If a ketogenic diet wasn’t hard enough, there is now a vegan keto diet.
As more people around the world join the vegan community, some have started to wonder if they can also do a keto diet and enjoy the extensive benefits a keto diet provides as well as reduce animal cruelty and positively impact the climate change.
The good news is that with careful planning and preparation, vegans can also enjoy the benefits of a keto diet. In this post we will go over what a vegan keto diet is, how to do it, health benefits as well as foods to eat and avoid. Read until the end to download 15 Vegan Keto Recipes for FREE.
What is a Vegan Keto Diet?
A vegan keto diet combines both a vegan and keto diets together. A keto diet is one with low-carbs, medium-protein and high-fat. You can read about the keto diet more here. However, as the keto diet is mostly composed of fats, dieters normally turn to high-fat animal products like meats, cheese and full dairy products.
Vegans, on the other hand, can consume plant-based products that are high in fats like coconut oil, avocados, seeds and nuts.
So, just to summarise, a vegan keto diet is a diet that is low in carbs, moderate in protein and high in fats that also excludes plant-based products.
How to start a vegan keto diet?
To start a vegan keto diet from one day to another may be difficult. If you are a beginner in both veganism and keto, it may be best to start gradually and adapt. Doing it this way will help you adhere to that diet better.
Step by step
1. Check out the section below on foods to eat and avoid and if there are foods you’ve never tried before, maybe start eating them to get used to the taste and texture. The foods you can eat on a vegan keto diet are quite limited, so it’s likely that you will be eating similar foods quite often.
2. Slowly start removing animal based products (please see foods to avoid list) and start introducing plant-based alternatives.
3. Once you have slowly adapted to the new diet and you are happy to adhere to adhere to it, you need to calculate the total daily calories. Whether you are looking to maintain your current weight or achieve a calorie deficit to lose weight, you can check out a step by step guide here or alternatively check out our macro-nutrient calculator. It’s important to know your total daily calories so you can divide your macronutrients correctly as discussed below.
4. It is time to ensure you reach the state of ketosis. This state occurs when your body lacks carbohydrates and forces the body to use ketones as source of energy instead of glucose from carbs.
To reach a state of ketosis you need to get your macro-nutrients under control. The traditional macronutrient intake comprises of 90% of fats, 6-9% of protein and 0-4% of carbohydrates. However, modern ratio has been amended to 65-85% of fats, 15-35% of protein and 0-10% carbohydrates of your total daily calories.
Macro-nutrients to reach state of ketosis:
It is important to eat the right amount of protein and not too much because any excess protein is digested and stored in the body as glucose which is exactly what you need to avoid. So it’s important to make sure not to eat more than 1-1.5g of protein per 1kg of bodyweight. For instance, if you weigh 60kg then you’ll need to consume 60-90g of protein (1g/1.5g of protein x 60KG of bodyweight). All you need to do is decide the amount of grams of protein you wish to eat and multiply that by your bodyweight in KG.
Carbohydrates is one of those macro-nutrients that you need to be strict with, if you don’t track your carbohydrates it is likely you might never reach the state of ketosis. Your carbohydrates need to be between 0-10% of your total daily calories or no more than 50g.
The success of keto diet strongly relies on the consumption of fats. Most of your calories needs to come from fats and it’s been recommended that 60-90% is a great way to go.
Maybe the best thing you can do is decide on how you’d like to split your total daily calories. For instance, 5% carbs, 15% protein and 80% fats, and get these calculated from your total daily calories.
EXAMPLE: If my daily calories are 2,000 per day and I’ve decided to eat the above % of macro-nutrients then my calories will look like this:
2000 x 0.05 = 100 calories from carbs then divide that by 4 to get the grams. 100/4 = 25g of carbs per day
2000 x 0.15 = 300 calories from protein then divide that by 4 to get grams. 300/4 = 75g of protein per day
2000 x 0.80 = 1,600 calories from fats then divide that by 9 to get grams. 1600/9 = 177.8g of fats per day
Health Benefits of a Vegan Keto diet.
The health benefits of this kind of diet derive from both vegan and keto diet.
1. Lower risk of diabetes
It has been observed by a few studies that vegans and keto dieters are at a lower risk of developing high blood pressure as well as type 2 diabetes. This benefit has been observed thanks to whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts. All these foods contain very little saturated fats and trans fats.  .
