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Edit 16th July 2013:

anti-tl;dr version...

I am a vegetarian currently doing the 5:2 diet (well, 4:3 actually) and I decided to add in the low-carb vegetarian approach as described in Rose Elliot's book. Existing blogging on this appears to be very limited / non-existent so this is my journal of the experiment. The journal includes weigh-ins, recipes and general musings related to low-carb cooking / living etc. in the context of the 5:2 / 4:3 WoE. I hope you find it useful (albeit rambling) - please, do let me know what you think.


I had every intention of being fully prepared before going into a two week vegetarian low-carb 'cleanse' a la Rose Elliot (equivalent to Atkins phase 1); I make it more difficult for myself as I prefer to eat in the evening so none of that breakfast or lunch stuff (seems I've been naturally 16:8ing - sad it has not saved my figure!).

But food, the arrival of Celia Brooks Brown's low-carb vegetarian recipe book and my precipitate nature got in the way. Kind friends (gardeners, freegans and mega-bargain hunters) had, in the last couple days, given us lovely greens (not a scoobie what sort!), cabbage, cauliflower and swede which were crying out to be used and, lo, there were these lovely recipes to try out, and I've been champing at the bit to have a go at this for ages, so...

Monday day one, also a fast day: a day for greens in coconut milk (p110) with cauliflower mash (p79). The greens were different and interesting - I'd do them again but would wilt and drain the greens before adding to the sauted ginger. And the mash never got mashed but was delicious all the same, inspite (or perhaps because) of catching and caramellising a little. The culinary demands weren't too great for either of these recipes:)

Thus food intake on day one went rather over the calories at 607 (erhum), carbs at 14.71g, fat at 54.62g (eek) and protein at 14.88.

I felt fine: perhaps a little other-worldy and dry-mouthed at times but otherwise great. Oh, and the next morning I felt thinner so I bunged myself on the scales: 1.2lbs down. Dead chuffed. Though, in all honesty, the weight might well have dropped off after my Saturday weigh-in and before Monday.

greens in coconut milk Celia B Brown p110
olive oil, 824cal/F91.6g/C,P&FI<0.1g/100mL; CBB=15ml
.........(amount used : cals : carbs : fat : protein : fibre (in grams))
.........accidentally did 10ml 82.40 0.00 13.74 0.00 0.00
greens (mustard?); 26cal/C1.6g/F0g/P0g/Fi1.6g/100g; CBB=300g
.........400g 104.00 6.40 0.00 0.00 6.40
ginger, 100cal/C15.8g/F0?g/P1.8g/Fi?g/100g, fine chopped; CBB=1 inch
.........30g 30.00 4.74 0.00 0.54 0.00
coconut milk 197cal/C2.81/F21.33g/P2.02g/Fi0g/100ml
.........400ml 788.00 11.24 85.32 8.08 0.00
cumin seed, fresh ground
.........5ml 0.00
s&p 0.00
total 1004.40 22.38 99.06 8.62 6.40

1. heat pan and just wilt greens then drain off liquid 2. push greens out the way, add oil and heat, add ginger and cook 2 minutes 3. add coconut milk and cumin 4. cook, uncovered, gently for further 5 minutes 5. season

cauliflower mash Celia B Brown p79
cauliflower, 28cal/C2.1g/F0.9g/P2.9g/Fi1.6g; CBB=600g
.........(amount used : cals : carbs : fat : protein : fibre (in grams))
.........290g 81.20 6.09 2.61 8.41 4.64
olive oil, 824cal/F91.6g/C,P&FI<0.1g/100mL; CBB=15ml
.........10ml 82.40 0.00 9.16 0.00 0.00
nutmeg, CBB='serious grinding'
.........2ml 0.00
s&p 0.00
total 163.60 6.09 11.77 8.41 4.64

I didn't mash in the end: it tasted great but I wouldn't necessarily recommend my method! 1. finely chop your cauliflower (torturous, I've no idea why I did this before cooking) 2. heat pan, add oil, add caluliflower, stir muchly 3. cook with lid on until 'steaming' 4. reduce heat and continue cooking 'in own juices' for 15-20 minutes until done 5. add nutmeg 6. then you're meant to mash but I liked the look of it as was. During 3 and 4 the cauliflower browned slightly - so on does need to shoogle it every now and again to stop it sticking / catching

