What Does A Vegan Eat On A Keto Diet?
For most people, the Keto Diet is associated with bacon and egg breakfasts, roasted chicken sandwiches for lunch, and a steak dinner. With the average American eating about 217 pounds of meat per year, the Keto Diet is a seemingly great fit for Americans’ dietary choices. Of course, healthy animal-based fats, especially when sourced from free-range poultry and grass-fed, regeneratively-raised cattle is also a much healthier upgrade from the high calorie, nutritionally-empty refined starches and highly processed grains that make up much of the current “American” diet. The Keto Diet, however, isn’t just for people who love their meat and dairy products but is also entirely compatible with vegetarians and vegans. Below, we offer a complete guide to following the Keto Vegan Diet.
In 2018, the Keto Diet was the most “googled” dietary trend in America. While exact numbers are hard to determine, tens of thousands of people across the country are discovering the health benefits of low carb and high healthy fat diets. The Keto Diet is a nutritional formula that helps your body switch its main fuel source from glucose (a type of sugar that is highly present in grains and legumes) to ketones, which are compounds made by breaking down fat. While “traditional” nutritional advice has recommended reducing the amount of fat in our diet, using fats as an alternative fuel source can help people achieve weight loss goals, increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce their blood sugar levels, and control insulin and triglyceride levels.
Furthermore, when your carbohydrate intake is limited (generally, the Keto diet recommends a daily carb intake of no more than 15 to 30 net carb), the ketones produced by your liver can provide up to 70 percent of the energy requirements of your brain. Studies have suggested that a Keto diet might be able to improve memory and overall brain function.
On the other side of the dietary debate, vegans willfully avoid eating meat, dairy, or any animal-based product. According to some studies, a vegan diet has been shown to lower the risk of chronic health conditions. While chronic heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity affect millions of Americans, many vegans tend to avoid these common health ailments. In fact, strict vegans might have a 75 percent lower risk of suffering from high blood pressure and a 78 percent risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes.
Of course, vegans that avoid meat only to indulge in an “industrialized” diet high in refined sugars and processed grains will most likely suffer from many of the adverse health effects affecting large segments of the American population. When the positive aspects of the vegan diet are combined with the Keto diet, however, the potential health benefits can be rewarding.
Cutting out empty caloric intake from refined sugars and processed grains should be relatively easy for vegetarians and vegans. However, finding healthy, plant-based fats to help your body achieve a state of ketosis might be considered a problem. Let´s turn our attention now to how vegans can replace whole-fat dairy products and meat with wholesome plant-based fats.
Where to Find and Source High Fat Plant-Based Products
When most people think about eating vegetables and fruits, we probably think of light salads and a mid-morning fruit snack. While many plant-based foods do offer low-fat sources of healthy vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, many types of plant-based foods are also extremely high in fats. In fact, plant-based monounsaturated fats might be linked to a lower risk of heart disease. One recent study states that “replacing saturated fatty acids (SFA), trans fat, or refined carbohydrates by monounsaturated fatty acid from plants would be associated with a lower risk (of mortality).”
While it would be incorrect to state that the consumption of animal-based fats is directly connected to heart disease and other common health ailments, these studies do purport that there are several health advantages to increasing plant-based fat sources.
For Keto Vegans, plant-based fat products will make up the majority of their diet. Great sources of plant-based fats include:
- Large amounts of healthy plant oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil. These plant-based oils offer healthier sources of fat than more common corn, or soybean oil.
- Avocados and coconut products such as full-fat coconut milk, coconut cream, and other unsweetened coconut products.
- Nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts are also a great source of Omega-3 plant-based fats.
Omega-3 fat is especially important in a vegan Keto diet because of its prominence in plant-based fats. Fortunately, omega-3 fatty acids offer a number of important health benefits. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, these fats “are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”
Within the parameters of a Keto Vegan diet, Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from a number of foods, including flaxseed, hemp seeds, walnuts, rapeseed oil, and avocados.
Plant-based Proteins on a Keto Vegan Diet
Another important element of the Keto Diet is an adequate amount of healthy protein intake. In general, advocates of the Keto Diet recommend restricting protein to moderate levels, with an average intake of 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight, or about 0.6 grams per pound. For a person weighing 150 pounds, you should expect to eat about 85 to 110 grams of protein per day.
Since vegans will obviously not be getting any protein from meat or dairy sources in their diet, they also need to find good sources of plant-based protein. Fortunately, there are dozens of healthy sources of plant-based proteins including:
- The different types of nuts listed above.
- Seeds such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Nut and seed kinds of butter such as peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, amongst others.
- Pseudo grains such as quinoa and amaranth
- Certain non-starchy vegetables such as kale and broccoli.
