Hello! I hope you all are doing great!
I’m sure most of you have heard about a ketogenic diet at this point. If you haven’t heard of it yet it’s a diet where you consume most of your calories from fat, have a moderate amount of protein and extremely limit carbohydrates. Sounds interesting to say the least.
Truth be told it’s a really extreme diet that has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Well, it’s been popular under the name “ketogenic diet” in the last couple of years, but the low carb diet has been around for over half a century. It’s become popular again as the ketogenic or keto diet and it’s the latest fad diet trend.
How To NOT Follow A Vegan Keto Diet
When I see pictures of keto meals or hear about the keto diet I feel like it’s always about how people are eating plates of bacon, meat, cheese and other unhealthy items. As a vegan you see that and you instantly think that there’s no way that the keto diet is for you. Additionally the high carb agenda has been pushed down vegan’s throats hardcore for the past five or six years. Terms like “the fat you eat is the fat you wear” came out of a high carb diet so it’s no wonder vegans are turned off by the keto diet.
I think it was about a year ago, before I was truly open to the idea, that I first tried a keto diet. I was used to eating rice, pasta or potatoes with a protein and something green for my meals so I was pretty lost. I was really confused on what I should be eating and there weren’t really any vegans following keto diets, mainstream at least, at that point.
So I was trying to eat a ton of tofu, which isn’t really the best keto option, with avocados and vegetables. I still wasn’t able to limit my carbs to a true keto range and I gave up and marked it as a failure. This is not the way to do a keto diet.
How To Follow A Vegan Keto Diet
In 2019 vegan keto has burst onto the scene. I’m seeing recipes and YouTube videos popping up left and right about people trying a vegan ketogenic diet.
On my journey to balance my hormones I’ve actually been rejecting the high carb lifestyle for three months or so. I’ve been avoiding gluten and empty carbohydrates and focusing on whole protein and fats. Because of that, when the keto diet made its way back into my feed I was more curious about it.
I was seeing some delicious, creative recipes that were way more intriguing that the plate of tofu I was inaccurately calling keto before. I’m talking vegan sushi, keto vegan bread, porridge, buffalo cauliflower, chia pudding, curry, etc. So many options that all actually sounded good to me!
So given my current efforts to follow a low carb diet I figured why not try a keto diet for a week and see if I felt any different actually adhering to a strict keto diet.
How I Followed A Vegan Keto Diet
As I said I have been following a lower carb diet for a few months so I’ve been making some recipes that were on their way to being keto friendly already. I just had to add in and take out certain ingredients.
The main change for me, aside from what I was eating was tracking, tracking, tracking. You have to be diligent with honest when putting what you’re eating into a calorie and macro counter. I used MyFitnessPal because I already had the app, but I would actually recommend Cronometer if you’re tracking for a keto diet. The reason is because Cronometer gives you a net carb (carbohydrates-fiber) breakdown so it is easier to tell where you are at with your carbs throughout the day. MyFitnessPal still works, I just had to manually subtract fiber from my carbs to see where I was at. I also couldn’t really use the macro percentage chart because it used total carbs rather than net carbs.
The next part about a following a vegan keto diet that I found important was planning. You have to prepare all of your meals, there is no way around it. I already cook all of my food during the week so that was no different for me. The difference for me was that I had to meticulously plan my meals by tracking and see where I was at with carbs and then adjusting as needed before actually making my food.
Finally, you have to rethink how you eat food. Say what!? The hardest part for me was limiting vegetables. I’m so used to piling my plate super high with veggies, but they do contain carbs so you have to monitor and track what you’re eating. It was really foreign to me to be tracking and measuring vegetables, but it’s a trick of the trade. Also, you can’t really eat fruit, except scant amounts of berries. I actually don’t eat a lot of fruit – I know, weird for a vegan – so this was not difficult for me.
I realized that it’s kind of hard to eat a lot of fat on a vegan diet without trying. But once I figured out what ingredients and things made my life easier it was actually pretty easy. I mean, I love fatty foods, so making them the main part of my meal was fine for me. The hard part was the portion size. Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. So to eat the same amount of calories you would have to eat half the amount of fat versus carbs. When you figure out how to pair fats with low carbohydrate foods is when keto starts getting manageable.
And that being said fat is so rich and satisfying that once I got past the portion size I felt quite satiated after and between meals.
What Did I Eat On A Vegan Keto Diet?
I’m the kind of person that can eat the same meal over and over and over again, so my breakfasts and lunches were the same with minor variations all week. I want to keep this post informational so I created a supplementary post that has all of my vegan keto recipes. Click here to see my vegan ketogenic recipes.
For breakfast I made shakes almost every day. Now, these weren’t boring shakes, they were chocolate almond butter shakes and I was actually excited for them every day. I could honestly drink these shakes everyday and will continue to drink them. The one day I decided to have something different I chose to have my Golden Milk Chia Pudding recipe with an almond butter drizzle. Yummo.
