Comprehensive Guide To The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

The vegetarian diet is commonly regarded as one of the healthiest diets for humanity. Many studies have found that vegetarian diets reduce the likelihood of prevalent diseases like heart disease and diabetes and improve health more than the average non-vegetarian diet. However, this doesn’t mean that the vegetarian diet is the best diet for everyone’s health.

The ketogenic diet, for example, 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.

But the ketogenic diet also comes with some environmental and health concerns. The primary environmental issue with all meat-containing diets stems from where people source their animal products like meat and dairy. Meat and dairy that comes from animals raised conventionally on controlled animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are not only nutritionally inferior, but they contribute to climate change and the abuse of animals and the local environment as well. Furthermore, if the meat you eat is predominantly packaged meat (e.g., bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, and salami), then you may be increasing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

What this means is that neither diet is superior for everyone, however, by borrowing principles from the ketogenic diet and the vegetarian diet we can 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.


What is The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet?

The simplest definition of the vegetarian ketogenic diet is a diet free of meat, fish, and fowl flesh that restricts carbohydrates. By eating in this way, we can reap all of the benefits of the ketogenic diet while reducing our carbon footprint, decreasing animal abuse, and improving health.

Eggs and dairy — two of the main animal products you can eat on the vegetarian ketogenic diet — are nutrient dense, and their production has much less of an impact on the environment than lamb, beef, farmed salmon, poultry, turkey, and pork. You can even take the positive effects one step further by sourcing your eggs and dairy from local, pasture-raised chickens and cows. By supporting these healthy and sustainable animal rearing practices, you will be investing in the most humane and healthy animal products (more on this later).

What is the vegetarian ketogenic diet?

Throughout this article, we will focus on how to implement a vegetarian ketogenic diet that includes eggs and dairy. (No meat, fish, or poultry products will be recommended at all.) On the other hand, if you want to eliminate all animal products for your ketogenic diet, then you will find much better suggestions — like a complete list of dairy and egg alternatives — in our comprehensive guide to the vegan ketogenic diet.


An Overview of The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

To implement the diet correctly, you must follow these rules:

  • Limit your total carbohydrate consumption to 35 grams or less per day.
  • Eliminate all animal flesh from your diet (e.g., meat, fish, and poultry).
  • Eat plenty of low-carb vegetables.
  • Get at least 70% of your calories from fat.
  • Consume around 25% of your calories from plant-based proteins, eggs, and dairy.
  • Supplement with nutrients that you may not be getting enough of like vitamins D3, DHA & EPA, iron, and zinc.
  • Use the keto calculator to figure out your calorie and macronutrient needs.
  • Continue reading for more precise recommendations for vegetarian ketogenic dieters.

How Vegetarians Can Limit Their Carbs

How Vegetarians Can Limit Their Carbs

The most common mistake vegetarians make on the ketogenic diet is eating too many carbohydrates. This is mostly because many vegetarian favorites are some of the most carb-laden foods, like:

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Legumes — lentils, black beans, peas, etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

While you are on the ketogenic diet, do not eat the foods listed above. These foods are so high in carbohydrates that one serving can take you above your carb limit for the day. However, just because you can’t eat these foods, doesn’t mean you are stuck with eggs and lettuce as your only keto-friendly option.

Here is a brief overview of all the foods that you can eat:

  • Vegan “meats” — tempeh, tofu, seitan, and other high-protein, low-carb vegan “meats”
  • Leafy greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy & Eggs – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, eggs, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
  • Other fats – coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, red palm oil, etc.

For a more comprehensive breakdown of the calories, fats, proteins, and carbs in some of these foods, check out the ketogenic diet food list.

By sticking to the vegetarian keto-friendly foods listed above, you can be a vegetarian and a ketoer at the same time, while covering most of your nutritional needs.

At first, however, it may seem like it will be difficult to get enough fat without the help of meat and fish. Fortunately, you won’t have to eat sticks of butter and dozens of eggs to meet your daily fat requirements. There are plenty of healthy plant-based fats as well.


