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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DH and I are interested in changing our diet to reflect our health concerns. Both of us have blood sugar issues that could in future lead to diabetes, though neither of us has diabetes right now (and we get checked regularly). We are also dealing with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Weight is not so much of an issue though I'm sure it sounds like it would be, heredity is more a factor.

Anyway, I am also a SAHM of 15 month old twins, so my general cooking routine has been: chicken in crock pot with some kind of store bought sauce, over brown rice. Lots of problems there.

I tried an easy split pea and brown rice soup and DH wouldn't even try it.

Oh yes, we have soy issues too so just substituting soy for meat is not going to be an option, I am limited to small amounts of soy about 4 times a week.

What would be ideal for us would be a vegetarian diet that gives a nod to a diabetic diet and that is relatively low fat and minimal in soy. Oh yes, and that would take minimal prep time with few ingredients and lots of leftovers. Dairy/egg products would be fine.

Ideas, thoughts, recommendations, links to previous threads on this or similar subjects? TIA!
 

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Vegetarian, low-fat, only good carbs is exactly how we try to eat. It takes some time - I would say it has taken us a couple of years to really get it down - but it can be done! My husband, too, has a really hard time getting on board with the "no white flour" rule, but I figure at least he doesn't eat it at home, so if he wants to eat baguettes every day at work, well, I have cut it down by half by not serving him white flour pasta when he gets home. I also try to limit my soy intake to a small portion a couple of times a week, so that can be done, too. We do rely on the Omega-3 eggs and a little low or non fat dairy, though.

One thing I have changed in the last few months that has made a huge difference is keeping lots and lots of dry goods on hand. Several different kinds of dried beans, lentils (maybe your hubby will get hungry enough eventually?), brown rice, and, our new wonderfood: Quinoa. Quinoa, as you probably already know, but maybe somebody doesn't, is a vegetable seed that cooks and tastes like a grain, and can be substituted for rice but is basically a complete protien. I also eat it as a hot breakfast cereal. It has a fairly low glycemic index so that's good, too. Rice and beans, as I'm sure you know, make a complete protien. One thing I didn't know until a couple of years ago was that you didn't have to eat them at the same time to get the benefits.

I buy several fresh veggies a week, and try to make several different things out of combinations of them. A stir fry one night, the next night a more traditional vegetable plate with each vegetable cooked seperately, a whole wheat loaded veggie no-cheese pizza the next night. (It may sound weird at first - but you can totally add black beans to a stir-fry to help get that protein count up. Sometimes I even throw in pumpkin seeds - it's really fun to get creative.) If it looks like I am not going to get all my fresh vegetables used up one week, I get creative and make up a soup with no recipe, just whatever I have on hand. We've had some very good results. I do sometimes use potatoes in my soup, which have a higher glycemic index, but it really does help make them more filling for picky men. I keep those vegan boullion cubes on hand in case I don't have any vegetable stock. I also make sure my freezer is packed with frozen vegetables so we don't wind up ordering a pizza if we don't feel like going to the grocery store. I also keep some cans of vegetarian chili on hand, too, and stuff like that - it may not be quite as healthy but if we run low we are prone to running out for pizza and that is way worse. :p

One thing that helped me become aware of carbs was my Runner's World Magazine, when they published the glycemic index of alot of different foods. That information is all over the internet now that the Atkins craze has happened.

I may be telling you a bunch of stuff you already know but I had all this fresh in my mind because my husband's sister just threatened gastric bypass surgery without even attempting to change her diet, so she agreed that if we would send her a package of information on a new way to eat, she would try it. She admitted she didn't even read it, sigh, after I spent probably 10-15 hours on it. I wonder what she did with the $10 worth of quinoa? I'd like to have that back.

We should all post our low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian recipes here!

We love our new diet - it takes some getting used to, but the feeling of joy we get from knowing how good we are being to our bodies, our health, and how long we will hopefully be around to be parents to our children, is so much better than potato chips, there's no comparison.
 

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Because we do occasional fish and dairy and eggs, I like to say "we eat low on the food chain" instead of "we're vegetarians." We've been studying the concepts from "The Zone," by Dr. Berry Sears. It's all over the net too. Some good snack ideas. But according to him, beans are high in... carbs! No! And his soy dishes leave something to be desired. If you do fish, the foiled flounder is great and so easy. I'm working on upping the percent of protein and good fat in each meal and choosing veggies for the carb source. Its HARD! Big changes. Unless we have a buch of fake soy meat, and I don't want that. I was proud of our Indian and Italian naturally meatless dishes, ya know?

I've tried some soned and soy meals, but I also am altering tho old favorites. A huge salad with cheese and seeds is a great lunch... you can have a ton of lettuce, spinach, etc. and not worry about those carbs. I've cut the rice out of burritos (it was healthy brown rice, but still unnecessary) and upped the cheese and lettuce and tomatos. I put a little rice on the side instead of under (thus much less) my chick pea curry and serve with yogurt. I make oatmeal for breakfast instead of cereal.

I'll be watching for more posts and better ideas. I have a ton of quinoa sitting around here and am quite intimidated by it. Its like cooking with styrofoam packing peanuts. How does one "rinse" it? If you have some recipies, I'd love that!

