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Updated: January 3, 2023
It’s becoming more frequent that you hear someone say, “I’m on a vegan ketogenic diet!” While low carb diets are often scorned in the high carb low fat vegan community – after all, low carbers only eat meat, and carbs make the world turn round, it seems that vegan ketogenic diets and plant-based low carbohydrate diets are becoming increasingly popular.
I was first introduced to the low carb world while vegan, and actually found it really easy to adapt my current diet to be low carb. Though my eating patterns certainly went through some changes, as I worked with doctors to find what low carb foods really worked best for my body and my health, in the end what keeps me feeling my best is a very low carb vegan diet. Hopefully the following info helps you to do the same. 🙂
Since I first wrote this article, I’ve been pretty busy, even writing a vegan keto cookbook! My cookbook not only has recipes, shopping lists and a meal plan, it also has all the information in detail that you need to get started on a vegan keto diet.
Jump to a Section!
- Determine Your Daily Carbs on a Vegan Keto Diet
- Counting Carbs at the Beginning
- But How Do I Actually Get Started?
- What Oils and Fats Can You Eat?
- What Nuts and Seeds Can I Eat on a Vegan Keto Diet?
- Low Carb Veggies
- Low Carb Fruits
- Low Carb Vegan Protein Sources
- Do I Have to Eat Soy or Gluten to Be in Ketosis as a Vegan?
- Can I Eat Dessert on a Low Carb Plant-Based Diet?
- Are There Vegan Keto Meal Plans? Do I Have to Follow Them?
- Exercise and Keto Diets
- What Supplements Will I Need to Take on Plant-Based Keto?
- …And What About Omegas?
Determine Your Daily Carbs on a Vegan Ketogenic Diet
While conventional keto rules say to start at 20g of net carbs a day, vegan ketoers may find that 30g of net carbs is a little closer to an achievable goal. It really boils down to this – plant foods tend to all have a little carbohydrate in them, whereas animal products do not.
Yes, you can just pour oil into your mouth all day, every day. But…that’s really, really boring. It’s also not sustainable for most people in the long term. So, increasing the target number of carbs just a little bit can be pretty beneficial to your taste buds, and your sanity. I’ve worked with clients who can maintain ketosis while eating up to 50g of net carbs some days and a daily average of 30-40g. So, there’s certainly wiggle room.
Of course, it’s still possible to eat 20g of net carbohydrates per day (even without drinking oil), so if you really want to limit carbohydrates, you have an option there.
To figure out how many calories and carbs you should eat in a day, you could use a keto calculator (like the one here on my site!) and then see how that feels. If after the keto-flu period, you’re still feeling
Don’t Count Too Much in the Beginning
This is counter-intuitive, as carb-counting seems integral to the whole process. But counting is really not necessary, especially when you’re first starting out and getting the hang of things. You’ll want to make sure you’re used to eating a good variety of foods, and that this is a sustainable and satisfying way of eating for you. So many people start a keto diet by jumping in head first, end up feeling terrible and craving all their favorite foods, and quitting before any real results can happen.
Instead, be kind and give yourself some time to adjust to a totally new way of eating. Focus on eating low carb foods and on making keto-friendly recipes, and see how you like everything. You could spend the first few days eating until you’re satisfied without counting carbs or calories too closely. Then, once you’ve settled into a meal rhythm, start counting (or not, if being fancy-free is working!).
Of course, if you are the type of person who needs more rigidity and structure, then this system won’t work quite as well for you. Eating plant-based keto is about listening to your body, and knowing what’s right for you. If you need lots of structure and know that you want to stick to a certain amount of carbs and calories per day, then careful tracking or use of a meal plan may benefit you more greatly than a looser way of doing things. Just do what feels right for you. 🙂
How to Get Started on a Vegan Ketogenic Diet
Okay, so you know your macros (more or less) and you’ve got a solid grasp of the calories you need to consume, but how do you actually get started on a vegan ketogenic diet? It’s not as hard as you think!
There are two basic ways to get started on a plant-based keto way of eating. The first is just to dive right in. You could do this either by following a vegan keto meal plan or just by “winging it” and eating whatever keto-friendly foods you want, without worrying too much about macro ratios or carb counts. The latter option is commonly referred to as “lazy keto,” and tends to yield slightly slower results, but is a bit easier to follow. Using a pre-made meal plan (or making one yourself) is the more precise of the options, as you are able to hit set macronutrient targets without too much thinking each day. “Lazy keto” is certainly the most sustainable method for the long haul, and tends to be what people settle on eventually anyway.
The other option is to slowly taper down your carbohydrate consumption. You can do this either by eating progressively lower amounts of carbs every few days and not focusing on the other macros until you hit ketosis (so maybe starting at 75g net carbs the first three days, then going down to 50g for three days, then 40g and so on). This slow introduction tends to work better for a lot of people, as it is less jarring and allows you to really dial into what feels best for your body. This is typically how I like to work with clients as it’s a moderately quick approach, but it doesn’t involve a whole lifestyle overhaul in one day.
Finally, you could combine a “lazy keto” approach with slowly tapering by replacing high carb foods over time. So, for instance, if you eat a lot of pasta and rice-based dishes, you could start by replacing all of the pasta with zucchini noodles and the rice with cauliflower rice for the first few few days. Then, being subbing out or eliminating other high-carb foods like breads and potatoes, and then shift to eating lower carb fruits (list below). As you keep replacing things, you’ll eventually get into ketosis. This is really the slowest method and can take from a week to a month, depending on how quickly you want to replace things. Like “lazy keto,” it’s a fairly sustainable way of eating, as you end up developing habits over time and can tailor meals to your own tastes, as opposed to adopting a totally new way of eating overnight.
