How to Get Enough Nutrients as a Vegan

Vitamins for vegans

Nutrition isn’t just a vegan concern. No matter your diet, adequate intake (AI) of not just micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, & phytochemicals) but, macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and fatty acids (ALA, LA, & EFA, EPA & DHA) is essential.  It might seem overwhelming with all of these acronyms, but, don’t worry! Ensuring a well-balanced vegan diet is easy.

While there is a veritable alphabet of vitamins to consider, most are easy to meet AI with virtually any diet.  The dietary guidelines developed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) (think old-school food pyramid, now MyPlate) are still focused on the Standard American Diet–although they have started to include mention of vegan alternatives for dairy and meat products. This organization is also responsible for the way the nutrition facts percentages are calculated on packaged foods, that is, based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. While this would work for some people, most of us need to understand how to read these labels for our own needs.

label

The best place to start is to calculate your exact needs based on your age, sex, height, weight and activity level. This will give you an at-a-glance look at how many grams, milligrams, and micrograms of all the nutrients you need.

The vegan diet gets a bad rap for being “deficient” in certain things. In this article, we hope to clear the air, and dive deeper into ways you can properly get all of the vitamins you need within a vegan diet.

Vitamin B12

Adequate intake of vitamin B12 is a valid concern while on a vegan diet. It helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. Yes, it is only found in (grass-fed) meat and animal products naturally. But the fact is most B12 rich food now, even meat, is fortified (vitamins are added to it). This is because animals do not make vitamin B12. It is caused by microorganisms in soil and water. This means only animals eating grass (and thus dirt clinging to roots) are consuming B12. So, vegans are just bypassing the transportation vehicle: animals.

This vitamin comes in three forms methylcobalamin (naturally-occurring), cyanocobalamin (synthetic, not found in nature), and hydroxocobalamin (man-made, used in injectables). Cyanocobalamin may be absorbed better in your body, while methylcobalamin likely has a higher retention rate. However, the jury is out as to which is the better form to take in a supplement. The most important thing to note with B12 is that your body can only absorb a small amount within a given time. This means eating several fortified foods throughout the day would be better serving your body than sitting down to a plate of liver!

RDA for adults: 2.4 µg/ day (no upper limit)

How to meet my needs: 2–3 servings of fortified foods like cereals, plant-based milk, tofu) OR a daily supplement (e.g., Garden of Life mykind Organics B-12 spray)

Protein

Where do you get your protein?

That’s a common question vegans hear. Luckily, there are a lot of answers. Protein is found in a variety of beans, seeds, nuts, vegan protein powders, and most non-dairy milk. Mixing up your protein sources daily will ensure you are getting all your amino acids.

Why do you need it?

Protein is essential for making muscle, blood, antibodies, hair and more. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids that your body needs but only 9 of them are considered “essential,” that is, your body can’t make them naturally. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.  

RDA for adults: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (1 kilogram approx. 2.2 lbs)

How to meet my needs: Let’s look at an example:

Example Person: Susie

Gender Female
Age 25 yrs
Height 5 ft. 4 in.
Weight 125 lbs.
Activity level Active
Protein Required 45 grams

One serving of soybeans (31 g or protein) and one serving of red beans (15 g of protein) would easily meet her macronutrient goal. You can see in the graphic below how easily she could mix and match her meals to support her protein needs.

vegan protein

Calcium

We all know calcium helps build your bones and teeth. It is also responsible for a lot of enzyme activity in your body.  Thanks to the iconic Got Milk? ads that started in 1993, dairy products are often seen as the only true source of calcium. However, seeds, leafy greens, beans, oatmeal, and quinoa all pack a lot of calcium. For example, one tablespoon of poppy seeds provides 126 mg of calcium.

RDA for adults: Approximately 1000 mg

How to meet my needs: Incorporating a calcium-rich food into each daily meal is easy. Check out a sample menu below that provides almost double the minimum calcium daily requirement.

Meal Food Total Calcium
Breakfast ½ cup of oatmeal prepared with 1 cup of almond milk & topped with 2 tbsp almonds & sliced strawberries 636 mg
Lunch Tofu “egg” salad wrap

1 cup of tofu

½ tsp kala namak salt

½ tsp turmeric

Herbs of choice: chives, dill, etc.

