Raw Vegan Blueberry Maca Cinnamon Rolls

Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls?

Seriously… I want to know!

Because they clearly haven’t tried these ones.

This recipe was born during a frantic night of rummaging around the kitchen in search of something sweet.

It was one of those “it’s 10 PM and my second stomach is officially open for business” kinds of situations.

Luckily, something in the cupboard caught my eye: a package of raw coconut wraps!

Knowing I also had a ton of frozen wild blueberries in the freezer and a tub of fresh almond butter, I got right to work.

One important thing to note about this recipe is they’re best eaten immediately – unless you enjoy soggy treats!

They require zero baking time (since they’re raw) and won’t weigh you down like a regular cinnamon roll.

I’ve been known to eat an entire plate in a matter of minutes….

Feel free to omit the maca powder – it was a last minute superfood boost, but I don’t regret it!

My final recommendation is to use a thin, smooth almond butter. This helps the filling to be a bit more spreadable. It isn’t a necessity, but if the almond butter is super thick it will end up a little gooey… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Ingredients:

4 raw coconut wraps such as these
5 tbsp raw almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
11-15 drops liquid vanilla stevia
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp almond meal or almond flour
1/2 cup wild blueberries

Cream Cheeze Icing

2 tbsp cashew butter
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
7 drops liquid vanilla stevia 
1 tsp MCT oil
2/3 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 pinch of nutritional yeast
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Mix the cinnamon roll filling together and smear evenly onto a coconut wrap.
  2. Sprinkle a small handful of berries inside and roll ’em up!
  3. Using a very sharp knife, cut the cinnamon rolls evenly – I like making them about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the icing ingredients.
  5. Thoroughly mix until a thick, yet drizzle-able consistency is reached. You can add 1 tsp of non-dairy milk at a time until it’s smooth and creamy.
  6. Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls.

Enjoy ❤

Raw Vegan Green Protein Bliss Bites

Green protein bliss bites

I’m all about quick, easy snacks.

These are both of those things, plus they’re totally delicious.

These little gems are gluten-free, paleo, keto-friendly, vegan, loaded with healthy fats and protein, and packed full of superfoods.

They’re the perfect snack for any time of day – I love eating a couple before my workouts to give me a quick energy boost!

Any kind of protein ball or sweet treat is a great way to hide greens… so that’s what I did! I added a heaping scoop of Amazing Grass greens powder, and if anything, it makes them even more yummy! (This recipe isn’t sponsored by them in any way, but I do love their products. I used their protein powder in this recipe as well.)

Keep in mind that these are totally customizable….

Only have chocolate protein powder in your cupboard? Great! They’ll still be just as delicious (if not more, especially if you’re a chocolate lover!).

You can add other spices like ginger or cardamom to make things more interesting, or even some dried nuts and seeds to add texture.

The “bliss bite” world is your oyster!

Anyway, this recipe takes less than 10 minutes and one bowl to make, and yields about 10-12 bliss bites.

Ingredients:

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup almond flour
2 tsp flax seed meal
1/4 cup tocotrienols
1 scoop greens powder (I used Amazing Grass “Holiday Cookie” flavored greens powder, but any mild greens powder should work just fine)
1/4 cup raw pecan butter (or any other creamy nut/seed butter)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp stevia or monk fruit (optional – they’re pretty sweet as is, especially if you used a flavored greens powder)
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Using your hands or a large spoon, mix the ingredients thoroughly until well-combined. The “dough” should be very thick, but should stick together easily so you can form it into little balls. If it’s still crumbly, add more nut butter 1 tbsp at a time until it sticks together.
  2. Roll the “dough” into 1.5 x 1.5 inch balls – you can really make these any size you want – I like them to be about 4 bites worth.
  3. Line the bliss bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. For a faster option (I do this a lot) place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then place in the fridge to store.
  4. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Enjoy! ❤

Raw Vegan Mediterranean Wrap

Raw vegan Mediterranean wraps

I love fast food.

No, no, no! Not, that kind of fast food!

I’m talking about nourishing, plant-based meals that take under 10 minutes to make.

We can call it… Speedy Supper.

Or… Fleet Feast.

Perhaps Swift Snack is most fitting.

Either way, the best meals are the ones that not only taste amazing and are loaded with enzymes, minerals, life-force and nutrients, but also come together in just a few minutes.

