The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 20: October 25, 2002: Page 5
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      Richard's Random Thoughts
Yes, We Eat Vegetables!

Veggies Ah, the vegetable myth...

This is one that I hear way too often: "...but low carb diets don't let you have vegetables! All you eat is meat and fat." I've even heard this from people already on a low-carb diet. I've heard it from people in restaurants when I tell them I can't have sugars and starches. I order my vegetables and totally confuse them. And of course we hear it from the low-fat crowd, warning us that our ways will lead us to health-related ruin..

While it's a certainty that a great deal of our readers already know this not to be true, I decided it might be smart to devote a little time to the "veggie issue", especially with the holidays coming up and great meals to be served!

It's really a simple concept: I eat more vegetables now than I did before I started a low-carb way of eating. Green beans and spinach are my personal favorites (and I certainly get a lot of them.) But there are many, many others that I enjoy on a regular basis. I love broccoli (especially with cheese sauce), and of course salads with different kinds of lettuce, cucumbers, etc. are a mainstay when I go to a buffet.

Do I miss any veggies? Sure. I confess I always enjoyed (and still miss) lima beans, sweet peas, and corn. But since I'm now healthy, full of energy, and not at all overweight, I'm just not going to be sorry that I can't eat those kinds of vegetables any more.

Want a list of low carb veggies you can have?
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • bamboo shoots
  • bean sprouts
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • collard greens
  • cucumber
  • eggplant
  • escarole
  • jicama
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • leeks
  • mushrooms
 
  • mustard greens
  • okra
  • olives
  • onions
  • parsley
  • pumpkin
  • radishes
  • scallions
  • shallots
  • snow peas
  • spaghetti squash
  • spinach
  • string or wax beans
  • Swiss chard
  • tomato
  • turnips
  • water chestnuts
  • watercress
  • zucchini

The amounts you can have vary depending on carb count and the plan you're on. If you are on Atkins Induction, you can generally have two cups of salad vegetables each day. You can usually also have a cup of additional veggies each day. As you progress past induction, most of us can add even more vegetables.

According to Atkins, there are some general guidelines for veggies:
  • Consume veggies throughout the day instead of saving up your carb allowance for a giant veggie splurge, which might produce a surge in your blood sugar.
  • Eat vegetables with protein and fats, which slow their passage through your digestive system and minimize their impact on your blood sugar. You'll feel satisfied longer with a chef's salad than a green salad.
  • Look for recipes in which a variety of vegetables are included, with meat, fish or fowl as part of a complete entrée, such as stews and dishes based on Asian cuisine.
  • Don't drink your vegetables. Juicing removes the fiber, which has the double merit of helping you feel full and maintaining a healthy digestive system. Juices also concentrate the sugars from vegetables, increasing the risk they'll spike your blood sugar.
  • Cook carefully. Most vegetables are most nutritious when brightly colored and crisp — not overcooked. An exception to this rule is the tomato, because the cancer-fighting chemical lycopene becomes more bioavailable when heat breaks down the cell walls.
So the next time someone tells you our diet is void of the bountiful nutrition of vegetables, you'll know how to answer them. (And I wonder how many of them, worried for YOUR health will have a Krispy Kreme donut for a breakfast, and a Twinkie in their lunch sack...)


                                                            Richard


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