Vegan Keto: Can it Be Done? + Recipe Recommendations

Whether a vegan ketogenic diet exists is a no-brainer. There are more than plenty of plant-based fats and low carb foods out there. Whether a vegan ketogenic diet is possible…that’s a no-brainer. Is it do-able? Well, that’s a little more complicated.

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“Keto? What is that?” I received that question from one of my family members at a holiday event, which entails that this term is still somewhat green in the general realm. Essentially, keto encompasses a ketogenic diet in which fat is the highest macronutrient consumed, carbohydrates are the lowest, and protein remains moderate. The goal of a ketogenic diet is for the human body to enter ketosis, otherwise a physiological state in which the body uses fat (converted into ketones via the liver) instead of glucose (carbohydrates) as the main source of energy.

Though the medical purpose of a ketogenic diet is mainly utilized to treat those with epilepsy, especially those who still experience unpredictable seizures whilst taking medication, many in the health and fitness community tout it as an ideal mechanism for losing weight, improving fitness, and general health (i.e. well-controlled sugar levels, lower blood pressure, reduced cravings, loss of belly fat, improved cholesterol, and reduction of metabolic syndrome to name a few).

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I correlate complicated with do-able because every person has a different circumstance. Someone with severe fructose malabsorption or a particular medical condition that finds digesting grains, legumes, starches, and certain sugars quite taxing (i.e. diabetes, possibly IBS) would benefit from a vegan ketogenic diet. Contrarily, any other medical condition that entails consuming carbohydrates or a healthy amount of starch-based foods (especially women with sensitive hormones) should avoid a ketogenic diet. Others who have had a history with eating disorders, anxiety around food, and who have an extremely limited budget should also not attempt keto. In general, meat alternatives, certain nuts and seeds, avocados, protein powder, and oils (except for canola and vegetable oils that we should generally avoid) are not nearly as cheap as starch-based dry staples such as beans, rice, potatoes, and oats.

On the other hand, this isn’t the majority. If you want an incredibly quick way to lose weight and you do not care about the rebound effects that result after time with ketosis, give it a shot. If you want to experiment with plant-based eating but have to maintain a strictly ketogenic diet, nothing’s stopping you. Even if you can easily live off a jar of tahini or roasted almonds for a day and call that your full day of eating, then sure, what the hey?

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  1. Leafy greens
    1. Kale
    2. Swiss chard
    3. Beet greens
    4. Spinach
    5. Romaine
    6. Iceberg lettuce
    7. Collard greens
    8. And many more…
  2. Protein
    1. Tofu
    2. Seitan
    3. Tempeh (some brands)
    4. TVP
    5. Low-carbohydrate vegan protein powder
    6. Soy Curls
  3. Nuts
    1. Coconut
    2. Almonds
    3. Macadamia nuts
    4. Pecans
    5. Walnuts
    6. Hazelnuts
    7. Cashews
    8. Brazil nuts
    9. Pine nuts
    10. Pistachios
    11. Peanuts (controversial)
  4. Seeds
    1. Pumpkin seeds
    2. Chia seeds
    3. Flax seeds
    4. Sesame seeds
    5. Sunflower seeds
    6. Watermelon seeds (yes, they’re edible!)
  5. High-fat and/or low sugar fruits
    1. Avocados
    2. Berries (limit)
    3. Olives
    4. Rhubarb
    5. Lemon
    6. Lime
    7. Tomatoes
  6. Oils
    1. Flax oil
    2. Olive oil
    3. Coconut oil
    4. Sesame oil
    5. MCT oil
    6. Avocado oil
    7. And many more…
  7. Beverages
    1. Any nut or seed-based non-dairy milk with the exception of soy milk. Avoid any grain-based non-dairy milk.
    2. Black plain coffee
    3. Unsweetened tea
    4. Water (duh)
  8. Herbs and spices
    1. Dill
    2. Cinnamon
    3. Turmeric
    4. Cumin
    5. Black pepper
    6. Sea salt
    7. Cayenne
    8. Ginger
    9. And many more…
  9. Non-starchy vegetables
    1. Eh, you get the idea.
  10. Select amount of spreads/condiments
    1. Salsa
    2. Fat-based salad dressing
    3. Soy sauce
    4. Guacamole
    5. Hummus (limit to one serving)
    6. Nut butters
    7. Anything sugar free
  11. Packaged products
    1. Vegan jerky (make sure it is sugar free–here’s a great recommendation!)
    2. Trail mix (without dried fruit or chocolate chips)
    3. Grain free and low carb granola (honey-free–this one is fantastic!)
    4. Vegan protein bars (make sure they are ketogenic)
    5. Nut or seed-based cream
    6. Unsweetened dark chocolate (Lily’s Stevia dark chocolate bars and Lakanto’s sugar free chocolates are perfect examples!)
    7. Single-serving packets of hummus
    8. Shirataki noodles and kelp noodles
    9. Coconut and seed-based wraps
    10. Sugar free sweeteners (dry and liquid)

