The Best 17 Keto-Vegan-Paleo Recipes

Thanks to the good folks at Paleohacks for today’s recipe.

Is it possible to go keto while omitting all dairy and animal products as well? It might seem difficult, but these 17 keto-friendly vegan and Paleo recipes can get you started.

The biggest challenge to going keto (and otherwise restricting your diet) is the frustrating perceived lack of variety when it comes to meals. We’re here to prove that even when following the keto, Paleo and vegan diets, you can still eat well.

From breakfasts, to snacks, to lunch, dinner and dessert, there’s something for every meal of the day. Enjoy fluffy coconut flour flatbread to sandwich your favorite toppings, or healthy mint chocolate fudge for a treat. You’ll find inspiration all over this list.

These five-ingredient, five-minute low-carb crunch protein bars are basically healthy candy bars. Plus, there are lots of modifications you can follow to best suit your diet.

This easy, fluffy flatbread will fool anyone—it’s just as good as the original, gluten-laden kind. Psyllium husk functions as the “egg-like” binder in this recipe, making it totally vegan in addition to Paleo and keto.

This simple Shamrock shake recipe is way better than the fast food original, but just as (naturally) green—thanks, avocado! Vanilla and mint extracts lend the shake its distinct flavor.

Need a craving-busting chocolatey treat? These chocolate espresso bombs use whole ingredients, including cacao powder, nut butter and espresso powder. They’re full of healthy fats that will keep you satiated in between meals.

This inventive bento box assemblage includes seaweed “noodles” with your choice of raw or toasted almonds, an herbaceous heirloom tomato and cucumber salad, protein-packed guacamole and chunks of coconut and carrot. It makes for one refreshing, colorful and healthy lunch!

Packed with Mexican spices like cumin and cilantro, this Mexican cauliflower rice makes the perfect accompaniment to any main dish.

Silky mint chocolate fudge that’s dairy and sugar-free? It’s true! This simple recipe is ready in under an hour and requires only a blender and a fridge.

The secret to these crunchy, chocolate mint, no-bake protein bars is the crunchy almond butter—but smooth almond butter will also work in a pinch. Adorn your bars with chia seeds, coconut, cacao nibs or almonds for added flavor and texture.

These chocolatey-coffee-nutty treats will keep you satiated all day long, thanks to the addition of almonds, flax meal, hemp seeds, almond butter and coconut oil. Be sure to omit the maple syrup or swap in a keto-compliant sweetener.

Don’t be fooled by the pictures—there’s no actual pasta to be found here! Kohlrabi noodles make for a flavorful, healthy dish, while a homemade, dairy-free Alfredo adds an ultra-creamy mouthfeel. This recipe uses pre-prepped noodles and cauliflower rice, but you can always make those at home with a food processor and spiralizer.

These fat bombs are loaded with puckering citrus flavor from lemon juice and zest as well as coconut butter, coconut oil and low-carb blueberries—or whatever berries you prefer.

Need a big bowl of comfort, with none of the guilt? This low-carb mac and cheese recipe uses hearty cauliflower in place of noodles, while tahini, olive oil and spices make it super creamy and tasty.

Well-spiced, creamy spinach gets whipped up quickly in the Instant Pot. Opt for coconut oil over ghee to keep it vegan, and serve over a bed of cauliflower rice.

These simple, uber-creamy and chocolatey fudgesicles take minutes to prep. Opt for stevia over the maple syrup and add more coconut milk to keep it keto.

Need a big bowl of Mediterranean-inspired, veggie-packed goodness? This salad boasts cauliflower, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes and more.

This simple tabbouleh recipe subs in cauliflower for traditional grains. It’s herbaceous, lemony and perfect to dip all your favorite vegetables in.

Missing bread on your restricted diet? This magic, low-carb mug bread comes together in minutes and requires only a handful of wholesome ingredients. Be sure to use a vegan egg substitute to keep it vegan.

Thanks again to Paleohacks for the awesome recipe list today. Have your own favorite low-carb plant-based favorites? Share below. 

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Keto Bloat: Separating Fact from Fiction

Move over, keto crotch. There’s a new fear-mongering anti-keto media blitz forming: keto bloat.

According to the “good scientists” of the Kellogg company food lab, an unprecedented number of young people are walking around with bloated guts and colons packed to the brim with impacted fecal matter, and it’s all because they’ve embraced ketogenic diets and “forsaken” fiber.

If this sounds like nonsense, that’s because it is.

Are millions of keto dieters suffering from bloating and constipation? I can find no evidence of this.