The method you choose for getting started on a vegan keto diet is really up to you, and depends on your fitness goals and your lifestyle. You’re also not beholden to just one method. If you start out doing lazy keto and don’t see the result you want after a couple of weeks, you could always then try using a meal plan. It’s really up to you!
What Oils and Fats Should I Eat on a Low Carb Vegan Diet?
This is a vegan keto freebie. All oils are low in carbs and super fatty. You’ll definitely want to have a good quality bottle of olive oil on hand, and a jar of good quality coconut oil. Why the emphasis on quality? Lesser quality oils will have likely gone rancid on store shelves and can be damaging to your body. Be sure to purchase olive oil in a dark glass bottle or even a metal container. Coconut oil is more stable, but both should be extra virgin and cold pressed for the highest quality, and most nutrients.
And yes, oils contain vitamins, minerals, and other phyto-chemicals when they’re not processed to high heaven, so they aren’t just “empty calories.” I only say this because when I was first getting into healthy eating years ago, it was drilled into my head that I should avoid using oil in my food because there was no nutritional benefit and it was high in calories, and I figure you may have been told something similar!
To go right to the source, and get more vitamins, minerals and fiber, eating foods like coconut, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds are also great!
And don’t worry – if you want to eat whole foods on a plant-based vegan keto diet, you don’t have to have oils on hand. It’s plenty easy to obtain healthy fats from the whole food sources mentioned above! 🙂
Get to Know Nuts & Seeds
If you’ve decided to embark on a vegan ketogenic diet, you’ll really want to familiarize yourself with nuts. Containing both fat and protein, nuts are filling and delicious. Plus, nuts are lower in carbs than many other plant-based foods.
Net carbs in nuts & seeds (g/oz)
- Flax seeds: .5g
- Pecans: 1.1g
- Brazil nuts: 1.3g
- Macadamia nuts: 1.5g
- Chia seeds: 1.7g
- Walnuts: 1.9g
- Coconut (dried): 2g
- Pumpkin seeds: 2.2g
- Hazelnuts: 2.3g
- Sesame seeds: 2.6g
- Almonds: 2.9g
- Sunflower seeds: 3.7g
- Peanuts: 3.8g
- Pistachios: 5.8g*
- Cashews: 8.5g*
And yes, I know peanuts are technically a legume, but they work here. Pistachios and cashews are pretty high in carbs for nuts, but I still included them because it’s good to know. Also, they’re both so tasty… Odds are, you’re going to want them sometime.
*higher carb nuts that you may want to eat more sparingly if you are on a strict keto diet.
Low Carb Veggies – Get Your Greens!
While low carb dieters often go a bit lighter on the veggies, for fear of going over too much on carbs, there’s really no need! Greens are actually incredibly low in carbs, and their nutrients actually become more bioavailable when cooked, and consumed with fat. So, you basically have to sauté those collard greens in garlic and olive oil. For science.
Most greens will be between .2-.5g/cup when raw, so about 2-4g net carbs per cup when cooked. Not bad at all! Feel free to check out a more complete list of low carb veggies (and reasons to eat veggies), but here is a small sampling to get you started:
Carbs of Various Greens (grams of net carbs per cup):
- Mustard greens: .2g
- Raw Spinach: .2g
- Bok Choi: .4g
- Endive: .4g
- Lettuce: .4g
- Broccoli florets: 1.6g
- Cauliflower: 1.8g
- Cucumber: 2g
- Green cabbage: 2.2g
Can You Eat Fruit on Keto?
Of course you can! I mean, technically, you can eat anything that isn’t an animal product on a vegan ketogenic diet, but I know that’s not what you’re asking! Basically, fruits are pretty sugary, so you’ll want to steer clear of most and eat mainly berries. This is great anyway, as berries tend to be more nutrient dense. So, win-win.
There is plenty more information about eating fruit on keto, but hopefully, this short list provides a good start.
Carb Count of Selected Fruits and Berries (grams net carbs per 1/4 cup):
- Raspberries: 1.5g
- Strawberries: 1.8g
- Blackberries: 2.1g
- Watermelon: 2.6g
- Pineapple: 3.8g
- Blueberries: 4.1g
- Cherries: 4.2g
Low Carb Protein Sources for a Vegan Ketogenic Diet
“But, where do you get your pro–” I’m going to stop you right there. If you’ve been vegetarian or vegan for any reasonable amount of time, you’ve probably realized that there’s protein in basically everything. So, getting enough protein on a vegan ketogenic diet isn’t really a big deal.
If you’re looking to consume a little bit more protein than the average vegan keto bear, there are plenty of low carb vegan protein powders on the market (I’m obsessed with Vega, and talk in more detail about other low carb plant-based protein powders here. You can also find a variety of low carb meat substitutes at most grocery stores that are very keto-friendly, and contain a hearty amount of protein.
For now though, we’ll talk about whole food low carb plant sources of some extra protein. Aside from nuts and seeds (which tend to have between 2-7g per serving), your choices are a little more limited than with other food categories. Protein tends to come packaged with carbs in nature. However, the protein you get from vegetables throughout the day does actually amount to something! Plus, adding nutritional yeast to your meals can certainly give an added protein boost. Depending on the brand, nutritional yeast contains around 3g of protein per tablespoon and is very low carb.
