April 27, 2020 10 min read

What are you looking for in your diet and workout routine? Heath benefits? Fitness? Weight loss? Muscle strength? Endorphins that lead to happiness? You can actually find all of these in the Vegan Keto Diet. 

What is the Keto Diet?

The Keto, or Ketogenic diet, is a  high-fat, low-carb diet with no added sugars that is designed to change the effects on your metabolism, bringing it back to the body’s metabolisms during hunter and gatherer times. This type of metabolism is called ketosis. 

Ketosis Definition

So what is ketosis? First, you need to know what happens when your metabolism doesn’t use ketosis. Normally, the body takes its energy from glucose, which the body stores from carbohydrates. When there’s too much glucose, the body just stores that energy for later. That’s how we gain weight! If you’re not using up all that energy it just grows and converts into glycogen and fat. 

To be smarter about what your body is storing and using, you can switch up your system so that it converts fat into energy instead. To do this, you just take the usual system one step further. You see, when your body doesn’t have enough glucose to convert into energy, it goes for fat instead. 

To do that, it breaks down the fat stores and uses glucose from triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Ketones are a byproduct of the process of the conversion of fat stores into energy. They are acids that build up in the blood. When they break down, they exit the body through urine. 

Triglycerides actually thicken your arteries and blood cells, so the energy stored there has to be used relatively quickly. If it doesn’t get used, this ends up causing problems like Diabetes and heart attacks. 

All diets should be accompanied by exercise, but moving your body into ketosis requires extra vigilance to make sure you’re maintaining your workout routine. 

Who Should Do the Keto Diet?

Carbs are good for people who do high-intensity cardio workouts with less muscle building. Long-distance runners and cyclists need a lot of carb intake to produce the energy they need for many hours of endurance. If you fit that category, you will (of course) need more than just carbs. The best strategy is to eat carbs before and during your workout, then to intake a lot of a protein directly after. 

Some experts recommend eating some kind of post-workout snack that helps your body adjust to the intense exercise it just accomplished. A tall glass of whole milk or a serving of yogurt can serve the recovery process really well. 

For those who focus more on building muscle strength, the Keto diet is a great choice. To build muscle, you don’t need an excess of carbohydrates, although some more traditional methods will say otherwise. The thing is, carbs give you energy. With ketosis, you still get the same level of energy, you’re just accessing it in a different way. When it comes down to it, shat really boosts your ability to build strength is protein. 

The Keto diet is also great for those looking to lose weight. Simple logic tells us that if your body isn’t storing the extra glucose from carbs and sugars, your body will not have an excess to convert into fat. Many people who have tried out the Keto diet have boasted fantastic results. 

Difference Between the Keto Diet and the Vegan Keto Diet

The difference between the two isn’t huge. Really, the vegan version is just the plant-based rendition of the Keto diet. 

For those who already follow a vegan diet, you probably already know that many vegan diets tend to be very high in carbohydrates and up in a lot of weight gain. Many vegan eaters tend to fill up on starchy products like rice, bread, and beans. Of course, these foods are filling, but rice and bread especially don’t have a lot of good nutrients that will produce lasting effects on your body. 

One of the most common questions a vegan eater gets is, “How can you get enough protein?” The answer is, many vegans don’t get enough protein! Make no mistake. There are plenty of high-protein foods that come from plant-based sources. You just have to conscientiously make the effort to incorporate them into your daily diet. 

Sometimes it’s hard to discipline yourself to keep track of how much protein you’re eating every day and to make sure you’re getting enough. That’s why following a diet can be a much more simple option. When you have some guidelines written up, all you have to do is stick with them. There’s no food journaling or temperature-taking involved. 

Some nuts and cranberries.

The “Nutty-Gritty” Details of the Vegan Keto Diet 

So what exactly does this diet entail? What are these famous plant-based proteins that promise to make me thinner and stronger and still stay away from eating animal products? 


Here are some of the main sources of Vegan Protein: 

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Nut Butters

Nuts

All nuts are allowed and welcomed in the Vegan keto diet. Some of the cheapest ones that you can stock up on in bulk are pecans, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and almonds. The more expensive ones that can be used more sparingly or in a special recipe are pistachios and pine nuts. 