1-2 collard green leaves for wrapping

881 mg
Snack ½ cup roasted chickpeas with spices of choice (we really love this recipe) 100 mg
Dinner Vegetable Stir-fry (these are easy and versatile with whatever veggies and greens you have on hand. This version packs a calcium punch!) Approx 350 mg

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps our bodies use calcium. It has also been shown to affect mood. We ingest it or our bodies produce it after sunlight exposure.

RDA for adults: between 400–800 IU (10–20 micrograms) and 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) per day

How to meet my needs: Look for a D3 supplement or vitamin D-fortified foods that use cholecalciferol sourced from lichens (e.g., Vitashine) or a D2 using ergocalciferol, sourced from fungi. Avoid supplements that are sourced from fish oils or sheep lanolin.

 

Omega Fatty Acids

omegas

Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids are powerhouses for our bodies. Our bodies cannot make omega-3s (EPA, DHA), but they are essential for many functions including improving heart health, have shown signs of improving mental health, and fighting inflammation. Omega-6s also need to be obtained from our diets. They are primarily used for energy but most Western diets actually include too many omega-6s. Omega-9 is a monounsaturated fat that can be produced by the body (and is therefore not considered an “essential” fatty acid). However, studies have shown people with diets rich in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat have less inflammation and better insulin sensitivity.

Omega-3s can be found in algal oil, nuts, and seeds. Omega-9s can be found in almonds, cashews, and walnuts.

RDA for adults: While there is no set standard, most organizations recommend a minimum of 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA each day for healthy adults (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

How to meet my needs: Nuts, seeds, algal oil, supplements.

Eating vegan and maintaining nutrients is easy. In fact, the more we pay attention to our diets, the easier it is to recognize the best food sources of the nutrients we need.

7 Vegan Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and it’s time to look into a special gift for that special person(s) in your life. The good news, gifting while keeping your vegan values intact has never been simpler.

Here are 7 vegan gift ideas to show mom some love in 2019:

1. Vegan Card

koala card

Every great gift comes with a card, right? Tell mom just how much she means to you in a gorgeous vegan-friendly card adorned with adorable animals and catchy one-liners. Even better, Two Trick Pony donates 5% of its profits to animal welfare and vegan advocacy groups. A definite win, win!   

2. Vegan Accessories

vegan accessories

Equip mom with the coolest in vegan fashion accessories like this Pura Botanica designer cosmetic bag. It’s made from faux “ostrich texture,” is super stylish, and it’s perfect for traveling. You may ask, “Traveling where!” And we’ve got your answer right below…

3. Visit an Animal Sanctuary

ella the pig

Most states are home to one or more sanctuaries for rescued or previously farmed animals. If you’ve never been to an animal sanctuary, there’s no better way to have a life-changing experience while doubling it up as a gift for mom. You’ll connect with magnificent animals, learn more about one of your passions, and share in a magical moment with mom.

That’s a gift for the record books.

4. Vegan Shoes

vegan shoes

Help the person who brought you into this world ditch those leather-bound, wool-laden shoes of hers and get them to step into a fresh pair of vegan kicks. Vegan shoes are becoming more mainstream by the day, and they’re not just moccasins and hemp slippers anymore. 

5. Vegan Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? If your mom has a sweet tooth, there are stellar vegan chocolate products sure to have her grinning cheek to cheek with delight. If you’re lucky, maybe mom will share the goodies with you.

 6. Vegan Apparel

vegan cuts

When it comes to clothing, we love Herbivore Clothing so much. They craft apparel that is amazingly witty, extremely aesthetically pleasing, and unbelievably comfy to boot. Browse their lineup and we guarantee you’ll find a design mom will love.

7. Vegan Subscription Box

 

The gift that keeps on giving. Whether your mom is new to the vegan world, a vegan veteran or just loves gifts in the mail, the monthly Vegancuts Snack Box, Beauty Box or quarterly Makeup Box is packed with vegan goodness.

mindful

3 Ways to Become More Mindful

Mindfulness.

What is it? How do you become more mindful?

Becoming more mindful has become an increasing focus for people across America. Various media outlets have covered it, and how to live a more mindful life. Huffington Post doubled down on this by saying, “it’s not a trend, it’s a movement.” For those new to exploring mindfulness, it is the exercise of living in the present.

“Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand.” says Mindful.org

So how do we become more mindful?

Be conscious of your food choices.

mindful eating

It is so easy to eat mindlessly, without thinking about how our food was sourced, created and shipped to us. Vegans are inherently conscious when it comes to their food choices. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t fall victim to mindlessly consuming–let’s face it, tortilla chips are delicious.