Below, I’ve listed the protein and carb counts for the most protein-dense whole foods.
Low Carb Plant-Based Protein Sources (g protein | g net carbs | serving size):
- Hemp Seeds (hulled) | 10g | 0g | 3 tbsp
- Nutritional Yeast | 8g | 1g | 2 tbsp
- Tofu: 10g | 1.9g | 1/2 cup cubes
- Soybeans (mature, yellow): 14g | 3.5g | 1/2 cup
- Soybeans (edamame, green): 11g | 6g | 1/2 cup
- Peas: 5g | 9g | 2/3 cup
- Soybeans (dry roasted): 17g | 10.5g | 1/2 cup
- Spinach (frozen): 4g | 1g | 1 cup
- Almonds | 6g | 2.5g | 1/4 cup
- Sunflower Seeds | 7.3g | 4g | 1/4 cup
- Pumpkin Seeds | 8.8g | 2.3g | 1/4 cup
- Peanut Butter | 6g | 4g | 2 tbsp
- Lupins (lupini beans) | 26g | 11.4g | 1 cup
Pretty much all greens and mushrooms contain large proportions of protein and are relatively low in carbs. So, this is another great place to look for some extra protein on a vegan ketogenic diet.
Do I Have to Eat Soy or Gluten on a Vegan Keto Diet?
Absolutely not! I have Celiac, so all of the recipes on this blog are gluten-free! I’ve been doing plant-based keto for years without gluten and have still managed to get enough protein!
As for soy, while it is a great source of protein, it’s also difficult on the digestive system for many people and contains phyto-chemicals that those with certain hormonal conditions may want to avoid (talk to your doctor about this though, as needs vary person-to-person and your doctor knows you best!). You’ll notice that most of the foods on the chart above are not soy products!
Many of the recipes on this site are also soy-free, and there are also nut-free and coconut-free recipes as well!
Low Carb Vegan Desserts
This is the site for you! Basically, take a look at the low carb vegan recipe archives here, to find keto-friendly plant-based dessert recipes without eggs, dairy, honey or any other animal products. Win!
How you want to incorporate desserts is really up to you. Some people prefer to forego any sort of “sweet” (keto or not) for the first month or so, while they work on eliminating sugar cravings. Others (like me) need that crutch to bridge the gap between higher carb eating and low carb.
When I first started eating a plant-based keto diet a few years ago, I would make this easy keto fudge at pretty much every opportunity, because I was so used to eating a ton of sugar throughout the day that I really needed to have something sweet tasting to with pretty much every meal. Over time, that’s evolved, and now I probably make one dessert recipe per week (instead of per day!).
Another easy way to enjoy dessert on keto is to enjoy some berries topped with coconut cream after dinner. It’s pretty minimal in carbs (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all pretty low carb), and will certainly satisfy that sweet craving. You’ll be surprised at how sweet berries and plain coconut cream will taste after you’ve been in ketosis for a while. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how sweet a lot of foods begin to taste once you are no longer consuming loads of sugar.
My final way of sneaking those dessert-like foods into my day is fat bombs. Fat bombs are basically super low in carbs and protein, but high in fat. They’re typically made with coconut oil and nut butter and some other flavoring, and sweetened with stevia. I like keeping a batch of fat bombs in my freezer all the time so I can grab one if I’m feeling the need for something sweet, but don’t necessarily want to bake anything. My favorite fat bomb recipes are listed here.
The one thing I would say in caution of eating a lot of keto desserts is that they’re often very calorically dense, and easy to overeat. While you may stay within your carb limits, you could end up going way over on calories. While this is totally fine every once in a while, making it a daily habit could derail any weight loss progress you’ve made so far. To combat this, I like to make a batch of something and then store it in the freezer so that I have to thaw whatever it is before I eat it. This helps me portion things better and doesn’t leave anything up to willpower. After all, you really only have so much willpower to give, and by the end of the day when you want that brownie, it’s probably been tested quite a bit!
Do I Need to Follow A Low Carb Vegan Meal Plan?
This is really up to you! Many people starting out on a plant-based keto diet don’t want to have to think about tracking macros, or finding recipes or thinking about what foods they can and cannot have. If this sounds like you, then you would definitely want to look into finding a vegan keto diet plan that works for you.
I have several vegan keto diet plans available that can help you figure out just what to eat to obtain necessary nutrients (they’re actually the only plans out there that do this!), and take the guess-work out of starting a low carb vegan diet.
Of course, you can succeed without following a meal plan, especially if you are going for more of a “lazy keto” approach.
Exercise on a Vegan Ketogenic Diet
One question that pops up in my inbox pretty frequently is “can I exercise on a vegan ketogenic diet?” With this, people usually want to know if they should increase their carbs or protein, or how I recommend they start an exercise program while on vegan keto. We’ll start with the main point: yes, you can exercise on a vegan ketogenic diet, assuming you have no health issues that would prevent this (talk to your doctor if you think this is you!).
Just like with regular keto, there are likely going to be some differences in the way you train on a plant-based keto diet, and there are different ways to deal with the changes. You may notice at first (especially in the first two weeks of keto) that you just aren’t able to train as well. This is normal and is actually pretty common among athletes. While long-term, a ketogenic diet can actually improve athletic performance for endurance sports, there does seem to be a two-week adjustment period where you won’t feel particularly great.
