11 Tips To Gain More Muscle On A Vegan Keto Diet

Who says vegan keto has to limit your dreams? Being vegan and doing a strict diet like keto at the same time can be hard. I’m here to offer you some tips that worked for me when I tried vegan keto for three weeks and have helped me personally put on a few pounds of muscle in that short period of time.

The main two things you must achieve in order to be able to build muscles, in any case, are 1) Challenging your muscles, and 2) Eating more protein and calories than your body normally needs.

Vegan and Keto are in the picture here as well. That means you can’t eat animal-based products AND you should stick to the Keto macros’ ratio of eating around 70% Fats, 25% Protein, and 5% Carbs.

That’s what complicates things.

However, after these tips today, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you gotta do to achieve the results you want.

1- Calculate Your Protein Goal Of The Day

Most scientific studies recommend consuming 0.7-1g of protein per pound (1.6-2.2g per kg) of body weight per day for those who want to build muscle. This is the very first step you have to take: calculate the amount of protein you need on a daily basis, keeping in mind that Keto is a protein-sparing diet which means it makes you need less protein than you would need on another diet.

For those of you interested in the scientific reason behind that, it’s that Ketone bodies prevent the amino acid, Leucine, from oxidizing. That way, a lot of the amino acids in your body will be recycled over and over again. Thus, you don’t have to be consuming them (as food or supplements) as much as you used to before.

Also read: 10 Cold Keto-Friendly Starbucks Drinks To Freshen Up Your Summer

2- Do Only 12:12 Intermittent Fasting, Or Even Better: Skip It Altogether

If you’ve been at MasterMinding Perfection before, you know I always recommend doing intermittent fasting alongside Keto. However, a very important rule when building muscle, that I see people skipping all the time, is that the protein you eat during the day should be spread throughout the day as evenly as possible.

You know me by now, I don’t want you to obsess with numbers and spend hours calculating each gram and a half. Don’t do that. But also don’t have 70% of your protein in one meal.

This is a mistake that holds a lot of people back from seeing the progress they should be seeing based on their diet and exercise routine.

3- Invest In Some Good Vegan-Friendly Protein Powders

There are many protein powders that are both vegan and keto-friendly. If you’ve been vegan before and used to consume some kind of protein powder, chances are it’s Keto-friendly. Just make sure it doesn’t have any added carbs or sugars. When you want to be building muscle while committing to a diet like vegan keto, you’re most likely need to be getting some aid from one or more of these protein powders, so that you get the amount of protein needed to build muscle, without going overboard with carbs and getting kicked out of ketosis.

When I went for vegan keto, I really loved pea protein. There are some other good choices like fava bean protein, rice protein isolate, and soy protein. Let’s talk about each of them here for a minute.

Pea Protein

If you’re only going for one option, and you don’t have pea sensitivity, this is the protein I recommend. And from this brand in specific. Click to check its current price on Amazon.

The way this protein is prepared is by grinding dried peas and extracting the carbs out of the powder. Which makes it a perfect protein powder for those on a Vegetarian or a Vegan Keto diet.

Rice Protein Isolate

What makes this protein powder special is that it’s the least ever to cause an allergic reaction. So, if you’re someone who has given up on finding a protein that you’re not allergic to, then this might be the one for you. And this product would be my first choice.

Soy Protein

This is also made by grinding soybeans, and then isolating the soy protein so that the result is a high-protein powder that has almost zero carbs. If I have to recommend one for you, that one from Sports Now would be the one.

Fava Bean Protein

Just like pea protein, this is a legume that is naturally high in carbs and sugar, but it’s another story for its protein powder form. Roasted fava beans too, are grounded and then protein is isolated from the powder to provide Fava Bean Protein.

What is also spared through the process are the vitamins and minerals found in fava beans. For example, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and a good range of B vitamins.

This is cool because you’ll be harvesting all the micronutrients from plant-based foods that you normally can’t eat because they have a high amount of carbs and sugar. This is why supplements make your life a lot easier, by helping you meet your macros, vitamins, and minerals without you exceeding your carb limit and risking getting out of ketosis.

Invest in a high-quality, affordable product like this on Amazon, that is both healthy and delicious, and you’ll be doing yourself a big favor.

4- Raise Your Carb Limit To The Keto Maximum

When you’re building muscle, your body need more carbs than usual, even if it’s mainly running on ketones, not glucose.

Another reason is that you’re eating a lot in this phase in order to be bulking up. This can result in eating more carbs than the traditional 20g per day most people stick to. Thus, it’s better to be planning that carbs surplus to make sure you’re getting them from healthy sources and not junk.

That’s why it can be a good idea to test to what level your body can handle carbs. Most people make their way up to 50g per day, and then see where it gets them.

5- Include Spinach & Avocados For Enough Potassium

Potassium is a crucial component of your bodybuilding journey. It’s arguably the most important micronutrient you should be keeping your eye on.

