Your Low Carb Journey!
Your Low Carb Journey!
What is your low carb journey going to be and where will it take you?
Why did you make the decision to reduce the carbs and or sugar in your life? For some of you, it may simply be about simply trying to reduce their intake of sugar, or to cut back on starchy foods such as bread and pasta. Perhaps you have been diagnosed as being pre-diabetes type 2 or maybe you already have type 2 diabetes, and you want to try to reverse this. Other people may be interested in making huge changes to their lifestyle by perhaps adopting a very low carb and/or ketogenic (keto) way of life. Either way I hope you find recipes and articles on my blog that might give you a little inspiration.
I’ve always had a great interest in food and living a healthy lifestyle and have worked in both the food industry as well as in the fitness industry in the past. A few years ago I signed up for one of those 8 week diet and exercise programs to try to lose a bit of weight. The diet was very low in carbs but allowed you to eat a restricted amount of them after exercise. I didn’t realise at the time but I was actually doing a Targeted Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (TCKD). I was amazed at how good I was feeling, how much weight I had lost and also how good the food was that I could to eat. This was actually the start of my low carb journey and has led me to the position now of making this an actual way of life, not just a diet.
I tend to follow a ketogenic (keto) diet which is extremely low in carbs and high in fat and I just want to give you a bit of an insight into what types of food I eat in a typical day. When I have conversations with some people about what my way of eating (WOE), many people picture me sitting down to plate loads of bacon, eating an abundance of cheese and literally wiping fat of my chin after every meal. There is a misconception that people who are doing low carb must also consume huge amounts of meat/protein. Generally, this is far from the truth although some diet plans do advocate consuming a lot of meat. In reality, if you are in ketosis then consuming too much protein can actually kick your system out of ketosis.
Whilst there are many people who do eat a lot of unhealthy fats while eating low carb, my intention when I embarked on this journey was to be as healthy as I could be. I’ve done this by eliminating as much processed food from my diet as I can but also by trying to eat as much wholesome, fresh food as possible with the addition of an abundance of healthy fats. So while the majority of my diet does comprises of fat, in general they are the ones that are really good for you. They are mainly sourced from nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut, grass fed butter, etc,. I do eat a reasonable amount of protein but no more than I did before I started this WOE.
I have, like many of us, been brainwashed in the past to only eat low fat foods and lots of grains and starchy foods. We are told to make food selections based on that ‘heart health’ tick of approval, and that eating fat is going to cause you to have a heart attack. I have now adjusted my eating and am now no longer afraid of fat, not even saturated fats. I even eat chicken skin now which was always taboo and no longer buy the low fat versions of minced beef or other cuts of meat and probably focus more on it being organic and/or grass fed than anything else. I might eat bacon twice a week and would easily consume 1 dozen eggs in a week. I occasionally eat processed meats such as salami and chorizo but try to limit this as much as I can.
I try to eliminate as many processed foods out of my life as I can due to the impact that processing has on food. Basically, I try to eat real food. Have you heard of the tagline #jerf- it means ‘Just Eat Real Food.’ I avoid all foods high in carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, wheat products, potato, rice and noodles, as well as sugar laden condiments, drinks, cakes and treats. You know you’re a serious low carber when your best friends are Zoodles (zucchini noodles) and cauliflower rice/mash.
Full fat cheese, haloumi, feta, ricotta, marscapone, mozzarella, cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream all feature in my life but I do try to restrict the amount that I eat as excess dairy can cause weight gain and/or stalling. I do tend to eat quite a few products made from almond meal, such as cakes and muffins, bliss balls etc., but I restrict the serving size and use these as a treat to have with a coffee or a dessert every now and then.
I use almond meal in so many of my ‘treat’ recipes, so I don’t tend to snack on nuts. They are very high in calories and it is so easy to eat over the recommended amount. I also try to avoid nut milks and nut butters when I can for the same reason. I eat eggs for breakfast a couple of times a week. Most other days I will eat a couple of tablespoons of full fat Greek yogurt, a 1/4 cup of my low carb muesli, with berries of some sort on top. This is delicious! I will eat this as a snack or quick lunch sometimes if I haven’t had it for breakfast. I love coffee and have a tiny dash of cream with my 3-4 cups of coffee each day.
Note that if there was one recipe of mine that I would recommend that you include in your life, it would have to be this KETohh Low Carb Muesli. It is so simple to throw together, it’s really healthy and it takes the decision making out of ‘what do I eat for breakfast?’ If you only made one change to your way of eating and it was to eat this for breakfast, that could be really beneficial for your health.
I try to eat low carb vegetables with every meal so if I am having eggs for breakfast I will always include mushrooms or spinach. In doing this, I eat an abundance of vegetables. Many people complain of issues with constipation with this way of eating but If you eat as many fibrous vegetables as I do, it will certainly help you avoid this. I consume an abundance of low carb vegetables in particular cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, salad greens, etc., I limit fruit but I do eat a reasonable amount of berries, in particular strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (and the very, very occasional orange or banana in a low carb cake.)
Another factor in my diet that helps me avoid constipation is the number of seeds that I consume. Chia, flax/linseed, pepitas, sunflower seeds and psyllium husks feature in many of my recipes (they make up my muesli recipe) and they are fantastic for keeping you regular. The bonus to these foods is that they are also great sources of Omega-3’s, fibre and an abundance of minerals and vitamins that are really good for you. Did you know that chia and linseed in particular are great for helping increase your HDL’s- the so called good cholesterol?
I am happy to use a the minimal amount of stevia and other sweeteners such as erythritol, Lokanto Monkfruit, Xylitol etc., to sweeten foods but do try to avoid products such as rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, dates,and agave etc., as they are still just versions of sugar. Many people think they are being healthy by using these products instead of white processed sugar but the issue is that once they hit your blood stream, they act the same way as processed white sugar, spiking sugar levels in your blood. These treats are sweetened absolutely minimally with a natural sweetener such as stevia so you will find my recipes are never overly sweet. You will also find that because of the small amount used in my recipes, even if you think stevia has an aftertaste, you won’t detect it because it is such a small amount.
There are so many different variations of eating low carb and what path you chose is up to you. I don’t want to dictate what you should be eating but I do want to share with you how I have applied this way of eating to my life and also let you know what types of food I consume as it may help you start on your own personal journey. Some people on this journey consume as many fats as they can and don’t consider their calorie value but I have a more restricted view on what I want to consume and it is one that has worked for me.
So…regardless of the path you decide to take, I hope you find some inspiration from some of my articles and recipes that will lead to a healthier you. Choose a path that you can stick to and you will succeed. If you know that you are never going to cut out alcohol for example, why try to eliminate it totally from your diet, when you know that you won’t be able to achieve that. You can always try to reduce your consumption for a healthier you but to say you won’t drink again will probably not be achievable.
Try to make lifestyle choices rather than just making this a ‘crash diet’ that you are going to do for a few weeks to lose weight. I have found that little wins along the way can really help you to stick to your chosen way of eating. That is why you need to make your goals achievable. Even if your goal is to simply try to cut back on sugar or cakes, making a change like that in your life could be really beneficial to your health.
So work out what your journey is going to be and …do it because you are worth it!