For lunch I used keto friendly noodles from the brand Skinny Pasta everyday. I am not sponsored by this brand, I bought these with my own money. I just wanted to tell you guys how much I truly enjoyed these noodles. I tried tofu shiritaki noodles from a different brand several years ago and you guys, they were nasty. They had a weird fishy smell (which I guess is normal) and they were just god awful.
The Skinny Pasta has no odor whatsoever and I really enjoy them. The texture is actually good. It’s like a chewier al dente, but remember, this isn’t pasta. If you go into it knowing that they are keto noodles and don’t try to compare them too much to pasta I think that they are good. You just have to rinse them and either have them cold (my usual method) or warm them up in a dish. I found them at Walmart for under $3 a pack or you can get them on Amazon.
Dinner was where I got the most creative. I was most inspired to jump into a vegan ketogenic diet from That Vegan Mom on YouTube. She was representing a vegan ketogenic diet with such a simple yet delicious approach. One of the meals that she made that really intrigued me was vegan keto sushi. Um, excuse me? How do you make sushi without rice? Well, let me tell you, she nailed it. Go to her YouTube to check out the recipe.
I also made some delicious meals like vegan ketogenic buffalo cauliflower. So good! Make sure to check out my vegan ketogenic recipes post.
What Did I Think About The Vegan Ketogenic Diet?
So what did I think about a vegan ketogenic diet after following it for a week? For me, I thought it was actually pretty easy. I quite enjoyed the week, and here’s why.
It’s a strict diet. Why would that be enjoyable? Well, it reminded me of when I first went vegan and I kept all of my meals super simple. I used a total of about 10-15 different staple ingredients to get me through the week, so it really simplified my grocery list and the preparation process. That being said I didn’t find the diet as limiting as I thought that I would. I was eating vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, vegetables, Skinny Pasta, sushi, almond butter, protein shakes, etc. And I really enjoyed all of this foods.
The meal preparation was simple. For lunch I would whip up a quick almond butter sauce for my noodles to make a pad thai inspired lunch. For dinner I was making sushi in twenty minutes flat, way faster than if I had to make sushi rice. I just found everything to be really quick and simple.
How Did I Feel On A Vegan Keto Diet?
I heard a lot about the keto flu going into the ketogenic diet and I was worried about that happening. The keto flu happens due to your body transitioning from carb burning to fat burning (i.e. ketosis). It’s also due to the loss of water and sodium. Usually from days 3-5 on a keto diet you might have a headache, feel tired, have some brain fog, get sugar cravings and have muscle cramps.
I did feel some symptoms of the keto flu on days 2-4. I had a headache that started around noon to about 7pm every day. It was super annoying and the worst side effect for me. I was also really tired. I slept in an extra hour instead of waking up and doing yoga every day. I was just exhausted. I didn’t really have brain fog or sugar cravings and I had no muscle cramps.
There are ways to avoid the keto flu, or at least lessen your symptoms. Start with drinking a lot of water! This won’t be hard because you will probably feel really thirsty most of the time. Sprinkle some pink himalayan salt into your water to increase your magnesium and electrolytes. Try to drink three liters of water and sprinkle ½ tsp pink salt into three of those ups of water throughout the day. You can also drink herbal tea in place of some of your water. I don’t drink coffee, but people recommend some coffee on the keto diet to help with symptoms.
Other than experiencing the keto flu I was feeling pretty good. I had a lot of energy and I made it to the gym three times during the week. That might not sound like much, but I haven’t been to the gym in three months. I just felt motivated to get a workout in.
I lost maybe 3-4 pounds during that week, some from water weight. I don’t know what I weighed when starting because I hate weighing myself, so that’s why I’m giving an estimate.
I really enjoyed the vegan ketogenic diet. I think that once you get past the keto flu days you can experience a lot of benefits. I had increased energy and I just felt lighter. It felt really right for my body.
I have some things coming up (see my post next week) that are preventing me from staying on the keto diet right now, but I am considering doing it for a longer period of time around the end of April. I will definitely keep you guys up to date on that and share new recipes that I create or find.
I also think that this diet is great for people trying to balance their hormones, women dealing with PCOS or diabetics. This diet is great at stabilizing your insulin, which is the key for a lot of these issues. For me, eating a low carb diet has really helped balance my hormones and regulate my period, so I think going on an extended keto diet would help me even more.
All that being said I do not think that the vegan keto diet is for everybody. If you have a history of eating disorders this is not the diet for you. It is very limiting and you have to track all of your food so you should not be on a diet like this. Additionally, some people are just not going to feel great on this diet. Maybe the mental aspect will be too much for some people, and that’s fine. Everyone should eat what is good for their bodies.
What do you think? Would you try a vegan ketogenic diet?