- Shopping List
- Fat Sources
- Protein Sources
- Other Foods
- Foods to Avoid
- Meal Plan
Is vegan keto diet actually possible? Even more important, is it healthy to follow the vegan keto lifestyle? For many, following the keto diet associates with eating a lot of animal meat and animal products. Since keto is all about the low-carb foods, excluding animal-based products from your diet and finding their substitutes could be tricky.
In this article you will find all the information about following a vegan keto diet, including food to eat / avoid, vegan keto advantages, drawbacks and precautions you should take.
How Does Vegan Keto Actually Work?
To put it in simple words, vegan keto diet works the same way as regular keto diet. The main difference between the two options is not eating vs eating animal foods.
Vegan keto diet could be called one of the most restrictive diets. Since regular keto diet already reduces your food choices by eliminating a huge part of carbohydrates from it, the vegan keto takes you even a step further and eliminates all animal foods.
As strict as it sounds, it is in fact possible to unite the vegan philosophy with the keto diet principles. You should keep in mind that at first it may be tough. However, once you adjust and start seeing the benefits of the vegan keto diet – it will be easier.
Here are the essential guidelines to vegan keto diet:
- Make sure that at least 70% of your calories are from plant-based fats.
- Try to eat at least 25% of your calories in plant-based protein form.
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 30 – 35g per day. It should represent around 5 % of your daily calorie intake.
- Consume vitamins and minerals that you may be lacking (vitamins B6, B12, D3, iron and zinc).
To know exactly how much fat, protein, carbs and calories you need per day – use our keto calculator. It will help you schedule and plan your meals based on your weight goals and strictness of your diet.
Vegan Keto Shopping List a.k.a. Foods to Eat
For those who follow a regular keto diet, restricting carbohydrates already comes as a challenge. Since the vegan keto option has even more restrictions, let’s start from the do-eat list. This way you’ll know exactly what’s waiting for you during the vegan keto diet and whether it’s a good match to you.
Vegan keto diet friendly foods include:
- MCT Oils
- Plant-based oils
- Vegan Dairy Substitutes
- Other vegan proteins
- Leafy greens
- Above ground growing vegetables
- High-fat dairy alternatives
Fat Sources for Vegan Keto
Here you will find a more detailed list of fat sources that are suitable for the vegan keto diet.
Avocados are an excellent source of fat for anyone who follows the vegan keto diet. It is high in monounsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It’s a very nutritious, healthy and fatty addition to vegan keto diet. Eat it plain, blend into a smoothie, use a side dish – anyway you like it.
MCT oils are completely tasteless but extremely nutritious. Added to your food will, the MCT oils will give you an immediate energy boost at anytime of the day. MCT oils come from coconut and palm oils. As they contain specific saturated fatty acids, instead of going through regular fat digestion process they go straight into the liver where they get converted into ketones which give your body energy. You can read all about the MCT oils here and pick the best one for you.
NOTE: some products on the MCT oils article could be non-vegan friendly, so read before you buy!
Plant-based oils – this category includes coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and red palm oils. While coconut oil is perfect for making keto desserts, olive oil is an excellent choice for baking your proteins and dressing your salads. The red palm oil is not as common as as coconut and olive oils, however it is rich in vitamins A and E and is perfect for roasting nuts and seeds. The avocado oil, just like avocados, is an excellent fat source that can be used for cooking as well as baking.
Nuts and seeds – nuts are well known for their health benefits and high concentration of healthy fats. The Macadamia nuts are among the most popular keto nut choices as they have the lowest amount of net carbs and the highest amount of healthy fats. However, you should keep in mind that carbs add up quickly, so you have to count the amount of nut you eat. Sometimes even a handful can be too much.
In term of seeds, the most popular seed choices de to their nutrition includes flax seeds, pumpkin and sesame seeds. They’re another healthy choice for fats. However, they have some inflammation causing omega-6 oils. Better eat them only from time to time as a desert rather than a regular snack.
