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 Post subject: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Hey all--

Normally I am a carb addict, but I'm working on a low carb experiment for someone else, and I need some advice. I know we're all sick and tired of the "where do you get your protein?" question ... but now I find myself asking it myself. Many protein sources (legumes, whole grains, etc) have high numbers of carbs. Are there easy ones you can think of that don't, aside from tofu?

Any good resources I should look at for doing a low carb vegan diet?

Thank you!!
Esther
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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:52 pm 
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There aren't any whole foods that are high protein and low carb like soy is, but you can get protein powders made from all different kinds of plant foods, like rice and peas.

How low carb are you trying to go? And why?


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Tofu was the first thing that came to mind, darn. And tempeh? You could also look at the myriad of "fake meat" products out there and compare their nutritional breakdown. I would imagine the ones that are largely soy-based might be good.

+1 to looking for more details about exactly what you're trying to accomplish. Do you care if you use a bunch of processed foods? Are there health issues to consider?

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Well, I do the low(ish) carb thing. Effective as a non-vegan, tricky if you are vegan. It really depends on if you are ok with using processed foods and supplements or not. I try to stay away from those.

To be truly 'low carb' and not eat beans or grains, you are going to have to eat a ton of tofu or soy supplements (like shakes). I can't do that...it's too boring for me. So I just try to keep away from bad carbs (like white sugar, flour etc) and only eat one piece of high carb fruit a day. I try to keep around 150-175g carbs per day. This way I can still eat beans and grains, but get the effect I want for weight loss.

Some good low-carb snacks I do:
Baba Ganoush
Spreads/dips that are nut based
raw veggies
nuts
guacamole
low carb fruit (like melons, berries etc)

Soy (Tofu, tempeh) are the best low carb proteins out there. I really really really love soy curls right now.

Seitan is surprisingly low in carbs, when you consider how much fiber and protein you get with it! Sometimes I will make it on the weekend, and eat it as a snack during the week. This is an excellent recipe for this:
http://www.theppk.com/2007/04/seitan-o- ... -internet/
and of course it is good for main dish meals too.

If you can find a store that sells it, there are some GREAT soy and wheat jerky products out there. Generally low in carb, very high in protein (also high in cost - which is why I make my own seitan for snackytime)

If you do semi-low carb like I do, there is a brand of pita bread on the market that is low carb, and I have to say, is the BEST store bought pita EVER (low carb or not). They do really good low carb wraps too. All the products I have tried are vegan (but always check the labels)
http://www.toufayan.com/pita/low-carb

I hope that helps! And...I hope I get more ideas for myself in this thread too haha.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:23 pm 
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There's a German vegan bodybuilder who will sometimes use an extremely low carb (ketogenic) diet to drop weight. Here's his method - http://translate.google.com/translate?h ... ng-t24.htm

Basically, tofu, unsweetened soy milk and yogurt, lupins, peanuts, nuts and seeds are all good low carb protein sources. Tempeh's pretty low carb too. Nutritional yeast too. If you're really industrious and trying to reduce soy, you can make your own tempeh out of adzuki or other beans (check out the book "Wild Fermentation" for ideas). You can also make a low carb pseudo-tofu out of hemp or pumpkin seeds (viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2831).

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Last edited by vegimator on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Oh, I forgot to mention, this forum is a good resouce too
http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/

I got some good tips on there for my low(ish) carb diet.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:29 pm 
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Chicki wrote:
Oh, I forgot to mention, this forum is a good resouce too
http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/

I got some good tips on there for my low(ish) carb diet.


I would just add that there are some crazy people there and the forum's barely moderated. Veganfitness.net might be better resource (though few people there bother with low carb).

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:39 pm 
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vegimator wrote:
Chicki wrote:
Oh, I forgot to mention, this forum is a good resouce too
http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/

I got some good tips on there for my low(ish) carb diet.


I would just add that there are some crazy people there and the forum's barely moderated. Veganfitness.net might be better resource (though few people there bother with low carb).


oops. I actually meant to link to veganfitness. Sorry. I am on a boring conference call and am slightly distracted....fooling around on this forum while on the call.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Wow, you guys are fast, thank you! To answer your "why" question - I'm trying to help someone create a vegan version of a weight loss / muscle building program that's based on the Paleo Diet - and therefore is very very low carbs. If there's another way to get the same results, I would love to hear any ideas. Especially since this way is going to be HARD. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:17 pm 
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Tofu, seitan, fake meats, TVP, brassicas, green leafy veg, seeds, nuts and nut milk would all fit the bill.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Oh, I should mention - the goal would be to use whole foods as much as possible, avoiding fake meats, etc....