Luckily, the potassium-rich, vegan, Keto-friendly sources are many. I benefited the most from spinach and avocados on my vegan keto journey, however, there are other choices like chard, edamame, mushrooms, eggplants, and nuts and seeds which we’ll be getting into next.

Also read: Is Vegan Keto Safe?

6- Make Nuts Your Go-To Snack

If you pick the right kinds of nuts and incorporate them moderately into your diet, they can help you get more fat, protein, omega-3, potassium, magnesium, and a lot more. If you look deep enough into the numbers below, you’ll mostly find that nuts have bigger amounts of fat than protein. However, there are some that do have a decent amount of protein.

What I suggest you do is have a mix of nuts on a small plate as a snack. That way, you can have some that you like more, and some that give you more protein. Generally, if you do that, you’re more likely to get more of the micronutrients that you need to bulk up and be getting a good amount of protein from such a delicious snack.


They are probably the most popular nuts out there. I’m actually a decent fan of them and even a bigger fan of its butter, which we’ll be getting into in a bit. Peanuts have a big portion of protein, compared to other nuts.

Calories: 164

Protein: 7g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 6g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 4g

(In every ounce (28g))


If you’ve been researching keto information, you’ve probably come across almonds and all of their glory and variable derivatives: Almond butter, almond milk, almond flour, and almond: the nut. Almond dominates the Keto diet. Here are some insights on what the actual nut consists of:

Calories: 164

Protein: 6g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 5g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


This is my number one favorite Keto-friendly nut. If your eye has gotten used to reading the nutrition facts of Keto-friendly foods, you can easily see how this nut was created specifically for Keto dieters. Though, has less protein.

To make you love it even more, this nut has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity, which is huge when you’re trying to lose weight in general, and especially when you’re trying to take on the Keto diet.

Calories: 196

Fat: 20g

Protein: 3g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 1g

(In every ounce (28g))

Also read: Best Vegan Keto Protien Powders

Macadamia Nuts:

We owe this great nut to Australia. But lately, it has been very easy to find in the United States and pretty much everywhere in the world. It doesn’t have a relatively big amount of protein, but I like it because It keeps you full for longer, and has positive effects on diabetes, and protecting your brain from numerous diseases, including, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and oxidative stress. It’s also naturally high in fat, as you can see:

Calories: 204

Fat: 21g

Protein: 2g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


Walnuts are some of the tastiest and healthiest nuts out there. They have proven to improve brain functionality, as well as lowering the levels of LDL. They are also a great source of vitamin E, among other vitamins and minerals.

Calories: 185

Protein: 4g

Fat: 18g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


Are you missing all the chocolate you’ve cut out since you’ve started Keto? Well, I’ve got a vegetarian-keto-friendly treat just for you. Hazelnuts are some of the tastiest nuts that can heal your chocolate nostalgia. You can use its flour, when appropriate, when making Keto-friendly desserts, as a substitute for regular flour, thereby adding a great flavor to the recipe.

Calories: 178

Protein: 4g

Fat: 17g

Total carbs: 5g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))

Brazil nuts:

All of the nuts we’ve talked about so far are great, and for many of you, might be enough. However, what makes Brazil nuts also special and worth mentioning, is that it’s an incredible source of Selenium, a trace mineral that is crucial for reproduction and muscle building.

Calories: 185

Protein: 4g

Fat: 19g

Total carbs: 3g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 1g

(In every ounce (28g))

Here’s a table that summarizes the main differences in macros in each nut:

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Almonds1 ounce (28g)1656g14g6g3.5g2.5g
Almond flour1/4 cup (25g)1506g11g6g3g3g
Brazil nuts1 ounce (28g)1655g18g3g2g1g
Cashews1 ounce (28g)1504g12g10g1g9g
Macadamias1 ounce (28g)2072g23g4g0.5g1.5g
Hazelnuts1 ounce (28g)2206g22g8g4g4g
Pecans1 ounce (28g)2012.7g20g4g3g1g
Pistachios1 ounce (28g)1507.5g12g7.5g3g4.5g
Walnuts1 ounce (28g)1904g18g4g2g2g

7- Don’t Underestimate The Power of Seeds

Not many people give enough attention to seeds. Don’t be one of them. Seeds are generally packed with fat, omega 3, protein, and many other nutrients that you need when you’re following a strict diet like Vegetarian Keto. Here are my top favorites seeds and what makes each of them special.

Hemp seeds:

In addition to having a monstrous amount of protein (35%!) and fat, this seed was proven to improve high blood pressure and protect against Alzheimer’s.

Each ounce of Hemp seeds packs:

Calories: 155

Protein: 9g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 2g

Fiber: 1g

Net carbs: 1g

Chia Seeds:

These tiny, black-and-white seeds easily win my number one pick any day of the week. They are packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3. Moreover, studies have shown more weight loss and anti-inflammatory effects for people who regularly consume Chia seeds.

