The Ketogenic Diet has been around for a very long time and is popular due to the impressive results it yields. This diet is high in fat, has moderate protein and is lower in carbs. So when you here someone saying ” I’m on a vegan keto diet,” you may be shocked. The high carb low fat (HCLF) vegan lifestyle is very prominent and what many vegans choose to follow. So you can imagine this way of eating (high fat, low carb) would not be very popular amongst the HCLF advocates.
But it is possible, and that is why recently there has been a rise of people switching over to a vegan keto diet. This is what you need to know to get started.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that the body goes into. While there are many benefits of ketosis, weight loss is probably the most common reason for people choosing to follow a keto diet. Carbohydrates are the bodies main fuel source, and when depleted the body is unable to keep the glycogen stores filled up. Your body will therefore need to find another fuel source, and this is when your body starts to transition into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in ketosis it will begin to convert fat into ketones which will be used for energy. Therefore your are burning fat for energy.
Determining Your Daily Carbs
When starting any keto diet it is advised to start at 20g net carbs per day. This would be okay if you were eating animal products as they do not contain carbohydrates. Plant foods do however contain carbohydrates, so it is more realistic to try 30g net carbs per day. It is important that you do include carbohydrates in your diet as your body requires nutrients from all food groups. You do however need to monitor what you are eating. Each person is different and some people may still be in ketosis if they eat 50g net carbs per day. There is some room for movement and you just need to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Ease Into It
If you’ve ever drastically changed your pattern of eating then you will know that being too strict and changing what you are used to too quickly could actually hamper your efforts. Instead it is advised that you ease into this way of eating. Prepare low carb meals and really listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Once you feel comfortable, have experimented with a couple of recipes and enjoy this way of eating, then you can begin to track calories. If tracking calories is not your thing then just always try to eat as low carb as possible.
Intermittent Fasting is a great tool to add to your lifestyle if you are trying to lose weight. It is a style of eating whereby you still eat the same amount of calories that you usually would, but you shorten your eating window. Without going into too much detail it is a great way to not spike your insulin levels and it will help you to burn fat. You can read more about IF (intermittent fasting ) here.
What To Eat
The main foods that you will be consuming have a higher fat content. You will also be consuming low carb vegetables and protein.
Fats and oils are basically a freebee. They are low in carbs and high in fat. Therefore ideal for this way of eating. You’ll want to ensure that you have good quality olive oil and coconut oil. Higher quality oils are better as they will not go rancid like lower quality oils do. For the most nutrients and highest quality opt to purchase oils that are extra virgin and cold pressed.
When not highly processed oils contain minerals and vitamins. A good source of whole fats come from avocado’s, coconuts and olives.
Nuts & Seeds
If you are going to follow a vegan ketogenic diet then you will need to know about nuts and seeds. They are high in fat and protein and low in carbs. They taste delicious and will keep you full for a longer period of time. Peanuts are technically a legume and legumes are higher in carbs so they are not typically included in the diet. But it is up to you if you would like to consume them.
Nuts & Seeds Net Carbs (g/oz)
Flax seeds: 5g
Pecans: 1.1 g
Brazil Nuts: 1.3 g
Macadamia Nuts: 1.5 g
Dried coconut: 2 g
Pumpkin seeds: 2.2g
Sunflower seeds: 3.7 g
Many low carb diets are particularly low in vegetables for fear of exceeding the daily carb intake. But vegetables are crucial as they provide lots of minerals and nutrients. And they are better absorbed when the vegetables are cooked and accompanied by a fat. Greens are typically between 2-5 g net carbs when raw, and between 2-4 g when cooked.
Low Carb Veggies Net Carbs
Broccoli: 1.6 g
Cauliflower: 1.8 g
Raw Spinach: 2g
Fruit is higher in carbs so most people eating this way tend to avoid it. As fruits are high in sugar you will want to stick to eating berries as they are nutrient dense and contain antioxidants.
Low Carb Protein Sources
As the vegan keto diet does not include animal proteins you will be getting your protein from low carb protein powders and other foods. Vega is a great source of vegan protein powder. There are also various meat substitutes available at supermarkets that are low carb. Just be sure to check the labels first. You are a little more limited when it comes to your choices for vegan keto protein sources. Many natural sources of protein are higher in carbohydrates. You can easily add some protein to your meals by adding nutritional yeast to some of your meals. This is high in protein and tastes delicious! Just be sure to check the label for the net carbs as they will differ from brand to brand.
Low Carb Vegan Protein Sources ( Protein/ Net Carbs/ Serving Suggestion)
Hulled hemp seeds 10g/ 0g/ 3 Tbsp
Tofu : 10g / 1.9g / 1/2cup cubes
Peas: 5g /9g /2/3 cup
Almonds : 6g /2.5g /1/4 cup
Peanut Butter : 6g / 4g / 2tbsp
Soybeans (edamame): 11g /6 g/ 1/2 cup
Eating a vegan keto diet does not have to be difficult. You just need to ensure that your meals are well prepared and that you do not go zero carb. Including absolutely zero carbs in your diet is unsustainable. Here are some great recipes to get you started on the vegan keto diet.
Source: Sweet As Honey
Source: Eat Yourself Skinny
Source: Delish Knowledge
Source: Healthful Pursuit