The Ketogenic Diet and Vegan Diets are two of the most popular diets on the planet but few would have considered them compatible until recently. Both diets have many benefits but they also have some drawbacks as well. No longer do we have to be a prisoner of divide and conquer food politics. By combining these two approaches it is possible to have the weight loss and health benefits of keto alongside the ethical and heart healthy benefits of the Vegan diet.
We have done the research and testing to bring you the most comprehensive vegan keto diet guide along with free sample meal plans. If you are vegan keto curious you have come to the right place. Let’s dive into the vegan keto diet and see if it may be the healthy and mindful power couple you’ve been searching for…
What Is The Vegan Keto Diet?
Traditionally, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, your diet is loaded with carbohydrates, and this usually leads to a lot of nasty side-effects, including:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Bloated tummy
- Cravings, especially for carbs and sugars
- Difficulty losing weight
So, it actually makes sense to cut the carbs and up the fat (on your plate and not body, of course).
But doesn’t fat make you fat, you might ask?
Well, let’s look into what exactly traditional keto is and what makes it so special. Then, we’ll dive into doing things the Kind & Keto way – caring for yourself, nature and the planet while feeling great doing so!
Keto – what?
The magic behind the Ketogenic Diet is a little thing called ketosis.
Getting into a ketogenic state (or ketosis) is fairly easy, in principle; limit your carbohydrate intake to between 5-10% of your diet a day.
Of course, in practice that is easier said than done, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Or is it?
Many vegetarians and vegans believe that cutting carbs out of their diet will mean they will miss their daily nutritional (and most importantly, protein) mark.
But that isn’t so, as you can get all you need from upping the healthy fats and protein of your diet and cutting out a few select things. But more on that later. When you do this, you will encourage your body to use your fat stores for energy since there won’t be any glucose for it to use.
A quick biology lesson:
Carbs and sugars are turned into glucose, which is your body’s primary energy source. When you cut the carbs and sugars, your body has no choice but to find another source of fuel – fat, and ketones, is a by-product of turning fat into energy.
So, getting back to fat making you fat – it’s a myth and a BUSTED one!
On the vegan keto diet (or any low-carb/high-fat eating plan), you will consume a lot of healthy fats, feel fuller for longer, and turn your body into a fat-burning furnace. It’s a win all around.
Healthy fats also keep your body warm, build cells and generate hormones that help your body function correctly, protect your organs, and help your body absorb vitamins from food. But wait! Before you grab that oily donut, not all fats are made equal.
There are four main types of fat with three being good for you, hence dubbed ‘good fats’:
1. Saturated fats that you can get from coconut or palm oil.
2. Monosaturated fats that come from avocados, nuts, seeds and plant-based oils such as olive, canola, sesame, etc.
3. Polyunsaturated fats from oils such as soybean, corn, sunflower, and walnuts, soybeans and tofu.
4. Number four is trans fats, which are bad for you. These types of fats can be found in processed foods. So, avoid junk food, fast food and any store-bought baked goods.
The fat bottom line
Fats are good for you, especially when you’re attempting a vegan keto lifestyle. Just make sure you’re getting it from the right sources.
Remember, when following any ketogenic diet, fat will become your body’s primary source of energy.
You don’t want it to run on junk, do you?
Vegan Keto Diet Benefits
- Lose weight but maintain muscle
- Control cravings
- Boost your metabolism
- Lower blood pressure
- Regulate insulin and fight insulin resistance
- Increase energy
- Boost your brain power
Is The Vegan Keto Diet Safe?
Going vegan has scientifically been proven to have various health benefits. The advantages of following a vegan diet range from lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, to more success when trying to lose weight and keeping it off compared to meat-eating counterparts.
Although no vegan keto specific studies have been done, following a Ketogenic Diet has also been shown to come with an arms-length list of positive effects. Well-known for its weight-loss success, keto also controls blood sugar, helps combat insulin resistance, and reduce heart disease risk factors.
