Starting Over

I’m starting over – this blogging thing. I quit last year because there are so many LCHF blogs out there, I wasn’t sure there was much point in keeping up. I’ve decided I need to do it for me, though.

I’m still a huge LCHF fan, and I still regularly read the blogs on the right over there. Year two is turning out to be harder than year 1 was, though. Actually, It was more like the first 6 months. Then the holidays came. I decided to be much less strict between Thanksgiving and Christmas (which includes my birthday.) I didn’t want to give up dressing with my turkey, or birthday cake, or PIE! The plan was to get back on plan in January.

It was harder to get back than I expected. And then we had some family health crises with the accompanying stress. And so the cravings for all those bad carbs came back and here it is August and I’m still not back into the swing of things.

So, I’m starting over! And I’m going to blog to help me stay on plan. And to share the real struggles. Many of the blogs I read talk about how great things are (as I did a year ago.) But sometimes it’s not so great – at least not for me.

I don’t miss bread. I’m happy without cereal and even pasta. But donuts?! And cookies?! And the other worst-of-the-worst junk foods. I have a terrible sweet tooth and it hasn’t miraculously gone away.

But I feel better when I’m eating low carb and I’d like to re-lose the pounds I’ve regained in the past 8 months. So, I’m starting over! I’d love for you to come along!

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Celebration Backlash

I went to a family wedding last weekend. I’ve known it was coming since I started LCHF at the end of May, and all along I’ve planned on NOT eating low carb on the day of the wedding. I enjoyed the ricotta & artichoke ravioli and, of course, the wedding cake. I skipped the rolls and other ordinary refined carbs that didn’t seem worth the dietary hit.

I felt great yesterday, in spite of the long drive home. I didn’t feel any immediate impact from my high carb day and thought that maybe I’d be one of those lucky ones who was “fat adapted” as Mark’s Daily Apple calls it, and could move between LCHF and an occasional high carb day without trouble. Well, today I’m dragging. Maybe it’s the long weekend and Monday morning, and just getting into the swing of things. But I suspect it’s Carb Flu.

I had scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast – I’m out of cream and bacon. So the rest of the day I’ll be working to increase both my fat and salt intake to get over the hump!

Eating Out

I have a lunch meeting today at Mimi’s Cafe. Eating out with family or close friends who know I’m eating weird is one thing. Eating out with colleagues is another thing entirely! So, I went to the website and checked out the menu ahead of time. Looks like a great opportunity to add a little Omega-3 with salmon. I’ll avoid rice and potatoes and most other things on the menu. Quiche would be possible by avoiding the crust, but I had eggs (and bacon!) for breakfast, so I think it’s the salmon. Once again, it’s hard to complain about such treats.

Paula Deen and Gary Taubes

I’ve been traveling, so that means I read magazines. I don’t do it much when I’m home, but they’re prefect for airplanes – light, foldable, often mindless. In the airport yesterday I picked up the latest People with Paula Deen on the cover. It was big news last week that’s she’s lost 30 pounds. Congrats to her! That’s a fabulous accomplishment that I’ve yet to achieve.

The first reports I heard suggested that she’d been eating a low carb diet, in part to help control her diabetes, which she announced recently. I wanted to read about her diet and mark another point for low carb eating! I was disappointed by what I learned, though. Because she’s diabetic she is controlling her sugar intake and other “white foods” including potatoes and bread. She’s enjoying sweet potatoes, though, and plenty of fruit, and a weekly eat-whatever-she-wants day. If these work for her, more power to her! Seriously. We’re all different and have to find what makes us healthy.

This approach didn’t work for me, though, and I didn’t find what I hoped for when I read about her plan. I can blow a whole good week in one day of eating whatever I want. My favorite thing about my month of eating LCHF is that my cravings for junk food have all but disappeared. It’s amazing. I didn’t believe other people when they said this kind of thing, because in my experience my cravings were worse than most others’. I can eat a huge piece of cake and still want to eat the rest of the cake. I can crave donuts even after I’ve had 6. My brain doesn’t say stop. Except now I can just not think about them. That wasn’t possible before. (Don’t get me wrong, I still want donuts, but not as fiercely.)

Gary Taubes, of course, explains why this is true in his extensive research and writing. Eating carbs feeds our carb cravings. They also lead to increased insulin production, which tells our bodies to store energy as fat. A colleague gave me the March 7 issue of Newsweek that includes an article by Taubes. It’s the same information that he shares in his books and numerous other articles. (I like consistency!) It’s great to see a mainstream magazine pay attention! It was also a nice foil for the People article.

I wish Deen would read Taubes. I think she’d be even healthier and happier – and maybe stop injecting herself every day. But then that might put her endorsement deal in jeopardy! I’m guessing Novo Nordisk doesn’t Paula Deen reading Gary Taubes!

One Month!

