If you have heard of the South Beach Diet you may be wondering if there is a Vegetarian South Beach Diet.
The South Beach Diet was originally created by a cardiologist named Dr Arthur Agatston to help his heart patients to lose weight. Like many other diets, it was created with meat eaters in mind although the doctor does consider it possible to follow a vegetarian south beach diet and many veggies do, indeed, follow it. What distinguishes the south beach diet most of all is that it is designed to be followed in three ‘phases’ and focuses on consuming ‘good fats’ and ‘good carbs’ as opposed to ‘bad fats’ and ‘bad carbs’. And example of bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats which the doctor believed to be responsible for cardiovascular diease.
What are meant by ‘good carbs’ are carbohydrates which are high in fibre or have a lot of ‘good fats’ in them with a low glycemic index, which means they are slowly digested into the body. ‘Good fats’ are considered to be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats and fats with omega 3 fatty acids.
The first phase of the diet is the most restrictive, and probably the most difficult for if you plan on following a vegetarian south beach diet as it consists of a two week period in which the dieter must cut out all sugars and sweets, fruit, pasta, rice, bread, baked foods, cereals, grains and potatoes. The idea of this is to encourage the body to lose its insulin resistance by not eating these high glycemic carbs and so it should start to use excess body fat – losing from 8 to 13 pounds.
The second phase starts after two weeks. Carbs, whole grains and fruit are slowly reintroduced to the diet emphasising foods with a low glycemic index. When the dieter’s desired weight is attained the third phase of the diet begins which includes three servings of whole grains and three of fruit per day.
Apart from the first phase restrictions, the diet can easily suit a non-meat eating diet and many vegetarians have already turned to it.
The third phase of the diet is, in theory, a life-long phase and once your desired weight has been attained through the preparations of phase one and two you are merely required to maintain that weight. If at any time your weight begins to increase again you return to phase one.
Treating this diet as a vegetarian south beach diet means treating your vegetarian lifestyle as phase three.