It’s clear to see how combining two such powerhouse diets can only lead to better health. But let’s get a professional to back it up.
Michael Dugan, a functional diagnostic nutritional practitioner and contributing researcher and writer on DrJockers.com, explains how combining the vegan and keto diets can lead to better health in his YouTube video.
Overview Of Vegan Keto Diet
Whether you’re a traditional vegetarian, keto vegetarian or someone already eating low-carb who is just looking to swap bacon for a cruelty-free alternative, the vegan keto diet is a few easy replacements away.
The Bad Bin
Let’s get to the part most of you are dreading – what aren’t you allowed to eat. Well, you guessed it; bread, pasta and grains are first to be placed in the bad bin.
It’s a hard one to swallow, yes, but you can replace it with vegan keto-friendly alternatives like vegan/keto bread, cauliflower pizza and rice, zucchini noodles, and more!
A perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and substitute foods that, in the past, left you feeling bloated and tired, with healthy options.
Up next, high-carb fruit and veggies like bananas, apples, grapes, potatoes, sweet potato and carrots all need to go.
Essentially, you want to replace sweet and starchy fruits and vegetables with berries and leafy greens primarily.
The vegan keto diet is going to need some thorough planning on your side, and even then, you can expect some bumps in the road. To get you started, a basic breakdown of your macronutrients is as follows:
of your daily calorie intake
of your daily calorie intake
of your daily calorie intake
So, when you are planning your meals, use that as a baseline to work from. It’s a good idea to track your macronutrients by using MyFitnessPal or a similar app.
As time goes by and you get used to eating vegan keto, you will learn the approximate values of foods and will be able to eyeball your intake.
Of course, it is not as accurate, but tracking your food can be a hassle, one that many people don’t want, and it will make them throw in the towel.
We don’t want that.Unless you are very active, you should try to stay between 25-50g of carbs a day. This means, as an example, if your daily caloric intake is 1600 or less, you should aim to stay around 30g carbs a day.
People who exercise regularly can increase their carb intake to 50g – but the die-hard keto fanatics will still aim for between 25-50g for faster results.
How To Get Enough Fat On The Vegan Keto Diet
How dairy you!
Dairy is a staple of the traditional keto diet and plays a big part in reaching your 70% daily fat intake.
Luckily, there are various delicious vegan alternatives on the market for you to choose from when you switch over to the vegan way.
Eating enough vegan cheese, butter, cream and yogurt will take you a step closer to getting in ample fat, and as a bonus, it will curb those carb cravings that can at times leave even the strong-willed shaking in a corner.
You’ve got to be nuts
So, when you’ve filled up on dairy, grab some nuts and seeds. But you already knew that, right?
If you know anything about vegetarians and vegans, it must be that nuts and seeds are their BFFs! And rightly so; it is one of the best ways to get in protein and good fats.
Rock out with your guac out
Avocado, dear avocado, you are all I avo wanted. It’s easy to write a book dedicated to avocados, but since this is a blog about vegan keto, let’s just break down the basics of this super fruit. An average sized avo contains 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it is pretty high carb (something we don’t want on keto), 7 out of the 9 grams of carbs are fiber, leaving only 2 ‘net’ carbs. Rejoice! This super delicious and healthy fruit is low-carb friendly.
Oil love you
Olive oil, coconut oil, sesame seed oil…the list goes on. Adding this to your diet will help you reach that magic number of 70% in a jiffy.All the corny puns aside, it should already be clear to see that going vegan keto won’t be too hard.
How To Limit Your Carbs On The Vegan Keto Diet
Since this is the crux of the vegan keto diet, it is one area you will have to pay particular attention to. As mentioned before, bread, pasta, grains, and starchy and sweet fruits and vegetables won’t be crossing your lips when you’re vegan keto. You will replace potato, carrot and all other underground growing vegetables with leafy greens; and berries will be your primary fruit source.
Five go-to vegetables
- Avocado (it’s a fruit, yes, but you won’t put it in a fruit salad, will you?)
