Vegan Ketogenic Diet
A Beginner's Guide on How to Get Started

vegan keto diet - cover photo

So first let's quickly recap what a ketogenic diet is. It's a low-carb, high-fat diet regimen that offers a variety of health benefits, including weight loss. It’s been in use for nearly a century and was initially used as a treatment for epilepsy.

The process causes your body to enter the metabolic state of ketosis. This occurs when ketones are used as the primary source of energy for your body and brain. You can trigger the state by eating foods that are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and have a sufficient amount of vegan protein. Eating this way changes how your body functions and uses energy. In addition to treating epilepsy and encouraging weight loss, it’s also been shown to reduce glucose levels and improve the body’s resistance to insulin.

Additional benefits of the diet include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Increased metabolism
  • Enhanced cognitive functions
  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Less health issues
  • Improved athletic performance

What Do You Eat on a Normal Keto Diet?

plant based food on a plate

Meal planning when you are on a diet takes time, especially at the beginning, and it can be a bit challenging. This is especially true if you have other nutritional needs, such as choosing to eat only plant-based foods.

The primary foods you eat when you are following a ketogenic diet plan include fats and oils, protein, vegetables, dairy, nuts, and seeds. It’s also recommended you drink a lot of water when following a specific way of eating.

For many, their primary sources of fats and proteins will come from animal sources. Organic, grass-fed meats are recommended in moderation, and fat consumption can include meats, nuts, and saturated and mono-saturated fats, such as butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. Full-fat dairy products are also recommended. Your focus is on consuming fat for your primary source of fuel, moderating protein intake, and avoiding carbohydrates as much as possible. We really get into this topic on a different article on our website. 

The recommended macronutrient breakdown for someone following a keto diet plan is:​

  • 5-10% carbohydrates
  • 15-20% protein
  • 70-75% fats

What Do You Eat on a Vegan Keto Diet?

low-carb plant based food plan

So what’s a vegan have to do if they want to follow a keto diet plan, but meat, poultry, and animal products are off the list of possible foods? As a vegan, it may seem daunting to go on a ketogenic vegan diet at first glance, but we want to tell you that it is possible.

For many of those who love to eat plant-based foods, carbohydrates act as a crutch. The diet can feel so restrictive, and it’s a relief to turn to foods that are high in carbs, such as fruits and wheat-based foods. Luckily, it’s possible to go on a keto vegan diet without relying on these foods to provide you with the needed calories.

The number one rule you need to follow if you’re following a keto diet for vegans is to eat the necessary amount of protein and healthy fats to keep your body functioning correctly. However, since you’re into plant-based foods, you’ll need to turn to non-animal fat sources, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut oil.

Vegan keto diet plan followers should also adjust their carb intake to about 50 grams per day, as opposed to the recommended 5 to 10%. If you find you’re feeling healthy and energetic at 50 grams, you can slowly cut back to fewer until you see the minimum that works for you. It’s a process and will take some time to get it just right for your specific body.

One of the toughest things about following a vegan keto diet plan is the amount of calculation you’ll need to do, especially when you’re still getting used to the set meal plans. You need to make sure you are hitting all of your nutrient goals, or you’re going to falter fast. You’ll feel sluggish, will lack energy, and will realize that it’s tough to stick to an eating plan that makes you feel terrible. Since this process is more restrictive than the typical high-fat, low-carb lifestyle, you’ll need to pay special attention to your micronutrients and ensure you are getting enough iron.

Fatty Foods to Include in Your Vegan Keto Diet Meal Plan:

It can get daunting planning your meals around this selection of fats and many people resort to eating mono-meals—handfuls of macadamia nuts or several whole avocados. This is perfectly fine if it suits your taste buds, but most people grow bored with this sort of vegan ketogenic diet menu.

One of the best tips for doing this is to incorporate your fats into vegan ketogenic diet plan friendly dishes like salad. You can use oils as dressings for greens and other vegetables, which allows you to meet your fat intake goals without things getting boring or tasting bland. Also, remember to season your food (check the ingredient list on seasonings though!), which can add a lot of variety to the most basic dishes. There are people who can eat roasted green beans and carrots every day of the week with different seasonings and never get bored!

  • Avocado, fruit, and oil
  • Flax seed oil (linseed oil)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut butter
  • Peanut butter (Organic with no added dairy)
  • Sesame oil

Vegan-Friendly Supplements

BHB salts

As can be imagined, keeping up with the necessary fat intake that keto requires without relying on animal products and fats can be quite challenging.  Most practictioners use supplements to help them stay in ketosis, but the problem is that most of them aren't vegan-friendly.

The most potent form of keto supplementation around is BHB salts. BHB is the precursor to ketones. Your body produces them naturally, but taking them from external sources can really make a difference.

The top-rated BHB supplement is Perfect Keto (read review), and it turns out that one of their flavors is vegan-friendly and one isn't.  The chocolate sea salt is the one you want to go for and luck is on your side because that's the most delicious one!

More Things to Add To Your Vegan Ketogenic Diet Food List:

In addition to the fats listed above, you should include vegan sources of protein, such as tofu and tempeh, into your diet in moderation. Ketogenic vegetables are also an essential part of this diet. Choose from:

  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beet Greens
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplants
  • Edamame
  • Dill Pickles
  • Dandelion greens
  • Cucumber
  • Collard greens
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Celery root
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushroom
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Snow Peas
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Summer Squash
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini

If you were a vegan before adhering to the diet, you’re likely used to the mindset that all vegetables are approved. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with this, and you’ll want to avoid potatoes, corn, peas, yucca, yams, parsnips, legumes, and beans when on a keto diet because they are higher in carbohydrates.

Non-oil sources of fat are also great for vegan keto dieters because they are especially good for snacking. Try munching on almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, coconut flakes, and hazelnuts. You can also sprinkle chia seeds into salads.

Where Can I Get Vegan Ketogenic Meal Plans?

vegan meal plan

A vegan ketogenic diet is possible, but it takes planning and special attention to how it affects your body. Flexibility and a willingness to try new foods can go a long way when it comes to adjusting to vegan ketogenic diet foods. That is why some people do not bother making these meals themselves and would instead go to a different source.

So, if you are starting out in this kind of lifestyle and do not have the time to make these meals for yourself, then it's probably best to go to an outside source and have it made for you. Many restaurant companies offer the service, and it can sometimes be a bit costly because preparing vegan keto meals takes more than just a sprinkle of salt.

If you know a friend that makes it or know anyone that does, then you're in luck. But if you don't, that's fine. We're putting together a vegan-friendly meal plan page and should have that up real soon.  So please come back.

What Do We Think About Ketosis?

We have stated before that going on a full-blown ketogenic diet is a big challenge to most people, but going on that diet while being a vegan is a whole other story. It will be tough to keep up with the right macros when you have so many restrictions. But even after saying that, we still think it's worth it. With all the benefits that the keto diet can provide, it shouldn't be a question -- it's a definite yes for us.

So, there you have it. If you decide to go on the vegan ketogenic diet, you can always give it a fair shot. As long as you have discipline and you want to change your life, then you have nothing to worry about. It's completely doable. Good luck!

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet.