A ketogenic diet is a promising option for people looking to lose weight and get relief from several health conditions. A significant portion of calories on this well-known diet must come from fat, and many followers choose to get most of their dietary fat from animal sources.
What if you prefer a plant-based diet, though? The eco-keto diet, which focuses on plant-based fats, offers a solution.
The foundation of the ketogenic diet is the idea that, by eating few enough carbohydrates, your body will change its metabolism to prioritize burning fat for energy. This kind of eating induces a metabolic condition known as ketosis because the breakdown of fat results in the production of substances known as ketones. The body eventually uses these as a fuel source. You can read more about this on a resource like this one.
The ketogenic diet drew supporters and detractors during its time in the spotlight. Some claimed that it was overly restricted, difficult to sustain, and with little information available regarding its long-term health impacts. In particular, the lack of sustainability of a meat-based keto diet was one of its main knocks. It would put an enormous strain on the cattle business and produce as many greenhouse emissions as all the world’s transportation if there were such a strong emphasis on consuming meat.
However, more recently, the ketogenic diet is starting to resurface, but with a more sustainable twist. This is where the eco-keto diet comes in. It is essentially an environmentally friendly version of the ketogenic diet—a high fat, moderate protein, and extremely low carb lifestyle—but one that emphasizes plants. This limits or eliminates meat and animal products, and encourages sustainable choices and shopping locally.
The “eco” component of the name refers to the fact that eco-keto comprises no or very few animal products, in contrast to the older, more well-known interpretation of the ketogenic diet. This eco version still induces ketosis and can help with weight loss.
The Eco Keto Diet: What Is It?
The eco-keto diet is identical to the traditional keto diet, but it forbids the use of foods derived from animals. This enables you to eat a plant-based diet while potentially benefiting from the health advantages of keeping your body in ketosis.
In addition, eco-keto is more approachable for the growing number of consumers who consider the environmental impact in their shopping decisions. The biggest tactic to lessen your ecological effect on Earth is to eliminate meat and dairy products, because animal agriculture is to blame for many greenhouse gas emissions.
Take a look at this video by AllHealthGo for more:
What Foods Are Allowed on the Eco Keto Diet?
Although people following a traditional ketogenic diet frequently consume meat and dairy, it is feasible to ingest enough fat, protein, and carbohydrates to maintain your body in ketosis without consuming any animal products.
For example, coconut is a nutrient-dense, plant-based food low in sugar and includes healthful fats. In addition, medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are lipids found in coconut that are digested more quickly than long-chain fatty acids, and have positive health effects.
On an eco-keto diet, using coconut oil when cooking, and switching dairy milk and cream for coconut milk and coconut cream, are two excellent ways to increase your consumption of healthy fats.
Acai is yet another high-fat plant-based alternative. This super fruit, like coconut, is high in fat but low in sugar, making it appropriate for a ketogenic diet.
Smoothies and acai bowls make excellent meals or snacks for an eco-keto diet. Nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables, avocados, and plant-based forms of protein like tofu and tempeh are other plant-based foods with high fat and low sugar levels.
Nutrition Information: Eco-Keto Macros
Either a conventional ketogenic or eco-friendly diet typically provides the following percentage of calories from macronutrients:
- Fat 70-75 %
- Carbs 5 %
- Protein 20-25%
You’re expected to concentrate on plant-based proteins and fats with those macros in mind.
What Advantages Does Eco-Keto Have?
The diet should induce ketosis without animal fat and protein if followed correctly. Keto’s possible advantages are increased energy, stable blood sugar, and decreased inflammation.
Also, this plant-based variant can be enticing if a person worries about the long-term implications of eating large quantities of saturated fat intake in an animal-based ketogenic diet.
Eliminating some (or all) meat, dairy, and other animal-based meals can have a significantly positive impact on the environment.
According to recent studies, livestock contributes to 58% of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 57% of agricultural water pollution.
Hence, a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to lessen your impact on planet Earth, not just via greenhouse emissions but global acidification, eutrophication, land usage, and water consumption.
Just How Feasible Is It?
If you thought that conventional keto was restricting, this version is even more limiting. One drawback is that it’s difficult to consume enough protein without meat or dairy, especially since many staples of plant-based protein, like beans and lentils, are higher in carbs and hence not keto-friendly.
However, this does not mean that it cannot be accomplished!
It should be noted that some experts caution that women, in particular, may have difficulty adhering to the rigorous carbohydrate restrictions necessary for a ketogenic eating plan.
As such, this may result in unintended weight gain, hormone imbalances, and other health problems.
No potential ketogenic disadvantages have been thoroughly researched in humans, just like the advantages, but they must be considered before choosing your diet.
Working with a certified dietitian or physician is always recommended for any restrictive dietary plan, including eco-keto, to verify that you’re still obtaining the nutrients you need.
The Sustainable Trade-off
There is another way to make keto work for you if you love it but want to make it more environmentally friendly.
Without making the keto diet entirely vegan, you may make efforts to make it more eco-friendly, like limiting eating meat or supporting your local farmer.
Think of it as green keto. Instead of going vegan, you can eat responsibly raised animal products, or wild caught salmon and other sustainably fished seafood.
If you do follow the eco-keto diet, be sure to stay away from meat alternatives, especially those low in carbs, and concentrate only on complete foods and plant-based sources.
In addition to being highly processed, meat alternatives frequently contain a broad list of potentially inflammatory substances, such as gluten, soy, and corn.