- Brussels sprouts
Five low-carb fruits
Of course, it should go without saying, but just to drive it home – sugar is a no-no. This includes agave, maple syrup and honey.
From Keto To Vegan Keto – Easy Vegan Ingredient Swaps
In the past, it was especially tricky to remove all animal products from your life. But luckily, nowadays you can find cruelty-free alternatives to mostly anything. Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief. To make your transition from keto to vegan keto easier, it’s a good idea to decide on a few meal plans and shop accordingly. That will give you enough time to research vegan replacements and where to find it in your area. Here are some substitution ideas to make your shopping easier:
- Replace milk and cream with coconut milk and coconut cream.
- Use coconut oil or vegan butter instead of butter. Just a word of caution, when selecting vegan butter, make sure it does not contain any hydrogenated oils as these increase your risk of heart disease.
- Substitute diary-based cheese with vegan cheese.
- Nut-based yogurt is the perfect replacement for yogurt and sour cream.
As with all products, be sure to check that your vegan dairy products do not contain unwanted and dangerous ingredients including, sugar, hidden carbs and the above-mentioned hydrogenated oils. If you want a trusted source to buy your keto vegan-friendly ingredients from, check out our online store.
Okay, that covers the dairy, but what about protein? For most people, it takes a lot to give up meat, and when doing so, they imagine meal after meal eating bland tofu. Luckily, that’s not true.
What to (m)eat
Eating enough protein when you’re vegan is hard without restricting carbs. Add keto to the mix, and a lot of staple protein sources are removed. So, what are you supposed to eat if you can’t have beans, lentils and peas?First up, tofu. And it is up to you to not make it the thing of vegan nightmares; through marinating and spicing your tofu, it can replace pork, chicken, beef and even fish in your diet.Top tip: Buy extra firm tofu, press all the fluid out, freeze it, then press it again. This will make it as firm and chewy as real meat.Next on the list, tempeh. This is a little firmer than tofu with a grainy texture. Made from fermented soybeans, it is a great substitute for fish and ground beef. Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and seaweed. If you do, however, have a gluten sensitivity, it is best to stay away from this “wheat meat”. To the rest, seitan is high in protein, low in fat and will give your iron a boost.Processed vegan “meat” is also a good and quick option for protein but may contain potentially harmful ingredients. Be sure to read the label and make sure to choose the brand with the lowest carb content, and a good amount of fat and protein per serving. Also, be wary of possible added sugars.
The Best Vegan Keto Protein Sources For The Keto Diet
We covered vegan replacements for meat above, but what other sources of protein can you bank on?Nuts and seeds, of course. Pumpkin seeds pack the most protein punch but also contain the most carbs. That is why you should not be blinded by the high protein content while forgetting about the carb count.Here is a list of nuts and seeds with the most protein per 100 grams and its carb content:Pumpkin seed: 30g of protein and 54g of carbsPistachios: 21g of protein and 28g of carbsAlmonds: 21g of protein and 22g of carbsSunflower seeds: 19g of protein and 20g of carbsFlaxseeds: 18g of protein and 29g of carbs
The peanut. Don’t go all nutty because it is mentioned under nuts and seeds; it is technically a legume. But who really cares, especially considering that there are only 24 grams of protein in every 100 grams of peanuts and a mere 16 grams of total carbs?And, if after a day’s worth of eating, you see you’re still falling a little short on protein, you have a secret weapon – vegan protein powder. Adding this to your protein stash is a must.You can either use the vegan protein powder in your meals in the form of sauces or mix it with your homemade vegan patties; the options are endless. Or, go the smoothie route and try some vegan keto-friendly recipes.
The Best Vegan Egg Alternatives
How egg-xactly are you supposed to make that delicious vegan keto recipe work if it calls for eggs? Easy, there are plenty of keto-friendly and vegan egg alternatives you can try. Flax SeedOne tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with three tablespoons of water gives you one ‘egg’.Silken TofuPuree ¼ cup of silken tofu to replace one egg.Baking Soda and Vinegar
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of white vinegar to replace one egg.
