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.