The keto diet has been around since the 1920s, but its popularity rose over the past 15 years. What has once been considered a treatment for epilepsy is now a widely practiced alternative to non-mainstream fasting.
Bacon, cheese, and more meat – these are what most people instantly think when they hear keto. To some, it may even be considered as just another diet fad. It isn’t. There is so much about the ketogenic diet that can result in many health benefits when combined with a plant-based regime.
This article discusses how plant-based keto can help with weight loss, improved energy levels, better brain health, stable blood sugar, including:
- What plant-based keto is
- Is plant-based keto possible?
- What can you eat on a plant-based keto diet?
- How do you eat plant-based keto?
- Is beyond meat good for keto?
- Which is healthier to lower hypertension, keto diet or plant-based diet?
What Is A Plant-Based Keto?
There is the widely popular keto diet. Then, there’s the ketotarian diet or the plant-based diet.
Ketotarian is a loosely vegetarian style of the widely held keto diet. It is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein eating plan. Plant-based keto is the answer to the people who complain about the keto diet being super heavy on meats.
This diet plant is more friendly to lovers of plant-based foods. It attempts to do the same thing that the standard keto regime does but leaning towards a more vegetarian slant.
The ketotarian diet was popularized in the book “Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation” by Will Cole, a chiropractor, and functional medicine practitioner.
Generally, plant-based keto is closely similar to keto sans the meat. With this regimen, followers obtain their fat and protein from sources like eggs, ghee, and fish to try to keep their bodies in a state of ketosis.
Keto diet is already an effective weight loss and highly anti-inflammatory practice. It helps treat type 2 diabetes and specific disorders of the brain and nervous system. But, its plant-based version offers that and more – benefits to heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control.
Is Plant-Based Keto Possible?
Is it possible to combine a plant-based and keto diet? Experts say yes and agree it’s actually healthier.
To give you a background, keto is originally a therapy done for people with epilepsy to deprive the brain’s seizure activity of glucose. It is achieved by keeping carbs in the diet at an extremely low amount. The patients who underwent this therapy lost weight.
Fast forward to the 21st century, keto diet became the most searched diet term for the simple reason of dieters needing to rapidly shed unwanted pounds by forcing the body to burn fat for fuel. The keto that we know is heavily meat-based but effectively keeps the dieters’ carbs below 5%.
Its vast popularity worried the doctors with heart patients. Meat-based keto drives up the risk for elevated cholesterol levels while cutting out essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. This is where plant-based keto came in.
The people who wanted to avoid meat for health reasons stayed away from keto but, this only cut down their source of protein and other essential nutrients.
Thus, keto and plant-based. This combination’s primary goal is to substitute animal protein with plant protein. So, instead of meat and dairy, you can get healthy fats from plant-based sources like avocados, coconuts, olives, and more.
The traditional keto can be categorically poor in vegetables because of the fear of consuming too many carbs. But, on a plant-based keto, you are focusing on low-starch veggies like dark leafy greens that give you a more extensive nutrient-dense diet over time.
While plant-based eaters have lesser protein choices than meat-eaters, pursuing a plant-based keto diet still offers plenty of assortment. You can nourish on healthy rations like avocado fries, cauliflower fried rice, or zucchini noodles.
Munching on a handful of roasted macadamia nuts or nut butter can also be guilt-free. The rule is simple – to fill up on plenty of fats and proteins while curtailing your carb consumption to a maximum of 50 grams a day.
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Can The Plant-Based Keto Diet Help Lose Weight?
The keto diet has a huge following that can claim its ability to lose weight. This is even more true with plant-based keto, where most of the weight loss occurs because of calorie restriction since it can be hard to meet energy needs with such lean proteins and limited carbohydrates.
(image credit Reka Biro-Horvath)
But, you should be warned about losing too much weight. Too much weight loss, according to nutrition and wellness expert Samanta Cassetty, may be tough to replace as we age.
What Can You Eat On A Plant-based Keto Diet?