You can, of course, do things the easy way and reach for ready-made vegan egg replacements. Companies like The Vegg have created products with the same taste, texture and function of eggs.It is important to remember that these egg replacements do not have the same nutritional properties as real eggs, so you won’t be able to count on these alternatives to help you meet your daily vegan keto macros. But nothing stops you from eating more protein-dense vegan foods or even supplements to help you meet your fat and protein needs.
Vegan Keto Diet With Eggs
Okay, not really. That wouldn’t be very vegan would it?
Since eggs make up such a big part of any complete diet system, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at plant-based eggs and its pros and cons.
Vegans have been forced to use various egg substitutes in their cooking and baking, anything from mashed bananas to ground flax seeds.
Some possibilities were covered in an earlier section. But since plant-based eggs hit the market a few years ago (a little more than six years ago to be exact), it has made adapting recipes much easier.
But what exactly are used to make plant-based eggs and is it safe? If you take a took at the biggest plant-based egg supplier in the US, VeganEgg, you will see that their eggs are made from algae protein.
This company’s vegan eggs are so good, it even scrambles like a regular egg – no wonder the company grew so much it expanded to the UK in 2017.
Other companies, like Beyond Eggs from Hampton Creek Foods, for example, use various plants to create their eggs. Beyond Eggs use 11 different plants, including sorghum, peas and beans to create their plant-based eggs.
As you can see, you will have to taste test some various brands to find the one you are happy with!
Algal Protein Benefits
This flour contains important amino acids that help with retaining and building muscle while on a vegan diet and is highly digestible. However, the nutritional composition of the algae species is not yet known but, luckily, it is generally regarded as safe by the FDA.
An Egg is an Egg Right?
Here is a breakdown of the differences between a regular egg and a VeganEgg.
The biggest difference is of course the cholesterol – 185mg in one single regular egg and absolutely none in VeganEgg. That means if you eat two regular eggs a day, you will be going over your daily cholesterol allowance. If that isn’t reason enough for even non-vegans to go egg-free, we don’t know what is!
Putting It All Together – How To Thrive On The Vegan Keto Diet
Easy access to meat, dairy and egg alternatives makes following a vegan keto diet a stress-free decision – if you plan well enough. Sticking to this diet will entail hard work and buckets full of dedication. But the key to success lies in thorough planning of what you are going to eat. So, get your menu sorted well in advance and shop accordingly, and you’re on your way to a healthier, slimmer you. Let’s recap the rules of this vegan keto game:Carbs should be limited to 5-10% (25-50g) of your daily food intake. Since you’re going the vegan route, no animal products are allowed Eat enough low-carb vegetables70% of your calories should come from good fats 20-25% of your calories should come from proteinDon’t forget to take supplements to cover any nutritional deficiencies you may have By making this lifestyle change, you are not only improving your health but reducing your environmental impact and reducing animal suffering. Now, isn’t that neat?But we’re not done here yet, let’s look at possible side-effects, the cost of going vegan keto, and help you out with some vegan keto diet recipe examples. Oh, and at the end of the article, there will be a complete shopping list to make things even EASIER for you! Thank us later. 😉
Cost Of Going Vegan Keto
It is a sad fact that being healthy comes with a fairly steep price tag. But the alternative – stuffing your face with processed takeout (even if it is vegan) – is not going to do much for your health or your waistline.
Yes, many of the vegan keto ingredients will burn a hole in your pocket, but do not fret; there are wallet-friendly options to consider. All you need to do is apply a little imagination, and you will be salivating over a budget vegan keto meal in no time.
Three top tips to save moneyTurn any bland dish into the star of the show with the right herbs and spices. Hunt down the best prices Plan your meals before hitting the shops and stick to your budget! For more vegan keto meal ideas that won’t eat your budget, Kind & Keto’s got your back.
