So a number of people have recommended that I switch to a low carb high protein diet. The primary impediment to implementing this is the fact that most high protein foods are meat based and we don’t cook meat at home. However, of late I’ve started noting down the various vegetarian sources of protein and I think I should give this high protein diet a go.
Having decided I’ll embark on this high protein vegetarian diet from tomorrow morning I decided to have a traditional simple to make dinner tonight. I ate some poori-palya which was left over from breakfast and then followed it up with curd rice. And the. I started thinking about protein content in traditional South Indian food.
The traditional meal I’m used to is rice with sambar followed by rice with curd. Rice of course is carbohydrate only but the sambar is ideally made thick, with lots of dal and curd is also quite high in protein. So from that perspective the traditional meal I grew up with is not that low in protein – despite what a lot of people like to say. And contrary to what I’d said in a post in December there is plenty of vegetables also in home cooked food. So why is the traditional South Indian diet considered unhealthy?
I think it primarily has to do with bad implementation – usually a consequence of attempted cost saving. If you can’t afford thick curd you eat buttermilk instead – which is quite a dilution. And then lentils are expensive so you end up diluting the sambar too. And then you skimp on vegetables and you get a carb heavy thing!
Then why did I bitch about the Andhra meals the other day? Why is it that Andhra meals is not as nutritious? The answer is that if you eat only the vegetarian component of what is essentially a meal that includes meat you end up missing out on the nutrition. What we get as meals in most Andhra restaurants is food that people who eat meat eat. So that food relies on the meat to provide the protein and so the rice accompaniments like the powders and chutneys need not have much protein in them. So when you leave out the meat and eat the rest you naturally get an unbalanced diet!
Anyway starting tomorrow I’m cutting down on rice, sugars and other carbs. I plan to be eating loads of eggs, cheese,tofu, mushroom and the like. Let’s see how far I go with this!