I can tell you from experience that in my first few weeks of a veggie keto diet, I was really not able to work out at all. I just found myself getting too tired and ultimately just decided to forego exercise during the adjustment period for this reason. I actually ended up only doing light exercise (basically, just walking) for the first two months or so, which is when I lost all the weight I had to lose. Later, I slowly started incorporating more and more physical activity to my routine, and now I’m able to handle quite a bit of exercise on a very low carb diet.
After the initial two weeks of either not working out, or going easier on your workouts (you could also try to push through and see if you can get past that sluggish feeling, you should be well-adapted and able to return to normal exercise.
During this adaptation phase, I would recommend either eating at maintenance while you are exercising, or if you would prefer to eat at a deficit, exercise more cautiously. While you may be chomping at the bit to jump start fat loss, you won’t be setting yourself up for success if you are both at a caloric deficit and also trying to become fat adapted.
Some lighter exercises I would recommend for the first few weeks while you are becoming fat-adapted on low carb diet include yoga, light hiking, walks and cycling on relatively flat surfaces. It can be incredibly frustrating trying to maintain a level of performance while completely altering your diet and it is in your best interest to try and give yourself as much of a leg up as possible during this period.
No matter what kind of exercise you are doing, make sure to increase water consumption accordingly so that you are not dehydrated! You will also want to increase mineral and electrolyte consumption. Sleep is another important aspect to making sure you are able to perform at your best, so don’t skip out on a good night’s worth, especially before days where you hit the gym!
How Do I Perform My Best As a Low Carb Vegan Keto Athlete?
Of course, as everyone is different, you may not feel your best even after the initial two weeks. Should your athletic performance still be subpar after you have become fat-adapted, you may want to consider either increasing your daily amount of carbohydrates or incorporating a refeed day. Women especially may find that they need to take one of these two steps to increase their athletic performance.
Try adding in berries to a protein shake on days when you know you are going to work out, to see if an increase of carbs can help better your athletic performance. I would recommend starting with5-10 additional grams of carbohydrates each day and test that out for a few days in a row before increasing the amount again. So, for example, you may want to add a 1/2 cup of blueberries (about 8g net carbs) to your smoothie on workout days for 3 days in a row. If you don’t see improvement or only see a slight improvement after three days, then try adding in additional carbs for another three days. Keep this up until you find a point where you are satisfied.
You can also incorporate carb re-feed days. In the PubMed article I mentioned previously, athletes who incorporated a higher-carb “re-feed day” every 5-6 days noticed a complete replenishment of glycogen stores. For this re-feed day, I would caution against going super crazy and just eat cookies, pastries, pasta, and pizza. This can really wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and really doesn’t provide any beneficial nutrients. Instead, focus on whole foods like sweet potatoes, grains, fruit, and beans to increase your carb counts.
Whenever I have a re-feed day, I try to keep the carbs between 100-150g net. While this is actually still considered “low carb” by many, I find it’s as high as I can go without feeling ill. This number may be different for you, so like with many other aspects of a vegan ketogenic diet, this one will require some trial and error. Perhaps start with 150g of net carbs as your re-feed goal, and see how you feel.
Using a food journal can be incredibly helpful for determining the effect certain foods and macronutrient ratios have on your body and performance.
What Supplements Do I Need on a Plant-Based Keto Diet?
As a vegan, there are a few vitamins and minerals that just need to be supplemented. B12* and vitamin D are the two that immediately come to mind. In fact, most people would benefit from supplementing vitamin D, especially in the winter months. Of course, you could also choose to supplement electrolytes, probiotics and a few other things if you’d like. For more details on supplements on a low carb vegan or vegetarian diet, check out this post.
And to see what supplements I take on a regular basis, check out this post!
What About Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
This is actually a pretty important topic for all vegans, not just low-carbers. Omega-3 fatty acids actually can be obtained through diet. You can also take a plant-based omega supplement (mentioned in the post linked above). To learn more about balancing your omega3-6 intake on a vegan keto diet, check out this post here. And to learn about what foods are surprisingly high in omega-3 fatty acids, click here!
For more information on vegan keto diets, as well as meal plans and recipes, check out my ebook!
To check out my nutritionally balanced vegan keto meal plans, click here!
* There is enough conflicting evidence about plant-based sources of B12 that I feel more comfortable taking some in my multi!
79 thoughts on “Is a Vegan Ketogenic Diet Possible? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Plant-based Keto”
Thank you, this is great information!!!
Thanks so much for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😀
Thanks Liz!! Gonna print this up and put on my fridge!!!
So glad this was helpful, Katrina! 😀
Glad to see your site, sent me by a friendMeat is so heavily promoted it puts off those who can’t have it or choose not to. I find I CAN stay at ~30 carbs as a vegetarian, so your advice is spot on!
There are now thousands of people with kidney issues (pre dialysis) usually caused by diabetes,or BP, or simple failure of function and other issues. I wish I could reach them to show that LCHF is possible (most are told avoid all fats of course- reducing their diet to mostly carbs and some veggies.) I adapted a special vegetarian-based kidney diet to LC by ignoring their “low fat” mantra (from very old knowledge of course)
With one kidney and CKD (chronic kidney disease) I must keep to very low protein, no meat, and take essential amino acids to replace the food protein. This works!…and while I choose LCHF for the dairy/butter/HWC/Cheese I can have.. I am always looking for more options. My diet is already very high quality fats, and tons of veggies, very little berries, and hemp seed protein. Looking for new ways to combine these helps me stay away from carbs.
I forgot about Tahini, and will look for that at the HFS, the little havlah cups look great! Thanks.
Hi! Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment!
I completely agree – the LCHF community is very focused on meat, which can be off-putting for those of us who don’t eat it (or eat much).