Sorry the layout is cack - I'll look at what I can do for the next recipes. The last six figures on each line are for amount used : Cals : Carbs : Fat : Protein : Fibre.
Tuesday, day two, feed day: hmm cabbage and swede - a challenge. Well, oldly not for recipes. The cabbage gratin (p82) turned out to be strangely good. Our cabbage was two thirds the size that the recipe called for and I subbed extra low-fat cream cheese for creme fraiche (former is lower cals and much higher protein) and used whole eggs not just yolk (can't stand waste). Sadly t'other half couldn't get a single orange so he made do with a very expensive single satsuma (35p!) just for the rind (OH ate the fruit). The top was more frittatta like than gratin (the soft cheese sub? whole eggs?) but the flavour was yummy. The recipe says to season the cabbage well - I'll try to do so better next time. Roasted swede invariably turns out half soggy and half singed for me and this time was no exception: still tasty though. More calories were required, and where's the green veg? So added vegetarian sausages and organic green beans. This was a slightly more challenging cook for me - beating eggs! (in my defense I never cook them at home) and juggling more dishes than I'm good at. Dropped the veggie sausages but they were uncooked so a quick rinse with boiling water soon sorted them out.

Felt not bad today, but not quite as light as yesterday: a little spicked perhaps and 'tummy' a bit sore - wind?

Food intake on day two - disasterous... The gratin looked enormous so I only took a quarter of it and I forgot myself and dived in for half of the swede - cabopocalypse - I suspect the ketosis fat-burning stuff left the room. I was sausaged-out after my second sausage. Having massively over-carbed I had no room to make up the calories with non-carbiferous stuff later (okay I could eat more Emmental but there is such a thing as overdoing the cheese). And because I was badly planned to start with, going off plan left me in dire straits for calories.

Calories 689.09, carbs 28.20, fat 41.12, protein 46.54. That is not a feed day calorific intake (though not quite low enough for fast). And tomorrow is meant to be a fast day. Hmm. I think that the sensible thing to do would be to miss out the Wednesday fast and just do Friday.

That'll teach me - no root / starchy veggies when you're doing a low-carb phase 1. And it's also a lesson in how I need to plan *much* better. Methinks I need two smaller different meals of an evening. Maybe I'll look at those breakfast recipes after all and just eat them at six and my usual dinner at eight.

cabbage gratin Celia B Brown p82
olive oil, 824cal/F91.6g/C,P&FI<0.1g/100mL
.........(amount used : cals : carbs : fat : protein : fibre (in grams))
.........15ml 123.60 0.00 13.74 0.00 0.00
cabbage, white, 27cal/C3g/F0g/P2g/Fi3g/100g; CBB=600g
.........492g 132.84 14.76 0.00 9.84 14.76
garlic, chopped 149cal/Fa0.5g/Ca33.06g/Fi2.1g/P6.36g/100g GL16, 2 cloves GL1
.........approx 10g 14.90 3.31 0.05 0.63 0.21
cream cheese, extra lite, 115c/C5.6/F4.0/P13.2/Fi0/100g
.........250g 287.50 14.00 10.00 33.00 0.00
eggs, brown, 151cal/C0g/F11.2g/P12.5/Fi0g/100g
.........~54g x 3 of 244.62 0 18.144 20.25 0
cheddar, cathedral, grated, 416cal/C0.6g/F34.7g/P25.3g/Fi0g/100g
.........50g 208.00 0.30 17.35 12.65 0.00
orange rind, grated, cals? 0.00
thyme, fresh; only had dried
.........2ml? 0.00
carraway seeds
.........scarce 5ml 0.00
s&p 0.00
total 1011.46 32.37 59.28 76.37 14.97

1. shred your cabbage 2. heat pan, add oil, add garlic and cook until golden 3. add cabbage, stir muchly, season more 4. cook with lid on 'in own juices' for 15 minutes, stir frequently or it will brown 5. drain off any liquid and pack cabbage into ovenproof dish 6. whilst cabbage is cooking beat the cream cheese, eggs, cheddar, orange rind and thyme plus s&p 7. pour mixture over packed cabbage and sprinkle over caraway seeds 8. bake in preheated 200C oven for 30 to 40 minutes

roasted swede
swede, trimmed, peeled, 'wedge-chipped', 26cal/C5g/F0.3g/P0.7g/Fi1.9g/100g
.........(amount used : cals : carbs : fat : protein : fibre (in grams))
.........504g 131.04 25.20 1.51 3.53 9.58
olive oil, 824cal/F91.6g/C,P&FI<0.1g/100mL
.........15ml 123.60 0.00 13.74 0.00 0.00
chilli, red, 40cal/Fa0.2g/Ca9.5g/Fi1.5g/P2.0g/100g GL4
.........10g 4.00 0.95 0.02 0.20 0.15
corriander seed, fresh ground
.........scarce 5ml 0.00
s&p 0.00
emmental cheese, grated 388cal/C0.1g/F29.5g/P30.5g/100g
.........50g 194 0.05 14.75 15.25 0
total 452.64 26.20 30.02 18.98 9.73