Some great ways to use nuts in every meal include:

 

  • Sprinkling them over your salad
  • Adding them to a stir fry
  • Making a “breading” 
  • Turning them into a cheese or sauce
  • Adding them to a smoothie, 
  • Making a salad dressing
  • Roasting and seasoning them as a snack 

Seeds

You may not realize it, but there are dozens of delicious types of seeds out there, each with its own unique and special taste. Here are some of our favorites and the best way to prepare them.


  • Chia Seeds: These are incredibly versatile, but are mostly known for their texture, which can totally change up a meal. A chia seed and coconut milk pudding is a fantastic breakfast or snack and is full of health benefits
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Sometimes simple is the best approach. Pumpkin seeds roasted with oil and salt are to die for. 
  • Sesame Seeds: These are good with a little sweetness added to them. There’s no need to worry about sugar when you can flavor them with a touch of honey. They go great in Chinese dishes, sprinkled over your vegetables. 

Nut Butters

Every refrigerator keeps a stock of the famous peanut butter. Some also include an almond butter for a little variety. Both are good, as long as they don’t have any sugars. But there are many other types of nut butters that produce a totally different taste from these two classics. 


Savory Butters:

  • Cashew 
  • Pistachio 
  • Almond
  • Peanut
  • Walnut 
  • Macadamia

“Sweet” Butters:

  • Hazlenut 
  • Pecan

Savory butters are excellent when paired with fruit, vegan cheeses, and as vegetable dips. Sweet butters don't actually use sweeteners but can have added spices like cinnamon and can serve as a “spoonful to help the medicine go down,” which is also known as a pick-me-up. They can also be used as a dessert when paired with berries like strawberries. It's the best way to add protein sources to your treats. 

Other Components of the Vegan Keto Diet

Since the main emphasis of the Vegan Keto diet is not even protein, there are so many other options on the menu. The main purpose is consuming fats. What are some of the most recommended and suggested fats? 

  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Olives

Of course, all of these can and should be, used as oils too. Coconut oil is a delicious ingredient in vegetable sautees. There’s no reason a diet needs to be boring. Coconut milk or coconut cream make the perfect base for a vegetable curry. You won’t even notice a lack of cream or anything else. Mix the right spices and pour it over some cauliflower rice and you’ve got a tasty feast. 

Avocado oil mixes well with roasted seeds. Pumpkin seeds roasted with avocado oil is a perfect treat. Avocado oil is lighter than other oils, so it provides a rich flavor, but leaves you feeling light and refreshed instead of weighted down. Using an excess of many oils can leave you with a feeling of heaviness and greasiness, so make sure to use the oil sparingly for the best results. 

Olive oil is probably the most common cooking ingredient. It’s worth noting that extra virgin oil is worth getting, even though the price is a bit higher. When the olives are less processed, more nutrients stay inside, giving your body better benefits in the end. Besides the nutrients, the taste is much more fresh and original.  

A fresh and tasty olive oil mixed with some vinegar and red pepper makes a delicious and healthy vegetable dip. 

Vegetables: More Than a Side Dish

Many restaurants and even family menus feature vegetables as an optional side dish. They are often seen as the afterthought. Once you ‘ve consumed all the meat and potatoes you can stomach, they nibble at a few vegetables and then leave the rest. Sadly, even a lot of vegan foods focus only on starchy vegetables instead of low-fat, low carbohydrate dishes that are tasty and interesting. 

With the Keto diet or any healthy lifestyle for that matter, vegetables should be the main attraction. They’re not just good for losing weight, but also for a healthy immune system. One of the main reasons many families and individuals skip the veggies and go for something else is a lack of interesting ways to prepare them. 

One of the common mistakes is overcooking vegetables. Many people wait until the vegetables are completely soft and even mushy, which gives them an unpleasant texture and cooks out all the good vitamins you should be getting

In a stir-fry type dish, here are the vegetables that need to be cooked longer and should be added to the pan first:

  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Shallots
  • Fennel
  • Mustard Green
  • Okra
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Asparagus

It’s best to add your spices in the beginning when you add these tougher vegetables that take longer to cook. Spices are best when put in first so they have time to soak their flavors into the dish. 

