How to Use Dr. Atkins' Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan

Use Dr. Atkins' Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan
Use Dr. Atkins' Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan

How to Use Dr. Atkins' Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan. Proteins from animal sources are a vital part of the Dr. Atkins diet, and it really cannot be done successfully without them. A person who eats a modified ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, which includes eggs and cheese, may be able to do it, but it would be impossible for a vegan since a pure vegan diet can never be low enough in carbohydrates.

Begin the Atkins diet. You will follow the basic plan but make some modifications.

Eliminate junk food from your diet. This includes all white flour and sugar, and most processed foods. Carbohydrates in the Atkins diet come primarily from fresh vegetables, nuts, berries, seeds and some fruit in moderation.

Stock up on tofu, eggs and cheese. These will be your main sources of protein.

Count your carbohydrates very carefully during the two-week induction level of the diet. This is the strictest part in terms of carbohydrate consumption. You are only permitted 20 grams of carbohydrates.

Read labels. All vegetable-based foods contain some carbohydrates. A pound of tofu, for example, contains 2 grams of carbohydrates. One-half cup of beans, which are a good protein source, may contain in the range of 25 grams of carbohydrates. Cheese also contains a few grams of carbohydrates.

Adapt the induction level to your own diet. Meat eaters will primarily use nutrient-dense fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, eggplant and spinach, as their carbohydrates. You may have to eat fewer vegetables in order to stay in your carbohydrate range.

Take vitamins and other vita-nutrients as prescribed in the diet. This is part of the diet. Look for vegetarian formulas, which are usually available, but be careful to avoid products that contain sugars.

Look forward to more diversified eating. At the end of the induction level, the diet gets more lenient and you can enjoy a wider variety of foods.

Figure out your critical carbohydrate level for losing (CCLL) when you enter the ongoing weight loss level (OWL). This number is, as defined by the Atkins diet, the most liberal level of carbohydrate consumption that corresponds to your own individual metabolic capacity to continue taking off excess pounds.

Increase your intake of carbohydrates to the level where you will still continue to lose weight. The level also depends on how quickly you wish to lose weight. The Atkins diet emphasizes endurance rather than speed. Take it off slowly and keep it off permanently.

Enjoy deviations, but carefully. For example, you can have more fruit or pasta, which are high in carbohydrates. Start with one or two deviations a week.

Remember that you must be more careful than the "regulars" on the diet. Your basic diet already has more carbohydrates in it.

Figure out your critical carbohydrate level for maintenance (CCLM). This is the amount that you can eat and not begin to gain weight.

Fluctuations in weight are common, as long as they are very small. Once you go 5 or more pounds above your ideal weight, it's time to cut back again.

Remember that this diet will always restrict your carbohydrate level somewhat. A person with an average metabolism usually must stay between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrates per day. Continuing with fresh nonstarchy vegetables, seeds, nuts and berries is the easiest way to eat more variety and still remain within your personal boundaries.

Cautiously reintroduce vegetables that contain more than 10 percent carbohydrate, as well as whole grains such as oats, barley and couscous. Since most of a vegetarian's protein sources contain some carbohydrates, this will always have to be tallied into the total. Be careful not to overdo it.

Keep the sugar, white flour and processed foods out of your life, except for special occasions. Sugars supply empty carbohydrates devoid of nutrients.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on your personal reasons for eating a vegetarian diet, you may want to add some fish to the diet. This will give you more diversity and variety, and will make the diet easier. The stricter a vegetarian you are, the more difficult it will be to stay on the diet. Vegetarians who have a serious weight problem, and who would like to try the diet, are urged to rethink their position.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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