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Somehow I managed not to publish the last post when I finished it. So this one comes the same day, but really that was a week ago. I’m visiting family this week which can be challenging if one is eating strangely. Fortunately, my mom has been following Atkins – though feeling a little sluggish – so I’ve gotten the be the one giving dietary advice for a change. “More fat! More salt!”

I’ve passed the one month mark and I’m feeling great! Hanging out with little kids and their high carb snacks presents lots of temptations. They’re getting the same high sugar, high carb diet that most American kids are. I’m biting my tongue to avoid going off about carbohydrates, and to keep from snagging a cookie or a handful of Goldfish myself. I did eat 4 Goldfish one day, but only after reading the label to be sure it wouldn’t blow my plan.

I had some shopping to do yesterday for an upcoming family wedding so I hit the mall food court for lunch. I was after 1:00, which is significant in itself – I used to be an 11:30 lunch eater. I easily avoided the pseudo-Chinese and Japanese restaurants with their breaded meats and sugary sauces. I skipped several chain fast foods, being tired of burgers without buns. Fortunately there was a “GreatWraps Cafe” with fabulous mediterranean options. I got the Gyro above with tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, and feta. I ate it with a fork and tossed the heavy pita. It was wonderful! This diet really isn’t much of a diet. Skipping Goldfish is a pretty easy sacrifice when such a delicious lunch is the prize.

Update: I meant to add that I discovered that my home scale is utterly out of whack. I stepped on a commercially certified scale and weighed 35 lbs less then I hoped! That’s a nice problem to have, but clearly I didn’t lose 35 lbs in a week. It’s nice to know I hadn’t gained as much as I feared in the previous 6 mos., but I really don’t know how much I’ve lost in the past month. I’m guessing about 10 lbs., not the fifteen I wrote last week. Looks like I need a new scale when I get home.

Happy So Far!

I’ve completed three weeks of LCHF and I’m very pleased! I’ve lost 15 pounds and I’m feeling really good. I don’t get very excited about 15 pounds, because I have a lot more to lose, and a big part of the 15 lbs. is related to water retention. I can gain back 15 pounds without even trying, so the real test is what happens next.

I like the way LCHF makes me feel. My energy levels are good. I don’t feel like running a marathon or anything (nor do I ever expect to feel like doing that!) But I’m certainly well past the initial slump of dumping the carbs in my diet. Most significantly, I haven’t had a single bout of low blood sugar – the kind that makes me run to the fridge and eat everything in sight. That’s very good news!

Overall, I’m very content with my eating options. I recently found a new recipe for sausage and peppers, that may now be my favorite dinner! I’m a little tired of cream in and on everything, so I’ve had a little less of that this week. Romaine lettuce has become my chief bread substitute and I’m good with that. I’ve had both beef and chicken tacos – with real cheese on top!

I’m not craving sugar and flour like I expected to. I do still want to graze in the evenings, though. I’m trying to find good alternatives so that I don’t have to contemplate being utterly deprived of dessert or snacks for the remainder of my life!

I’ve tried several recipes that use almond flour instead of white flour. I hated the almond flour baked donuts and the almond flour crust I used under low carb ice cream cups. But last night I made these mini-cheesecakes and they’re amazing! The almond flour crust, with added vanilla protein powder is really good. And how do you beat cheesecake?!

I had dinner at a friend’s home last week, which was a challenge. I told her I was eating this strange diet, but it’s hard to people to ‘get’ how radical this is. The salad with tuna and sliced eggs was great. Everything else was pretty carb heavy, including quinoa with two kinds of raisins, which she assured me was all protein. Well, actually, quinoa is 70% carbs. I avoided the raisins, of course and I didn’t eat much quinoa, fortunately. There was a lot of fruit – I nibbled on the berries and had one slice of pear. There’s always bread, which is easily enough avoided. I hate to clear out a host’s salad bowl and ask, “What are you going to eat?” I had some cheese and a slice of roasted pork loin when I got home!

Restaurants are easier. Friends may look at my plate strangely, but there are more options and I don’t have to find a way to politely refuse the beautiful dishes they’ve created for me. I’m looking forward to eating out tonight for a meal I don’t have to plan, cook, or clean up after!

Going LCHF

I recently discovered the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) movement. I’d been “Carb Cycling” for a couple of weeks and was finding the low carb days pretty easy. So I decided to do some reading about low carb diets. I tried this several years ago, but found the “Induction” phase of Atkins way too restriction, exhausting, and miserable. It didn’t last long.

I soon found dietdoctor.com and Gary Taubes work, including Why we Get Fat and What to Do About It. I devoured the book in a week and was converted! I started eating LCHF the next week.

I realized that in my previous flirting with Atkins, I hadn’t eaten enough fat, much less bouillon. This time around getting adjusted has been much easier. With the addition of cream, bacon, and butter, I don’t feel deprived at all. Check out the links on the right for some sites to get you started.

I plan for this blog to be a record of my experience more than a primer on how to follow the LCHF lifestyle. I welcome your comments – especially if you’re an experienced LCHF-er and see me making a major error!