In the past 6+ years that I’ve been blogging about vegan keto, I’ve gotten a lot of questions. For the better part of five years, I’ve mostly been asked, “is a vegan ketogenic diet possible?” But now, as more and more of you are diving into a plant-based low-carb way of eating, the questions have become a bit more diverse.
I’ve been answering these questions individually on social media and by email for a while now, and it occurred to me that having them all in one place would probably be helpful to you guys (and to me, as well!). So, here we go – my vegan keto FAQ.
Incidentally, all of these questions (and more!) are answered in my vegan keto cookbook, Vegan Keto.
How many grams of carbs do you eat every day?
When people ask me this, for the most part they’re asking, “how many grams of carbs should I eat in a day?” So, I’ll answer that question as well. :)
I personally eat between 25 – 40g of net carbs a day on average, leaning towards the higher end of that spectrum. Some days I eat a little less, and some days I eat a little more. This is the range that works for me the best, and is something I’ve settled on over my 6+ years of experimentation. Some days I definitely even go over this (I really, really like carrots), but I tend not to exceed 50g of net carbs too often. Similarly, some days I’ll only eat around 20g and feel totally full.
So, how many carbs should you eat every day? This depends on a lot of factors including your metabolism, lifestyle, activity level and food preferences. Typically, people can achieve ketosis eating somewhere between 20 – 50g of net carbs per day. Most vegans starting out on keto aim to hit around 25-30g per day as a starting point, adjusting from there as needed.
Of course, everyone is different! You may find that you are super active, and 60g is the right spot for you. Or maybe you feel best at 20g. It’s really up to you!
How Many Calories Should I Eat in a Day?
This is pretty much just another variation of the above question and the answer is similar – it really depends on your metabolism, lifestyle and fitness goals. A decent starting place can be calorie tracking apps on your phone or an online keto calculator. You can then adjust this number on your own as you figure out what feels best for your body.
I really don’t worry about calories anymore, and just try to make sure I eat a nutritionally complete set of meals each day. If I go over what the app says my calories should be, I don’t stress about it!
Can I Be Gluten-Free on a Vegan Keto Diet?
You totally can! I have been eating a gluten-free diet for longer than I’ve been eating a vegan keto diet! It’s definitely possible and in fact, all of the recipes over at Meat Free Keto are completely gluten-free.
Do I Have to Eat Soy on a Vegan Keto Diet?
Of course not! You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to, or that doesn’t feel good to your body.This post and this podcast go more in-depth about that question, and these recipes are all soy-free, vegan and keto-friendly! There’s even a soy-free vegan keto meal plan with recipes and nutritional info to take out all the guesswork!
Is [insert food] Keto Friendly?
Short answer – keto isn’t about eating off of a certain list of foods or about eliminating a certain food entirely, it’s about eating few enough carbohydrates to achieve ketosis. If you can do this while eating peanut butter, or tomatoes or even small amounts of beets on a salad, then go for it! Whatever feels best to you is what you should be aiming for.
It’s far more important to focus on the nutritional benefits of a certain food than whether or not it appears on a list of “keto-friendly salad toppings,” or whater is trending! Yes, there are certainly some foods (like hummus!) that are a bit higher in carbs, as long as you feel good eating them and can fit them into your macros, then they are “keto friendly.”
Do I Have to Avoid All Sugar?
This is a question I see more and more lately – people want to avoid ALL forms of sugar, whether it’s naturally occurring or added to foods. Added sugar I’m all for avoiding, but I don’t eliminate foods that contain natural sugars, because pretty much every plant food has some amount of natural sugars. So, nuts and seeds, kale, coconut, berries, olives – all of these foods (and way more) would be off the table if we started categorically cutting out natural sugar. In fact, you’d pretty much just be left with oil and protein powder, which doesn’t sound like a super sustainable diet…
Can I Drink Coffee on Keto?
Absolutely! I love coffee – and no, you don’t have to drink it black. I usually add a little bit of coconut milk to mine (in one form or another). There are plenty of dairy-free milks out there that all work really well in coffee. You can even make a vegan version of “bulletproof” coffee with MCT oil and coconut milk. It’s pretty tasty!
I’m working on a post of fun vegan keto coffee drinks, so be on the lookout for that!
Can I Still Do Intermittent Fasting?
You can! I do this every day as well. Keto is just a nutritional state, so whatever eating schedule you currently have can work on a ketogenic diet. In fact, most people say that keto has helped them to practice IF, as their cravings are far better controlled.
How Do I Get Started?
You’ll probably get used to me saying this, but this is another one of those things that varies person to person. Some people prefer to dive in head-first and eat super low carb right off the bat, while others prefer to slowly dip their toes in before fully committing.
If you are currently eating a very high carb and low fat diet, you may want to ease your way into ketosis by swapping out high carb foods for their lower carb counterparts. For instance, you may want to eat cauliflower rice instead of regular rice and zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti for a few days to see how it feels. Slowly add in whole forms of fat like seeds and nuts to your meals. Keep making substitutions until you find a place where you feel really good and aren’t hungry all the time.
You can also star with a meal plan, where everything has already been worked out for you!