter, cream and cheese serves as the ingredient with good fats yet low in carb.
For many years, especially butter and cream were determine as the cause of heart diseases. In actual fact, moderate consumption of high-fat dairy product can possibly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
For anyone in ketogenic diet will know avocados is the top food source. Half of a medium size avocado (about 100grams) has multiple vitamins, fibre, and mineral with only 9 grams of carbs!
You would probably see avocado almost on every of our keto dishes as we know we should always eat Avocados to lower our bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.
Fall in love with Keto diet? There are still other food source effective for ketogenic diet where we can explore in our meal plan.
Before that, we have to know what are the food that we should never touch when we picked ketogenic as our diet.
The Food to Avoid for Ketogenic Diet
By now you’ve understood how this diet work. So imagine you took high protein and fat food, and suddenly (of any reason), you decided to take a bowl of rice, enjoy a cup of ice cream or even decided to pamper yourself with a can of coke.
The carbs and sugar intake will create a change in your body burning mechanism. Your body will go back to burn the carb or sugar intake, leaving the fat (that should be burn off) residing in your body.
It doesn’t mean for life, you are not allowed to touch any cake, pancake or starbucks. What we recommend is if you do need to take some of it, the portion has to be reduced. And when you have carb or sugar intake, you have to restart your keto diet meal plan to have your body back to burn off the fats.
And to help you further, we have listed out the top food/ ingredient to avoid for ketogenic diet:
High glucose/ sugar product
This is rather straight to the point. Candy, chocolate, corn syrup, pudding, ice cream and soft drinks are typically example of high glucose food source that you should avoid at all cost (anyway they have no positive effect to our health). Even if honey is considered as healthy food, sugar is still sugar that will bump you out of ketosis.
Grain & Starch product
Food like rice, bread, donuts, pasta, cakes, wheat, corn and even quinoa are made from whole grain consist high level of carbs which is a big NO NO to keto diet.
Remember low carb is the key here for keto. High carb vegetables like potatoes, peas, corn, yucca, parsnips, beans, yams, and legumes are great, nutritious whole foods that doesn’t help you achieve ketosis.
Dairy – Milk
If you love cheese, you going to love this diet. And the best is when you eat cheese, stick it with full-fat type as it’s more filling and nutritious. However, Milk is off the list for keto diet. It contains high level of lactose, a form of sugar. This include low and reduced fat dairy products as they’re overly processed, which strips out nutrients like the fatty acids
Nuts and seeds
Nuts in general are healthy, however you need to be careful when eating them as they’re calorie-dense and can easily put you over your carb limit for the day. Avoid nuts like cashews, pistachios, and chestnuts which are on the higher end for carbs.
Fruits in general is high sugar and high carb. This includes tropical fruits, fruit juices, dried fruits, and fruit smoothies. The only fruits that helps ketosis will be Avocados and berries.
Most people love this diet, yet not everyone suits the ketogenic diet of fatty meat (high fat & protein). What about vegetarian who wish to lead a healthier lifestyle or reducing their weight?
That’s where we steps in…
Now What is Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet?
At Veketorian, our core is to help eating Ketogenic with Vegetarian Easy for you. That’s why we focus on guide, recipe and meal plan on Vegetarian Ketogenic diet.
Maybe you are a vegetarian who is searching how to lose your weight those keto.
Or maybe you are on ketogenic and decided to move on to a higher purpose in life, protecting life & decreasing our carbon footprint while having a healthier body.
No matter what’s your main purpose, you are here and we are on the same journey to explore how we can achieve the goal of eating vegetarian and keto at the same time.
And as we have mentioned previously, we’re here to look into Vegetarian x Ketogenic diet, meaning to have low carb, high protein without having any animal product in the process.
We can simply put it across this is a diet free of meat that restricts carbohydrates.
Going further, we’re going to look into what are the main food that can be consume, cannot be consume and must be consume. That is our main core of this site, where you provided and nourish with all the needed information for this amazing diet.
Enough of saying, we’ll go straight the first part of starting this diet – which is to know what our body really needs