The ketogenic (keto) diet is a high fat, low carb way of eating which was first used medically in the 1920s and 1930s to treat epilepsy. These days it’s prescribed by doctors to manage diabetes symptoms, and can have many health benefits including weight loss, reduced hunger cravings, increased endurance performance and more.
Traditionally a keto diet is filled with classic high fat, low carb foods such as bacon, eggs, cheese and lots of other things vegans don’t want to hear about!
Have no fear though, because the vegan keto diet is not only do-able, but delicious, with the right information and a little planning ahead. Here are 4 key tips to ensure you get started on the right track.
Kickstart Your Vegan Keto Diet With These Four Fundamental Tips
Tip 1: Coconut is King
When doing vegan keto, coconut products are your best friend. One of the toughest thing about vegan keto is watching the carbs because almost everything you can eat has some form of carbohydrate.
Coconut creams and milks are a fantastic and delicious way to bolster both the flavour of your meals and the calorie count without significantly increasing your net carb intake.
In addition, coconut milk may help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and nourish the digestive lining. You can add it to curries, smoothies and even make keto coconut yoghurt. Stock up and get creative!
Tip 2: Chia Seeds Are the New Oatmeal
Chia seeds are wonderful when it comes to vegan keto for a few reasons:
– They have a very low net carb count due to their high fibre content.
– They tend to absorb the flavour of the food around them and so are very flexible.
– They expand and become gelatinous when left to soak in water making them an excellent breakfast food.
Take 50g of chia seeds, put them in a small bowl, fill it with water until the chia seeds are just covered, and leave it to soak overnight. When you wake up you’ll find a bowl of nutritious, low carb, vegan goodness.
Admittedly this on its own is quite bland on its own so you can add other things to your bowl of “oatmeal” such as coconut milk, flax seed, almonds, nuts and/or coconut cream for a fulling and deliciously keto breakfast. For a delicious “faux” oatmeal made with chia seeds try this recipe.
Tip 3: Oil Is Now Your Friend
When you are keto adapted (your body is using fat instead of carbs for energy) oils change from being something you used to feel guilty about to a healthy, tasty and versatile energy source. You’ll want to keep a variety of oils to use for both cooking and drizzling over vegetables in generous portions.
Using oil in this manner enables you to be more flexible in your meal planning as you can add or remove oil without affecting the carb count (the are 0g carb foods).
You’ll want to include oils with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as:
(this is especially good for cooking with due to its high smoke point).
You’ll want to avoid oils with trans fats (heavily processed, unnatural fats) such as:
Tip 4: Incorporate a Variety of Foods
Whatever your reasons for wanting to adopt a ketogenic diet I commend you for taking the road less travelled and doing it the vegan way. Please keep in mind that both the vegan and ketogenic diets are by nature “restrictive”, and so make sure you strive to include a variety of low carb vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and asparagus.
You’ll also want to incorporate various nuts and seeds into your diet, and consider a multivitamin just to cover all bases. For more information on the vegan ketogenic diet you can find a comprehensive at Veganatheart.org.
Here’s to your health!