Can vegetarians and vegans go LCHF? Yes!

LCHF for vegetarians and vegans

If you have ever read anything on nutrition, you must’ve stumbled upon the myth that low-carb diets rely heavily on meat. It’s simply not true. If you don’t eat carbs, meat is not the only alternative you have.

If you are a a vegetarian or a vegan, you should be aware that:

  • you will have to find a plant-based replacement for fats;
  • you will have to find a plant-based replacement for

For a seasoned vegetarian or vegan neither should be too hard.

In LCHF, protein you should only eat a moderate amount of protein – just enough to cover your physiological needs. So if you are sedentary, protein intake should be modest; if you work-out a lot, increase the intake.

LCHF for vegetarians

The truth is, most people who do LCHF and keto don’t actually eat a lot of meat. A typical LCHF meal plan will resemble a typical lacto-ovo vegeterian meal plan than a meat-eater’s plan. So, if you are a vegetarian, the path to LCHF should be pretty straight-forward. As all people should, you as well should take note: eat butter and eggs from free-range animals. Industrial scale non-organic eggs and diary contain humongous amounts of omega-6 and too small doses of omega-3. Whereas omega-6 fatty acids are a OK, modern nutrition is too rich in omega-6, crippling the role of superimportant omega-3. If you are the kind of vegetarian who at least ocassionally eats fish, you’re fine, no problems in adopting LCHF.

LCHF for vegans

Vegans will have to try harder, but it is possible to be a LCHF-vegan. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to eat three of the most important LCHF foods: eggs, butter and fish. Instead, you will rely to oils (olive, coconut, avocado, hazelnut, macadamia), avocado and nuts. Not optimal, but deffinitely possible.

food groupvegetarianvegan
eggsyesno
butteryesno
olive oilyesyes
coconut oilyesyes
avocado oilyesyes
hazelnut oilyesyes
fish oilpersonal choiceno
meat, processed meatsnono
fish and seafoodpersonal choiceno
diary products (cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, cream)yesno
low-fat soy products (tofu, etc.)yesyes
low-fat meat substitutesyesyes
protein powder supplements (whey ...)yesno
plant-based protein powder supplementsyesyes
legumes (as a source of protein)yes (beware, a lot of carbs)yes (beware, a lot of carbs)
nuts (nut butter and oils)yesyes
vegan dairy products (nut-based)yesyes
chia seedsyesyes

Micronutrients and other small things

Macronutrient plan for vegetarians and vegans who want to try LCHF is – as shown above – not a very big problem. Vegetarians and vegans should take more care with the micronutrient plan – in all types of nutrition, and in LCHF just as well. Vitamins, minerals, omega-3 content: these in a way are more important nutritional consideration than the rest of it.
One of the things with losing weight in general: in restricted energy intake situation, we also ingest less micronutrient, so anyone on a diet should be aware of that and take supplements (at least as one-a-day multivitamin and multimineral tab / capsule). People who refrain from eating meat and other food from animal sources, however, should add magnesium, potassium and vitamin B12, too.
For those skipping on fish and eggs – please, make sure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Plant-based omega-3 is not the best source, but it is up to each individual to decide what kind of health cost they’re willing to pay.

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