Because when I’m hungry, I’m hungry.

There’s a common misconception that raw food is a lot of work, takes too much time and requires a lot of pre-planning.

While this can sometimes be the case, especially for the more complicated dehydrated recipes, it most certainly doesn’t have to be!

In fact, some of my favorite things to eat on a day-to-day basis come together very quickly and require zero dehydration.

While I do enjoy the occasional dehydrated raw vegan comfort food, I usually don’t have the time or patience to make something overly complicated.

I’m a huge fan of raw wraps in particular, because they’re more interesting and generally more satisfying to eat as a meal than a salad, are extremely versatile, and take about 5 minutes to throw together.

They can be as filling or as light as you want, can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or just as a simple snack any time of day!

This wrap is bursting with bright, savory flavors and is packed with healthy fats and cleansing greens.

You can use any raw wrapper you like to make this recipe… my favorite wraps to use are any brand of raw coconut wraps, or the “WrawP” brand of veggie wraps. I used their original flavor for this recipe, because it’s pretty mild and doesn’t distract from the delicious ingredients inside!

I’m not sponsored by WrawP in any way, but I’ll link them here if you want to give them a try.

One other thing to note about this recipe is that the main flavor components inside the wrap are pretty salty and pack a punch, so I highly recommend packing it full of fresh greens to balance everything out. I used mixed organic micro greens for mine, but you can use whatever you like.

This recipe is either a large meal for one, or a hearty lunch for two when cut in half.

Ingredients:

1 Sheet Original WrawP Veggie Wrap or other

1 tbsp kalamata olive tapenade or spread
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked overnight in water or pre-packed in olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1/2 a medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small ripe fresh tomato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups tender leafy greens (such as spinach) or sprouts of choice
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. If using a Wrawp brand veggie wrap, soften it first by rubbing about 1/2 tsp warm water onto the surface, and let it sit for about 30 seconds.
  2. Smash the avocado onto the wrap, evenly coating the surface of the wrap, leaving about 1/2 inch uncoated on all sides.
  3. Spread the olive tapenade evenly over the avocado.
  4. Line the sun-dried tomatoes over top, keeping in mind to wrap the sheet on the long side. This creates a much bigger wrap with more room for ingredients.
  5. Add fresh tomato and sliced cucumber evenly over the wrap.
  6. Sprinkle on a healthy dose of Italian seasoning.
  7. Pack as many fresh greens/sprouts on top as you can, and roll the wrap closed.

Enjoy! ❤

Raw Vegan Sushi Roll

Before I became vegetarian, I loved sushi.

Not vegetarian sushi, either. My absolute favorites were salmon and tuna nigiri, unagi (eel) rolls, and anything with tobiko on top (those little orange fish eggs).

Sushi was definitely one of my favorite foods growing up.

Ever since I announced to my mom that I was going vegetarian nine years ago, I have relied on cucumber and avocado rolls to get me through my sushi cravings.

While regular cucumber and avocado rolls are absolutely delicious, I recently got a craving for an even healthier option.

Seeing as I’m currently following a raw vegan diet, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to make yet another replacement for an old favorite.

So, I went to the grocery store and bought myself a pack of nori sheets.

And thus, this recipe was born!

It took me about fifteen minutes to make, and the hardest part was chopping the veggies.

Feel free to switch it up and add whatever you like in the middle!

Fresh marinated coconut meat, carrot, bell pepper, jicama, sprouts, even mushrooms. Whatever floats your sushi boat!

In place of rice, I made a sunflower seed pâté seasoned with a little miso paste and rice vinegar.

In my opinion, the main flavor components in a veggie sushi roll are usually the soy sauce, seaweed and wasabi, so I just needed a mild base to compliment the primary flavors. It works perfectly and it’s so easy to make!

There’s one thing I just need to throw out there before we get started:

I’m terrible at rolling sushi.

And you know what? It’s OK if you’re terrible at it too! All we can do is try our best. We can be terrible at it together, united as one uncultured sushi-craving health-nut. (I’m kidding)

But seriously, it’ll still taste delicious no matter how perfect or imperfect it is. I promise.

(If you do have sushi-rolling skills, hit me up. I would love to learn how to not suck at it!)

Here we go.

