Is there such a thing as a Vegan or Vegetarian Keto Diet? Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians can lead a keto lifestyle. Wondering how this could be since the keto diet requires you to load up on fats and proteins? Simple. Check out this brief vegetarian keto diet guide!
In order to get the proper amount of protein, vegetarian keto dieters should opt for vegan meat substitutes such as tempeh or tofu. Eggs and leafy greens such as spinach and kale also provide the body with protein, as do above ground veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini.
Don’t forget nuts and seeds also pack a ton of protein. Pumpkin seeds, pistachios, almonds and sunflower seeds have the highest amount of protein per gram, so you may want to consider stocking up on those if you’re a vegetarian going keto.
And, of course, you can always pick up a protein powder to make sure you’re getting the proper daily amount. Just check the label, count carbs and closely inspect the list of ingredients.
Vegan and vegetarian keto dieters often struggle when it comes to eating enough fats but it isn’t as complicated as it seems. There are plenty of vegetarian fats keto dieters should be using, including avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil and olive oil.
Avocados are especially recommended for vegetarian keto dieters, as this super fruit is packed full of “good” fat. Not to mention, avocados are easy to cook with and delicious! You can use them to make guacamole dips, smoothies, brownies and so much more.
Nuts and seeds are also high in fats, so eat up!
Allowed Foods on a Vegan or Vegetarian Keto Diet
It’s not an easy transition, but there is a good amount of foods you can have on a vegan or vegetarian keto diet. Check them out below.
- Berries – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
- Leafy Greens – cabbage, spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, collard greens, etc.
- Low Carb Vegetables – celery, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, radish, asparagus etc.
- Vegan Proteins — tofu, tempeh, seitan, and other high-protein, low-carb vegan “fake meats”
- Mushrooms — shiitake, king oyster, button, etc.
- High Fat Dairy Alternatives – unsweetened coconut yogurt, coconut cream, vegan cheeses, unsweetened coconut milk, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds – pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Fermented Foods — Natto, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.
- Sea Vegetables — dulse, kelp, wakame, nori, etc.
- Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, xylitol, monk fruit
- Other fats – olives, coconut oil, olive oil, Avocado oil, MCT oil, etc.
Replacement Pointers for Vegans:
Being vegan makes it a little more difficult, but it’s doable. Here are some good vegan swaps listed below that will make your life easier as you transition to a vegan keto lifestyle.
- Instead of HWC (heavy whipping cream) ⟹ use coconut cream
- Instead of cows milk ⟹ use unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk (there is also an unsweetened coconut/almond milk blend that I enjoy)
- Instead of coffee creamer ⟹ use unsweetened coconut milk, coconut oil, etc. Make BulletProof Coffee!
- Instead of grass-fed butter ⟹ use vegan butter or coconut oil
- Instead of regular cheese ⟹ use vegan cheese (Follow your Heart, Chao, Miyoko’s Kitchen are all great brands)
- Instead of regular yogurt ⟹ use unsweetened coconut-based yogurts or almond-based yogurt
- Instead of eggs ⟹ make a flax egg (1TBSP ground flaxmeal + 3 TBSP warm water – mix and let sit for 15-30 minutes), Follow Your Heart has a “vegan egg” or you can use Silken Tofu
Do Not Eat
Absolutely do not eat the following foods. They are high carb and no good for a low carb keto lifestyle.
- Grains – rice, wheat, corn, cereal, bread, pasta, etc.
- Legumes — lentils, black beans, peas, pinto beans, chickpeas, etc.
- Sugar – includes agave, honey, maple syrup, etc.
- Fruit – bananas, pineapple, peaches, mango, oranges, etc.
- high-carb starchy vegetables – potato, yams, etc.
Last Tips for a Vegan or Vegetarian Keto Diet
Here are my final tips for you. If you ever have questions about this, reach out in the comments below or email anytime.
- Eat as much real food as possible
- Don’t forget to eat the right amount of calories, carbs, fats, and protein for your body.
- Low-carb vegetables are a great way to fill up!
- Limit your total carbs to 35 grams per day (less is always better on Keto diet, but do what you can)
- Eliminate all meat (beef, poultry, fish, and other animal products) from your diet
- Feel free to use supplements to get any nutrients you may be lacking in. For example: take a vegan DHA+EPA, vitamin D3, Vitamin B-12, and heme-iron supplement.
- Ensure your iron absorption by having vitamin-C-rich foods.
- If you notice that you have dry skin or you have been coming down with a sore throat more often than usual, take a zinc supplement like this one: Garden of Life Raw Zinc