There are vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, raw foodists and the list goes on. But, have you ever heard of a “carbotarian?” Maybe you’re one of them.
A “carbotarian” is a vegetarian that consumes pasta, bread, pizza, and other high carbohydrate foods. This is what is commonly known as the “unhealthy vegetarian.”
In college, I lived with a vegetarian who did not eat vegetables. Her diet consisted of bread, cheese, tomato sauce and beer. While on occasion, she would consume protein from soy “chicken” patties and other meat-substitutes, she lived off of pizza and beer.
Let’s face it: it’s hard to be a vegetarian in an omnivorous world – especially on a university campus! Fresh, nutrient rich food isn’t convenient. I think that’s why vegetarians can fall victim to becoming a “carbotarian” without realizing it.
Just because the French fries are there, and they may be vegan, doesn’t mean you should make a meal out of them. We’ve all done it, but don’t let that be your lifestyle.
By overindulging in carbs, you deny your body protein, essential vitamins and nutrients. Simple carbohydrates act like sugar, causing your blood sugar to spike, which could lead to weight gain, diabetes and other ailments.
Here are a few tips to be a healthy, happy vegetarian:
· Watch your carb intake. The USDA Food Pyramid recommends 6 servings of grains per day. For example, one serving equals ½ cup cooked brown rice or one slice of whole-grain bread. At least half of your servings should come from whole grains, which contain more fiber and nutrients.
· Eat a protein source with your grain. It maintains blood sugar levels and helps you feel fuller for longer.
· Eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables as much as possible, which contain more vitamins and nutrients in their raw form.
You only have one body, take care of it.
Photo credit: Katelyn Vajgrt