The Ultimate Guide To A Vegan Keto Diet
Veganism or a vegan diet is a lifestyle approach in which you abstain from consuming anything that is obtained from animals.
Dietary vegans do not eat meat, eggs, and all other dairy products. If you are a practicing vegan and you want to follow a keto diet, it could be a tad bit challenging to plan your meals. However, it is not impossible.
With the right planning and choosing good plant-based food alternatives, you can get all the benefits of the diet without having to compromise on your lifestyle practices.
The basics about keto
A keto diet or a ketogenic diet is a carbohydrate-restricted diet that encourages people to consume high quantities of fat, moderate quantities of proteins and very fewer carbs. There are different modifications of the diet depending on the amount of carbohydrates you are allowed to consume in a day.
- Standard Keto Diet (SKD) – 75% fat, 20% proteins, 5% carbohydrates.
- Targeted Keto Diet – You will be allowed to consume more carbohydrates depending on your workout schedule.
- Cyclic Keto Diet – You follow SKD for 5-6 days and include carbohydrates for the rest of the week.
- High Protein Keto Diet – You are allowed to consume up to 35% proteins in the diet and cut down on the fat content.
As you consume more fat, your body is pushed into a metabolic state where it starts using fat instead of glucose for energy. As you stay in a ketosis mode, you keep losing weight, your blood sugar levels come down and you start feeling more energized.
The challenges of following a vegan keto diet
For vegans, there can be a couple of starting challenges that you need to handle to follow the diet successfully. Few top ones mentioned by nutritional experts are:
- Most of the foods you like eating are considered ‘out of bounds’ or are not allowed in a keto lifestyle
- Your choices of protein-rich food are not as extensive as it is for the rest of the dieters
- You might not be meeting your calorie requirement if you do not plan right
- The chance of nutritional deficiencies is higher if you are not cautious
Having said these, if you have the right attitude about this, a vegan keto lifestyle will help you shed off the extra calories, get fitter, and help you handle a variety of lifestyle diseases including diabetes.
Fat rich keto food choices for vegans
Once you eliminate meat and dairy products from your menu, you are left only with plant derivatives that are rich in fat content and very low in carbohydrates. Here are some top fat choices you can use in plenty when you follow the vegan keto diet.
Coconut should be your best friend if you are vegan. Coconut milk, coconut oil, and coconut cream are all fat-rich and are amazing sources to help increase your nutritional intake without spiking your blood glucose levels.
In fact, a research article concludes that using coconut substitutes in a keto-based diet may also help postpone the signs of Alzheimer’s.
Stay away from refined oils and choose pure olive oil, coconut oil, and Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oils that can be used for sautéing, frying and general cooking. These oils are all rich in their fat macros levels.
So what if you cannot use regular butter for cooking? You can compensate by using different types of nut butter like:
- Almond butter
- Cashew butter
- Hazelnut butter
- Peanut butter
These are not only rich sources of fat but are super tasty too.
There are so many vegan dairy products available in the market now. Starting from cream cheese to butter, and yogurt, all these are good sources of fat and are not made with animal products.
You cannot not like avocados if you know what I mean! These are just amazing sources of fat and are delectable on the palate too. You can make guacamole out of them or make a tasty milkshake. Avocado salads are also filling and completely vegan.
Protein sources for vegan keto followers
Proteins are not very easy to find on a vegan keto diet. The most common sources of vegan proteins like legumes and lentils are carbohydrate-rich too. Here is a list of all top vegan protein sources that you can safely consume when on a keto diet.
- Tofu – 2 g of carbs and 9 g of proteins per 85 g
- Pepitas – 9 g of carbs and 35 g of proteins in a cup of the seeds
- Tempeh – 9 g of carbs and 19 g of proteins in 100 g
- Lupini beans - 12 g of carbs and 26 g of proteins in a cup (160 g)
- Nutritional yeast – 1 g carbs and 8 g proteins in 2 tablespoons
- Hemp seeds – 1.4 g carbs and 9.5 g of proteins in 3 tablespoons
Fruits and vegetables allowed on a vegan keto diet
As a vegan, fruits and vegetables may be your staple diet all through the day. The key when on a keto diet is to identify fruits and vegetables that are high in sugar and carbohydrate content and stay away from them.
Thankfully, you do have quite a lot of choices to pick from.
Here are some fruits and vegetables allowed on a keto diet and their corresponding carbohydrate content per 100-gram serving.
- Avocados – 1.8 g
- Berries – 4 to 8 g
- Cauliflowers – 3 g
- Cabbages – 3.3 g
- Peppers – 3 g
- All kinds of greens – 0.5 to 3 g
- Zucchinis – 2 g
- Cucumbers – 1.5 g
- Radishes – 4 g
- Eggplants – 3 g
- Broccolis – 4 g
- Tomatoes – 3 g
Foods to avoid
If you are a vegan who has grown up eating a wide variety of grains, legumes, lentils, and other staples, you may have to restrict or avoid these common vegan delicacies as they are carb-rich.
- All kinds of grains and starchy food
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn
- All lentils
- All beans and legumes
Needless to say, you should also keep away from all kinds of sugary beverages, processed foods, and sauces and condiments that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates.
While vegan food is generally considered low in nutritional value, when you cut back on grains, legumes, and lentils, your chance of nutritional imbalance is quite high.
This is why many vegans find it difficult to get all their needed micronutrients from their food choices alone.
If you want to get into ketosis and stay in that mode healthily, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about micronutrient supplements.
Do stay hydrated and drink enough water all through the day while on the diet. If you suffer from side effects like headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, and weakness, try supplementing your electrolyte levels by drinking water with a pinch of sugar and salt.
Keep a close check on your nutrient and calorie intake and you can easily follow ketosis while on a vegan diet.