Can I eat low carb as a vegetarian?

Operation kick-ass 2017 is in progress. I'm still doing my Miracle Mornings, astonishingly enough. In fact, I get up early even when I don't have to because I just wake up and feel like getting up. That is a miracle for sure.

Exercise is a big challenge for me, but at least I've discovered that I actually enjoy yoga. I'm stiff as a board and probably look like a total idiot, but it's the first physical activity I've found in a long time that I don't actively dread. That's an important first step.

Exercise aside, my main focus right now is on my diet. I went spelunking on the Internet and various books for ideas for why, despite doing everything I previously thought would solve the problem, my weight refuses to budge. I'm swayed by research and data indicating that sugar and white flour are Really Bad, so I've cut those out. So far I've read The Case Against Sugar and The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet. I'm halfway through Why We Get Fat. The ideas are so hard to grasp; they make my brain hurt. But the arguments are very compelling.

I'm a vegetarian and will remain one. Nonviolence is one of my Values, with a capital V. It is however difficult to eat anything at all if you don't eat meat and seek a low-carb existence. I'm at the beginning of my journey and find that this switch is daunting to say the least. My diet has always been based squarely on bread, pasta, and rice (to say nothing of loads and loads of chocolate!), because I was raised on the low-fat high-carb idea. I have mountains of mouth-watering recipes that I no longer want to default to.

Thank heavens for Pinterest. And Paprika.

The sugar withdrawal is HORRIBLE. Horrible. The only way I'm getting through it is that it's so horrible I don't want to have to do it again. I'm exhausted in a special, "I can't keep my eyelids open" way. My entire body aches. I'm dizzy and nauseated. I'm starving as soon as I eat. My stomach is upset and I'm gassy and bloated. It's really truly unpleasant, yet all these symptoms are apparently to be expected. And I'm still eating carbs! I'm eating way FEWER carbs, but I am including whole grains and beans in my diet because (a) I have to eat something and (b) I'm not as swayed by thoughts that these carbs are harmful as sugar and white flour are. I imagine it would be a lot worse if I really did a carb cleanse.

In some ways this isn't changing my diet all that much, because I can switch white flour for some whole grains once in a while. Beans are a staple of my diet and I remain 80% convinced that their benefits outweigh their possible drawbacks. Veggies are my go-to. I'm eating a lot more leafy greens, though, because the easiest way I've found to throw a meal together is to house the rest of my food on a salad instead of on rice or pasta.

The change isn't so much what I'm adding as what I've taken out. I was shocked and appalled to discover exactly how much sugar and white flour I was eating every day, starting from my ab-fab caramel Keurig coffee every morning and continuing on to my pile of chocolate in the evenings. I've always thought sugar really wasn't that bad compared with fat so I've never restricted it. And I definitely never made any effort to restrict white flour. I ate a ton of bread, chips, tortillas, and pita/naan. My body is clearly asking me what exactly I'm doing to it right now. I can FEEL my blood sugar jumping around and trying to find a new normal!

My One Task for today is to figure out and prepare some foods I can have available when I get starvingly hungry, because I want to reach for my old foods and then feel cranky and deprived when I remind myself that these foods are not healthy for me. I have a selection of organic nuts and seeds to munch on and am tempted to buy some of the low-carb snack bars, but I really want to get away from processed food.

I am excited to see how this change affects me. I'm committed to see it through for a while until I am pretty sure I'm through the awful adjustment period, because I can see how it would be easy to mistake growing pains for possible negative effects of the lower-carb eating style. If it doesn't work for me, I will try something else, but I will not add back sugar and white flour. Those are out.