Restricted Carbs on a Vegetarian Diet

I respect Bernstein, I have learned a lot from his book, but I do not do blindly following someone else’s directions well on any matter in my life. It is also difficult, as you might imagine, to eat under thirty grams of carbs a day on a vegetarian diet without resorting overmuch to animal products which come without carbs. I dislike eggs (though I eat them on occasion), and most dairy products have fifteen grams of carbs per serving, so those are out usually. I also don’t use butter much - I buy a bottle of fine extra virgin olive oil every year, and use a pint or two of peanut oil annually for sauteeing. I do incorporate heavy cream and sour cream into my diet, each of them the one brand my local grocery carries that does not have weird additives. (Goodbye, dextrose!) We all do a lot of label reading as diabetics and I am no different.

So extreme low carb is out. I’ve tried it, I just can’t maintain it. Restricted carb, though, is an awesome boon to stability. When my numbers start jumping around frequently beyond the 70-to-150 (post-prandial) range, I know it is time to start reducing carb intake again. I also don’t take mealtime boluses of more than five units or so; when I do binge out on fudge, which is not by any definition low carb, I take a shot for each piece or two. Beyond that, I eat what I like, what my body likes, and stay away from sweeteners and additives.

Breakfast is my high carb meal of the day. In warmer temperatures I ate a lot of hot cereal, a quarter of a cup of oat bran or my favorite multi-grain mix. In the winter I eat shredded wheat ™, thirty-seven grams of carbs for two bricks and six of that in fiber. Hot cereal has less carb to it but I have a sentimental attachment to shredded wheat, even if I do eat it with milk instead of soy milk. On top of that, warm weather or cool, goes two tablespoons of ground flaxseed, one of wheat germ, and half a cup or so of thawed berries. Living in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, berries are a big favorite, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re among the lowest carb fruits out there. (Blueberries weigh in at ten grams for two thirds of a cup.) I also add in a few tablespoons of nuts or seeds if the cereal is hot; pumpkin seeds are a favorite, and inexpensive too, but pecans and walnuts also go well. Anything crumbly.

Snacks. I adore small meals. The three big meal a day theory does not work with me. Instead I munch a little here and there. A fifth of a pound of tofu is one or two grams of carb; no reason to bolus if glucose levels are already low. A pound of edamame (soybeans still in the pod; shuck while eating) is ten grams, a single unit of Humalog and a good social occasion since my roommate will invariably grab a few pods himself. A bowl of turnip soup, complete with cabbage and carrot and half an onion and two cloves of garlic and any other vegetables that need to be eaten before they go bad, is about the same. On occasion I will make a cheese omelette with oregano and thyme.

Sometimes I do have a carby dinner; cous-cous is a simple convenience food and a good excuse to eat lots of frozen vegetables. A quarter of a cup dry is about thirty grams of carb. I like to add kalamata olives to it; usually I do not even bother to chop them. Served hot with olive oil drizzled over the top, it’s a very satisfying comfort food in the one-pot five-minutes-or-less category. Nuts also go well here, almonds and pumpkin seeds especially.

For drinks I rely upon water and coffee with cream or soy creamer. Milk is for cold cereal only. Every time I go to the store I pick up a carton or two of Pacific unsweetened original soy milk and another carton or two of that Soy Slender splenda-flavored chocolate soy milk that has a single net gram of carb, but those only last me a day or two. I also have tried a selection of diet sodas - Jones makes sugar-free now - but I haven’t much cared for soda since I was fourteen and that has not changed in the wake of diagnosis. I did start drinking hard liquor, however; until diagnosis I was a teetotaler. I don’t overdo it, I can’t afford to, but on occasion a drink with a shot or two in it is very lovely.

So no, I suppose I do not eat a low carb diet, not in the Atkins or Bernstein sense. At the same time, I do do my best to restrict carbohydrate intake for my health and sanity while eating a varied diet. I am also becoming familiar with all sorts of lovely vegetables that don’t get enough love since I avoid three of the four starchy vegetables (and eat squash in moderation, mostly spaghetti squash which is lower in carb) and go for their less aggravating counterparts instead.

I like stir fry as a way of getting a lot of calories (fat) without too much carb. Add in some tofu and it gets some protein as well.

I used to eat a lot more stir fry but I have a bad habit of wanting to eat it over rice. :frowning:

i just got this book by dr neal barnard - “dr. neal barnard’s program for reversing diabetes”… blah, blah… that someone at the library was raving about… it’s vegan but says you can do PASTA? i am not sure, have only read snippets… heard of it?

No I have not, but I no longer eat pasta. I do occasionally do rice and/or beans, so long as they’re in small proportions, such as veggie-heavy gumbo, and I usually have whole-grain cereal for breakfast. Immense amounts of dietary fiber can be very useful in controlling blood glucose levels! I don’t usually manage to get down to thirty grams a day, but when I do my BG levels are beautifully stable.

So far as I know there is no way to reverse insulin-dependent diabetes anyway; my islets are dead and would have to be replaced. Go stem cell research!