Keto and Vegan – Is it Possible?

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The Keto diet has become very popular in the last few years. But if you are vegan, though, it can be challenging to have the large amounts of protein required for the diet. Plant-based meat offers many tasty alternatives, like plant based sausage, steaks and other products that make it easier to follow keto. This post will give you an overview of how to follow the ketogenic diet while vegan, plus some ingredients you can use. 

What Is The Keto Diet? 

The Ketogenic diet, also called Keto, involves eating as much protein and fat as possible and a tiny percentage of carbs. This type of diet can help with weight loss and other health benefits. The keto diet was commonly used to treat diabetes and as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children.  

Today, the keto diet is popular as a weight loss strategy. Other low-carb diets, such as the South Beach, and the Paleo, while low in carbs, are also moderate in fat. The ketogenic diet is unique for its high-fat content, as much as 70% of the diet. 

The keto diet works under the premise of depriving the body of glucose, inducing a ketosis state. 

What is ketosis? 

Cells get their main source of energy from glucose, which you typically obtain from carbs. What happens when you don’t give carbs glucose to the cells? They take their energy from ketones, a type of “cell fuel” produced from stored fat. Ketosis happens when ketones accumulate in the blood. 

In simple terms, when your body cannot burn carbs, it will burn fat. 

What are the benefits of the ketogenic diet?  

The Harvard School of Public Health analysed 13 different controlled trials, and found following a ketogenic diet can have beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. While weight loss was the main difference, patients following the keto diet improved other health factors currently associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and insulin resistance. 

What are the downsides of a keto diet? Too much ketones in the blood produce a state called ketoacidosis, which can be harmful. Therefore, the diet should be followed carefully to prevent forming excess ketones. 

What Can You Include in Your Keto Menu? 

When you start doing keto, it is common to wonder what can be in a keto diet and what cannot. Here is a brief list of most common options you can use to plan your menu:

  • Protein – Consume moderately with focus in organic options
    • Grass-fed beef
    • Fatty fish like salmon
    • Gluten-free plant-based meat 
    • Chicken but only the dark meat
  • Oil and fat –  Consume liberally with focus on healthy fat sources 
  •  Avocado oil
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Heavy cream
    • Butter
    • Occasionally you can include sunflower, safflower or corn oil. 

 

  • Fruits and vegetables – Consume liberally avoiding starchy vegetables
    • Avocado
    • Levy greens
    • Celery 
    • Asparagus
    • Leeks 
  • Nuts and Seeds – Consume liberally avoiding sweetened nuts or nut butters

Can You Do the Keto Diet if You’re Vegan? 

In recent years, the number of people choosing a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle has increased. If you are vegan, you’re committed to a plant-based diet, so you may be wondering how you can follow a keto diet while vegan. The keto diet cuts on many food groups vegans rely on, and it implies reducing your carb intake, replacing the carbs with healthy fats and vegan protein sources

But don’t worry, there are more options than you think! 

Tips for doing keto while vegan

Traditional keto diets rely a lot on meat and animal products. Keto-friendly options include vegan meat substitutes such as tofu, seitan and lightlife tempeh, which are high protein and low carb. Newbies to a plant-based diet don’t need to miss meat. Today, technology is giving us plant based meat that tastes great, replicates the texture and consistency of animal meat, and can be cooked in many ways. 

You can include all fruits and non-starchy vegetables as well as keto-approved oils. For dairy, substitute animal dairy for full-fat vegan dairy products, such as coconut yogurt, vegan butter, (not margarine) cashew cheese, or vegan cream cheese. 

Example of a Vegan Keto Meal Plan

 

Monday Breakfast: Chia pudding with ground flaxseed and shredded coconut

Lunch: Zucchini noodles with pesto and vegan cheese

Dinner: Veggie stir-fry with tofu

Tuesday Breakfast: Coconut yogurt with nuts, seds and shredded coconut

Lunch: Creamy carrot and coconut soup

Dinner: Vegan chili with sliced avocado

Wednesday Breakfast: Tofu scramble with vegan cheese and avocado

Lunch: Vegetable curry

Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza with non starchy vegetables and vegan cheese

Thursday Breakfast: Chia pudding with sliced almonds and blueberries

Lunch: Plant based meat burger with leafy green salad 

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with mushrooms and vegan Alfredo sauce

Friday Breakfast: Tofu scramble with vegan cheese, spinach and mushrooms

Lunch: Creamy vegetable soup with coconut cream, grilled tofu

Dinner: Eggplant and zucchini lasagna with vegan cheese

Saturday Breakfast: Vegan smoothie with full fat coconut milk, cocoa powder and fruit.

Lunch: Grilled plant based sausage and vegetables

Dinner: Zoodles mac and cheese

Sunday Breakfast: Vegan smoothie with coconut milk, spinach, kale and apples

Lunch: Large green salad with avocado, sauteed seitan, vegan cheese, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Dinner: Cauliflower Chinese fried rice

 

Snacks ideas

  • Sliced cucumber with vegan cheese
  • Make your own trail mix with roasted pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and mixed nuts with unsweetened coconut
  • Craving hot chocolate? Make yourself a coconut milk and cocoa smoothie
  • Guacamole and sliced bell pepper
  • Coconut or vegan yogurt with berries
  • Celery sticks with almond butter 

The Takeaway

The keto diet can be very beneficial for people looking to lose weight, maintain healthy insulin levels and reduce cholesterol. Doing this while also keeping a vegan lifestyle can seem challenging but including plant-based meat and vegan dairy products will ensure you can do both and don’t feel missing out. 

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