So I did it!
30 fantastic and interesting days living on a low-carb high fat diet. What are my thoughts? Well to be honest, I have been struggling getting my head around how I am going to go forward.
However, first things first. Lets look back on the last month and see how it all went. Overall, I think it went brilliantly. In some ways I feel as though this diet is made for me! I’m not naturally inclined to eat fruit (I forced myself as I was trying to be healthy), I love snacking on cold cuts and cheese (I stopped myself as I thought it was unhealthy), and I don’t generally eat sweets, cake or pastries (I never really crave them – dark chocolate on the other hand is my weakness)
When I look back at my life prior to LCHF I can recognise now that I went hungry ALOT, and I thought I was doing the right thing. Especially the months leading up to my wedding, I was trying to lose weight ‘healthily’. I was eating low fat, whole grain, lots of vegetables and fruit, lots of legumes, going to the gym 5 times a week – but seeing very little results.
Although my initial reaction to LCHF was quite skeptical – after week 2, I definitely felt myself firmly on the band wagon. Something that I misunderstood in the beginning is the amount of meat that I needed to eat. Originally I thought, my meat intake would have to significantly increase – which morally I battled with.
I do believe that as humans, we consume far too much meat than our bodies are made to handle. It is not only a strain on our bodies, but it is a HUGE strain on our environment. Then one day I came to the realisation the diet is called Low Carb High FAT not Low Carb High PROTEIN. This may sound trivial – but suddenly a light switch went off in my head and realised I had been looking at this diet all wrong.
Although technically I could eat steak and cream sauce everyday and still stick within the loose parameters of LCHF rules – for me that was just plain stupid and limiting. I would be no better than people who only eat fast food and wonder why they are unhealthy – it may taste good, but you don’t get enough nutrients!
I significantly increased the amount of vegetables in my diet, made a point of making vegetarian dishes and found I was actually varying my meat consumption. In the past, I would try to limit myself to chicken and seafood (as this apparently was better for you), however now that I have been given the red-light to eat what ever type of meat I want, my weakly meals are more exciting and satisfying.
Another positive aspect of this diet – is that it has encouraged me to branch out a bit in my cooking and to be a bit more adventurous. I would have NEVER given something like cauliflower rice an ounce of attention if it was not for LCHF, and it turns out – it is something I really enjoy and have used repeatedly over the last few weeks.
Physically I feel great and I have learned to listen to my body. In the past I considered that I had a reasonably healthy relationship with food. However, looking back now I see how guilt laden my interaction with food was. If I was hungry and it was not ‘food time’, I forced myself not to give in to that sensation and wait – it was almost as sign of weakness that I couldn’t hold myself. How stupid? Now, I eat when I’m hungry and my body feels better for it.
Since cutting out the carb I no longer feel bloated or uncomfortably full. I am alert all day and do no longer experience my afternoon lull around 3pm and just waiting for the day to be over. I feel energized.
So I realise all of the above are all incredibly positive – and if I feel so damn good, you are probably wondering why I am struggling with how to go forward? In fact as I’m writing this (I am starting to wonder too).
1. Although this may seem a bit trivial – not living in Europe or the U.S can make adopting a lifestyle such as LCHF quite challenging. You want to eat carb-free in Mexico? FORGET IT! The entire nation is built on corn! What kind of food will they stock in Brasilia when we move there in a few months time? My worry is, is that if I let myself relax a bit with the carbs due to circumstance – but still eat the high fat, will I now just blow up?! Then I might really have a health problem?
2. Although cooking is one of my passions, another is travel. Luckily the life I have chosen has allowed me to travel constantly (my whole life is a journey). I am also a firm believer that the best way to get to know a country and their people, is around around the dinner table. I never want to be in a situation where I turn down an offer of a meal due to my self imposed diet restrictions.
3. I have now mentioned it more than a few times that I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. The idea of never again making a great pasta, risotto, chickpea curry or roast potatoes – I have to admit feels a bit depressing! I make a KILLER saffron and prawn risotto! This is something I have to try and figure out.
Although in the beginning, one month sounded like a substantial amount of time for me to make a decision in regards to the LHCF diet, in reflection it was too short. I think I will continue along this path for another month and then see how it goes.
I think an important aspect for me to remember is that I am not doing this because I am ill or over weight. I am doing it because the health benefits of the diet makes sense to me, and the more I read the more I am convinced of the ills of a heavy carb based diet. However, having said that if I find myself in a situation where I have no choice in what is served, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Likewise, if on a special occasion I decide to eat something that is carb heavy (risotto for example!) because I want to treat myself – I have to fully enjoy it and have no regrets!
In regards to this blog – I think for the time being I will continue with it. Although I don’t intend to record what I have eaten on a daily basis, as I am sure it is just as boring for you to read about my daily food quests as it is for me to write them. I will however, still post any interesting LCHF related posts, recipe’s or rants!
Lets see where the next part of this adventure leads us!