So before you take your next bite of food, consider taking five seconds to think about the effort it took to get the food to your table. This simple exercise will allow you to appreciate your food, not mindlessly consume it.

Practice meditation.

minfulness

Meditation can be intimidating. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to be on a beach, meditating for hours to find zen. For those exploring meditation, we recommend downloading the Calm or HeadSpace app, which both have seven-day meditation programs to ease you into the practice.

One trick to meditate more frequently is to set up a mental prompt to do so. Similar to how you brush your teeth when you first wake up, you want to set up prompts to meditate. One tactic that’s worked for me is to piggyback it on top of brushing my teeth. So, after I brush my teeth, I spend 3-5 minutes meditating.

But what if meditating isn’t for you?

If you find it hard to meditate, look for other opportunities that allow you to be present. Things like food preparation or exercise are great ways to flex the mindfulness muscle while accomplishing other tasks.

Put your phone away.

Being mindful means that we’re focused on the activity at hand, and devoting our energy to that task.

Managing our smartphone usage is critical for being mindful. Endless notifications and distractions that are enabled by social media and other applications are the enemies of mindfulness. In fact, scrolling through our smartphones can be some of the most mindless activities we engage in daily.

A simple trick to minimize your phone usage is to put it out of arm’s reach, even if just for a small, designated amount of time. For instance, I like to put my phone in my bag or on a different table while I’m at work, as this systematically allows for me to put more focus into the tasks I’m working on.

 

And it’s not just phones that can be a problem. According to recent Nielson research, Americans spend nearly 11 hours a day consuming media, with TV (still) being the biggest driver at 4 hours and 46 minutes daily. By adding in systems to manage our media consumption, we can cut out a lot of mindlessness and ultimately live a more mindful life.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, even little steps towards becoming more mindful can go a long way. These practices can help with coping skills, taking away stress, and adding a new level of appreciation to your everyday activities.

Let me know how you practice mindfulness by posting about this using the hashtag #MindfulVegan.

 

vegan docs

These Are the 9 Documentaries Every Vegan Should Watch

If you want to be more informed about global issues and want to make small, easy changes with massive global impacts, these documentaries are a must-watch.

Few people realize how interconnected our daily food choices are with so many of the planets most pressing issues: climate change, water scarcity, water pollution, deforestation, species extinction, human rights abuses, animal welfare, public health, and even world hunger are linked to meat and dairy consumption in Westernized nations. Learn how these are interconnected by watching the documentaries listed below.

For your convenience we have broken up the documentaries into three sections:

  1. Environmental
  2. Animal rights
  3. Humans & Health

1. Environmental

When we talk about climate change and the importance of conserving water, we are often told to drive less or take shorter showers, but many of us are unaware that the production of meat and dairy is a large contributor to many of the planets most pressing environmental issues. For example, one gallon of milk uses 27 showers worth of water to produce. Or alternatively, if everyone in the US ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would have the same impact as driving 91 billion miles less or taking 7.6 million cars off of US roads for good. Luckily, the following documentaries can teach us everything we need to know about easy changes we can make in our daily lives to have a real, meaningful impact.

Here are some documentaries related to environmental concerns:

Racing Extinction

Learn about the ways in which human behavior is the driving force behind our planet going into its 6th mass extinction and what we can do to help.

Before the Flood

In this visually stunning film, Leonardo DiCaprio addresses the driving forces behind our planets most serious threat.

Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy educates viewers about the largest threat facing our planet and why no one is talking about it.

2. Animal Rights

The philosopher, Jeremy Bentham said, “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’, nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but, ‘Can they suffer?’ Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?” When we think about animals in this context and the research that has gone into animal intelligence, it can really be thought-provoking.

These documentaries on animal rights are sure to get you thinking about the ethical treatment of animals and how we can help the well-being of animals.

Speciesism: The Movie

This deeply thought-provoking film explores the idea of speciesism; the idea that no animal is more important than another, despite our many assumptions.

Dominion

Factory farms aren’t the only places where animals are suffering. This documentary educates viewers about the many industries that profit off of using and abusing animals around the world.

The Ghosts in our Machine

This visually stunning film highlights the lives of individual animals trapped in our current societal model that profits off of animal exploitation.

3. Humans & Health

Why do we see increased rates in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol in the USA, when we’ve got more resources and science at our fingertips than ever before? Numerous studies find our current eating habits are the root cause. These documentaries explain the importance of diet on both personal and public health:

The Game Changers

The first question many vegans are asked is “where do you get your protein?”. This documentary dispels the myth that we need meat to be strong and fit by highlighting vegan athletes around the world.