Here are the dishes that taste best when they are lightly cooked and still have a bit of crunch:

  • Broccoli
  • Snap Peas
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Jicama
  • Cabbage
  • Bell Peppers
  • Kale

The moment when you know these vegetables and leafy greens are done, their color brightens and they get just soft enough to bite through easily. If they are left too long, their color actually dims and they start to fall apart as you stir the dish in the pan. 

The reason most people love meat so much is because of the texture and seasonings. You can find similar textures through mushrooms and eggplant, so try to use these if you’re craving a stronger texture. Sometimes tempeh can hit that sweet spot for you too. Mushroom burgers or eggplant tacos are a common meat replacement and satisfy that craving and texture. 

Remember that seasoning can drastically change the taste of your vegetables too. Sometimes a simple salt, pepper, and garlic seasoning can be perfect, but other times, try mixing it up with different types of pepper, curry seasoning and curry paste, miso, and nutritional yeast (for a cheesy effect). 

A person holding grapes.

Fruit: Use it to Satisfy Your Cravings

Most people are addicted to sugar without even realizing it. Don’t be surprised if you go through some withdrawals when you quit sugar cold turkey. The great thing is, after some time without sugar you will start to really appreciate the natural sweetness of fruit and berries. After a while, when you’re craving something sweet for a dessert or snack, your eye will automatically turn to fruit and be totally satisfied. 

Here are some of the best fruits to keep in stock so you can grab them at a moment’s notice (when you’re craving the artificial sugars):

  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • A crunchy apple
  • Pineapple

We all know that when you first start a diet, you’re on top of your game, disciplining yourself to eat only the whole foods you should. As time goes by, that’s when people start to slide. One of the best ways to manage your cravings and prevent mistakes before they happen is to keep a good variety in your home at all times. If the only fruity you keep at home is a bundle of rotting bananas, you’re not going to be very motivated to reach for fruit when you’re feeling snacky. 

If instead, you keep fresh looking berries, quality brands of juicy apples, and lots of variety, you’re going to have something to tempt you when you open the fridge looking for something appealing. That’s going to keep you much less likely to opt for ordering takeout or munching on a processed snack. 

What You CAN’T Eat on the Vegan Keto Diet

It’s more fun to focus on the positive and think about the delicious things you can put in your body, but we have to take a moment to set some boundaries. Here’s what you can’t eat on the Vegan Keto Diet: 

  • Sugar
  • Grains
  • Starch
  • Meat 
  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • Refined Oils

Some of these are harder to cut out than others. Grains and starches are tricky because that even means things that are actually healthy. Some of those would be brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat flour, potatoes, and whole-grain slices of bread. 

While these products are generally healthy for someone who is just looking to make healthier choices, they are not appropriate for the keto diets because they cause your body to build up glucose, which then makes your metabolism get its energy from carbs. That defeats the whole idea of ketosis, so you have to be really strict with yourself on these ones. 

How to Replace Your Everyday Staples with Keto-Friendly Options

We’re going to give you three concrete examples of products you can use to replace your old daily habits with a keto-friendly meal plan. 

Toast for breakfast: Instead of bread and butter, use a nut butter and pair it with a cauliflower bread. This diet has become very popular in recent years, so you’ll find yourself in luck at the grocery store. Many health food aisles now stock keto bread, so keep your eye out for that. 

Oatmeal: Replace it with chia pudding or avocado pudding. There are some amazing recipes for both of the keto staples and you will find it a satisfying alternative to this morning meal. 

Your Favorite Salad Dressing: Believe it or not, Hidden Valley is not the only option here! You can make your own ranch dressing by making a creamy nut base and adding appropriate seasonings. You’d be surprised how far nuts can take you. Once they are blended until smooth, they create a rich and even cheesy texture that provides a great base for dressings, sauces, and drizzles.