Vegan Ketogenic Diet: Thriving While Living Meat Free

by Josh | Last Updated:  September 5, 2020
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When it comes to managing a keto diet, there are several things that you will want to consider. Of course, following the guidelines of keto itself is important.

This means that you are going to want to focus on turning your diet into a high-fat, low-carb diet. This will eventually induce ketosis, which has been proven to shed weight in a healthy and natural way, making it one of the most common diets out there.

However, some people want to take their diets a step further by going for a vegan version of the keto diet.

Going for a vegan ketogenic diet has been shown to improve health in a lot of ways by combining the benefits of a vegan diet with the benefits of a ketogenic diet.

It has been shown that vegan diets can lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes by over 70%. Ketogenic diets also help with weight loss and managing blood sugar levels, meaning that combining these two diets can do good things for your body as a whole.

The question then becomes if you are cutting out all animal products and trying to manage a high-fat, low-carb diet, how are you going to get the nutrients that your body needs to sustain itself?

First, you will need to understand how the ketogenic diet works. Once you have a grasp of that, you should then learn about the foods that you need to focus on for your daily meals and snacks.

After that, you should have a good idea on what types of foods will hinder your progress on a vegan ketogenic diet.

Vegan avocado lentils burger with vegetables - Living While On A Vegan Ketogenic Diet
Vegan avocado lentils burger with vegetables, looks tasty

How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work?

The ketogenic diet, which is often simply called keto or keto diet, works by putting your body into a state called ketosis. This is a metabolic state where your body burns off fat for energy extremely efficiently.

Rather than burning carbohydrates for energy, your body will be burning the fat inside instead. The fat turns into ketones in the liver, which have been proven to supply energy for the brain.

This means that you will be able to lose fat while still providing your body with the energy it needs to get through the day. The keto diet has also been shown to reduce the level of sugar and insulin in your blood as well.

Excess insulin and blood sugar is never good for your metabolism. You should talk to your doctor about starting keto if you are diabetic as this diet is designed to significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

Now that you understand how the keto diet is designed to work, you should now begin to think about what types of foods you can eat. You are still going to need your daily nutrients and finding a source of protein on a vegan diet isn’t always easy. However, with the right resources, you will be able to make this diet work out well for you and your body.

Finding Sources of Protein on a Vegan Keto Diet

One of the most troublesome parts of trying to manage a vegan keto diet is figuring out where to get protein from. Protein is not necessarily what you should be focusing on in this diet but it is something that the human body needs.

The dietary restrictions of veganism and keto can make it more difficult to find adequate sources of protein. Thankfully, there are a few foods to consider.

Full-fat tofu is a food that you will definitely want to look into as both a source of healthy fats and protein. One of the cruxes of the keto diet is making sure that you have high amounts of fat in your diet and full-fat tofu can provide just that.

Tofu is a dish that originates in China and has been consumed for over 2000 years at this point. In about half a cup of tofu, you can get around 10 grams of protein, which is around 20% of the recommended daily value.

This means that if you turn to tofu for the bulk of large meals, such as dinner, you will surely be able to get the protein that your body needs. In addition to this, full-fat tofu is going to have the fats that your body needs to burn energy.

Closeup of a block of tofu in a plate - Living While On A Vegan Ketogenic Diet
Closeup of a block of tofu in a plate

The good news about tofu is that it is completely vegan-friendly. One of the other names of tofu is bean curd, because that is exactly what it is. Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing those curds into the solid blocks that are known as tofu.

These blocks can actually come in varying degrees of softness, which is something that can give a little bit more variety to your meals.

Another protein-rich food that you will need to look for is tempeh. Tempeh is another Asian dish but this time, it originates in Indonesia. This dish is made from a natural and controlled process of fermenting soybeans.

Once the soybeans are fermented, they are pressed into a cake-like form that can provide a substantial amount of both protein and fat. One cup, or approximately 166 grams of tempeh, equals about 18% of the daily value for saturated fats, which is something you that will want to focus on for keto.

As for protein, one cup of tempeh is going to have 31 grams, or about 62% of the daily value, making it another wonderful vegan-friendly choice for your keto diet.

What Other Foods Should You Look at?