The plant-based keto diet triangle generally looks like this:
The bottom of the pyramid has the majority of the macronutrients. In plant-based keto, 60% to 75% of your calories should come from fat, 15% to 30% from protein, and 5% to 15% from carbohydrates. Vegetarians and pescatarians can also squeeze in cage-free eggs and some wild-caught seafood.
This list gives you what you can start with for a ketotarian diet:
> Avocado and its oil
> Tempeh (optional)
There are some plant-based foods that the ketotarian diet doesn’t consider as good. It is recommended that you opt for organic foods and limit non-fermented soy products like tofu. Thus, a week-long sample meal plan of plant-based keto eating should look close to this:
eggs cooked in avocado oil, strawberries
salad greens with salmon and olive oil vinaigrette
coconut yogurt with blackberries
cauliflower fried “rice” with seitan
coconut yogurt with blueberries
cold shrimp salad with avocado oil mayo and cauliflower
celery and almond butter
taco-seasoned natto and mushrooms in lettuce cups
smoothie made with coconut oil, almond milk, almond butter, and pea protein powder
egg baked in half an avocado
macadamia nuts and blackberries
saag paneer made with spinach, broccoli, and nut-based, non-dairy cheese
spinach and mushroom egg scramble topped with nutritional yeast
salad greens with tuna and avocado oil vinaigrette
walnuts and strawberries
tempeh burger patty and asparagus roasted in olive oil
“noatmeal” made with chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and almond milk, blackberries
hemp protein smoothie with almond butter
half an avocado seasoned with bagel seasoning
grilled salmon, mashed cauliflower, and salad greens with avocado oil vinaigrette
avocado toast made with keto almond flour bread
two-egg omelet with green beans and mushrooms
coconut yogurt with strawberries
fish curry with broccoli over cauliflower rice
tempeh scramble with avocado
cabbage slaw with tuna salad
pea protein smoothie with almond butter
hempseed falafel fried in avocado oil with salad greens and olive oil vinaigrette
What Not To Eat On Plant-based Keto?
On the contrary, the foods you should avoid on the ketotarian diet are:
- Ice cream
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
- Cow’s milk
- Ice cream
- Meat (beef, chicken, pork)
- Non-fermented soy products (tofu, black soybeans)
- Bacon fat
- Seed oils
How Do You Eat Plant-based Keto?
The basics of plant-based keto are:
- Eating real food
- Keeping your carbs low
- Keeping your healthy fats high
- Adding healthy fats when eating a non-starchy vegetable
- Eating when you are hungry
- Eating until you are satiated, then stopping
The ratios will be the same as a traditional keto diet in terms of macronutrients – high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb. Again, you are simply shifting your concentration from meat and dairy to plant-based food.
Is “Beyond Meat” good for plant-based keto?
Not too long ago, in the hype of the keto buzz, Carl’s Jr released their plant-based patty from Beyond Meat. This move seemingly made dining out for plant-based and vegetarian less complicated.
This patty, according to Car’s Jr, looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef. It claims to have all the juicy and meaty deliciousness of a traditional burger while packed with 18 grams of plant-based protein. But is it really?
According to the website, the protein of this patty comes from peas, mung beans, and rice. It is made with straightforward, plant-based ingredients without GMOs, soy, gluten, or bioengineered ingredients.
However, looking at the ingredients list, you will see small amounts of potato starch and maltodextrin. Although they are but 2% of the burger’s total composition, it could raise some eyebrows, especially for someone who follows a strict keto diet.
Still, Beyond Meat is a big step in the right direction for a fast-food to accommodate a wider variety of eating practices. Not to mention the patty is flavorful that if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t notice.
Which Is Healthier To Lower Hypertension, Keto Diet, Or Plant-based Keto Diet?
There have been studies about people whose blood pressure and cholesterol levels spike up during the keto diet. But, this is not always the case for everyone. About cholesterol, the conventional keto diet may most likely increase HDL (healthy cholesterol) that can help prevent heart disease.