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:07 pm 
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abcvegan wrote:
Oh, I should mention - the goal would be to use whole foods as much as possible, avoiding fake meats, etc....

Not meaning to sound negative, but I think you've got your work cut out for you here. It seems to me that Chicki has a great handle on this - the "low-ish" carb thing will work better if you're trying to stick with whole foods and wider variety. If you want to avoid grains and legumes you'll probably be hard-pressed to avoid eating a TON of soy products and may need to turn to supplements, which is where the bodybuilding resources look to be your best bet.

I'm not sure if this is going to help, but if your friend is trying to replicate the paleo diet, it could be useful to remember that the paleo thing is based on the idea that because that diet allowed our savannah ancestors to evolve to where we are today, then it must be good for us too! (Side note - do you think there are any creationists who follow the paleo diet? Discuss). That includes lots of protein and fats. For them, meat was the most easily accessible source of high levels of protein and fat. By veganizing it, you're necessarily changing the form anyway, so can you take it one step further and allow some processed food?

I look at it this way - lucky for us, we are now advanced enough to figure out how to extract just about any nutritional requirement we need from plants. Hooray for evolution! So while I think that eating a lot of whole foods is an admirable goal, there is definitely a certain point where, if you're looking for a very specific proportion of a specific nutrient, your options are limited and you have to turn to processed alternatives. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that if high-protein, low-carb is your goal.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:37 pm 
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My partner and I eat more or less like Chicky does, only we don't need to lose weight so we're not very strict about it. Vegetables, soy, gluten and nuts are our friends. On my blog I have quite a few low carb recipes and I keep adding more: http://vegetus.nl/tag/koolhydraatarm/ It's in Dutch, but google translate should get you somewhere. If anybody has questions about the recipes, don't hesitate to ask.

ETA; Oh, and check out Vegetarian Low Carb Diet by Rose Elliot. Most of the recipes are vegan or have a vegan variation and there is a two-week mealplan on 20 gram of carbs a day. There are some really good recipes in the book, but some others are really boring or even kind of yuck, so it's not a book to follow blindly.

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Last edited by Cornelie on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:40 pm 
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abcvegan wrote:
Wow, you guys are fast, thank you! To answer your "why" question - I'm trying to help someone create a vegan version of a weight loss / muscle building program that's based on the Paleo Diet - and therefore is very very low carbs. If there's another way to get the same results, I would love to hear any ideas. Especially since this way is going to be HARD. :)


Well, a low carb diet is one way to go about this for sure, but I don't think it's necessarily more effective than a moderate carb diet, especially over the long term. With low carb diets, there tends to be a lot of initial weight loss and visible muscle tone as your glycogen stores are quickly depleted. And it's true that fat and protein are very filling which can help reduce overeating. But so is fiber. People have been getting losing weight and or building muscle with carbs for a long time.

Here's a vegan who sticks to whole foods (but not low carb) and is in super good shape - http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bio_avi

That web site's full or profiles like that. I'm not trying to dissuade you from your approach, but if you find it too daunting, I would consider either breaking from the strictly whole foods thing or breaking from the super low carb part.

As a side note, my brother went low carb paleo and eventually found his energy too low and has switched to mostly eating high carb paleo (lots of squash, sweet potatoes, other root veggies and fruit) and he much prefers it.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:42 pm 
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Assuming your friend is vegan, too, I'd look for another diet that fits in better with veganism and her desire to eat whole foods. Volumetrics, Eco-Atkins (a plant-based version of Atkins), Weight Watchers, and Mayo Clinic diet are all vegan-friendly and actually based on science rather than romanticism.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Herbivore Magazine (RIP) did a feature in which a handful of vegans tried to live with a vegan Atkins diet. The only one who really did well was someone who loved the fake meats.

Is there a good study that would support this sort of diet as actually working to achieve what you are attempting?

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:06 am 
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Vantine wrote:
Is there a good study that would support this sort of diet as actually working to achieve what you are attempting?


There is for doing it on the Paleo diet... hence the desire to turn it vegan, which is clearly going to be rough. I don't see any way to avoid most carbs other than living on soy and tofu, which is clearly not entirely healthy. Obviously we all know that complex carbs affect you differently than refined carbs - anyone have any good references for how different carbs work differently in your body? I can see how I can work them in with some informed knowledge behind it....


