When I think of a low carb diet, the Atkins diet is the first thing that comes to mind. This idea generally fills my head with pictures of beef, cheese and other fatty and fiberless things. But truthfully, no low carb diet is intended to be a meat filled fat fest. Lower carb diets, like Atkins and The South Beach diets, are both done in phases, first cutting out most carbohydrates, and gradually adding whole food carbs (carbohydrates from nuts, beans, fruits, grains and other starches) back into the diet regimen.
In the past decade I have had loose stints with these diets, in both omni and lacto-ovo veg capacities, however a vegan interpretation never seemed feasible. I refer to these experiences as "loose stints" as they have been unstructured spurts of low carb eating, mainly centering around coffee, diet soda, vodka, animal products, and lettuce. These sporadic weeks have helped me to trim down (and dehydrate) quickly (BAD), and also help to break my sneaky addiction to sugar (GOOD).
My freedom from sugar, and gravitation towards whole grains, helped me to cultivate very good eating habits and a variegated diet. For the most part I ate clean, whole, low fat omni foods. Well, until I tried veganism, that is...
Peanut Butter filled Donut "hole" muffins, with Bac'un Bits, Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar
Vanilla Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (VCTOTW) with Captain Crunch and Courvoisier
Pumpkin waffle and Chai Tea Latte with Boba from Freesoulcaffe
I have never cared much about baking but I had to make vegan cupcakes and muffins and breads and cakes and ice cream!!! How else could I find out how veganism worked?!
After about a year, I started to feel really Really REALLY crappy...and my Vag Mahal was, well...ANGRY. I had started to gain weight, had undulating occurrences of Eczema, constant heartburn, and I think my hair started to thin as well.
I also live in a fantasy world, and am convinced food with heal everything. I knew I got heartburn often with sugary foods and that the Vag Mahal was happy with a low carb diet, so I started there and tried to eat alkalizing, low carb whole foods, and added more protein. As I slimmed down, my Vag also calmed down. But, of course dessert snuck back in and so did the heartburn.
Long story short, here I am trying to find a balance for my body. To me a vegan diet is about whole, plant based, common sense foods. So the idea of a low sugar, non-processed diet is a given. However, I have yet to let my interest in a healthy diet drive my eating habits. Given my idea of what a vegan diet is, eating vegan is not necessarily convenient. I often leave my food choices to be determined by my mood, stress or energy level, thus complicating my situation further.
I need structure for now. Here are the guidelines I would like to follow for the next month:
1. NO refined/white carbohydrates: White rice, flour, potatoes, or sugar
2. LESS carbohydrates overall: Very limited intake of whole grain bread products, other grains, starchy vegetables and legumes.
3. LESS fruits and fruit juices.
4. LESS fat from processed and heated oils.
5. LESS caffeine: Replace daily coffee with tea, coffee allowed on occasion.
6. LESS alcohol: Limit alcohol to special occasions only.
7. DRINK MORE WATER!!! Water is life and I am convinced it will cure everything. ;)
This list may not seem very specific or strict. I need to start somewhere, and I am clear about what this means to me. I am sure the specifics will become more evident with future posts.
I am excited about what will come out of my low(er) carb intentions!