Can You Be a Vegetarian or a Vegan on a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular diets in recent years. Countless people have successfully lost weight and improved their overall health by following the keto meal plan, so you may be interested in trying it out yourself. One of the most common questions about keto is whether you can combine the program with other diets, such as the vegan or vegetarian diet.
Fortunately, it is possible to follow a vegan keto diet. This meal plan can be quite restrictive, though, so you should do research into how to meet your nutritional needs before diving in.
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet simply contains no meat, poultry or seafood. Vegetarians obtain their protein primarily from plant sources. However, there are sub-categories of vegetarians worth mentioning.
- Ovo-lacto vegetarians consume dairy and eggs.
- Ovo vegetarians consume eggs, but not dairy.
- Lacto vegetarians consume dairy, but not eggs.
There are also flexitarians (or semi-vegetarians) and pescetarians to consider. Flexitarians eat a primarily plant-based diet with occasional consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood. Pescetarians do not eat flesh, but they do eat seafood.
What is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet contains no meat, poultry, seafood, or dairy. Traditional veganism also entails avoiding the use of any animal-based products, such as leather, reptile skin or furs and hairs; health and beauty aids with animal additives; and even plant-based foods that might contain animal additives, such as vegetable soup in beef broth.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help you lose weight and manage certain health conditions. Typically, your body gets energy from the carbohydrates you consume. When you limit your carb intake, your body switches to fat for its energy source and enters a state called ketosis. This can lower your blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity, which can help with hunger and appetite control.
The keto diet is also helpful for weight loss because high-fat and high-protein foods are generally more satiating than high-carb foods. Even if you don’t track your calories or portion sizes, you’ll likely eat fewer calories because your meals will be more filling.
Is Tofu Keto Friendly?
Tofu is composed largely of soybeans, a legume that isn’t very ketogenic, so it’s imperative to check the nutrition closely if you’re eating tofu.
Can Vegans Eat Tofu? And Is Tofu Low-Carb?
While tofu is often considered a vegan meat replacement in the culinary world, the low carbs in tofu compared to its fat content make it less than ideal for keto. Because of the limited options for high-protein, low carb foods while on keto, tofu can still be managed into your macros with care, and keep you in ketosis.
What’s most important to a ketogenic diet is the consumption of optimal ratios of protein, fat and carbs, not necessarily the type of protein. Optimal ratios induce the liver to produce ketones. The type of protein utilized to achieve this aim doesn’t matter.
A person on a ketogenic diet’s liver automatically produces ketones so long as the diet restricts carbs, contains adequate protein and a healthy array of fats, like plant-based fatty acids.
Is There a Low Carb Vegan Diet?
A standard low carb vegan diet, such as a vegan Atkins or a vegan ketogenic diet, does not exist yet. However, vegans can tailor a custom ketogenic diet by taking cues from existing ketogenic/low carb diets geared at meat eaters. They can do this by switching the suggested protein and fat sources to comply with vegan dietary beliefs.
What is a Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet and What Can You Eat?
Many people choose to follow the vegetarian keto diet, which is less restrictive than veganism. Vegetarianism does not allow meat, but it does allow dairy and eggs, which can both be great sources of fat and protein. You may find it easier to have a varied diet if you incorporate eggs, butter, and cheese into your meal plan. However, it certainly is possible to succeed with the keto diet as a vegetarian.
A vegetarian keto diet contains protein and fats from non-meat sources, such as eggs, cheese, low carb protein bars, low-carb protein shakes, plant-based fatty acid supplements, and low-glycemic fibrous vegetables.
What is a Vegan Keto Diet and What Can You Eat?
The keto diet requires you to consume no more than 5 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Some experts recommend staying under 50 grams of carbs per day, and others recommend staying under 35 grams. Everyone has different caloric needs, so it may take some trial and error to figure out what works for you.
Unfortunately, many of the staple foods of a standard vegan diet are not allowed on the keto diet because of their high carbohydrate content. The following foods are not permitted on the vegan keto diet:
- Meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal products
- Beans and legumes
- Potatoes and other root vegetables
- Grains and starches
However, there are plenty of foods that you can include in your vegan keto diet meal plan. Here are some of the best foods to include in your vegan keto diet recipes:
- Tofu, tempeh, and seitan
- Leafy greens
- Above-ground vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut and olive oil
As you can see, with a keto vegan diet, most of the proteins and fats come from nuts, nut butters, hemp protein, rice protein, MCT oil, plant-based fatty acids, and greens. There are no hard and fast rules when creating a vegan or vegetarian keto diet. Because of this reason, vegetarians and vegans have the option of building keto diets from the ground up to suit very specific health requirements that each individual may have.
Both the keto diet and the vegan diet have a number of health benefits, so combining the two can be a great way to lose weight and improve your health. It’s essential that you still meet your nutritional needs to achieve the best vegan keto results, so you should aim to eat as wide of a variety of foods as possible. This will prevent you from getting bored with your meals, too, which will help you stick with the diet. Vegan keto may be a big change from your current diet, but it is achievable with some food substitutions and creative recipes.
If you’re interested in beginning a ketogenic diet, but don’t know where to start, the team at Blue Tree Health can help. We can make we provide a complete weight loss plan that gets you moving towards healthy living. Contact us today to schedule an appointment today.