Where do I Start?
People are always asking for a few tips they ask “what do you eat?” most of the time they ask this because they want tips on how to do a Low-Carb diet. Let me say first we are not doctors and we are not trying to give anyone medical advice. Now with that disclaimer out-of-the-way, there is nothing wrong with sharing what meals we eat and why we eat them. We are only going to share a few tips or what we believe worked for us. If you feel you want to try it then we will give you whatever support we can.
Let me put some words in context for you. When we say avoid we mean just that we avoid these foods, stay away from. We know that sometimes you will need to eat them but it should be done with caution. Off Limits, this means for us under no circumstance is it ok to eat this. People often take terms and stretch their meaning or gloss over the importance. We want to try to be sure that people a clear on these terms.
The General Rules of Low-Carb
Most Low-Carb plans have these general rules.
Things you should eat,
- Cornish Hen
- Crab meat
- Any non processed meats is good to eat.
- Green beans
- olives , olive oils
- Any dark-colored vegetables in small amounts remember 20 grams carbs per day total
- Very limited pepper and onions.
- Cream all kinds of cheese but hard cheese are better then soft.
- Nuts and seeds, don’t over do it.
- Coconut, and coconut oil
Things you should not eat
- Breaded meat and meat in Sweet sauce.
- Any wheat products
- Boxed Cereals like frosted flakes
- Corn or corn-based products
- Sweet fruits
- Most fruit that aren’t berries.
This is not an all-encompassing list. The point we are trying to get across is the foods that are high in non fiber carbohydrates are bad foods. The food with low carbohydrates are good. As you find a Plan each plan will give it’s own list of things you should and should not eat. Paleo is ok with most fruit for example but keto is not. Below are a few tips you should think about when starting a Low-Carb Lifestyle.
- Read the Labels, this is where we have an advantage.
- Find a plan, A book, that you are going to follow not just these tips.
- Avoid food that is high in carbohydrates. I.e. no bread, pasta, sweets
- Sugar is off-limits. All kinds, from Agave to table sugar it’s all sugar.
- Avoid processed food and drinks. That includes low carb processed foods.
- Low Carb doesn’t mean no carb. Like Momma said eat your vegetables.
- Fat is good, saturated fat is good, not trans fats.
- Don’t over exercise, you have to do some exercise but don’t overdo it.
- The quality of the food you eat, Start slow and improve as you go.
- You didn’t get this way overnight, it won’t come off overnight.
Read the labels
The bottom Line of Eating Low Carb Starts and stops with reading Labels and looking up nutritional information on fresh food. After doing this for a few weeks you will instinctively know where to find the food you can eat, and where to stay away. In the Atkins’ new revolution he talks about how most of the food we can eat is around the outside of the store in the coolers and the fresh food area. The food on the inside of the store is mostly processed foods. I remember the first time I read that, later that day when I walked into the store it looked so different to me.
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Find a plan
Eating and living low carb changes everything. If you want to be successful you have to educate yourself. You actually have to unlearn what you have been taught your whole life about eating healthy and how to cook. You will need to learn how to cook with fat. Most of us don’t know how to cook with fat. Something as simple as bone broth probably was a staple of American diet in the 1800’s but now we through the bones away after we cook a Chicken.
There are many books out there about Low-carb/Paleo/Ketogenic/Atkins type diets. There are many plans that tell you to reduce carbohydrates the trick is learning how to replace what has become a staple of the American diet. It is like trying to imagine how you would get to work if we replaced automobiles with bicycles. Yeah you could still get there but you will need to reconsider what time you get up, what time you go to bed, maybe even where you live. All of the sudden traffic jams is the least of your worries. I hope this example exemplifies the gravity of switching your body from using glucose for energy to using fat. It is a fundamental shift.