Getting Enough Fat on the Vegetarian Keto Diet

Getting Enough Fat on the Vegetarian Keto Diet

Eggs and high-fat dairy will be a significant component of most of your keto meals. However, they won’t be your only source of fat. In fact, you can use many plant-based oils to replace all the animal fats commonly used in cooking and baking if you’d like.

Here’s a brief list of the oils you can use and what you can use them for:

  • Avocado Oil. Avocado oil has a ton of healthy monounsaturated fats. It also has the highest smoke point of any other cooking oil (at 520 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes it perfect for cooking, baking, and deep frying. You can use it to fry the vegetarian tater tots that you’ll learn about later in the article.
  • Coconut Oil. This oil provides you with an abundance of fatty acids that are the ideal fuel sources for keto dieters. It is an excellent oil for fat bombs, desserts, and cooking and baking at temperatures under 350 degrees Fahrenheit (similar to butter).
  • MCT Oil. This oil is commonly derived from coconut oil and palm oil. It contains medium chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids that skip normal fat digestion and go right to the liver where they are converted into ketones for fuel. Add it to your salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, fat bombs, and hot drinks like coffee or tea for a potent energy and focus boost.
  • Olive Oil. Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can consume. Use it to enhance the flavor and fat content of your vegetarian keto meals. Just make sure you cook with olive oil at a temperature that is below 405 degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn’t oxidize and become less healthy.
  • Red Palm Oil. Being an incredible source of Vitamins A and E, red palm oil doubles as a vitamin supplement. It has a mild carrot-like flavor and a rich, buttery texture. You’ll find that cooking with it can enhance the flavor of your vegan meat, nuts, and seeds.

Although these aren’t all of the plant-based oils you can consume, these oils are the healthiest and most versatile. However, you don’t have to get all of your fat from vegan oils. You can get extra fat — along with essential vitamins and minerals — by adding these fatty foods to your vegetarian ketogenic diet as well:

  • Like avocado oil, but packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the avocado is the perfect addition to any vegetarian keto meal. You can also make keto-friendly vegetarian desserts with avocado like Chocolate Chunk Avocado Ice Cream.
  • Nuts are a fat-rich and healthy addition to any diet. I tend to favor macadamia nuts and cashews over any other nut because they have the highest amount of healthy monounsaturated fats and the lowest amount of inflammatory omega 6 fats. Make sure, however, that you know the carb content of these nuts. You can easily kick yourself out of ketosis by eating too many cashews.
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds can be another high-fat, healthy addition to your diet. However, they contain higher levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats, so don’t rely on them as a dietary fat staple.
  • Vegan Dairy Alternatives. Later in this article, we will go over a couple of dairy substitutions that you can use to replace things like butter, cream, yogurt, and cheese in your favorite keto recipes. For a more in-depth look at vegan dairy substitutes for keto, read our comprehensive guide to the vegan ketogenic diet.

With these plant-based oils and fat-packed plant foods, you won’t even need eggs and high-fat dairy to meet your fat needs. However, most of these plant-based fat sources contain little to no protein. Without meat, how is a vegetarian ketoer supposed to get enough protein?


The Best Vegetarian-Friendly Protein Sources for The Ketogenic Diet

Although it is one of the densest sources of protein, meat is not necessary to meet your protein needs. In fact, you could get enough protein by simply eating eggs and cheese every day.

However, regardless of how much you love cheese and how many ways you can prepare eggs, relying on them for your protein needs will be unsatisfying. Luckily, you don’t even need eggs and cheese. You can just as easily meet your protein needs with these vegan protein sources:

Tofu

Tofu is made from soybeans and is high in protein and calcium. The best part is you can use it as a convincingly tasty substitute for meat, poultry, and fish.

Although tofu tends to be soft and mushy, you can make it as firm and chewy as meat by buying extra-firm tofu and pressing the heck out of it or freezing it and then pressing it. Make sure you season or marinate it before cooking so that it can soak up all of the flavors like a sponge.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented form of soy that is firmer than tofu and has a more grainy texture, making it a great substitute for fish and ground beef.

All you have to do to prepare tempeh is slice it, dice it, or grind it up in a food processor. If you find tempeh to be a bit bitter, try steaming it for a few minutes before using it.

