Are Vegan Keto Diets Possible?
A Vegan Keto Diet? It’s More Than Possible; It’s Well Within Reach!
Warning: these vegan keto eating suggestions may make you hungry!
Vegan keto?! But that’s doing a diet while doing another diet! Next you’re going to tell me that people do weights while doing cardio. What do you mean that’s what people do in spin class?! No wonder my girlfriend is so fit! (Sorry, everybody, I’m taken! But you can admire me from afar.)
Doing keto while vegan is a challenge. You can only eat so much tofu and avocado (best friend of keto)! But there are plenty of reasons to do keto vegan, which also happen to be the reasons to go vegan in the first place. PETA may have put together a list of the top ten reasons to go vegan in the New Year, but for me the primary concerns are factory farming, the environment, and my health. I didn’t even need 7 other reasons!
The hardest part of doing keto is eating so much fat and so little sugar. Doing that while being vegan isn’t really that much harder. You still may have some keto flu, but once you feel energized, focused, and clear headed, and the weight loss starts, you’ll be glad you’re doing keto! Here are some foods to assuage your concerns.
Throw tofu in some sauce and spices and you’ve got a source of fat and protein with low net carbs. Tofu’s also great if you’re nervous about doing vegan keto because it’s a keto friendly food that can help reduce anxiety. Just be careful with the sauce because sauce often has added sugar. I hope you’re noticing that, so far, this is identical to doing regular keto!
If you're going to be making sauce for your tofu, you might find yourself using tahini, a sauce made from ground sesame. It's about 1.5 net carbs per tablespoon, but it's also 8 grams of fat too. It’s flavorful and factors into a lot of middle eastern cooking. You might find it in hummus and baba ganoush, both of which are keto friendly in moderation. (Eggplant is about 3 net carbs per cup). This is good news for me because if there’s a food I’m going to eat late at night after I’ve had a few clear drinks (vodka sodas, baby!), it’s going to be hummus or baba ganoush.
Look, I’m dropping the pretense. If I’m eating chocolate while doing keto it’s going to be Lily’s. THE END. So I had to rush over to their website to see what items were vegan-friendly. Luckily, the question has been asked often enough that it’s already an item on their FAQ. “Our 70% Extra Dark Chocolate Bars, 85% Extremely Dark Chocolate Bars, 70% Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bark, Baking Chips and Baking Bars are vegan.” PRAISE BE! I love the 70% Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bark. (Sidebar, can we stop calling things “snacking chocolate”? There is no such thing as snacking chocolate! All chocolate is snacking chocolate until it becomes gorging chocolate. Second sidebar, is anyone else worried that I’m saying, ‘Sidebar,” too much? YOU CAN BE HONEST WITH ME! I don’t want the sidebar to be to Ben Kharakh what footnotes were to David Foster Wallace.)
Nuts and seeds are your friends when doing a vegan ketogenic diet. Almond butter, hazelnut butter, peanut butter, or even macadamia nut better if you can afford it (a Ben can dream!). All of these can be a low carb, high fat snack when you’re doing vegan keto. This is also a food one may drunkenly eat when returning home from a night of revelry. Just remember not to eat so much of it that you cancel out your caloric deficit. As a cisgendered white man I am very lucky that the biggest thing I have to worry about is eating too much almond better in bed after drinking till 1am. Sure, I have bipolar disorder and could have a hypomanic episode, but God forbid my pants go up a waist size. THAT WOULD BE THE REAL TRAGEDY!
What I love about vegan cuisine is that it’s creative out of necessity. You can make two ingredient low carb yogurt, for example, out of just coconut cream and a probiotic pill. Then you can flavor it with a variety of extracts like almond or vanilla, fruits like raspberries or blueberries, or nuts! Yes, I can see how this sounds like a super sad thing to eat, but that’s only from the perspective of someone who eats Icelandic or Australian yogurts flavored with jams. From the perspective of someone doing vegan keto, two ingredient coconut yogurt is manna from heaven!
I can’t believe this is the first time I’m bringing up shirataki noodles! THESE ARE A MIRACLE! They’re made from tofu and sweet potato flour and they’re only ten calories and 3 net carbs for an 8 oz serving. My favorite brand is House Foods. The noodles come in angel hair, fettuccine, and spaghetti. I CANNOT STOP RAVING ABOUT THEM (even though this is the first time I’m bringing them up). They are super filling! I like to eat them with Chef Paul Prudhomme Poultry Magic seasoning. Shirataki noodles are literally the answer to the question of, “Why can’t they just make food with no calories?!” Although, that’s the sort of question that makes me want to ask, “Is everything okay?” Just like when someone says, “I just love sleeping!” in a tone of voice that communicates that they just love not existing. Hey, I get it; I listen to so much Nine Inch Nails that Spotify should send me a, “You okay?” notification. But at least I know what’s up!
One medium sized head of cauliflower has 17 net carbs. That’s more than one meal’s worth of cauliflower rice or cauliflower mashed potatoes! Having potatoes or rice instead of their cauliflower versions is like having a landline in 2018 or watching television instead of having an Apple TV. Why do you need to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on TV when you’ve got the internet?! And why do you need rice if you’ve got cauliflower? You don’t!
Aquafaba Meringue CookiesAquafaba is literally the liquid that comes from a can of chickpeas. It's considered the best vegan alternative to egg whites. And since it's an alternative to egg whites that means you can use aquafaba to make vegan meringue cookies! That's where my mind went because I want dessert RIGHT NOW and I am fighting hard to not eat it. All things must pass, so this craving for sweets will go away too. But if it doesn't, I could make a batch of cookies with just some aquafaba, cream of tartar, a vegan sweetener like monk fruit or stevia, and, optionally, an extract like vanilla or amaretto. And if I want it to be even sweeter, I can place a miracle fruit on my tongue (the pill that numbs all your taste buds except for the sweet ones).