Perhaps you’re familiar with the word's “keto” and “vegan” as well as their meanings, or perhaps these are simply buzzwords to you with no major significance. By the end of this blog post, we can assure that you’ll understand the difference between the two, how they can co-exist, and whether or not they belong in your particular lifestyle.
First and foremost, let’s define them! A ketogenic or “keto” diet is one in which you primarily get your calories from protein and fat sources and consume a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Because your body primarily uses glucose (found in carbs) as fuel, halting your glucose intake causes your body to switch its energy source from carbs to fatty acids and ketone bodies. The theory behind this diet is that it helps you burn fat and lose weight. A plantbased or vegan diet on the other hand is one in which you only consume non-animal based foods and beverages. The plantbased diet is not based around eating a certain amount of proteins, fats, or carbohydrates, but rather, eating wholesome foods derived from the earth like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and more. By definition, the keto and plantbased/vegan diets do not have much in common, other than that they can both be used to aid various health issues and promote weight loss when followed correctly. But, is it possible to implement both diets simultaneously? We’ll explore that question and more below!
Is it possible to live a keto and plantbased/vegan lifestyle?
Anything is possible. Well, maybe not anything, but going keto and vegan certainly is! Like any major lifestyle change, it can be hard to initially switch over to this diet, especially because it can be quite restrictive and require a lot of planning to maintain. In order to follow the diet, you’ll want to avoid all animal-based foods and beverages (of course) as well as grains, legumes, sugars, fruits, high-carb vegetables, and tubers (potatos, yams, etc). Instead, you’ll want to reach for low-carb vegan-friendly foods like vegan meat alternatives (tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc), mushrooms, leafy greens, above-ground vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, etc), high-fat dairy alternatives (coconut-based yogurt, vegan cheeses, etc), nuts and seeds, avocados, berries, fermented foods, and all other plantbased fats. Eating foods that are rich in plantbased proteins and fats and low in carbohydrates is key – and although it may be initially challenging, is definitely possible if it fits into your lifestyle and health goals.
What are some benefits to sticking to these diets as well as possible fallbacks?
Although there is tons of research on the keto and vegan diets individually, there is not much when it comes to a combination of the two. However, we do know from a plethora of studies that the vegan or plantbased diet can lower your risk for various chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Weightloss is also a possibility when following a plantbased diet, depending on a person’s previous diet and how they specifically go about implementing a vegan one. When it comes to the keto diet, there is also a great amount of research to support its benefits including promotion of significant weight loss, decreased risk for heart disease, reduced insulin resistance, enhanced brain health, and aid in the treatment of various chronic health conditions, such as PCOS, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Just like with any major lifestyle change, there are of course some downsides to switching over to a keto/vegan diet. The most obvious one is that it’s much harder to follow than a keto or plantbased diet individually. There are naturally less protein and fat sources to reach for that are fully vegan, and many fruits and vegetables that vegans would typically consume are high in sugar or carbohydrate content, making them not keto-friendly. It can also be hard to eat out at restaurants on this strict diet, and maintaining the diet for a long period of time can require some serious meal prepping and planning. Additionally, it is incredibly important that when following this diet, you take extra note of how many calories you are consuming. It can be easy to under-eat on a keto/vegan diet, which can lead to malnutrition or disordered eating behaviors. We never want to scare you away from trying out a type of plantbased diet that excites you! Just be sure to do your thorough research on the pros and cons of this particular one before jumping in.
Should I go keto and plantbased/vegan?
The answer to this question is up to you, based on your own research and information from your healthcare provider. Speaking of, we always recommend talking to your doctor before making any serious changes to your diet, whether that involves going keto, plantbased, or a mix of the two! As we mentioned before, this diet is not for the faint of heart and can be difficult to stick to over a long period of time. If you choose to try it out, give yourself time to adjust and go easy on yourself in the process. Your body knows best – so, if it works for you, great! If it doesn’t, be flexible and willing to tweak your diet in a way that feels best for you.
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