Important Considerations for Soy Products: Because tofu and tempeh are made from soy, it is important to notice how you feel after including them in your diet.

Although soy tends to be healthy for most people, it does contain goitrogens, which are plant compounds that can impair thyroid function.

Use tempeh as a vegetarian meat replacement

If you experience fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, or unexplained weight gain as a result of upping your intake of soy-based products, then you should limit the amount of soy you consume and supplement your diet with iodine-containing foods.

  • To ensure that you get the healthiest tempeh and tofu, make sure you buy 100% organic soy products.
  • Conventional soy products contain traces of harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides that are
  • sprayed in copious amounts on GMO soybeans.

Seitan

Seitan or “wheat meat” is a vegetarian meat substitute made from wheat gluten, soy sauce (or tamari), ginger, garlic, and seaweed. This vegan “meat” is high in protein, low in fat, and a good source of iron.

Seitan does, however, contains a lot of gluten. In fact, the main protein source of seitan is the gluten protein. If you are sensitive to gluten in any way, then it’s best to avoid “wheat meat” at all costs.

Other Vegan “Meats”

There are a handful of vegan burgers and other “meats” that are available in most grocery stores. However, before you invest in a product, read the label.

If it has a lot of potentially harmful ingredients or added sugars/carbs, then don’t buy it. Look for the simplest ingredients, the lowest carbohydrate content, and a good amount of fat or protein per serving.

The same rules apply when making your own vegan burgers. Many vegan burger recipes are packed with carbs from grains and legumes. Here’s a link to a delicious example of a low-carb veggie burger that you can try.

Alternative meats for the vegetarian ketogenic diet.

Nuts And Seeds

Many nuts and seeds are packed with protein as well.

The nuts and seeds with the most protein (per 100 grams) are:

  • Pumpkin seeds with ~30 grams of protein
  • Pistachios with ~21 grams
  • Almonds with ~21 grams
  • sunflower seeds with ~19 grams
  • Flaxseeds with ~ 18 grams

However, don’t forget to consider the carb content of these nuts and seeds as well.

  • Pumpkin seeds have 54 grams of total carbs per 100 grams
  • Pistachios have 28 grams of total carbs per 100 grams
  • Almonds have 22 grams of total carbs per 100 grams
  • Sunflower seeds have 20 grams of total carbs per 100 grams
  • Flaxseeds have 29 grams of total carbs per 100 grams

And — although it’s technically a legume — we can’t overlook peanuts as a low-carb vegan protein source. Peanuts are packed with protein (~24 grams in 100 grams of peanuts) and relatively low in carbs (16 grams of total carbs in every 100 grams of peanuts).

Protein Powders

When it comes to buying protein powder, I tend to go with a 100% grass-fed whey protein and an organic pea protein isolate. Although grass-fed whey protein isn’t any better than conventional whey protein from a nutritional perspective, it is definitely healthier from an environmental perspective.

If you are coming close to your carb limit for the day and you still need more protein, then put down the nuts and reach for a vegan, egg-based, or milk-based protein powder.

Try these strategies to maximize your protein intake:

  • Add protein powder to your low-carb smoothie. Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to one of Ruled.me’s smoothie recipes. The Blueberry Banana Bread Smoothie, McKeto Strawberry Milkshake, Cucumber Spinach Smoothie, and Blackberry Chocolate Shake are some delicious examples you can try.
  • Add a flavorless protein powder to your meals. Pea protein isolate tends to be the cheapest and easiest vegan powder to use, while whey protein is the most popular dairy-based protein powder. You can add it to sauces, mix it with your vegan burgers, or make delicious coconut oil and coconut flour based protein bars with them.

Vegetarian friendly low carb protein powder.


Buying The Highest Quality Eggs and Dairy 

During the opening of this article, we briefly mentioned how eggs and dairy production have a particularly low environmental impact compared to meat, farmed fish, and poultry.

Unfortunately, most of the dairy and eggs you’ll find in the supermarket come from dairy cows and hens that lived under horrid, torturous conditions. With each purchase of conventional foods, you are still investing in nutritionally inferior food that supports environmental pollution and animal abuse.

The good news is that you can find high quality, sustainably-raised animals just as easily as conventionally produced foods. All it takes is a change in your shopping strategy.