Is fiber necessary to prevent bloating and constipation? It’s complicated. I’ll explain later. But probably not.

Does the ketogenic diet necessarily exclude fiber? Not at all.

Are ketogenic diets as commonly practiced low in fiber? No.

What Is “Bloat” Anyway?

There are two things that people refer to as bloat: constipation and abdominal distension.

Constipation has different components. It’s being unable to make a satisfying bowel movement. It’s also feeling like you have to poop but are unable to. It’s being able to poop only a little bit. It’s struggling on the toilet bowl. Mostly, it’s being unhappy with your performance on the toilet.

Abdominal distension also can be different things. It might be trapped gas. It might be feeling “heavy” or “full.” It might mean your pants don’t fit after eating.

So, “bloating” can be any or all of these. You can pass hard small stools and feel like you’re bloated. You can poop just fine but have a lot of gas and feel like you’re bloated. You can spend hours on the toilet with not much to show for your effort and be bloated. So “Keto bloat” is difficult to pin down. That makes it easy to make claims and hard to disprove.

Let’s see how frequent bloating and constipation occurs in the ketogenic diet literature.

What Does Research Say About Constipation?

In a study of children with epilepsy placed on an olive oil-based ketogenic diet, about 25% of the subjects experienced constipation. So, was ketosis slowing them down? Not exactly. Those who experienced constipation were actually less likely to be in ketosis. Constipation went up as ketone readings went down, and epilepsy symptoms returned. Constipation improved as ketone readings went up and epilepsy symptoms subsided.

In adults with epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, constipation occurred in just 9% of patients. The authors note that this rate is lower than some other ketogenic studies and attribute the difference to “the heavy focus on importance of fiber from nutrient dense (fiber rich) vegetables, nuts, and seeds.” Note that they weren’t getting fiber from pills and powders. They were eating nutrient-dense foods that just so happened to contain fiber.

Another ten-year study compared the classical ketogenic diet, MCT oil-based ketogenic diet, and modified Atkins keto diet. They were all equally effective at reducing epilepsy symptoms in children, but the occurrence of constipation varied greatly. It was most common in the classic keto diet and medium chain triglyceride-based diet, both of which restrict protein. In the modified Atkins diet, which does not restrict protein, constipation was much rarer. Another study on the modified Atkins diet had similar results, with just 2 of 26 subjects reporting constipation.

Constipation does seem to be a common occurrence. However, the majority of keto diet studies are in epileptic populations following very strict clinical Keto diets. The extreme nature of these therapeutic ketogenic diets—extreme protein (7% of calories) and carbohydrate restriction—makes them an imperfect representation of how most people are eating Keto. And in studies of less-extreme, more realistic versions of the diet, such as modified Atkins (which allows more protein) or the version with “heavy focus” on vegetables, nuts, and seeds, constipation occurs at a much lower rate.

What Does Research Say About Bloating?

The only instance of something approximating bloating in the ketogenic diet literature occurred in studies using medium chain triglyceride-based diets. These are ones that use huge amounts of MCT oil to increase production of ketone bodies. It works great for curbing epilepsy symptoms, but it can also cause cramping, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. That’s not bloating per se. It’s literally the closest I could find.

Causes Of Bloating While Keto?

Okay, say you are dealing with constipation or bloating on a keto diet. What could be going on?

Not Enough Food

Constipation is often a consequence of low energy status. Everything that happens in the body requires energy, and if energy levels are low or energy availability is poor, basic functions will suffer. Bowel movements are no exception. The muscles and other tissues responsible for moving things along your digestive tract use energy. If you aren’t providing adequate amounts of energy, you’re depriving your tissues of the ATP they need to work best and sending your body a signal of scarcity which will only depress energy expenditure even more.

Low carb diets in general and keto diets in particular are very good at causing inadvertent calorie reduction. Great for fat loss, but some people take it overboard and go too far. I’m talking 800-1000 calories a day on top of CrossFit. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Water and Mineral Loss

When you go Keto for the first time, you shed tons of water. For every gram of glycogen you lose, you drop 3-4 grams of water. You also lose sodium and potassium with the water, and you need extra magnesium to regulate your sodium and potassium levels.

The water content of stool is what gives it that smooth texture we all desire. If you’re dehydrated, even mildly, you’ll have less water available for your bowel movements and be more likely to suffer from constipation.

Drink a big glass of salty water with lemon juice in the morning and sip on salty broth throughout the day. Zucchini is a great source of potassium, as is avocado.

Also, if you’re going to eat more fiber, you need to increase water intake for it to work.

