The Vegan Diet is rising in popularity. This is due to society becoming more aware of the ethical benefits associated with the Vegan Diet. Another popular diet is the Ketogenic Diet which is fast gaining a good reputation due to its weight loss, and health promoting effects.
With this in mind, a Vegan Ketogenic Diet would seem to be the ultimate diet for weight loss, health, and ethics.
A Vegan Diet is generally high carbohydrate; plant based, and contains no meat or dairy. Whereas, a Ketogenic Diet is high fat, low carbohydrate, and contains both meat and dairy.
Both diets seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, could they possible meet in the middle? The answer is yes!
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A Ketogenic or Keto Diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate (carb) ratio. The ratio is 75% of calories for fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. You should try to keep carbs below 50g per day to start with, and could eventually go as low as 20g.
It is important to note that the amount of calories will vary for individuals. This is dependent on age, sex, weight and activity levels.
The Keto Diet has the ability to burn fat, and improve many health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
The benefits of a Keto Diet don’t stop there! Expect improved mental and physical performance and fat loss too.
The term Keto comes from Ketosis, which is the process where the body burns fat in the absence of glucose (carbohydrate). Eating a low carbohydrate diet like the keto diet, pushes the body into ketosis. You can now see how the Keto Diet enables the body to burn fat.
It is important to note that the Keto Diet is not suitable for everyone. For example, those on diabetic medication, high blood pressure medication, and pregnant women.
There are also some normal side effects to be aware of. When transitioning to a low carb diet, there will be a period of time where you may experience some symptoms.
Although these symptoms don’t seem pleasing, this will pass within a few days to weeks. One way to reduce the side effects is to reduce carbohydrate intake slowly. There is a higher chance of these symptoms occurring if you cut carbs too quickly, causing cold turkey.
What to Eat On a Vegan Ketogenic Diet
The most important details to remember are:
Eat less than 50g of carbohydrate per day.
Do not eat any animal products.
Consume plenty of healthy fats.
Eat lots of low carb vegetables.
To get started with a Vegan Ketogenic Diet, use this simple list of what to eat and not to eat.
What to eat:
Leafy green veg (kale, spinach, greens, lettuce).
Low carb veg (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, celery).
Low carb fruit (berries, lemon, lime).
Nuts and seeds (almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds).
Healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, MCT oil).
Dairy alternatives (coconut yogurt, almond milk, vegan cheese).
Meat alternatives (tofu, tempeh).
Mushrooms (shiitake, etc.).
Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, miso, kim chi).
Sweeteners (stevia, xylitol)
As this is not an extensive list of what to eat, it is important to note that not all vegetables/fruit/nuts are low carb.
Generally speaking, most vegetables that grow above ground are low carb. Vegetables that grow below ground are higher in carb, i.e. sweet potato and butternut squash. Most fruit except berries are high carb, i.e. apples and bananas.
Nuts are mostly low carb, but when consumed in high quantities they can become high carb. This does not mean you cannot consume higher carb veg/fruit or nuts, but you must control the amount.
A Vegan Ketogenic Diet requires meat and dairy alternatives. Whereas most can be low carb, they can become high carb, if eaten in large quantities.
Also, be aware of ingredients like potato, rice, maize, and corn, as this increases the carb content.
What Not To Eat
What not to eat:
Grains (rice, flour, quinoa, pasta, corn, cereal).
Below ground veg (white potato, yam, butternut squash).
Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans, peas)
Fruit (apples, banana, mango)
Sugar (honey, maple syrup, caster sugar, agave)
Animal products (meat, dairy, eggs)
Condiments (ketchup, gravy)
Points to Consider
A Vegan Diet has the potential to cause nutrient deficiencies, if not done right. It is best to add supplements alongside your diet to ensure adequate nutrients.
Always check with your Doctor before starting a new diet and supplement regime.
Weigh and track food intake to assure that you don’t over consume carbs. It is also important to assure you eat adequate calories, which can be difficult as first. You should track your intake by using a food scales and food tracking app.
To reduce side effect symptoms, transition to a low carb diet slowly.
A Keto Diet is not suitable for everyone, so be sure to check with your Doctor if you have any medical conditions before starting.
Also, keep track of how you feel while eating a low carb diet. Some may find they become more fatigued and experience more symptoms, when compared to a high carb diet, especially during the early stages.
Consume salt to counteract the lack of salt caused by a low carb intake. This decrease in carbs/salt can cause: fatigue, nausea and dizziness.
Add sea or Himalayan salt to meals or a glass of filtered water if these symptoms arise. Like most symptoms, they appear as you transition from high to low carb, but ease after a few days to weeks.
A Vegan Ketogenic Diet is both ethical, health promoting, and great for fat loss. It is best to transition slowly, under the guidance of your Doctor. Also, keep note of your symptoms, track your food intake, and consider supplements.
It is possible to reap the benefits of both the Vegan and Keto Diet. But, it does take time to plan meals to assure all nutrients are met.