Choosing the vegan path certainly has its benefits & self-satisfaction, but it can be overwhelming when you want to try it alongside other diets.
One such diet that continues to capture people’s curiosity is the ketogenic diet. Market reports show that interest in keto diets has grown in popularity. Global Newswire reports that the ketogenic diet market worth is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.65% by 2030.
Nevertheless, in general, we do not recommend a vegan keto diet, unless you have a specific medical condition and have been advised by a healthcare professional.
On the face of it, a vegan diet and a ketogenic diet may seem incompatible. After all, one gives an impression of a low-fat option while the other is focused on the opposite. However, it seems that going vegan and following a keto diet may not be mutually exclusive after all.
If done right, going vegan-keto is certainly not impossible and can actually serve your specific health requirements.
What is the Vegan Keto Diet?
To understand what the vegan-keto diet is, it is essential to know the specifications of each diet.
The traditional or “regular” keto diet focuses on low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein consumption. It relies on animal products, such as meat, eggs, and full-fat dairy products since these are typically high in fat and low in carbs.
The vegan diet, as we know, is fully plant-based and does not include any food derived from animals.
A vegan-keto diet follows the same principles as the traditional ketogenic diet. However, rather than eating fatty foods from animal-based products, vegan-keto meals focus on getting fat and protein from plant-derived sources.
Benefits of the Vegan Keto Diet
On their own, vegan and ketogenic diets have been shown to have certain health benefits. Some research has been done to examine the effect of combining the two together. Findings in one study revealed that low-carbohydrate plant-based diets can result in fat loss more effectively compared to high-carbohydrate and low-fat diets, lowering the risks of heart disease.
There are other benefits that one may take advantage of when doing a vegan-keto diet:
Weight Loss and Reduced Appetite
According to research, the ketogenic diet is known for its appetite-suppressing effect and weight-loss benefits due to ketosis. Lowered appetite may also be due to the satiating nature of fats and a better balance in one’s blood sugar levels that can reduce cravings.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Lower blood sugar levels are typically associated with the ketogenic diet because it focuses on a low-carb intake. The vegan diet can also achieve the same effect since it prioritizes whole and minimally processed plant foods that can help reduce sugar levels, thanks to high levels of fiber. This could be extremely helpful for those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, conditions that cause high blood sugar.
Given this, does keto work for everyone? It can certainly work for people who are looking to lower their blood sugar levels and lose weight. Still, it is best to check with your physician before starting a specific diet to manage any health conditions or symptoms in a safe and healthy manner.
Foods to Try for a Vegan Keto Diet
If you intend on staying vegan while following a ketogenic diet, then it is crucial to know which foods to try and what to avoid.
These are the foods that are best to include in your pantry when doing a keto-vegan diet:
- Leafy greens – spinach, kale, etc.
- High-fat dairy alternatives – coconut cream, vegan cheeses, unsweetened coconut-based yogurt, etc.
- Vegan “meats” – tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.
- Above-ground vegetables – broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, etc.
- Nuts and seeds – almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.
- Mushrooms – king oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, etc.
- Fermented foods – kimchi, sauerkraut, natto, etc. (excellent sources of vitamin K2)
- Fruits – avocados, berries, etc.
- Sea vegetables – kelp, dulse, etc.
- Low-carb sweeteners – stevia, etc.
- Other healthy fats – olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.
Out of the food listed above, tofu, tempeh, seitan, other vegan meats, nuts & seeds, and vegan protein powders are the best vegan-keto sources of protein.
Avoiding certain foods is also essential to maintaining a vegan-keto diet. Here’s what you should steer clear of:
- Grains – rice, corn, wheat, cereal, etc.
- Sugar – maple syrup, agave, etc.
- Legumes – peas, lentils, black beans, etc.
- Tubers – yams, potatoes, etc.
- Fruit – bananas, oranges, apples, etc.
When replacing dairy, consider the following alternatives:
- Coconut milk instead of cow’s milk
- Coconut cream instead of heavy cream
- Coconut oil or vegan butter instead of dairy-based butter
- Vegan cheese instead of dairy-based cheese
- Nut-based yogurt instead of yogurt and sour cream
For eggs, you may use flax seed or silken tofu.
Using these ingredients, you can try making our easy vegan-keto corn tortillas.
Starting a Vegan Keto Diet Plan
Starting a vegan-ketogenic diet requires preparation and planning. Without that, it may be challenging to meet all the essential macronutrient and micronutrient requirements your body needs.
Here is a step-by-step plan for you to lay a healthy foundation when starting a vegan-keto diet:
Step 1: Monitor Your Macronutrients
The very first step that is essential in adopting a vegan-keto diet is calculating and monitoring your macronutrients. Using a keto calculator can help you determine how much you should eat by taking into consideration your height, weight, gender, and activity level. This information will show you the breakdown of your recommended intake of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
This step is critical because it will help you find out how much you need to eat to sustain your everyday activities. If you do not eat the correct amount of macros for your body, especially fat, then it will not be possible to enter a state of ketosis.
Step 2: Eliminate High-Carb Foods
When on a vegan-keto diet, carbohydrates should be limited to about 20 to 50 grams per day. Try starting with 50 grams of carbs per day and gradually reduce as you feel comfortable.
Step 3: Eat Healthy Fats
Eating enough healthy fats can initially be challenging when starting a vegan-keto diet, but it is the most important aspect. When going keto, fat should account for about 70% to 80% of your overall calorie intake. Choosing the right types of fat is key.
Step 4: Include High-Quality Protein
There are many high-quality non-meat proteins that can provide most of your needs on a vegan-keto diet. Since each individual’s activity levels vary greatly, the recommended intake of protein ranges from 1.2 grams to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. This averages out to around 70 grams of protein daily, which should make up about 25% of your total calorie intake.
Step 5: Take Advantage of the Right Supplements
Practicing vegan-keto will naturally have you avoid certain foods, and this is where supplements can help. There are great sources of vegan-keto-friendly nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you can add to your diet, e.g. vegan collagen.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining a vegan ketogenic lifestyle while challenging, has never been easier. The majority of keto recipes may be made vegan by using one of the many vegan dairy and egg substitutes that are readily accessible.
Getting adequate protein and fat shouldn’t be an issue either. All of your dietary fat requirements can be met using plant-based oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts, and seeds. Make sure you eat high-protein nuts & seeds, alternatives to meat, and consider a vegan protein powder with each meal to help meet your protein needs.
- A Vegan Keto Diet, is it Healthy?
- 16 Convincing Health Benefits of Vegan Diet
- Guide to Healthy Vegan Diet and Fitness
- Best Vegan Protein Sources to Keep You Healthy
While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the content in this post is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice. By providing the information contained herein we’re not diagnosing, or treating any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any regimen it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.