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Low-Carb Vegan Meals: What You Need to Know NOW! (Breaking down Macronutrients and Recipes)

You’ve heard the rumors circling... 

The results?

Low-carb diets are all the rage!

A lot of controversy has surrounded the topic of low-carb diets in the past. But one thing is for sure—

They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

The low-carb diet boasts a few benefits such as weight loss, improved blood pressure, and lowered blood sugar. 

There are quite a few variations of low-carb diets. Here are some variations:

  • Ketogenic diet
  • Low-carb Mediterranean diet
  • Low-carb paleo diet
  • Eco-Atkins

And more...

But what about a low-carb vegan diet? 

Is it safe? 

Healthy? 

What are the benefits?

In this article, I am going to answer all of your questions about a low-carb vegan diet. Here's what I’ll cover. Click to jump to a specific section:

Interested in learning more about the low-carb vegan lifestyle?

Yes?

Then let’s get started!

low car vegan zoodles

The Low-Carb Vegan Diet: What You Need to Know

As you know, the vegan diet excludes all animal products. That means no eggs, dairy, meat, etc. 

A healthy vegan diet includes a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins. When someone gives up meat and fish, they naturally increase their intake of grains and other plant-based sources of protein. 

What does this lead to?

Consuming more carbohydrates.

Eating a variety of foods within a whole-food plant-based diet is shown to have a ton of benefits. 

Here are a few:

  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Prevention of obesity
  • Improved quality of life

And more! 

However, with the increasing popularity in low-carb diets, you might be wondering if switching up your eating habits within the vegan lifestyle will bring you even more benefits.

What is a Low-Carb Vegan Diet?

A low-carb vegan diet is exactly what it sounds like—

A vegan diet that aims to consume fewer carbs.

There is a wide range of what is considered a low-carb vegan diet. However, this diet usually falls within the range of eating between 30-130 grams of net carbs per day. 

What the heck are net carbs?

I’m happy you asked! 

There is a simple equation to keep track of how many net carbs are in your food:

Net carbohydrates = total carbohydrates - fiber - sugar alcohols

Fiber is a nutrient that cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. Fiber is extremely important for a few reasons:

  • Digestion
  • Heart health
  • Longevity
  • Blood sugar regulation

Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that are added to food that have fewer calories than regular sugar. Some sugar alcohols also appear naturally in fruit. 

Following this equation will let you know how many net carbs you are consuming.

If you are committed to tracking your net carbs, you can make it a bit easier with a net carb calculator.

Pretty neat, right?

There is also another way to look at the low-carb vegan diet… 

Instead of thinking about decreasing and restricting your carb intake, you can focus on increasing proteins and healthy fats.

Can I Get All of My Nutrients on a Low-Carb Vegan Diet?

An essential question to ask yourself is this—

Is my diet nutritious and sustainable?

You are what you eat, so you want to make sure that you are consuming all of the nutrients you need in your day-to-day life!

Any time you are looking at restricting foods from your diet, you want to make sure you are still getting everything you need. With the proper education and planning, the low-carb vegan diet can be a healthy option for you.

The best way to know if this lifestyle is right for you is to discuss it with your healthcare professional. 

There is no perfect diet for everyone, so speaking with an expert is an absolute must.

That being said, here are a few things you can prioritize in the low-carb vegan diet to make sure you are being as healthy as possible:

  • Protein
  • Make sure that you are ramping up your protein intake if you are lowering your carbohydrates! Here are some foods you can work on increasing in your diet to make sure you are consuming enough protein:

    • Soy products: Tofu and Tempeh are both soy products that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. These foods are staples in the vegan diet anyway, so enjoy.
    • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nut and more are high in protein and fat, and low in net carbs. This is due to their high fiber count.
    • Plant-based protein powder: You might want to consider supplementing your diet with plant-based protein powder. Aim to find a protein powder that is low in net carbs and sugar. This list compiled by VeryWellFit will show you 7 options you can try.
    • Legumes: Black beans, lentils, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) all have a high protein to low carbohydrate ratio. 
  • B12 vitamins
  • Whether or not you are on a low-carb diet, if you practice a vegan lifestyle you should consider taking a B12 supplement. 

    Insufficient intake of B12 can cause anemia or nervous system damage

    B12 cannot be found naturally in vegan foods, so it is important to consider taking a supplement  for this. Another option is to regularly eat fortified foods such as nutritional yeast or plant-based milk. 

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are one of two important fatty acid groups that humans need to consume. While omega-6 fatty acids are more common in plant-based foods, vegans need to be a bit more intentional about consuming omega-3s. 

    Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce cancer and heart disease, so you do not want to skimp on this! 

    Here are some sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids:

    • Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds
    • Algae supplements
    • Walnuts

    When reducing carbohydrates in your diet, make sure that you are still consuming foods that provide the vitamins and minerals you need.

    What are Some Potential Benefits of a Low-Carb Vegan Diet?

    So, why low-carb?

    There are many benefits to eating a low-carb vegan diet.

    Let’s break them down.

  • Reduced Appetite
  • If people are dieting for weight loss, a predictable hurdle is that they will have increased hunger cravings. 

    However—

    The opposite happens with a low-carb diet. Due to the increase in fat and protein, your appetite will be under control. 

  • Weight Loss
  • If you are looking to lose weight, cutting carbs is one effective method! 

    When you cut carbs and your appetite is reduced, you naturally consume fewer calories. In addition, instead of your body burning carbohydrates, it starts to burn off stored fat. 

    This combination leads to weight loss. 

    It is important to note that there are several other methods for sustainable weight loss. 

