- Keto Vegan is a conglomeration of both vegan and keto together thus giving you the best of both worlds. You take processed meats, cheese, and dairy out of the keto and the bread, pasta, and beans from the vegan world. As a keto vegan, you focus on low-carb plants, legumes, nuts, and seeds for your nutritional sources.
- The choice to do keto vegan is a personal one and can differ from person to person. It is always good to run it by a healthcare provider if you aren’t sure.
- Proteins in a keto vegan diet can be derived from plants sources, nuts, seeds, and moderate consumption of tempeh and tofu.
- Keep your carbs around 20-30 total or net carbs per day for the first 30 days, and then you can integrate more in after this time if you choose.
- Track your ketones with a Keto-Mojo meter. It is good to keep track of ketones for the first few weeks, or until you establish which foods can knock you in and out of ketosis.
- If you are suffering from inflammation, consider doing keto vegan to help. If you are worried about not consuming animal sources, you could opt for a more keto vegetarian approach and include eggs and/or fish.[/callout]
Do you want to combine both the keto and vegan concepts?
So I’m sure you’ve heard of keto vegan, but you may or may NOT be well versed in how it works. Well, if you are asking, “what can I eat on a vegan keto food plan?” then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will give you a food list to teach you how to be keto vegan. The benefits of doing both keto and vegan are numerous! You get to take the mitochondria fueling fats from the keto world and the energizing vegetables from the vegan world. Say goodbye to the processed meats, cheese, and dairy out of the keto and the bread, pasta, and beans out the vegan!
How can you do both keto and vegan?
Now, combining both concepts is easy; however, the challenging part would be to keep your carbs low and get your protein requirements. Why is this a challenge for keto? Well, it all boils down to ketosis. It turns out that the protein sources from plants have carbohydrates, whereas animal sources generally do not. Overall, when you do keto vegan, you will get protein from sources such as plants, nuts, seeds, and occasionally Tempeh, Tofu, Natto, Hempeh. Even though some of these choices do not have many carbs, the carb count can still add up fast. So you have to be careful! In order to make matters easier, I would suggest using a tracking device such as Cronometer to monitor your carb intake closely.
Eliminating certain foods
So, if you want to do a keto vegan approach, you would start by eliminating foods. You would take out the meats, cheese, anything dairy, or eggs on the keto side. You would not eat any bread, pasta, beans, or fruits/ vegetables high in carbs on the vegan side. At this point, you may be wondering, “well, what exactly can I eat on keto vegan?” Don’t worry; I will give you a list of foods in this article.
My Keto Vegan story
I did keto vegan last year, then stopped
Alright, before I delve into the foods and I start answering, “what can I eat on a vegan keto food plan?”. I want to give you my personal keto vegan story. Overall, I have done keto since 2009. I started by doing the Atkin’s diet, then did a paleo rendition of keto, and then back to regular clean keto. Recently, a year ago, after reading Dr. Will Cole’s book, Ketotarian, I decided to try a Keto Vegan approach.
When I first did it for two months last year, I was not fond of it. Why was this? Well, it was because I had developed fatigue. However, after further investigation, it was not Keto Vegan that made me tired. It was a thyroid and energetic issue I was experiencing at the time. Unfortunately, I learned about this after I had stopped doing the keto vegan/vegetarian approach. If I knew about this, I wouldn’t have stopped doing keto vegan last year.
Recently, I started back a month ago
Recently, over the last month, I decided to try out a keto vegan dietary approach once again. I can tell you that this time, I have felt wonderful. I have not experienced any fatigue at all! Before doing keto vegan this go around, I was doing clean keto and was experiencing increased neck pains. However, I must tell you that since I stopped the meat this time and eat keto vegan; I have experienced very little neck pain.
So far, I have not cycled in any animal products at all. Why have I chosen to go back to keto vegan? Well, it is due to my personal preference and current state of being. Don’t worry; if you are on clean keto, I am in no way going to say animal proteins are harmful. Again, this is my body and my decision. If I am feeling good, then why argue with success. Right?
Should you do keto vegan?