Purchase high quality dairy and eggs on a keto diet.

Instead of looking for the cheapest animal products with meaningless marketing terms like “cage-free” or “vegetarian-fed,” look for dairy and eggs that come from sustainably pasture-raised animals. However, the only way to truly figure out if the animals are raised as nature intended is by researching the company or farm that you are buying from.

If your local grocery store doesn’t have high-quality options, you can get environmentally-friendly eggs and dairy delivered to your house by ordering from these trustworthy sources:

An even better strategy to improve your health and the health of the environment, however, is to support local farmers. To find out if there are high-quality local sources of dairy and eggs, search your area on one or both of these websites:

On the other hand, if you want to limit your dairy and egg consumption for health or environmental reasons, then try out some keto-friendly dairy alternatives.


Vegan Alternatives for Eggs and Dairy

Vegan Alternatives for Eggs and Dairy

There are plenty of keto-friendly vegan alternatives that you can use to cut down on your cheese and egg consumption. Here is a brief overview of some of your options:

  • Replace Heavy Cream with Coconut Cream.
  • Instead of Butter use Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter.
  • Replace Dairy-Based Cheese with Vegan Cheese.
  • Instead of Cream Cheese have Vegan Soft Cheese.
  • Replace Yogurt and Sour Cream with Nut-Based Yogurt.
  • Instead of Eggs use The Vegg or VeganEgg.

For more details on how to find and use these vegan alternatives, read through our vegan ketogenic diet guide.

When it comes to buying keto-friendly vegan options, make sure you are not getting any extra added sugar, hidden carbs, or unhealthy ingredients like hydrogenated oils. Also, pay attention to their fat and protein content. These vegan replacements will not contain as much fat or protein as conventional dairy and eggs. Make sure you are taking this into account when you are using these alternatives in recipes and tracking your macros.


The Takeaway — What To Eat on the Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

The vegetarian ketogenic diet is one of the most sustainable diets for the environment, animal health, and your health. Just make sure you are restricting your carbs below 35 grams per day and eating plenty of fat and protein.

For the best results, stick to these vegetarian and keto-friendly foods:

  • Vegan “meats” — tempeh, tofu, seitan, and other high-protein, low-carb vegan “meats.”
  • Leafy greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy & Eggs – hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter, eggs, etc.
  • Dairy Alternatives — unsweetened coconut-based yogurt, coconut cream, vegan cheeses, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
  • Plant-based fats – coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, red palm oil, etc.

What to eat on a vegetarian ketogenic diet?

To find out exactly how much you need to eat to achieve your goals, plug your information into the keto calculator. Once you know how much you need to eat, we can figure out what to eat.


Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet Recipe Examples

Vegetarian Keto Breakfast Recipe Examples

For Breakfast:

Keto Zucchini Bread with Walnuts

Keto Zucchini Bread with Walnuts

A zucchini bread recipe without the excess carbs? You got that right! Plus, it is just as good, if not better, than the real thing. All you have to do is replace the sugar with erythritol and the flour with almond flour, and you have a delicious, keto-friendly recipe.

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast

Weighing in with around 80% calories from fat, this breakfast will fill you up and keep you full until lunch. The great flavors of pumpkin spice come through to make a decadent morning meal that can be easily topped with a bit of extra keto maple syrup for the finishing touch. This seasonal favorite may even become your go-to breakfast.

Cinnamon Roll “Oatmeal”

If you are looking for a warming and comforting delicious and simple breakfast, have “oatmeal” — keto “oatmeal.” The texture isn’t exactly the same as oatmeal – but the taste is pretty darn close!

keto pancakes

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Yes, that’s right — Keto-friendly pancakes! If you want something that LOOKS like the real thing, that TASTES like the real thing, and most importantly can satisfy your need for this delicious temptation, then this pancake recipe is for you.

For Lunch:

Vegetarian Keto Lunch Recipe Examples

Garlic and Herb Monkey “Bread”

Garlic and Herb Monkey “Bread”

My mouth is watering thinking about how savory and cheesy this keto-friendly monkey bread is. The outside stays soft due to the texture and water content of the eggplant, but you will get a little crust on the edge and bottom of the monkey bread. The inside is cheesy and buttery with a hint of garlic. There’s no way you will miss the gluten with this recipe.

