High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. It defies all the common assumptions about nutrition, but here is Vegefied’s guide to figuring what it means and achieving success with the keto-diet as a vegetarian.
Here are all the facts you need to know, the common pitfalls and tips to get you going:
It is a high-fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates as the source of energy.
“High-fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet.”
Normally the carbohydrates in our foods are broken down into glucose which is then transported for energy around the body. When the body is starved of carbohydrates, this causes a shift in metabolism causing the liver to convert FATS to FATTY ACIDS + KETONE BODIES. These ketone bodies are used as an energy source replacing glucose and this state of the body’s metabolism is called KETOSIS.
In addition to reducing hunger and cravings and enabling one to stay fuller for longer, weight loss is not the only benefit. The keto-diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer! Not to mention the higher energy levels most people on this diet experience.
Ketosis can be achieved by avoiding high carb fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, lentils, natural and artificial sweetners and all processed food like pasta, cookies, bread etc. BUT DON’T PANIC! There’s still a lot of smart choices you can make using the chart below as a guideline. This chart sorts common foods into least to most keto-friendly in terms of carbohydrate content. Be sure to keep those carbs under 40g per day!
The time for transition into a state of ketosis will vary from 48 hours to one week depending on one’s activity level, lifestyle, body type and carbohydrate intake.
To speed up the process:
1. Drastically cut carbs so the body is compelled to use fats for energy.
2. Increase healthy fats in the diet by simply adding coconut, palm, olive oil or another healthy oil to your meals. You could supplement your fat intake with MCT oil which has been shown to be highly beneficial in speeding up ketosis.
3. Watch your protein intake. People commonly focus on carbohydrate and fats and end up consuming too much protein.
4. Exercise about 30-60 minutes even if its moderate intensity like cycling, jogging, swimming everyday.
Watch out for the “Keto flu” side effect which include fatigue, head aches, dizziness, sugar cravings, brain fog, stomach trouble
Stay hydrated and add salt to your water, get enough sleep, supplement you diet with potassium and magnesium, do low intensity exercise in the morning and eat more fats!
Getting into Ketosis and Keto Adaptation may not be as challenging as you assume. Your body slowly learns — but the eventual mindset is to maintain a healthy body that is able to use ketones as an energy source effectively.
Don’t feel intimidated! Here are a few meal inspirations to get you going that are sure to keep your mouth watering!
Photo Credits : Loving It Vegan
Tofu Scramble – Silken tofu with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and jalapeños!
Vegan Keto Porridge – Coconut flour, flaxseed meal, vanilla protein powder, almond milk topped with mixed forest berries!
Bulletproof coffee – Coffee topped up with butter or coconut oil! A real treat!
Photo Credits : Inspired Taste
Mungdaal pancakes with a spinach and cottage cheese stuffing.
Zucchini Spaghetti- Plenty of recipes available online for what is commonly known as “zoodles”.
Nuts & Seeds
Photo Credits : Barefoot Contessa
Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Burrata tomato salad
Mixed veggie pizza (with almond flour base)
Be sure to use of combination of recipes that don’t exceed 40g of carbs and that achieves at least 125g of fat and at least 80g of protein per day!