A while back, I wrote a post on which supplements you do and don’t need on a keto diet (link to that here!). This podcast episode is an effort to update that for my vegan keto friends (there are dozens of us!).
We tend to get bombarded with messages about needing to take certain supplements, or products (exogenous ketones, I’m looking at you…), and the reality is that we actually need very few. In this podcast, I give a brief overview of the supplements you might want to consider for various reasons, and then mention a few other things that I really love, and that have actually been helpful for me.
The main takeaway is that the only supplement plant-based keto dieters truly need is B12, as the research regarding the bio-availability of plant-based B12 isn’t strong enough to convince me that you can get enough B12 from plants. Because many people are already deficient in D, I strongly recommend supplementing that as well, whether or not you are vegan or on keto!
Vitamins B12 & D
So, the basics are covered in the original article, but I had mentioned a few additional supplements necessary for vegans. Namely, sublingual B12. While there are studies claiming that plant-based sources of B12 exist, and we can get enough B12 from simply eating these, I’m not totally convinced.
In this podcast, I also mentioned vitamin D and sun exposure. This article has some great links and a super helpful sun exposure chart! Usually, I supplement with vitamin D year round and simply increase my intake in the winter time. I’m pretty pale, but I wear sunblock when I go outside for longer durations. If you are also an avid sunblock user, I’d recommend supplementing vitamin D as well. :)
As noted in the podcast, I have started adding mushroom coffee (basically, coffee with lion’s mane or cordyceps medicinal mushrooms) to my daily routine for a boost in immunity, brain function and overall workout performance.
Obviously, these are not necessary to thrive on a vegan keto diet, but since I get asked about what other supplements I take every day, I figured they can’t hurt to mention!
If you’re interested in checking this out, go to this link and use discount code HEALTHYLIZ for 10% off!
Vegan Protein Powder:
A while back, I wrote a post on the best low carb vegan protein powders, which can be found here. Consuming protein powder on a vegan keto diet isn’t completely necessary, as you can certainly get enough protein from food sources, but it definitely makes things easier. If you are relatively active, tend to do a lot of strength training, or even engage in regular cardio, you may want to add a protein shake to your daily routine.
I like to vary the brands and varieties of protein powders I use for both taste preferences, and also just to keep from consuming the same exact thing too often. For this same reason, I also find it helpful to give my body a break from protein shakes every once in a while, and go a few days to a week without any protein bars or powders.
In terms of protein bars, there really are not a lot of options for store bought low carb vegan protein bars. Almost every bar on the market that is targeted to plant-based dieters contains a ridiculous amount of sugar. I usually end up making my own vegan keto protein bars, and that does the trick for me. As an added bonus, that recipe requires no protein powders or other supplements!
Electrolyte Drink Powders:
If you find that you are experiencing symptoms of the keto flu, or if you work out or sweat with frequency, you may want to add an electrolyte powder into your daily routine. Sugar-free electrolyte powders are great because they contain minimal carbohydrates and provide necessary minerals to help your body regulate fluids and maintain proper muscle function. I usually take at least one scoop of the Ultima powder per day in a liter of water, post-workout. As an added bonus, the magnesium present is great for heart function, and can even help with falling asleep.
Ultima – sugar free electrolyte drink mixes
Everly – sugar free drink mixes with caffeine, vitamin C and B vitamins.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
For the most part, I try and get all of my omega-3s from plant-based whole foods sources like flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. If you are unable to do this, or simply want to supplement with vegan DHA (as conversion in the body from plant based sources is notoriously low), I strongly recommend this vegan DHA supplement from Garden of Life. Garden of life is a brand that I trust whole heartedly, as they really commit to providing good nutrition without relying on animal products.
If you are concerned about not consuming enough B vitamins in general on a vegetarian keto or low carb diet, the easiest way to remedy this is with nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a nice, savory, kind of cheesy taste and is easily incorporated into many recipes. You can also get away with tossing a few teaspoons into a smoothie with no flavor change. Nutritional yeast contains over 100% of many (water soluble) vital B vitamins, and is relatively low in carbs. As an added bonus, nutritional yeast also contains a surprising amount of protein!