Vegetarian Atkins Diet
Among the most popular of today's weight loss plans is the Atkins Diet, which focuses on a high protein, low carbohydrate eating plan. But how can a diet famous for advocating steak, bacon, and other animal sources of saturated fats be used with success by a vegetarian? Ultimately, the Atkins Diet is not an easy plan for vegetarians to adopt -- especially for vegans, who abstain from all animal products. People who follow ovo-lacto diets can adopt a modified Atkins diet, but with some difficulty.
It will be somewhat tricky for vegetarians to follow the Atkins diet, as their intake of carbohydrates is naturally higher than that of meat eaters. Certainly, vegetarians and carnivores alike can benefit from the Atkins mantra of eliminating processed foods, sugar, and white flour from everyday diets. These foods add unnecessary carbs and calories, while providing little nutritional value. Atkins also eliminates caffeine and alcohol, at least from the early part of the plan.
For their primary sources of protein, vegetarians will be able to eat an abundance of eggs, tofu, and cheese while on the Atkins diet. Some vegetarians have sworn by seitan and tempeh as tasty, non-animal proteins. Nuts and seeds also contain a high amount of protein without adding the undesirable carbs that Atkins so vehemently eschews. After the “induction” phase of the diet, vegetarians may be able to add some low carbohydrate vegetables along with whole grains such as couscous, barley, and oats. There are numerous convenience foods available in the market today that cater to vegetarians, especially those who are limiting their carbohydrate intake and attempting to increase their quota of protein; these include products by Morningstar and Boca, which can be found in the frozen foods section of many grocery stores.
As with any new food regimen, the Atkins Diet should be researched carefully and discussed with your physician beforehand. Those with health considerations such as high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease should be particularly cautious when embarking on any high protein and low carbohydrate diet. Vegetarians, who must be especially careful of their food choices to ensure a well-rounded and nutritionally balanced intake, should make sure that this diet will meet their physical and physiological needs. That being said, the Atkins Diet can certainly be one component in a new, healthy, and low-carb lifestyle.