How do you implement a vegan keto diet?
So you’ve decided you want to try the vegan keto diet. Make sure you read THIS. Now, if you look online and elsewhere for keto diet plans, menus and recipes, you will find that they tend to be chock full of non-vegan items such as cheese, butter and meat As a result, you may be wondering “Is it possible to go keto and vegan?” Yes, it is indeed possible, though it can be a bit challenging. By all means, you can still be compassionate, avoid animal cruelty, and eat plant-based while going into fat-burning mode, or ketosis. Here’s how:
There are some principles you will want to keep in mind as you plan your own vegan keto diet. First of all, you will want to limit your carbohydrates to 25-35 net grams/day or less to get into ketosis. Some people may need to drop to 20 net grams/day to get into ketosis. Sound daunting? Well the good news is that once you have established ketosis, you may well be able to increase your net carb grams of carbohydrates to as much as 45 or 50 net grams/day.
What if you exercise? If you exercise at a pretty intense level, you are more likely to be on the higher end of the carb allowance. On the other hand, if you are pretty sedentary, you will have to stay at the lower end of the carb allowance. See our other article on how to calculate your macros [insert link to article here]. Second of all, make sure you eat LOTS of low carb vegetables (see infographic) for their nutritional benefits (fiber, vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient/health promoting content). Third, calculate your protein needs based on your personal goals (see article on tracking macros). Finally, get the rest of your calories from healthy fats such as flax seed oil and extra virgin olive oil. Keep in mind that the limited variety of foods allowed on this diet may mean that youMake sure you work with your health care provider to make sure you are also getting any recommended supplements due to the limited variety of foods on this diet.
Foods that are Allowed
So what can you eat? For a detailed food list, see our infographic below. Vegan meats like veggie burgers, veggie cold cuts, tofu, tempeh, seitan, wheat gluten, and other high protein, low carb meat substitutes will work. Dark green leafy vegetables and other low carb vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini are all allowed. Mushrooms of every type can be consumed. High fat “dairy” substitutes like vegan cream cheese, vegan coconut and nut cheeses, coconut cream, unsweetened almond and coconut milks and yogurts are all good. Other healthy fats like many nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oils like avocado, coconut, and ex are also allowed. Some people use a MCT (medium chain triglycerides) blend oil or red palm oil. Low carb sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit replace sugars and syrups. Sea vegetables like kelp, dulse, and other seaweeds are also allowed. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and low-glycemic berries like blackberries and raspberries are also allowed. Just because these foods are on the”allowed” list does not mean you can each just as much as you want, however. You will need to track your macros carefully to stay in ketosis, or fat-burning mode.
Foods that are not Allowed
There are some food groups that you will not use (which is why I question the validity of doing a keto diet for the longterm). You will need to eliminate high carb plant foods like grains (rice, oats,cereal, corn and wheat). Legumes are also high carbohydrate so are on the avoid list.Starchy vegetables are also on the avoid list. These include corn and peas, root vegetables and tubers like carrots, beets, potatoes, and parsnips. Most fruits (except for berries, as mentioned above) and all sugars and syrups are also to be avoided. These have a lot of simple sugars and you just don’t have a big enough carbohydrate allowance to include these. Besides you want to focus on nutrient dense foods to avoid deficiencies of vital nutrients.
Where do I find my proteins and fats?
In order to meet your protein requirements you will probably need some protein powder to meet your macros for protein. One of the cheapest is pea protein. I would recommend one that is GMO free and organic. You can get them flavored or unflavored. The unflavored ones are pretty versatile and can be added to smoothies, patties or burgers, or made into some great tasting bars with a coconut flour base. A lot of the best vegan protein foods are some form of soy. It’s important to make sure your soy products are organic and GMO free to avoid the problems associated with chemicals and DNA changes.
Getting enough fat should not be a problem with the variety of plant-based sources out there. Avocados, olives, nuts and seeds are all good sources. Coconut, avocado, olive, and MCT oils all can be used.
In closing, here a few more suggestions to help you be successful in implementing the vegan keto diet.Eat as much real food as possible and less of processed and refined protein foods like vegemeats. Check with your health care provider or a trained nutritionist to make sure you are getting the supplements you need to cover your body’s needs for Vitamins A,D,E,K, as well as zinc and iron. There are good vegan D3 supplements available now. Using lemon juice instead of vinager in anything you prepare, especially greens and other iron-rich foods, will help you to absorb more of the iron. It is recommended that vegans also supplement with a Vit. B12 supplement, like B12 dots, that dissolve under your tongue. That helps to improve B12 absorption, especially if there are any digestive issues like low acid production that can can interfere with B12 absorption. Soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds when possible can also help to increase nutrient absorption. Make sure you are getting enough iodine for thyroid health by including sea vegetables like dulse (flakes are excellent in salad dressings), roasted seaweed/nori which are now available in all kinds of flavors.