“But I thought Keto was only for people who eat meat and cheese?”
With a little extra thought, mindful preparation, and adaptation, even those who choose to be vegan can partake in a ketogenic lifestyle. We like it, “Vego” (ok, not really, but we did like that little acronym). The gist of keto is this, without going into too much detail, is high fat – high protein – low carb. We’re talking under 50g carbs a day (I heard you gasp from here… it’s going to be ok!). If you’ve found this article and are already vegan, you’re probably used to a lower carb lifestyle and/or only receiving carbs from veggies. If you’re new to keto, don’t have diet restrictions, and have found this article, we recommend reading THIS ARTICLE.
Anyhoo, YES, it is possible to adhere to a vegan and keto lifestyle. Here are our 6 recommendations to becoming and maintaining a successful Vegan Ketogenic Diet.
Regardless of whether or not you aim to have a Vegan Ketogenic Diet or a plain Ketogenic Diet, the idea is to create a sustainable lifestyle, not a momentary “diet”.
1. Give Yourself A Break
Yeah, you heard me! When you transition anything in your life jumping in head first isn’t always the best way to go. The ketogenic diet does require you to tally some numbers and record your foods to keep yourself in line. But at first? Give yourself a break – Chances are you’re going to wean yourself off some foods you’ve probably eaten for years and/or mentally enjoy eating.
Counting numbers and cutting out foods cold turkey can actually stimulate a negative response to this new lifestyle keeping yourself from the ultimate benefits and successes of a Vegan Ketogenic Diet altogether. Once you find yourself beginning a routine and/or not needing to attribute so much thought to your daily eating habits, then begin honing in on your numbers and daily requirements. In doing so, you are setting yourself up with a strong foundation to build upon, and ultimately, live a successful Keto Lifestyle (even if it’s vegan!).
"I got 99 problems and protein ain't one"
Protein is key for a vegan keto diet goer. We recommend low carbohydrate, plant-based, protein sources. Some examples include:
"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting that tomato in a fruit salad"
It’s up to you and it’s your diet – we don’t recommend restricting yourself or keeping yourself from foods if you really like them. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you like a food enough you’ll find out how to work the numbers so you can keep it in your diet. Capeesh? Which brings me to fruit; many people LOVE fruit as a snack and because it’s sweet and flavorful. Because fruit is pretty sugary, we recommend not eating most and consuming berries over others. Why? They have a lower carb profile and they’re actually a bit more nutritionally dense. Huzzah, fruit it is. Some examples 100g servings include:
- Watermelon 7.1g carb
- Strawberries 5.7g carb
- Avocado 1.8g carb
- Blueberries 12.1g carb
- Grapefruit 9.1g carb
- Lemon 6g carb
- Lime 7.7g carb
- Raspberry 5.4g carb
- Blackberry 4.9g carb
- Cherries 4.2g carb
"Avocado pep talk - you're fat, but you're the good kind of fat!"
Oils will become your good friend as a keto vegan. Why? They’re high in fats and low in carbs (talk about a win-win!) For a whole of list of the best cooking oils, READ THIS. Lower-processed oils do also contain minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Additionally, high-fat foods such as these will help you: coconut, avocado, olives, flaxseed, avocado oil & macadamia nuts. Another benefit of healthy fats is that they’re filling and flavorful. Over time, your body will adjust to not relying on carbs (sweets/junk food) for flavor, but instead, fats. Some examples of our favorite oils are:
"We don't have any vegetable jokes yet, so if you do, lettuce know."
We’re talking good, quality, deep green veggies here. Season with herbs and others (garlic, basil, paprika, etc.) and get sauteing them up in olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. Their low carb profile includes vitamins and minerals while remaining starch free. Some good examples per 1 cup are:
- Cruciferous vegetables (ones that look like tiny trees ex. broccoli 5.8g, cabbage, Brussels, cauliflower)
- Celery 3g
- Cucumber 3.8g
- Zucchini 3.5g
- Leafy greens (such as collards, romaine, spinach 1.1g, kale, Swiss chard 1.3g, arugula 0.8g, sorrel etc.)
- Veggies that are OK but have a higher carb profile (such as mushrooms, bean sprouts, bell pepper, radishes, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes)
"Pardon our humor, we're just nuts for nuts"
6. NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts, nuts, the magical fruit… They’re not a fruit at all, but they will become a magical source for you to keep in your back pocket to rack up both fat and protein during your vegan ketogenic diet endeavors. They’re a bit lower in the carbohydrate profile as compared to plant-based foods and we recommend consuming them regularly. Some examples of our favorites are:
- flax seeds .5g
- walnuts 1.9g
- pumpkin seeds 2.2g
- pecans 1.1g
- sunflower seeds 3.7g
- almonds 2.9g
- chia seeds 1.7g
- brazil nuts 1.3g
- macadamia nuts 1.5g
"So I can be Vegan AND Keto at the same time?"
Overall, it is possible, but it does require a bit more thought, regulation, and effort. But then again, anything is possible if you take the necessary steps, every day, to make your goal successful. Best advice? Monitor your ketone levels and stick with it. And if you need a little help with your micronutrient profile... we've got vegan supplements for that :)