What exactly is the buzz about the ketogenic diet? It seems like everyone is talking about it. Even celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon and swearing by how effective this diet is. However, if you haven’t heard of this popular diet, read on and we’ll explain it to you.
The ketogenic or keto is a diet plan that involves minimal carbs while using fats and transforming it into a form of energy. After a couple of days into the diet, your body goes into a process called ketosis. During this period, it produces the ketones which is a form of organic compounds that is used to replace the carbs. At the same time, it also starts burning fat for energy.
Why is Keto Diet So Popular?
Originally, the keto diet was intended for individuals who suffer from seizures and wasn’t really for losing weight. The ketones and the decanoic acid, a chemical produced by the diet tends to help reduce the episodes of seizures. However, people started discovering the weight loss benefits of this diet.
Normally, when you consume carbs, the fluids are retained for storing the carbs for energy. However, with the keto diet, since you are not consuming carbs, your body will also lose the water weight. When you load up on fat, it can also limit cravings because your tummy feels satisfied for longer periods. In addition, the ketosis also boosts the burning of fat which sheds off the inches in your waist.
How This Diet Can Help You Lose Weight
The keto diet is generating much noise in the weight loss industry. This diet will help you bring down your weight by reducing your caloric intake to at least 1,500 calories per day. At the same time, the lean proteins and healthy fats in your body make your stomach feel fuller.
Hence, you won’t be binging on food as much as you do. Meanwhile, since your body is using more energy to burn protein and fat, it means that you are also burning more calories. Thus, helping you lose weight.
People who go on a keto diet can expect to shed one or two pounds per week. However, the amount of weight you lose also depends on your caloric requirements. Keep in mind that the calories in the fats should always be reasonable in order for the diet to work. If you continue to eat more calories than what is needed then you will just add more fats to your body.
Can you be a Vegan and a Keto Dieter at the Same Time?
When it comes to your diet, it varies from person to person. Some people find a low-carb diet more effective. On the other hand, other people may be more successful with a high-carb diet.
Keto and vegan diet have a different approach and appear to be quite opposite to each other. In keto, you load up with meat while in vegan, you go meatless. It is also worth noting that not everyone is suitable to go on a vegan diet. There are some people who suffer from certain health conditions and may not feel the benefits of the keto diet.
However, some people find a way to combine the two practices to get the result they want especially those who want to be healthy without the meat and carbs. Combining both disciplines is possible but can be quite challenging. Nonetheless, if you manage to pull it off successfully, then you’ll be rewarded with a healthy body and environment as well.
The Vegan Ketogenic Diet
To help you understand better, let us define the difference between the two. A vegan eats no animal products. They are similar to vegetarians wherein they don’t eat any meat, poultry, and fish. However, vegans also don’t consume foods that have traces of animal ingredients such as eggs and dairy to name a few.
The good thing about taking on a vegan diet is that it improves your health and longevity. Studies show that eating less animal-based non-organic food can help minimize the occurrence of certain health conditions. Meanwhile, others choose to go vegan simply because they detest animal cruelty and because it is safer for the environment.
Meanwhile, ketogenic diets are also found to produce tons of health benefits. In addition to weight loss, keto dieters have shown some improvement in their insulin levels as well as their mental clarity. A keto diet limits your carb intake to just 5% of the daily calories you consume while maintaining the protein intake at 20%. Hence, the rest of the 75% is made up of fats.
When the fats are converted to ketones, it becomes your fuel for energy. Technically, the ketones sustain your body’s energy. With fewer carbs, the insulin levels that control your blood sugar becomes more balanced compared to the usual carb-diets.
Once your blood sugar stabilizes, you won’t feel the need to take afternoon naps when your energy goes down. Compared to the average low-calorie diet, the keto diet is more effective in controlling your blood sugar levels. Studies also show that keto diets lose more weight in the long run than low-calorie dieters because it is easier for them to burn fat.
Both keto and vegan diets are quite difficult to sustain which is why some people tend to stop the diet entirely when it gets too hard for them to continue. However, there is another type of diet called mod keto which is slightly less strict than the two.
With the mod keto, your body needs to raise 20% carbs, 20 to 40% protein, and 40 to 60% fat of your caloric intake. However, at this levels, your body won’t produce sufficient ketones but it has higher protein and carbs. Therefore, it helps fuel your energy while it burns fat and controls your blood sugar at the same time.
The bottom line is that you now have a diet plan that allows you to consume higher amounts of fat and lower carbs without having to consume animal-based products.
The Vegan Keto Diet Food List
Before you dive into the vegan keto diet, you should expect to eat tons of plant-based fats, few carbs, and consume plant-based proteins. Here are some of the foods that you can include in your vegan keto menu.