    If you are looking to lose weight, make sure to talk to your healthcare professional about safe dietary practices for YOUR body. 

  • Lower Triglycerides
  • Triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in your bloodstream. 

    Your body needs some triglycerides, but having too many has been associated with heart disease. 

    The extra carbs you eat in your diet get converted into triglycerides. 

    So—

    when you reduce your carb intake, you also reduce the number of extra triglycerides in your bloodstream.

  • Effective Against Metabolic Syndrome
  • Metabolic Syndrome is a condition that is associated with your risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

    Metabolic syndrome is actually a collection of symptoms such as:

    • Abdominal obesity
    • High triglycerides
    • Elevated blood sugar

    And more...

    Eating a low-carb diet has proven to be effective in fighting each of these symptoms.

    vegan seeds and nuts

    Macronutrients: A Crash Course in Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates

    I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times!

    A healthy diet is a varied diet. 

    Not only does that mean eating foods that give you all of the vitamins and minerals you need…

    It means eating a balanced ratio of macronutrients.

    (Yes, even on a low-carb diet.) 

    What are Macronutrients?

    There are a total of three macronutrients, and we need them all to live a healthy lifestyle. 

    These three macronutrients are how we get energy! The following ratio is what is currently recommended by the National Academy of Sciences:

    • Protein — 10-35% of daily calories
    • Carbohydrates — 45-65% of daily calories
    • Fat — 20-35% of daily calories

    Here is what the Dietary Recommendations for Americans suggest you consume if you are following the typical 2,000 calorie diet:

    225-325 grams of carbs per day. 

    Low-carb diets recommend consuming fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrates. Since there is a disparity, it is important to talk to your healthcare professional prior to making any big dietary changes.

    Nutrition: How to Track Your Food

    Worried about keeping track of your nutrition?

    I’m here to help you out!

    There are tons of handy apps that will help you learn more about what nutrients you are consuming so that you can make healthy choices. 

    Here are just a few:

    1. Nutrients - Nutrition Facts: This app is available for download on the iPhone. The cost is $4.99, but for tons of nutrition facts right at your fingertips, it’s worth it. With this app you can keep track of your meals and nutrition and plan your recipes. 
    2. MyFitnessPal: Available for both iPhone and Android, this app is a one stop shop for your health and fitness plans. This app has both a free version and a premium version that will help you keep track of your nutrition, (it even does a macronutrient pie chart for you), help you track your water intake, and set fitness goals. 
    3. MyNetDiary: This app, available for both iPhone and Android, is handy if you are looking to set weight loss goals! This app will also keep track of your macros, your water intake, and your workouts. 

    Tracking your nutrition on an app is a great way to stay safe when you are making a dietary transition. 

    Not only that, but it will keep you motivated to live a healthier lifestyle each and every day!

    cauliflower wings

    Vegan Meals: 25 Low-Carb Recipes for Any Occasion

    Whether you are looking to dive into the low-carb vegan diet, or you’re just looking for a few low-carb staples to add to your routine…

    Here are some recipes to die for.

    Low-Carb, High-Energy Breakfast Recipes:

    Even though the carbs are low, these vegan recipes will give you the boost you need to start your mornings fresh.

    1-3. This video by Tasha’s Mom Life will show you how to make a yummy Chia Seed Pudding, “Hash-brown” Tacos, and “Egg-cups.”

    4. This classic tofu scramble by Low Carb Vegan Recipes will become a routine favorite. 

    5-7. Interested in a nutritious porridge to start your day? This video by Nutriplanet Health Hub will show you three low-carb vegan options. 

    8. Heading to a brunch? These vegan quiche muffins by Low Carb Vegan Recipes won’t disappoint.

    Lazy Low-Carb Lunch Recipes:

    These low-carb lunches can be prepared as a single meal, or made in bulk to enjoy all week long. 

    9. Waste no time in trying out these scrumptious lettuce wraps by Beauty Bites.

    10. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, these buffalo cauliflower wings by Chocolate Covered Katie are going to be your new best friend.

    11. Speaking of cauliflower, these cauliflower tofu tacos by Stacey Homemaker make a delicious low-carb meal!

    12. Whip up a batch of this vegan ramen by Meat Free Keto if you’re looking for some comfort food. 

    13-15. The Domestic Geek shows how to make 3 vegan, no-cook, low-carb recipes in this video. If you’re a fan of zoodles, she’s your girl. 

    Daring and Delicious Low-Carb Dinners

    If there is ever a time to make a splash with your cooking, it’s dinnertime! Check out these fabulous low-carb dinner recipes.

    16. This super satisfying vegan dinner bowl by Running on Real Food is packed with protein and healthy fats. 

    17-18. In this video, Plantifully Based will walk you through how to make a low-carb shepherd’s pie and a peanut tofu bowl!

    19-23. More Salt Please has compiled 5 go-to low-carb vegan recipes that will rock your world. She goes over how to make cauliflower gnocchi, tacos, summer wraps, and more.

    24. Feel your worries melt away after taking a bite of this vegan coconut curry lentil soup by VegAngela.

    25. This creamy and satisfying butter chicken recipe by Low Carb Vegan Recipes just might be my new favorite dish. 

    These recipes will go to show you that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for carbs.

    doctor

    The Low-Carb Life

    Congratulations!

    You’ve made it through the low-carb vegan guide. 

    Now you have the tools you need to make a more educated decision about your diet. The low-carb vegan diet has amazing potential benefits! 

    But remember—

    Speak with your healthcare professional to find the best possible diet for your lifestyle!

    Interested in other variations of the vegan diet? Check out our tips and tricks about the raw vegan lifestyle!

     

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