Well, that choice is up to you! In this article, I will give you a keto vegan food list, but I am by no means advocating for you to do a keto vegan diet! That decision is yours! However, as I mentioned above, I am now a big fan of keto vegan because of how much better I’ve felt. One piece of advice I will give you is this; If you are thinking about keto vegan, I would first clear it up with your primary care provider. Some of you may have certain deficiencies, which may require supplementation when not eating animal proteins.
Consider B12 supplementation
If you want to do keto vegan and it is okay with your primary care provider, I would consider B12 supplementation. I was taking B12 even before going back to strict keto vegan! I think a lot of our bodies are deficient in this vitamin anyways! If you are thinking, “well, I don’t want to fool with B12 supplements, so I’m going to stay on animal proteins,” then that is fine. My opinion is that I would rather take B12 supplements(which I was taking anyways before keto vegan) than deal with extra inflammation and “neck and body pains” that I was getting from eating meat. Please, if you do clean keto with animal proteins, do not get offended by what I am saying and burn me at stake for saying these things. Again, this is my opinion, and I will reiterate here, I am not against animal proteins at all for those of you who want to include them!
What is the difference between keto vegetarian and keto vegan?
The big difference between these two concepts is that keto vegetarians typically include some dairy and eggs. Some keto vegetarians also go somewhat keto pescatarian and include salmon or other seafood products. Now, I have gotten aways from any dairy or eggs and fish( as I mentioned earlier). I have found that steering away from these products has helped in terms of inflammation and energy.
Now, “What can I eat on a Vegan Keto Food Plan”?
Now that I’ve cleared up some common questions let me get down to business and give you foods for, “what can I eat on a vegan keto food plan?” The foods that I include here are not all-inclusive, and some things may be allowed that I don’t mention. The foods that I list are the ones that I am fond of and have found nutritionally beneficial. If you want to get the real low-down on carbs for foods, I would download Cronometer on your phone.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are fantastic sources of protein and good if you are saying, “What can I eat on a vegan keto food plan?” My favorites are almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, cashews, and walnuts. You could also try Pili nuts for a new, fun treat. You want to be careful because the carbs can add up pretty fast when it comes to nuts. I would use Cronometer to make sure to count your portion sizes and carbs. Incorporating nuts and seeds are a great way to include protein in your keto diet plan and provide your body with antioxidants.
It is good to keep in mind that nuts and seeds also count for fats and proteins. In general, it is best to soak your nuts and seeds to break up any inflammatory lectins or phytates1. You do this by placing them in a bowl, and then place water over the seeds that you want to soak. After this, just plan on letting them soak for about 5 hours, or you can soak them overnight. After they have soaked, they rinse them, spread them out, and place them on a dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator, just roast them in over at a low temperature of about 250 degrees until they are crispy. [callout]
An example of a condensed list of seeds and nuts for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
- chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, psyllium seeds, sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts. Enjoy in moderation the following: cashews, pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios.[/callout]
Flours made out of nuts and seeds
You can also enjoy flours made out of nuts and seeds, such as almond, flax flour, or even coconut flour. I would avoid any rice or cassava flours, as it can add up in carbs very fast.
Fats and Oils
Coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil
Fats and oils are also essential when it comes to the keto-vegan lifestyle! I use avocado oils in my salads and like to cook with coconut oil. An important thing regarding fats and oils is always to make sure you check at what heating point any fats can be harmful. For instance, I like to cook with coconut oil because it has a higher smoke point. Olive oil and avocado oil tend to have lower smoke points, so these oils are usually best in salads.
Another great thing besides a high smoking point is that coconut oil has been shown to promote fat loss! If you want to enjoy the flavor and satiety dietary fat offers, coconut oil is a good option for cooking compared to the saturated fats in butter or lard and compared to the fats in soybean and corn oils. 2
Avocados are great for weight loss and are cancer-fighting! Research found that those who ate half an avocado with their standard lunch reported being 40 percent less hungry three hours after their meal. Avocados also have Avocatin B, a type of fat found to combat acute myeloid leukemia, which is a particularly rare and deadly form of cancer5.
