How to Calculate Macros and Adapt Recipes
If you want to start a vegan keto diet, the thought of having to calculate your macros and figure out how to keep track of what you have consumed can be challenging. So let’s start by figuring out what your individual needs are for macros (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats).
Customized Macro Calculations
These calculations are based on your body measurements, activity level, and whether you are wanting to lose weight or maintain your current weight. The easiest way to do this is by using an online calculator. I think this is an easy to use one https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/. I start by plugging in the units I want to use (Imperial, which my case, is pounds and inches). Using Sample Annie’s data, I plug in the following information: female, 5 feet and 5 inches tall, 160 pounds, 38 years old, body fat percentage of 40 percent (they have a visual guide to help you estimate if your scale can’t do this for you), she’s moderately active, and she wants to lose weight. She wants a calorie deficit of 15 percent to help her reach that goal, and she chooses to consume 25 net grams of carbs, and since she’s active she chooses 0.8g or protein/pound. of lean body weight (100- percentfat = lean body weight percent) and select the calculate button. This handy dandy calculator then spits out her daily recommendations, which are: 1614 calories daily, with 134 grams of fat, 25 grams of net carbs, and 77 grams of protein. When you use these calculators, it’s important to choose your carb intake wisely. 20 grams perday will keep you in deep ketosis, but if you are relatively active some people can eat up to 80 grams perday and still be in ketosis. You will have to test for ketosis and adjust your carb intake down if you find you are not in ketosis. It’s also important not to overdo the protein if you want to stay in ketosis. If you eat too much protein your body will turn it into sugar and then burn that for fuel instead of staying in fat-burning mode.
I highly recommend using some kind of app that makes it easy to enter what you eat right as you eat it and then it will automatically calculate how much protein, carbs, and fat you have taken in. There are several that work well, one that I have used and find pretty easy to use is My Fitness Pal. Cron-o-meter is also used by many people. You can set up your macro goals in the app and easily track how much you consume. For detailed instructions on how to setup and use My Fitness Pal, check out this YouTube video How to Use My Fitness Pal, and part two, also. It is easiest to set up MFP with a laptop or iPad. Once it is set up, it is easy to do your meal intake using the convenient phone app. If you use this video, just plug in the macros you want to track and set goals based on your personal criteria as calculated above.
It will make it a lot easier to track macros from meal to meal if you have the macros for common foods and recipes you will be using. Having them easy to look up in an app like My Fitness Pal will make it easy to put together a meal plan.
Adapting keto recipes is another way to get ideas for dishes to make. There are lots of keto recipes on the internet but hardly any of them are vegan. So let’s talk about some ways that are easy to adapt the standard keto recipes to make them vegan.
You can replace regular milk with coconut milk (the full-fat, unsweetened type) in a 1:1 ratio. Where recipes call for butter you can use coconut oil, but be sure to choose the virgin, unrefined type. If you don’t care for the coconut flavor in the particular dish you are making, you can also use vegan butters like Earth Balance. Just make sure that any butter you are using has no hydrogenated oils are they are not good for your health. If a recipe calls for heavy cream, you can use coconut cream. Dairy cheese can be replaced with a vegan cheese. I like the Follow Your Heart brand, or Chao, and many people like Daiya brand as well. Miyoko’s Creamery also makes some amazing vegan cultured butters and cheeses. These come in many different flavors to replace dairy cheddar, gouda, American, and many others. There are also recipes for homemade nut cheeses that are delicious! Check out some by joining the Harvest Cook Recipes Facebook group. If your recipe calls for cream cheese, check out some of the delicious vegan soft cheeses like Tofutti. Yogurt and sour cream can be replaced with plain nut milk yogurts.
Eggs are used for two main purposes in recipes. One is for binding, or holding things together, and the other is for leavening, or incorporating air into finished product to make it light. If the main reason eggs are being used in a recipe is for binding, such as inpatties, crepes, loaf, etc., there are several options for replacement. Almond and coconut flour baked goods are an example of where eggs are used for binding. A very easy cheap option is flaxseed gel. Just mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed (brown or golden) with three tablespoons of water for each egg, and mix well. Using one quarter cup of silken tofu is another option. Tofu works best in brownies or baked goods that don’t need the leavening power. One tablespoon of soy flour can also replace an egg for binding purposes. Quick oats or oat flour also work well to bind patties and burgers. The amount you use will depend on how much liquid is in the recipe, so just use the oats to thicken the mix, remembering that it will thicken more as it sits. When you need eggs to make something light, the most economical option is powdered egg replacer — Ener-G brand is a good one. Just follow directions on the box for mixing with water to replace each egg. Follow Your Heart brand has a liquid egg replacement that can replace the fresh egg directly in any recipe. Whipped egg whites can also be replaced with aquafaba, the cooking liquid from light colored beans like garbanzos. That is a bit more complex and we’ll talk about how to use that in a future article.
These are usually replaced with vegan meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh, or other soy products. But let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to replace chicken breasts in a fried chicken recipe, so you will probably find it easier to start with a vegan protein or main dish recipe than to adapt a recipe where the main ingredient is meat.
Hopefully this has helped to make macro calculating and keto recipe adapting simpler for you. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.