Vegan? Keto? Those two words sound like they should not go together at all. After all – the vegan diet tends to be more carb-heavy, while keto is a high-fat diet with moderate protein and low carbs.
And you can’t eat high fat and low carb if you’re living on salad and soy burgers. Right?
Well – firstly – the vegan diet is far more than the stereotypical “rabbit food” and soy products.
And secondly – yes, yes you can. It requires careful planning and strict monitoring of supplements. But it is possible.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
To explain a vegan diet, we need to go one step and explain what veganism is, as a whole.
Veganism is more than just diet-related. It is a way of living where people try to avoid any forms of animal exploitation. This can be through food, clothing, and even the items you choose to have around the house.
A vegan diet is a diet that therefore avoids all animal products and animal-derived products. Some people will take it further and avoid products that have negative side effects on animals (such as avoiding palm oil due to the destruction of the natural habitats of orangutan).
A vegan diet will, therefore, exclude meat, dairy, eggs, and all other animal-derived ingredients (such as gelatine). Some vegans may also exclude foods that are processed using animal ingredients (such as white table sugar and certain wines).
The vegan diet includes plants, and foods made from plants, and includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds.
What Is A Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a diet focused on drastically cutting carbs, and increasing fat intake.
It was developed as a way to treat epilepsy in children, but one major side effect was that it significantly helped with weight loss.
This way of eating works so well because the keto diet uses a breakdown of 75% Fat, 15-20% Protein, and 5-10% Carbs.
Through the reduction of carbs, your body switches from using glucose as a fuel source to one where the body is using your own fat (or ketones) as a fuel source.
When you're starting a keto diet your body no longer retains water anymore so it's imperative that you drink more water than you usually do.
Now To Put Them Together – What Is A Vegan Keto Diet?
By combining a vegan diet with a keto diet, you end up with a very restrictive diet.
But just because it is very restrictive, doesn’t mean that it is not possible.
Keto Vegan Guidelines
In order to implement a ket vegan diet correctly, there are a few guidelines to follow:
- Eliminate meat, fish, dairy, and all other animal products from your diet.
- Limit your total consumption of carbohydrates to 35g per day, through eating plenty of low-carb vegetables.
- Get around 25% of your calories from plant-based protein sources.
- Get around 70% (at least) of your calories from plant-based fat sources.
- Supplement your nutrient intake with high-quality supplements to cover vitamins you may not be getting enough of. (These include B12, & B6, D3, DHA & EPA, iron, taurine, and zinc.
What Can’t You Eat On A Vegan Keto Diet?
The following foods are to be avoided on a keto vegan diet:
- Meat, fish, poultry
- Dairy products including milk, cream, and cheese
- Animal-based ingredients including whey protein, honey, egg white protein, and gelatine
- High-carb fruits such as bananas, clementines, apples, kiwis, and blueberries
- Sugar and syrups (refined, cane, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, agave, and all other forms)
- Artificial sweeteners such as Equal and Splenda
- Grains and starches including wheat, pasta, rice, oats, corn, and cereal
- Starchy vegetables such as yams, potatoes, beetroot, and peas
- Legumes and beans, including lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas
- High-carb nuts such as chestnuts, cashews, pistachios
- Partially-hydrogenated oils (trans fats)
- Refined vegetable oils
What To Eat On A Vegan Keto Diet
Ok – so you have the basic guidelines of a vegan keto diet, as well as a list of foods that you cannot eat.
But what do you actually eat on a vegan keto diet?
Vegan Keto Fats
- Plant-based oils such as:
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- and, hemp oil
- Nuts and nut butter such as:
- Seeds and seed butter:
- sunflower seeds
- hemp seeds
- and, pumpkin seeds
- Vegan dairy alternatives including:
- vegan yogurt
- vegan cream
- vegan butter (this brand is amazing!!!)
- and, vegan cheese (watch the ingredient list though!)
Vegan Keto Proteins
- Full-fat tofu
- Full-fat tempeh
Vegan Keto Carbohydrates
- Low-carb vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Low-carb berries
Additional Vegan Keto Foods
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto
- Sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, and bladderwrack
- Certain sweeteners, including stevia, erythritol, monk fruit
Vegan Substitutes For A Vegan Keto Diet
In the “Vegan Keto Fats” list above, I mentioned dairy-alternatives.
There are so many amazing choices these days for a vegan dairy alternative, it makes the switch so much easier. Especially with all the vegan cheese options! (Because – for me at least – giving up cheese would the most difficult part!)
Keto Vegan Dairy Substitutes
- Milk, use coconut milk
- Heavy cream, use coconut cream
- Butter, use coconut oil or vegan butter
- Dairy-based cheese and cream cheese, use vegan cheese (if you want to avoid soy, there are coconut, cashew, and other tree-nut-based cheese options.)
- Yogurt and sour cream, use vegan yogurt (check the ingredients for added sugars or carbohydrates)
Keto Vegan Egg Substitutes
There are quite a few egg-replacement options that are keto- and vegan-friendly. The right option depends on what the egg is being used for.
Flax seeds that are finely ground up to make a great binder and work well in pancakes and baked goods.
Silken tofu can be used for recipes like brownies, as it can make baked goods dense.
For fluffier baked goods, you can use a combination of one teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one tablespoon of white vinegar (per egg replaced).
There are also commercial egg replacements that you can use, such as The Vegg products, or VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart.
Difficulties With A Vegan Keto Diet
Not Getting Enough Fat
Despite not eating meat, eggs, butter, and other dairy products, it is possible to get enough fat on a keto vegan diet.
It is harder though, and this means that you may find yourself not getting enough fat.
Make sure you are getting your fats in at each meal – you can even combine fat sources (for example adding nuts and seeds to your salad, and drizzling with olive oil).
Not Getting Enough Protein
On a standard vegan diet, a large amount of the protein comes from legumes, beans, peas, and lentils.
On a vegan keto diet, these are not eaten, which means you have to plan carefully how you will get your protein.
Ensure you are eating a wide variety of plant-based protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts and seeds, and vegan protein powder.
Peanuts are technically a legume, but a low-carb enough (16g carbs per 100g peanuts) to be included a vegan keto diet.
Deficiencies On A Vegan Keto Diet
Studies show that both vegetarians and vegans tend to be deficient in certain important nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K2, zinc, omega-3 fats, iron, and calcium.
This can be overcome in two ways – making better food choices and supplementing.
Firstly – focus on whole foods, choose foods that have been fortified, and include plenty of foods that have been fermented and/or sprouted (as the nutrient availability is enhanced).
Convtroversial Theory: You can also add oysters, clams, and other non-sentient bivalves to your diet. These creatures are brainless, and non-sentient, making them suitable for a vegan diet.
They are very high in B-12 and zinc, and could probably cover your needs from just eating them once a week.
Secondly – consider adding supplements to your diet. Suggested supplements are DHA+EPA, vitamin D3, B vitamins, especially vitamin B-12, zinc, iron (only if prescribed by a medical professional), taurine, carnosine, and creatine.
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Vegan Keto Recipes You Should Try
If you aren't sure how to put things together to make a vegan keto meal then you might like to try some of these recipes.
They're super easy and seriously delicious.
Vegan Keto Breakfast Recipes
Vegan Keto Lunch Recipes
Vegan Keto Dinner Recipes
What to Remember for Going Vegan Keto?
Here is what you should ultimately remember to be successful on the keto diet as a vegan.
- Don't be as strict on your veggie consumption
- Make sure you get your protein from plant-based sources
- Get plenty of fats in your diet
- Drink lots of water
- Take supplements to get whatever vitamin and minerals you might be missing out on
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