I’m a big fan of eating a lot of vegetables. Even the paleo diet and atkins recommend lots of veggies to go along with your meat, despite popular misconception!
However, vegetarians and vegans, who have lately grown in numbers due to the many books promoting these diets, have a big hurdle to overcome. How do you keep your carbohydrate intake to a healthy level if you are avoiding meat?
Well, I will say right off that it is very difficult to do a low carb vegan diet. I mean you CAN do it, but you will be living on lots of nuts! It becomes very imbalanced and you miss out on key nutrients.
Being a low carb vegetarian, however, isn’t that hard to do.
And really, it should be the goal of vegetarians to minimize carb intake, particularly the processed stuff, like bread, cereal, and pasta. All too often, I have been around vegetarians who were not healthy, which kind of defeats the purpose of limiting your diet (of course there are other, non-health related reasons people don’t eat meat, but in that case they may not be as concerned about health issues).
So how do you do it? How do you stay in the low carb living zone while avoiding meat?
I would start with cutting down on these 2 things:
1. Processed foods- breads, pasta, cereal, soda. A lot of packaged foods.
2. High sugar vegetables. For example, corn and carrots are high in carbs while broccoli, kale and artichoke give you more bang for your buck.
Then, add more fat into your diet. I mentioned nuts. Nuts are great, but you CAN overdo them! Avocados are another fairly convenient snack. I also like eating green olives, and adding them to various dishes to increase fat content. In order to do this, you will have to get over any fat phobia you may have!
Finally, eat the fruits that are highest in fiber to keep you full for longer. Papaya, Guava, Cantaloupe, Orange, Apricots (dried, unsulfured), Mango, and Strawberries are great options.
If you don’t eat fish, make sure to supplement with fish oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids which we need to moderate inflammation.
It’s a bit more of a challenge to go low carb and vegetarian at the same time, but with the right tweaks to your diet, you can be on your way to a healthier body!