1. ping prepped swede, without a lid, for approx 4x(2.5 minutes then pause), stir to let of steam each ping and drain off any liquid 2. mix chilli and corriander with oil and thoroughly coat swede 3. sprinkle with s&p 4. bake in preheated oven 200C for 35 to 40 minutes - shoogle and sprinkle with emmental halfway through

The last six figures on each line are for amount used : Cals : Carbs : Fat : Protein : Fibre.
What fat/carb/protein ratio are you aiming for?
Well, the Rose Elliot book doesn't give the ratios but her 'cleanse' has carb at 20g and protein between 60 to 80g (depending on size / activity) and fat is a free-for-all... Rose doesn't count calories - guess it's pretty hard to really overdo it with just 20g of carb (eating a whole pack of Emmental or dollops of cream is not appealing) :)

So that's 320 calories from carb(80) and protein(240) and the rest from fat - depending on one's calorie allowance! Fast day and 500 calories? leaves 180 calories for fat so C:F:P % 16% : 36% : 48% - horribly high protein. Edit: I do realise that trying to keep to a feed-day level of protein is daft - a more DRV proportional 20g (80 cals) makes more sense - which swings it to high fat.

My two days have dramatically missed this at C10%:F81%:P10% and C17% : F55% : P28%. I'm pretty relaxed about this as the 'cleanse' is only for two weeks and I doubt that I'll damage myself any more than I would, for example, on a booze-sodden holiday :)

More sensibly a 'normal' day on 'cleanse' at, say, 1500 calories gives C5.3% : F78.6% : P16%.

Jolly high fat, whichever way one looks at it. Convention frowns from upon high. Longer term RE's approach allows carbs to go up - one adds 5g of carbs each week until weight stabilises - as far as I can tell this is at around 50 or 60g for many. At 1500 cals this is carb 240cal, protein 240cal and fat 1020cal (though Rose still doesn't prescribe calories or fat limitations) => C16% : F68% : P16% - close to the Paleo ratio C20% : F65% : P15%.

My own soft 'target' ratio was (prior to getting RE's book) C24% : F45% : P32% (chosen to make the 500 fast day grams easy *embarrassed thingy*), close to the Eco-Atkins C26% : F43% : P31% (Jenkins, 2009) which, from the very limited literature I was able to find, seemed a reasonable balance. Plus I'm a bit of a wuss and quailed at cutting carbs to a low level on a permanent basis.

But I'm always open to new evidence, and think the RE maintenance levels are quite tempting. Especially given the caveats re. high protein (oh, and high carbs too, of course!).
Weigh in at the start of day 3: down to 135.6lbs - that's another 0.6lbs gone...

Measurements are same for under-bust and waist but much 'easier' (I'd say my waist has finally gone back below 30 inches); tummy is still burbling and a wee bit sore and has expanded an inch (TMI warning: bunged / wind?).

I'm not blaming the low-carb for girth expansion as things were already 'moving slowly' prior to Monday; my kind OH is off later to Holland & Barrett for me to get some oat bran.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm doing for 'breakfast' (at five-ish) and dinner (remains of cabbage gratin isn't calling to me).
FatDog wrote: But food, the arrival of Celia Brooks Brown's low-carb vegetarian recipe book and my precipitate nature got in the way.

Is that a recent book ?
Nooo! 2004 - think it came out before Rose Elliot's low-carb veggie book.

It is actually out of print and Amazon usually has it at about, eek, £24+p&p (£99 new!) but occasionally it's listed for nearer 4 quid+p&p.

I've been drooling over the recipes - won't be doing many of them yet as they're not suitable for RE's 'cleanse' phase - and will be going mad with them in two weeks time.
thanks, saw the £100 hit on Amazon LOL. Try my searching skills............
Wednesday, day three, fast day. I was swithering as to whether I should have this as a feed day, given that my 'feed' day yesteday was such an unmitigated disaster with regards to the calories (i.e. 689cals). But I succumbed to habit: Wednesday is a fast day.

