What Is a High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet (HCLF)?
A high carb low fat vegan diet is a diet that completely eliminates animal products and is high in plant-based carbohydrates and low in any type of fat.
Benefits of HCLF Vegan Diets
Many people decide to switch to a HCLF vegan diet for it’s many benefits. Here are some of the many benefits this lifestyle may bring you:
Skin Clarity – People who suffer from acne have found that their skin thrives on a high carb low fat vegan diet. Eliminating of animal products/most processed foods from your diet and consuming healthy, nutrient-dense foods can detox your body and skin of lingering toxins. Case studies have shown a transition to a diet focusing on carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables can get rid of most, if not all, of your acne in a matter of weeks.
Weight-loss – Weight-loss is probably the #1 reason that people switch to this lifestyle. Many who struggled with restrictive diets, eating disorders, and unhealthy American lifestyles, find themselves coming to this lifestyle after hearing about incredible results. Case studies show morbidly obese individuals can lose a significant amount after coming to this lifestyle with little exercise. The best thing about High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet is that it is NOT restrictive. You get to eat many nutrient-dense and filling foods throughout the day and still lose weight on a full stomach.
Digestion – Digestion is one of the results you see almost instantly on a HCLF vegan diet. Many people say the day they switched, they noticed a huge difference. Flushing out all of those processed and toxic foods from your system reduces bloating and gas. Animal products take a long time to digest because our long intestinal tracts are not made to digest meat. Because of this, our human systems tend to get ‘backed up’ and give off many unpleasant odors. After switching from a standard American diet you may notice that your body odors are a lot less pungent and going to the bathroom becomes a lot less smelly. Eating plant-based foods are much easier to digest and will have your system running smoothly in no time.
Energy – A HCLF vegan diet will greatly increase your energy levels. These nutrient-filled foods will satiate your body. By eliminating most processed foods, refined sugars, animal products and foods that are high in fat, you will be less sleepy and consistently have high energy levels throughout the day.
Reverse and Cure Disease – Plant-based vegan diets have proved over and over again that it has the power to do “impossible” things. Case studies and testimonials show that a plant-based vegan diet can reversed, slowed, or completely cured the following (among others):
- Breast, Colon, Prostate and Skin cancers (all stages)
- Type 1 AND Type 2 Diabetes
- Numerous Autoimmune Diseases
- Heart Disease
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Types of HCLF Vegan Diets
Two of the most popular High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet are the Starch Solution and a raw 80/10/10 diet. While the Starch Solution allows you to eat cooked foods, 80/10/10 is strictly raw/uncooked foods.
The Starch Solution – Also known as the McDougall diet, the Starch Solution promotes getting back to the basics. Dr. McDougall’s book, “The Starch Solution”, explains the diets of the most healthy and fit groups of people throughout the world and history. McDougall promotes eating mostly starchy vegetables and fruits along with grains, legumes and even bread and pasta. He also explains the benefit of eating very small amounts of fats from vegetables, nuts, oils, seeds etc. This diet has been so successful among people because it is sustainable. McDougall encourages getting many calories from potatoes and rice. These foods cause people to truly satiate their bodies. As long as you listen to your body and stop eating when you are full, do not restrict, and eat the right foods, this diet will spew benefits.
80/10/10- The 80/10/10 diet is another HCLF vegan diet. This diet calls for a daily food consumption consisting of 80% carbohydrates, 10% fat and 10% protein. This diet, unlike the Starch Solution, is a raw vegan diet and calls for more protein and fat. Typically on an 80/10/10 diet you consume large meals of fruit and salad throughout the day. Avocado, healthy oils and nuts are encouraged to get that 10% fat. Some people thrive off of this diet as a lifestyle, others use it as a detox to kick-start their High Carb Low Fat vegan diet journey.
Both of these diets promote weight-loss and general health. While most diets force you to calorie count and restrict, High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diets allow you to eat food in abundance, it is not a restrictive diet. However, everyone is different and responds differently to diet changes. While these are specific diets, it is perfectly fine to create your own HCLF vegan diet as long as it is consistent with HCLF properties (eating mostly carbs, low fats, no animal products). More often than not, people who follow a 80/10/10 diet typically are known for “smashing in the calories”. This may be needed as the foods available to eat have less calories. In contrast, the Starch Solution offers calorie-dense foods that are also full of nutritional value. In areas where fruits are not as readily available year-round, a Starch Solution diet may be a better fit.
How to Transition
Quitting cold-turkey may not be too difficult for some people. However, not everyone can sustain a diet this way. Others find it helpful to gradually take out certain foods and add others. There is really no “right” way to transition, it’s all about how you react to change. If you like extremes and are able to stick with a diet after changing it overnight, go for it! However, if you need a more gradual change to sustain your eating here are a few ways to do so:
Go Plant-Based – Switching from a standard American diet (SAD) to a plant-based diet can help you to transition smoothly. Without eliminating any foods you normally eat, just add plant-based foods. When you accomplish this, move on to the next step.
Gradually Cut Out Processed Foods – According to whichever HCLF Vegan diet you stick to, cut out processed foods and refined sugars. To reap the full benefits of a HCLF vegan diet it is important to stick to a plant-based diet. While the Starch Solution allows you to eat pasta and breads, other processed foods are frowned upon. Start by switching to healthier alternatives to breads and pastas like whole wheat breads and pastas versus white. Try to eliminate refined sugars from candy, added sugars in drinks etc. Once you have eliminated all or most processed foods, it’s time to cut out animal products.
Cut Out ALL Animal Products – If you are already vegan, you can just move on to the next step. However, if you have not made the switch to a vegan lifestyle, cut out meat first. Once you have cut out meat, get rid of dairy and eggs.
Eat Intuitively – Intuitive eating can be the hardest part of switching from a SAD. However, with healthy, nutrient-dense foods, your body will start to tell you when you are full. Listen to these cues! It helps to ask yourself if you are hungry or just bored, tired, angry etc. When you do this, if the answer is anything other than I am actually hungry, drink some water, give it some time.
Do Your Homework – The last step is to do your research! It isn’t enough for most people to sustain this lifestyle without learning a little more. There are so many outlets to find information on HCLF vegan diets. Whether you are trying to go vegan for the animals but avoid the trap of the junk-food vegan, lose weight, or reverse illness, do your homework! Here is a list of just a few resources that may be helpful.
High Carb Hannah
Freelee The Banana Girl
Plant Based Athlete
The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Dougals Graham
The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall
Forks Over Knives (Netflix)
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (Netflix)
Hungry For Change (Netflix)
Fed Up (Netflix)
101 Reasons to go Vegan (YouTube)
Best Speech You Will Ever Hear by Gary Yourofsky (YouTube)
After you do these, it will be easier to adapt a High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet. Depending on the type of HCLF diet you choose, you may need to add or eliminate certain foods.