Low-Carb – But Vegan!

Low carb stands for a diet with only a few carbohydrates. The low-carb diet has many health benefits. It is mostly practiced to lose weight. But if you eat low carb, you usually automatically eat a lot of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. However, this is not always healthy and, moreover, ethically unacceptable for many people.

The vegan low-carb diet

The term “vegan low-carb diet” alone seems to be a contradiction in terms.

After all, most people associate a low-carb diet with lots of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

So how can a diet be called low carb in which animal foods have no place?

How should a vegan low-carb diet be structured?

And what does a person eat who wants to be vegan AND low carb and also healthy?

Let’s first clarify what “low carb” means…

What is low carb?

The low-carb diet is a diet low in carbohydrates.

It is preferably practiced by athletes and people who want to lose weight.

While carbohydrates are stored very quickly in the form of fat, excess protein is broken down (by the healthy body) and excreted through the kidneys.

The fat that is also abundant in the low-carb diet is now used to generate energy because there are no carbohydrates, as is excess body fat.

A lack of carbohydrates also ensures that blood sugar and insulin levels remain low, which facilitates fat loss and makes fat storage more difficult.

Thus, all the prerequisites for successful weight loss are met.

What do you eat at low carb?

With the low-carb diet, the carbohydrate content of the diet is greatly reduced.

The most well-known carbohydrate-rich foods are bread, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, and sweets. They do not belong in the low-carb diet.

Instead, focus on foods high in protein and fat and eat lots of vegetables and salads.

Animal foods are particularly high in protein and fat, so most low-carb followers eat plenty of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

Recipes that were originally high in carbohydrates are quickly turned into low-carb recipes.

Pizza, bread & rolls – all low carb

In the conventional low-carb diet, the pizza crust is of course no longer made from flour, but from minced meat or an egg-tuna-cottage cheese mixture.

Low-carb rolls were also made from grain for the longest time. In the low-carb diet, they are made from eggs, cream cheese, salt, and baking powder.

And low-carb bread usually also consists of eggs. Depending on the recipe, plenty of oil, protein powder, soy flour, and a binding agent are then mixed together.

Low carb and vegan?

However, the vegan diet strictly avoids animal foods and is therefore usually automatically very rich in carbohydrates.

If carbohydrates are also eliminated from the vegan diet, what is left for a vegan living person?

Quite a lot, as you will see later. Because a low-carb diet is just as feasible for vegans.

Low carb diets

As everywhere else, there are different low-carb variants and different amounts of carbohydrates that are just allowed in the low-carb scene.

The permitted amount of carbohydrates per day varies between 20 and 130 g.

In the most consistent form of low-carb nutrition – the Atkins diet – you eat no more than 20 to 60 g of carbohydrates per day.

20 g of carbohydrates correspond to a handful of rolled oats (30 g) or a small slice of white bread (40 g).

However, since vegetables and salads also contain carbohydrates, this alone usually exhausts the daily carbohydrate quota.

Oatmeal and white bread are therefore definitely not part of the Atkins diet or other strict low-carb diets.

Particularly consistent low-carb followers strive for a real zero-carb diet (zero carbohydrates) and even take into account the minimal carbohydrate content in some types of meat and seafood (liver, kidneys, brain, mussels, oysters, etc.).

However, these forms of low-carb diets do not appeal to very many people. Just looking at the menu for breakfast, which Wolfgang Lutz describes in his book “Leben Ohne Brot”, doesn’t make everyone’s mouth water.

Cheese spread with butter or cheese with egg or ham with egg is served here early in the morning – of course without bread, but unfortunately also without vegetables.

Apart from the composition of 100% animal food, there is of course no fiber, vitamin C or secondary plant substances to be seen here and therefore not acceptable for everyone.

Low Carb: Good carbohydrates allowed, bad carbohydrates forbidden

Other low-carb diets do not lump all carbohydrates together and allow significantly higher carbohydrate contents (from 80 g), e.g. B. the South Beach Diet or the Logi Diet.

Instead, a distinction is made between good and bad carbohydrates, just like we do.

Since many people like to look at tables when making changes to their diet, when assessing whether a carbohydrate is good or bad, tables with the values ​​of the glycemic index (GI) or even better with the values ​​of the glycemic load (GL ) help further.

Both values ​​indicate the influence of food on the blood sugar level and on the subsequent release of insulin. The higher the values, the less recommended the food in question is for a low-carb diet.

It is much easier to differentiate between good and bad carbohydrates if you look at the naturalness of a food.

Low carb: The motive

The higher the insulin level in the blood rises,

  • the harder it is to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight,
  • the more likely it is to promote muscle breakdown and
  • all the more inflammatory processes and thus the development of almost all diseases are promoted – and it is precisely these aspects that make up the health value of a low-carb diet.

Bad carbohydrates (carbohydrate-rich foods with high GL values) include, for example, white rice, breakfast cereals, cakes, baked goods and pasta, sugary soft drinks, ice cream, canned fruit, and all kinds of sweets with high sugar content.

Good carbohydrates (foods that contain healthy carbohydrates and have a relatively low GL value) primarily include root and tuber vegetables, most fruits (except dried fruits), legumes, nuts and almonds, and of course the low-carb konjac noodles.

Due to their fiber content, pseudocereals or products made from whole grains also have a much lesser effect on the blood sugar level than pastries and pasta made from white flour.

Low carb vegan: Maximum 130 g carbohydrates per day

The good carbohydrates, therefore – in manageable amounts – have no health disadvantages. On the contrary.

They have all the positive properties that go hand in hand with a high fiber, mineral, and vitamin content and are not worth doing without.

There is therefore no reason to avoid such healthy carbohydrate foods.