It sounds like you’ve done quite a bit of investigating about your health to create a diet that is perfect for you. That’s excellent! It’s crazy how much medical information is centered around fat-phobic thinking, but I’m glad you’ve researched things on your own to find something that’s more effective.
Do you have a blog, or anyplace where you document your health journey? It seems like this information could be so helpful to so many people!
And yes, tahini is one of my favorite things! 😀
From what I’ve read too much protein turns in to sugar anyway…:)
Exactly. This is a process called gluconeogenesis! Your body will convert protein into sugar in rare occasions when you eat too much. It’s not at a 1:1 rate though, and is actually quite inefficient.
This is such a helpful post! I’ve linked to it in my article on low carb vegan diets: https://lowcarb-vegan.net/vegan-low-carb-diets-what-the-experts-say/
Thank you so much, Martine! I love your site!! 😀
Thank you so much for posting this information. I’very been meat-bases keto a little less than a year for weight-loss. My loss wasn’t significant due to my apprehension about do much meat consumption. I’m great full for an option that fits me perfectly. Keto Vegan in training!
I’m so glad you are finding this helpful, Lucy! Good luck, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions! 😀
Thank you so much for the great page- I have been trying to go keto for the last month- lasting only about a week at a time. I just need to try harder I suppose and my biggest concern is eating soy daily. I don’t have a problem with tempeh or tofu once a week but am not sure how to get enough protein and variety in my diet without eating it daily as well as mock meats.
I am using a hemp shake every day and that is 20 grams of protein. I would love to see what a typical day for you looks like and how much protein you are aiming for! I also lift weights so I believe my requirements would be a bit higher than the standard.
Anyway, thanks again- it’s so hard to find vegan keto information out there- I started eating eggs again just so I could do this diet and I just can’t stand the thought of it (or the act of it) anymore and want to go back to being animal product free!
This is amazing. I am vegan, my husband is Keto. I am happy to be able to combine the two. It will make meal prep so much easier 🙂
Hi Amanda! Thanks for the comment 😀
I’mglad this makes things easier for you two – having a husband that eats differently can be such a challenge!
Feel free to ask any questions as they pop up. 🙂
Hi! I followed a vegan diet for a while on a wimb. My blood sugars came way down and I became super insulin sensitive. I had to eat carbs to keep my blood sugars from plummeting. I’ve never been able to eat carbs and lose weight. I’m not really sure why I fell off the wagon. I don’t think I lost much weight on the scales but my clothes were fitting better and I was receiving compliments. I was in nursing school. I have a young family and I think I just started grabbing vegan convenience foods. I’m trying a low carb diet (again) right now for weight loss and bc I’m pretty sure candida has taken over my life! ( I was given diflucan by the Obgyn and I feel like a new person, I’m trying hard not to have sugar and get back to that place!) I’m Leary of all the meat on the low carb diet. I just don’t love it but it’s the only way I’ve ever lost weight I’ve had to be virtually carb free. And my blood sugars are at the top end of okay with all the meat, nothing like when I was vegan. So I’ve been searching for low carb vegan info…. I didn’t think to use the words keto/ketogenic. I’m on day three of really sticking to it and starting to feel better so hopefully I can transition to vegan-keto I just have to figure out the low sugars.
Hi Nicholle! Firstly, candida is awful, so I’m glad you’re feeling a little better in that regard. It can definitely be a challenge sticking to a vegan diet, but it’s totally possible! Even just cutting out some of the meat can make a difference (regular keto/low carb diets can be so high in meat and cheese!). Best of luck in your health journey, and please feel free to contact me with any questions! 🙂
Thank you.. I like the lists of food choices.. It sure helps to keep in mind what are great choices for anyone… Please post more often.
Thank you so much! I’ll do that – I’ve definitely been slacking.
This is a great post! Thank u! I am adopting a low carb lifestyle and have been really struggling with all the animal protein. Though I am not vegan, (vegans are magical people with incredible commitment and I’m not there yet), I definitely prefer more vegetables than meat. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to reading more from you.
That is the literal sweetest thing I’ve ever heard said about vegans! <3
And eating more veggies is always the way to go! You can still eat meat and be healthy - it's all about balance. 🙂
Good luck with low carb. I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, feel free to ask any time!
I am confused about the g/oz measures. Both of these are weight measures, one being metric and the other imperial. One ounce is equivalent of 28.3 grams approximately. I do not quite understand why carbonhydrate content of nuts and seeds are reported the way they are. Other foods carbonhydrate content is measured by unit of comparable volume which provides a useful way to compare them.
Hi Pierre! I can definitely understand the confusion. The reason for the g/oz units for nuts and seeds is that this is how these numbers are reported on nutrition labels where I am (or at least on the ones I buy).
It is a good point, though, that it’s confusing as compared to the others (which I grabbed from a USDA database, instead of a food package), so I can convert the nuts and seeds to similar units of measurement.
Thanks so much for pointing that out! 🙂
Hi Liz, I think I got it figured out. I am almost sure the oz measure that is very common in the kitchen but not in a lab is meant to be a volume measure in the context of nuts and seeds. More precisely, the producers most likely mean an amount of nuts or seeds that occupy the same volume that an ounce of water would. In that context, oz would be interpreted as a volume measure.
Oh, this makes sense! Thanks so much for the eplanation, Pierre!