Charred Veggie and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Charred Veggie and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

If you are looking for something hearty and warm that still gives you the crunch you crave from veggies, I highly recommend making this salad. The bite of a slightly charred bell pepper paired with the creamy yet tangy hunks of half melted goat cheese makes this taste like anything but a healthy keto salad. In fact, it’s so good that you won’t need dressing.

Spinach, Herb & Feta Wrap

Spinach, Herb & Feta Wrap

Although this is a standard coffee shop breakfast item, it doubles as a delicious vegetarian-friendly lunch as well. The combination of wilted baby spinach with chunks of tangy feta, fragrant basil, and slightly sweet sun-dried tomato bits make this the perfect breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

Keto Mug Lasagna

Keto Mug Lasagna

All of the flavors and textures you love in lasagna without the extra carbs. All you’ll need is zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella, marinara sauce, and 10 minutes to make this delicious Italian favorite for lunch.

For Dinner:

Vegetarian Keto Dinner Recipe Examples

Zucchini Ribbons with Avocado Walnut Pesto

Zucchini Ribbons & Avocado Walnut Pesto

Craving a quick and easy pasta meal for dinner? Try this zucchini pesto recipe. The zucchini noodles are thin and tender, providing the perfect vehicle to transfer all of the delicious flavors of the avocado walnut pesto to your mouth.

5 Minute Keto Pizza

Cheese pizza in 5 minutes, and it’s keto-friendly. Throw away the number for pizza delivery — you won’t need it anymore.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Cauliflower Soup*

This is like a sophisticated version of tomato soup and grilled cheese – except without the bread. The tangy goat cheese really gives it another dimension of flavor and enjoyment.

*To make this recipe completely vegetarian: use butter or avocado oil instead of duck fat and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Eggplant and Bacon Alfredo

Eggplant and Bacon Alfredo*

Creamy, cheesy, and more flavorful than other carb-laden alfredo dishes. The eggplant noodles have a spongy texture that is perfect for soaking up sauce and fat without becoming too watery or too greasy. But hold on — what are vegetarian ketogenic dieters supposed to do about the bacon? Make vegan bacon instead.

*To make this recipe completely vegetarian: make vegan bacon by following the bacon recipe in the next section.

Side Dishes:

Vegetarian Keto Side Dish Recipe Examples

Asparagus Fries with Red Pepper Aioli

Asparagus Fries with Red Pepper Aioli

These keto-friendly fries are crispy and cheesy on the outside, but still tender enough to bite into. Fresh parsley and parmesan cheese add a tangy, bright dimension that is given a little body with smoked paprika.

Easy Keto Creamed Spinach

This side dish is so delicious and has such a creamy texture that you will forget you are eating a leafy green. It’s quick, easy, tasty, and healthy — what more could you ask for in a keto-friendly side dish?

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

There is something about cauliflower that gives it such a delicious flavor on its own after it’s baked. Add some onion, sour cream, and cheese on top, and you are in for a real treat. The kids will love it too!

Keto Tater Tots

Tater tots without the taters, and you’ll still be a craver. There’s no need for potatoes when you use this delicious recipe. You’ll end up with miniature sized, golden brown bites of deliciousness that will go with just about every meal. Feel free to serve them up with low-carb fry sauce, and dip away.

For Dessert:

Vegetarian Keto Dessert Recipe Examples

Tropical Chocolate Mousse Bites

Tropical Chocolate Mousse Bites

Want a piece of keto-friendly chocolate with a delectable rich mousse center? Make these. I rate these up there with the finest chocolatiers, except they are very much keto friendly. The mousse mix has a hint of lemon and coconut which gives a bit of freshness, but you can choose to leave these out if you wish.

Low Carb Coconut Chip Cookies

Very much like white-flour based chocolate chip cookies, but healthier and more filling. Bake a batch of these keto-friendly cookies, and you’ll have a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth at any time.