As you continue looking into a ketogenic diet that is vegan-friendly, you will need to think about sources of healthy fats that are low in carbs. Generally, coconut milks and creams are going to be a wonderful source of fat, as are oils.

Nuts and seeds are going to be your best option for snacks as these foods typically have healthy fats without the amount of carbs that most snacks have. Speaking of nuts and seeds, butters made from nuts and seeds are going to be perfect for adding flavor and more healthy fats to your diet.

As for vegetables, you will want to make sure that you are choosing vegetables that have little to no starch in them. This includes leafy greens, brussels sprouts, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and mushrooms.

All of these vegetables can be eaten on their own or added to an entree for some delicious flavoring. Avocados, while they are actually fruits, are also a wonderful food to look at.

Both whole avocados and guacamole can be used in a vegan ketogenic diet. For fruits in a vegan ketogenic diet, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all valid options, although moderation is key. These fruits tend to have a fair amount of sugar in them.

If you are looking to spice your food up a bit, there are a few condiments that are friendly to the vegan ketogenic diet. From natural yeasts to fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, there are a variety of spices that you can use to add flavor to any dish.

If you are switching from an extremely different diet, you might want to rely on these seasonings to ease you into the different taste palate of this type of diet.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

Now that you have a good understanding of what foods you should be focusing on when you are following a vegan ketogenic diet, you should also make sure that you know which foods to avoid.

On the chance that being vegan is also a change for you, you should know that you need to stay away from just about all animal-based ingredients.

This includes all meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, honey, egg whites, and so on. If it comes from an animal, then you shouldn’t be eating it. This is the crux of a vegan diet.

Aside from this, a ketogenic diet involves avoiding carbs. Grains, starches, and sugars are going to be the biggest ones to avoid. Beans, legumes, most fruits, and low-fat foods are all things that you should drastically reduce your intake of.

These foods tend to have either high amounts of carbs or other artificial sweeteners in them that would hinder the progress of going on a ketogenic diet.

Most alcoholic beverages actually have a fair amount of carbs in them, meaning that you will want to remove those from your diet as well. This typically includes beer, sweetened cocktails, and wines.

What About Snacks?

Everyone loves snacks and when you are on a vegan ketogenic diet, you are going to want to make sure that you have enough snacks on hand. These snacks are going to help you throughout the day and will make sure that you always have something to eat.

If you are looking for something that doesn’t have many carbs, trail mix with unsweetened coconut is perfect for this diet, as are nuts and coconut bars. For savory snacks, cauliflower tater tots and roasted pumpkin seeds are also perfect.

You could also consider some olives that have some vegan cheese in them if you are in the mood for that. If you are looking for something a bit sweeter, coconut cream with berries is going to be good.

The berries will add a wonderful fruity flavor to your snack. These are just a few of the options you could consider for snacks when you choose to go on a vegan ketogenic diet.

Final Thoughts on Living While On A Vegan Ketogenic Diet

Most assume that veganism and keto are competitive with each other but this couldn’t be farther from the truth, both of our lifestyles are aimed at moving to better, whole foods instead of packaged junk foods.

Though both camps have a tremendous amount of junk foods aimed at them by companies real adapters will aim to limit these as they can be detrimental over time to sustained success.

I hope that we can stop being dogmatic in the pursuit of health and all work together to see why our diets work and that is they remove the harmful mass produced, manipulated foods from consumption which makes our bodies more healthy.

It isn’t necessarily the “meat free” approach nor the “carb free” approach which helps us all, instead we should fight together to change the guidelines for the world to be whole foods meat and plant based which would help sustain everyone.

Before vegans sprout off against the meat portion of my personal diet, I buy grass raised and fed and finished beef that isn’t form large grain lots. I research and spend my time to know where I source foods to the best of my abilities.

Please before sprouting this debate explain to me how killing field rodents for your products is sustainable and animal friendly, or is it just not a big deal cause you don’t see them as casualties in this war?

I would love feedback and any discussion on this topic as I have thought about giving it a go before but it would be difficult for me as I enjoy meat.

I have issues with soy products, i am always willing to give anything a go for 30 days though to see what changes and impacts diet can have on your mind and body. As always please feel free to share this with people as I hope it helps out people overall and gives perspective that may be missing.

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.