With all my talk of Induction and showing brownies made with “flours” a lot of people never even new existed, I might have scared you. You might be feeling some trepidation. It’s completely normal. The next time you are around a group of people, just casually mention the word “diet” and watch how people react. Eye rolling, looks of guilt, smugness for some, fear, curiosity… the list goes on. It’s quite interesting (and sad, really). Our society, along with our present state of health as a whole, has instilled powerful emotions when it comes to what we eat. Myself included, obviously.
Simply put – diet should be thought of as the foods you intake on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is more relatable as a verb equalling deprivation and starvation. This does not have to be. Again, speak with your doctor. Or find a doctor that is open to options involving you taking control of your health. If your diet can help you avoid adding, yet another, prescription on top of the others you are already taking, what have you go to lose? Special consideration should be taken for perimenopausal and menopausal women, who are currently taking statin drugs. Between my weight gain, difficulty losing weight, my age plus the related hormone issues that come with it, general health, supportive doctors, and curiosity about dietary significance related to all of the above, I decided that a carbohydrate restricted diet or (more precisely) ketogenic diet is the answer that best suits my concerns & needs.
Can you answer yes the answer to any of these questions:
- Am I showing signs of metabolic syndrome?
- Do you have to force yourself to stop eating sweets?
- Do you eat to the point of gluttony?
- Do you eat very little and still gain weight?
- Do you have polycystic ovary syndrome?
- Had a cancer scare?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms (or diseases), then you might want to seriously consider lowering your daily carbohydrate intake. Even just slowly and moderately cutting back will increase your health. Why carbohydrates? Simply put – carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body. The whole basis of reducing carbohydrates is to lower blood glucose. When you have excess stores of sugar, especially chronically, your body will store it as fat.
“But, your brain needs glucose to function. Your body needs carbohydrates for energy ” you say. Your brain needs 1 TEASPOON of sugar to fully function. That’s right – just 1 teaspoon (maybe 2 in exceptional circumstances). Furthermore, your body is meant to utilize fat as it’s fuel source. Fat has been wrongfully demonized due to the rise in heart related illnesses regarding cholesterol. If the touted Healthy Standard American Diet is meant to keep us all healthy, why are we getting fatter, more unhealthy, and more dependent upon prescription medications? Have you ever looked at the USDA recommended foods pyramid or the new, “healthier” version named MyPlate? Take a look. Do you see what foods they recommend in the largest amounts? Carbohydrates – big surprise. It isn’t working for a large and growing number of people. Hmmm….
A low carb/ketogenic diet IS NOT a no carb diet. I do not like that expression. A low/carb ketogenic diet IS NOT a high protein diet.I really do not like that expression! On a ketogenic diet you switch your body to use fat versus glucose as your source of energy. In order to completely switch to fat burning mode (especially burning excess fat stores), your body needs to enter into nutritional ketosis. Your diet consists of high fat (fuel), moderate protein (maintain muscle mass ), and green vegetables (low sugar, non-starchy carbohydrates). Yes, eventually, you can have fruit. But in limited quantities and lower sugar, higher fiber choices (mainly berries). We always hear “fruits and vegetables” paired together like they are twins. It’s vegetables, then fruits. We have forgotten that fruits are natures candy. Anyway back to the subject at hand. Once your body enters and maintains nutritional ketosis, you will find:
- increased energy
- sated appetite
- no sugar cravings
- stabilized blood sugar
- lessened inflammation
- shrinking waist band
That is just to name a few. One of my favorite bloggers and authors, Jimmy Moore, wrote an article called 10 Unexpected Benefits of Nutritional Ketosis. He also has a terrific website and podcast dedicated to a low carb lifestyle. I am subscribed to his site. He talks to many & various, professional authorities on this subject. As a result, his podcasts are so incredibly informational. His website has a lot information. If you ever feel like navigating it to gain loads of knowledge, you won’t be disappointed. Livin’ La Vida Low Carb.
Before jumping into a low carb diet, it might be wise to really think about how and what you eat regularly.
- Do you enjoy cooking and cook daily?
- Are you on the run or work long hours – how do you eat during the work week?
- Do you eat mainly convenience foods (pre-packaged, restaurants or takeout, or fast food)?
- Does that carry into the weekends; or do you cook or have home cooked meals on the weekends?
Answering all of these questions will help you get an idea of how you should set yourself up for success. Thinking about how you will need to go about making dietary changes, will give you an idea of how much may or may not need to change.
On a parallel path to the above, I challenge you to keep a food diary for a week. Make no changes to your diet – just record what you eat and drink. Then sit down for an hour, if you can, go to FatSecret and take a peak at your macros. Even if you only have time to do look at one day’s worth of foods, choose a day that you felt like you made healthier food choices and record everything. You might be surprised.
A regular “low carb diet” by most medical standards is anything below 150 grams a day. Certainly not by my standards or most low carbers standards. My body starts to gain weight when I start to consume somewhere between 60-70 grams daily. Now before you go running off to look up nutritional information, wait for my post tomorrow. I will show you how to decipher nutritional labels through a low carber’s eyes.