Too Much or Too Little Fiber

The relationship between fiber and constipation is mixed. Some interventions do seem to help. Psyllium husk and flaxseed have both been shown to improve constipation. Galactooligosaccharides, a class of prebiotic fiber, improve idiopathic constipation. And inulin, another prebiotic fiber, improves bowel function and stool consistency in patients with constipation.

But there’s also evidence that more fiber can make the problem worse. In one 2012 study, patients with idiopathic constipation—constipation without apparent physiological or physical causes—had to remove fiber entirely to get pooping again. Those who kept eating a bit or a lot of it continued to have trouble evacuating. The more fiber they ate, the worse their constipation (and bloating) remained. Another review found mixed evidence; some people get less bloating and constipation with more fiber, others get less bloating and constipation with less fiber.

Personally, my toilet performance is stellar with or without a constant intake of voluminous levels of plant matter. Most days I eat a good amount—Big Ass Salads, broccoli, sautéed greens, berries—but on the days I don’t, I don’t notice any difference. I’m suspicious of the widespread calls for bowel-rending levels of fiber as the universal panacea for all things toilet, and I’m also suspicious of the people who claim fiber is unnecessary or even harmful.

Fiber helps some people and hampers others. There’s no one-size-fits-all with fiber, especially since there are many different types of fiber.

Too Many Sugar Substitutes

I get it. There are some interesting candies out there that cater to the Keto set and use various sugar alcohols—non-alcoholic, low-or-no calorie versions of sugar—artificial sweeteners, and fibers to recreate popular treats. It’s fun to eat an entire chocolate bar that tastes pretty close to the real thing and get just a few net carbs. But that’s a lot of fermentable substrate your gut bugs are more than happy to turn to gas.

If you want the opposite problem, you can always turn to Haribo sugar-free gummy bears.

FODMAP Intolerance

FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—the carbohydrates in plants that our gut bacteria usually mop up. Most people have gut biomes that can handle FODMAPs; indeed, most people derive beneficial short chain fatty acids from their fermentation. But some people’s gut biomes produce too much fermentation when they encounter FODMAPs. Fermentation begets hydrogen gas, which gathers in the gut and causes great distress. Common complaints of the FODMAP intolerant are bloating, stomach pain, and visits to the toilet that are either unproductive or way too productive—all of which fall into the bloating category.

The myth is that Keto people are eating salami and cream cheese for every meal. The reality is that many people go Primal or Keto and find they’re eating way more vegetables than they ever have before. These are great developments, usually, but if you’re intolerant of FODMAP fibers, you may worsen the bloating.

What Can You Do?

Eat enough protein. Most people can get away with eating 15-25% of their calories from protein and still stay in ketosis. Most people can eat even more protein and still get most of the benefits of fat-adaptation. The keto studies which had the lowest rates of constipation were far more tolerant of higher protein intakes.

Eat FODMAPs unless you’re intolerant. Most people can eat FODMAPs. In most people, FODMAPs improve gut health and reduce constipation and bloating. But if your gut blows up after a few bites of broccoli or asparagus, consult the FODMAPs list and try a quick FODMAP elimination diet.

Make sure you’re truly constipated. Your stool volume and frequency of toilet visits will decline on a normal ketogenic diet because there’s less “waste.” Make sure you’re not misinterpreting that as constipation or bloating. If there’s less poop, there’s less poop. If there’s more poop but it’s just not coming, and you have to go but can’t, that’s when you have an issue.

Experiment with fiber. Fiber clearly has a relationship to bloating and constipation. You just have to figure out what that looks like in your diet.

  • If you’re bloated and constipated on a high-plant Keto Diet, eat fewer plants.
  • If you’re bloated and constipated on a low-plant Keto Diet, try eating more plants. If that doesn’t help, go zero-plant.
  • If you’re bloated and constipated on a zero-plant Keto Diet, try eating more plants. .

We all have to find our sweet spot.

So, to sum up, “keto bloat” is mostly a myth. There’s a glimmer of truth there, but it’s highly exaggerated. Constipation is common on the most restrictive clinical keto diets, while eating fiber from whole plant foods, being less restrictive with protein, and making sure you’re drinking enough water and eating enough calories and electrolytes seems to avoid the worst of it.

What’s been your experience with bloating and constipation? How have you handled it?

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References:

Ho KS, Tan CY, Mohd daud MA, Seow-choen F. Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(33):4593-6.

Müller-lissner SA, Kamm MA, Scarpignato C, Wald A. Myths and misconceptions about chronic constipation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005;100(1):232-42.