This list includes walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and macadamia. Meanwhile, since peanuts, almonds, and pine nuts are known to be high in carbs, you can still include it in your vegan keto diet but consume it more cautiously.
Chia, sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds are the best types of seeds to include in your diet.
Nut and Seed Butters
This list includes a variety of nut and seed butters such as peanut butter, pecan butter, hazelnut butter, coconut butter, macadamia nut butter, tahini walnut butter, and sunflower seed nut butter.
Fat sources (Wholefood)
The best fat sources come from avocados, olives, and coconuts.
There are a number of healthy oils you can incorporate in your vegan keto meal plan such as avocado, almond, coconut, cacao, hazelnut, flaxseed, macadamia nut, olive, and MCT oil.
When it comes to veggies, the list is endless. Make sure you add these to your recipes: artichoke hearts, arugula, asparagus, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, cucumbers, daikon radish, dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, fennel, fiddleheads, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onion, radish, rhubarb, shallots, spinach, squash, swiss chard, turnips, and zucchini.
On the other hand, these veggies should be eaten moderately as they contain high carbs: beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celeriac, jicama, kale, Rutabaga, and squash winter.
Fruits are always a good choice but not all of them fit the vegan keto criteria. Here are the fruits to include in your diet: avocados, coconuts, lemon, lime, olive, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon. Blueberries are also great but should be eaten at considerable amounts since it is high in carbs.
Some of the sauces and condiments you can easily incorporate in your vegan keto meal plan are chili sauce, hot sauce, mustard, soy sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, and vinegar.
Ingredients you Need to Have in your Kitchen Pantry
Here are some of the most recommended kitchen staples for vegan keto dieters: apple cider vinegar, almond flour, artichoke hearts, baking powder, baking soda, coconut flour, coconut milk, pickles, cacao, jackfruit, nutritional yeast, vanilla extract, hearts of palm, glucomannan powder, edamame, roasted seaweed, nori sheets, shirataki noodles, sauerkraut, and sprouts.
Meanwhile, dairy-free yogurt and dairy-free cheese are high in carbs while seitan, tempeh, and tofu contain high protein which all should be consumed in moderate amounts. Dark chocolate can also be good for you as long as its 85% and above.
Foods to Avoid When you’re on a Vegan Keto Diet
Of course, when you’re on a vegan keto diet, there are a number of items on the list of foods you should avoid. These include meat, poultry, fish, dairy eggs, animal-based products, sugar, gelatin, wheat, pasta, rice grains, legumes, starchy veggies, high-carb nuts, trans fats, and refined vegetable oils.
Other types of oils you should also avoid include corn and canola because they are highly processed and have a poor ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Thus, it only promotes inflammation in the body.
At the same time, these oils are not good for cooking as it turns the fats into unhealthy substances that can cause numerous health problems. It’s always safer and better to use unsaturated fats such as red palm or coconut oil when cooking.
How to Control your Carbs
Generally, keto dieters are required to strictly consume carbs amounting to 50 grams and less daily. However, it still varies from person to person. Others may even need to go as low as 30 grams. Meanwhile, if you’re on the mod keto diet, you can consume thrice as many carbs but still remain under the average low-carb diets out there.
So, the best way to control your carbohydrates intake is to remove rice, bread, pasta, and grains in your diet. You’ll also need to cut back on most fruits apart from the list we stated above. Avoid starchy veggies and sugar.
It is expected for your body to crave for carbs especially if you’re on a strict diet. However, there’s a trick that can lead your mind into thinking that your body is consuming carbs. For example, you can use grated cauliflower as your rice substitute or use zucchini as your pasta.
In principle, you just need to be more creative when preparing your meal plan. The list of approved keto diet foods is not only filling but tasty too. So, all you need is to learn how to whip up recipes to prevent your menu from getting repetitive.
What to Expect
When you’re an active person who regularly works out, don’t expect your training to be at its finest in the first couple of weeks into your keto diet. Give your body some time to adapt to your new diet. Cutting out carbs from your regular diet will require your body to adjust to its new routine for at least two weeks. Meanwhile, it might even take months for some before their bodies can fully adapt to the diet.
However, with time, effort, dedication, and patience, your body will eventually get used to it. Some world-class athletes have proven that the keto diet can bring your body’s performance to its peak.
Research also concludes that the keto diet may benefit athletes by making their bodies weigh less without sacrificing the level of their energy and strength. Getting into this unconventional diet will require tons of persistence in order for it to work successfully. Hence, it is also important to support your body with keto approved supplements to help sustain the nutrients your body needs to be able to perform and function in its best.
Supplying your Body with Sufficient Amounts of Protein
Getting enough protein for your body is easily one of the top concerns of athletes. For active individuals, nutritionists highly recommend consuming at least 0.7 gram of protein per pound of your total body weight. If you’re into weight training, you can max it up to 1 gram.