Vegan dairy substitutes – such include coconut milk and cream, almond milk and similar. While they’re very nutritious, many of them are sweetened. Which means that such products can contain high amount of carbohydrates. That makes them not keto vegan diet friendly.
Protein Sources for Vegan Keto Diet
Seitan – the wheat meat. It’s a good source of protein and iron. Made from wheat gluten, tamari or soy sauce, garlic, seaweed and ginger it’s perfectly vegan keto friendly.
NOTE: if you’re gluten sensitive, better pick other proteins than Seitan, as it contains high amounts of gluten.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is frequently used as a substitute for ground beef and various fish. So, this is a perfect protein source even for those, who are gluten sensitive.
Tofu is probably the best-know protein source used by vegans and vegetarians all over the world. Often tofu substitutes for most-used animal proteins, including, chicken, pork and beef. You should keep in mind that tofu requires proper seasoning to be tasty. This means that if you don’t season your tofu, your meals will be tasteless.
NOTE: make sure you season your tofu properly – otherwise you will end up with a tasteless dish!
Other vegan meat substitutes – today you will find many meat substitutes in the stores that range from cheese to vegan-friendly burgers. Before you pick any of them, be sure to read the labels. Many of them can be not only rich in proteins but also rich in carbohydrates. Purchasing and eating such foods can end up in turning your vegan keto diet back into regular vegan diet as it could compromise your ketosis.
Other Foods to Eat During Vegan Keto
Leafy greens – rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are an excellent food for vegan keto diet. You can eat as much as you want as they’re literally carb-free. Be sure to pour a generous amount of olive or MCT oil on your salad to make them fatty and add some delicious nuts and seeds to make the salad exciting. It’s yummy and completely keto vegan friendly.
Above ground growing vegetables are perfect for vegan keto as most of them are low in carbohydrates, such as bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes. The vegetables that grow below ground are usually full of starches, also known as carbohydrates. Such vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes and similar. So, better to avoid them. They’re not exactly keto-friendly.
Berries – the most vegan keto diet friendly berries are strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. They have only 5-6 g of carbohydrates per 100g. In most cases, fruit have more carbohydrates than berries, so they’re less keto friendly.
However, coconut meat has only 6g of carbohydrates per 100g. Keep in mind that cars in berries and fruit add up quickly. So, better eat them as a snack. Here you can find a comprehensive article about keto snacks.
Sweeteners – to make your dishes sweeter, instead of using sugar or honey, you should choose various natural and artificial sweeteners. Most popular sweetener choices include stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol. If you’re new to sweeteners, here you can find a detailed guide to keto-friendly sweeteners.
High-fat dairy alternatives can be found in any supermarkets and even ordered online. In general, when following the keto vegan diet, it’s quite simple to find substitutes for dairy products. For example, instead of butter, choose vegan butter or coconut oil, instead of regular cheese – go for some vegan cheese. Coconut cream will be a perfect substitute for heavy cream and soft vegan cheese will work as a nutritious alternative to cream cheese.
Even though the vegan keto diet version is limited, there are some great alternatives for animal products. To see the full (regular) keto diet shopping list click here. It has plenty of great vegan foods included!
Foods You Should Avoid on Vegan Keto Diet
Just like with any other diet, the vegan keto version comes with its restrictions. In general, if choose to follow the vegan keto diet, the same foods as on regular keto are off limits plus those that come from animals.
Here is a more detailed list of foods that should be avoided during vegan keto:
- Any animal-based foods – meat, eggs, fish, poultry, dairy.
- Foods from grain – pasta, rice, wheat, cereal, as they’re rich in starch and carbohydrates.
- Sugar – brown and white sugar, honey, maple syrup and others, as sugar is a huge source of carbohydrates.
- Most fruits, such as bananas, apples, pineapples, as most fruit contain many carbohydrates.
- Vegetables that grow below ground, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroots and other. They’re very starchy, or in other words – full of carbohydrates.
- Processed foods – avoid processed and canned foods, they might be full of carbohydrates.
- Sweets and sweet drinks – most of them are full of carbohydrates. Sometimes even a couple of cookies are enough to compromise your ketosis.