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:08 am 
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abcvegan wrote:
Vantine wrote:
Is there a good study that would support this sort of diet as actually working to achieve what you are attempting?


There is for doing it on the Paleo diet... hence the desire to turn it vegan, which is clearly going to be rough. I don't see any way to avoid most carbs other than living on soy and tofu, which is clearly not entirely healthy. Obviously we all know that complex carbs affect you differently than refined carbs - anyone have any good references for how different carbs work differently in your body? I can see how I can work them in with some informed knowledge behind it....

But isn't the Paleo Diet based on insane, ahistorical assumptions about what our ancestors ate? And isn't that also making assumptions about what is best for a different creature living in vastly different circumstances?

Paleo has the fad diet stench about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:58 am 
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Vantine wrote:
But isn't the Paleo Diet based on insane, ahistorical assumptions about what our ancestors ate? And isn't that also making assumptions about what is best for a different creature living in vastly different circumstances?

Paleo has the fad diet stench about it.


Oh I agree. I'm not a fan of the Paleo diet. However, I like that they do have the focus on eating whole foods. And there is some science behind using low-carb as a method for weight loss (and definitely individual case studies), even though clearly carbs are necessary to, ya know, live. :) So since I *don't* believe in the Paleo diet, working on trying to convert this program that something will work on a vegan diet.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:29 am 
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Just whole foods alone - no refined flours/sugars would probably do anyone good. check out gokaleo.com


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:45 am 
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abcvegan wrote:
I don't see any way to avoid most carbs other than living on soy and tofu, which is clearly not entirely healthy.

Nuts and seeds. You can eat them as snacks, use them in salads and stir fries, grind them up en use them in baked goods and raw bars, and use them to make vegan cheese.

Not all nuts are low carb (peanuts, cashews and chestnuts are not), and none of them are as low as tofu, but I think vegan low carb without is just too hard and unnecessary. Also, they are a good source of fats, another important component of low carb food.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Wouldn't a raw food diet fit both vegans and paelo's? I mean, taking out the meat of course, and flax and any other grains (some of which are included in raw diets).

I am not an expert on either of those though. I do raw sometimes, but I have to be careful with my protein intake, since I work out an awful lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:35 pm 
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from what i gather, there are multiple types of paleo diets. some are cool with dairy or potatoes or whatever, and others are not. a raw vegan diet would probably jive with many (most?) of them.

and flax is more of an oilseed than a grain, though i remember seeing some inane paleo site where they tell you to avoid flax oil because you shouldn't eat furniture polish. seriously.

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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Hmmm...Now I am intriged on how we can make this work for the OP. Paelo is such a big thing right now, I think this is a really interesting challenge.

My main concern would be protein.

I suggested raw mostly because I remember someone posting here that had a sibling or family member that was on a Paelo diet, and all they could really eat together that worked for both of them was raw food stuff. Are nuts ok for most Paelo stuff? you can get some good fat and protein there.

When I go all raw, which I do sometimes (not for diet/weight, but just because I like to) I do notice that I have a hard time getting adequete amounts of protein, since I work out a lot and am pretty active.


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 Post subject: Re: Low carb veganism?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:57 am 
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I don't think you would need to go raw, but raw diets are a good source of inspiration for sure.

Maybe something like this would work:

Breakfast: almond milk with cereal consisting of chia/flax seeds, ground/chopped nuts and some fresh or dried berries (can be eaten hot or cold)
Or a green smoothie with some fruit and nuts/seeds worked in.

Lunch: a salad consisting of lettuce or other greens, roasted or raw nuts and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, almonds etc.), a dressing made of nut cream and herbs, and some vegetables like carrots or peppers

Dinner: Lasagna with roasted zucchini strips instead of noodles, tomato sauce, spinach, and layers of nut cheese.
Or a stir fry with leafy greens and other veggies and a good amount of nuts/seeds.
Or a tomato/coconut based curry with veggies and cashews or almonds.

Dessert: chia chocolate (cocoa powder) pudding sweetened with stevia

Snacks: energy bars made with nuts and dried fruit, dehydrated/baked flax crackers, plain or salted nuts, brownies made with flax meal, almond flour, cocoa powder and stevia.

For extra protein, I guess hemp powder might be an appropriate protein source for a Paleo diet, since it's made from a seed. You could mix that into your smoothies, bars, sauces etc.

Is this helpful to you?

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