Forks Over Knives

There are so many misconceptions about nutrition. Forks Over Knives helps viewers gain a new and deeper understanding of what it means to eat a healthy diet.

What the Health

There are so many powerful political forces that often dissuade us from knowing the truth, particularly when it comes to our own health. This documentary lifts the veil.

Conclusion

Thanks in large part to the popularity of documentaries like these, things are changing for the better; education and awareness are powerful catalysts for change. As consumers learn more about the devastating effects of factory farming, they are pushing the food industry towards a more sustainable, healthy and humane system one delicious meal at a time. Thanks to the power of our dollar, the U.S. Plant-Based Foods Industry topped $5 Billion in annual sales in 2017 and the Dairy Alternative Market is anticipated to cross USD 34 Billion by 2020; even the meat industry itself recognizes this trend. Tyson, the largest meat producer in the US invested 55 million dollars into a plant-based protein company called Beyond Meat. Cargill, another major meat producer, sold off the last of its cattle feedlots because they wanted to free up funds to invest into plant-based proteins.

We steer the food industry with every single purchase and luckily, it seems as though we are choosing to drive it in the right direction.

All sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/516s/4714974
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490582/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24606898
https://www.ewg.org/release/superbugs-invade-america-s-supermarket-meat
https://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/
https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/about/program_areas/FPPH.html
fastcompany.com/40508181/get-ready-for-a-meatless-meat-explosion-as-big-food-gets-on-board

beauty products

8 Toxic Ingredients to Watch Out for in Your Beauty Products

Have you ever purchased a product without reading the ingredients? Maybe you were mesmerized by the beautiful packaging, a couple of keywords on the front matched your needs like “volumizing” or “extra hold,” or you’ve heard great things about the brand.

So no need to look at the back of the package, right?

Not so fast. For the sake of your overall health (and your wallet), you should always read the ingredients before purchasing any item. You want to make sure you’re not only getting what’s being advertised to you, but also that you’re not missing any sneaky, harmful ingredients.

Just because it says “natural” or “vegan” doesn’t actually make it natural and clean.

The American cosmetics industry is worth a whopping $70 billion every year. However, the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors only has an annual budget of $8 million and 27 staff members. It gets worse– The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was the last set of laws passed to govern cosmetics, and this passed in 1938. Many years later, we have millions of beauty brands using a wide variety of ingredients and formulating techniques that need to be regulated.

The EU bans 1328 chemicals, Canada bans 600, but the U.S. bans only 30. Whether it’s for your long-term health, immediate skin irritation, ethics, or bioaccumulation, we should all be taking a closer look at the ingredients in our favorite products and every future purchase. If you see any of the ingredients listed below in your collection of skincare and cosmetics, it may be time to apply the KonMari method to your skincare and cosmetics routine.

1. Preservatives & Stabilizing Agents: Parabens, BHA, BHT

Parabens are a commonly-used preservative found in personal care products and cosmetics. When first transitioning to non-toxic beauty, look for parabens as they are the easiest to scope out.

They are found in the majority of cosmetics, although sometimes unmarked as part of the fragrances. (Did you know that fragrances don’t have to be disclosed to the public as they are considered a trade secret?) Parabens can easily penetrate your skin, even if your product doesn’t have skin absorption enhancers, bypass the metabolic process, and can enter both the bloodstream and organs without being broken down.

The scary fact is that parabens mimic estrogen, which can potentially interfere with hormone production in both men and women. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer, because they have been detected in the breast tissue of many breast cancer patients. Last but not least, parabens are not environmentally-friendly, as they are resistant to biodegradation in both water and oil.

Other preservatives to look out for are BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). Like parabens, they are suspected endocrine disrupters and carcinogens. Even worse, they are carcinogens for fish and other wildlife.

Consumers have to understand that every product used gets washed down the drain in some form — the shower drain, sink drain, or during the recycling process. These two chemicals are both bioaccumulative and dangerous towards aquatic species.

2. Foaming Agents: Sulfates

Sulfates are what make beauty commercials so enticing. Sulfates produce the suds for the shampoo, body wash, and shaving cream close-up shots. Suds are supposed to imply a luxurious and moisturizing product, but instead, sulfates are synthetic, non-renewable ingredients generally derived from petroleum that strip the skin of its natural oils and cause severe skin irritation.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can remain in the body for up to five days, staying behind in your vital organs, can damage your immune system, and mutate into carcinogens. Another chemical that performs the same function would be DEA (Diethanolamine), which is mainly used as a pH adjuster. This chemical can have effects on the nervous and endocrine system.

