Friday, November 8, 2013

A Few Words of Wisdom Regarding Healthful Eating

How I Found Out About Low Carb Eating

(Skip down to nearly the end of this post for links to some of my favorite low carb recipes.)

Over two years ago at the end of July 2011 Bob heard about the book, Why We Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes. Bob had heard about it on NPR while commuting from work. I was still in my "breading making phase," as well as, "calorie in and calorie out" accounting phase. I was extremely frustrated with my weight, 192 lbs @5'8," considering my fitness/activity level. I should weigh less, not be gaining weight.  I had spent the past 5-6 summers and the current 2011 summer attending summer intensive with my gymnast daughters at Patterson's Gym. We would sweat to P90X and Insanity together, and, YES, I could lift large shrubbery, but I was plump. And, not pleasingly so. I continued exercising throughout the fall and winter. I'd cross country ski, snow shoe and swim laps at the Orem Rec indoor pool. I never ran because of my back pain. So, I read the book.

I know I'm a couple of decades behind regarding the low carb diets, but I was flabbergasted. After reading the book I discovered why I had been gaining weight. My diet was laden with sugar and fiber-less carbohydrates. I was raised through the low fat generation. Food was healthy as long as it was low fat; consequently, it didn't matter that it was highly processed, fiber removed with sugars and salts increased to make it palatable. Food companies can't sell nasty low fat food when it doesn't taste good. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. The book Why We Get Fat doesn't provide a diet, but rather sets the reader on the right track towards healthy eating.

 Atkins Ain't that Bad

At the Atkins diet website (During the 1970's Atkins was the famous bacon and eggs diet.) provided some helpful recipes and a downloadable carb-counting booklet. Atkins now promotes getting the basis of your carbohydrates from green vegetables. Avoid white rice, white flour and potatoes like the plague. By the way I never actually adhered to Atkins Induction phase, the 20 carb per day period at the beginning of Atkins. I included nuts and berries in my beginning efforts at the diet. I did experience the "Atkins flu" for a good three weeks, too.

I continued to exercise which is also hard to maintain during such a drastic diet change. After a week of low carb and a couple of pounds lost, my feet didn't hurt any more. I'd been going to the podiatrist for over a year and purchased lovely sports orthotics for my shoes. My left foot had been beset with plantar fasciitis. The water weight loss during the initial period of a low carb diet must have relieved the inflammation in my feet. Dr. Robert Lustig says regarding the initial weight loss of a low carb diet is " due to loss of liver and muscle glycogen, which is surrounded by water." Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, 186

Three months and a 28 pound weight loss later I continued on my merry, little, low carb way. Holidays and boredom didn't mess me up. I could bend over and my belly fat didn't cut off my wind by filling up my body cavity reserved for important life-sustaining organs. I was not a low carb purist. I had birthday cake at my children's birthday parties. I have six children and one husband, so that's a lot of cake slices. I'll have a piece of pizza sometimes, but I don't eat bread regularly and I never have cereal from a cereal company. Steel cut oats with sucralose drops. Eggs and cheese. Sugar free cocoa with more of the sucralose drops and cream. I'm no longer a fat-a-phobe. There are fats to be avoided: transfats, omega-6; but, you must remember that fat can be your friend. My goal is to keep my insulin down and not be hungry. Avoid the bad fats, eat low sugar and high fiber.

 Say No to Sugar and Discover Where It Hides

 Although, Why We Get Fat by Taubes doesn't present a diet plan, it points in a general direction; and, Dr. Lustig is helpful in suggesting  a diet concept in Fat Chance.  He says, “Do we need to avoid restaurants and supermarkets like the plague? Do we need to eat what our ancestors did or eschew all carbs? I would propose that all we need to do is eat ‘safe carbs.’ That means low sugar to prevent insulin resistance, and high fiber to reduce flux to the liver and prevent insulin hypersecretion. And while we’re at it, eat ‘safe fat,’ that is, real fat rather than synthetic fat (such as transfats, which can’t be metabolized) . . . eat real food. All real food is good. It’s what we do to the food that is bad. Keep the food intact—you can steam, boil, or grill it.”  Here’s a chart of foods which are categorized in green light, red light fashion. Green is good for you. Red means highly processed.


Also, exercise is so important. Lustig says, "Exercise is the single best thing you can do for yourself. It's way more important than dieting, and easier to do. Exercise works at some many levels--except one: your weight." Fat Chance,   . Exercise helps me feel better in my head and can be energizing for the rest of the day. But after 18 months of low carb my exercising was curtailed by viruses and injuries, maybe even older age or even perimenopause. Nine months ago I didn't feel well and then things happened like tennis elbow, trigeminy and back pain. Now, over two years from beginning my low carb adventure I've regained ten pounds with the inches that accompany them. So, time to investigate some gentle exercise. I'm not into that type of exercise because sports don't tend to be gentle and exercise needs to be fun.

Enough background on why I'm trying to be low carb. Check out the YouTube video of Dr. Robert H. Lustig's lecture to medical professionals about the dangers of sugar/fructose Sugar: the Bitter Truth.

My Favorite Low Carb Recipes

Flaxseed Wholewheat Waffles
Maple Cream Cheese Spread
Deviled Eggs
Sugar Free Cocoa or Low Carb Hot Chocolate
Flaxseed Pancakes
Stroganoff with Cabbage
Taco Salad with Sour Cream
Low Carb Enchiladas
Chicken and Egg Salad
Flaxseed with Milk and Drops

I don't include simple meals in my recipe list. I figure salad and green veggies are easy for you to prepare. Burgers, steaks, eggs and protein shakes are easy, too. 

Lovely Snacks

Mixed nuts are great and even better with the fibrous skin included on each nut. Remember not to eat too many. Look at the serving size which usually are about an ounce. I like an Atkins bar every once in a while. It can get pricey is you eat these too often. Sugar free chocolate can be divine especially Amberlynn's Sugar free Belgium chocolate. I love it when she has a roadshow at Costco. I'm afraid Amber knows me on sight:) 
Now for a maltitol warning. You don't need to include sugar alcohols in your carb count, but you may want to consider with whom and where you will be going later in the day or evening after consuming maltitol.  As Donkey said to Shrek and Shrek said to Donkey, 

"Man, you gotta warn somebody before you crack one like that. My mouth was open and everything."
"Donkey, if that was me, you'd be dead."
When you consume maltitol depending on your tolerance for the stuff your friends, acquaintances or unwary shoppers may be unsuspectingly putting their lives at risk simply being near you.

To locate low carb recipes and inspiration for dinner Google low carb recipes and see what you get. Karen Barnaby's gourmet recipes look good. Search Pinterest as well. Here's a low carb recipe board.

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