I have been living a low carb life now for several months and can confidently say that my body has switched to burning fat for fuel. Here is how I know that it did:
I feel like a million bucks
I have high energy levels
My intake of carbohydrates has been minimal
I do not hit a wall when I go without food for extended periods of time
I am not hungry first thing in the morning
I feel more alert than before
I’m producing ketones (stay tuned for the next post in which I’ll tell you all about it)
But still… all those positive aspects of eliminating carbs from one’s diet are not enough to convince some people who insist that this WOE (low-carb, ketogenic, atkins etc.) is very restrictive and limiting – even in light of the fact that what’s being restricted is what some call carbage (carb+garbage). In a LCHF diet you’re only eliminating things that have long time ago been defined and identified as unhealthy and fattening. You are getting rid of: grains, starchy vegetables, sugars and most manufactured packaged food items. So, think: rice, pasta, flours, potatoes, everything that falls into the category of TV dinners, cookies, pastries, all types of sweets, cakes, etc. And you’re left with full fat dairy (if you are not intolerant to it), oils (olive, avocado, macadamia, walnut, coconut), eggs, all fatty meats, organ meats and above ground vegetables (mostly green) and some fruit (avocado, tomato, berries). Personally I would not call this restrictive, I’d say it’s a type of a diet spring cleaning that we perform when switching up to this WOE – have a look at what I have been doing with the foods that remain on my LCHF diet. Notice, I love the idea of eating out of big ass bowls 🙂
Scrambled eggs have become a real staple in my diet. And so has blue cheese and avocado. The white dollop to top of the smoked salmon is my homemade mayo (Skip the store bought type as it contains unnecessary and unhealthy oils). Now, I have just learned something about the smoked salmon I have been eating: it contains brown sugar, so I will not be including it in my meals unless I find one that has none added. It’s not a huge amount, but I’m simply not contributing my hard earned money to the madness of preserving everything with sugar.
I used to cringe at the word “fried” and instead would often describe the activity as “sautéeing” , but since my transition into the dietary world of fat I have accepted this culinary technique as a valid way of preparing food without any negative connotations. To be perfectly honest my negative associations with frying foods come from the branch of deep frying foods and I still would not venture into this type of food preparation simply because even if you use the good stuff (coconut oil or palm oil) the control over how much fat one is actually eating while consuming deep fried foods is totally relinquished. You can’t possibly calculate the amount of fat you will be ingesting while consuming something that has absorbed the deep fryer oil. On top of that, if you decide to consume deep fried foods in a restaurant, be it fast food or otherwise, you are risking consumption of highly inflammatory fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil and peanut oil… just to name a few. Those should be avoided at all cost but unfortunately most, if not all restaurants, are using those unhealthy oils, especially for deep frying. Just think about it, go into any grocery store and compare the price of canola oil to coconut oil – the former is cheap as dirt as compared to the latter. So it’s more cost effective for a restaurant to resort to the cheap stuff.
I find the ordinary grocery store to be extra lacking in quality processed meats. Occasionally, I like to add some pepperoni, beef jerky, bacon or other cured meats to my meals, but you will be hard pressed to find those without added sugars. I don’t know about you, but when I eat meat, I want to eat meat… not sugar. So, I have to resort to finding those gems online. I tried the Nick’s Sticks and must admit they were very tasty and did not contain any unnecessary ingredients. The only downside was the price – I bought them at Amazon at $4.79 (free shipping) for 2 sticks for a total of 48g. While they were a nice addition to my meals I would not make them a regular grocery list item. However, this is the type of food I would certainly add to the list of foods to take on a hiking expedition for flavour, portability and weight. They would go very nicely in scrambled eggs on the trail 🙂
I have been loving bowl meals, period. It’s a very convenient way to integrate a lot of low caloric foods like lettuce, kale, zucchini, shredded cabbage and spinach with some more dense foods like oil dressings, avocado and fatty proteins like salmon. I usually layer all my ingredients starting with the lettuce-like items, then comes cucumber, tomato, nuts (if using any), and I top all that with diced avocado, and on one side I’ll put my protein and on the other side I’ll add a warm, cooked vegetable. In these two bowls that vegetable was red cabbage that I had fried in some coconut oil and spices until it softened a bit. I deal with sides the same way I deal with most meats (like the ground lamb) – I cook them in batches and use them throughout the week as needed.
There is nothing better than eating from a bowl! I don’t toss the ingredients together prior to eating, I integrate everything together as I eat and eventually the dressing will coat every single morsel of food. It’s the best thing ever, it seems like a neverending exploration into the bowl of goodness.
I don’t consider myself a picky eater and I will try almost anything at least once and if it’s very good I will eat it all day, everyday until I find some other type of food to try. So I don’t understand when people complain about variety and insist that they have to eat something different every day – if it tasted good on Monday it will certainly taste good on any other day of the week, no? But if one insists on this idea of variety I find that you can have a staple base meal (like those bowls) and switch up an ingredient or two if you really need something different every day. So for example, you can make a couple of different dressings from which to pick, change up the protein and some vegetables and you will get the feeling that you are eating a different meal every day, even though you might not have created a completely different meal. And for goodness sake…. use spices and herbs, they make a world of a difference .