Ingredients:

Sunflower Seed “Rice”:

2 cups sunflower seeds
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp organic monk fruit or stevia 
1 tbsp sesame seeds 
5-6 tbsp filtered or spring water, to blend

For Everything Else:

1 ripe avocado
1 medium organic cucumber
1 package raw or toasted nori sheets
3 tbsp tamari or nama shoyu
1 tsp wasabi paste
1 tsp sesame seeds or gomasio for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a high speed blender (or food processor) blend the sunflower seeds with the rest of the rice ingredients, adding two tbsp of water at a time until emulsified, but still very thick. I used a Vitamix plunger to really work the mixture into a paste.
  2. Once blended, smear 3 tbsp pâté onto a nori sheet, about an inch off-center to one end of the sheet.
  3. Add thinly sliced matchsticks of avocado and cucumber into the middle of the roll.
  4. Using both hands, begin rolling the sushi tightly beginning at the end closest to where you smeared the pâté.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the roll into individual pieces of sushi. I like dipping the knife into a bit of water after each slice to keep it from sticking. (You can also take this opportunity to clean up the less desirable sushi roll ends by eating them. hehe.)
  6. Serve with a side of tamari and wasabi, or mix the two together to make a sauce like I did to drizzle over top. You can even add some pickled ginger to the party if you like.
  7. Top with gomasio or sesame seeds.

Enjoy! ❤

Raw Almond Mylk

I’m a huge almond milk fan.

When it comes to non-dairy milks, my body is happiest when I drink almond milk.

Almonds are an amazing beauty food, and are abundant in antioxidants including skin-loving Vitamin E.

They’re high in the anti-stress mineral magnesium, as well as bone-building manganese.

Almond milk is my favorite choice for making my morning matcha latte, especially considering almonds sit so well in my stomach.

When I became plant-based, I was shocked at all the strange ingredients store-bought almond milks had.

Gums, stabilizers, oils, fillers and….

So. Much. Added. Sugar!!

Plus, the ones that were organic, had the cleanest ingredients and tasted the best were often up to $11 a bottle.

I don’t have a problem with spending extra money for higher quality, healthier products, but when the ingredients are just almonds and water I would rather make my own.

Plus, home-made is so much better!

The only investment you need to make is a good quality nut milk bag.

I say good quality because some nut milk bags, particularly the super cheap ones, are not fine enough to filter out all the nut pulp from the milk.

I’ve ended up with way too many gritty almond milks because of a crummy nut milk bag.

When you buy one, hold it up to the light. It should be very finely woven, and you should not be able to see through it.

I’m talking almost like trying to look through a piece of fabric.

Even if you don’t have the best blender in the world, a good nut milk bag will give you smooth and creamy almond milk.

Save the almond pulp!

You can use it in baking, skincare, raw recipes, oatmeal and more.

It’s great stuff, and it freezes wonderfully.

As far as soaking goes, if you have a standard blender I would highly recommend soaking your almonds for 8-12 hours before making the milk.

If you have a Vitamix or similar, you don’t have to soak them, but it helps soften the almonds, increases bioavailability and makes them easier to digest.

This recipe is best within the first 3 days of making it.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw almonds
5 to 6 cups filtered or spring water (use less water for a thicker milk)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend everything together in a blender on high speed for about 60 seconds.
  2. Pour the milk through your nut milk bag into a large bowl.
  3. Squeeze until all the milk has left the almond pulp inside the bag, and the pulp is dry.
  4. Pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
  5. You can store the almond pulp in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later use if you wish.

Enjoy! ❤

Creamy No-Fried Beans

From the time I was five to the moment I decided to be a vegetarian at age twelve I was addicted to Taco Bell.

My mom and I (also an ex-Taco Bell junky) would often stop there for dinner after she picked me up from staying with my dad in Sacramento.

While I wasn’t picky about which gooey, cheese-smothered, red sauce-drenched delicacy I was going to chow down on, I did have a few favorites:

Their Seasoned Red Rice, nacho cheese dip, the legendary “Enchirito”, and the joy de vivre of Taco Bell:

Their re-fried beans.

Anything that was on the menu that contained those beans, I was all in.

As I became more health-conscious, my love for re-fried beans evolved.

I was soon a huge fan of Amy’s organic re-fried beans.

I digress.

To this day I still love re-fried beans, but I would much rather have a just-as-satisfying raw vegan version.

I think there’s a misnomer that raw food can’t be heavy, comforting or full of hearty flavors and robust spices.

