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Keto recipes

Vegetarian and vegan keto

Because a ketogenic lifestyle involves very low carbohydrate intake, it often relies on animal products like meat, dairy (cheese, cream, etc.), and eggs. If you follow a vegetarian diet, it’s relatively easy to adapt by simply replacing the meat. However, if you’re following a vegan diet (completely plant-based with no animal products), it can be challenging, even considered impossible, to adhere to a ketogenic lifestyle. But I have good news for you! Both vegetarian and vegan diets are entirely feasible within a ketogenic framework; you just need to get a bit creative 😉. Don’t worry; I’m here to help!

In vegetarian or vegan diets, people often consume foods like legumes and meat substitutes to meet their nutritional needs. Unfortunately, these foods are too high in carbohydrates for a ketogenic diet. But fear not; you can still enjoy a wide range of delicious foods while obtaining the necessary nutrients.

Table of Contents:

Vitamine B12

Vitamin B12 is involved in several processes in the human body. This vitamin plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis, cell division, the formation of red blood cells, and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Our bodies cannot produce vitamin B12 on their own, so it’s essential to consume foods that provide an adequate amount of vitamin B12. People who do not follow vegetarian diets mainly obtain this vitamin from meat. However, did you know that animals themselves do not naturally contain vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria and is primarily found in the soil, which animals (like grazing cows) ingest. This is how vitamin B12 ends up in milk and meat. Additionally, most animal feed is fortified with extra vitamin B because many farm animals, raised for consumption, cannot graze sufficiently. In the past, humans also acquired a portion of their vitamin B12 from the earth. Hygiene conditions were not as advanced back then (vegetables had more soil residues, handwashing was less common, etc.), and people spent more time outdoors. The vitamin B12 consumed by animals eventually transferred to us when we consumed their meat. However, if you do not eat meat, you will need to obtain vitamin B12 differently. Fortunately, there are keto-friendly options available. I recommend the B12 Blend by Global Healing. It’s 100% natural, organic, and free of unnecessary additives like sugars, making it perfect for a healthy ketogenic lifestyle.

Meat Substitutes

Most people who do not consume meat often opt for meat substitutes. The three primary reasons for this choice are:
1. Many vegetarians/vegans miss the idea of having a piece of meat with their meal, so they replace it with a meat substitute.
2. Most meat substitutes are rich in protein and Vitamin B12
3. They provide more variety in meals

Unfortunately, most meat substitutes are not suitable for a ketogenic diet because they contain ingredients like legumes, potato starch, cornstarch, and sugar. So, what’s left to eat? If you’re already avoiding high-carb foods like potatoes, pasta, rice, and legumes, and you can’t have meat substitutes either, does that mean you’re left with a plate of plain vegetables? Well, it can be like that, but it certainly doesn’t have to be! You can create a wide range of delicious dishes using other keto-friendly vegetarian or vegan foods. While meat is a significant part of many keto meals, it’s not a necessity. By incorporating dairy products and eggs, you can meet a large portion of your protein needs and add variety to your meals. There are also plenty of other protein and healthy fat sources available for consumption. You can learn more about these foods in this article.

Vegetarian Keto Eating

Keto recipes

A vegetarian officially does not consume products from killed animals, which means no meat, no fish, and no gelatin. However, a vegetarian lifestyle does include the use of products produced by living animals, such as eggs and dairy products. Since you use eggs and dairy in a vegetarian lifestyle, you can easily follow almost all keto recipes; you just need to omit the meat. While many keto meals feature meat prominently, you can easily leave it out of almost all recipes without feeling like you’re missing anything, because all the other ingredients in the meal are (if it’s a good recipe) just as flavorful without the meat. Okay, a dish like an elaborate hamburger with cheddar, or pulled chicken, and the like might get a bit dull 😜, so not literally all recipes can be easily transformed, but many of them can be. Of course, with some of the “meat-centric” dishes, you can replace the meat with tofu, jackfruit, portobello, or hearts of palm.

