What is the Vegan Ketogenic Diet? Vegetarian Plant-Based Keto Food List & Meal Plans

Anybody who has ever heard of the word diet has more than likely heard of the ketogenic diet.  Just in case you haven’t, the ketogenic diet, often referred to as the keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein diet.  It has exploded in its popularity due to its powerful weight loss effects and boost to your overall health.

While the diet normally includes those that are based around animal meats, you can actually adapt the keto diet to be based around plant-based foods, making it vegan friendly.  

In case you are not aware of what being a ‘vegan’ or only eating ‘vegan foods’ means, it is essentially eliminating all animal-based products from your daily eating routine.  This includes animal meats, as well as any animal by-products, such as eggs, dairy, cheese, etc. This means that most vegan diets are typically higher in carbs and can be extremely difficult to try and eat a low-carb diet.

Since the keto diet is based off the premises of essentially eliminating carbs from your daily diet, it can become very tricky for a vegan to be on it and still maintain their optimal nutrition. However, with a little bit of careful planning, there is a way for vegans to take advantage of all the health benefits that being on a keto diet has to offer.

Here is everything that you will need to know in order to successfully go on a keto diet as a vegan.

What Exactly is a Vegan Keto Diet?

The keto diet is normally a moderate protein, low carb, and high fat diet.  With the keto diet, you are going to want to get your daily carbohydrate consumption to below 50 grams in order for your body to reach a state of ketosis, as well as maintain that state of ketosis.  Ketosis is a metabolic process where your body begins to use your fat stores as its main source of energy. This means that your body is going to burn fat for its fuel as opposed to glucose.

Since you will be eating a high fat diet of around 75% of your entire daily intake, most people on the keto diet use the different high in fat animal products that are available, some of which include butter, meats, and full-fat dairy products.  If you don’t eat animal products because you are vegan however, you are going to have to look to other sources of healthy fats and proteins.

While those on a vegan diet are only going to be able to consume the plant-based foods that include grains, vegetables and fruits, they are going to need to avoid all the animal-based foods.

Vegans on the keto diet are able to reach a state of ketosis, but they are going to have to do so by relying heavily on the plant based, high-fat food products like avocados, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil.  Essentially, you are going to have to go on a moderate protein, low-carb, high fat diet that does not include any type of animal or animal by-products.

Benefits of the Vegan Keto Diet

There are several different benefits that have been associated with going on a vegan keto diet.  Unfortunately though, there have been no significant studies done that focus specifically on the vegan keto diet.  This is due to the smaller amount of the population who are on the keto diet being vegan.

The vegan diet has been proven that it is a great way to reduce your risk of different chronic health conditions, some of which include diabetes, certain types of cancers, and even heart disease.  For example, some of the studies done have reported that people following a vegan diet have a 75% lower chance of developing some type of high blood pressure and a 78% reduction in developing type 2 diabetes.

As if those health benefits weren’t enough, vegans are also typically lighter than their meat-eating counterparts, as well as better at losing weight.  In fact, there was a review that was done and the results were shocking. Twelve people followed a diet over the time span of 18 weeks. What the study found was that the ones who had followed a vegan diet were able to lose 5.5 pounds more on average, than those who were on a non-vegan diet.

Similar to the vegan diet, there has been a plethora of research that has shown a low-carb, high fat keto diet can positively affect your health.  On top of that, the keto diet is also very effective in helping you to lose weight, reduce dangerous metabolic conditions, and help with your blood sugar control.

In fact, a study was done with 58 children who were considered to be obese.  The study found that the children who followed a keto diet plan were able to lose significantly more fat mass and weight than the children who were only following a lower-calorie type of diet.  On top of that, those on the keto diet also saw an increased amount of adiponectin. Adiponectin is one of the main proteins that are involved with regulating your blood sugar levels, as well as your fat burning metabolism.  Along with those benefits, higher levels of adiponectin have also been linked to reduced inflammation, a decreased risk for all of the obesity-linked diseases, and better control of your blood sugar levels.

The keto diet has also been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as the numerous factors that come along with it.  This includes a high triglyceride count, high blood pressure, and even the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Now knowing that both the keto diet and being a vegan have many health benefits, there is a great chance that combining the two and becoming a vegan keto dieter is going to positively impact your health.  

The Foods to Avoid at All Costs

Since you are going to be doing a vegan keto diet, you are going to need to essentially eliminate your carb consumption while replacing them with lots of healthy fats and vegan approved protein sources.  All types of animal products and animal byproducts, including meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, and poultry are not allowed while you are on a vegan keto diet.

