Questions from a vegetarian


Im 65 yo I have been diagnosed with pre diabetes via a blood test, having researched ways to overcome this issue ( I will under no circumstances take prescribed poison.)I found that a "keto diet " may be a solution but having spent my whole life as a vegetarian, and allergic to eggs ,I find that the foods for this diet are totally alien, which seem to be comprised mainly of fatty meat,eggs and seafood smothered in fat with a limited varity of vegetables and no fruit.
So whats left to eat if you take out all meat/fish, eggs and limit total carbs to next to nothing?
Any comments.

(Laurie) #2

Yes, most of us eat meat, but that “smothered in fat” thing is a myth. Many of us miss fruit and so on, but we do what we have to do.

I’m sure you’ve already done your own research. The following seems fairly comprehensive. Just ignore any mention of eggs. Best wishes.


It’s not impossible, I know people who have done it. I think any diet that consists of sugar, white flour, and seed oils is going to give many people some metabolic dysfunction. Vegetarian can be nebulous; is it whole foods such as veggies, fruits, and nuts, or does it consist of bread, pasta, sweets, etc? Many people who switch from the SAD diet to a whole food vegetarian diet seem to do well.

For keto, staples would be avocados, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc, some berries such as blueberries and raspberries, olives, and nuts such as macadamias, almonds, walnuts, etc. Olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil to add for more fat.

(Polly) #4

Welcome to this forum @oldfart.

I have heard that vegetarian keto is possible but might be quite hard work to get the right balance of nutrients.

Bearing in mind that your 65 years of vegetarianism have delivered metabolic syndrome for you is there any particular reason why you would not consider a radical dietary change and try, for example, eating a carnivore diet?


Your fruits and veg and carbs are what has made you pre-diabetic.

So you got this BIG change coming in that you have to dump that sugar intake down but with vegetarian many rely on that.

Key is meat protein and it falls to you to decide what you will allow and won’t allow in your life on your own plate.

So it is all about you :slight_smile: There is no slathering of the fat over meat only for many of us as SO many think out there :wink: ugh on that stupid info out there.

But again it is what meat will you allow. Meat/seafood/fish and fowl. 0 carb. Add that, cut down the very high carb fruit and veg and control any other crap food like pasta intake etc. which is carb loaded and you got a start…but that is very personal to you on your change. Only you can truly decide what meat/seafood/fish/fowl you will allow in your life. Once you pick your way you have a path!

best of luck


Well, no, my keto definitely never was like that… But I admit I half-live on eggs, it’s the common in my old vegetarian keto and my current default carnivore-ish :smiley:

Without eggs, it’s tricky. But there are vegan ketoers… That’s totally extreme to me but a lacto-vegetarian keto should be a bit easier.

There are quite many plants to eat. Nuts and other oily seeds and their flours, fibers, vegetables (not much unless you like very low-carb ones, I LOVED vegetables but couldn’t stand most green leaves so I never could eat more than 1 kg vegetables even on my 40g net carbs keto and I missed vegetables due to this. 1 kg is very little, I couldn’t use less cauliflower for some fried riced cauliflower so I had to ban that tasty dish :frowning: erm I got carried away) and all the fruits if you ask me, I definitely never kept myself from the very sugary ones but those were used as accents, candies, not as food. Fruit never was food to me so it was okay. So even if I ate 6 different kinds of very sweet fruits a day, it was very very little carbs. It worked and works for me. Before carnivore I needed fruits every day, now it’s very optional. I have a fruit garden with fresh fruit for several months and I LOVE fruits just dislike sugars so I eat a little and it’s wonderful as good sweet fruits are so flavorful a little goes a long way especially with training. I don’t go and eat some bland apple, that doesn’t worth it. Oh and the only fruits I avoid are melons, they just can’t be eaten in a tiny amount and getting much joy and not frustration from it. If I really want some kind of it despite I love most fruits more, I have a not keto melon day a year and that’s it. But I better stop, I could talk forever about my precious, lovely fruits. I even forgive their sugar content, they are so wonderful.

And there’s gluten if you are fine with that. If I had to skip meat, I would eat seitan galore as legumes are too carby. As far as I know, gluten isn’t good for most people but I had gluten free years and nothing got any better so I guess I am not that…? I still try to avoid it but keeping my carbs low is my priority. Oh and gluten actually can make me satiated and I don’t know any other plant matter that does that. It’s mostly due to its macros, little carbs, much protein. Good combo.

If you can get your nutrients somehow (even if I looked at vegan keto meals, I still have no idea how they do it) and merely miss vegetables at some point… Use much raw vegs. It saved me back then. When I was a newbie ketoer, I went back to the raw vegan blogs I knew. While 1 kg cooked/fried vegetables was close to nothing to me, I couldn’t even get close to that using raw vegetables (except tomatoes). They are more joyful, juicy, sometimes crispy, feels way MORE that way.

