Low carb diets are not merely fads, if done properly they can be a part of a very healthy lifestyle that can not only control your weight but provide you with steady energy levels, clearer skin and a healthier body. That being said, what if you want to try a low carb lifestyle but believe you can’t because you eat a vegan (plant only) diet? Well, think again. I can show you just how you can cut down significantly on the carbs you consume without touching a single animal product.
Vegans have a good starting position when it comes to a low carb diet
Now, first realize that most plant foods contain at least a very minimal amount of carbs. However, a low carb lifestyle can still work excellently with this fact of life. There is no need for you to remove ALL carbs from your diet. All you need to do is drastically cut back the amount relative to what you normally eat. In addition, many of the carbs in plant foods are simply from the presence of fiber which has no bearing on the total net carb content of a food. In other words, your body can’t digest them and they won’t hurt your diet.
Variety is king
To successfully follow a low carb vegan diet, you need to make sure you are consuming a wide variety of foods. In reality, this isn’t hard at all because there are countless veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes and other miscellaneous low carb plant foods you can consume. It is not hard to get protein, fiber or healthy fat on a low carb vegan diet.
So that being said, what are some options you can build your diet around? Soy products are generally very low in carbs. For high quality protein try tofu or tempeh. Other good choices are unsweetened soy milk, soy pasta, edamame and miso paste. These are generally low in fat as well. Avoid overly processed soy foods like soy cheese or burgers.
These superfoods are your vegan low carb way to go
Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats which can help you shed belly fat, and also high in fiber and protein. The best choices are peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds. These can also be made into delicious nut and seed butters, perfect for eating plain, adding into recipes or as a veggie dip.
Other foods high in healthy fats and low in carbs include avocados and olives. Avocados are best consumed raw. Try them in a salad or make a healthy delicious guacamole. Olives are great in savory dishes, salads or eaten plain for a snack. Olive oil is extremely healthful and can be consumed in salads, dressings, sauces, as a cooking oil (as long as you dont heat too high) or in dips. Try making a low carb hummus with pureed edamame, tahini, cumin, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.
Beans and lentils are higher in carbs than the previous mentioned options so you may want to limit them to a few times a week. Lower carb options include split peas and lentils and aduki beans. All are quite high in fiber and protein.
Leafy greens are high in fiber, nutrients and low in carbs. Consume as many as you want. These are a free food. Eat salads, green smoothies, wilted or steamed greens, add to soups, stews, casseroles, etc. However you want! Greens are one of the best low carb vegan foods and provide a modest amount of protein.
Coconut is a fat that can boost your metabolism because the body immediately uses it as fuel instead of storing it in the body. It is also very low in carbs and perfect for a low carb vegan diet. Eat fresh coconut, coconut milk, dried coconut, coconut cream and coconut oil.
There are quite a few fruits that are relatively low in carbs. These mainly consist of berries like rasberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries. Other low carb fruits are lemons, limes, grapefruits and green apples.
There are dozens and dozens of other veggies you can experiment with on a low carb vegan diet. Try tomatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, ginger, okra, cabbage, eggplant, sprouts, brussel sprouts, asparagus, grape leaves, beets, squash, turnips, fennel, leeks, shallots, green onions, bean sprouts, bambo shoots, daikon, radishes, jicama, sea veggies, and many more.
Sweet things can be low carb too!
In addition, dark chocolate can be a great low carb vegan treat! Look for brands with the highest cocoa content and lowest sugar content. Try a square with natural peanut butter spread on top for a decadant low carb treat. Look for cocoa powder as well to use in your cooking or to make hot cocoa.
Lastly, if you reach for sweeteners that don’t contain sugar, avoid the horrible artificial ones and get something more health friendly such as stevia or xylitol. Use to sweeten tea, coffee, homemade low carb baked goods, chocolate or whatever else you desire.
As you can see, eating a low carb vegan diet isn’t impossible or even very hard. All it requires is a little thinking outside the box and good measure of creativity!