Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Regretting Holiday Hedonism? Various Guides to Low Carb

Hope you're having a Merry Christmas! It's the fourth anniversary of this blog and it's been almost that long since I started a low-carb diet and never looked back.

That's not to say I never have a moment of weakness. Too much chocolate last week brought back the GI problems that I set out to solve four years ago. I can't eat chocolate bars in moderation, so I don't keep them around anymore. For others, it's Christmas cookies, stuffing, bread, pie, and other carbs that make this the most fattening time of the year.

How to get back on track--or start a LC diet? Someone asked me this just yesterday. Since different approaches work for different people, here are a few sources for various types of people.

Just tell me what to eat.
Here's a quick guide to low-carb from Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt.

I want to know how this actually works.
Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, who have treated thousands of patients with low-carb diets, explain diet, hormones and hunger.

I need some basic recipes. 
Broil a hamburger three to four minutes on each side 4" from the flame. Serve with a salad or steamed non-starchy vegetables (fresh or frozen) with some butter. Eat a can of sardines with mayonnaise and some celery with almond butter. Make some deviled eggs and serve with cole slaw (mix mayo, vinegar and a little stevia or Splenda to taste for dressing). Buy a roast chicken and a carton of a vegetable dish from the deli.

I need some more recipes. 
Dana Carpender and Dr. William Davis have recipe books you can download from Amazon or check out from the library. (Click the links for recipes online.) You can also de-carb some of your favorite recipes by substituting a clove or two of garlic for onion, cauliflower for potatoes, Splenda or stevia for sugar, almond flour for breadcrumbs (or use egg as a thickener, as in meatloaf) and just skip the rice, noodles and other starchy ingredients. If you're baking, though, you'll need different recipes to replace wheat or rice flour. Dr. Davis's books are a great resource for baked good recipes.

How do I eat out?
Get a bunless burger and a salad. Go to a restaurant and ask for a meat and vegetable dish. Buy a sub sandwich with no bun. Go to a diner and have bacon and eggs, no toast or hash browns. Have a plain coffee (cream or half-and-half is OK) at a coffee shop. Order some hot wings. Stay away from fish and chips places and pizza and pasta joints and don't even look at a bakery.

I'm having some problems on my LC diet: I'm tired, foggy, constipated, or craving carbs.
You probably have the Atkins flu: a two-week adaptation period to a LC diet. More fat, more water, and more salt will probably help you; a magnesium and potassium supplement could help, too, especially for constipation. Low-carb is NOT compatible with low-fat or low-salt. Don't make yourself exercise until this adaptation period is over.

You might have also started eating things you don't tolerate well. If you have stomach aches, lay off the vegetables and check out the FODMAPS diet. (I have FODMAPS problems myself and didn't find it that hard to figure out what bothered me. Experts make it out to be harder than it is.) See if anything has carrageenan, a thickener that's used to induce inflammation in laboratory animals. It's used in cream, cottage cheese, salad dressing, almond milk, ice cream, and other products.

You might be going through wheat withdrawal. Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and one of the biggest proponents of a wheat-free diet, says a minority of his patients get terrible cravings for wheat when they stop eating it.

In any event, stay the course. As Dr. Michael Eades puts it,

If you’re three days into your stop-smoking program, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re in drug rehab, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re trying to give up booze, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  And if you’re a week into your low-carb diet, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed. 

I miss my carbs!
We all have to do things that aren't fun: paying bills, getting up early for work, washing the dishes. If you had a child who didn't want to pick up his things or wanted to take up smoking, would you indulge him? Saying to yourself, "I need a cookie!" (or "I deserve a frappucino!") is just as indulgent--and not worthy of a grownup. Take heart, though. Many of us who've been on low-carb diets for awhile find sweets and starches no more appealing than the box they come in.


Lori Miller said...

Hi, Jan, I don't know what happened to your comment, but I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Lowcarb team member said...

Thanks Lori - my computer seems to have had a few hiccups over Christmas but glad you received the Christmas Wishes ok

All the best Jan