The simple answer is: YES, ABSOLUTELY! you can combine low-carb eating with your vegetarian diet. While the combination may present some challenges... with careful planning and consideration, it can be done! It's important to know, my vegetarian members follow some slightly different rules- particularly at the start! 😉 Keep reading below to understand WHAT's different for my vegetarian clients👇👇👇
Vegetarians, just like EVERY OTHER CLIENT, will be learning a NEW STYLE of eating.
In general, no matter what selection of daily foods you prefer, you will benefit from learning about how to get LESS SUGAR in your diet daily. THE EHFix learning path is NOT ALL ABOUT FOOD CHOICE. That's just week one! The low sugar path we start on is simply the gateway toward better hunger control and better eating practices. Less sugar is the pathway to having less inflammation, less achiness, less moodiness, less anger, and creating more energy and productivity. Learn to live the life you want to live and NOT be controlled by your diet.
Getting STARTED with EHFix as a vegetarian
Vegetarians who enter my program will need to answer a lot of questions at the start. I'll be trying to understand just how EDUCATED you are about your choice. That is, some vegetarians are very educated about their ESSENTIAL nutrient needs and others have given it no thought at all. Just because you have grown up in a vegetarian household, doesn't mean you are healthy. Vegetarians are often shocked to learn about what their diet may and may not be providing for them. CHECK OUT THE "Where do I get my" section below👇👇👇👇
Whether you are eating a well-balanced diet composed MOSTLY of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes or you are eating mostly cheese puffs and noodles DOES actually matter! If you are a vegetarian who is eating a lot of manufactured food-products, it is likely you are consuming a lot of JUNK fillers. EHFix will teach how to part with filling up on junk and get the most from your vegetarian diet.
Adjustments for VEGETARIANS
One obvious stumbling block exists for vegetarians-- many of the foods they regularly eat are filled with carbs! and that's ok! A HEALTHY vegetarian diet is loaded with COMPLEX CARBS. The focus of your EHFix education will be to move you away from junk carbs and excess sugars and toward eating MORE complex healthy carbs.
Most of my ACCELERATOR beginners will be trying to eat under 20 net carbs daily during their first week. As these clients begin choosing HEALTHIER COMPLEX CARBS, their daily intake of carbs can rise. For vegetarians beginning in ACCELERATOR, we set the bar at 50 net carbs. Why 50? The World Health Organization recommends no more than 50 net carbs daily in ANY healthy diet. This metric includes diets from around the world including millions of vegetarians.
Humans all have the same ESSENTIAL needs when it comes to nutrition: vegetarian or not. No matter what lifestyle you choose for health, wellness, religious, or personal reasons the SCIENCE of nutrition remains the same. ALL FOODS break down into carbs, protein, and fat. EHFix will teach you THE BEST OPTIONS for getting your ESSENTIALS from whatever diet you choose.
(1) Vegetarians and carbs
Like all EHFix clients, vegetarians can easily lower their sugar intake by reducing the amount of manufactured and packaged goods in their diet. Many processed vegetarian foods, like meat substitutes, often contain fillers and binders that are high in carbs. Always read labels and opt for whole foods when possible.
Also like all other EHFix clients, vegetarians need to learn to prioritize non-starchy vegetables. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard), cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, and green beans should be staples in your diet. They provide essential nutrients without packing on the carbs.
Legumes, nuts, and seeds need to be used strategically based on carb content. Lowest carb beans include green beans, edamame, peas, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas. Macadamia nuts, almonds, and walnuts are the best nut choices. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are among the lowest carb containing seeds.
(2)Vegetarians and protein
One of the biggest problems I encounter for vegetarians is NOT GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN. Protein is an essential building block of every cell in your body. When you don't eat enough protein, your body will steal it from your skin, hair, muscles, and bones! Over time even your organs and immune defenses grow weak. NO BODY is healthy without sufficient protein. How much matters: you should be getting close to 1 gram of protein for each pound of ideal body weight.
Contrary to popular belief, meat isn't the only source of protein! Of the 20 options seen in this picture👇, only 1/4 of these get excluded for vegetarians.
Vegetarians have a wide array of protein-rich foods at their disposal including the protein found in vegetables, legumes, hummus, vegan dairy, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and plant derived protein powder. In addition, some of the most important vegan proteins not pictured here are:
Tempeh: derived from soybeans. Like tofu, it absorbs flavors well and can be grilled, fried, or added to stews and stir-fries.
Seitan: Also known as wheat meat, can mimic the texture of meat.
Some vegetarians (ovo-lacto, pescatarians, etc.) allow for SOME animal protein including small amounts of eggs, cheese, yogurt, fish, or chicken in their diet. For these folks, getting enough protein is obviously LESS of a concern.
(3) Vegetarians and fat
To compensate for a reduction in carbs, your new healthy diet will include getting increased amounts of healthy fat. Aside from nuts and seeds, some healthy fat sources for vegetarians include:
Avocado: Not only is it rich in fats, but it's also relatively low in net carbs. It can be sliced into salads, mashed for guacamole, or even blended into smoothies.
Olives and Olive Oil: Drizzle olive oil over salads or roast veggies in it. Eat olives as a snack or add them to dishes for added flavor.
Coconut: Coconut oil, coconut milk, MCT oil, and unsweetened shredded coconut can be incorporated into various dishes.
WHERE DO I GET MY?
Protein is not the ONLY essential that may be missing from a vegetarian diet. An educated vegetarian has to know what MAJOR ESSENTIALS are found in animal products and how to replace these in their diet. These include:
Iron- beans, seeds, green leafy veggies, or vitamin supplement
Calcium- broccoli, collard greens, butternut squash, black/white beans, soybeans, tofu, or vitamin supplement
Vitamin D- 15 minutes of sun daily PLUS supplement
Vitamin B12- ***FOUND IN ANIMAL PRODUCTS ONLY*** MUST supplement
Omega 3 fat acids- walnuts, flax seed, chia seed, soybeans, tofu, or fish oil/krill oil supplements
Iodine- seaweed, iodized salt
Limitations of EHFix for the vegetarian consumer
Vegetarians entering my program need to understand: I am NOT a vegetarian. My programs closely follow MY PATH to breaking my own sugar addiction and becoming a successful low-carb eater for life. This means, vegetarians will need to modify many of food options seen throughout my program to fit THEIR needs.
ALL CLIENTS, vegetarian or not, are encouraged to search out low carb offerings that suit them throughout the program. A simple search for "low carb" online will bring up thousands of articles, images, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc for creating delicious dishes. A vegetarian simply needs to modify the search to include the word "vegetarian". Some great low carb vegetarian meals and snacks can be found at: https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/recipes/vegetarian
While you are learning to cultivate a diet lower in sugar, EHFix programs will provide the scientific backdrop for WHY to consider making this choice and sticking with it. As I said at the start, an EHFix education is NOT SIMPLY about FOOD CHOICE. Once you reduce the EXTRA SUGAR, a whole new world of BETTER HEALTH opens up quickly! It is possible to enjoy the benefits of a low-carb diet while adhering to the ethical and health principles that guide your vegetarian choices.