Surviving Feb-Fast: low carbs, low sugar and no alcohol…

So, what does eating low carbs mean for a normal daily diet? For me, this means cutting out any white carbohydrates, such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or flour based items. The reason is that these foods are highly refined, offer little benefits for their empty calories, and are essentially sugar, which converts to fat far too easily if not used up immediately. For the purposes of this months’ eating, I am also cutting out any additional sugar other than what is found in food naturally. I am eating a small amount of fruit, normal vegetables and salad. I am NOT eating any cakes, biscuits, lollies, chocolates, sugar, honey.  Is this something which only a Naturopath would commit to?  Hardly.  These are responsible, healthy choices, and worth trying if you are considering how to change your diet.  Will it help you to lose weight?  Quite possibly – but the end result is about better health, better energy, better digestion!

I am also being very selective with what I drink. Alcohol also converts to sugar pretty rapidly, and is a major and largely unrecognised cause of weight gain. Other hidden causes include any sugary drinks, soft drinks and juices, which often have a major impact upon non-alcoholic fatty liver. This includes “sports” drinks, which is a whole other topic for me to rant about another time…

So for most people, when I say I am doing this, they stop and think, and then ask “what are you eating?”. The interesting point here is the natural reliance upon carbs as a standard part of every meal. So for elucidation, I will outline below a standard days eating for me on this diet, and what it means in terms of fat, protein and carbohydrate intake, as well as intake of sugar.

Breakfast: 266 calories
1 cup of green tea
1 poached egg
1/4 cup baked beans (I use tinned variety, but often add in additional beans or chickpeas to add protein and reduce the sugar in the sauce)
1 black coffee (dash of milk)

Lunch: 490 calories
Salad with: dark lettuce, rocket, spinach, beetroot, 1 carrot, cucumber, half a chicken breast or couple of rashers of bacon, feta cheese, half an avocado, mung bean sprouts.
1 black coffee (dash of milk)

Snacks over course of day: 310 calories
Macadamia nuts (roasted and salted – sorry, more tasty this way…) around 15, hard to count
half an avocado
50g cheddar cheese
1 cup of green tea

Dinner: 450 calories
Lamb shank soup with root vegetables and barley
100g of natural full fat organic yoghurt
1 cup of Sleepytime tea

So, on a day of eating like this, I will have consumed 1,515 calories. Of this, I ate:
Protein 66g
Carbohydrates 144g
Fibre 27g
Sugar 41g
Fat 64g

So, a little higher than my intended goal of 30 grams of sugar, but manageable. Now, I am not doing this to calorie count, but am giving the calories to indicate a measurement. It is well proven that to change any way of eating, you have to find a way to measure your intake of food. Also, I used MyFitnessPal to measure this – it is not the only method out there, but it works well, and it is free, so definitely worth looking at.

The big point – I was not hungry with what I am eating here. I was not craving sugar. I had enough energy to go for a run, and function throughout a normal day. When I am reducing empty calories like carbs, I will always replace it with higher intake of protein. If you look at my meals, there is protein in every section. Using legumes such as lentils, beans, chick peas helps a lot as this makes you feel full, and provide energy and fibre.

So this is the diet of your Naturopath for the month of February – have a look and see if you want to do something similar for a week or two! And if you are wondering how I am going off the alcohol…? I am drinking a lot of plain soda water or mineral water with a wedge of lime in it, on the nights when I would usually have a drink, and this is working pretty well so far!

The funny thing is that I am moving into my new Allied Health clinic right now, and this is a time that I would usually be snacking on lollies and rewarding myself with a beer, but it’s proving surprisingly easy to find alternatives and not feel that I am going without.  It may be because I am aware that I am writing about it in public and have to live up to my statement!

Eve Armytage
Revive Your Health
5 February 2017.

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