HTF to be vegetarian and not have 99% starch diet?

 If I cut out rice, bread, and legumes and replaced them with more veggies as everyone seems to recommend these days, I'd not only be getting virtually zero protein (I can only eat so much tofu, almonds and seeds a day) but I'd lose 50lb in a month from the drop in calories.

I don't care about getting bigger, but if I'm going to be a skinny bastard (5'9", 135-140) I'd at least like to be a lean skinny bastard rather than a soft one. I have to assume it's all the carbs/starch that are making me less lean than someone as skinny as I am normally would be.

Why not brown rice (health food stores tend to have a lot of healthy rices and pastas), quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, granola, etc. to keep your calories up? Get some hemp or another kind of high-quality protein powder and make up a shake or two per day (toss in frozen fruit, berries, matcha green tea powder, maybe a scoop or two of a greens supplement, a banana, almond milk, maca, rolled oats, coconut butter, flax oil, yogurt, etc. - not necessarily all of those in one shake, but you get the point). You can actually make them taste pretty good, and go organic on most of that stuff, should you so desire.Then there's fruit all by itself: apples, pears, bananas. Those should help with the calories. Nuts, too. Don't limit yourself to almonds. Experiment with some new kinds you haven't tried.I should say that I do eat meat, though, usually in the evenings, so I don't have to get too creative with extra protein sources beyond what I've already listed. I'd actually lose the tofu all together (but I hate tofu). This should be a good start towards getting what you need out of a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet.

Jon, thanks for all the suggestions! I gave quinoa a try for like six months and by the end of that time couldn't stand it any better than at the beginning.

Like I said, I'm not trying to be a bodybuilder or competitive athlete or anything, I just feel like I should reduce my carbs/starches. I'm trying to add more veggies in any case, it's more the reducing of the carbs that is tough since that's probably where most of my calories and protein are coming from.

Here's a typical day for me:

  • bowl of rolled oats w/ almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, cinnamon


  • smoothie - skim milk (haven't cut out dairy, at least not yet), water, banana, strawberries, blueberries, raw honey, walnuts, kale, celery, flaxseed, sunflower seeds


  • PBJ - natural peanut butter, organic grape jam on ezekiel bread


  • "ham" sandwich - Yves soy "ham" on pumpernickel w/ swiss cheese, spinach, tomato


  • brown rice w/ red lentils, spinach, some spices, and some sort of veggie burger (black bean/etc) on whole wheat w/ spinach, swiss, onion, tomato


  • another smoothie

  • probably another fruit at some point

My weight is stable. I lift weights 3 days a week (right now doing the Starr 5x5 program, sort of), bicycle 3-4 days for a total of 100+ miles a week, play drums a few hours a week at pretty high intensity. I've put on about 10 pounds in the 10 years since I stopped eating meat; I don't know how much of that is just getting older and how much is because of the high carb diet. I don't know; I just feel like being reasonably fit, eating better than 99% of the population, and being pretty skinny ought to all add up to being really lean, you know?

I've been meaning to try the hemp protein, but it seems like it's pretty expensive and I used to hate having to shell out for the (much cheaper) whey protein powder every month back when I used that.

 Eggs, cottage cheese (cheap and lots of protein), I like quorn "chicken" can get lots of protein.  I get a lot of protein and try to avoid starches...

The hemp protein's not a must, but definitely a great boost if you're going to be making smoothies anyway. Whatever you do, make sure you're enjoying it. Eating to stay healthy and lean really doesn't need to be about depriving yourself or forcing yourself to live on stuff you hate. There are really enjoyable ways to do it.

You seem to be quite low in fat intake. If you're reducing carbs but want to keep your calorie intake up you need to eat more fat. Try salads soaked in olive oil, using nut meals for baking (tons of recipes on the web for this), and if you're still good with dairy then cheese, butter, and milk should be good friends of yours.