Whether for health, ethics or the environment, growing numbers of consumers are choosing plant-based or vegan lifestyles, cutting out all meat and animal products from their diet.
We’re not here to make any judgment on people who do or don’t go vegan, but instead, to let you know that it is possible to blend vegan and ketogenic diets and make the best of both lifestyles.
First, we’ll be honest: It can be a challenge to maintain a keto diet without common fats, like dairy, meat, and eggs. This puts extra restrictions on top of existing ones.
But, especially for those of you who are well-informed and well-prepared, it’s something that certainly can be achievable and sustainable.
Total carbohydrate consumption must be strictly limited to 35 grams or less per day and all meat, fish, dairy, eggs and other animal products must be eliminated from your diet.
Eat lots and lots of low-carb vegetables. All types of mushrooms, leafy greens like spinach and kale and “above ground” vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and zucchini are welcome.
Other keto-friendly plants include seaweeds, avocados, berries, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut.
This is consistent with any kind of ketogenic diet.
Now, the trickier part: You must get at least 70% of your calories from plant-based fats.
Where other people may turn to sour cream, ghee, bacon, and lard to add fat to foods, you must look elsewhere.
Luckily, many monounsaturated fats, like olive, avocado, coconut, sustainably sourced red palm, MCT and macadamia nut oils, are entirely plant-based.
You’ll lean heavily on these plant-based fats in nearly all of your cooking.
There are also plenty of high-fat dairy alternatives out there — we see new ones on the grocery store shelves every week!
Examples include unsweetened coconut-based yogurt, coconut cream, and vegan butter and cheeses. If you’re avoiding soy, there are many nut-based products, like cashew-based cream cheese, that are relatively low-carb and that taste great.
When shopping for these items, do be sure to read the labels to make sure you’re not getting any extra added sugar, hidden carbs or unhealthy ingredients, like hydrogenated oils.
Vegan “eggs” are also becoming a more mainstream commercial product.
There are a few vegan whole egg replacements out there that have a pretty convincing taste and texture, and that can be used to bake keto-friendly cookies, muffins, and cakes.
Some can even be scrambled up or formed into omelets!
For baking, you can also try blended silken tofu or a mixture of ground flaxseed and water as egg-like
The only real downside is that egg replacements don’t contain much fat, which can make meeting your macros more challenging.
When it comes to protein, aim for 25% of your calories from plant-based proteins.
Most vegans get this protein from beans, lentils, and peas, which are off-limits on keto because of their high carb content.
Instead, try vegan “meats” as well, like tempeh, tofu, and seitan. While these meat substitutes are often high in protein and pretty low in carbs, some are marinated in sauces that contain added sugars/carbs.
Opt for products with the simplest ingredients, the lowest carb content and some fat or protein in each serving.
Vegan protein powder, unflavored for adding to dishes, and flavor for smoothies, can be another part of your
Nuts and seeds are a good option too, just be sure to watch their carb content, as some which contain an impressive amount of protein, like pumpkin seeds, are also pushing the carb limit.
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A day in the life of someone following a vegan keto diet might look like this:
For breakfast, a creamy vegan keto porridge made with coconut flour, flax, and protein powder.
At lunch, try a caramelized onion salad with arugula and vegan cheese,
And for dinner, dish up a robust red coconut curry, packed with green veggies and enriched with coconut cream.
For dessert, a dairy-free chocolate silk pie hits the spot.
If you’re already on a keto diet and are becoming vegan as well, visit keto calculator to find out how much fat, carbs, and protein you need to meet your new goals. And don’t forget to check out the recipe database to find lots of vegan keto recipes to get you started!