To learn more about the ketogenic diet and foods that you shouldn’t eat when following the diet, read this Beginner’s guide to keto.
Sample Vegan Meal Plan and Menu
Here you will find some ideas for a vegan keto meal plan and menu that you can use for meal prepping or a source of inspiration.
Sample vegan keto breakfast ideas:
- Porridge with coconut and / or almond milk and berries
- Chia seed pudding with toasted coconut flakes
- Coconut yogurt with fresh raspberries and blackberries
Sample vegan lunch ideas:
- Green salad with avocado and macadamia nuts
- Vegetable curry with tofu
- Spicy grilled red bell pepper stuffed with tempeh
Sample vegan dinner ideas:
- Vegan broccoli and cauliflower mac and cheese
- Low-car creamy coconut-vegetable soup
- Vegan coconut-chili stir fry
The ideas listed above can form a full daily meal that will follow the vegan keto diet guidelines. You can use it a source of inspiration and create meals based on your taste preferences.
Where to Find Keto Vegan Recipes
Finding keto vegan recipes can sound like a challenge, however, here are some tips to get you started on the quest of finding vegan low carb recipes.
For those who don’t consider themselves very advanced in the kitchen or don’t enjoy experimenting, here are some links to websites with some delicious keto vegan recipes:
- Stacey Home Maker – here you will find 27 delicious vegan keto recipes, perfectly suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Choose Veg – this is a smaller collection of 9 vegan keto recipes. These vegan low carb recipes are perfect for those who are still in the consideration process of whether it’s worth to follow the vegan keto diet.
- I Eat Keto – here you will find 10+ delicious vegan keto lunch and dinner recipes, that include a vegan keto pizza and exotic Indian-spiced vegan keto recipes.
If you’re not afraid of doing some experiments in the kitchen, here you will find a collection of 1000+ delicious keto recipes. Most of them are not vegan low carb recipes, however, since you enjoy experimenting, you can replace the proteins and other ingredients into vegan friendly ones. This way you will have your personal collection of 1000+ vegan recipes.
Vegan Keto Benefits
Going on vegan keto diet does come with some benefits. Even though currently there are no specific vegan keto diet studies, this type of keto diet inherits some benefits of the keto diet as well some benefits from the vegan diet.
Studies have shown that following the vegan can reduce the risks of chronic heart diseases, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Such studies have shown, that people who follow the vegan diet have nearly up to 80 percent lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Vegans also have a nearly 75 percent lower risk to develop high blood pressure.
People who follow the vegan diet as well as keto diet tend to lose weight faster. Keto is also known for its benefits of reducing blood sugar and the LDL cholesterol, also called the bad cholesterol.
Keto Vegan Diet Downsides
Even though the vegan keto diet comes with its health benefits, it also has some downsides to it.
Following some vegan diet plans causes you to lack some important nutrients that usually people get when they consume meat. Such nutrients include vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iron.
These vitamins and nutrients are essential for general human health despite following any specific diet, health or meal plan.
Following the vegan keto diet means even more food restrictions. That means that you may be in lack of various vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. That’s why in order to successfully follow the vegan keto diet you will need to take care of your micronutrients.
In most cases, the vegan keto diet can be followed successfully by continuously drinking required supplements that you don’t get together with food.
NOTE: just like with any other diet, health plan or meal plan – be sure to consult a professional. Especially, if you have any concerns or known health conditions. Following any diets is not recommended for those who are under 18 years of age, are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any known health conditions.
So, is Vegan Keto Diet Possible?
Yes, vegan keto diet is indeed possible. However, it will require some dedication and will power.
Vegan keto diet should come with benefits from both keto diet and vegan diet, such as reduced blood pressure and blood sugar, healthy weight loss, reduced risks to chronic diseases and many others.
Following the vegan keto diet also has its downsides, such as very limited food selection which leads to lack of specific micronutrients.
Overall, if you supplement the nutrients that you will lack from food and will add some creativity in the kitchen, you will be able to successfully follow the keto vegan diet.