The Program: Ways to Create a Custom Diet Plan, With Atkins
Atkins for Vegans
It’s challenging for vegans, who don’t eat eggs and dairy products, to do Atkins, but not impossible. The trick is to get sufficient protein from seeds, nuts, soy products, soy and rice cheeses, seitan, legumes and high-protein grains such as quinoa. Weight loss may proceed more slowly because of the higher carb intake than that of those following the standard Atkins program. Vegans should make the following modifications:
- Start in Ongoing Weight Loss at 50 grams of Net Carbs so that you can have nuts, seeds and their butters, plus legumes, from the start.
- If you don’t have much weight to lose, start in Pre-Maintenance at 60 grams of Net Carbs, in order to include small amounts of whole grains and starchy vegetables from the start.
- Make sure you’re getting sufficient protein in plant sources.
- In order not to interfere with fat metabolism, add extra flaxseed, olive, canola, walnut and other oils to salads and vegetables to make up for the smaller amount of fat in most of your protein sources.
- Shakes made with plain unsweetened soymilk (or almond milk), soy (or hemp) protein, berries, and a little sweetener can make a tasty breakfast. Add some coconut milk to up the fat content and make the shake creamer.
- You can also make shakes with silken tofu. Try it puréed with peanut or almond butter for added protein and fat.
- Sauté silken tofu with onions and other vegetables to stand in for scrambled eggs.
- Mayonnaise made with soy instead of eggs, mixed with crumbled tofu, chopped celery and onions, and a little curry powder makes a tasty eggless salad.
- Silken tofu and soy creamer can be used in desserts, as can agar-agar in jellied desserts.
When you move to Pre-Maintenance, follow the general guidelines for reintroduction and think of these foods, as well as legumes, as side dishes, rather than the mainstays of a meal. You may find that over time you can tolerate larger portions as long as you steer clear of refined grains and most processed foods. Add back starchy vegetables followed by whole grains before higher-carb fruits (other than the berries and melon acceptable in OWL). Continue to stay away from conventional pasta and other products made with white flour and other refined grains.
Next: Pre-Maintenance for Vegans