Hi. Love your site. Just had a look around and loads of information here. Wish I’d found it 5 weeks ago when I started a LC vegan diet – would have saved me so much work ! We have been vegan for 5 1/2 years and would never change back but while my husband lost weight I did not. I tried the no fat plan, then the loads of starch plan (put weight on with that) but no weight loss and occasionally some went on. At last, it’s finally started to come off following a low carb vegan diet. It’s been hard but I hadn’t really got my head round the fats until now. That makes it so much easier. Thank you for all the great info and encouragement – love it.
Thank you so much for the kind words, and for sharing your story! I had a similar experience eating high carb vegan – I actually gained weight instead of losing it like everyone else seems to. I’m so glad LC vegan is working for you, and that you are finding everything on this site helpful!
Feel free to ask any questions that come up, and best of luck with low carb! 🙂
I was so thrilled to find your website! I have been trying and trying to lessen my intake of animal products, but also watch my carbs. Quite often a google of “vegan low carb recipes” was unimpressive. Half the time you get recipes that aren’t vegan or aren’t really that low carb. Your tips and real world insight are great. So, thank you!!
Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment! I’m so glad you’re finding everything to be helpful – it really makes my day!
Thanks for this starter guide. I did notice that you do not list tempeh in your protein list. Is tempeh ok, or is it just tofu? And if tempeh is not ok, why not?
Hi Anna, thanks for the comment! This is definitely an oversight – tempeh is for sure okay! It’s high in protein and low in carbs – a pretty great combination.
Be sure to check the package, though, as some brands of tempeh have other ingredients (like rice or quinoa) added in, which can add in some unnecessary carbs!
I am so thankful to find you! I have been gluten free-paleo for years, but still struggling with health issues and weight gain. So I would alternate with LCHF diet on which I woul lose a little weight but then stall after 15lbs. Recently I found out I am intolerant to cashews, pistachios, dairy, and eggs – which explains a lot! So thank you so much for putting this info online. So very grateful!
Hi Pat! Thanks so much for commenting! I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with all of those intolerances (I have a lot too, so I feel your pain), but I’m glad you’re finding this site helpful. 🙂
Please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions you may have!
Hi, Love your website! Very helpful. I am vegetarian but eat eggs and honey-no dairy. I am tip-toeing into this keto thing and find that I am moody and blue in the morning after a successful day of low carb living and if I eat a few berries I feel better. Is this my blood sugar affecting my moods? I figure it is. 1) Do you get used to that and it normalizes? 2) Should I cycle in & out of this & if so, how long should a cycle be? I have read that “it’s a lifestyle” and I have read that no, you have to get to where you cycle in and out of ketogenesis (?) and alternated with complex carb based “normal” eating. What do you think? I am 50 and blessed with great health (yay!) but want to keep it that way! I would like to lose 5-10 pounds but not stressed about it. I’m a fan of “Eat Right for Your Type” blood type book (it resonates) and implement that into my days. Thanks for any insight you have and for doing all this research!
Hi there! It sounds like you have done a lot of research on this matter, which is awesome! So much of keto is dependent upon the individual, as we all process carbohydrates in different ways (stemming from genetics, and hormone balance, among other factors). It seems like you’ve discovered that you feel a bit better adding in some berries to low carb days – this is totally fine!
Your blood sugar could be impacting your moods for sure, but it’s hard to say without a full breakdown of your lifestyle and diet.
I would say since you’ve only got 5-10 pounds to lose and are otherwise healthy, that you have a bit more freedom in terms of number of carbohydrates. So, if you feel better adding in some berries, definitely do so! It’s all about how you feel.
In terms of cycling, this is another case-by-case issue. You may feel great eating super low carb for 6 days, and then having one “carb up day.” You also might feel better eating low carb for two weeks before a carb day (or anything in between!). It’s going to end up being something that you figure out as you go along. 🙂
Thanks so much for the comment, and for reading. Please feel free to reach out with any more questions you may have!
Hi there! Just wondering how you balance your Omega 3 to 6 ratio while eating a lot of nuts and seeds? Do you measure/track them? And if so what balance have you found that works for you?
Hey! This is a great question! I do track them in Cronometer, but I try not to worry about it too much.
I do eat a ton of seeds – mostly hemp, chia and flax (though I occasionally go through phases where I eat a serving of sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds every day or so). I’ll also eat sacha inchi seeds when I can find them. The seeds I eat regularly all have a super favorable omega 3-6 ratio. I used to try and track it to a science, but it got really tedious and a little crazy-making, so now I approximate it and just try to avoid eating too many seeds that are high in omega-6s.
As for nuts, I’ll sometimes have around a serving or two of peanut butter. It’s my weakness! Occasionally, I’ll have macadamia nuts or walnuts as well.
So, to the point, the seeds I eat are (mostly) high in omega-3s and low in omega-6s, and I try to limit my intake of nuts that are high in 6s. If you’re first starting out, I wouldn’t worry about it too much – once you get into the routine of eating low carb vegan, you can start tweaking the omegas! 🙂
What some people don’t realize is you are suppose to subtract fiber from the carb content to get your true net carb number and some Keto people subtract the protein and fiber and get the number which is suppose to stay below 10….so say I ate something that has 18 gram of carb per serving and 8 grams of fiber that brings you to 10 grams of absorbable carb
Hi Lisa, this is a great point! Subtracting the fiber is a key aspect of finding out the actual number of carbs in foods. Thank you for sharing!
Holy cow! I have been vegan for only about six months now, because my doctor said I have high cholesterol… maybe from my LCHF diet (years of it). I’ve gained weight since going vegan as a result of me quickly becoming a junk food vegan. It’s time to clean up so I’m glad I found this resource!
