Vegetarian diets are traditionally very high in carbohydrates and cheese. A professor of biochemistry once told me you can get all your nutrients from just eating bread, cheese and cabbage!
The bread and cheese is also high in wheat and dairy which no longer suits many people resulting in increased weight, lethargy and lingering colds/coughs from excess mucus.
So if you are vegetarian or thinking about going vegetarian make sure you have adequate variety in your diet from a wider range of protein, carbohydrates and fruit/vegetables and good fats to stay healthy and lean.
If you are struggling with your weight trying a vegetarian style keto diet may be a good starting point.
So yes you still can eat cheese but you will need to drop the starchy carbohydrates for a while and then be mindful of how much you have of them when you introduce them again.
Protein is often a feature of many diets as it is low in calories and increases fullness as it takes longer to break down with the brain sending signals to the stomach of feeling full.
To vary cheese in your vegetarian keto diet alternate with the following proteins
Pulses: chickpeas and lentils,
High protein vegetables: mushrooms, avocado, broadbeans and peas
Add in low carb vegetables
Greens: kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli
Salads: rocket, watercress, mixed salad greens/lettuce
Onions, courgettes, peppers, fennel and chicory
Avoid all foods containing sugar!
Sweets, cakes, biscuits, fruit juice, (fruit in first 2 weeks) fizzy drinks, sauces particularly bottled ones such as ketchup!
Drink 2 litres of water and herbal teas spaced throughout the day which all help with fullness!
What’s going with a high protein keto diet
Your body will be producing ketones as a by product of high protein which increase acidity in the body and that’s why long term these diets are not recommended as a healthy source of energy.
However in the short term they can encourage your body to change from storing fat from excess insulin production to breaking down fat through a more modest release of insulin.
In a couple of weeks your tastebuds should also readjust to reduce cravings for sugar/high carbohydrate foods.
You must though eat your Greens!
As your body is producing more acid it is essential you add green salad and vegetables to each meal to alkalise the acid effect which otherwise can set off inflammation which is an instigator for other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
After the 2 week adjustment diet you can then introduce fruit and higher carbohydrate vegetables such as sweet potato but still be careful with portion sizes so 100g of cooked and only 2 portions (cups) of fruit a day and eat it with 3 brazil nuts or 8 almonds to reduce sugar fluctuations.
A good way to eat sweet potato is to mash with avocado as mentioned in my article on avocado for skin health. This will help reduce sugar spikes and allow your body to absorb the goodness of the fat soluble vitamins A, & E also in the potatoes.
So here is an example of a typical days high protein diet
3 egg omelette with a small handful of Kale
200g full fat plain yoghurt with 1 tablespoon of seeds and ½ tsp of raw cocoa powder
Snack 30g of nuts or 40g of cheese
100g lentils and 50g marinated tofu flavoured with ginger,garlic and chilli with green vegetables. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to the lentils to help with digestion!
50g feta cheese with pea and broadbean salad mixed with vinegarette and mint and a handful of kale chips
100g hummus with large plate of crudities celery, peppers.
Green smoothie with watercress, avocado, celery, cucumber and 200ml of coconut water to help neutralise the acid build up from the protein!
After 2 weeks
1 Apple or handful of berries with 3 brazil nuts or 6 almonds
A large flat mushroom with 60g halloumi cheese with ratatouie
Handful of roasted chickpeas to snack on
Lentil and blackbean stew with side dish of stir fried vegetables: courgettes, kale and celery using coconut oil plus ginger and garlic to flavour
After 2 weeks
1 cup of cooked quinoa and sweet potato cooked with vegetable stock. Once cooked press into a ramekin dish to help control portion size
Maximum 2 pieces of fruit as part of breakfast with 2 eggs.
On introducing bread keep it simple with 1 small wholemeal pitta which have minimal ingredients and have it with 100g hummus . Alternate the bread with oatcakes and always have at least 2 days with no bread!
If you are not feeling more energised and the weight has not started to come off after 2 weeks then keep off the bread for another 2 weeks and stick to the ramekin portions for quinoa or rice!
Chocolate raw is always best or dark as it is generally lower in sugar and eat only after a meal to prevent spikes in your blood sugar which will encourage fat storage.
Alcohol spirits tend to have less calories. Vodka with soda and dash of lime but again good to avoid for 2 weeks to encourage your body to speed up your metabolism for optimum fat burning!