Currently, I am battling this question. I have been a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, what started as a diet I was going to try for a month in high-school turned into a lifestyle choice. This means that I do not eat meat or fish, but I do eat eggs and dairy. I have tried a few different diet changes in my life. I was on Weight Watchers for 6 months and lost some weight, I have tried buying low-fat, low-calorie foods, and I have adapted to a whole foods diet for a short time. My goal has always been to feel healthier, to have more energy, and to maintain a positive mood. But recently, a really health-conscious friend suggested cutting out sugar. I started to research sugars impact on our health. I came across the documentary Fed UP (watch this if you haven’t!) and did a little reading and my perspective slowly changed. Sugar is so addictive, but most diets focus on cutting calories and fat.
So I cut way down on sugar for a few weeks (no soda, juices, candy, sweets) and I felt GREAT! I became less addicted to sugar and caffeine, I craved them both less. I used to always feel sluggish and awful mid-afternoon, and I would turn to coffee or a sweet to perk me up, and suddenly I was able to power through my afternoons. So after the holidays, when my boyfriend and I were feeling super motivated to eat well, I came across a lot of good evidence for low-carb low-sugar eating. So…we are giving it a shot. For the month of January we are going to be keeping our carbs and sugar super duper low (mostly no bread, pasta, grains, sweets or sugary drinks). But I am finding that as a vegetarian, most of what I eat contains a lot of carbs (even beans, veggie burgers and fruit!). So rather than going by any specific number of carbs we have to stay under each day, we are just cutting out the really high-carb highly-processed foods and seeing how things go. We still have a lot to learn and I would love any and all advice and information!
Now that I am a couple weeks in I have found that I faced a lot of challenges I never faced while eating healthy before. In the first week, we were eating eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, apples and bananas for a snack, and soups and stirfrys for dinner.We ate NO bread, pasta, or grains. Honestly, I felt like shit. I had no energy, my mood got worse and worse throughout the day, and I just felt sick. So now, we are incorporating small portions of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley and beans into our lunches and dinners. I feel SO good! I never realized exactly how addicted to sugar and refined carbs I really was. I am currently reading Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, and I highly suggest it. While I am not following her program, there is a lot of great eye opening information and advice, she also has a blog/podcast that you can read online as well.
So for now, I am feeling good! But I would love any and all advice from anyone who has attempted a low-carb, low-sugar diet before!
Your’s Truly- M