Here are some of the foods that you are going to need to eliminate from your diet and avoid at all costs:

  • Poultry and meats – turkey, pork, beef, chicken
  • Dairy – butter, milk, yogurt
  • Eggs – egg yolks and egg whites
  • Seafood – shrimp, mussels, clams, fish
  • All animal-based food ingredients – honey, whey protein, proteins from egg whites

Now that you know the foods that you should completely eliminate from eating, as they do not fall under the approved foods list for the vegan keto diet, here are some of the foods that you should reduce eating significantly:

  • Starches and grains – bread, rice, grains, pasta, baked goods, and cereals
  • Drinks loaded with sugars – soda, sweet teas, sport drinks, smoothies, and chocolate milk
  • Any sweeteners – white sugars, maple syrup, brown sugar, and agave
  • All starchy veggies – sweet potatoes, peas, beets, potatoes, and winter squash
  • Legumes and beans – chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans
  • Fruits – All of your fruit intake should be extremely limited.  The exception being that you can eat smaller qualities of berries, for example strawberries.
  • Alcoholic beverages – Cocktails that are sweetened, beer, and wine
  • All low-fat foods – These types of foods are typically very high in sugar to make up for the lack of flavor.
  • Sauces and condiments that are high in carbs – sweetened salad dressings, barbecue sauce, and most marinades
  • Any processed food – You want to do your best to limit the consumption of any kind of packaged foods.  Instead, try to increase your consumption of foods that are whole and unprocessed.

While these are the foods that you should try to avoid eating and just simply avoid all together, keep in mind that the amount of restriction your carbohydrate intake is going to experience while doing a vegan keto diet will vary from individual to individual depending upon your individual needs and health goals.

Generally speaking, you are going to want high in fat, healthy vegan foods, as well as vegan protein sources, to make up the bulk of the food that you eat while following the vegan keto diet.  So basically, try not to eat any types of animal products or byproducts and any type of foods that are high in carbohydrates. If you are able to do this, you will pretty much be guaranteeing your success while on the vegan keto diet.

So know you know what foods that you shouldn’t be eating and that you should try to limit your consumption of, what type of food is appropriate for you to eat while on the vegan keto diet?

Foods that you Should Eat

To be successful with the vegan keto diet, you are going to want to focus on all of the vegan-friendly foods that are both high in fat, as well as low in carbs.  Some of these foods are going to include:

  • Most coconut products – coconut cream, full-fat coconut milk, and unsweetened coconut
  • Healthy oils – nut oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil
  • Seeds and nuts – Brazil nus, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Seed and nut butters – almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, and sunflower butter
  • Vegetables that are non-starchy – Brussels sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, and all dark leafy greens
  • Various vegan proteins – tempeh and full fat tofu
  • Vegan ‘dairy’ that is full fat – vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, cashew cheese, and coconut yogurt
  • Avocados – fresh guacamole and whole avocados
  • Various berries – blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries can be consumed as long as it is done in moderation.
  • Some condiments – fresh herbs, salt, spices, pepper, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast

While the keto diet does eliminate many of the food choices that vegans are able to rely on (starchy vegetables and whole grains), with a careful eating plan in place, you can easily follow and enjoy the benefits of a vegan keto diet.  Just be sure that if you are doing a vegan keto diet that you are getting the bulk of your daily caloric intake from whole foods that are not processed, and that you are avoiding any type of vegan foods that have been highly processed.

The foods that you should be focused on eating are avocados, vegetables that are considered non-starchy, seeds, nuts, healthy oils, coconut products, and various types of vegan protein sources.

Now that you are aware of the foods that you should avoid, the foods that you need to restrict as much as possible, as well as the approved foods that you are able to consume in order to be successful on a vegan keto diet plan, here is what a sample week on the vegan keto plan will look like.  And when you plan your meals out this way, it will also help you to stick to it and greatly improve your chances of receiving the health benefits as well.

Sample Week of the Vegan Keto Diet Meal Plan

While being on the vegan keto diet plan may feel like you are restricting what you can eat, there are many different meals that you can construct that use vegan friendly ingredients as an alternative to some of the non-approved ingredients.

Here is a sample 7-day vegan keto diet friendly meal plan.  While most meal plans always start on a Monday, the seven days has been made into day #1, day #2, etc., so that you are able to start following it any day of the week, not just on Monday.

