Vital Vegetables: Low Carb/High Variety


The low-carb diet trend that has overcome America promises hope as obesity statistics are at an all-time high. When any diet plan takes the spotlight, I’m skeptical. Although friends who I have the highest respect and confidence in have been “doing Atkins” and losing weight, I continued to view the Atkins’ diet with restraint, pooh-poohing to myself if not in the faces of the dieters I hold dear.

I guess my turning point about the Atkins phenomenon, and the variations that have come about with the renewed success of his program, came when I heard and saw the terminology that has sprung up surrounding the low-carbohydrate wave. I’m fascinated by words and the way we use them. Any trend that is widely noted enough to start a phraseology all its own takes my attention.

As the back covers of several current magazines, now a part of the overflowing stacks of reading material in my home, flash a full page, color ad explaining the Atkins food pyramid, I feel forced to check my diet doubting and examine the concepts of low-carb eating. A recent USA Weekend, devoting a whole issue to the topic, informed me that there are at least two magazines and over half a dozen Web sites targeted toward low-carb eaters.

When I visited my favorite information source, our local library, I found four paperback copies of Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution along with two cookbooks to accompany the Atkins’ program lined up in the diet and exercise section which I visit frequently. How could I have missed them?

I took one of the paperbacks home and cleared my mind to receive this new wave of diet info as I have so many others – not because I need to lose weight (a few pounds would be nice), but because I am always interested in new ideas in eating patterns and nutrition. Before I go on to “the Induction Phase’ and Part II of the book, I’m pausing to assess the first section.

Most impressed by Dr. Atkins’ thoughts on vegetables that express my sentiments to a T, it’s appropriate that I quote him this week since I’m featuring vegetables. “Let us sing a song of veggies,” says Atkins. “Such beautiful health-enhancing, varied foods. Adaptable to every cuisine world-wide, nothing in the world of cooking has more variety of taste and texture … their virtues are firmly grounded in scientific research … [being] filled with natural chemicals that help protect you from illness. Scientists now call these defenders phytonutrients – phyto being Greek for plant … Despite what Mom, and countless other mothers before her, advised, most people do not eat nearly the amount of vegetables they should.

“Vegetables don’t have to become your favorite food, but if you can lure yourself into dietary habits that put more of them on your plate than most Americans eat, you will be doing your noble, hard-working body an immense favor.” *

*Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, Robert C, Atkins, M.D., HarperCollins Publishers, 2002


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