Chances are, you heard of the keto diet or read some raving keto diet reviews on how fast people are losing weight.
Feeling enticed to try this high-fat, low-carb diet yourself?
But there is one problem. The conventional keto diet is full of bacon, cheese, meats, and cream.
You are a vegan and wonder, can a vegan eat a keto diet? If so, what can you eat on a plant-based keto diet?
How Can You Do Keto Dairy-Free?
The good news is, you can absolutely eat a ketogenic diet that’s completely vegan. And that means it’d be dairy-free, meat-free, and even void of sea vegetables.
They can even experience the same keto benefits of following a typical keto meal plan.
But I know, you’re probably thinking how do vegans get low carbs?
With a bit of tweak and careful planning! But with a list of high-fat vegan keto foods and low-carb keto foods, it gets far easier than you think!
So that leads us to this post which fully lays out what you can and cannot eat on a vegan keto diet. It also includes a 7-day keto vegan meal plan and menu for you to get started!
What Is a Vegan Keto Diet?
A vegan keto diet is a very low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that is solely based on plant-based foods.
Vegan diets are free from any animal products including dairy and seafood. They are relatively clean diets, thou they tend to be high in carbohydrates.
To eat a vegan keto diet, it’s essential that you reduce your carb intake. And fill the rest with high intakes of fats and adequate amounts of plant-based protein.
As for the macronutrient ratios, the same keto ratios apply to the vegan keto. Here are the breakdowns:
- Fat: 65-75%
- Protein: 20-25%
- Carbohydrates: 5–10%
This equates to about 25-50 grams of carbs a day based on a 2,000 calories a day diet.
To create a vegan keto diet plan, you need vegan meals that line up with these macro portions.
This is particularly essential on any keto diet to achieve the goal of a keto diet, which is to reach ketosis.
In this state, your body burns fat rather than carbs or glycogens to fuel your body. By switching the body’s energy sources in ketosis, many people achieve fat and weight loss.
Going low-carbs on vegan keto is essential in getting your body to this state to lose weight and burn fat.
Benefits of a Vegan Keto Diet
There are no studies directly examining the benefits of a vegan keto diet.
However, a study from 2014 explored the effects of an Eco-Atkins and low-carb vegan diet.
Eco-Atkins is similar to keto vegan in a way that they both restrict carbs and only eat plant-based. Both diets also induce ketosis.
In this study, they compared the effects of a low-carb vegan diet and that of a high-carb vegetarian diet.
Participants on a low-carbohydrate vegan, Eco-Atkins ate a diet based on 26% carbs, 31 % protein, and 43% fat.
All while, those of a high-carb vegetarian diet ate a diet that takes energy from 58% carbs, 16 % protein, and 25% fat.
The researchers of the study found that those on an Eco-Atkins reported benefits such as:
- significant weight loss
- reduction in total cholesterol
- a decrease in triglyceride level
- lower density LDL cholesterol
- improved risk factors for heart disease
Read more about the benefits of a low-carb vegan diet, Eco-Atkins here.
One main benefit dieters often seek when going on a keto vegan diet appears to be rapid weight loss.
Keto diet, in particular, is known to cause such drastic and rapid weight loss and fat loss.
One study done on the effects of a keto diet had findings that back this benefit. In their study, obese participants saw a reduction in their weight and BMI following keto.
Furthermore, the diet led to a lower level of LDL and HDL cholesterol, and blood glucose.
To read more: keto diet’s weight loss benefit backed by science.
A recent study on a plant-based diet also links the weight loss and vegan diet.
In a 2017 study, it was reported that those on a vegan diet tend to have lower BMI than those on a non-vegan diet. Moreover, they indicated that those in a vegan diet lost 2.02 kg more than those in a non-vegetarian diet.
To sum up, studies done on similar subjects as keto vegan diet suggest many of its benefits. Weight loss, fat loss, lower BMI and total cholesterol are some of the main benefits of a vegan ket diet.
Keto Side Effects
High-fat, low-carb Keto diet is said to have its own health benefits. They include fat loss, weight loss, better brain functions, to better overall health.
But the Keto diet is also known to be effective in managing blood sugar and lowering heart disease risks.
Nonetheless, transitioning and adapting to a ketogenic diet can be challenging.
As your body transitions from a carb-based diet to a low-carb, high-fat diet, you may feel side effects.
It’s often referred to as Keto flu, and it’s typical for first-timers to go through this period.
Side effects of the Keto vegan diet you may experience include:
- Poor concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty sleeping
When you are experiencing Keto flu symptoms, there are a few tips you can use to remedy and ease the experience.
Staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and eating a lot of fiber-rich foods are known as Keto flu cure.
If your condition allows it, light activity like walking is also said to help.
