Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Loving My Low-Carb Lifestyle!

So...Wednesday is recipe day and I am working on some amazing grass-fed-beef-kabobs, but they aren't quite there yet.  Poor me, have to try them again!

I rearranged my order of posts to talk about the low carb lifestyle I've been enjoying since February of this year.  Just this week I encouraged 2 people to start up - so all of my enthusiasm is going to pour out right here!  Now - if you want to enjoy this post while munching a muffin, feel free!  No snide remarks from me!  Just don't make me eat a regular muffin!

You know I love lists, so here are some questions and answers that may help you if you have ever been curious about a low carb diet.

    • Why, Maven, why?  I had let my weight creep up and knew I had experienced success before using a low carb approach.  Multiple clinical trials have proven that "low carbohydrate"  test groups lose more weight more quickly than standard low fat diets.
    • I hated the low fat or portion-restricting diets I had tried.  I have a decent metabolism, so I can lose weight when I try, but I was miserable (and cranky, I'm afraid) when trying that route. Also, my weight bounced right back when the restrictions were over.
    • When it comes to bread, for me none is easier than a little.  I can munch on bread daily (and mindlessly).  My roommate in college once told me that I was the "sandwicheness person she had ever met"!  Some folks love sweets, some chocolate; I love(d) bread.  Removing it completely from my diet has completely taken the desire away - I'm not kidding when I say I do not miss bread!

    • Fine - you say with a little grumpy sound in your voice - so what can you eat?  Many, many things.  I can have any meat, eggs, cheese and most dairy, all but a few vegetables and a fair amount of fruit.  I eat yummy, beautiful food until I am full.  I don't get hungry.  I don't count calories.  I don't feel guilty. (at least about food)
    • Hmmph, you say - now is the bad part - what can you not eat?  The list is not too bad...bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice, cereals, corn and starchy beans and peas. Look at that list - isn't it mostly your 'filler' items on your plate?  Pasta may taste great, but it really doesn't add nutrition to your meal.  While it's great fun to smoosh the gravy all over your plate with a roll, the roast is the real star.  
    • To start with I limited fruit.  Now that I am at my goal weight, I have added berries and melons, but apples, dried fruit and oranges are a little too high in carbs to consume often. 

    • Don't I need carbohydrates?  Not really, you can do completely away with carbs and suffer no ill effects.  But that is not the point.  I eat carbs every day.  I just eat them in the form of nutrient-rich vegetables, rather than starches and grains.  Your body can adapt easily to burning fats for fuel.  As I have met my goal weight, I have increased my carb intake, but I stayed at 30 net carbs a day for months.  (It was during this time that more than one friend called me 'the incredible shrinking woman'!)

    • If I am interested - how do I start?  I recommend The New Atkins Diet and The South Beach Diet.  If you have heard of the Paleo Diet (caveman diet), it is basically the Atkins diet with no dairy and no artificial sweeteners.  I haven't found a book I love on that one. I have an easier time on Atkins because I can wrap my brain around the goal of the day (eat so-and-so-many carbs).  South Beach does a little rice and a little whole grains as you go along.  As discussed above, my character isn't quite that developed.  
    • What has low carb got to do with homesteading?  So glad you asked!  Look at what I eat - meat, lots and lots of veggies, eggs, berries and melons!  I can produce most of that!  I can eat organically and seasonally from my garden and have omega-3 eggs for breakfast all I want!  Even if you choose not to move on to producing your own meat or dairy, look at the items you will no longer buy at the store!
     Augh...time to get personal.  Did it work?  Yes - and in spades.  I lost 30+ pounds, have a good blood profile and am totally enjoying my new style of cooking and eating.  I purchased a huge cook book (but she uses a few too many artificial sweeteners for me) and I follow for recipes and encouragement. Our menu variety at home is so great that recently one of our boys asked me if we could make an old favorite, rather than trying so many new things.  Functionally, my 'diet' works when I go out - any restaurant has a salad with meat on their menu and many places are offering cauliflower or zucchini strips to take the place of potatoes or fries.  You know what else?  I'm happy with my food.  Food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by family and friends. It is a pleasure God grants us to give us a reason to enjoy each other and ourselves.

So...if you are thinking it's time to drop a few pounds or your doctor has given you the 'talk', consider a low carb lifestyle.  I'm glad I did.  I could go on and on - but I'll stop here but there's a whole lot more!

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