Keto Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Keto Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

So sweet and full of flavor — each cupcake is rich enough in vanilla that anyone would be able to taste it. This is a recipe you really have to try for yourself. The cake of the cupcake is paired with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, which complements it really nicely. Even a plain cream cheese frosting would work beautifully with these cupcakes too.

Keto Cookies and Crème Ice cream

Keto Cookies and Crème Ice Cream

Sometimes a meal just doesn’t feel complete without ice cream. This keto cookies and crème recipe will satisfy your ice cream needs and then some. Have a scoop with some low carb coconut chip cookies if you really want to treat yourself.

Note: You may notice that one of these recipes (and many many more on the ruled.me website) calls for bacon. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to skip this or any other bacon containing keto recipes. You can make your own homemade vegan bacon instead.


Add Bacon to Any Meal With Homemade Vegan Bacon!

Although there are many vegan bacon products on the market, they tend to be filled with chemical preservatives and other questionable ingredients. Make healthy vegan bacon instead!

There are plenty of vegan bacon recipes on the internet that claim to give you the bacony taste and texture that you crave. Try them some out for yourself:

Now that we have protein, fat, carbs, keto meals, and vegan bacon covered, we are equipped with all the knowledge we need to execute the vegetarian ketogenic diet and get amazing results.

Add bacon to any meal with vegan bacon!


One Week of The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet — A Sample Meal Plan

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday


How To Implement The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan Properly

With this simple vegetarian ketogenic meal plan template, you’ll be able to make more than a full weeks worth of meals for one.

These recipes will provide you with leftovers, so you may not have to prepare the same recipe more than once in a week. If you’d like to get more creative and try something new, check out Ruled.me’s recipe page to find other vegetarian-friendly or “vegeterianizable” recipes.

Use the calorie breakdowns on the meals to guide your decision of how much to eat. Your meals should be big enough so that you don’t feel the need for snacks or dessert.

How To Implement The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan Properly

However, no matter how diligent you are with tracking calories, you may still have some days where you struggle to meet your macronutrient goals. In these cases, use the desserts in this article (or other keto-friendly sweets that you can find here) to reach your goals and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.

There is, however, a vitally important caveat. It is hard to know precisely what your macronutrient ratios will be for each meal without knowing what vegetarian alternatives you use. The macronutrient counts on every Ruled.me’s recipes may not be 100% accurate for all of your meals.

It is your responsibility to make sure you are meeting your carbs, fat, and protein needs (which you can find with the keto calculator). The easiest way to do this is by using our carb counting guide.

Another important caveat is that it is possible to develop various nutrient deficiencies on the vegetarian diet. However, you won’t have any problems if you follow the simple suggestions below.


Nutrient Deficiencies to Look Out for on the Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

Nutrient Deficiencies to Look Out for on the Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

A meatless diet can be one of the healthiest diets, but vegetarians — especially vegans — need to make sure they’re getting enough vitamin B12, EPA & DHA, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Fortunately, by eating eggs and cheese like feta cheese, you can get plenty of b-12 and calcium to cover your needs. You can also include spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and spirulina in your diet to up your iron and zinc intake.

However, it is important to know that the absorbability of zinc and iron from these foods is questionable. Phytates, a compound that is commonly found in nuts and seeds, can impair your ability to absorb zinc, and plant sources of iron tend to be less absorbable.

To ensure you are getting adequate iron on the vegetarian ketogenic diet, eat high vitamin c foods like leafy greens, broccoli, and peppers with your meals to improve iron absorption or take a heme-iron supplement to meet your daily requirements. To increase zinc absorption from nuts and seeds, you can soak and sprout them (if necessary). Soaking and sprouting decrease phytate content in the nuts and seeds, freeing the zinc to be absorbed by your body. If, however, you are not getting enough zinc from foods sources, consider supplementing with zinc in the form of zinc acetate, gluconate, citrate, sulfate, or methionine or eating shellfish like oysters once or twice a week.

