The Keto Diet, Can It Be Vegan Friendly?

"keto" friendly eggplant serving suggestion

I was hanging out with a friend the other night and she looked absolutely fantastic, I had to ask what she was doing and she told me that she was following the keto diet. Now just to let everyone know up front, she is not vegan or a vegetarian, I immediately thought of having to eat lots of heavy, fatty foods.

When most people (including me) think of the keto diet, since it is high fat, they automatically think of  cheeses, meats, cold cuts and alike, but ladies and gentleman don't be fooled, the keto diet can work for everyone whether you eat meat or not. First off, I am not condoning or endorsing this diet but wanted to share some of the information that I found interesting. This particular diet turns your body into a fat burning machine, carbs are limited and  about 70-80% of your food intake is made of healthy fats. Very simply, here is how it works, the human body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used for energy or stored in your liver or muscle tissue. When you starve the body of carbs, the body will resort to an alternative fuel supply. The body will use up its glucose reserves and then will break down stored fat into fatty acids. When the fatty acids reach the liver, they are then converted into an organic substance called ketones. The brain and other organs feed on the ketones in a process called ketosis, hence the name keto diet. In order to maintain the fat burning state, you would have to consume to consume lots of fat and virtually no carbs. Sounds simple, right?

As a vegan or vegetarian, you are probably used to eating all vegetables, keep in mind on this diet you will need to avoid potatoes, corn, peas, yucca, yams, parsnips, legumes and beans since they higher in carbohydrates. Also certain fruits are off limits as well as grains and sugars (honey, agave, maple syrup etc).  Some of the low carb foods you can eat are vegan meats (tempeh, seitan etc) nuts, seeds, leafy greens, vegetables that grow above the ground such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini etc, avocados and berries among other things. There also will be quite a bit of counting involved (there are apps with calculators available) to make sure you are hitting all your nutrient goals to ensure you will remain in a fat burning state.  As with any diet, it is always good to speak with your physician first to ensure it is the right plan for you.

This is an example of a "keto friendly" vegan eggplant dish you can make, I did not include specific amounts, carbohydrate or sugar counts since this is a just a sample recipe.

Ingredients used

1 Eggplant
Almond flour
Coconut Oil
Nutritional yeast
Tomato sauce

You would have to check the fats, carbs and sugar on the ingredients that you use if you are following the keto diet since things will vary depending on amounts and ingredients.  This is just an example of what a vegan dish might look like if you are on the keto diet. Another great source of  healthy fat on this diet are avocados which I happen to love. I am not sure if this is the diet for me, but it is always good to explore your options and find a way that is healthy and you can enjoy the foods you eat. Even if you are not on the "keto" bandwagon, this can still be a great, quick and easy meal.

 I peeled and sliced the eggplant and then dredged it in the almond flour ( I didn't use anything prior to dipping in the flour). I heated up some coconut oil and browned the eggplant on both sides. I defrosted the tomato sauce that I had made and had previously frozen ( I shared it in a prior blog but also included it at the bottom of the post) and used that to coat the bottom of the pan. The tomato sauce was home made and had no added sugar. I then layered the eggplant, sauce and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. I personally liked the sweetness the almond flour and coconut oil gave the eggplant but you can always substitute any of your favorite oils to fry it in. Just to let everyone it took quite a bit of coconut oil to brown the eggplant.

And now it is time for my thought for this week.

 Did you ever notice or even wonder why everything is built around couples? If you go to an amusement park, the majority of rides are designed for two people to ride together. So what happens if there is three of you? I think back to being in school where the classroom was set up with two rows of three desks across. When the teacher decided to change the configuration to two seats across all of a sudden there was one child left out. It is no different with adults, one person is always left out and has to sit alone or be paired with another third wheel. If the other two people are oblivious, it can be very lonely. Think about when you are walking on a sidewalk, there is typically only room for two people to walk side by side. The third person is usually walking ahead or trailing behind. I guess that is where the phrase two's company and three's a crowd originated from. Restaurants are the same, you have all seen tables for two but did you ever see a table for three? It is a table for four where the third person is facing an empty chair unless you are fortunate to be at a round table. I looked up the definition of third wheel just out of curiosity and to paraphrase it states when two people are hanging out and the third person is there but doesn't necessarily feel like they are part of the group. So what can be done about this? The first thing is to let the other two people know how you are feeling. Maybe they just aren't aware of how it looks or that they are not being inclusive. Communication is key in any friendship. You should then evaluate the situation based on their feedback, if they react negatively maybe then you are forcing the issue and you really are being excluded and they are just too polite to tell you that they don't want you to come along. Either way there is nothing worse than feeling like you are an intruder. So the quicker you find out what the issue is, the happier you will be. So you may ask it is possible that three is better than two? Yes it can be but it is definitely more challenging since it is easy for jealousy and insecurity to develop. Sometimes it feels like a competition but it should not. If you don't like the vibe when you are hanging out, it is up to you to change it. It can either be fixed or if it can't, then you just need to move on because no one deserves to feel like an outsider. Sometimes even if you have the right people in your life, and you truly enjoy each other's company this can still happen once in awhile. I am very fortunate to have women in my life that are totally inclusive. There is never a feeling of being left out. I heard a great saying the other day from another friend that I must share with you. "You are not a third wheel, we are a tricycle". I love this saying.  I encourage you to take notice of the dynamics when you are hanging out with your friends. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture and remember that tricycle needs three wheels otherwise it can't function!

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on these topics.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week's post. Don't forget to check out my prior posts on The Smoothie Vegetarians.

Here is the recipe for the basic tomato sauce recipe, in case you missed it.

My Basic Tomato Sauce

Olive oil to coat the pan (I use a stock pot)
1 large or two small onions chopped (you can use more or less depending on preference)
2-28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes* (I usually use whatever is on sale)
1 large can of tomato sauce (the one I used was 29 oz)
Garlic can be fresh or dried ( I used 5 cloves since this is what I had on hand but again it is up to your own personal taste)
1/4 cup of dried basil
1/4 cup of dried oregano
As soon as the onions and garlic were translucent I added the dried spices gave a quick stir and added my cans of tomatoes and let it simmer. Your entire house will smell delicious. During the summer months I incorporate fresh tomatoes from the garden.

* if doing the keto diet check ingredients for carbs, sugar etc.

Until next time...

With Gratitude,



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