Guzel O, Uysal U, Arslan N. Efficacy and tolerability of olive oil-based ketogenic diet in children with drug-resistant epilepsy: A single center experience from Turkey. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2019;23(1):143-151.

Roehl K, Falco-walter J, Ouyang B, Balabanov A. Modified ketogenic diets in adults with refractory epilepsy: Efficacious improvements in seizure frequency, seizure severity, and quality of life. Epilepsy Behav. 2019;

Liu YM. Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic therapy. Epilepsia. 2008;49 Suppl 8:33-6.

Arnaud MJ. Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation?. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57 Suppl 2:S88-95.

Noureddin S, Mohsen J, Payman A. Effects of psyllium vs. placebo on constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids: A randomized trial in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic constipation. Complement Ther Med. 2018;40:1-7.

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Low-Carb & Keto Chayote “Apple” Crisp

Chayote squash is having its day in the sun as of late, but it’s been used for centuries in Latin American cooking and baking. The chayote squash (also known as mirliton squash) is a mild-tasting, relatively low carb, and versatile fruit with a good dose of vitamin C. Because of its hardness, you’ll definitely want to eat it cooked, but the end result will be worth it: a tender but slightly crisp fruit that bears a resemblance to pear or jicama and that takes on the particular flavors of any recipe—sweet or savory.

Note: there’s a little extra prep involved with chayote, but we think the additional few minutes are well worth the approximately 50 grams of carbs spared (full recipe).

Time In the Kitchen: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 5 cups chayote squash
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Swerve (or equivalent of favorite sugar-free sweetener (e.g. monk fruit, etc.)

Crumble Topping

Instructions:

Preheat oven 350 ºF/175 ºC

Prep the squash. (This video has a good rundown of the process.) In a nutshell, cut the top inch off the fruit and let the liquid bubble up on the exposed flesh of the fruit. Rub the cut top piece over the exposed area for a full minute to draw up and out more liquid. This will create a froth as pictured. After the full minute, wipe off this froth with a clean paper towel. (Although the liquid/froth is completely safe, it may cause a mild tingly feeling if you get it on your fingers.)

Cut the fruit in half and remove the seed, along with the white flesh directly around it.

Cut squash into 1/4 inch slices.

Place in pot along with cinnamon, arrowroot or cream of tartar, lemon juice and sweenter. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes so that the squash starts to become tender.

Pour into ramekins.

Put all the crumble topping ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the butter is well incorporated and it looks good and crumbly.

Pour over top of squash.

Bake 30 minutes (or 45 minutes if baking as an 8-inch pie)

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 345
  • Net Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fat: 28 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams

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Weekly Link Love—Edition 19

Don’t Miss the Deadline! Today (3/8/19) is the last day to enter the success story giveaway! Three prizes in all for three randomly chosen (complete = write-up and photos) submissions: a $200 Primal Kitchen gift certificate for one person and a 5-book Primal library for two additional people. Everyone submitting (at any time) will receive a 20% off voucher for an order of their choosing on PrimalKitchen.com or PrimalBlueprint.com. Email me your story along with pictures. Please use the subject heading “My Primal Story.” Complete details here.

Research of the Week

Sperm bottlenecks select the strongest.

In the moment, work isn’t so bad.

Compared to controls, teams made up of CEOs are better at cooperating together in strategic games.

Injectable nanoparticles allow mice to see infra-red.

Neurons repair themselves during sleep.

I bet giant ground sloths were delicious.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 317: Jimmy and Christine Moore: Host Elle Russ chats with Jimmy and Christine Moore about their new book Real Food Keto.

Episode 318: Keto Q&A with Brad Kearns: Host Brad Kearns answers your keto questions.

Health Coach Radio Episode 2: Chris Kelly: Hosts Erin Power and Laura Rupsis chat with Chris Kelly, founder of Nourish Balance Thrive, which uses detailed lab testing to construct personalized action plans for clients.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

Bridge player busted for doping.

Interesting Blog Posts

How muscle memory actually works.

Scientists wonder why human breasts are so persistent.

Social Notes

A great opportunity to win some delicious treats.

Did some paddling.

Everything Else

After introducing low-carb to his type 2 diabetic patients in a rural West Virginia hospital and having great success, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella wrote clinical guidelines for other hospitals to follow. Huge news if this catches on.

Fairy tales are way older than you think.

What happened to the hat?

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Podcast I enjoyed: Tim Ferriss talks to Michael Pollan about psychedelics. “Don’t take anything your grandmother wouldn’t have encountered at Woodstock.”

I’d wear a coat made of this to keep warm: Cross-section of Emperor penguin.