Besides which, I'm still mystified as to how one manages to get a sensible number of calories in for just 20 carbs... And it means that Friday can be a half-fast (instead of full) with 'normal' eating in the evening, except 20 carbs doesn't allow anything much normal in my book! Maybe there is some truth in the main reason for Atkins working is calorie restriction!

This WoE does not seem very flexible or forgiving to me: if you fall off the wagon that's your hard-earned ketosis away for another 24 hours or so (but do correct me if I'm wrong). Still, it is only for two weeks - though the RE book says some stay on 'cleanse' for months!!

Anyway, food. Essentially last night's left-overs jazzed up a bit. Split the gratin horizontally and grilled it, with the cut sides up, after giving it some more seasoning, garlic flakes, chilli flakes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The orange zest (well, satsuma) in the eggy bit was even more striking second time round - I thoroughly enjoyed: full marks to CBB's recipe. Plus the lone sausage I couldn't manage last night and the other half of the green bean packet. Couldn't resist some reduced - bargain shiitakes (15cal 6.8carb / 100g) in the Co-op: jolly nice grilled - the OH did well as carb limitations meant I only had a couple.

Oops, forgot to mention 'breakfast' (consumed at seven p.m.). I'm marketing this:

chai yoghurt (transit express) - dog's trademark / copyright :)
youghurt (yeo valley), 82c/C6.5/F4.2/P4.6/Fi0/100g
.........(amount used : cals : carbs : fat : protein : fibre (in grams))
.........50g 41.00 3.25 2.10 2.30 0.00
oat bran, white's, 383c/C68.4/F6.5/P12.6/Fi9.3/100g
.........7g (TBSP) 26.81 4.79 0.46 0.88 0.65
linseed, brown, 534c/C28.8/F42.16/P18.29/Fi27.3/100g ...Ed: carb correct C1.5/100g
.........10g (scarce TBSP) 53.40 2.88 4.22 1.83 2.73 ...Ed: carb 0.15
ginger, ground
.........1.5ml 0.00
cinnamon, ground
.........2ml 0.00
cloves, dried, fresh ground
.........two of 0.00
cardamom seeds, green, husks removed, fresh ground
.........4 pods 0.00
pure via (stevia based sweetener) 2c/C0.47/F0/P0/Fi0/0.5g/5ml
.........5ml 2.00 0.47 0.00 0.00 0.00
water
.........about 50ml until it's nearly a slurpable quality
total 123.21 11.39 6.77 5.01 3.38 Ed: carb 8.66

...Edit: carb for linseed was incorrect on the packet label - thanks to PhilT for pointing this out - and the figures need adjusted accordingly (yay ! it frees up 2.73 carbs!)

This was surprisingly delicious and I intend to have it for every 'breakfast' even if it does take me over 20 carbs.

Felt fine through the day and, unless my 85% chocolate attacks me again (I forgot to mention the little square, 0.68carbs, that I had after dinner), my figures are:
.........calories 547.86 carbs 25.42 fat 31.81 protein 37.32 fibre 12.00
.........Edit carbs reduced to 22.69 due to linseed mislabelling
Quite happy with that.
The carbs in linseed are practically zero - watch out for American labelling conventions that include the fibre in some of the labels. The 28.8C / 27.3Fi looks like one of those, on a UK label it would be 1.5C / 27.3Fi and C+P+F+Fi would be less than 100 ;-)
@PhilT That's brilliant - thank you so much! I've been taking the US / Canadian carbs / fibre into account when reading stuff off the internet but forgot that my linseed came from there! One would think that the UK packers would have made the label 'UK standard' (it looks like a UK one).
Weigh in at the start of day 4: down to 134.8lbs - that's another 0.8lbs gone...

Measurements are same for under-bust, waist is down to 29.5 and tummy back to 36 (still bunged but hoping dog'g chai yoghurt (transit express) TM&C :) does the trick!).

And I have a full menu for the day! Was up 'til 3 in the morning getting it fixed - will post it later.
Thursday, day four, feed day. Well, here's a menu for a feed day on the low-carb vegetarian diet. It's a highly morphed version of RE's day one menu but it remains really eggs / cheese / nuts dependent - well, soy would help but I'm not hugely into it.

I believe that there are 'maximum' amounts recommended for cheese etc. - I haven't found anything except anecdote but I've not looked very hard.

