Plant Based Ketogenic Diet – Is It Possible?

plant based ketogenic diet

If you want to follow the keto diet but you’re concerned about eating a lot of fatty meat then the plant based ketogenic diet could be the perfect diet to follow.

Health experts agree that people will have a much better health if they have a low-carb diet and eat mostly plant-based products. This is why many keto dieters are now veering towards a more plant based version of the ketogenic diet.

Related reading: Vegetarian Keto Diet – How Does It Work?

Plant-based diets do not necessarily eliminate animal products, but focus on eating mostly plants. If, however, you are vegan and have been wondering about a keto diet then you’ll be glad to know that it is possible to follow a vegan version of the plant based keto diet.

However, some people are skeptical about the plant based ketogenic diet. Since the keto diet is composed mostly of fats, dieters tend to turn to animal products to fulfill this. So what happens if you are vegan?

In this article, let’s find out more about the Plant Based Ketogenic Diet and see if it is possible to follow keto without meat and animal-based products.

Overview of the Plant Based Ketogenic Diet

So what exactly is a plant based ketogenic diet? This diet is basically a plant-based version of the ketogenic diet.

Vegan dieters would not eat meat or any products derived from animals. They rely mostly on carbs, which is why following a keto diet would be difficult for vegans.

But with proper planning, it is possible to follow both vegan and keto diets together. In fact, a lot of vegans who have turned to the keto diet have managed to improve their health.

According to Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist and plant-based proponent,

“A vegan keto diet follows the same principles as keto but without any animal-derived products, like meat and dairy.”

To implement a plant based ketogenic diet correctly, you must limit your carbs to 20 to 50 grams a day by eating plenty of low-carb vegetables and some low carb fruit.

Since keto is based on high healthy fats and vegans don’t eat meat, their fats should come from plant-based foods.

If you are not vegan you could incorporate  a little organic milk, organic cheese, organic, pastured eggs, organic free range poultry, wild caught fish or grass-fed meat. But, the emphasis is always on plant food.

Just like the standard keto diet, 70% of your diet should come from healthy fats, 25% good quality protein, and only 5% carbohydrates. However, you are limited to only keto-friendly pant-based foods.

How to Limit Carbs on a Plant Based Keto Diet?

As mentioned, a typical vegan diet consists mostly of carbohydrate foods. So, following the plant based ketogenic diet might be a challenge for vegans. But if you are keen to limit your carbs while still following the principles of veganism, here’s a guide to follow:

Foods to Eat

  • Vegan “meat” alternatives – tofu, tempeh, seitan, and other vegan “meats” that are low in carbs but high in protein.
  • Mushrooms – king oyster, shiitake, portobello, maitake, crimini etc
  • Low carb vegetables – Leafy greens like kale and spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, peppers, cabbage, zucchini, and more.
  • Plant-based dairy alternatives – unsweetened coconut-based yogurt, vegan cheeses, coconut cream
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, macadamias, pistachios, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butters
  • FruitAvocados, olives, berries such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Fermented foods – kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut kefir
  • Sweeteners – monk fruit, stevia, erythritol, allulose
  • Other fatsMCT oil, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil

Foods to Avoid

  • Grains – corn, rice, wheat, cereals, etc.
  • Legumes – peas, beans, lentils
  • Sugar – maple syrup, agave, honey, etc.

Related reading: No Added Sugar Diet For Immense Health Benefits

By knowing which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, following the plant based ketogenic diet is certainly possible. It might be difficult at first since most of the keto recipes and low carb meals contain animal products. But there are substitutions that you can make to make these recipes vegan.

Simple Vegan Alternatives

To successfully pull off the vegan plant based ketogenic diet you need to get familiar with some vegan alternatives. These days, there are tons of low-carb vegetarian and vegan recipes online, which is a great way to get started with the keto diet.

But if you are vegan, what you can do is to replace those animal-derived ingredients with vegan-friendly products. Here are some examples:

  • Milk – in recipes that require the use of regular dairy milk you can instead use coconut milk or nut milks like almond milk.
  • Heavy cream – If a recipe requires heavy dairy cream, you can instead use coconut cream. You might need to first blend it with a little water depending on the creaminess.
  • Butter – butter is another animal-derived dairy product that’s common in keto recipes. You can substitute coconut oil or any vegan butter. Make sure that the vegan butter does not have any unhealthy hydrogenated oils, which could increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Cheese – if a recipe calls for cheese, make sure you use vegan cheeses. You will find a lot in the market right now so this should be easy but again watch for unhealthy additives.
  • Cream cheese – instead of using cream cheese, you can go for vegan soft cheeses, such as the cashew-based soft cheese.
  • Yogurt – you can now find plenty of non animal-based yogurt in a local health food market. These yogurts are made with cashew, almond, or coconut milk. Just make sure to avoid those with added sugars and hidden carbs, so read the label very carefully.

Benefits of Following the Plant Based Ketogenic Diet

There are tons of health benefits that are associated with both the keto diet and vegan diet. Combining the two may not be easy, but the many benefits that you can reap make it all worth it.

Related reading: 5 Amazing Health Benefits of a Keto Diet

Following a vegan diet has been found to lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. In one study, it has been observed that vegans have a 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a 75% lower risk of getting high blood pressure.

In addition, vegans tend to weigh less compared to non-vegans. It was found that those who adopted vegan diets are more successful in shedding their excess weight compared to people who ate animal products.

Just like the vegan diet, several studies have been able to confirm the many benefits of following the ketogenic diet. Although the keto diet is well-known for its ability to help with weight loss, the diet has also been found to be effective at controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of heart diseases.

Given the many benefits that both the vegan diet and keto diet can give, it’s not surprising why a lot of people are advocating for the plant based ketogenic diet.

Final Thoughts

The plant based ketogenic diet is a very restrictive diet. It’s already hard enough to restrict carb consumption on a regular keto diet, and even more difficult for vegans who are only limited to plant-based products.

But, as you can see above, there are plenty of vegan alternatives that you can incorporate into your diet so it is possible to combine the two.

If you are not adverse to eating animal products it would make it easier to follow if you included some good quality animal protein from time to time.

Both diets come with many health benefits and are effective in helping you to lose weight. So if you are really keen on losing weight the healthy way, it may be worth giving the plant based ketogenic diet a try.


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