One of my main goals in starting this blog was to show the world that raw vegan junk food is real.

And I eat it.

A lot.

These no-fried beans are extremely satisfying, filling and versatile.

You can put them in raw tacos or burritos, pair them with raw Mexican “rice”, use them as a dip for chips or veggies, or eat them like I do:

Topped with fresh avocado and chunky salsa fresca.

Plus, they have a hearty amount of secret raw veggies, making this a great recipe to feed picky kids.

The best part?

They only take about 10 minutes to make!

This recipe makes about 4 servings, and can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup yellow or green zucchini
4 to 5 sun-dried tomatoes, re-hydrated in warm water or packed in olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping tbsp chickpea miso paste 
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp tamari 
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp smoked paprika 
1/4 smoked sea salt (optional) sub with regular sea salt if unavailable
1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
1-2 tbsp filtered or spring water to blend

Directions:

  1. Add sunflower seeds to a food processor and grind until a gritty paste is achieved.
  2. Add zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper and miso paste and continue to process into a paste, scraping down the sides.
  3. Add in all the remaining ingredients and continue to process into a creamy “re-fried beans” consistency, adding water a tablespoon at a time if needed.
  4. Taste with a spoon and adjust seasonings if you’d like.
  5. Dish up and top with avocado, salsa fresca and chopped cilantro!

Enjoy! ❤


Sugar-Free Mango Cardamom Chia Pudding

Chia puddings have always been my favorite go-to breakfast (or dessert) recipe.

I remember when I was about seven, I thought chia seed gel tasted (and looked) just like what I imagined frog eggs to taste like… but I still ate them.

Kids are weird.

Chia puddings are so easy to make and taste amazing – plus they’re loaded with nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds are one of my favorite “superfoods” of all time!

They’re chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, functional protein, soothing fiber and antioxidants.

In fact, chia seeds are one of the foods that I credit to helping my gut health improve in leaps and bounds.

Because of their high fiber content, they help to keep you full for a longer time without weighing you down, and are the perfect pre or post-workout snack.

Since chia seeds don’t have much taste to them, it’s easy to get creative with flavors for your puddings.

I’m a huge fan of cardamom, so I wanted to make a spin-off on a mango lassi – in pudding form!

Chia puddings tend to be similar in texture to tapioca pudding, but if you want a smoother texture you can actually blend the chia seeds into the mango cashew cream as well.

They’ll still “bloom” and form a sort of gel, so just let it sit in the fridge as normal before enjoying.

Another thing to note about this recipe is the type of mango you’re using.

Since we’ll be blending the mangoes, it doesn’t much matter if it’s a “good mango” – as long as it’s ripe, it’s totally fine.

There are two main types of mango available in most areas of the United States:

The Tommy Atkins Mango (or very similar)

And the Ataulfo Mango (or very similar)

Both will work wonderfully in this recipe, but keep in mind that the Ataulfo and similar mangoes are much smaller than the Tommy mango.

If you’re opting for Ataulfo, I would use two.

Let’s jump in!

Ingredients:

2 small Ataulfo mangoes OR 1 large Tommy Atkins mango (or similar)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight
1/2 cup chia seeds 
2 cups filtered or spring water
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/8 tsp monk fruit OR 1 tbsp maple syrup OR 4 pitted medjool dates
1/4 tsp cardamom 
1 tbsp coconut MCT oil (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt 

Directions:

  1. Blend cashews with water, sea salt, vanilla, cardamom and sweetener.
  2. Cut mangos into small chunks and add to the cashew cream.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into a large bowl, and add chia seeds.
  5. Mix until well-combined.
  6. Cover chia pudding and put it into the fridge for about 6-8 hours, stirring once or twice to make sure the seeds don’t gel at the bottom.

Enjoy! ❤

Chia Later (-;

Creamy Cashew Mylk

As far as flavor, creaminess and versatility, cashew milk is probably my favorite non-dairy milk alternative.

While cashews are a little heavier and more difficult for your digestive system to process, I notice that when I blend them into milks or sauces, I have a much easier time with them.

Cashews are actually not nuts, but a seed harvested from a variety of fruit called a “Cashew Apple”, which is native to Brazil.

While we will be using “raw” cashews for this recipe, take note that all cashews sold in stores have been steamed to remove harmful compounds found in truly raw cashews.

