Vegetarian Low Carb? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
Vegetarian and low carb are not mutually exclusive, although vegetarian low carb (or vegan) it’s not as simple as straight-up low carb.
Because this question comes up periodically on my Low Carb facebook page, I’ve found some vegetarian low carb cookbooks to use as resources. Since I am a carnivore without substantial experience in vegetarian cookery, I shared the cookbooks that got the best reviews, both on Amazon and from others on the Low Carb Zen Facebook page. You can find those vegetarian low carb cookbooks that made the cut here.
“The Atkins Diet allows individuals to consume a wide variety of foods, all framed within a context of eating fewer carbohydrates and sugars. The diet can be followed as a vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians can start in Phase 2 of Atkins 20 at 30 grams of Net Carbs and introduce seeds and nuts before berries. Vegetarians will can get their protein from eggs, cheese and soy products. Vegans can get sufficient protein from seeds, nuts, soy products, soy and rice cheeses, seitan, legumes and high protein grains like quinoa. Vegans can start in Phase 2 of Atkins 20 at 50 grams of Net Carbs so they can have nuts, seeds and legumes from the start.”
Some solid suggestions on doing vegetarian low carb can also be found in the book, “A New Atkins for a New You” (which includes vegetarian and vegan low carb sample menu plans):
- Vegetarians will likely start with 30 grams of net carbs, in “Ongoing Weight Loss” phase, and getting protein from eggs, cheese and soy. Begin with nuts and seeds before berries.
- Vegans will need to get protein from seeds, nuts, soy, soy and rice cheeses and high protein grains. You’ll probably start at 50 grams of net carbs a day so you can eat nuts, seeds, nut butters, and beans from the start.
- Both will need to use healthy oils to make up for the lack of fats in their protein sources.
We do post some vegetarian and vegan recipes, but don’t currently track recipes based on that because it’s not our focus. So you’ll have to just look through our recipes to see which will work for you. Some will as is, some may need to be modified, and some won’t be suitable to adapt.
Because it is an extra challenge to do vegetarian low carb, be prepared to plan your eating closely to make sure you’re getting the right mix of nutrients, and know that losses may be slower for you than your non-vegetarian low carb counterparts. Then get busy stocking your vegetarian low carb kitchen. It make take some time and experimentation to find out what works for you personally. But if you’re willing to put out the effort, you can, indeed make low carb your own.