According to the world’s largest organization for nutritionists – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (American Society for Nutrition and Dietetics) – low-carb diets also include those forms of nutrition that do not exceed 130 g of carbohydrates per day.

The vegan low-carb diet, which is not only low-carb and vegan but also healthy, is right here.

In the following, we will put together a list of the foods that are forbidden in a healthy and vegan low-carb diet and which are allowed.

Low-carb vegan: These foods are taboo

In a healthy low-carb diet – whether vegan or not – you consistently avoid the following foods:

  • Bread, rolls, snacks (all made from white flour or light flour types)
  • Pasta such as pasta, lasagne, pizza, quiche, pancakes, etc. made from white flour
  • Sugared grain products such as muesli, cornflakes, crunchies, etc.
    white rice
  • Processed potato products such as puree, dumplings, etc. in larger quantities
  • Cakes, pastries, biscuits, and pastries
  • Sweets & Ice Cream
  • Sugared drinks
  • Alternative sweeteners such as syrups and syrups
  • Canned fruit

Low-carb vegan: These foods are included

The vegan low-carb diet consists of the following foods, which are almost exclusively high-quality plant-based protein sources, which are eaten in a varied manner and combined with each other to provide the required amount of all essential amino acids:

  • All kinds of vegetables, salads, sprouts, seaweed
  • Konjak noodles, konjak lasagne, konjak rice (read everything about the calorie-free low-carb noodles here: Konjak noodles)
  • Legumes (peas, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, broad beans, etc.)
  • Nuts and oilseeds & their pulp (e.g. hazelnut butter, cashew butter, etc.)
  • Almonds & almond butter
  • Peanuts & Peanut Butter
  • Coconut & Coconut Butter
  • Mushrooms (are very low in carbohydrates)
  • lupine products
  • Tofu and high-quality products made from tofu or tempeh
  • Soy products such as soy yogurt and soy cream
  • Flours such as lupine flour, chickpea flour, hemp flour, nut flour, coconut flour, almond flour, etc.
  • Plant-based protein powders for shakes and low-carb baked goods, such as B. lupine protein (= lupine flour), hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein

Low carb with seitan?

In some lists, you can also find seitan and products made from it. Seitan is the highly concentrated and isolated wheat protein (gluten) that has been linked to so many health issues that we advise against consuming it.

If you can get spelled seitan in your organic shop, you can occasionally integrate it into your diet – but only if you are really healthy and do not have any digestive problems or other chronic diseases.

Low-carb vegan: Consume these foods only moderately

The following foods are high in carbohydrates but may supplement the vegan low-carb diet in moderate amounts, as they are high-quality whole foods.

If you eat them, you pay more attention not to exceeding the daily carbohydrate amount of 130 g:

  • Organic wholemeal bread
  • Wholegrain Cereal Flakes
  • whole grain rice
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • millet
  • Pseudo-cereals (quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Corn
  • potatoes
  • fruit

The vegan low-carb diet: what amounts?

If you switch to a vegan low-carb diet, you are initially unsure about the amount consumed.

How do you know when you’ve reached 130 g of carbohydrates?

How much protein and how much fat belong on the plate?

6 tips for a vegan low-carb diet

If you consider the following tips for a vegan low-carb diet, you’ll do everything right – and without having to do a lot of calculations:

Protein in the vegan low-carb diet

Eat a source of protein with every main meal, e.g. B. 200 g tofu or lupine steak or 150 g cooked legumes/hummus or a combination of different protein sources e.g. B. Mushroom curry with peanut sauce or 150 g spelled seitan.

Carbohydrates in the vegan low-carb diet

Eat one carbohydrate-containing food from the “moderate consumption” category in no more than one meal a day – ideally for lunch.

Do not eat this food with legumes, as these are already quite high in carbohydrates.

Eat e.g. E.g. two slices of whole grain bread or 50 g (weighed uncooked) whole grain rice, millet, quinoa, whole grain pasta, gluten-free pasta, etc., or 150 g potatoes. The quantities given are maximum quantities, so you can of course stay below them.

Before you reach for conventional wholemeal noodles, it is better to prepare a fine dish with carbohydrate-free konjac noodles. In this way, you experience the longed-for pasta pleasure without absorbing any carbohydrates.

Fat in the vegan low-carb diet

Pay attention to high-quality sources of fat! Choose extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil (for frying), and hemp oil and linseed oil (for cold dishes).

Use the mentioned nut butter for sauces and white almond butter for delicious dressings in which you simply replace dairy products with nut or almond butter.

You can add at least 2 to 3 tablespoons of either of these oils or purées to each meal.

How many meals in the vegan low-carb diet

If you’re trying to lose weight or have chronic illnesses, try reducing your daily meals to three, which will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Perhaps you should also experiment with the intermittent eating rhythm, which offers many extraordinary advantages!

You should only eat several small meals (up to 6) per day if you have chronically low blood pressure, frequently low blood sugar levels, or Hashimoto’s (which is often accompanied by a sudden drop in blood sugar).

Healthy drinks in the vegan low-carb diet

Your drink of choice should be water. Drink 30 ml of it per kilogram of body weight, but at least 1.5 liters per day.

Dietary supplements in the vegan low-carb diet

As with any other diet, think about the dietary supplements that you personally need when it comes to a vegan low-carb diet.

Therefore, check your vitamin B12 status and supplement the vitamin if necessary. Also, think of vitamin D, omega-3 (DHA algae oil), and silicon – three nutrients and vital substances that nowadays often cannot be ingested in sufficient quantities.

An antioxidant is also a good idea to reduce the ubiquitous oxidative stress. You can choose from astaxanthin, OPC, or products from the Aronia berry.

Once you have internalized these tips, you can immediately put them into practice.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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