3. Plasticizers: Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that help dissolve other chemicals and make plastic more flexible. They can be found in everything from vinyl flooring to shampoo, often hidden in the fragrance. Phthalates are bioaccumulative and are endocrine disrupters to both humans and aquatic animals.

4. Antibacterials: Triclosan

Undoubtedly, not all antibacterials are bad. But triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial that functions as a pesticide. It is a commonly-found chemical in many types of drugstore toothpaste and household cleaners. Unfortunately, this chemical is a hormone disruptor and can decrease fertility, produce birth defects, or alter DNA. This chemical, too, is bioaccumulative and also harmful to aquatic animals.

5. Formaldehyde Releasers: DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, and others.

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in many personal care products, particularly liquid baby soaps, hair smoothing products, nail polish, and color cosmetics. When formaldehyde is present in a product, consumers can be exposed by ingestion or absorption, which can cause irritation at best and cancer at worst.

6. Chemical Sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Octinoxate.

sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens, like zinc oxide, will sit on your skin to reflect the light to prevent damage. Chemical sunscreens will penetrate your skin, absorb the UV rays, and convert them into heat that is then released through the skin.

But unlike the mineral sunscreens, chemical sunscreens can stay in the body for up to five days. Additionally, many chemical sunscreens are not considered “reef safe” and are already banned, or will soon be banned, around the world for damaging our reefs. When it’s washed off your body in the water, it stays and actually damages some of the Earth’s most precious ecosystems.

7. Light and Heavy Metals: Aluminum and Lead

Aluminum, a light metal, can be found in many drugstore deodorants, with its main function as an antiperspirant. The deodorants will have aluminum salts that help plug the pores physically preventing you from sweating. Not only has this been linked to increasing your chances of breast cancer, but it’s blocking your natural production of sweat.

On the other hand, heavy metals are less obvious to spot, as they are often not added purposely, but are contaminants. Such is the case for the infamous Claire’s asbestos scandal when a mother found asbestos in a variety of her young girl’s makeup palettes.

8. Water Retainers: Mineral Oils & Petrolatum

Petrolatum and mineral oils, a liquid mixture derived from petrolatum, are used in many personal care products to retain moisture. This is why you will often see it as the main ingredient for lotions, cleansers, lip balms, and even powders. The big problem is that as they keep water in, they also clog the pores and prevent your skin from breathing.

Used regularly, this will age your skin prematurely, and as it’s a carcinogen and endocrine disrupter, they can lead to cancer in humans and breathing problems in animals. You should also keep a lookout for 1,4-Dioxane, a common byproduct of processing petroleum-based products produced while trying to make the petrolatum less irritating to the skin. 1,4-Dioxane is resistant to biodegradation in water and soil as well as being potentially explosive when exposed to light or air–definitely not something we want in our cosmetics.

How to Transition to Non-Toxic Cosmetics

If you are serious about switching to using only clean skincare and cosmetics, for the good of your skin and the planet, you are going to have to perform a thorough inspection of all your products and toss out the ones with any of the ingredients listed above. The good news is that there are plenty of non-toxic alternatives to all your favorites.

While it may be tough to get rid of a beloved eyeshadow palette or lip gloss, knowing the ingredients are no longer safe for you to use should be enough for you to let go. As you continue to shop and replace your items one by one, you’ll get familiar with ingredients labels and start to lean on brands you can trust.

If discovering products and brands one-by-one seems daunting or time-consuming, simply look for an EWG-Verified brand or subscribe to Vegancuts.

Vegancuts has transitioned to featuring only cruelty-free, vegan, AND clean beauty items, a.k.a non-toxic skincare, and cosmetics, so the work can be done for you. It’s time for you to take charge of what products you use in your everyday life.

 

vegan keto guide

The Vegan Keto Diet – Explained

The ketosis diet, better known as the ‘keto diet’, became mainstream in 2018 – it was the most searched for diet. The premise is simple, cut down carbohydrate intake and force your body to rely on fat for energy. In scientific terms, when your body switches from a glycogen (carb) burning state to ketosis, ketones will be released into the blood as an energy source for your body.

It’s important to note, although keto is a popular diet, there is no ‘right’ way to be vegan. Everyone can find a vegan diet or vegan snacks that fit their lifestyle.