Day #1

  • Breakfast – Keto friendly porridge that has been made with a full-fat coconut milk, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and topped with some unsweetened coconut that has been shredded.
  • Lunch – Low-carb vegetable soup with vegan cream.
  • Dinner – Stir-fry made with cauliflower rice and tofu

Day #2

  • Breakfast – A tofu scramble that is made with avocado and vegan cheese
  • Lunch – Noodles made from zucchini with a walnut pesto sauce, topped with vegan cheese
  • Dinner – Vegan chili made with walnuts, topped with some avocado slices and vegan cheese

Day #3

  • Breakfast – Chia seed pudding made with a full-fat coconut milk, sprinkled with sliced almonds on top
  • Lunch – Creamy cauliflower and coconut soup
  • Dinner – Noodles made from shitake with a vegan Alfredo sauce and mushrooms

Day #4

  • Breakfast – Yogurt made from full-fat coconut that has been topped with seeds, unsweetened coconut that has been shredded, and nuts
  • Lunch – Coconut curry on vegetables and tofu
  • Dinner – Pizza made with a cauliflower crust, topped with your choice of non-starchy vegetables and some vegan cheese

Day #5

  • Breakfast – Scramble made with tofu, mushrooms, spinach and vegan cheese
  • Lunch – Salad made with tofu and vegetables, topped with some avocado dressing
  • Dinner – Lasagna made from eggplant and vegan cheese

Day #6

  • Breakfast – Vegan friendly keto smoothie made with some full-fat coconut milk, cocoa powder, almond butter, and some vegan protein powder
  • Lunch – Salad made with tofu and vegetables, topped with some avocado dressing
  • Dinner – Fried rice made out of cauliflower

Day #7

  • Breakfast – Coconut chia almond pudding
  • Lunch – Leafy green salad with vegan cheese, tempeh avocado, pumpkin seeds, and your choice of non-starchy vegetables
  • Dinner – Vegan mac and cheese made from cauliflower

As you can see, creating a vegan keto diet is not as hard as it looks.  In fact, once you have done it a few times, you will know the different meals that you like more than others and can then go on to customize your weekly meal planning even more.

So now that your meals are done, what about snacks?  Since you can eat as much of the food as you want as long as it’s on the approved foods list, you can snack in between your meals as needed.

Vegan Keto Friendly Snacks

When you find that the feeling of hunger is starting to creep up on you and you just happen to be in between your main meals of the day, try some of these vegan keto diet friendly snack foods that will help you control your appetite and keep it in check until your next meal.

  • Cucumber that has been sliced and topped with a vegan cream cheese
  • Coconut ‘fat bombs’, which are a snack that is high in fat and made with shredded coconut, coconut butter, and some coconut oil.
  • Coconut bars and assorted nuts
  • Cocoa smoothie made with coconut milk
  • Various trail mixes that have been made (or made by you) consisting of various mixed seeds, nuts, and even some unsweetened coconut
  • Coconut flakes that have been dried
  • Pumpkin seeds that have been roasted
  • Almond butter and celery sticks
  • Coconut milk yogurt that has been topped with sliced or chopped almonds
  • Olives that have been stuffed with some vegan cheese
  • Freshly made guacamole and your favorite non-starchy vegetables, such as sliced bell peppers
  • Tater tots that are made out of cauliflower
  • Fresh coconut cream with some assorted berries (as long as they are eaten in moderation)

When you are doing a vegan keto diet, you actually have a very wide variety of different foods that you can eat and snack on throughout the day.  Just remember that the meals and the snacks that you do decide to eat are all high in the healthy fats and as low in carbohydrates as possible.

Side Effects and Potential Drawbacks

While there is no doubting how effective a vegan keto diet at helping you increase your health, as with anything, there are always going to be certain potential drawbacks that you may experience.

Typically, most regular vegan diets are going to consist of lower amounts of the more important nutrients that your body needs, especially if you have not taken the time to carefully plan out your meals and snacks.

For example, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin K2, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids are some of the types of nutrients that some of the vegan diets are lacking in.  Since you are going to be partnering that vegan diet with a more restrictive keto diet at the same time, it is essential that you go into the vegan keto diet knowing that you are going to have to supplement with some high-quality minerals and vitamins, as well as plan all of your meals to make sure that you are getting all of the nutrition that your body requires.

One of the ways that you can easily do this is to be sure to eat fortified foods, with a focus on whole foods.  This will help you to increase your nutrient availability. An example of this would be eating foods that have gone through sprouting or fermenting.

Even with the extra effort that you will have to make in order to get all of the minerals and nutrients that your body requires, it may still be a difficult task for you to get all of the micronutrients that your body needs from just foods alone.  That is why supplementing your diet with certain minerals and vitamins that are commonly lacking from a vegan diet is one of the smartest and easiest ways to protect yourself from any potential nutritional deficiencies. Plus, it will ensure that you are always meeting your daily nutritional requirements.

So while there are many great health benefits when you choose to do a vegan keto diet, you must be sure that you carefully plan out your meals and snacks to get the most out of the foods that you consume.  On top of this, you are going to want to be sure and use some supplements as a insurance policy, ensuring that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that your body requires on a daily basis.

When you go on a vegan keto diet, you are focusing on a diet that consists of unprocessed, whole, plant-based food.  This combination is going to help you lose weight, as well as reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Just be sure to listen to your body and adjust your vegan keto plan accordingly.