Vegan Keto Diet Side Effects And How To Avoid Them
With ketosis comes some mild and some nasty side-effects; keto breath, ugh!
The transition can be a difficult one, especially for vegetarians and vegans whose diet was made up of a lot of carbohydrates. As your body switches from burning glucose to fat, you might experience the following side-effects:
- Poor concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Bad breath (keto breath)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Flu symptoms (keto flu)
To beat these symptoms, drink enough water, eat nutritionally dense foods, get enough rest but in the same breath, stay active by participating in some light exercise.Supplementing with magnesium, sodium and potassium can help reduce the muscle cramps, headaches and insomnia associated with first transitioning to keto.That covers the keto side, but what about eating vegan and the side-effects that go with it?
Let’s be honest: plant foods just do not contain some of the nutrients we need for our health. Studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans are prone to the following deficiencies:
- EPA and DHA (Long-chain fatty acids)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K2
There’s also a possibility of their bodies not producing enough cholesterol thanks to goitrogens (a plant compound) that impairs thyroid function. Soy is the biggest culprit in this area, but don’t worry, after reading this article, you will be armed with all the tools to combat any possible issues.It’s fairly easy to ensure you get all your required nutrients and replenish any deficiencies. Here are some strategies to follow:
- As with any diet, overly processed foods, junk food, fake food, etc. should be avoided. Eat real, nutritious foods.
- Soak and sprout (if possible) nuts and seeds to neutralize the mineral-boding proteins that weaken absorption.
- Eat enough green leafy vegetables for Vitamin K2.
- Eat sauerkraut, fermented soy, kimchi or other fermented foods to improve digestion and absorption.
- Iodine-rich foods like seaweed will keep your thyroid happy and healthy.
- If you are experiencing dry skin or getting sick more often, take a zinc supplement.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods to boost the absorption of iron. If your diet doesn’t meet your iron needs, consider drinking an iron supplement.
Drink the following supplements:Vegan DHA+EPA;Vegan vitamin D3;B vitamins, especially B12;Taurine;Carnosine;Creatine.
Vegan Keto Diet – No soy
In the previous section, goitrogens were briefly mentioned. This plant compound weakens your thyroid, resulting in fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, and unexplained weight gain.
Unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, two of the main meat replacement products are made from soy, which contains goitrogens – tofu and tempeh.
Does this mean you should add tofu and tempeh to the bad bin and stop eating it completely? Nope.
Just pay extra attention to how you feel after eating it so that you can limit your soy intake if it does make you feel icky. But let’s arm you with all the soy facts, and you can decide for yourself if you will add tofu and tempeh to your shopping list.
Soy has been placed in the naughty corner of plant foods for a while now. Mainly because of research that found that it may be a contributing factor in the growth of breast cancer cells because of the estrogen-mimicking molecules. It is important to note, however, that these findings were based on studies that were done on animals and not humans; the research done on humans actually show the complete opposite.
Human soy consumption is linked to a decreased risk of developing breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. It is even not harmful to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to consume soy products.
So, what do you soy?
Most people can eat soy products without experiencing any adverse effects. The handful of people who may experience thyroid issues should not despair. All they have to do is decrease the amount of goitrogen-containing foods (soy, broccoli, kale, etc.) and replace with iodine-rich vegetables.
Vegan Keto Diet Recipe Examples
A hearty high-fat coffee that will keep you feeling full for longer while giving you the caffeine kick you need to start your day.
Curiously meat-like, jackfruit has become a favourite plant-based meat substitute. It pairs perfectly with the creamy avocado and is exactly what you need if you’re looking for something a little different.
Aaaaah, the goodness of fresh, vibrant and colourful vegetables that is easy to make and definitely Instagram-able.
One bite and you’re in superfood heaven. Not only does this dish contain heaps of fiber, it is also packed with good fats and is super quick to make. Can it get any better?
Cookies that are good for you do exist!
A sugar-free, high-fat and vegan hot chocolate to warm your keto insides on a cold night.