Article I’m reading: Fiber and Colon Health on a Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet

Interesting study: Men donate the most to panhandlers when in the company of a woman.

I didn’t think anyone else did this exercise but me: The Tinkerbell.

Question I’m Asking

How do you play?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Mar 3 – Mar 9)

Comment of the Week

“We’ve established that nitrates should come from plants, not chemical plants.”

– Even though I’m not completely sure I agree, that is a very good line, Angelica.

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Keto Was a New Way Of Life

It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Three years go I notice in my yearly blood work that my thyroid levels were rising. I called my doctor and her words to me were: “OOO, you are just subclinical hypothyroidism, we’ll just watch your levels to see where they go next year.” NEXT YEAR, I thought. I’m not waiting a whole year.

My journey began. I could see no fundamental reason why when there were rising levels that we wanted to wait another 365 days to take any action. I took action then. Immediately I dove into the Internet and followed whoever I could, watched every doc series, Ted Talk, online summit and followed those who spoke to do more research. That is where I came across Mark’s Daily Apple and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I also did my own research. I tried coconut oils, green powdered drinks, eating nuts for my hair loss, selenium, maca, ashwagandha, all organic, non goo, organic hair care and plant based everything and so much more. I tell people today that you have to know your body and you have to try everything to see what works for you. Holistic medicine treats a cause not a symptom and therefore is not a cookie cutter medicine, and what works for my DNA may not work for yours and visa versa.

I started with a 15 day juice only fast which I documented on YouTube basically to keep me going, but honestly after day 4, it was not an issue.

I started to do research on the thyroid and knew i had some weight to lose. I chose a Keto diet and included intermittent fasting. That was 3 years ago and today I continue the same path and tell anyone that will listen, anyone who is ill and especially anyone with autoimmune issue you can reverse the stats. I did.

The next year my levels went up and I had to see an endocrinologist and in fact, I’ve not seen the same endocrinologist twice in these past three years. They all keep leaving and booting me to a new one, I finally gave up and don’t go to any right now. The system failed me, but that was okay. I was on a better path.

My last labs (last year) were all normal minus my Vitamin D, for which now I supplement as well as enjoy my time in the sun. I remain Keto with intermittent fasting and figure it’s a way of life.

I admit I do stray at times, we all have our weakness and mine is useless white fluffy bread.

I’ve tried a lot of things, but Keto was a new way of life and intermittent fasting just sort of fit. I rotate schedules at work every 3 months and that is not an easy task and so hard on your system, but I also rotate my intermittent fasting to keep my body on a steady rotation of fasting and eating.

My weight loss was around 80 pounds—that I have kept off to this day.

I’m no sure where I’d be today had I listened to my doctor, and trust me I believe in doctors but I believe in myself and my instincts a whole lot more.

I could go on and on. I usually do. But this will give you the idea of my life and what I do to remain in the best shape I can be at 58 years young.

Thank you

Lisa B.

The readers featured in our success stories share their experiences in their own words. The Primal Blueprint and Keto Reset diets are not intended as medical intervention or diagnosis. Nor are they replacements for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program, and please consult your physician before making any changes to medication or treatment protocols. Each individual’s results may vary.

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Tahini Fudge

Fudge…the creamy, rich squares of pure decadence we might associate with the holidays (or with trips to grandmother’s house). A little sure went a long way, but still…. With versions that typically call for everything from three cups of sugar to marshmallow fluff to sweetened condensed milk, fudge isn’t exactly a realistic Primal option. In fact, however much we may have loved it as kids, most of us have tastes too far adapted from this level of sweetness for it to hold the same temptation anymore. (Does anyone’s teeth hurt right about now?)

But that was then. This is now—with a whole different, Primal take on this classic. We happen to think this recipe is what fudge was always meant to be—all the rich texture and creamy feel (from healthy fats)…with a fraction of the carbs. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of Primal Kitchen® Collagen Peptides (optional for nutrition benefit)
  • 1/2 c organic tahini
  • 3/4 c organic coconut butter
  • 1/4 c SunButter (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 fresh vanilla bean
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 bar of unsweetened chocolate
  • Sea salt flakes to top

Instructions:

Melt and mix everything (except the chocolate and salt) in a double-broiler. Let cool to room temp.

Chop the chocolate into chips and stir into fudge mixture.

Pour into a silicon cube tray, sprinkle with salt flakes and let chill in the fridge until super firm.

*Store covered in the fridge.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories—312
  • Carbs—9 grams
  • Fat—27.5 grams
  • Protein—7 grams

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