I recently started following a flexible dieting approach for my contest prep, and while this new method allows me to eat whatever I want, I am still required to stay within the macronutrient goals my coach gives me. This lack of dietary restrictions has made me tremendously happier than I’ve ever been since I started competing, but on occasion, I plan my meals out for the day somewhat poorly. Meaning: I eat the majority of my carbohydrate intake for the day before I eat dinner.
While I would normally take advantage of my remaining protein and fat macros to make some delicious protein dessert with peanut butter (my favorite source of fat!), I really wanted something more wholesome.
I am also currently working towards my health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a large part of the program is participation of the dietary theories we are learning about. This was a huge factor in my decision to switch to a coach who practices flexible dieting, as it was impossible for me to temporarily adopt the various dietary theories I’m learning about while following a strict meal plan.
Over the past few weeks during my program, there has been a major emphasis on plant based diets. As a former vegan, I was curious how a more plant focused diet would react to my body now.
A little background information:
I ate a pure vegan diet for about five years, and while I felt great and kept a relatively slim figure, I started to lose a lot of weight rapidly and I knew I needed to increase calories and protein. I began including fish, eggs and high quality dairy products into my diet. This worked well for me for about a year. I prepped for my first bikini bodybuilding competition during this time, following a pescetarian diet, and was in the best shape of my life. However, like many competitors, I went through a brief phase of binge eating post show and gained more weight than I had lost during my entire 3 month prep.
When I decided to start prepping for my next show, I decided to add chicken into my diet thinking that perhaps if my prep diet wasn’t so light, I wouldn’t have such a bad rebound after the show. Eating poultry during my prep had no affect on my post show weight gain, as I didn’t realize at the time I was actually suffering from metabolic damage, and lack of carbohydrates and too much cardio were the culprits of this rapid weight gain, not the source of my protein. (But that’s a long story for another day).
I kept the fish, dairy and poultry in my diet, and added in other meat products over time. I feel good eating meat, and, as of right now, I have no intention of cutting it from my diet. I am, however, going to focus on including more vegetarian proteins in my diet.
Which brings me back to this vegetarian, low carb pasta dish.
I eat the majority of my carbohydrates in my pre and post workout meals, so the remainder of my meals end up being skimpy on the carbs, and high in protein with a good amount of fat.
While this is no culinary masterpiece, it is delicious, fast and healthy.
The noodles are shirataki noodles, which are made from the konjac yam. They are essentially water and fiber, with minimal calories and carbohydrates. You can also find shirataki made from tofu, which contain a slightly higher, however still very low, carbohydrate content. These noodles are available in most grocery stores where you would find tofu.
The vegetarian sausages are made primarily of soy, egg whites and vegetables. I tend to avoid processed vegetarian meats, but these sausages by Lightlife are delicious, and the ingredients aren’t anything I am concerned about.
Add in your favorite veggies and pasta sauce (I just used whole tomatoes), and chow down! You’ll be full and satisfied with a fraction of the calories of regular pasta!
Low Carb Vegetarian Sausage Pasta
1. Spray a nonstick pan with coconut or olive oil spray.
2. Add sausage, cook at medium heat until edges begin to brown.
3. Rinse shirataki noodles under warm water (or parboil- check package for instructions)
4. Add kale and shirataki noodles to pan.
5. Cook until kale begins to wilt.
*This makes one LARGE serving, or two normal servings. Note: if sharing, you may want to add more sausage.
For more information on flexible dieting, check out the following videos:
Also, check out:
For scientific related vegetarian resources: