According to research, an approximate 250,310 people across the world have decided to go vegan as of 2019. More people than ever are recognizing the importance of a vegan diet.
To add to that, the ketogenic diet was the most researched diet in 2018, making it the most common diet for over half a million people. Put these two beneficial diets together and you have the vegan ketogenic diet.
Both the keto and the vegan diet movements have a lot to offer for health and weight loss benefits, however, they are completely different.
So the problem is, with the keto diet having a lot of meat products, and the vegan diet consisting of a lot of carbohydrates, how can you benefit from both?
Thankfully, I did that research for you. Keep on reading to learn how the vegan ketogenic (aka keto-vegan) diet could transform your health, help you to lose weight, and improve your life.
Let’s get started!
The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Mindset
At first glance, it may seem that the vegan ketogenic diet is highly restricted, and while that may be partially true, it is all about shifting your mindset. When most people approach a diet, they start it from a mindset of deprivation which leads their body to think it is reaching scarcity or famine.
To shift from this perspective, start to think of all the healthy foods you will get to eat, and the health benefits you will receive from eating them. When you focus on the keto-vegan diet for health reasons, it will help you to succeed and reap the incredible benefits.
In addition, think of the vegan keto diet as more of a lifestyle and less of a “diet trend”. This is a new way of life, it is sustainable and once you start noticing the benefits, you will not want to go back to your old ways of eating.
What is Ketosis?
When the body metabolizes fat, it starts to produce ketones — or ketone bodies — which are byproducts that fuel the cells to carry on their normal functions. When your bloodstream has ketones in it, you enter the state of ketosis.
Ketosis is the process of utilizing fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This forces your body to break down your fat storage, instead of just storing more which is what happens when you consume a lot of carbohydrates.
With a high carbohydrate diet, your body can only handle so much at a time, leading it to store the excess carbs as fat. Then when you need energy, it will dip into using your hard earned muscle, as well as only a small amount of carbs that you are eating.
What Are the Health Benefits of a Vegan Ketogenic Diet?
When you take two of the most researched healthy diets and put them together, what do you get? A laundry list of health benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Reduces the chances of developing obesity
- Fights already existing obesity
- Combats diabetes
- Improves mental health and concentration
- Decreases the symptoms of brain fog
- Lowers the risks of developing heart disease
- Combats multiple types of cancers
- Improves your gut flora, aiding in better gut health
- Develops better vision
- Stabilizes energy levels by regulating blood sugar
- Balances hormones
- Helps improve sleep
- Makes your skin healthier and clearer
- Reduces symptoms and seizures due to epilepsy
These are just a few of the miraculous health benefits of a vegan ketogenic diet, there are so many more reasons to jump on board this incredible lifestyle.
An Overview of the Keto-Vegan Diet
At first glance, the vegan ketogenic lifestyle can seem overwhelming and restricted, but in reality, it is not as hard as it may first seem. There are a few guidelines to follow that will make life easier as you adjust.
- Eliminate all animal products from your diet, including eggs, cheese, butter, dairy, fish, meat, honey, etc.
- Eat a surplus of low-glycemic vegetables, preferably green leafy vegetables and also colorful veggies
- Get 70% of your caloric intake from essential fats such as coconut, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, etc.
- Plant-based proteins should make up 25% of your diet, excluding soy products
- Consume less than 35 grams of carbohydrates per day
- Stay away from pasta, grains, corn, cereal, baked goods, etc.
- Limit your intake of sugary fruits, sticking to more lower glycemic choices like a small amount of wild berries
- Do not consume legumes such as peas, black beans, etc.
- Eliminate vegetable seed oils like sunflower seed oil, safflower oil, canola and rapeseed oil, soy oil, corn oil, etc.
- Use supplementation to make up for what you are not getting from meat products such as vitamin B12, DHA, EPA, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, iron, iodine, etc.
- Do not eat tubers such as potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Follow my recipes to learn more about how to follow the vegan ketogenic diet.
Basically, eliminate all animal products, foods that contain moderate to high carbohydrates, and focus on eating more plant-based proteins and essential fats — excluding vegetable seed oils.
Main Foods on the Vegan Keto Diet
Now that you understand the health benefits and what to eliminate from your diet, it is important to understand what you can eat and what your daily diet should look like.
- Consume lots of avocados, coconut oil, coconut butter, MCT oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia oil
- Consume nuts and seeds to increase your fat and protein intake
- Consume wild berries because of their lower glycemic index and high nutrient content
- Eat a lot of leafy green vegetables because of their high nutrient count
- Consume most vegetables that are grown above the ground such as cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, etc.
- Mushrooms, eat as many different kinds as you can. Portabellas make great burger alternatives
- Instead of sugars and syrups, consume stevia, monk fruit extract, erythritol, etc.
For more info, check out this article for keto-vegan pantry staples.
How to Replace Certain Foods
These days, matter what diet or lifestyle you are following, there are so many alternative options available. I will now cover what you can use to replace foods that you may have consumed previous to the keto-vegan diet.
Dairy is the easiest food group to find alternatives for, there are so many options!
- Do you like cream in your coffee? Replace with sugar-free coconut cream instead
- Instead of butter, use (butter-flavored) coconut oil, coconut butter, or avocado
- Replace milk with unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk, with a 1 to 1 ratio
- Replace cheese with avocado, or low-carb vegan and soy-free based cheese, there are a lot of options
- Try my delicious coconut yogurt recipe instead of regular yogurt.
The biggest takeaway when replacing dairy products is to make sure that the label does not have any added sugar. This can happen when companies start to change up the ingredients of their products. Better yet, make some almond or coconut milk yourself!
Thankfully, most essential fats are actually plant-based rather than animal based. This allows for a smoother transition into the vegan ketogenic diet.
Avocados will become your best friend, you can add them to smoothies, salads, and basically, anywhere you would like. They are full of monounsaturated fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants and can turn any snack into a complete and satiating meal.
I also advise to cook with a lot of oils and use a lot for your salad dressings. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, red palm oil, and MCT oil.
Eating more nuts will also help you to raise your fat content with a lot of vitamins and minerals. Eat lots of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts (limit to 2 per day due to high selenium content), etc. This also includes nut butters, but make sure you are aiming for a real nut-butter without all the added hydrogenated fats, sugars, and surprise ingredients.
Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds are a great addition to your keto-vegan diet as they contain between 18 to 30 grams of protein as well. Add them to salads, stir fry, etc. Just make sure not to have too much as they also contain a high amount of inflammatory Omega-6 and some carbs.
Learn More About the Vegan Ketogenic Diet
Because of the surplus options available today, it is easier than ever to succeed and thrive on the vegan ketogenic diet. After reading this handy guide, you are more than ready to start your vegan keto lifestyle and start noticing the differences sooner than later!
If you would like a bit more help with setting up a meal plan, you are in luck! I have created a 7-day vegan keto meal plan that includes recipes, snack ideas, meals, drinks, and even desserts to help you with a smoother transition.
This meal plan is gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, soy-free, starch-free, and 100% plant-based. It has helped hundreds of people transition into the vegan ketogenic lifestyle, and it will help you too.