People who experience spikes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels may most likely have familial hypercholesterolemia. This condition causes cholesterol levels to rise in an unhealthy way when you are increasing meat intake.
Compared with a diet high in meat, a plant-based keto diet is better. Substituting animal protein with plant protein significantly decreases cardiovascular risk factors over time. Studies had shown this decrease when one stopped eating processed red meat.
Thus, plant-based keto is better for hypertensive individuals. Moreover, evidence of a plant-based diet decreased C-reactive protein levels, a marker of inflammation in the body.
Step-by-Step Guide to Switching to Plant-based Keto
It wouldn’t be surprising to want to try plant-based keto after knowing all the excellent benefits it offers. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by the diet. But, be sure to put these on your checklist first:
Check With Your Doctor
Consult with your physician, particularly when you have underlying health conditions. Your doctor should be able to evaluate whether the diet is safe for you. If it is, he can provide a good list of rules and limits to ensure the switch is beneficial and not detrimental.
Prepare For Criticism
There will always be someone who will have a say on just about anything – even the lifestyle you will switch to. Do not be persuaded by such criticism. Instead, keep your eye on the goal and understand that your physician and fellow plant-based keto followers are right behind you.
Think Of Benefits
Plant-based keto offers the best of both worlds. It is plant-based, but you won’t skimp on dietary fat. Plus, it is keto without being a total meat-and-cheese fest. What more can you ask?
What To Expect On Plant-Based Keto Diet
The plant-based keto diet is no different from the conventional keto diet, except for the absence of animal products. But, in case you are wondering what will happen to the body when you switch to plant-based, here are a few of what you can expect.
- With the decreased carb intake, the stored carbs will no longer be sufficient to meet your body’s needs that, on the third or fourth day, it will take energy from an alternate source.
- Your body will consume fatty acids as an energy source if it feels that the carbohydrates are not enough.
- Your brain will tell if you’ve reached the ketosis stage when it starts to use ketones as the primary source of energy.
- Blood glucose levels are kept within the same levels (or even better) despite the body using fat as its primary energy source. This happens because, during the first few days of switching, the body breaks down amino acids from protein to provide glucose.
- Thereupon, the glucose supply from fat increases while the supply of amino acids decreases.
- In a calorie deficit, the keto diet consumes more fat than a regular diet.
Plant-based keto is meant to be a healthy lifestyle for anyone who wants to explore the health benefits of ketosis. But, it is best to go ketotarian diet for at least eight weeks to give your body enough time to shift from sugar burning to fat-burning.
After a good sixty days, check yourself and how you feel. If you like where and how you are, you don’t need to change anything with what you are doing. It only means you are consuming some of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth.
The thing about plant-based keto is – it is difficult to follow long-term because it is a restrictive diet. But you can always test out ketogenic tools like intermittent fasting or finding your personal curb tolerance.
After figuring it out, you can slowly increase your healthy carbs and pay close attention to how you feel.
The plant-based keto diet is a sustainable practice centered around balance and finding what works for you. If you have fun discovering and doing it, you are on your way to finding and maintaining your groove.
And while you are at it, discover our Keto Granola Bars
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What are the possible side effects of plant-based keto?
A: It can be a challenge to switch to plant-based keto. More than the difference it makes on your shopping, cooking, and eating out, the effects it leaves on your body can be uncomfortable in the beginning. Transitioning from high-carb to low carb can cause symptoms called “keto flu” like:
- Fatigue and irritability
- Nausea and dizziness
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Poor concentration
- Sleep disorders
- Headache and muscle cramps
Keep yourself hydrated, be well-rested, take lots of high-fiber foods, and involve yourself in light activities to relieve symptoms of keto flu.
Are you currently on keto? Plant-based? Do you think you can do both?
How do you find a plant-based keto diet? Are you willing to try this out?
Are you on this diet already? What do you think of it? Has it helped you in any way?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!