What is a Vegetarian Keto (Ketotarian) Diet?

We get asked quite often about a keto diet for vegetarians. Funnily enough, many years ago before I became a full-blown vegan I was basically, unknowingly vegetarian keto. It’s a great diet for a vegetarian, really effective and so much easier to reach the magic state of ketosis with the increased protein and fats.

Now, with a little Kind & Keto collective knowledge, we can help you out with some killer keto diet for vegetarians info – served with some friendly advice, and a little vegan sprinkle in the mix.

Unlike the strict nature of the vegan diet when it comes to animal products, vegetarians do eat some animal products. Dairy and eggs are go-to’s for vegetarian and many vegetarians will add fish occasionally to get their omega 3s.

Typically though, like a traditional vegan, the vegetarian diet is packed with carbs. If you’re a vegetarian with a high carb intake it’s my guess that you experience some, or all of the below gripes…which is why you’re here seeking out a better way – good for you!

  • Tired & lethargic 
  • Bloated & gassy
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Craving carbs & sugars

Why is it so? You think you’re doing the right thing trying to eat all the ‘healthy’ foods right?

A nice balanced diet of all fruit and veggies, legumes, rice and pasta, eggs, dairy and soy products. Our bodies break down carbs into glucose to create energy. Apparently, our system can be lazy as it’s easier to burn carbs and glucose if they’re around, rather than breaking down our fat stores.

The ketogenic diet principle employs a high fat, low carb diet to encourage your bod to burn fats rather than carbs. But wouldn’t high fat consumption make you put on weight?

Isn’t fat bad for us?

If your goal is to lose weight, feeding your belly with fuel that would discourage it from burning fats isn’t likely to work. The low carb high fat keto diet aims to enter the body into a state of ketosis, where it metabolizes fats for energy.​

Ketosis is not only effective for losing weight, when reached and maintained correctly, it feels amazing. In a ketogenic state your body changes, insulin levels reduce and fats are broken down. Your liver supplies energy to your brain via ketone production which can result, incredible clarity, increased energy and alertness. Which is really handy for a writer!

The Right Balance of Fats, Carbs and Protein

The trick is to load your fork with good fats – as you likely have been trying to do as a vegetarian. Think avocados, good dairy (more on that below), nuts and seeds.

​Avoid processed, chemically altered trans fats altogether such as margarine, bakery goods and junk/fast food. Burger King veggie burger – Na Ah, no way..

​When we consume good fats we feel satisfied for longer – sugary food, fruits and carbs simply make us crave more sugary foods, fruits and carbs.

What Can’t You Eat On Ketotarian Diet?

A vegetarian keto diet cuts out a lot of sweet high carb fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges and grapes. Most berries are here to stay – hooray!

You’ll need to bid farewell to starchy high carb veggies such as Potatoes, yams (sweet potato), beets and other below-ground growers. But lovely leafy greens, mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower are all good guys.

Bread, pasta and grains. “WHAT?!” Says the vegetarian; “That’s three of my favorite foods!” Yep.

Hello vegan/keto bread, zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice, goodbye bloated gut and lethargy. Check out our 11 Bread-of-Heaven Keto Vegan-friendly Bread recipes here.

You’ll find recipes, featuring cauliflower rice, here and here and here

What is the ratio of fat, protein, and carb for Vegetarian Keto (Ketotarian) Diet?

Here’s a reasonable starting line when planning your menus

  • 20% Protein
  • 10% Carbs
  • 70% ​Fats​

How Much Protein Do You Need On

The recommended daily protein intake is .8g per kg of body weight. .8g x your bodyweight = the minimum level of protein you should consume daily.

Of course, the optimal level for you is determined by your health, age and fitness levels.

Is Soy Good or Bad? I’m Soy Confused

Typical veggie diets are very high in soy. It’s a great source of protein, and who doesn’t love stir fry? Tofu, soy milk, miso, tempeh and edamame are all veggie staples but some research suggests that woofing down th65e soy can wreak havoc on your hormones and gut health​. ​To avoid this, read more about  Soy Free Vegan Keto DietOpens in a new tab..

​The reason for this is to render the crops resistant to Roundup, so it can be sprayed with more Roundup in order to battle the bugs, without killing the bean. Makes sense – sounds suspect for us.

Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or reaction to soy, it’s a keeper in your meal plan. But the most important thing is to ensure your soy products are “Non-GMO” organic.

Our advice is to stick to minimally processed soy forms and cultured soy products – that is organic tempeh, tofu, miso, and edamame. Soy proteins to avoid or consume very sparingly are highly processed soy bars, yogurts, and meat analogs.

Check the labels closely – no soy bacon for you! Good news though, coconut bacon to the rescue 🙂

Soy Fact​​​ for The Tofu Loving Ketotarian

The main reason soy has been getting some bad press is due to 87% of soy crops in the US being genetically modified with high levels of glyphosate (roundup pesticide).

Vegetarian Keto Diet with Fish

If you’re a pescetarian or pesco-vegetarian who loves fish, you’re in a great position to easily reach your ideal protein intake. We highly encourage you to avoid farmed and packaged seafood, and source fresh, preferably local wild-caught shellfish, salmon, and small white flesh fish varieties. If you prefer not to eat the beautiful natives of the sea, you can get your Omega 3 via a small fish or krill oil supplement.

Vegetarian Ketogenic with Eggs

Ideally, you have a lovely big backyard and free-roaming much loved feathery family pets supplying your eggs. We know that’s not possible for everyone. As a Kind & Keto vegetarian or vegan, you can seek out ethically produced eggs from various suppliers. Always try to buy your fresh produce and farm produce locally. If you don’t include eggs in your meal plan: Try our Vegan Keto Egg-Free Tofu Breakfast Scramble

​Vegetarian Keto Diet with Dairy​

Here’s where you should be wary with your dairy. You know all that GMO soy we were talking about earlier? Corporate cattle are stuffed with GMO feed. How could it not wind up in their milk and cheese? If you love your cow’s milk you can find varieties made from humanely raised “no GMO” grass-fed cows. There is plenty of tasty Kind & Keto approved milk you could try. Almond milk and hemp milk are always on my shopping list. There’s also coconut, cashew, flax milk, and many more keto-friendly varieties. Browse through our shopping list for what you still need to get to stock your vegan keto pantry.

Cheese is a tricky one. Mass-produced pasteurized cheese kills all the good bacteria. In an ideal world (we’re working on it), try to find unpasteurized full fat cheese from a local farmer, made from humanely raised grass-fed cows minus the GMO feed.

Then you can confidently keep the cheese and crackers! We have a cracking keto vegan flax cracker recipe. Remember to keep your eye on the carb intake. Harder cheeses generally have fewer carbs.

Alternatively, you could look at some vegan cheese alternatives that are super tasty. Just like milk, we can make cheese from nuts and seeds such as cashews, my personal fav macadamia, and coconut oil. Just check the labels for GMO soy or nasty additives.

So, Are You A Vegetarian Ready To Try Keto?

​It takes a bit of trial and error and careful planning to get the balance just right. Due to the change in how our body creates energy we also lose a considerable amount of water stores – this causes us to lose electrolytes rapidly in ketosis and feel rather grim. Read about what electrolytes do, here.

So you really need to concentrate on this diet, keeping up your fluids and salts. Listen closely and respond to your body along the way. Like every epic journey, there can be some twists and turns. Food is a blessing.

The most important thing is to enjoy and be thankful for the earthly gifts we are so lucky to have access to.


If you want to eat up more of our tasty content you can check out other vegan keto blog articles here.

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