Having said, you’ll have to rely on plant-based protein food sources to help you sustain that number without having to worry about the carbs. The hemp plant is an effective ingredient that you can add to your existing menu. This plant can provide your body with enough protein it requires minus the carbs.
Hence, hemp food supplements such as the NATERA Hemp Protein Powder is an excellent solution to your protein problems. In fact, it is the fastest way to add some hemp protein to your diet.
An individual consumes an average of 2,000 calories per day with 100 to 200 grams of protein. Don’t forget that keto dieters require it to be on the lower scale in terms of protein intake while it should be at the higher end for mod keto dieters.
You can follow the food guide we mentioned above to identify the list of foods that are rich in protein. The most important thing is to load up on your protein without consuming foods that are high in carbs.
Hemp seeds are, in fact, one of the best sources of protein. A half cup of hemp seeds offers up to 30 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. The NATERA Hemp Seed Hearts is made with 100% natural ingredients making it an excellent source of protein to boost your overall health.
Another protein-rich food is seitan which provides 18 grams of protein and just 2 grams of carbs for every 3 ounces. For active individuals, you may consider adding protein powders that are vegan-approved such as rice and pea to help fuel your workouts. These vegan protein powders offer a 5:1 protein to carbs ratio.
Vegan Meal Replacement for Keto Diet
Vegans know that they can’t get all the amino acids their body needs in just one source of plant protein. Hence, they need to mix up their menu and combine food sources to get enough supply of amino acids in their body. There are a number of low-carb substitutes that serve as better options without containing animal-based products.
When you’re checking the label, try to avoid ingredients made with carbs, added sugar, and hydrogenated oils. A hydrogenated oil contain processed fats that can be harmful not only to your diet but to your overall health as well.
Here are some of the meal replacement alternatives to help you maintain your diet.
Grains and Starchy Food
If you love eating sandwiches, you can easily replace the bread with a lettuce wrap. As aforementioned, pasta can be substituted with zucchini o shirataki noodles and rice with cauliflower. You can replace your oatmeal with a recipe mixture of coconut flour, coconut butter, and protein powder.
Flax granola can be used as a substitute for cereal. If you don’t want to give up pancakes and waffles, then swap it with peanut butter pancakes and almond flour waffles.
You can switch milk for coconut or almond milk, cream for coconut cream, butter for coconut oil or vegan butter, eggs for flaxseed or veggies.
Some people may find it hard to replace their snacks with anything that remotely sounds healthy. However, there are tons of alternatives to junk food. Exchange your bag of chips with dehydrated vegetables as your chips. This way, you can still eat chips but of course, moderately.
You should also choose chia seed crackers instead of the regular ones available at the supermarket. The NATERA-SPORT Key-to-Life Keto Bar is an excellent snack for keto dieters because it not only boosts your energy but it also helps manage your blood sugar levels.
Desserts are a bit harder to let go especially if you love sweets. However, there’s a way around that you won’t have to give it up altogether. Instead of curling up in bed with a tub of regular ice cream, try a low-carb sorbet.
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, eat an avocado pudding. However, if brownies are your thing, makes sure it’s made with almond flour, avocado, and macadamia nuts.
Sample Meal Plan of a Vegan Keto Diet
If you’re wondering what your meal plan will look like once you’re on a vegan keto diet, then we’ll give you a sample meal. The good thing is if you follow this meal plan, then you won’t have to worry about consuming too many calories. Sticking to this diet will prevent you from gaining accidental weight.
As mentioned, there are foods you can incorporate in your vegan keto diet that will make your stomach full. However, you will have to supplement your diet with additional protein to get the required daily amount of protein your body needs.
High-fiber cereal and fruit
Spicy black bean soup served with green salad
Veggie spring rolls that are wrapped using romaine lettuce topped with an additional spicy peanut sauce
Spinach pie with walnut crust and add some vegetable salad
Red grape truffles made with an almond crust
Before prepping for your meals, make sure that you know the correct sizes and portions of the food that you want to consume. If you want to eat fruit, make sure that you don’t go over the size of a tennis ball.
Meanwhile, your veggies should just accumulate the size of a baseball and not more. A size of a hockey puck should be enough to portion your carbs while your protein foods should at least be the size of a deck of cards. The fat serving should be limited to as small as two dices.
You should always try to be more open in trying new recipes. Mix the old recipes with new ingredients. Use some of the condiments listed here to make your meal more interesting. There are so many ways to prepare your vegan keto meals and like we said, all it takes is a little bit of imagination and creativity.
Adding fresh and new recipes to your existing food plan can help you maintain your diet without abandoning it entirely. A variety of food choices also prevents you from regressing. This way, you can continue to enjoy the health and physical benefits of a vegan keto diet.