The Most Common Low Carb Diet Misconception

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Almost every "anti-low carb" article or news report says the same thing: reduced-carb diets don’t have enough fruits and vegetables. But if you talk to someone who follows a healthy low carb way of eating, or carefully read most of the books about low-carb diets, you’ll find that nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is eating a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits one of the most important things we can do for our long-term health, but it is also very easy to fit them into a healthy low carb eating plan. In fact, most low-carbers find themselves eating more vegetables and fruits than ever before, without really trying.

Why Vegetables and Fruits Are So Important

Not only are these plant foods high in fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals, but they contain myriads of substances called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. These compounds are probably the explanation for why people whose diets are high in vegetables are at a lower risk for cancer, heart disease, certain eye conditions, and many other health problems. Phytonutrients can act as antioxidants, boost our immune systems, repair cellular damage, and much more. At this point, thousands of these compounds have been discovered, and it would obviously be impossible to obtain all of these through pills.

Happily, not only are vegetables encouraged when cutting carbohydrates, they fit into this way of eating very naturally and easily. They provide variety in flavor, texture, and color, making it easier to be happy eating fewer carbs. In many cases, they can take the place of pasta, rice, or potatoes. Additionally, many of the vegetables and fruits with the highest amounts of phytonutrients are also low in carbohydrates.

Tips for Raising Your Fruit and Veg Count

Use low-starch vegetables as a substitute for starchy foods. Mashed cauliflower standing in for potatoes is a classic, or try "cauli-rice" (it's easy to make). Try zucchini strips or spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Put cheese or spreads on cucumber or jicama slices, or, of course, celery.
Berries are not only low in sugar but have some of the highest antioxidant counts of all. Freezing them doesn’t lose any of the “goodness,” so have them with yogurt or cottage cheese for breakfast, bake them into low carb pancakes and muffins, or enjoy them straight up. You'll know that they are doing wonderful things for your body while tasting delicious.
Put “green leafies” and other veggies into egg dishes (omelets, frittatas, etc.), soups, casseroles, and really any dish. Chopped sautéed chard can add a subtle depth of flavor to many skillet meals.
Try some new veggies. For example, you may hear about pureed celery root being another substitute for potatoes. Be bold and experiment!

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