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Ketogenic diets are extremely controversial due to the medical and physiological complications that result from swapping carbs for fat. While they promise incredible health benefits in regards to certain medical conditions, they can also trigger detrimental consequences to other diseases/illnesses, both physical and mental. Additionally, the ketogenic diet may be challenging to maintain in one’s living situation, especially if abroad when sugar can be found in all kinds of food. If you are looking to try the ketogenic diet, PLEASE consult a medical professional, whether it be a registered dietitian, doctor, or anyone else who knows the ins and outs of nutrition and medical fitness along with having the education and necessary credentials.

Personally, I would not easily sustain a ketogenic diet as I find that my mood and fitness performance are completely optimized with a healthy amount of complex carbohydrates. Even though I am epileptic and as controversial as it may sound, I would very much rather pop a pill and enjoy the rest of my diet rather than use a natural approach that would bring me misery AT LEAST in this context. I remember trying the keto diet a few years ago and experienced negative results, though I am definitely open to experimenting for a day or two on a vegan keto diet. Curiosity sparks my interest in how I’d exercise and feel both physically, mentally, and emotionally!

Below are some video recommendations that I LOVE in regards to information about the vegan ketogenic diet, how to enter ketosis, and the consequences from the experiment. As shown, it can be done, but whether it should be done tailors to your biological and physiological needs and goals.


Favorite part! Eat up!

Are you on a ketogenic diet? If so, what are your thoughts and advice? If not, would you try it (plant-based, specifically)?

6 thoughts on “Vegan Keto: Can it Be Done? + Recipe Recommendations

  1. Boy, are you one for the best vegan recipes! You have so many. I have a vegan-keto homemade COOKIE BUTTER recipe: and The Best Cereal In the Whole Wide World: ; I sure hope you try them!

    In terms of staying keto, a lot of those options listed can definitely kick you outta ketosis, for example, I don`t eat kale–but for other people hwo have a higher carb tolerance, they can totally eat that and stay keto! All depends on your tolerance level, body mass and activity level(athletes can get away with more).

    Thanks once again for sharing, Cassie! I check up on your blog regularly because I ENJOY genuinely reading your writing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person


      I think that the vegetables don’t apply for those who are STRICTLY going into ketosis and have a much lower carb count. I just include them because I still emphasize the nutrient density of vegetables and anything fibrous, but I know many people can’t digest highly fibrous foods very well and thrive on a higher fat and low carb diet!

      Thanks for reading, Linda! I LOVE reading your posts too!


      1. I don’t thrive with highly fibrous foods either! Broccoli makes me bloat and i get MAJOR constipation omg. Whenever you read a post, be sure to comment so I know that you’ve read it even if it’s something like a short sentence xD That’s how I keep track.

        Liked by 1 person

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