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Avoid high Carb foods
There are only 3 macronutrients, fat, protein, carbohydrates. As far as your body is concerned carbohydrates turn into sugar. Fiber is the exception to this, fiver passes through the body without being processed. This is what allows us to eat green leafy vegetables and stay in ketosis, as long as we don’t eat too much. They are mostly fiber, water and less of the things that the body break down into sugar.
High carb foods stimulate insulin production and retard the metabolizing of fat for fuel. Especially foods made with refined sugar. Refined sugar is defined as sugar that causes a rapid increase in your blood sugar. Avoiding High Carb foods is a staple of a low carb diet. To me any food that has more than 40% of the overall calories coming from non fiber carbohydrates is a high carbohydrate food. Things like potatoes, pastas and breads are the worst when it comes to shutting down the body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy. Almost every plan that I have read gives a pretty good list of foods you should and should not eat. Although paleo does encourage foods like fruit and nuts they do it from a real food perspective. If your body is not insulin resistant then Paleo may work well for you. If your body goes crazy with insulin production to process one into an apple, then paleo may not help you lose weight. It will help you get healthier then again getting away from SAD (standard American diet) just a little bit will make you healthier. So avoid High Carb foods.
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Sugar is off-limits
Sugar is sugar is sugar. There is no way around this rule. If you are used to adding sugar to coffee or tea, you will need to find an alternative. I know some people will try to tell you that Agave is a natural sugar and they will name others as well but when it comes to the body natural or not the body converts sugar into glucose, and that starts a whole mess of problems.
Some plans will tell you that sweet n Low and equal are bad for you. In my mind it is better than sugar. Hopefully you are making this choice to go Low-carb because you are ready for a better life. if that is the case using these kinds artificial sweeteners as a stepping stone to not needing them at all is a good thing. I have heard all sides on the artificial sweeteners thing in the Low-carb community. Some think it is evil and deadly. Other think they are not so bad. From my experience I have gotten to the point that I don’t need that sweet taste. So I don’t need them.
When I do use some I use stevia, so far nobody has come out and said stevia helps you grow a 3rd head so I will continue to use it. Be careful because they (the food companies) like to cut the stevia with other sweeteners, I think they do this to because things like xylitol is cheaper and if they can give you 75% xylitol and 25% stevia extract then they can increase their profits margin on each sell. My body reacts badly to those kinds of artificial sweeteners so I have to buy Stevia liquid extract where Stevia is the only ingredient.
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Avoid processed food and drinks
You will see all kinds of processed 0 carb packaged foods. They will say things like only 2 net carbs. I starting out you may need some of these things as crutches to help make it through. I will warn you that eating these things will make the process of getting fully Fat adapted harder and longer. In my experience eating processed low carb foods stimulating cravings for real sugar.
Someone once told me that if your food has more than 1 ingredient you probably should note be eating it. I will stretch that to 2 or 3 ingredients for the sentiment is the same, the fewer ingredients in the foods you buy the better. You should strive, I mean work to get to, a real food diet. Using these processed low carb foods as much as possible. Now saying this means I probably won’t be getting endorsements from Atkins nutritional but I have to say what I think is right. I hope you notice that even though I am talking directly about processed low-carb foods it includes all processed foods. I just so happens that most people who are new to Low-Carb and have little knowledge about it tend to think that because it says only 5 net carbs that it is ok to eat 4 of them and still be under 20 Grams of carbs. This is so not true.
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Low Carb doesn’t mean “no carb”
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about Low-Carb Diets, people often think it is no carb. Most plans urge you to eat at least 2 cups (uncooked) of green leafy vegetables. That is usually starting out. As time goes on you learn what vegetables you can eat and stay in Ketosis. I love spinach, so I eat some almost every day. Broccoli is another one I will mix with cheese and eat I love it. Sautéing you vegetables in butter is a great way to increase your fats.
It is hard to say it enough vegetables are your friend as long as you keep them under control. Once again different plans change on the amount of vegetables you should eat and when but most Low-Carb plans limit them at some point.