Julie
 

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Julie, If I'm in a hurry, I don't rinse my quinoa - gasp! The stuff you buy at Wild Oats in bulk tastes fine unrinsed. But when I do rinse it, I put it in a mesh colander (sp?). Basically, I just do one part quinoa to two parts water, stick it all in a pan, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about fifteen minutes or until it is fluffy and a little dry. It doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan easily, so in that regard it is much easier to cook than rice, and much more filling with a vegetable stir-fry than brown rice, since it is basically a complete protien. I keep some organic frozen berries on hand (I buy them when they're on sale) and stir those into quinoa for a breakfast cereal. I can stomach it just plain, though - but I know I can be a little utilitarian about my eating, so many people might not find plain appetizing. I believe quinoa's glycemic index to be about 35.

I don't try to focus on cutting out carbs as much as I just try to stick to the healthy ones. When I tried to cut back on even the good carbs for a while, I found that exercising used up all my fuel and made me want to go to bed, whereas if I was eating healthy carbs, exercise GIVES me energy. My body tells me when I am not striking the proper balance, and I listen. AND I really worry about clogging my arteries, which a lot of the "low carb" diet books don't seem to take into account, so I follow what I feel is right for me. There was a huge nutrition study done by the Harvard Medical school - I believe the largest one ever. Anyway it was over a span of 25 years and I want to say it covered 250,000 people. Basically, that study could not prove that eggs, which if memory serves they said contain a natural cholesterol-fighting agent, cannot be proven to have raised anyone's cholesterol. So I do eat eggs. But I took care of my FIL after quadruple bypass surgery, and I know I don't ever want that to be me, so I do try to keep my cheese intake low, and of course I don't eat meat, so that helps, too. I just don't believe Atkins or other diet books like his that we shouldn't really worry too much about cholesterol and focus on carbs instead. I want to eat a BALANCED diet.

I love this site:

http://www.whfoods.com/

It helps me understand what that gorgeous green broccoli (or brussels sprouts or black beans) is doing for my body, and helps me crave vegetables instead of something unhealthy. That way I can focus on why I eat all the wonderful foods nature provides rather than how I am depriving myself of sugar and white bread. That mindset really helps to keep me eating healthy. And I do believe that the beautiful foods nature provides are healthy. (I know there's such a thing as poisonous mushrooms, and all, but I mean in general. :p)
 

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I recently took "Fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker" out of the library. It's got lots of bean-based dishes (think cheap, high fiber, low carb,) plus various veggies. Lots of the recipes call for rice on the side but you can omit that part of the recipe if you want.

What I love about using my slow cooker is that I can spend 15 minutes preparing dinner in the morning when I have energy, then I can relax and have a hot meal ready at dinnertime when I'm usually wiped out.
 

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One way I converted to lower fat was to cook with vinegars instead of oils. Veggies baked in a marinade that is mostly vinegar with just a tablespoon or two of oil and then maybe some orange juice and fresh chopped herbs and salt and pepper come out so delicious!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all these ideas. DH and I discussed them and have decided to change the way we shop and eat. Fresh and frozen veggies, beans/legumes, minimize the rice (gasp - we have Latin and Asian cultural influences to fight here). And I'm going to try some quinoa.

I made black beans (from the can, drained and rinsed) with carrots, celery, green pepper, and onion, and some spices for dinner tonight. I liked it! Looking forward to getting more into this. DH more resistant to giving up chicken than I had anticipated, but I've decided I'm going to cook this way and then cook a few pieces of chicken very simply on the side. We'll all benefit.

Thanks for all the ideas and if anyone else is doing something along these lines or has further website or cookbook recommendations I'm eager to learn!
 

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I ran across a website by John McDougall, MD recently, and subsequently checked out a few of his books from the library. He advocates a starch-based, whole grain, veggie diet with no animal products and super low fat. Its not a "diet" per se, but a healthy way of eating (depending on your definition of healthy, of course!). I only mention it because <some of> it makes a lot of sense to me. When he was practicing medicine in Hawaii, his older patients that had retained their homeland diets heavy in rice and veggies were healthy, whereas subsequent generations of the same family had the typical American diseases ... and were eating the typical American diet. He started looking through medical journals to see if there were any studies to back up his observations and there were. He's had great success lowering cholesterol (no cholesterol in plant food!), reversing heart disease, etc.

A great book from another source is Defeating Diabetes by Brenda Davis, RD and Tom Barnard, MD.

Personally, our diet has evolved from omni to vegan and continues to change (no hydrogenated oils, no corn syrups, only organic, etc) as I learn more. Its tough sifting through all the claims of what is healthy and in the end, I know everyone has to make their own choices.
 

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The South Beach Diet can be easily adapted for use by vegetarians and even vegans. Both the regular SBD book and the cookbook have some veg recipes, and the SBD website has lots more (you have to pay to access it though).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well we are on our way! I just made the first shopping trip today with the new eating plan in mind and I'll have you know I did not enter one aisle in the store, we actually stuck to the perimeter! Our fridge and freezer are stocked with veggies! I made a vegetable curry for dinner tonight! And DH complimented it!

I should have ventured into the spice and dried bean aisles, I realized this after I got home. Oh well, an excuse to go back. He he...

Thanks to all for the thoughts and book recommendations and links. Most helpful.
If anyone has any more I'm open!
 

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Amyy!!!!!!!!!! WONDERFUL NEWS!!!!!!!!! Yay, yay, yay, yay for you! Very impressive dinner, too. I've been a vegetarian for a few years now, and have never made a vegetable curry, lol.

Yippee! New life, new health!
 
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