My friend Susan asked me recently, “Is there a vegetarian Atkins Diet?” She’d seen that I had been successful on Atkins, but she doesn’t eat meat. I was stumped – I didn’t know the answer, so I decided to do some research to see if Susan could be an Atkins dieter and still avoid meat.
You’re probably pretty skeptical right now about a vegetarian Atkins Diet. A lot of people like you think that the Atkins diet is all about eating a lot of meat.
The truth is Atkins diet foods include a lot of meat, especially in the Induction Phase, but this is in order to get the protein needed to help you burn off calories and fat effectively. If you are creative and willing to educate yourself, you can find alternatives to meat that will work when implementing a vegetarian Atkins Diet.
If you are a complete Vegan (eating only fruits, vegetables and grains and nothing else) you probably won’t be successful on the Atkins diet. It’s simply too difficult to find low carb fruits, vegetables and grains that can provide enough protein without too many carbohydrates.
Vegetarians, however, can find ways to modify the Atkins Diet to suit their own diet restrictions.
The most important thing to do is find suitable substitutes for meat that will provide plenty of protein for a vegetarian Atkins dieter. My friend Susan and I started looking into options that would be both tasty and nutritious.
We discovered that there are plenty of foods that fit the bill that also happen to be high in minerals, Omega-3 and antioxidants. Some of the substitutions for meat that she really enjoyed were:
There are plenty of vegetables on the Atkins diet that will suit all vegetarians, but do try to stick to the ones that are lower in carbohydrates since you’ll be eating more of these than the typical Atkins dieter.
Fruits will need to be watched, too. Susan learned that berries are a great choice instead of apples, pears or other starchy fruits.
If you are a vegetarian, you can certainly modify the Atkins Diet menu plan to suit your own needs. It may take a little extra work, but if you are committed to a vegetarian lifestyle and still want to lose weight on a low carb plan, you can do it by substituting for a vegetarian Atkins Diet.
One final suggestion – take a vitamin and mineral supplement to make sure you are getting the proper nutrients, especially during the Induction Phase. Your local health food store can help you find one that doesn’t have starches or sugars as additives.