Well, in short… yes it is actually a thing and some folks find it beneficial when done in the right way. Do to the nature of a proper ketogenic diet which is high on fat and low on carbs with moderate protein it’s sometimes difficult to think of this diet as being possible to collaborate with a vegan lifestyle, but it’s actually possible. Vegan diets exclude all animal products which makes things a bit tricky but with proper planning and a bit of extra prep work you can combine the two with success!
The Benefits of a Vegan-Keto Diet
Numerous studies have been performed on both of these diets respectively but there is still a lack of studies which focus on the combination of the two so this vegan-keto diet type is still considered a bit experimental. The vegan diet has been shown to have benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. As a quick example, studies observed that vegans tend to have a 75% lower risk for developing high blood pressure on top of a 78% reduction in risk of type-2 diabetes!
Alternatively, the ketogenic diet is known for its effective weight loss benefits, most people who embark on this diet also lose weight fairly rapidly do to it’s way of transitioning your body from burning primarily carbs for fuel to burning fat. The keto diet is very effective in helping the body to regulate blood sugar levels and can even show a reduction in heart disease for those who follow it strictly for a length of time. Another perk plenty of people tend to enjoy while on a keto diet is the lack of calorie restriction necessary in most cases. When a classic calorie restriction diet is compared to a keto diet, studies have shown the keto diet to win in terms of weight loss effectiveness.
Avoid These Foods
In order for your diet to be a vegan-keto one, you need to restrict your carb intake otherwise your body will not enter the ketogenic state. Since animal products are excluded on the vegan diet, things such as meat, eggs, poultry, dairy and seafood you’re going to have to be mindful of your shopping options. These are a variety of foods to avoid:
- Animal Based Ingredients such as egg white proteins, honey, whey protein.
- Seafoods like shrimp, fish, clams and mussels.
- Eggs in general, be it the whites or yolks.
- Dairy of any kind.
- Meat and poultry, if it was once alive then don’t eat it.
On top of the list of foods to avoid entirely there’s also a pretty handy list of stuff which should be reduced within reason in order to stay on the keto part of this diet. Here they are:
- Overly processed foods such as those found in most packages.
- Condiments & sauces which are high in carbs.
- Low fat diet foods as many of them tend to be high in sugar.
- Most alcoholic drinks (just be sure to check nutrition facts on these & use moderation)
- Fruits! Basically all of them but there can be exception for small portions of berries.
- Beans & legumes such as chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans.
- Sweeteners like various sugars of any sort, maple syrup and agave.
- Starchy veggies, potatoes, beets, winter squash and peas, look online for bigger lists.
- Drinks with sugar in them such as juice, soda, sweet tea, sports drinks and smoothies.
- Grains & starches such as cereal, rice, grains and pasta.
Your level of daily carb-intake will vary based on the individual. As a general rule of thumb on the low end you want to keep your daily carbs to around 20 grams per day, usually no more than 50 which is considered pushing the upper limit. Now, for many folks who have been on the keto diet a while, you’ll know your personal limit through trial and error and you can just stick to that.
Enjoy These Foods
On the other side of things, there are foods you are encouraged to enjoy while on a vegan-keto diet. The items in the list below are better suited to help satiate your hunger while keeping your body locked in a ketogenic state so you’re getting the benefits of a keto diet while remaining vegan in the process! Here’s a list of foods to eat on this diet: It’s in no way extensive-
- Vegan protein such as tempeh and full-fat tofu.
- Vegan full-fat “dairy” stuff like vegan butter, cashew cheese, coconut yogurt.
- Some berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and even strawberries in moderation. Always check nutrition facts on these and maintain portion control.
- Various condiments such as fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt & pepper and spices.
- Coconut based products like milk, cream and unsweetened coconut.
- Oils such as coconut, MCT, avocado and olive oil.
- Nuts & seeds like walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, chia seeds and macadamia nuts.
- Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts, various peppers, cauliflower and mushrooms of different sorts.
The keto potion of this diet is going to make picking out the right foods a bit tricky. You also have to be mindful of your potion control where carbs are concerned, not so much calories in this case as the ketogenic state your body will enter is going to begin to melt the fat off your frame within days of starting this diet.
Some Side Effects to Consider
There are some drawbacks to dieting in this way such as the necessity to supplement some things. Many people don’t mind the fact supplements are a part of a proper vegan diet, just know it’s something to think about.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin k2
- Omega 3 fats
The above are all examples of what some vegan dieters find themselves lacking and in need of supplementing. Do to the fact a vegan keto diet is extra restrictive you’re going to need to follow a supplement regimen in order to maintain good health.
There is also this nasty little thing commonly called the keto flu and it’s what separates those who are serious about a ketogenic diet vs those who are just dieting tire-kickers. The effects usually last up to a few weeks in some cases with two weeks being around the average. Side effects can include the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle cramps
- Brain fog
- Fatigue & Nausea
Now, there’s no guarantee you’ll experience any of these things, and in some cases you might find you’ve gone through most of them at one point or another. The thing to keep in mind is that the keto flu is just a part of the process and will go away once the body’s transition into proper ketosis has been reached. If you happen to experience any harsh side effects which cause concern then don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for advice and a possible check up.