You can’t go super low on lacto-vegetarian keto without messing something up, that’s clear. 20g is something that some people can do and some not on that style. I am probably an extreme case as I am unable to eat more than minimal amount of vegetables using only 20g carbs, I often need this amount for my animal products alone. But many people do normal keto at 20g. Vegetarians have it harder and vegans even harder but it’s possible.
But I still would try to figure out if you can go higher with your carbs. 20g is super limiting, 40g was hard enough for me as an egg lover vegetarian (I typically eat 6-12 eggs a day since a decade, it helps me tremendously. it’s still not easy all the time so I couldn’t do keto in your stead but it IS possible as we see from some people)… I always used net too as total carbs never seemed to matter, I am sure I often was at 80-100g total on vegetarian keto and I got fat adapted just fine. But I consider myself lucky, it’s way too much for many people. 20g is the pretty safe number but some people must go even lower to reach ketosis, it’s just very rare, that’s why the 20g advice.

Back to “smothered in fat”. No. I personally must seriously minimize added fat to avoid overeating and hunger. I ate much more on vegetarian keto though but only what the dishes needed to be tasty and nicely fried or whatever I did to them. I ate 150g oily seeds a day and my several eggs, I didn’t need tons of extra fat… But without eggs and a huge amount of oily seeds, well, you need to get the fat from somewhere. You can’t live on mostly protein.

Another thing. Even doing keto most of the time and not all the time may be way better than not at all. And there’s low-carb as well.
I couldn’t even do keto first, I needed some low-carb years, <80g net carbs, no overly processed stuff, no gluten first, sometimes no lactose, close to paleo… It was already a drastic step but easy for me. And it was GREAT! Many people stays there and I loved it, I just needed something more low-carb eventually.
Then I did on/off keto and now on/off carnivore-ish (super little and very limited plants). I can’t stick to my default woe but my short visits to low or medium-carb are fine as long as those are occasional. I can’t do it in a more disciplined way - but if I would oh I just go back to my old low-carb, it wouldn’t feel good at all. So sometimes this weird partial thing is our best bet. And many people do it gradually, not jumping into some hardcore <20g net (or even total!) carbs lacto-vegetarian keto.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #7

It is possible to do a vegetarian keto diet, especially if you are willing to allow yourself fish and eggs. And possibly dairy. But that all depends on your reasons for wanting to eat such a diet in the first place. What is really tricky, however, is a vegan keto diet. It can be done, but you will certainly have to take supplements.

Depending on your philosophical outlook, you may or may not want to hear that ploughing a field for planting kills and displaces many small animals, whose lives, I feel, should weigh just as much in our moral calculus as the lives of the larger animals whose lives we are trying to spare. No civilised person considers factory farming to be morally acceptable, but killing a humanely-treated animal for food can perhaps be justified, especially when we recognise that all food production involves the taking of life, including the lives of the plants we eat. Something to consider, anyway, though it may or may not help.


I agree, it matters A LOT what kind of vegetarian or low-carb or keto style one follows. Obviously they aren’t the same at all. One can eat tons of candies and cakes (I’ve even heard about vegetarians who pretty much avoided vegetables… I don’t say it’s a bad thing but it still sounds odd to me ;)) and I only mentioned the very sugary stuff… And one can do a healthy vegetarian diet too (healthy for them, I mean, there is no diet healthy for everyone. I function better on extreme low-carb, keto isn’t enough, vegetables makes me hungry, causing various problems due to overeating so it’s not optimal for me. but it may be the best option for many).

I definitely felt better and lost fat when I switched from high-carb to low-carb and I ate meat maybe 5 times a year on both… There are so many other factors than being a vegetarian or not. And there is nothing essential in meat that we can’t get from other things. Just like there is nothing essential in non-animal food that we can’t get from animal food. It may be harder and the typical oh so sugary approach is surely not good for many, probably most but one may find a great vegetarian woe for them.

And sometimes eating meat is simply not an option. I definitely was turned off from meat for months when I ate any (I enjoyed the meat, I just didn’t want it again for many weeks afterwards), for decades. No idea what happened. But I never would have forced myself to eat meat and not to eat my beloved vegetables. Except if I would know for sure I need it for my health. There is little I wouldn’t do for health, well-being, energy…

And we can change a lot. And find solutions. Though this case is tricky indeed.

@PaulL: Fish is animal meat, vegetarians never eat it. Pescatarians do. Really serious vegetarians (or who I call them who makes really sure they don’t eat non-vegetarian things) don’t eat most(?) cheese either due to some non-egg, non-dairy animal part in it. When I was a vegetarian, I had no idea about that, oh well, I can live with that. But now I don’t see the point anyway. I eat eggs and dairy so I kinda support killing many young roosters and bulls. My line is elsewhere (animal torture) and I crossed that because I am selfish and need cheap enough meat :frowning: I do what I can but my health is top priority, life is cruel. My many eggs help, they are from good sources at least.
In the beginning I did carnivore from good sources on a budget. I must say eating 0.25 pounds of meat a day on carnivore is not ideal… :smiley: So I changed my ways but if didn’t give up to do it better later.

(Robin) #9

Welcome @oldfart! Love the moniker, I’ll tell my husband he has company. Looks like you have received good info for your situation. There’s lots of experience and good brains on here. I think you’ll be surprised how fulfilling a keto diet can be. I too was a vegetarian for several years and had to limit them to stay under 20g carbs for keto. After eliminating enough foods though, your body can quickly identify which ones are still causing problems. Mine were veggies (go figure!) so I gave them up. Otherwise they would probably still be on my list of “limit but partake”. Good luck. You got this!