I hope you find his info useful!! Feel free to ask me any questions you may have and best of luck! 🙂
Hey! In the desserts section, it seems incomplete, I would love to know more about desserts.
Hey, Krista! Thank you so much for pointing this out – I didn’t realize I somehow deleted my dessert section! I’ve replaced what was there before, but you’ve also inspired me to write a second post going into more detail about keto desserts and the basics of making them, and all that. So, that should be coming soon as well.
Again, thank you for pointing this out!
This is unbelievably exciting to me that this is possible to not only do Vegan Keto period but also easily do it. Literally right before I became a vegan I was on Keto diet, and really liked it. For many reasons I went vegan though and started eating very high carb. I realized I was starting to feel tired and off like my blood sugars were too high. Then I googled vegan Keto yesterday and found your site which is so helpful and amazing! Today was my first full day on the eating plan, and I feel fantastic and have had TONS of energy! Thank you so much for this beautiful info, it was like one of the keys to my health and happiness through diet was found! Love it I’m going to have to look into getting your e cookbook, but I so appreciate your recipes on here too.
Hi Lauren! I’m so happy you’re finding my site helpful, and that you’re noticing improvements already! It’s amazing how good we can feel once we find a way of eating that works with our bodies. 🙂
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
I thought I had lost all hope in finding foods that I enjoy eating due to a lot of food intolerances and being vegan. I was really in a total bummer mood for a while until I found your website on Friday and have been pumped- never knew there were so many choices and ideas within my limitations! Stocked my fridge and pantry with your shopping list and have made three of your recipes so far. I really appreciate all of the work you have put into this site. Thank you!!
This makes me so, so happy to hear! Food intolerances are so tricky (I’ve got some myself, as you can probably tell) and it can be so hard to find recipes that work for you. I’m glad that you’re finding things you can eat on this site! 🙂
PS and the bread recipes I made were amazing and game changers for me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t care much for meat and eggs. I’m trying to follow a ketogenic diet, but getting grossed out on all the meat and eggs. I can’t do it. I’d so much rather go meat free. I’m so glad I found this site!!! Thanks so much!
I’m so happy you are finding this site helpful, Sharrie! Feel free to reach out with questions any time. 🙂
Hello Liz… I have been curious about Keto diet for quite a few years, and mostly now that after a year of Vegetarian diet it seems my blood sugar levels went up, and I achieved no weight loss whatsoever. B12 and Vitamin D deficiency might also have been something I did not look in to. But now we know better 😀 The only thing that I’m a little hesitant about right now, is, that the people I know who did Keto in the past (animal protein only) all did re-gain all that weight they actually lost so rapidly and effectively with their keto diets, perhaps gained even a little more. That terrifies me ! What is your opinion about this ?
Hi Lyna, this is a GREAT question! Regaining weight after stopping keto can happen for many reasons, but I’ll mention the most common ones. Often people go back to eating exactly the way they ate before (the way that put all that weight on them in the first place). This is the top reason why people gain back the weight. If they don’t improve their diet and lifestyle overall, then the weight will come back on.
Another contributing factor to gaining weight after keto is water weight. On keto, your muscles don’t store as much water, and so when you start consuming carbs again and kick your body out of ketosis, it will hold that water again. This is only going to be a small amount of weight, but it’s still noticeable to some people. Additionally, a ketogenic diet is anti-inflammatory by nature. When people go back to eating pro-inflammatory foods like sugar, grains and gluten, inflammation occurs within the body (most often in the digestive system, but also in joints for people with arthritis). Inflammation = swelling = extra fluid. Again, this won’t be huge, but it’s still a contributing factor!
Basically, you shouldn’t gain the weight back if you eat a moderate diet. 🙂
Thank you so much …. this helps a lot !
Is there a sample menu available? I’ve never been successful reaching ketosis, I’m vegan for ten years, I can’t seem to get a good handle on this and I want too very much! Any help appreciated…
Hi Robin! I post “What I Eat in a Day” posts every once in a while that show what a “normal” day could look like for me. Hopefully that will be somewhat helpful!
I’m vegetarian wanting to go vegan (don’t like animal products for spiritual, health and guilt reasons) and overweight. I know I eat way too many carbs and am looking into the vegan-Keto method of becoming more healthy. Having had two back surgeries, I don’t want this extra weight on my spine, either! I’m now 60, but I’m my 30’s I weighed 105 pounds. I slowly gained the weight by not paying attention, and by eating comfort foods. Rice, potatoes and bread. Lots of cheese. I’m so happy to have found your website today when researching Keto diets because like many, I don’t like eating meat of any kind. I used to eat seafood but got so I couldn’t eat that either. Now I see it’s possible to eat a healthy, plant based diet without all the carbs.
My question is, how does one get through the carb withdrawal? I was thinking about starting out low carb-vegan then reducing more to Keto-vegan. I eat more intentionally now, but dread the headaches and tiredness that comes with carb withdrawal now that I’m so much more sensitive to how my body feels.
Also, are you a nutritionist? Or have you learned this way of life and researched it quite a lot? I’m impressed with this site more than others that don’t seem as science based. I have a nutritionist and think she would like access to your website for other clients. Very factual with a sense of humor-which is nice.
Hi Martha! Firstly, thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so happy you are finding this site useful and appreciate the science aspect of things. I am a nutritionist! I found keto while I was in school for nutrition, and so I really dove into a lot of studies and tried to approach this way of eating from all sides. I used to eat all pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes, too, so I know how it feels to switch from a very high carb diet to a very low one.