2. Assist in weight loss
A vegan keto diet not only reduces the amount of unhealthy and processed foods but also turns your body into a fat burning machine. Once the body enters into a state of ketosis, you’ll naturally start burning body fat for energy which is great. In addition, a meta-analysis (study of studies) of 12 studies discovered that people who follow a vegan diet are more likely to lose more weight than a person who doesn’t. The participants who followed a vegan diet were able to lose 5.5lbs/2.5kg more than non-vegans . For more information on keto and weight loss, check out our other post.
3. Reduce the risk and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
One of the benefits that vegans can enjoy on a keto diet is the reduced risk and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease have the issue of glucose not getting into the brain cells so when your body switches to ketones, it provides the alternative fuel for the brain cells to use and therefore, reduces the symptoms of this disease. Some studies have even shown that ketogenic diet can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease on middle aged people too .
4. May limit the growth of cancer cells
There are many types of cancer but they all have one thing in common, a dysfunctional mitochondria. This means that cancer cells can only use glucose as fuel. This is also known as the Warburg Hypothesis. So, if you reduce glucose and increase ketones, you can slow the growth and spread of cancer cells since cancer your body will lack glucose (Norton,2019). There was a study done in 2010, the participant was a 65 year old woman and the ketogenic treatment ran over two months. After 2 months, the patient’s body weight was reduced by about 20% and no discernible brain tumor tissue was detected using MRI imaging. Biomarker changes showed reduced levels of blood glucose and elevated levels of urinary ketones. MRI evidence of tumor recurrence was found 10 weeks after suspension of strict diet therapy. So, this goes to show how the ketogenic diet has an amazing effect on the tumour cells.
What to eat on a vegan keto diet?
|Fruit||Vegetables||Healthy oils and fats|
|Fruit should generally be limited because fruits contain a lot of sugar that will be digested as glucose and break your ketogenic state. But the below list can be eaten in moderation: Watermelon, Avocado, blueberries, cranberries, coconuts, lemon, lime, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes.||Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, artichoke, eggplant, kale, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, olives, bell peppers (red and green)||Almond oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, Macadamia nut oil, olive oil, avocado oil|
|Condiments||Nuts and Seeds||Butters|
|Salsa, tomato sauce, mustard, hummus, soy sauce, hot sauce||Chia, Hemp, pumpkin, sunflower||Peanut butter, pecan butter, macadamia butter, almond butter, coconut butter|
Foods to avoid
|Animal based products||Dairy||Starchy foods|
|Any kind of meat that is produced from an animal including chicken, fish, beef, turkey, venison etc.|
Also avoid eggs ( egg whites and egg yolks), whey protein, honey, egg white protein
|You must avoid any dairy products that are produced from an animal including any by-products. This includes milk, butter, yogurt, cheese.||pasta, rice, pastry, wheat, oats, barley, bread, couscous, rye, barley, potatoes, yams, beans, chestnuts, pistachios, cashews, black beans, chickpeas|
|Sugary foods get digested and stored as glucose which is what you must avoid at all cost. Therefore, avoid foods like refined sugar, can sugar, corn syrup, honey, white sugar, brown sugar, smoothies, soda, sports drinks, chocolate milk, agave, maple syrup||Brown sauce, marinades, sweetened salad dressings||Beer, wine and cocktails|
You can download 15 vegan keto recipes for FREE below.
Download 15 Vegan Keto Recipes
Most commonly asked questions
How do I do a vegan keto diet and intermittent fasting
Awh boy! That’s not an easy thing to do and potentially unsustainable. You can still do your fast as normal which ever method of fasting you have chosen but just make sure that whatever you eat in your feeding periods that you remain to the food lists above. If you are just starting up on intermittent fasting, check out our complete guide to intermittent fasting here.
Can I do a vegan keto diet with eggs?
So as part of the vegan diet you are not allowed eggs or any product that comes from an animal. However, if you’d prefer to be a little more flexible with veganism but ensure you remain in the state of ketosis then yes of course. Eggs are very healthy.
Can i build muscle on a vegan keto diet?
Building muscle with a vegan keto diet can be fairly difficult because muscle love carbs and the glucose that comes from them. Muscles thrive best on glucose and you can exert a lot more power and strength when eating carbs. In addition, another way that a vegan keto diet can limit your muscle growth is because you’re likely to run out of energy quite quickly. Your muscle will lack glycogen stores and they won’t be working as efficiently as they could and you may struggle to exert enough power to get a hard and lengthy workout. For more information on keto diet and muscle building check out our other post.
In summary, a vegan keto diet is one that is low in carbs, medium in protein, high in fats and excludes any animal products. There are variety of benefits that come with a vegan keto diet, but it can also be unsustainable depending on your lifestyle due to low energy levels.
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Norton, L. and Baker, P. (2019). Fat loss forever. 1st ed