Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Calories or Carbs?

As i've mentioned before, my diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables & fish (i'm mostly pescatarian by definition).  I'll eat chicken occasionally when eating out & for the most part stay away from all dairy products.  

I'm also big into counting calories.  I'm not obsessive about it & definitely have cheat days, but I try to be aware of how much my snacks add up.  On average, I try to stay under 1200 calories a day, since i'm only 5'4".  

The other night, I went out to dinner with a friend who basically eats the exact opposite as me.  He follows the paleolithic diet, which basically allows you to only eat foods that were available about a thousand years ago & focuses on molding your diet after how our ancestors ate.  He eats a diet high in protein (getting a lot of his calories from meet & nuts), & generally stays away from carbs (including oats, fruits & legumes), since these were not very available to our predecessors.  He's lost about 20 pounds in the last 6 weeks (guys have it so easy!), but it got me thinking…

I eat oatmeal with fruit every morning for breakfast, snack on fruits during the day, & usually eat some sort of carb at dinner (veggie potstickers from Trader Joe's are my go to).  Although i'm adding these calories up daily, I've never paid attention to my carbohydrate intake.  

After researching, I discovered that I consume SO MANY CARBS!  AH!  I easily consume 150g of carbs a day, where ideally, I shouldn't be consuming more than 100g & no less than 50g per day. 

I started researching how difficult it would be for me to follow a low carb diet since I don't eat meat or animal products & eat a lot of fruits...  

I researched low carb fruits, & it seems that berries are the best choice (blackberries, raspberries, & blueberries) with the least amount of sugar.  
Melon, strawberries, peaches & apples are okay occasionally (they have higher sugar amounts) & the fruits with the highest sugar (carb) content include plums, kiwi, pears, pineapple, bananas, mangos, grapes, & cherries.  No wonder those are my favs :) 

I also found this artical interviewing a "vegan low-carber" very interesting… 

"My diet now is much like it has been since becoming vegan (fresh, local, organic vegetables and fruits, some whole grains and whole grain products, some legumes, nuts and soy products), except I eat very few servings of grain: no toast, no sandwiches, for example. I absolutely love having a huge salad for lunch. I’ve never been a huge fan of corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, crackers or popcorn, so that’s not much of an issue. A little brown rice or pasta to go with all the vegetables. I can eat small amounts of potato or sweet potato; I just can’t overdo it. I’ve recently discovered that I can’t eat the meat substitutes using wheat protein, nor seitan. I eat three servings of fruit every day, but no more than that. I’m also careful to eat more protein than I used to. I minimize sweet baked goods (cookies, brownies, cakes), eating them only when they’re really special, and enjoy the fact that I still get to eat about 100 calories of really dark chocolate twice every day! Now that my diet has changed, my tolerance for sweet things has gone down. The timing of this has worked out well, though, since I no longer need to eat as much as I did when I was younger, anyway. "

Hope this was helpful!  I'm always trying to learn about foods & improve my diet, or at least become more aware of what i'm putting in my body.

xoxo Shauna

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