As for the low carb withdrawal, there are a few ways to get through. The first way is to taper down carbohydrate intake more slowly. Instead of trying to go all-out and cut down to 20-30g from the start, eating at 75g of net carbs for a few days, and then 50g for a few days and then getting into ketosis around 30g should make things easier on your body. When I work with clients, I typically have them do something like this.
If you want to just go immediately to a 20-35g diet, I would recommend finding an electrolyte supplement, eating lots of greens and avocados and getting a sufficient amount of sleep. You also might want to ease up on exercise for the first week or so, to be extra kind to your body, especially with that spine! That combination of things should help to make the transition as smooth as possible.
I hope this is helpful – let me know if you want more specifics or clarification on anything!
Wonderful site, wonderful cook book, Just what I’ve been looking for since I am new to vegan and keto and most other cook books don’t have the nutritional breakdown. Great!!!! Only wish is that the time for preparation was published too.
I have some health issues now (I know it’s silly but I prefer not to broadcast my private health to everybody in the world lol) that led me to vegan, and now finally keto/vegan. Thank you. Thank you.
Hi Summer, thank you so much for the feedback! Cooking times is a great idea, and I’ll be sure to include them in the next update!
I hope that vegan and keto are helping with your health issues. I know how frustrating it can be to deal with problems that just never seem to go away. Please feel free to reach out with any questions! I’m always happy to help! 🙂
thanks for the information keep it up
I love your recipes so yummy and good for you! Id like alot more food choices Im addicted to the crack slaw so easy and healthy, Im excited to try your sloppy joes this week…
But Im sold on all your recipes.
Hi Liz, I’m a big fan of your cookbook. I have one question I was hoping you could clarify. For the coconut waffle recipe, how many servings does the recipe make? It mentions that “4 mini waffles=2 regular waffles = 1 belgain waffle (2 servings)” Does this mean that 2 regular waffles are two servings or one? Also, the nutritional info at the bottom of the recipe is concerning one or two servings?
Thanks for clarifying in advance!!
Hi Arlene, thank you for the kind words! The 2 servings refers to the whole recipe, and the types of waffles are just to account for different waffle makers that people may have. 🙂
The nutrition is for one serving of waffles, or half the recipe. I hope this is helpful!
Hi Liz, Ive been a vegan for almost 4 years but I’ve never tried a Keto diet….then I saw your book at Costco and became intrigued and bought it. I’ve been tracking my carbs and keeping between 20-30 for a week now and I just bought some Keto test strips and tested and it was negative. I do like to chew gum, Trident Original and I thought it was sugar free (meaning carb free) but I just noticed each piece has 1 carb….so I’ve probably been going over 30. Do you think this is why I’m not in Ketosis yet? BTW I made your low carb vegan sandwich bread with your vegan Keto sloppy joes and it was soooo good! Best vegan sloppy Joe I’ve ever made….thank you!! And the bread was so easy to make. I’m looking forward to diving into this Vegan Keto way of life! Thank you for all of your web information and your book is awesome!
Hi Renee, thank you for the kind words! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes 😀
As silly as it sounds, gum is often the culprit in kicking people out of ketosis! It’s definitely worth trying to cut it out. It’s also worth noting that those strips don’t give a complete picture. So, if you tested a bit after chewing some gum, it may show you not in ketosis, but you could test an hour later and have ketones pop up.
If giving up the gum doesn’t help, you may want to reduce your carb intake just a little until you hit ketosis. Some people are just super sensitive to carbs! Hopefully, cutting the gum does it, though!
Please feel free to reach out with any other questions. 😀
Hi Liz, thank you for your quick response. I will definitely cut out the gum and hopefully that does the trick. Thank you!
THANK YOU !!!!!
Vegan and Celiac here. I really appreciate the amazing content you provide. I’m starting my keto journey with your website and book.
Thank you so much for the kind words! Also vegan and Celiac here, so every recipe is gluten free!!! 😀
When you put an ingredient in a recipe that is unknown to many people, it wastes a lot of time. Someone who has to cook every keto dish he eats does not have time for this. How do I make Zucchini noodles?
Hi Paul – you can make them however you want. They are literally just noodles made of zucchini. Some people use a vegetable peeler to make strips and some use a vegetable spiralizer. You can also buy them packaged and labeled “zucchini noodles.”
Hi, I love all your info I have read so far and I bought your Vegan Keto book on Amazon right away. I am enjoying it. I love the recipes I see on this site. My question is are the recipes in your bundle different from the book and the site?
Hi Janna, thank you so much for the kind words! There are a couple of similar recipes in the cookbook (Bolognese and Pad Thai for example), but the majority of the recipes in the meal plans are totally different. 🙂
Hola, soy de Peru, hay alguna posibilidad de tner el plan en español?
I have your cookbook, so many yummy things!
I just wanted to ask how it works with the yield and the nutrional info. When it says above “YIELD : 4 serving”, and then below “NUTIONAL INFO: 20g Carbs”, does that means its 20g carbs for the full amount and therefore 5g carbs per serving, or its 20g for each serving???
Looking forward to your response.
Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for your question and for the kind words!
The nutritional information provided is for one serving of the recipe. It’s also worth noting that Total Carbs are different from Net Carbs (and no recipe has 20g of net carbs per serving!), so that first number can look a bit scary, but that number includes indigestible carbs like fiber. For more info on net carbs, check out page 26 of the book! 🙂
If you have any other questions, please let me know!