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Fat is good
The last 50 years we have been told that dietary fat is bad, that was a Big Fat Lie. We have created entire food industries around avoiding Saturated fat. We created margarine to avoid butter. The sad parts is it was all for nothing. Every Low-Carb plan I have read believes that saturated fat is not our enemy. Some plans differ on how to incorporate this fat back into our lives but they all say eat more fat.
It only makes sense. If there are only 3 macronutrients Fat, Carbohydrate and protein then if you decrease Carbohydrates you are going to increase the other 2 fat and protein. There are books out there called protein power that champion protein as the answer. Then you have books like Keto Clarity that champion increased fat is the answer. Regardless of which you chose to follow they will at least say Saturated fat is not your enemy.
We do need to stay away from Trans fats. These are bad fats. When you hear people say healthy fats they mean Saturated fats. Fats especially saturated fats have been demonized so long that we decline to call them by their real name we call them healthy fats.
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Don’t over exercise
One of the first things people do when they decide they have had enough and they are going to lose weight is they go join a gym and they work out real hard. They really think they are doing their body good. From a fitness standpoint you probably are. From a life changing standpoint, not so much. This has to be a gradual change that you are going to stick to for the rest of your life. Going 100 miles an hour when you’re not even sure which direction you are going gets you nowhere. Yes do some exercise but start slow and build into it. This will allow exercise to become part of a habit.
Professor Tim Noakes has a great book about how the doctrine that he helped establish in the 1970’s about carb loading and working out until it hurts was wrong. Dead wrong in some cases.
He has changed his view on the role of carbohydrate and exercise bottom line is build up into your workout routine. You won’t be able to work the fat of any way, working out is about getting fit and healthy don’t confuse it with losing weight. The way you eat will impact your long-term weight loss a lot more than how hard you work out.
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Quality of the food
Here is a little tip, a lot of people get wrapped up in, you got to eat grass feed beef, these foods are organic or these foods are pesticide free. I say if you have been doing this Low-carb lifestyle for a while and you are at your goal weight then knock yourself out. If you are 300 pounds away from your goal weight and you were eating pizza and hamburgers with every meal then whether the broccoli that you are about to eat is organic or not is the least of your worries.
You have to start somewhere, if you are just getting started don’t get overwhelmed about where that spinach came from or if that chicken was raised stress free. A lot of other habits and concerns to deal with before you get to that one. You should focus on getting that “crappy carbage” (as Jimmy Moore would say) out of your life. When you get that down and you are honing in your last 15 to 20 pounds or you are setting you’re eating plan for maintaining the weight you have lost then you will have more than enough energy and time to figure out how to get rid of all this other stuff that could be preventing you from staying at that weight.
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It won’t come off overnight
I know we get anxious especially when that first 10 pounds falls off in the first week. We start thinking that this diet is going to have you back in Highschool shape by summer. Let me tell you now. That is not going to happen like that. Like any weight management program you will get out of it what you put into it. You didn’t gain all that weight over night you are not going to lose it overnight. Your going have your ups when you lose 10 pounds without trying, then other weeks you’re going to put all you have into it and you won’t lose a pound.
You have to educate yourself, read books like why do we get fat, Listen to podcast like Low-Carb conversations, watch videos like Sugar the Bitter truth of documentaries Like Cereal Killers Learn why our bodies stores fat . That is one of the sure-fire ways to arm yourself with knowledge so you know you will overcome a 2 or three-week plateau. It also will give you the knowledge how to adapt your eating to maybe break through. It will help erase the feeling of hopelessness that people feel on other diets when they start feeling like it is not working.
Getting started is relatively easy start eating a lot of meat eggs and Cheese right. The real question is what are you going to do after that? What are you going to do when you start getting bored with meat egg and cheese, that is where this website comes in. That is where all the other resources we are going to connect you to comes in. The more you know about Ketosis and the Low-carb lifestyle the more success you will have. Subscribe to A low Carb Life, each posting is a window deeper into the Low-Carb Life.