*Disclaimer – it is recommended to consult a dietician or your physician before making any significant dietary changes.

The basic formula looks like this:

  • Low carbohydrate intake (less than 50 net carbs per day)
  • High fat intake (between 111–167 grams of fat per day depending on your total calorie intake)
  • Moderate protein intake (0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight)

Keto formula

To figure out your exact macro nutrition amounts for your body, check out this ketosis calculator.

When switching to this diet, it will take your body 1-2 days to get through all of your glycogen stores (energy from carbohydrates), and start burning fat. During this transition into the state of ‘ketosis’, you may what’s called the keto flu, where you may start to experience flu-like symptoms.

How can you tell if you’re in Ketosis?

After a couple of days on the ketogenic diet, you will be in the state of ketosis. However, if you’re eager to see when your vegan diet has kicked you into a fat-burning state by way of ketosis, you can purchase keto strips, which will detect the ketone levels in your urine. This is for those who are very serious about their ketone levels.

What side effects should you look out for?

The main side effects from switching to a vegan keto diet are (i) dry mouth, (ii) bad breath, and (iii) the keto flu (explained above). It should also be noted that you may want to increase your salt intake while on the keto diet to assist with replenishing electrolytes.

What are net carbs?

Net carbs are the total carbohydrates you intake minus the carbohydrates you intake via fiber. Let’s use brussels sprouts as an example:

A single cup of brussels sprouts has 8 grams of carbohydrates, with 3.3 coming in the form of fiber. Therefore, they would give you 4.7 net carbs.

An easy way to figure out how many carbohydrates you’re consuming is to download a tracking app such as Lose it or MyFitnessPal.

But is this healthy?

The jury is still out on this.

Ketosis is a relatively new diet and has literature both supporting it and against it. It has shown promising signs for lowering and regulating blood sugar, as well as positively affecting cholesterol levels, by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

The biggest concern with the keto diet is the lack of data regarding the long-term effects of following the diet.

Is a vegan keto diet possible?

It’s definitely not for everyone. Maintaining a state of ketosis on any diet is a challenge.

If you search for keto diet recommendations online, you’ll be inundated with blogs and information suggesting you eat stark amounts of meat, and cheese–both, obviously not vegan-friendly.

The good news is that a vegan keto diet is attainable and full of great food options. You need to be careful about which fruits and vegetables you put into your diet, as some are full of sugar and carbohydrates.

What vegan foods are keto friendly?

vegan keto foods

Fats

The name of the game with fat intake is to use your favorite dairy alternatives, mixed in with fats from whole foods such as nuts, and avocados. Let’s just say if you like guacamole, you’re in luck.

-Coconut yogurts and milk alternatives

-Vegan cheeses

-Coconut oil, Olive oil, MCT oil, avocado oil,

-Avocados

-Mixed Nuts

Proteins

Your favorite vegan proteins will be essential to you getting the proper nutrition while on the vegan keto diet. If you’re buying any processed meat/dairy alternatives be on the lookout that their net carbs are low.

-Tofu

-Vegan eggs/meat alternatives

-Seitan

-Tempeh

-Vegan protein powder

Carbs

Although your carbohydrate intake will be limited while on a vegan keto diet, you will want to leverage the micronutrients and vitamins included in the food listed below. Things such as spinach cooked in coconut oil is a great side dish for any vegan dinner.

-Spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.

-Above ground veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, etc.

sauerkraut, kimchi

-mushrooms

Supplementation

We recommend taking several vitamin supplements while on the vegan keto diet. That is to help you cover your bases from a nutritional standpoint as you get used to your new diet. According to Healthline, there are seven must-have supplements vegans should incorporate into their diets.

What vegan foods should you stay away from?

When it comes to vegan foods, even ones that we think of as ‘healthy’ they can be counterproductive to the vegan keto diet. Many of the foods from standard vegan diets, such as legumes, sweet potatoes, and fruits should be avoided if you want to get into a state of ketosis. That means checking your favorite vegan foods and seeing their net-carbohydrate level.

-Legumes

-Potatoes, Yams, etc.

-Most fruits

-Grains

-Carrots

Keto was the craze in 2018, and many vegans took note of it. Although it was popular last year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain a balanced plant-based lifestyle, with some great tasting vegan snacks in the mix.

Ultimately, there’s no ‘right’ way to be vegan. If you’re taking steps towards reducing animal suffering through choosing a plant-based diet, with or without carbs, you’re making a positive impact.