- Tofu, tempeh, edamame, and other soybean-based product
Other Elements to Include in a Keto Vegan Diet
Plant-based fats and protein sources will make up the majority of a vegan Keto diet. However, vegans on the Keto diet can, fortunately, enjoy a much more varied diet than simply eating avocados for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other foods that should be included in a vegan Keto diet include a variety of non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, and peppers. Mushrooms and functional fungi can also offer a number of important health benefits.
For vegans who miss traditional dairy products which are an elemental part of the normal Keto diet, today several food brands are marketing vegan full-fat “dairy-replacement” products including vegan cream cheese, cashew cheese, vegan kinds of butter, and coconut yogurts. There are also several types of fruits that can be enjoyed in moderation including blueberries (an important antioxidant), strawberries, and raspberries, amongst others. Most herbal condiments can also be used to add spice and flavor to a vegan Keto diet, including lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, other spices, and nutritional yeast (which has been shown to add extra protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the vegan diet).
A Simple Keto Vegan Meal Plan
One of the biggest problems with meal plans is that they can limit the creativity and imagination that is the “fun” part of following a vegan Keto diet. Millions of people around the world are attracted to both the vegan and Keto diets, and this has allowed a tremendous amount of growth amongst health food brands that cater to these dietary trends. The vegan food market, for example, had a total value of $14.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026. The Keto food industry, in comparison, had a market size of $9.69 billion 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5 percent until 2027, potentially reaching a market size of $15.6 billion. Today, there is an increasing number of food brands that offer vegan products that have also achieved Keto Certification to help people stay in ketosis and achieve their nutritional-related goals.
To help stir your imagination, we briefly offer a short three-day meal plan that is compatible with the vegan Keto diet, including product recommendations from food brands that have achieved Keto certification.
- Breakfast: Vegan gruel/oatmeal alternative made from Barney´s Almond Meal and full-fat coconut milk. Add some Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts and some blueberries for added taste and texture.
- Lunch: Coconut and Cauliflower soup accompanied by Base Culture 7 Nut and Seed Bread.
- Dinner: Vegan Chili made from macadamia nuts and fresh avocado slices.
- Snack: Hungry Buddha Keto Bars
- Breakfast: Tofu and Vegan Cheese Omelet Scramble
- Lunch: Zucchini and walnut pesto pasta alternative.
- Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza from Caulipower with vegan cheese and kale topping.
- Snack: Nature´s Path Grain-Free Granola.
- Breakfast: with Malibu Mylk Flax seed milk.
- Lunch: Vegan macaroni and cheese made with cauliflower.
- Dinner: Tofu salad with spinach and avocado dressing.
- Snack: Dang Foods Keto Vegan Bars
Keto Vegan Brands
And finally, a few Keto Vegan brand recommendations to help make your transition to a Keto Vegan Diet more convenient:
- Oriya Organics Gather Paleo Plant Protein
- Caulipower Keto Vegan Riced Cauliflower
- Dang Foods Keto Vegan bars
- Chosen Foods Keto Vegan Avocado Oil
- Conscious Kitchen Keto Vegan Collagen Booster and Smart Fat Energy Bombs
- Creation Nation Pea Protein Bar Mix and Energy Bite Mix
- Good to Go Keto Vegan Soft-Baked Bars
- Health Garden Keto Sweeteners
- Healthy Truth Plant-Based Superfood Snacks
- Humming Hemp hemp protein, hemp oil, hemp bars.
- Hungry Buddha Keto Bars in chocolate chip, coconut cocoa, and espresso
- Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Avocado oil blends and spices
- Lemon Perfect Cold-Pressed Keto Certified Lemon Water
- Malibu Mylk Unsweetened Keto Vegan Flaxseed milk
- Manitoba Harbest Hemp Oil, Hemp Hearts, Hemp Protein and Fiber blend
- Natural Force Organic MCT oils
- NOOMA Keto Vegan Coconut Water Electrolyte drinks
- Nutiva plant-based butter and ghee alternative, hemp & chia treats, MCT oil, MCT powder and prebiotics
- Picnik Keto Vegan Coffee Creamer
- Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free and Keto Certified Superfood Granolas
- Keto Vegan Phat Fudge by Paleo Chef Mary Shenouda
- Purely Pecans Pecan Butter
- Pyure Organics Chickpea Flour Keto Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies
- RockIt Snacks Paleo, Vegan, and Keto Certified Nacho, Ranch, and Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds
- Saucy Lips Line of Gourmet Hot Sauces
- SeaSnax Strangely Addictive (truly!) Keto Vegan Seaweed snacks
- SOS Electrolyte Drink Mix
- Superfat Paleo, Keto, Vegan , On-the-Go Squeezable Nut Butters
- True Made Foods Zero-carb vegetable sriracha