Cashews aren’t my top choice of nut in terms of overall digestibility, but they actually contain a ton of nutrients, healthy fats and protein.

They’re extremely high in copper, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood and bones.

They also have high amounts of magnesium, the “anti-stress” mineral; vitamin E, a skin-loving antioxidant; manganese, a metabolism booster; and oleic acid, a healthy omega fatty acid.

So to sum it up, cashews are kind of a major superfood – just stick to the ones sold at the grocery store.

Because this milk recipe is rich with glorious, creamy cashew nuts, it’s perfect for making lattes, adding to coffee or tea, making chia puddings, baking, and adding creaminess to smoothies and “mylkshakes”.

If you have a friend, co-worker or family member who thinks they don’t like non-dairy milks, give them this one.

Probably my favorite thing about this milk recipe is you don’t actually need to use a nut milk bag.

The raw cashews break down to a smooth consistency in any high-speed blender. This also helps make it a heartier, more filling and protein-rich nut milk option.

Which for me, is a godsend, as I tend to be lazy when it comes to making nut milks. But there is such a difference between homemade and store bought nut milks, it’s so worth it in the end.

You also don’t have to soak your cashews, but it will help with consistency – especially if you don’t have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.

This recipe will make you about 6 cups of cashew milk, which turns out to be quite a lot. I like to share mine with friends and family, because it’s such a crowd-pleaser!

With refrigeration it should last up to about 4 days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews
6 cups filtered or spring water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 pitted medjool dates (optional)
1/8 tsp sea salt 

Directions:

  1. If you’re soaking your cashews, let them soak in three cups of filtered water, in an airtight container (in the fridge) for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews before adding to the blender.
  3. Add everything to a high speed blender.
  4. Blend on high for about 3 minutes, or until the outside of the blender becomes a tiny bit warm.
  5. Pour into a mason jar or reusable container.

Enjoy! ❤

Raw Vegan Sugar-Free Cinnamon Apple Crepes with Probiotic Pecan Cream

This raw vegan dish totally highlights the amazing honeycrisp apples I found at the health food store 

It’s sweet, creamy, cinnamon-y, and the crepes are soooo tender and soft (and the best part is, I used pre-made coconut wraps to make them!)

If you’re a fan of anything sweet and breakfast-y, you’ll love these.

These crepes make the perfect dessert, as well. Especially for anyone with sugar-sensitivities! 

I myself have a very low tolerance for fructose, meaning I can’t really eat very many fruits or I’ll bloat up like nobody’s business.

If you don’t already know this, I have been dealing with Candida overgrowth in my digestive tract off and on, so fruit doesn’t sit with me so well.

The few fruits I tolerate are most types of berries, certain types of melon and apples.

Luckily, I love all those things.

While I don’t consume any fruit besides berries often, once in a while I love adding apples to raw recipes because of their amazing fiber content!

Apples actually contain a soluble fiber called “pectin”. 

Pectin helps your body detoxify, and scrubs the colon clean of old waste material.

Apples also contain loads of minerals and nutrients. They contain a surprising amount of vitamin C, and a high amount of potassium. 

Apples are made up of mostly water (like most fruits), making them very hydrating and cleansing.

This recipe is also topped with a probiotic pecan & cashew cream.

I try to add probiotics to almost every dessert recipe I make. 

Apples are also an amazing prebiotic food, meaning the good bacteria in your gut love to feed off of them.

So by adding probiotics to this recipe, you’re not only adding more friendly bacteria to your digestive tract, but also giving them a meal to keep them happy.

The probiotics are, of course, totally optional, and you’re welcome to sub the apples for any other fruit you like.

(I’m thinking a blackberry or strawberry crepe would be to die for.)

Anyway, let’s get on to the recipe.