Here is a brief list of suggestions on how to cover most (if not all) of your nutritional needs on the vegetarian ketogenic diet:

  • Eat as much real food as possible — limit your consumption of fake meats, overly processed soy products, vegan junk food, etc.
  • Take a vegan DHA+EPA supplement.
  • Properly prepare any seeds and nuts that you eat. Soaking and sprouting (when possible) help deactivate mineral-binding proteins that impair mineral absorption.
  • Eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto to improve digestion and vitamin and mineral absorption.
  • Keep your thyroid in good shape by eating iodine-rich food like seaweed and increasing your selenium intake.
  • Take a zinc supplement like Zinc Balance If you are experiencing zinc deficiency symptoms like dry skin or getting sick with a sore throat more often than usual.
  • Supplement with carnosine and creatine. These two compounds help improve health and exercise performance in a variety of way. However, they are only found in meat and fish.
  • Maximize iron absorption by having vitamin-C-rich foods. If your diet isn’t meeting your iron needs, then supplement with a heme-iron supplement.
  • Consider adding oysters, clams, and other non-sentient bivalves to your diet. These brainless creatures are filled with so much B-12 and zinc that you could probably cover your needs by eating them just once a week.

Putting It All Together — How to Thrive On The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet

By following the vegetarian ketogenic diet,  you can help reduce your environmental impact, decrease animal suffering, and improve your health. However, this diet requires more hard work and dedication than most diets to get it right and reap all the benefits.

To implement the diet correctly, you must follow these rules:

  • Limit your total carbohydrate consumption to 35 grams or less per day.
  • Eliminate all animal flesh from your diet (e.g., meat, fish, and poultry).
  • Eat plenty of low-carb vegetables.
  • Get at least 70% of your calories from fat.
  • Consume around 25% of your calories from plant-based proteins, eggs, and dairy.
  • Supplement with nutrients that you may not be getting enough of like DHA & EPA, iron, and zinc.
  • Use the keto calculator to figure out your calorie and macronutrient needs.

To replace all animal flesh, have foods like:

  • Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, and other high-protein vegan “meats.”
  • Vegan, egg-based, and dairy-based protein powders
  • Plant-based oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, red palm oil, olive oil, etc.
  • High-protein nuts and seeds

If you want to minimize your dairy and egg consumption as well, try using:

Not sure how to combine these things into a meal? Here are a couple of meal ideas:

For Breakfast:

For Lunch:

For Dinner:

*To make this recipe completely vegetarian: use butter or avocado oil instead of duck fat and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

*To make this recipe completely vegetarian: make vegan bacon by following a bacon recipe from the article.

As A Side Dish:

And Finally — For Dessert:

However, these keto-friendly vegetarian recipes may not be able to cover all of your nutritional bases.

Here is a list of suggestions to follow so that the vegetarian ketogenic diet will cover your needs:

  • Eat as much real food as possible — limit your consumption of fake meats, overly processed soy products, vegan junk food, etc.
  • Take a vegan DHA+EPA supplement.
  • Properly prepare any seeds and nuts that you eat. Soaking and sprouting (when possible) help deactivate mineral-binding proteins that impair mineral absorption.
  • Keep your thyroid in good shape by eating iodine-rich food like seaweed and increasing your selenium intake.
  • Eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto to improve digestion and vitamin and mineral absorption.
  • Take a zinc supplement like Zinc Balance If you are experiencing zinc deficiency symptoms like dry skin or getting sick with a sore throat more often than usual.
  • Supplement with carnosine and creatine. These two compounds help improve health and exercise performance in a variety of way. However, they are only found in meat and fish.
  • Maximize iron absorption by having vitamin-C-rich foods. If your diet isn’t meeting your iron needs, then supplement with a heme-iron supplement.
  • Consider adding oysters, clams, and other non-sentient bivalves to your diet. These brainless creatures are filled with so much B-12 and zinc that you could probably cover your needs by eating them just once a week.

And most importantly:

  • Eat the right amount of calories, carbs, fats, and protein.

All of the efforts that you put into following the vegetarian ketogenic diet will mean nothing if you don’t get your macronutrients right. To find what numbers you should aim for, plug your information into our keto calculator. Once you’ve done that, read through our beginner’s guide, so you know what to expect on the ketogenic diet.

However, if you are looking to stop eating animal products altogether, then check out our comprehensive guide to the vegan ketogenic diet. It includes a one-week vegan ketogenic diet meal plan and plenty of suggestions on how to veganize your favorite keto meals.

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