RE's first day menu breaks her own rule of 'no more than 100g of cheese a day' - oh, and she'd have you eating four and a half eggs too!

I guess it's not really an issue for just two weeks or so. Obviously if you have a carbocalyptic bread / sweeties binge then this quantity of cheese / nuts / eggs will do serious damage to your waistline.

Breakfast (I will aim for after 14:00hrs but was much earlier today)
.........200ml light soya milk in tea
.........chai yoghurt as per recipe above
.........30g brazil nuts

Early dinner (tried for 18:00hrs but a friend came by... so 21:30!)
.........another 200ml light soya milk in tea
.........50g leaf salad
.........21g hellman's mayo (it splooped out, honest)
.........3/4 of my cheese, mushroom and mixed pepper frittata (recipe below)
.........2 wee squares of 85% chocolate (oops, can't resist an after dinner 'sweet')

Late night snack
.........30g roasted salted almonds
.........50g emmental cheese

Which comes to a wonderful:
......... 1429.73 calories 19.90 carbs 110.69 fat 66.10 protein 17.91 fibre
......... Edit: carbs reduced to 17.15 due to linseed labelling error correction

I confess, I've not yet managed my late night snack, but will try to get at least the nuts munched before I go to bed.

Felt fine for most of the day, maybe the odd spell of spacey-ness. TMI warning: the chai yoghurt (transit express) has worked its magic (phew) so no more gut-ache.

Recipe wise, there seem to be some question marks over the chai yoghurt carbs (linseed) which I'll check out. Further, I've not been counting *any* carbs for dried herbs or spices - probably should but ... really, must I?

Nothing complex in the menu above but I was dead chuffed with the frittata - even though it's not gourmet it tasted delicious - pretty much made up but inspired by making the cabbage gratin!

cheese, mushroom and mixed pepper frittata
eggs, brown, 151cal/C0g/F11.2g/P12.5/Fi0g/100g
.........~54g x 3 of 244.62 0.00 18.14 20.25 0.00
vintage cheddar, wykes, grated, 410cal/p25g/ca0.1g/fa34.4g/fi0g/100g
.........50g 205.00 0.05 17.20 12.50 0.00
mixed peppers, diced, 28c/C4.4/F0.3/P1.0/Fi1.6/100g
.........45g 12.60 1.98 0.14 0.45 0.72
mushrooms, thick sliced, 15cal/C0.4g/F0.5g/P1.8g/Fi1.0g/100g
.........108g 16.20 0.43 0.54 1.94 1.08
olive oil, 824cal/F91.6g/C,P&FI<0.1g/100mL
.........10ml 82.40 0.00 9.16 0.00 0.00
chilli flakes and garlic flakes 0.00
s&p 0.00
total 560.82 2.46 36.02 35.14 1.80

Method 1. beat eggs in oven proof casserole 2. add chilli and garlic flakes plus generous s&p to eggs 3. fry mushrooms and mixed peppers in oil, drain and add to eggs 4. add cheese evenly across dish 5. bung in preheated oven at 200C for 30 or so minutes until golden brown.

Happy f(e)asting, FatDog.
FatDog wrote: One would think that the UK packers would have made the label 'UK standard' (it looks like a UK one).

Indeed, sometimes when I'm bored I tell them or Trading Standards about the error of their ways.
Weigh-in at the start of day 5: well, the scales gave 134.2 for the first two readings (waggy-tailed FatDog) and then went up to 134.8 and wouldn't shift thereafter, however nicely I asked them to. Grrrrr-woof. I suspect it's down to: a) a physically active afternoon yesterday - way over my normal (nooo - not sports, my body would fall apart, just moving myself and lots of books around); b) rather generous use of salt in my frittata; c) TMI alert: a large volume intake of food and transit backlog.

I'm not going to sulk, okay maybe a little bit.

On the brighter side my measurements are fine: waist 29.5 easy (could cheat and get 29), underbust remains the same (I'm not really expecting that to go down much more) and tummy is back to 36 (35.5 at a pinch).

Final intake for yesterday was a wee bit lower than the 1430 calories it was meant to be - could only manage 30g of emmental :) - so the final accounts were:
... Cals 1352.13 Carbs 19.88 Fat 104.79 Protein 60.00 Fibre 17.91
I'm not unhappy with that.

@PhilT The linseed question appears to have drawn considerable debate and some ire on the internet - even Waitrose have mislabelled theirs in the past! I will correct my recipe! Well done for giving the suppliers a telling and thanks again.
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