*makes about 5 servings*

Ingredients:

Crepes:

1 package Cinnamon Coconut Wraps (Plain will work just fine if you can’t find cinnamon)

Cinnamon Apple Filling:

4 honeycrisp apples
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla bean
1/8 tsp organic monk fruit 
1 pinch sea salt 
1 tbsp coconut MCT oil or coconut oil

Probiotic Pecan Cream:

1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup raw pecans
2 cups raw cashews 
1/8 tsp vanilla bean 
1/8 tsp monk fruit 
Contents of 2 probiotic capsules
1 pinch sea salt 

Directions:

  1. Finely dice the apples and mix well with the rest of the filling ingredients.
  2. Spread evenly onto a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115° for 45 minutes, or until soft.
  3. In the meantime, blend pecan cream ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
  4. Line 4 coconut wraps on a dehydrator sheet, and spread 1 tbsp pecan cream evenly onto the surface of each wrap. 
  5. Place wraps in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 110° for about 5-7 minutes, or until warm, soft and pliable. 
  6. Remove cinnamon apples from the dehydrator, and mix in 3-4 tbsp of the pecan cream. 
  7. Scoop 1/4 cup cinnamon apple mixture onto a wrap, and roll it up tight, like a crepe!
  8. You can dehydrate these again for a few minutes to re-warm them.
  9. Top with a dollop of pecan cream and sprinkle with chopped pecan nuts and cinnamon!

Enjoy ❤

My Experience on the Vegan Keto Diet

In the past two years or so, there has been one diet planting its flag on the planet of fitness and weight loss:

The Ketogenic diet.

What is the “keto” diet?

It’s basically a diet that heavily restricts carbohydrate consumption, and replaces them with fat, plus moderate amounts of protein.

No fruits, no grains, no high-carb plant foods (such as potatoes).

This “trains” the body’s metabolism to burn fat instead of carbs.

This metabolic state is called “ketosis“.

While I am by no means a huge fan of “fad diets”, this one caught my interest, especially since my partner in crime owns a sugar-free chocolate company. (I’ll link his website here for anyone who’s interested)

The idea of a low-carbohydrate, zero-sugar diet sounded like a great idea for anyone (me) struggling with a sugar addiction, Candida, brain fog, digestive issues or some other sugar-related problem. 

I was already aware of the issues that sugar can cause on the human body, but there had never been a label for a diet free of this addictive, drug-like edible substance until now.

It was the first fad diet I’d heard of that didn’t sound like it was complete hogwash invented by some “nutrition guru” who was being channeled by demons of incorrect food restriction. 

Until I started scrolling through some of the “keto” hashtags on Instagram.

I soon found out that most of the people who were following this ketogenic diet were eating primarily, if not entirely, animal products… and I don’t mean grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic meat from their local butcher.

I’m talking big name meat and dairy companies – factory farmed, antibiotic-filled, hormone-laden, GMO grain-fed animal products that, in my opinion, shouldn’t ever be on the table of any health conscious individual, even in small quantities.

Some of these people were actually eating entire sticks of butter.

Let that one sink in.

I could cite dozens of articles on why eating these types of animal products this frequently can cause all types of health issues from arthritis to heart disease, but it only takes a quick google search to see for yourself. 

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re either already well versed in the plant-based diet, or – at the very least – have heard it buzzing around the mouths of hipsters for the past few years. (No shade to hipsters. Love y’all.)

I’m not saying everyone who’s following the ketogenic diet is doing it wrong, but I became increasingly weary the further I scrolled.

While many of these folks did seem to be successfully losing extra weight, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthy way to eat – if you catch my drift. 

When I see plate after plate full of pink, brown & varied shades of beige, I become a tad alarmed.

(In case you’re wondering, it is totally possible – often encouraged – to follow a ketogenic diet without a totally carnivore-based eating style. Even popular keto diet gurus like Thomas DeLauer have talked about this.)

Now of course, I do have a small bias:

I’m an ethical “bee-gan” (I do indulge in the occasional teaspoon of raw organic honey) and have been for years.

That being said, I do believe that for some, animal products such as eggs or raw dairy can be tremendously healing – when eaten under the right circumstances, from the right sources, and in the right quantities. 

Bias disclaimer aside, let’s get to the part where I decide to try keto on a vegan diet!

To give you a bit of backstory on why I wanted to give this a shot, I’ve been struggling with a little bit (lol) of a sugar addiction, as well as Candida Albicans overgrowth for the past two years or so. 

I figured that the ketogenic diet was the perfect experiment for my situation. 

Day one was easy peasy. I felt pretty normal. I’ve always steered clear of most grains and processed sugars, so it felt like a relatively normal day of eating.

After only two days of cutting out all sugars and severely cutting my carbs, I felt pretty great. 

Around day three, my sugar cravings were in full effect. I was desperate for sugar – any kind of sugar.

I was using loads of stevia and eating a ton of sugar-free desserts to satisfy the “sweet flavor” side of my addiction. 