One thing to pay attention to is ensuring you get enough protein. Most keto meals often contain meat as a protein source, so the macro ratios are also calculated based on the listed nutritional values. However, eggs and dairy are also rich in protein, so you can consume a bit more of them to replace the protein from meat. It’s important to get enough protein, but be mindful of the amounts you consume per meal (and in total per day), as too much protein is also not good. You can read more about this in this article.

Vegan keto eating

Keto recipes

In a vegan lifestyle, you essentially consume nothing of animal origin. This means that besides not eating meat and fish, you also avoid products that come from animals, such as eggs and dairy products. Given that both meat and eggs and dairy are widely consumed in a ketogenic lifestyle, it may seem almost impossible to follow a vegan keto diet. I admit it’s more of a challenge, but it’s definitely not impossible!

Keto Bread
Many keto bread recipes use eggs, butter, and often some form of cream cheese or Greek yogurt. These are ingredients you’ll need to replace as a vegan. Eggs can be substituted with chia seeds and water (you can find the proportions online), butter can be replaced with solid coconut oil, and Greek yogurt can be substituted with a plant-based yogurt like Alpro soy mild & creamy (make sure to choose the unsweetened version). While there are plant-based cream cheese alternatives available, they often contain too many carbohydrates and may not be suitable for a keto diet. You can replace cream cheese with a combination of plant-based yogurt and coconut oil.

Most keto crackers are made from a combination of seeds, water, salt, herbs/spices, and sometimes eggs or cheese. In this case, simply opt for versions that don’t contain eggs and cheese, or see if you can omit these ingredients.

For many keto eaters, breakfast and lunch consist of eggs with vegetables and meat. You can choose to go for various types of raw or sautéed vegetables, possibly with some sautéed tofu, or explore other delicious meal options. How about trying this delightful chia pudding, for instance?
Keto recipes

Chia puddings are absolutely delightful, and you can create plenty of variations even as a vegan! You can learn more about chia seeds and the many ways to use them in this article.

In The Ultimate Ketogenic Cookbook and The Ultimate Ketogenic World Cuisine Special, you’ll find two different recipes for delicious keto-friendly wraps, both of which contain only one animal product: butter. However, you can easily replace butter with coconut oil, making it an excellent base for a vegan keto meal. You can fill the wraps with grilled vegetables and seasoned tofu or any other vegan keto toppings of your choice.

Dinner might be the biggest challenge for a vegan keto diet because many options common in a keto lifestyle are eliminated. However, there are still plenty of possibilities! You can create delicious mushroom cream sauce with a plant-based cream like Alpro soy cuisine to pour over your vegetables. You can make amazing meal salads, hearty soups, flavorful vegetable oven dishes, vegetable stews, and more. The easiest approach is to take a dish you enjoyed before starting keto and transform it into a keto-friendly version. Determine the ingredients in that meal, and replace non-keto ingredients with keto-friendly substitutes. In this article, you can find a list of the most common non-keto ingredients and their substitutes.

If you find it challenging to come up with meal ideas, be sure to read this article. It lists all the commonly used keto foods that you can still enjoy. Non-vegan items from that article will not be suitable for you, but there are still plenty of choices!

Don’t Forget Your Protein Needs
As a vegetarian, you can get a fair amount of protein from dairy and eggs, but as a vegan, these options are off the table. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you get enough protein because your body needs it. Fortunately, there are many vegan foods rich in protein, such as seeds, nuts, tofu, and more. If you find it challenging to consume enough protein-rich foods, you can consider using a vegan protein powder. However, be cautious in your selection, as many vegan protein powders are not suitable for keto. Thankfully, there are also several vegan protein powders based on hemp or soy. Just be sure to check the packaging before purchasing such a product. Getting enough protein is important, but be mindful of the amounts you consume per meal (and in total per day), as excessive protein intake is not healthy. You can learn more about this in this article.


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