Can you actually do intermittent fasting while vegan? After all, you are already following a more restricted diet, avoiding all meat, dairy, and animal-sourced products.
While being vegan is more of a lifestyle choice, or in an effort to eat healthier and perhaps lose weight, intermittent fasting is a different ball-game. It is not exactly a diet but an eating schedule. And you can adopt IF with any kind of diet (or even no diet).
At the same time, when practicing intermittent fasting while vegan, you should attempt to eat healthier and more nutritious food.
How Do You Practice Intermittent Fasting?
Just stop and think: you actually practice a form of IF on a daily basis, unless you regularly get up in the middle of the night and snack!
You are supposed to eat your dinner 3–4 hours before you sleep. Ideally, you sleep for 8 hours. That comes to around 11–12 hours. If you have a morning routine before breakfast like exercise, bathroom, and getting ready, you may have already been fasting for 13–14 hours before you eat.
If you look at it like this, it is easier to follow an intermittent fasting schedule.
In fact, there are many different IF plans that you can follow, since it is flexible. Many follow the daily schedule of fasting for 16 hours and then eating during the remaining 8-hour window.
You could also follow a weekly plan in which you eat your usual food for 5 days and then eat 500–700 calories a day for the other 2 days. Or you could stick to this plan on alternate days.
Follow an intermittent fasting diet schedule that suits your lifestyle, but don’t try to do more than 14-hour fasts at the beginning.
What Do You Eat When Vegan?
For a person brought up on a typical American diet, going vegan may be difficult, especially if you feel that meat is the mainstay of all meals. After all, vegetables and others only side dishes, aren’t they?
You may be surprised to know that 6% of people in the US are vegans. This may seem to be a small number, but it translates into 19,632,000 people.
Because of that, you can now get many food products that cater to vegans, including vegan meat, cheese, milk, and egg substitutes. Restaurants and cafes also usually have vegan options, so you need never feel left out if eating out.
When you are vegan, you can eat almost all foods vegetarians eat, except animal-sourced products. As a vegan, you can have:
- Lentils and beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Grains and their derivatives like bread, rice, pasta, and other carbs
- Vegetable oils and solid fats from these sources
- Plant and nut milk
- Vegan cheese
- Plant-based meat substitutes
Apart from many obviously non-vegan foods like eggs, meat, fish, poultry, game, as a vegan, you would avoid:
- Gelatin and products containing gelatin
- Sauces like mayonnaise or salad dressing that contain eggs or dairy
- Some forms of sugar that are refined using bones
Additionally, you would need to check the labels of any packaged or canned foods that you buy to ensure that they don’t contain any items of animal origin.
If You Don’t Eat Meat, Where Do You Get Your Protein From?
Are you at risk of not getting sufficient protein if you don’t eat meat in any form? After all, all meat and most dairies are great protein sources. While eggs have the highest form of bioavailable protein, egg replacers are not good enough as protein sources. Neither are meat substitutes, though they may taste good.
You can get complete protein from certain vegan foods like:
- Protein powder
Many vegetarian and vegan sources of protein do not provide you with complete protein. You can get the complete protein that can be used by the body only when you have all the amino acids necessary in the protein sources.
The workaround is quite simple. Usually, when you combine two or more high in protein foods, your amino acid requirements are met as you get all the required amino acids. And it is not essential that you eat the foods at the same time or in the same meal, as long as you eat them on the same day.
Many traditional meals feature such foods together, in any case. Consider such combinations:
- Peanut butter and bread
- Pita bread and hummus
- Rice and beans or legumes or lentils
- Pasta with peas or beans
- Soup containing lentils or beans with bread rolls
- Burritos containing beans
Additionally, if you add some nuts, seeds, or vegan cheese, or vegan yogurt to your meals, you will get all the protein that you need from non-animal sources.
What Is Not Allowed on Intermittent Fasting While Vegan?
This seems to be simple – you don’t eat at all during the fasting period. Any solid food that you eat, anything that has calories, will effectively break your fast.
You can drink water at any time, and you should, to avoid dehydration. You can also have calorie-free tea and coffee, and other beverages. But avoid any diet or zero-calorie sodas that have many additives and other ingredients that can be harmful to your health and may even make you feel hungrier.
Whichever diet you follow, avoid eating junk foods and calorie-dense foods, even if they are vegan, that offer low nutrition such as pies, cakes, cookies, candy, sweetened cereals, doughnuts, fries, chips, cookies, and alcohol.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and less processed foods.
Bonus tip: Zucchini Noodles Bowl with Avocado and Edamame
- Intermittent fasting and veganism are two different diets – you can combine them if you are vegan and want to follow intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent fasting variations – you can choose from a number of different variations of this eating schedule in which you don’t count calories or carbs on your normal eating days.
- Getting enough protein on a vegan diet – if you eat intelligently, eating either complete vegan protein foods or mixing your protein foods, you should get enough proteins from the food you eat.
- Being vegan is a lifestyle choice – you don’t need to restrict your overall food intake if you follow veganism, but during intermittent fasting while vegan, your food intake will automatically get restricted.