Olives are also really high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. They are also great for any kind of cancer prevention. For instance, olives and olive oil compounds have been found to activate the tumor suppressor gene and apoptotic gene, which induces programmed cell death.[callout]
An example of a condensed list of keto vegan fats for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
Avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, Cocoa/cacao butter. Also, avocados and olives.[/callout]
Remember, fruit is limited when you do strict keto, which will be the first 30 days. However, after the first 30 days, you will be able to increase your carbs. You can incorporate fruit when you are doing strict keto, but keep it a limited amount. Remember, your goal is to stay between 20-30 total or net carbs per day to get into ketosis. As I mentioned earlier, some of the proteins from being keto vegan may increase your carb count, so please keep that in mind.
At this moment, I will focus on the fruit you can eat when doing strict keto or while doing keto-carb cycling. Again, please take heed and measure out your fruit to make sure you keep your carbs low. Overall, I would probably only do about 1/4 cup of any of the three berries mentioned below to avoid going over your max net carb limit.[callout]
An example of a condensed list of keto vegan fruits for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
Blackberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, cranberries, goji berries, and few sections of grapefruit. Also, raspberries and small mandarin oranges in limited amounts. You can also include lemons and limes. Also, avocados and jackfruit can be included on this list.[/callout]
It is crucial to make your vegetables organic if possible. If you can’t afford organic, you can review EWG’s clean 15 and dirty dozen here.
When you follow a keto vegan diet, I would focus on leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, or collard greens since they are deficient in net carbs. However, feel free to be diversified in the vegetable department.
I love cauliflower rice because it is very filling and low in carbs. I have found that it takes the place of regular rice very well! A lot of grocery stores even have it for sale in bags in the frozen section. I just place the cauliflower rice in a pan with some coconut oil ( maybe like a tablespoon). It turns out good, and my kids even love it! Some vegetables such as sweet potato and squashes ( several types) may have more carbs, so make sure to watch portions or save for higher carb days. [callout]
An example of a condensed list of keto vegan vegetables for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, chard, collard greens, bok choy, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, green onions, eggplant, onions, asparagus, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, radishes, bell peppers, bok choy, sprouts, and sea vegetables. beets (watch carbs), sweet potatoes (watch carbs), squash (watch carbs). [/callout]
Root Vegetables tend to be higher in carbs, so that I would be careful with these. However, there are certain root vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas that are keto-friendly. I have an excellent article on keto-friendly root vegetables that you can refer to here to get more information.
Sweeteners and Spices
When it comes to sweeteners, there are several sweeteners that I recommend. I must say that one of my favorites is Stevia. Another good sweetener is monk fruit or aka Lo Han Kuo. Overall, I prefer the taste of Stevia over monk fruit, and I like to use it to sweeten my coffee every morning. Are you aware of the benefits of Stevia? Since ancient times, Stevia has been used worldwide for various purposes; for example, as a sweetener and medicine 4.
Be careful with sweeteners
One thing I will mention is this. You should always be careful with the sweeteners you choose, and just because a sweetener says it is keto-friendly does not mean that it is right for you! In general, you need to stay away from the following sweeteners: Sucralose( Splenda), Aspartame ( Equal and Nutrasweet), and Saccharin (sweet n low). Unfortunately, these sweeteners can be triggers for autoimmune problems, diabetes, and metabolic disorders5.
Did you know that Stevia has even been shown to be a cure for Lyme disease? A standard coffee sweetener, Stevia, could be considered an effective agent and a possible cure for Lyme disease. It is much superior and most effective to doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin (these three are presently used to treat Lyme disease) in destroying Borrelia burgdorferi in-vitro5.
Did you know that Stevia has even been shown to be a cure for Lyme disease? A standard coffee sweetener, Stevia, could be considered an effective agent and a possible cure for Lyme disease. It is much superior and most effective to doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin (these three are presently used to treat Lyme disease) in destroying Borrelia burgdorferi in-vitro 6.
[callout] example of a condensed list of sweeteners for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
Organic stevia, monk fruit ( Lo han kuo), stevia liquid, erythritol. [/callout]
On a keto vegan diet plan, you can consume a variety of spices. One of my favorites is Bragg’s Nutritional yeast because it also provides protein. Feel free to be diversified in the spice department, as many spices are either free or have very few carbs.
