The popularity of both the vegan and the ketogenic diets has skyrocketed in recent years. As well as being good for the planet, a vegan diet lowers the risk of chronic health conditions such a heart disease and certain cancers. The keto diet, which usually contains high levels of meat and dairy consumption, has benefits such as weight loss, better sleep, mental clarity, and even a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The good news is, it’s possible to combine the benefits of both diets. Research is limited, but experts agree that, as long as nutrient intake and ketosis levels are correctly monitored, a vegan, keto diet can have considerable benefits – both for health and for the environment.

Here’s everything you need to know about the vegan, keto diet – including a list of vegan foods which can help you achieve ketosis.

But first, how does a traditional keto diet work?

Suzannah Robin, Operations Director for dietary technology experts Ketoscan, explains:

“The keto diet is essentially a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. A typical western diet contains 40-60% carbohydrates. For the ketogenic diet, we suggest reducing this to 5-10%, along with 70-80% fat and 10-20% protein. When replacing their carbohydrate consumption with foods high in fats and protein, we see many people turn to animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat. These dietary changes trigger ketosis, where the body transitions to burning energy released from its fat stores as the primary energy source, rather than relying on glucose released from carbohydrates.”

Of course, achieving ketosis through dairy and meat consumption is not compatible with a vegan diet. However, there are many other foods which can help you achieve optimum levels of ketosis on a vegan diet.

A vegan, keto diet should focus largely on whole, plant-based foods that are high in fats and protein. Food groups that should form the basis of a vegan, keto diet include:

Vegan meat substitutes: tofu, tempeh, seitan, and any other high-protein, low-carb meat substitute.

Healthy oils: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil.

Vegan dairy substitutes: soya or coconut yoghurts, vegan cheese, cashew cheese, vegan butter.

Non starchy vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans etc.

Leafy greens: kale, spinach, cabbage etc.

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts.

Nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, tahini etc.

Salad: avocado, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes etc.

Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi etc.

Berries: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries.

Low amounts of carbohydrates: rice, potatoes, bread and starchy fruits and vegetables.

Dieticians also recommend that vegan keto dieters take vitamin and mineral supplements including iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, omega-3, zinc and calcium.

Whether you’re already following a vegan diet and considering giving keto a try, or you want to cut down on your meat and dairy consumption, but are worried it will kick you out of ketosis, it’s crucial to monitor your ketone levels. This can be done using urine test strips, at-home blood testing, or a portable breath analysis device, such as the Ketoscan Mini and Ketoscan Lite, which offer a portable, non-invasive solution by measuring the concentration of ketones in your exhaled breath.

You should always speak to a doctor before making a drastic change to your diet. It is worth noting that the keto diet is not suitable for people with renal disease, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also not recommended for anyone with an eating disorder, or a history of disordered eating.