They say that a ketogenic diet is based mostly on fat, therefore it can be problematic for a vegan or vegetarian.
However, if your goal is to lose weight then you have nothing to worry about... a vegan ketogenic diet is totally feasible!
Here is how...
Ketogenic is not all about fat
In my article "Ketogenic Macros: the ideal ratio for fat-loss" I explain the ideal ratio of macronutrients for a ketogenic diet aimed to fat-loss. One of the takeaways of the article is that, if your goal is to drop weight, you should avoid eating fat at all (read the article if you haven't yet).
When you keep this in mind, it becomes easy to build up your meals using vegetables.
For a ketogenic diet to work, you need to limit the intake of carbohydrates from food. Ideally, you want to eat less than 40g of carbohydrates per day.
This way your body will get into ketosis in just a few days, especially if you are fasting daily on the first week (read this article to know more about getting into ketosis with fasting).
The issue with Vegetables
Unfortunately, most vegetables come loaded with carbohydrates and this means you must be extra careful if you want to craft a ketogenic diet for vegans (or vegetarians) that works. Too many vegetables can max out quickly your daily carbs allowance!
To cope with that, you want to prefer vegetables with low carb content. You also want to avoid fruits because they contain too much sugar (carbs again).
Do you understand??? ...fruits are totally forbidden!
Picking the right food can be challenging as it requires knowledge of nutrition facts. So I did the hard work for you and I put together a long list of juicy items that can be used as ingredients for your vegan/vegetarian ketogenic meals.
Here is how I came up with the list...
When you are losing weight on a ketogenic diet, you need to eat as less as possible. It becomes then a priority to get enough nutrients from the small amount of food you introduce in our system. Remember this is a low carb diet, so you should eat nearly zero carbs.
Your goal can be summarized like this: get maximum nutrition with as little carbs as you can.
With the aim to achieve exactly this goal, I started to look into the work of Dr. Fufrman.
Dr. Fuhrman categorized hundreds of foods based on their nutritional properties and developed a list ordered by what he called ANDI score (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index).
I took the ANDI score table and worked out which foods contain fewer carbs. This way I was able to compile a list of foods ordered by both their ANDI score and their carb content.
That's the ultimate list of foods for a ketogenic diet!
In the following, I am going to share a selection of superfoods from my list.
These foods are totally ok for the vegan ketogenic diet.
The Keto-approved Food List
The table below was first published in my article "The Smart Shopping List for Ketogenic Food".
The list contains also cheese and eggs, for all those that are vegetarian and not vegan. All the other products on the list are suitable for a vegan diet.
If you want to have a specific food included in the list, ask in the comments below the article.
Best viewed horizontally on mobile devices.
|Food||ANDI Score||Calories [kcal]||Fat [g]||Protein [g]||Net Carbs [g]||SKF Score|
|32||Low Fat Plain Yogurt||28||63.0||1.5||5.2||7.0||71|
|41||Whole Wheat Bread||30||247.0||3.4||13.0||34.0||3|
|43||Vanilla Ice Cream||9||207.0||11.0||3.5||23.3||2|
Although this table contains only a small number of vegetables and fruits, you can easily understand how the selection of foods should work on a keto diet.
You should build your meals starting with items on the top of this list. This because they contain more nutrients and fewer carbohydrates. Remember it is very important to make sure you get enough nutrients and the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index helps us to do exactly that.
If you follow a daily fasting regime (which I highly recommend), you can structure your meal to contain 500-600 kcal and that will be enough to keep your belly full for the whole day, maintaining you in full ketosis.
If you want to raise the calories, you should prefer fatty items. Avocado is great for this purpose.
If you can/want to follow a vegetarian ketogenic diet, you can use also some cheese and take advantage of the nutritional properties of eggs (easy source of proteins).
You should avoid beans at all costs cause they contain plenty of carbs... remember that to stay in ketosis your daily intake of carbs should not exceed 40g!
1) Keep it simple.
It is ok to spend some time to craft your meals, so you can enjoy good taste and make sure you get proper nutrition.
However, you should not be in the constant struggle to eat always different.
Every time you take a decision it costs you some willpower energy. You need willpower to be extraordinary at everything you do... so try not to waste it on food.
I usually pick my meals from a few pre-defined combinations I crafted over time. This saves me a great deal of time in the kitchen and in the shop... think about that.
2) Use coconut oil.
You should always use coconut oil if you fry your vegetables.
Among all the oils, coconut oil has the highest percentage of saturated fats, therefore it does not oxidate when cooking and it provided excellent building material for your cells.
Always use low temperature when frying in the pan.
You can craft good meals for your vegan keto diet by simply following the tips in this article.
In the end of the story, all you have to do is to select normal and simple foods. There is no need to look for exotic or genetically modified products.
Carbs, fat, proteins... they are only a part of the puzzle. Nutrients play a big role in your overall health. The ANDI score helps us spot those foods which contain the most nutrients for their caloric value. On top of that, the SKF score helps us to make a better selection and to pick those foods that maximize nutritional value while minimizing carbs content.
This is a very healthy way of eating!
The keto lifestyle is very healthy and it shall not only a privilege of meat-eaters.
I am very eager to get vegans and vegetarians on board with Ketogenic Fasting!
If you try to use the table above, let me know how it goes... drop me a comment in the comment section below ;)
Let's kick start together a Vegan Ketogenic Diet movement!