It is imperative to watch your consumption of beverages when learning about “What Can I eat on Vegan Keto food plan?”. You do not want to drink extra carbs or extra calories and ruin your ketosis. My favorite beverages include coffee when I first wake up and then water throughout the day. In the evening, I like to drink Chaga tea. As I mentioned before, I enjoy sweetening my beverages with Stevia to give them added flavors and benefits.
[callout] example of a condensed list of beverages for you(the list includes but is not limited to):
water, tea, coffee, sparkling waters, and unsweetened milk made from nuts, seeds, or peas. Enjoy in moderation the following: unsweetened milk made from legumes.[/callout]
Even though I know some alcohol is okay on keto, I think that you should try to avoid it altogether. Why is this? Well, the number one reason in my book is that it can interfere with your sleep. When you are doing keto or any other diet plan, if you’re not sleeping well, it will be hard to stay compliant. Alcohol can make sleep a challenge because it will interfere with your ability to sleep and stay asleep.
Research has shown sleepers who drink large amounts of alcohol before going to bed are often prone to delayed sleep onset, meaning they need more time to fall asleep. Further, as liver enzymes metabolize the drink during the night and the blood alcohol level decreases, these individuals are also more likely to experience sleep disruptions and reductions in sleep quality 7.
Legumes and Beans
When it comes to learning, “What Can I eat on Vegan Keto food plan?” it is essential to remember that legumes and beans are allowed in moderation. If you consume too much of this food group, then the carbs can add up fast. These types of foods are great to incorporate because they are essential sources of protein. I like to use Tempeh and Hempeh and make a stir fry with vegetables in coconut oil. Or I will even use these in a salad. I have to keep in mind the portions when it comes to these proteins because if I do too much, the carb count can add up. In Cronometer, about 3 ounces of Tempeh would equate to 3.2 net carbs or 6.5 total carbs. [callout]
An example of a condensed list of legumes and beans to enjoy in moderation:
Edamame, tempeh, tofu, hempeh( in minimal portions), natto, miso, peas, and tamari[/callout]
It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man; you will have bad days sometimes needing a little divulgence. Even though I am not a huge advocate of breaking your keto diet plan, I believe it is OK to treat yourself if you need a little something. There are times during my PMS cycle where I think, “I just need some chocolate right now.” I feel like it is in our human nature to have a little divulgence now and then. The important thing is not making it a colossal spree of going crazy and having all kinds of treats.
Use fat bombs as treats
I am a big advocate of fat bombs, which are very simple to make. All you do is take 1/4 cup of coconut oil, a few drops of Stevia, and about 1/4 cup almond butter. You mix these three ingredients and then add in Cacao powder (2 tbsp) and mix well. After you’re done, put in little candy molds in the freezer and let them freeze for a few hours. Afterward, you have a delicious treat, and you didn’t blow your keto diet plan![callout]
An example of a condensed list of divulgences(the list includes but is not limited to):
fat bombs, BHU keto bites, Eating Evolved keto cups, Lily’s chocolate. [/callout]
Sauces and marinades
This list includes some of the sauces and marinades that I use in my home. However, you feel free to shop around to see if there are any others that you find. What’s impressive is that there are so many keto-friendly places nowadays, but you still have to watch marinades and sauces. For this reason, I would highly recommend you bring your sauces and dressings wherever you go. When you bring your marinades, you know what is in them. You can avoid any salad dressings or other condiments like ketchup at other places that may be filled with processed sugars. You never know; some of these places may have sauces full of canola oil or other processed foods.[callout]
An example of a condensed list of sauces and marinades(the list includes but is not limited to):
coconut aminos , tamari sauce, tahini sauce, ranch dressing, mustard, mayonnaise, alfredo sauces, apple cider vinegar, pesto. [/callout]
Tracking your macros
It is crucial to track your macros when learning, “what can I eat on a Vegan Keto food plan?”. The main reason it is essential is that carbs can add up fast. When you are first doing a vegan keto diet, it can be challenging because you do not consume any meat or dairy. So, this means that all of your protein sources have to come from plants, nuts, seeds, and legumes. You will be surprised it how much protein all of these sources contain! You can quickly meet your protein requirements with these foods.
