Turns out, the keto lifestyle isn’t just for meat lovers. There is a sector of people giving vegan keto a try, and it’s sustainable — as long as you have the right tools and preparation.
To give us some insight on being vegan keto, FoodBlogs chatted with Liz MacDowell from the blog Meat Free Keto. MacDowell is a certified holistic nutrition consultant who has adhered to a vegan keto lifestyle for years — long before keto was even trendy.
Tell us how you got into vegan keto and why it was the right lifestyle for you.
I stumbled upon the ketogenic diets after feeling miserable and sick all the time on a high-carb, low-fat vegan diet. I knew it was something that worked for me within the first few days. My digestion normalized, my joints stopped hurting and I just felt mentally clearer and happier. My weight also stabilized and my labs have been great ever since switching.
What key ingredients are staples of your diet?
Hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast are foods that I eat every day. I also eat a lot of avocados!
What does a general day of meals look like for you?
I typically fast in the mornings (I’ve never been a breakfast person, but now that intermittent fasting is so trendy, it seems less weird), and then my lunch is either a huge salad with lots of greens and seeds or some sort of chia and hemp seed pudding. Dinner is typically a mess of vegetables and greens sautéed in a pan with more seeds, maybe some tahini and definitely nutritional yeast. Snacks are generally homemade and tend to be something like cut veggies with homemade low-carb hummus, trail mix or the occasional homemade baked treat.
How do you make sure you get proper, balanced nutrients?
I really like data, so I track my food intake with Cronometer (a fairly comprehensive meal tracking app). Eating a variety of foods and knowing which foods are rich in certain nutrients is really helpful to reach micronutrient goals (and I write about that a lot on my blog). I also supplement vitamins B12 and D and will take a multi or supplement accordingly if I’m low in other nutrients.
Vegan keto “crack” slaw
This vegan, gluten-free twist on a keto classic can be eaten hot off the stove, or chilled for a delicious side dish or main course.
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon chili paste, kimchi paste (make sure it’s vegan!) or Sriracha
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic
Sesame seeds and green onion to garnish (if desired)
Toss cabbage in a pan with the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil and chili paste/kimchi paste/Sriracha on medium-low heat.
Add in minced garlic.
Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage starts to soften.
Stir everything in the pan so that it is thoroughly combined. Add in nuts.
Cook for another 5 or so minutes, until the nuts soften from absorbing some of the extra liquid in the pan.
Serve, garnish and enjoy!
For more tips and tricks about going vegan keto, check out MacDowell’s book, Vegan Keto, which is coming out Oct. 30. It’s currently available for pre-order.