General Ketogenic Dieting

Vegan Ketogenic Diet: A how-to guide and vegan keto food list!

KetosisIRL Vegan Ketogenic Diet
Written by Natalia Rostova

A vegan ketogenic diet is easier than you might think

For vegans it is very common to be asked what they eat, so common, one might say, even annoying. Frankly speaking, after a year of my veganism, I generally tried to avoid situations where I had to talk about it. I really did not want to answer a long list of questions and listen to all “authoritative” views from those who are on the other side. I hadn’t considered it to even be possible to enjoy a vegan ketogenic diet.

But when a vegan hears about the ketogenic diet, he or she would also have to ask himself all those questions that he or she being asked by others – “What am I going to eat?”. After all, carbohydrates are usually what saves you with a vegan lifestyle or vegan diet. They form the basis of a vegan diet, from fruits, vegetables, wheats etc – many of which cannot be consumed on a ketogenic diet.

So how can I enjoy a vegan ketogenic diet?

It is possible to avoid carbs, and it can be done without compromising our beloved body or ethics. The main rule for a vegan ketogenic diet is no different to any other ketogenic diet – to eat the right amount of protein and healthy fats. It can be derived from nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut oil – there’s a huge variety of foods available. You will find a full vegan keto diet food list a little further below for your convenience.

It is also important to reduce the amount of carbs to around 50 grams a day, rather than the more hard-core keto dieters who aim for 0 – 20 grams; otherwise we will not be able to eat enough nuts and seeds.

In a keto diet the main source of energy is fat. Vegan lifestyle does not prohibit the use of vegetable fats. Here we can use our imagination and choose what is the best for our taste buds, like olive oil, flax or coconut oil. And there is a great thing called almond flour, or almond meal, which is also a plant in origin, so using it you can prepare a lot of different dietary dishes.

The only thing that will be difficult on a vegan ketogenic diet, especially at the beginning, is the calculation. To be a vegan on a keto diet you may need to constantly count the amount of carbohydrates and proteins that you eat every day. Using a free app like MyFitnessPal can really help with this.

Also, do not forget to pay attention to the very important element iron. It is very hard to consume iron on a vegan diet and the lack of iron as we know leads to anemia. You can obtain iron on a keto diet from seaweed, pumpkin seeds, tomato paste, spinach and soybeans, as well as almost all leafy green vegetables.

Vegan ketogenic diet food list

Chances are you’re on this post looking specifically for a comprehensive vegan ketogenic diet food list, so here it is. First we start with the most important element of a ketogenic diet, fats.

Vegan ketogenic diet fats

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

How to include fats in a vegan ketogenic diet

Some people may have no issue with eating loads of whole avocado and macadamia nuts as their main source of nourishment. However, for most this may be difficult and likely to get boring fast. The key to getting enough of the above good fats is to use oils as a dressing for things like leafy greens (spinach, collards). 100g (3 cups) of spinach only contains around 25 kcal, 3 grams of carbs, and also contains 3 grams of protein. Add 100 grams of tofu (76 kcal, 2g carbs, 8g protein) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (240 kcal, 30g fat, 0g protein and carbs). That’s a decent, healthy and filling meal containing a total of around 350 kcal, 30g fat, 11g protein and 5g carbs. That’s a macronutrient ratio of about 75% from fat, 20% from protein and 5% from carbs – considered to be more or less perfect for any ketogenic diet!

Vegan ketogenic diet protein

Tofu
Tempeh
Textured vegetable protein – just check for additives which may contain carbs!
Protein powder – most big supplement stores will stock vegan protein powders!

Vegan ketogenic diet vegetables

Most vegetables are okay on a ketogenic diet but should usually have plenty of fats added. This helps to feel full and nourished without risking too many carbs. We’ll start first with a list of acceptable keto diet vegetables.

Vegetables to include in a vegan ketogenic diet

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

Vegetables to avoid on a vegan ketogenic diet

Potatoes
Peas
Corn
Yucca
Parsnips
Beans
Yams
Legumes (not technically a vegetable, but high carb and worth noting here)

Vegan ketogenic diet nuts and seeds

Almonds
Cashews (a little higher carb, be careful not to over-consume)
Chia Seeds
Coconut Flakes
Hazelnuts
Macadamias
Pecans
Pumpkin Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Walnuts

About the author

Natalia Rostova

Natalia is a talented writer / lyricist living in Ukraine. Natalia is a valued writer for KetosisIRL and has been writing for the blog since late 2015.

6 Comments

  • Thank you, this was so helpful! I’ve done a ketogenic diet before, but never as a vegan. I almost thought it was impossible! Now I feel empowered to try….thanks!

    • Hi Linda,

      I’m glad Natalia’s experience has inspired you! Please let me know how you go! I have quite a number of friends who are vegan who I’m sure would love to hear your own experience 🙂

      Cheers,
      Lee.

  • I am vegan since 2004.
    For many years I have seemingly ate “good” however I have gained an embarrassing 27 lbs!
    I only just learned of this diet and will be starting asap! My downfalls are wine and —gasp–potato chips! Would appreciate any advice .
    thanks,
    Thanks for this incredible information

    • Hi Pamela,

      The thing with being vegan doing keto is that the obvious choice in terms of macros with keto is meats. To be vegan and do keto requires a little (not much) more effort in food choices.

      Leafy greens and other fibrous plant matter are usually so low in calories that you could eat as much as you can fit in and never consume enough carbs to come out of ketosis. To keep your calories at a healthy level, you need to keep the fats up with avocado, plant based oils and nuts including sugar free peanut butter. You should also aim for soy based proteins (tofu, tempeh etc) to maintain lean muscle tissue!

      I feel your pain on the cheat foods. I always have a beer after work, sometimes a couple. I just really love beer! If I could give that up I would probably have that coveted six pack (the other kind that isn’t beer) but you have to balance watching your diet with enjoying your life since you only get one!

      Cheers,
      Lee.

  • Hi,

    Would I still be able to lose weight doing 50 grams a day? I started doing 20 grams a day but find it very difficult to add the amount of protein that I need.
    Would really appreciate any feed back.

    Thank you

    • Hi Melissa,

      For most people up to 100g a day of carbs can be little enough to remain in ketosis. It varies for everyone but if you get some ketostix from your local pharmacy / chemist and test yourself at 20g then gradually increase by 20g a day until you no longer show signs of ketones, you can find the sweet spot for you.

      I’m curious though – most protein sources for me have little to no carbs at all. What were your protein sources that were causing your carbs to go too high?

      Cheers,
      Lee.

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