If you experience any severe keto flu symptoms, be sure to see your local health professional.
What Foods Are Not Allowed on the Vegan Keto Diet?
- Grains: corn, wheat, cereal, rice, etc.
- Legumes: peas, black beans, lentils, etc.
- Sugar: agave, maple syrup, honey, etc.
- Fruit: bananas, oranges, apples, etc.
- Tubers: yams, potato, etc.
Think of it like this. Starchy and sugary plant foods are high in carbs. Omit them from your Keto diet.
Now let’s look at low-carb foods that you can eat on a vegan keto diet:
Food You Can Eat
- Vegan proteins: tofu, tempeh, seitan, and other low-carb vegan “meats”
- Low-carb greens: spinach, mizuna, kale, watercress. Other low-carb vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, etc
- Mushrooms: enoki, shimeji, shiitake, king oyster, etc.
- Plant-based “dairy”: full-fat coconut milk, unsweetened coconut yogurt, coconut cream, vegan cheese, unsweetened nut milk, etc.
- Nuts: pistachios, macadamia nuts, almonds, etc.
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Low-carb, low-glycemic fruits: avocado, blackberries, raspberries, and other low glycemic berries
- Sea vegetables: kelp, dulse, etc.
- Fermented foods: Kim Chi, natto, sauerkraut, etc.
- Sweeteners: monk fruit, erythritol, stevia, erythritol, and other plant-based keto sweeteners
- Oils and fats: coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, truffle oil, olive oil, etc.
For a more detailed guide on these low-carb foods and their nutritional breakdowns, we have a page for it. Check-out our Ketogenic Diet Food List to get the comprehensive list and their macro info.
By eating foods from the “Do Eat” list, you can follow a vegan Keto diet and meet most of your nutritional bases. They provide all macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) without packing up carbs.
Also, most of your foods while on a vegan Ketogenic diet come from this list, so have this list handy.
I admit. Making every Keto recipe without animal products vegan takes some effort. But with some easy food swaps and some careful planning, you can veganize most keto recipes out there!
7-day Vegan Diet Plan
- Breakfast: Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Smoothie
- Lunch: Low-carb avocados salad with almond
- Dinner: Tofu stir-fry served over cauliflower rice
- Breakfast: Baked Tofu, avocado, and vegan pesto
- Lunch: Zucchini noodles with pesto and vegan cheese.
- Dinner: Grilled Zucchini avocado salads with walnuts and a drizzle of MCT oil.
- Breakfast: Chia almond pudding made with full-fat coconut milk.
- Lunch: Broccoli creamy coconut soup.
- Dinner: Baked asparagus with tofu drizzled with avocado oil
- Breakfast: Coconut yogurt topped with crushed nuts, seeds, and unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Lunch: Crispy Tofu & Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry
- Dinner: Seitan Negimaki
- Breakfast: Tofu scramble with vegan cheese, mushrooms, and spinach.
- Lunch: Vegetable and tofu salad with avocado dressing.
- Dinner: Eggplant lasagna made with vegan cheese.
- Breakfast: Peanut Butter avocado smoothie
- Lunch: Green curry kale & crispy coconut tempeh
- Dinner: Cauliflower tofu fried rice.
- Breakfast: Coconut almond chia pudding.
- Lunch: Green salad with tempeh avocado, vegan cheese, and pumpkin seeds.
- Dinner: Vegan cauliflower mac and cheese.
Vegan Keto Snacks
Here’s a list of vegan, low-carb Keto snacks to keep your appetite in check between meals.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Crude Coconut Butter with vegetarian saltines.
- High-Fat vegetarian protein bars
- Nuts and Nut Butters.
- Dim Chocolate
- Cacao Nibs.
- Nut and coconut bars
- Vegetarian cocoa smoothie
- Trail blend with blended nuts, seeds, and unsweetened coconut
- Dried coconut drops
- Simmered pumpkin seeds
- Celery sticks finished with almond margarine
- Coconut drain yogurt finished with slashed almonds
- Guacamole and cut ringer pepper
- Cauliflower potato tots
Supplement with Vitamins and Minerals
Though a vegan Keto diet is totally doable, it comes with its own set of challenges.
One is to meet all your nutritional needs solely from vegan food sources. In particular, vitamin D, K2, B12, omega-3s, iron, calcium and such tend to be low in vegan diets.
To be well-nourished nutritionally, consider taking supplements for ones you may lack.
The Take-Home Message
To sum up, the vegan Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet based on whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods.
It’s simply a combination of vegan and ketogenic diets.
A vegan Keto low-carb meal plan may lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
It may be challenging following such a strict diet especially in the beginning. But certain benefits may make the efforts worth awhile.
But as always, consult with your local physician before starting any new diet.