But alas, the stubborn bacteria in my tummy knew the difference between stevia and maple syrup, and I had a hard time feeling satisfied from my keto treats – though they were delicious

I would desperately try to make up any excuse for why I should have that vegan, gluten-free cookie at the grocery store, or why having just a teaspoon of honey in my tea was perfectly acceptable.

Speaking of tea, here’s some “tea” that might peak your interest:

According to NIH (National Institutes of Health) microorganisms actually outnumber your human cells 10:1

Yep.

“Ok Mackenna, that’s kind of creepy, but what does that have to do with the ketogenic diet?”

Well, if you’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat”, you already know!

The microorganisms and bacteria living in your body get hungry too.

And if you’ve been feeding them sugar and carbohydrates for any length of time, that’s what they want.

To get a little sci-fi on you, they actually tell you what you want. If you’re harboring bacteria that crave processed foods and sugars, that’s what they’re going to communicate to your brain.

I’ll link a study for you on this here.

So, around day five was when I stopped seriously craving sugar. 

Did it still sound good? 

Yes.

But it was surprisingly easy to avoid.

Around week two – yes, it took me that long – I didn’t even think about sugar. A nightly cup of unsweetened herbal tea with almond milk did the trick for me, and I felt comforted and satiated from it.

Week two was also when I started noticing serious changes in my skin. 

When I was eating a higher carbohydrate diet, I would break out in bi-weekly rashes all over my face and mouth, and had acne frequently.

After cutting out sugar and carbs for two weeks, my skin was much more even-toned, and my acne decreased significantly.

My digestion was better than it had been in months, I had more energy and I felt like I could eat only savory foods for the rest of my life and be totally stoked about it.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. (Not really, but I tell myself that to feel better about my lack of self-control in certain situations.)

I broke my keto vegan diet on week five when the holidays rolled around…. 

And it wasn’t even that satisfying.

But of course, the carb cravings immediately returned with a vengeance after my holiday indulgences.

I have since regained my strength and willpower and am excited to say that I’m currently back on my favorite diet of all time: The Raw Food diet. 

I’ll write about why I love raw food so much another time, and my experience eating only uncooked plants.

But I digress.

If someone were to ask if I recommend the vegan keto diet, I would say absolutely. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to new recipes, help cleanse the body, kickstart your body into healing from sugar-related illnesses, re-set your metabolism to burn fat, and kick cravings right in the butt.

It really helped me re-gain control over my body, gave me glowing skin, more energy and better sleep.

Here’s what I did to help keep me on track and make the vegan keto diet a little easier:

  • I ate loads of fat. I mean LOADS. I was pouring cold-pressed olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, coconut and MCT oil on all my meals, chowing down on raw nuts and seeds, and having as much avocado and high-fat, raw, sugar-free vegan cheesecake as I wanted. Hehe.
  • I made keto vegan desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth throughout the week. There are tons of recipes online for delicious keto vegan desserts, and I have some awesome ones as well. (Of course they’re awesome, I made them. *wink*)
  • I made sure to eat a wide array of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables – particularly hearty greens like kale. 
  • I ate larger meals, and tried not to snack throughout the day. I usually opted to fast through breakfast with an MCT oil drink of some kind (usually a matcha latte).
  • I drank several large almond milk matcha lattes per day. (I wouldn’t recommend this much caffeine, but I am a serious matcha addict. If hot drinks comfort you as well, I would recommend opting for a keto hot cocoa or hot herbal tea later in the day).

So there you have it!

My final thoughts on the keto vegan diet?

Totally doable, but if you aren’t already vegan or keto, I would say try one or the other for a month or two first, to dip a metaphorical toe in the water of diet theories.

As far as sustainability goes, I would give this diet a 7/10.

I love that it’s zero sugar, and that it’s a multi-use tool for more than just weight loss.

I do think, especially for vegans, that eating complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa, and certain fruits now and then can help to keep things varied, balanced and interesting.

I want to end this off by saying that I don’t necessarily think any ONE diet is going to work for everyone

But if you want to give the vegan keto diet a shot, I would encourage you to do so!*

And if it doesn’t work for you, it definitely isn’t the only road to feeling amazing in the magical home you call your body.

Peace & healing,

xoxo – Mackenna

*As always, speak to your healthcare professional before embarking on any rather restrictive diet journey.