What Is The Difference Between Vegan Keto and Vegan Paleo?
When I began documenting and writing about the vegan keto diet a common question kept arising.
Is a vegan keto diet just a re-labeled version of a vegan paleo diet?
It’s a really great question.
When I first looked at adjusting my veganism I had researched and considered a paleo hybrid before deciding that the vegan keto diet and lifestyle was my sweet spot. It’s funny that some people are a little reluctant to ask those that choose a somewhat ‘extreme’ diet path about other similar options. Some fear we’re going to take a crazy hard stance and start responding to them in CAPS!
There are plenty of keyboard shouters out there; but I’m (generally) not one of them. Happy to share the comparisons I discovered in my research, and happy for you to make up your own mind.
“Discipline is just choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” -Unknown
Today’s blog mood: Content
This diet journey has stirred many emotions. At times I felt lost, confused, excited, irritated, and certainly overwhelmed. Knowledge sharing is a powerful thing. When you can articulate something you’re genuinely passionate about, with the purpose of helping other people and the environment it’s very tasty for the soul. It’s for that reason that today I’m feeling content. So, what’s the diff and why did I choose the vegan keto diet?
Vegan Keto vs Paleo Diet Breakdown
The keto principle is centered around munching fats at around 70-80% of your daily calorie intake in order to burn fats rather than carbs. This pricked my ears because at the time my vegan staples were very high carb, and I was always feeling bloated and lethargic. I learned that our bodies break down carbs into glucose and favor that as an energy source over the stored fats in the body.
Ping! Light bulb moment.
Instantly, I felt quite silly to have been feeding my belly with fuel that would discourage it from burning fats. Weird. The low carb high fat keto diet aims to enter the body into a state of ketosis, where it metabolizes fats for energy.
Like Paleo, keto forbids wheat, flour, grains, and starches. The vegan keto diet cuts out a lot of sugary high carb fruits also – like bananas and apples; but allows low glycemic superfruits such as berries (yay my fav!). Like Paleo, keto forbids wheat, flour, grains, and starches.
Traditional paleo shuns any man-made products. Processed and artificially sweetened foods including grains, legumes, and dairy are out the window. In a nutshell, it’s considered an ancestral diet – If cavemen didn’t eat it…then neither should we. Like the keto world, there is a strong emphasis on meats and eggs as the main source of protein. Because processed foods are a no-no, a strict vegan paleo would be required to ditch the vegan ‘meats’ such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan.
While I’m a fan of moderating my intake of soy products – they are still an important source of protein for vegans. I absolutely agree that we should abolish vegan junk foods like ‘vegan ice cream’ and ‘vegan hot dogs’ which are full of sugar and often preservatives and bad oils. I really wanted to eat ‘real’ whole foods.
What was attractive to me about the Paleo diet is the emphasis on lowering carbs, and losing the grain, sugars, processed oils, and chemical loaded-foods that may be damaging the typical vegan’s health.
What worried me a little is that a vegan cutting out carbs can find it challenging to reach the required protein levels without some ‘processed’ vegan foods.
Low Glycemic Vegan Keto Secret Tip
The vegan keto diet cuts out a lot of sugary high carb fruits also – like bananas and apples; but allows low glycemic superfruits such as berries (yay my fav!).
Key Differences Between Keto And Paleo From A Vegan Perspective
- Keto measures protein, fat and carb percentage to enter ketosis
- Paleo doesn’t have a defined metabolic goal
- Paleo allows natural sweeteners and more fruit sugars
- Traditional Keto diet allows dairy while paleo eliminates dairy. Vegans on either plan can opt-in macadamia nut milk which is my fav.
Whilst the absence of dairy in typical paleo recipes shouldn’t affect us vegans, when I was adapting dairy-filled Keto recipes to a vegan way of life it was great to swap out the dairy ingredients with nice high-fat vegan alternatives. Vegan butters, cheeses, coconut cream and nut-based yogurts all help us reach that magic 70% fat intake number. Without our “I can’t believe it’s not dairy” alternatives we’d find it very difficult to get there. (There are only so many nuts you can eat!) So, as you can see both keto and paleo have their advantages and share many similarities. The fundamental difference is a paleo diet draws most of its calories from proteins, whereas the keto diet gleans most of its calories from fats. Dairy features heavily in a traditional keto diet – yet eliminated from a paleo diet. Essentially, in following a vegan keto diet your meals are fairly paleo anyway – except for the vegan meat and dairy swaps.
Why I choose the vegan keto diet?
The major drawcard of the vegan keto diet for me is this manipulation of the internal chemistry of our body and the well-touted weight loss benefits. While it seems relatively new to us, the ketogenic diet has been around for a long time and has been employed by medical professionals to treat health concerns such as epilepsy, migraines, diabetes, and depression. It was never considered a long-term diet solution because of the very strict nutrient ratios and calorie counting. Eating paleo is more about making better diet choices and mimicking our ‘natural’ state of existence from back in the hunter-gatherer days. It’s less structured around stringent nutrient ratios as the paleo isn’t striving for dramatic weight loss, or to reach any particular metabolic state – just that of the better health of our ancestors.
Blending the Vegan Keto and Vegan Paleo Diets?
While I’m loving being Kind &Keto and happily sustaining protein and nutrient levels with the help of some supplements, I suppose when I relax my vegan keto diet protocols a bit, it might look a little more vegan paleo. Read our post on supplements here.
While it may feel like a tough decision, I believe if you choose either low-carb approach you will be doing yourself a service.
For us vegans it’s a bit tricky adapting the diets to remove all animal products – It’s handy to have a bunch of meal plans, menus and collateral to make the transition smoother. At the end of the day, it’s all about working out what’s best for you.