Ways to incorporate it into your diet include adding it to stir-fry recipes, smoothies, salads, salad dressings or even using its powder instead of breadcrumbs for coating meat or chicken.

Each ounce packs:

Calories: 138

Protein: 5g

Fat: 9g

Total carbs: 12g

Fiber: 10g

Net carbs: 2g

Flax Seeds:

I hope you haven’t had the bad experience with this seed that I keep hearing from people, which is always due to one mistake: eating it raw, right from the bag. First of all, you won’t be getting the same benefits if you’re eating it that way, and second; you’ll hate it because it’ll keep sticking in your teeth. Here are two great ways for you to enjoy this amazing seed:

1) Grind it. If you want a nutty, buttery addition to a smoothie or a porridge.

2) Roast it. If you want a crunchy addition to a recipe

Each ounce of flax seeds has:

Calories: 131

Protein: 6g

Fat: 9g

Total carbs: 9g

Fiber: 8g

Net carbs: 1g

Sesame Seeds:

With tons of antioxidants, and proven protection against heart disease and so much more, you should really consider including this seed into your diet.

Each ounce of sesame seeds has:

Calories: 160

Protein: 5g

Fat: 13g

Total carbs: 7g

Fiber: 5g

Net carbs: 2g

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Chia seeds1/4 cup (30g)1455g10g12g10g2g
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup (30g)1809g14g4g3g1g
Sesame seeds2 tablespoons (18g)1033.2g9g4g2g2g
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup (30g)1606g15g6g3g3g
Hemp seeds1/4 cup (30g)1559g14g2g1g1g

8- Eat More Nut and Seed Butter

Nut and seed butter are amazing for Keto. It’s a real blessing being able to eat them on vegan Keto, thanks to their low-carb portions. Not only do they pack fats, but they also have decent amounts of protein and different micronutrients to help you meet your macros, eat healthily, and put on some muscles. Sure, there are some types better than the others, and I will have a table down below showing you the basic differences in macros, for you to figure out what fits best into your diet.

The following are my favorite types of nut and seed butter. Whatever you choose to purchase, just make sure it has no added oils or carbs. You want to buy natural nut/seed butter without any additions or flavor enhancers. If you can’t find these in the market, you can make them yourself. You’ll only need a good food processor.

1- Almond Butter

2- Pistachio Butter

3-Peanut Butter

4-Sunflower seed butter

5- Walnut Butter

6- Hazelnut Butter

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Coconut butter1 tablespoon (16g)1051g10.5g4g2.5g1.5g
Almond butter1 tablespoon (16g)983.5g9g3g1.51.5g
Cashew butter1 tablespoon (16g)943g8g4.5g0.5g4g
Macadamia butter1 tablespoon (14g)972g10g2g1g1g
Sunflower seed butter1 tablespoon (16g)992.8g9g4g1g3g
Tahini1 tablespoon (15g)892.6g8g3g1g2g

9-Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan Will Continue To Be Your Best Friends

If you’ve been vegan before starting keto, chances are you’re pretty familiar with tofu and tempeh. They are the most common meat alternatives for vegans and vegetarians.

Whether you’re looking for a meat alternative for a recipe, or just looking for some protein-rich food, you should consider eating more tofu, tempeh, and seitan.

10- Consider Taking Creatine For A Better Performance At The Gym

At the beginning of this article, I’ve laid out the two most important things that make you grow your muscles: Eating more protein & calories than your needs and challenging your muscles more. Almost everything we have said so far aims at the first thing. This tip will be about the second one.

If you’re feeling like your performance at the gym has plateaued for a while, and you’re feeling tired and unable to push yourself enough, taking creatine monohydrate can be a smart thing to do right now.

What creatine does in providing you more muscles is 1) Convert ADP molecules to ATP (the main source of energy for most of the cells in the body). And 2) Draw more water into the muscles and make them seem bigger.

Creatine is found in small amounts in fish, red meat, eggs, and other foods, however, those small amounts are likely not going to be enough to achieve the results you want.

If you decide to give creatine a try, make sure you’re drinking a lot of water with it throughout the day.

11- Don’t Make Your New Lifestyle Boring. Always Try To Discover New Vegan, Protein-Rich, Keto-Friendly Foods

I have written an article just on that, where I go deeper into many, many Vegan, Protein-Rich, Keto-Friendly Foods that were not mentioned here today. You have to better understand what foods are good for you in this phase to be able to consume that big amount of protein you need, while also eating healthy, vegan, and Keto, all at the same time. You can read that article here.

Also read:


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Nabeel Kallas

I'm a medical doctor with a lot of passion for Keto & Intermittent Fasting. They have completely changed my life and I am beyond honored to help you experience that same change. I'm ready when you are. Read more here.

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