Vegetarians often ask can I follow a low-carb diet? Most definitely! Contrary to some of the popular myths about low-carb eating, a low-carb diet not at all reliant on meat. Vegetarian low-carb eating actually is not all the different from low-carb eating as a meat-eater. Here are some tips for becoming a successful low-carb vegetarian eater.
A low-carb diet is not necessarily a high-protein diet. So often people assume that when you reduce carbohydrate in your diet it's important to add a lot of protein.
This is absolutely not true. It's important to get adequate protein, of course, and if you've been getting some of your protein from high-carb foods such as grains you'll have to shift your focus to other protein sources, but you don't have to load your diet up with protein.
How much carb for you? Like protein, it's important to figure out how much carbohydrate your body functions best with. People's bodies vary widely in their tolerance to carbohydrate. Low carb diets are very effective at reducing harmful belly fat, and tend to reduce triglycerides and raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol significantly. They also tend to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Some can get the majority of their calories from glucose sources (starches such as grains and potatoes are mostly glucose), whereas others who are not glucose-tolerant may have to eliminate these foods entirely to function at their best. Most people are somewhere in between. Atkins calls this "metabolic resistance"; some call it "carbohydrate sensitivity" or other names. It may have to do with how much damage there is to beta cells in the pancreas.
Get rid of added sugars - You may think this goes without saying, but many vegetarians, even those who truly pay attention to eating nutritious foods, don't realize how much added sugar they are consuming. Food manufacturers will add sugar to almost everything, including "healthy" vegetarian foods such as soy milk, yogurt, salad dressings, and beverages. Read labels carefully, and don't fall for such sweeteners as "organic brown rice syrup", "barley malt syrup", and "evaporated cane juice". To your body, this is all just "sugar".
Processed foods: be careful - Keep reading labels when it comes to any manufactured or packaged food. Prime examples are soy-based substitutes for meats and cheeses, which often have added starches and sugars. Even apart from the extra carbs, many people find they feel a whole lot better when they ditch the processed foods. which generally have lots of suspicious and often untested ingredients.
Fats are not the enemy - As you reduce carbohydrate, you'll have to add fat. This could be only small amounts at first, depending on your weight loss patterns and calorie needs. How much? This is highly variable. A small inactive woman who doesn't need many calories may not need to add much fat to her diet, but the larger and more active you are, the more this may be necessary. Once you figure out how much protein and carbohydrate is best for you, just add healthy fats in amounts that leave you satisfied.
For more guidelines and delicious recipes for vegetarians --->
Good sources of protein for vegetarians, and guidelines on reducing the total intake of carbohydrates --> http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/lowcarbeating
A note on soya - Newest research has shown that soy products and soy flour could have adverse effects in the body. Soy milk could be harmful for babies too. Soy contains goitrogens - substances that depress thyroid function and in addition could have negative effects on your sex hormone balance. Additionally a very large percentage of soy is genetically modified and it also has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any of our foods. For more information regarding the myths and truths of soya products -->
The primary fermented soy products Dr. Mercola recommends are:
- Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.
- Miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).
- Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor.
- Soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes; be wary because many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.
Please note that tofu is NOT on this list. Tofu is not fermented, and is therefore not among the soy foods he recommends.