How many carbs to get and stay in ketosis?
Carb allowance tends to vary from person to person. However, overall, I would recommend that you start with limiting your net or total carbs to around 20 to 35 grams per day. If you are getting into ketosis with staying in this range, you can maybe incorporate a little more. Once you find your sweet spot and you know what foods will keep you into ketosis ( or knock you out of ketosis), then you won’t have to check your ketones. However, at first, I would recommend checking your ketones for at least two weeks to see what keeps you in ketosis or not. I would recommend you read my Keto Biometrics 1 and 2 articles for further information on this. Also, read my article on ketosis to figure out the best way to check ketosis.
How long should I keep my carbs between 20-30 total or net per day?
This answer will depend entirely on you! I would analyze this list and review “What Can I eat on Vegan Keto food plan?” Overall, to get into fat-burning mode, you should limit them for at least 30 days. However, you may need longer if you have some metabolic issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, thyroid issues, or chronic fatigue. I would just use your intuition for this one, or you can ask a health care provider.
What about protein on keto vegan?
I think that this is the biggest concern. When you are doing keto vegan, you will get your protein from nuts and seeds along with plants. You also can enjoy Tempeh and tofu in moderation to help supplement your protein. Again, if you are worried about not getting protein from an animal source, I would add in foods such as eggs and fish/shellfish and take a more keto vegetarian approach.
What is the best way to check your ketosis?
The best way to check ketosis is by testing your blood. I like to use a Keto-Mojo meter to check my ketones when I am doing keto or if I am fasting. So why is blood ketone monitoring the best way to monitor your ketones? The main reason that blood ketone monitoring is the most accurate way to monitor ketosis is that the critical ketone used by the body is that beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This ketone is carried through the blood to get to the cells to be used for energy and fuel. One thing you must understand is that our blood ketone levels are not profoundly affected by different variables. When you monitor your ketones through your breath or urine, many factors can change your results.
Am I someone who needs to include animal sources?
This is a good question, and it is different for each person. Some of you may need to include eggs and be more keto vegetarian instead of keto vegan. If you aren’t sure, then I would recommend you ask your primary care provider. They may want to make sure you do not have a MTHFR mutation. If this is you, you may want to consider adding eggs and even fish/shellfish. It may even be advantageous to be on B12 supplementation.
Overall, I hope you found this list of “What Can I eat on Vegan Keto food plan?” to be helpful. The choice to be a keto vegan depends on many different factors. I have found it rewarding, and I plan to pursue this type of keto in the long run. If you are a vegan, then I would recommend trying keto vegan out. Get rid of the beans, pasta, bread and delve more into plants. Your energy will be so worth it in the long run! If you like this article, then consider signing up for my newsletter. Soon, I will be publishing more information on Keto Vegan, and I am currently working on a Keto Vegan book with recipes. I am excited to be a part of the keto vegan world and want you to be in on it with me!
[toggle title = “References”]
Cole, W. (2019). Ketotarian: the (mostly) plant-based plan to burn fat, boost your energy, crush your cravings and calm inflammation. London: Yellow Kite1.
DiNicolantonio, J., & Mercola, J. (2019). Super fuel: ketogenic keys to unlock the secrets of good fats, bad fats, and great health. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Inc2.
MERCOLA, D. R. J. O. S. E. P. H. (2018). Fat For Fuel: a revolutionary diet to combat cancer, boost brainpower, and increase your … energy. Place of publication not identified: HAY House UK LTD.3
Goyal SK, Samsher, Goyal RK. Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Feb;61(1):1-10. doi: 10.3109/09637480903193049. PMID: 19961353 4.
Cole, W. (2019). Ketotarian: the (mostly) plant-based plan to burn fat, boost your energy, crush your cravings and calm inflammation. London: Yellow Kite5.
Esposito S, Laino D, D’Alonzo R, Mencarelli A, Di Genova L, Fattorusso A, Argentiero A, Mencaroni E. Pediatric sleep disturbances and treatment with melatonin. J Transl Med. 2019 Mar 12;17(1):77. doi: 10.1186/s12967-019-1835-1. PMID: 30871585; PMCID: PMC6419450 1.