In addition, you could decide to eat vegetarian keto snacks on one day of the week when you wish to go green, such as Meatless Mondays.
These snacks could include smoothies, olives, nuts, and more. Stay flexible in your eating habits, and you’ll still improve your health, lose weight, and help the environment.
3 Sample Eco-Keto Diet Plan Recipes
Right, now that you know about more about the eco-keto diet, we can now look ahead at a sample eco-keto meals and recipes:
1. Tofu Lettuce Delights
- 5 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- 1 chopped tiny red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons of liquid aminos
- 1 tablespoon of erythritol
- Five medium-sized butter lettuce leaves
- 2 minced tiny green onions
- 1 tablespoon of peanuts, crushed
- On the stove, preheat a skillet.
- Cut the extra firm tofu into cubes about 1 inch in size, then blot them dry with a cloth.
- Combine the natural peanut butter, liquid aminos, sesame oil, lime juice, chili powder, and sweetener in a mixing dish. Combine well until smooth.
- In the skillet, melt the coconut oil.
- Add the diced red bell pepper and tofu cubes to the skillet. The tofu and red pepper should be sautéed until the tofu’s edges start to brown slightly.
- Stir in most of the peanut butter to coat half the tofu.
- Remove from heat when the peanut butter thickens, and the tofu begins to crisp.
- Fill the butter lettuce leaves with the food from the skillet.
- Add the remaining peanut butter on top and garnish with green onion and broken peanuts.
- These delights yield a total of 5 servings.
Nutrition (per serving)
- Calories 267
- Protein 15g
- Carbohydrates 5g (net carbs)
- Fat 23g
2. Cauliflower Parmesan
- 1 large cauliflower weighing around 2 pounds
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Olive oil spray for the baking sheet
- Salt according to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Collect all of the ingredients.
- Set racks in the upper and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- Lightly grease a large oval dish or a baking pan with a rim. Preheat this.
- Cut the cauliflower crosswise into 1-inch-thick planks, keeping the stem and core intact.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over it and make a layer on the baking pan.
- Roast the cauliflower for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is browned and soft.
- In the meantime, chop the tomatoes in the can with scissors.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- For about 30 seconds, add the garlic and sauté until it is aromatic and faintly browned.
- Tomatoes should be added along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and vigorously simmer for 7 to 8 minutes or until the sauce is somewhat reduced.
- Add the basil and stir.
- Remove the heat and then set it aside.
- Put the oven on broil.
- Cover the top of the cauliflower with half of the sauce.
- Add some mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Melt the cheese for 2 to 3 minutes on the top rack of the broiler.
- Immediately serve with any leftover sauce and Parmesan cheese on the side.
Nutrition (per serving)
- Calories 275
- Protein 19g
- Carbohydrates 15g
- Fat 17g
3. Avocado with Eggs
- Two eggs
- 1 medium-sized avocado
- Shredded cheese (cheddar)
- Salt according to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper according to taste
- Sriracha sauce
- Set the oven’s temperature to 425°F.
- Halve the avocado and scoop out the pit.
- Remove just enough avocado with a spoon to create a place for the egg.
- To keep avocado halves stable while cooking, place them on the back of the muffin pan.
- In each half of the avocado, crack open an egg. Your egg’s size will determine if you have extra egg white.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Top each half with cheese, then bake for 13 to 16 minutes, depending on the consistency you choose for the yolks.
- Top with Sriracha for a flavor boost and serve right away.
Nutrition (per serving)
- Calories 233
- Protein 13g
- Carbohydrates 27g
- Fat 9g
The Bottom Line
The eco-keto diet promotes consuming lots of good fats, with featured foods such as coconut, avocados, nuts, and oils. It adheres to the same low-carb, high-fat principles as the original keto diet.
However, because the diet forgoes eating any meat in favor of plant-based protein, the “eco” in “eco-keto” stands for “environment-friendly.” The meat industry has received criticism recently for its lack of environmental sustainability and unfair, cruel business practices.
If you’re considering the eco-keto diet, consult an accredited practicing dietitian first. They can help you make the most of your dietary choices.
Do you have more questions about this ecologically conscious variation of the ketogenic diet? If so, then, fortunately, we’ve included the answers to some common queries below:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Eco Keto Over Conventional Keto?
You might choose eco keto for several reasons. First, eco keto focuses on plant-based foods, so it's healthier for you than normal keto, which takes less into account the nutrition of your food. Second, eco keto is better for the environment too.
How Will I Know When I'm in Ketosis?
The easiest way is to use ketone strips, which measure the number of ketones in your urine. For most people eating fewer than 50g of carbohydrates a day, it takes under a week to enter ketosis.
How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose on Eco Keto?
When people start keto, the weight loss at first is typically rapid. However, this is mostly water weight. Once the water leaves your body, you'll usually lose 1-3 pounds a week. You can speed this up by exercising.
How Long Can I Stay on an Eco Keto Diet For?
In theory, so long as you feel good, you can stay on the diet for as long as you need. Importantly, though, few studies have been done about staying on keto long-term, so before starting, ask your doctor.
One Green Planet: Is it Possible to Eat an Eco-Conscious Keto Diet?
Healthline: Vegetarian Keto Diet Plan
Mind Body Green: Is the Keto Diet Environmentally Friendly?
Perfect Keto: Conscious Ketogenic Diet