Wednesday, October 27, 2010

High Protein Low Carb Diet for Vegetarians?

Is it really possible for a vegetarian to follow a high protein low carb diet?

Since the underlying principle of the Atkins diet is one of high protein low carb intake it would appear to be difficult to argue in favour of a vegetarian Atkins diet. A veggie diet is typically lower in protein and higher in carbs than a meat eating diet and so a strict vegetarian or vegan may have difficulty finding foods with the appropriate content. However, it’s not an impossible task and if you are one of those veggies who allows themselves to eat seafood, fish, eggs or dairy products then you may have little difficulties atall.

The secret to a high protein low carb vegetarian diet is to discover as many high protein foods as possible and make them a part of your diet. As a non-meat eater that means eating a lot of seeds and nuts, which are all high in protein, and if you do eat diary produce and fish then these are excellent sources of protein too. Other high protein low carb options are meat and dairy substitutes such as soy products, mycoprotein, textured vegetable protein (TVP) , tofu and tempeh.

The highest non-meat protein providers are nuts and seeds; seeds especially. Although even higher levels of protein can be found in soy which is what makes it such an excellent meat substitute.

The difference between the protein provided by meat and that provided by vegetarian foods is that meat and animal proteins contain complete essential amino acids in the exact combination required by the human body; whereas proteins obtained in a general vegetarian diet do not. This means that in order that a veggie gets the proper and adequate protein intake their body requires, they must combine different food types in order that they get the complete proteins they need. Typically, this means combining beans with grains.

Apart from the protein element of the Atkins diet there should be no real problem for a vegetarian to follow it. The list of allowed foods contains most vegetables although it excludes potatoes, peas and corn since they are high in carbs. The fats and oils allowed by the diet are also of no particular problem. So, even a non-meat eater can follow a low carb high protein vegetarian atkins diet.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Vegetarian Definition

A vegetarian diet can mean different things to different people. Many people who eat such a diet may not call themselves, or consider themselves to be, a vegetarian. Similarly, Someone who calls themselves a vegetarian may not be considered to be one by others who give themselves the same label. It really isn’t as complex as it might sound at first but certain ethical considerations are often part of a person’s decision to become a ‘veggie’ and so what is on the menu may be more than just a matter of meat versus veg.

Strictly speaking, the vegetarian definition is someone who does not eat meat. But to be absolutely clear, that means not eating anything that might be called an animal in the strictest sense. It’s easy to point at cows and pigs and say ‘I’m not eating those’ but many people stop there and somehow allow themselves to eat poultry. But to be clear: poultry is meat. Other people might not eat beef, pork, lamb and chicken and turkey but allow themselves fish. Again, strictly speaking, fish is meat. Further, some might rule out all the above yet indulge in seafood such as oysters or prawns. This is a grey area to some since to some these are not animals; but, strictly speaking, they are. A great many will also rule out dairy and milk products, and eggs.

So, vegetarian definition really means not eating meat of any kind. But some take this a step further; and this is where the ethical aspect comes in. Essentially, there are three kinds of non-meat eater:

  • there are those who don’t eat meat for health reasons
  • those who are squeamish or don’t like the taste or have some other aversion, and then #
  • there are those who don’t agree with the killing or exploitation of animals;
This last group may well treat their diet as a part of a lifestyle which also includes the avoidance of leather products, dairy produce, and even wool.
The reasons for this choice of diet are almost as varied as the people that choose it. But, whatever a person’s reasons, the basic outcome is this: a healthy, high fibre diet with ample vitamins and minerals and low fat. Followed sensibly, a vegetarian diet can make you feel healthier, fitter and you can look a cow in the eye without feeling guilty.