Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the great low-carb experiment

are you on reddit? it's the "front page of the internet" and my husband is on it a lot. i mean, A LOT. they have threads on every topic under the sun. it's like the beyond of bed, bath & beyond.

well, phil kept talking about keto. he read the threads and kept saying "i want to try keto." it's an extremely low-carb diet where you train your body to use fat for energy, rather than carbs. it is common in the body building world (oh, you know, totally us) and also used to treat epilepsy. i had seen several reviews of the "wheat belly diet" book and decided to read it. i LOVE diet books. i don't usually follow them, but i started reading them in early high school (dr. weil). i love the idea of detox and cleansing, too, so i agreed to try the wheat-free, sugar-free thing and see how i felt. i had done the clean cleanse a couple of years ago and felt great, but it was hard to maintain alone. if phil is doing it, i can certainly succeed! i had one last hurrah: maple fest : ) i ate maple until i was sick, but it was so worth it!

so three weeks ago we took the plunge. this is not a cheap endeavor. i did some menu planning (i follow several natural food blogs and supplemented with pinterest, reddit and low carb friends) and made a B-I-G whole foods run. many of the foods are no different than what we typically eat: lots of green veggies, cheeses, grass-fed beef, chicken, milk from grass-fed cows (dairy and meat from the milk delivery). however, i bake. we eat pasta a fair amount. one of our sides at dinner typically includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, or rice in some form. i had to find stevia, coconut oil, almond flour, garbanzo bean (gram) flour, unsweetened cocoa... expensive staples to re-stock a keto-friendly kitchen. i'm trying not to go too crazy, but it is fun to experiment. i do love wandering the grocery store. and ordering off amazon : )

the first week, i stuck to safer recipes. salads for lunch (with leftover meat from the night before on top) or a chipotle burrito bowl/salad if i went out. for dinner, i made a lot of hashes. that's where i basically cut up lots of veggies and a meat (say, spicy sausage, kale, onions, squash, garlic) and brown them all in a big skillet. then i put a poached egg on top. we also ate lettuce-wrapped burgers at five guys. one night, i made pecan-crusted chicken with kale and mashed cauliflower. not a huge fan of the cauliflower.

by day five, i felt horrible. i was really weak and couldn't keep down food. i assume it was the change in diet, but i had also gone to a work event the night before and had wine without a real dinner (very few low-carb options). i broke down and had a slice of toast and orange juice. but i went back to my low-carb diet the next meal. i also learned that i need to eat meals and try to get to my calorie goal every day. i'm struggling with not being hungry (never thought i'd say that!).
the next week, phil felt bad. he felt sluggy and tired. and he had a stuffy nose (this one actually hasn't really gone away). but we got a little more adventurous with our meals. i learned how to make chickpea flour batter and used it to make wraps, tortillas, and flatbreads. very good! we upped our fat intake and started feeling much better. we have switched to whole milk and eat lots of avocados. i also eat olives and phil eats nuts.

i was able to make turkey, avocado and bacon wraps for lunch with this great recipe. a single serving wrap is 2 tablespoons flour to 2 tablespoons water and i don't use nutritional yeast, because i don't ever have it. i made a couple extra wraps and they kept pretty well for lunch the next day. not as good as hot off the skillet, but totally passable. especially with some mashed avocado : )

we tried a taco night with ground beef (which became taco salad the next day). same chickpea flour batter, poured thin to make tortillas.

lazy night was a flaxseed meal foccacia eggs benedict. the flatbread holds together well and even goes in the toaster! i topped a couple of slices with bacon, a poached egg and a sprinkle of cheese. then a quick salad on the side: spinach, red onion and clementine slices. yes, i know that fruit is not low-carb. but i LOVE it. and a tiny clementine isn't that bad : )

and we even had pizza! phil found this great recipe and i topped it with a tiny bit of tomato sauce (look out for added sugar), fresh mozzarella, parmesan, salami, prosciutto, lots of spinach, and basil. it does not taste like pizza, but it's good.

will we stick with it? maybe a bit longer. the greatest thing is that it has re-set my palette. i don't crave m&m's and coke in the afternoon now. fruit is sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. but i think my body functions best with a few more carbs. i'll try to stay with complex carbs and not slip back into bad habits. i did feel amazing on my last run - super light on my feet. we'll see...

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