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How To Follow A Vegan or Vegetarian Keto Diet

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 25, 2022

Following the keto diet means minimizing your carb intake and maximizing your intake of healthy fats. Eating this way causes your body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, which causes your body to use fat for fuel rather than carbs.

While the keto diet has gained a lot of positive attention, most cookbooks and recipes are targeted toward people that eat meat and other animal products. Is it possible to follow plant-based ketogenic diet, or should vegans and vegetarians avoid keto?

The Benefits of a Keto Diet

One of the most notable benefits of the keto diet is weight loss. Since both ketogenic and vegetarian diets promote weight loss, it's a great option for people that are determined to lose weight. Low-carb diets like keto reduce the appetite, making it easier to cut calories.

Eating a keto diet can also help your body to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. While this restrictive diet isn't right for everyone, it's an option that's worth considering, even if you're vegan or vegetarian.

Can You Be Vegetarian or Vegan and Keto at the Same Time?

Animal proteins are one of the best foods to eat on the keto diet, which makes this diet less than friendly for people that don't eat meat. With that said, it is possible to follow a plant-based ketogenic diet if you're willing to put in the effort.

Your diet should include vegan protein sources, low-carb vegetables, and high-fat, low-carb fruits, like avocados. If you're a vegetarian, you may also want to include eggs and dairy products in your meal plan so that your body can get more of the fats and proteins it needs.

It isn't impossible for a vegan to follow a keto diet, but it is difficult. Since both diets are highly restrictive, you'll need to carefully plan your meals to ensure that your body gets the nutrients that it needs. The majority of your calories should come from plant-based fats, such as avocado, nuts, coconut, and flaxseeds. You should also include a protein source in every meal you eat, like tofu and seitan.  Fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut, are great choices, as are sea vegetables like bladderwrack. When following keto recipes, you can use coconut milk as a substitute for dairy milk.

How to Follow a Vegetarian Keto Diet

In order to bring your body into ketosis, you'll need to avoid sources of vegetarian protein that are high in carbs, such as legumes and quinoa. Instead, you should replace these foods with keto-friendly sources of protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, and tempeh. Every meal you eat should include at least one source of high-quality protein.

While you'll want to avoid most fruits, you can still enjoy berries while on a keto diet. Try to include plenty of high-fat foods in your diet, such as nut butters and Greek yogurt. Watch out for starchy foods with a high-carb content, like potatoes, rice, and corn.

Cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable that makes a great substitute for both potatoes and rice when it's prepared properly. Other vegetables that are a good fit for a vegetarian keto diet include spinach, mushrooms, celery, and cucumber.

How to Follow a Keto Vegan Diet

It isn't impossible for a vegan to follow a keto diet, but it is difficult. Since both diets are highly restrictive, you'll need to carefully plan your meals to ensure that your body gets the nutrients that it needs.

The majority of your calories should come from plant-based fats, such as avocado, nuts, coconut, and flaxseeds. You should also include a protein source in every meal you eat, like tofu and seitan.

Fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut, are great choices, as are sea vegetables like bladderwrack. When following keto recipes, you can use coconut milk as a substitute for dairy milk.

Raw Vegan Diet

Some vegans follow a raw diet, which means they only eat raw, uncooked foods. Raw vegans can follow a keto diet, but it will be very difficult for them to get the protein and nutrients they need.

Raw Vegan Soup Recipes

Even though soup is usually a hot food, you can enjoy chilled soups on a raw vegan diet. Coconut milk-based soups, like a chilled Tom Kha soup, are a good option, and so is an avocado gazpacho.

Raw Vegan Protein Sources

Edamame, nut butter, and seeds are all protein sources you can enjoy on a raw vegan keto diet. You can also enjoy cold tofu. A spicy tofu salad can be a tasty and keto-friendly lunch. There are plenty of low cal vegan recipes that are suitable for a raw keto diet.salted-edamame

What Not to Eat on a Vegan Keto Diet

In addition to avoiding animal products, you'll need to stay away from any foods that are high in carbohydrates. This includes breads, rice, legumes, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots. While you'll have to stay away from most fruits, berries and avocado are keto-safe.

You'll also need to avoid foods that are high in sugar, including popular vegan sweeteners like maple syrup and agave. It's best to stay away from any processed foods as well, including vegan meat substitutes. Many of these products include filler ingredients that could keep your body from going into ketosis.

Can You Combine a Vegan or Vegetarian Keto Diet With Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting, which involves abstaining from eating for long stretches of time, can aid in weight loss just like a keto diet can. You can safely combine fasting with keto, but you should follow a meal plan to make sure your body is getting enough calories.

If you're new to both keto and intermittent fasting, you should start fasting before you adopt your new diet so that your body has a chance to adjust to this new eating pattern. After you've been fasting for at least a week, you can start cutting carbs so that your body can enter ketosis.

FAQs

Is Vegan Keto Safe?

It's possible to follow a vegan diet safely, but you'll need to monitor your intake of calories and nutrients carefully. You may want to take a supplement to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.

Can You Eat Fruit on the Keto Diet?

Many fruits are high in carbs, which is why they taste so sweet. However, berries, like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain very few carbs and are safe in small portions.

Should a Keto Diet Be Temporary?

Many dieters have successfully followed a keto diet on a long-term basis. However, if you find this diet to be too restrictive, you can gradually transition back to a diet that includes more carbs.


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