3 years living low carb – verdict?
After about three full years living (and learning) the low carbohydrate lifestyle – I have to say without a doubt, it is the one and only sustainable long-term health “plan” you can provide for yourself.
But that is not to say it is (or was) without revelations, new discoveries, hiccups and roadblocks.
Because the world is constantly moving in all directions, and as we learn (or un-learn, or re-learn) subtle (and often risky) facts about about nutrition in general – it absolutely pays to stay on your toes, keep educating yourself, and remain active in the low carb world.
Human Guinea Pig – will try almost anything
In the past year or so – I’ve experimented with foods and methods that were essentially outside of the direct “comfort zone” of a true low carb / high fat (LCHF) diet.
They weren’t the same “bad” things I used to eat – but as I’ve realized, they are NOT necessarily good either. Let’s take a look.
- “Gluten Free” is VERY over-rated: About the ONLY benefit of “gluten free” (besides the obvious Celiac reasons), is that you don’t suffer from the same inflammation and “bloating” you’d experience if you ate a substantial wheat-based meal. Other than that – and as we’ve read in Dr. William Davis’ new book: Wheat Belly – Total Health – is that ALL GRAINS ARE BAD. Rice. Corn. Oats. Barley. Human beings were NOT “designed” to eat the seeds of grass. Period. We’re not cows with four stomachs, or dogs with two. We have one single stomach, and our bodies are plain and simply NOT made to process those “edible” items. A majority of diseases and unpleasant “symptoms” can be traced back to grains. Eliminate them entirely.
- Organic – still open for debate: While I certainly don’t want to eat pesticides or GMO products – I’m still on the fence with certain organic foods. One, the cost per unit of measure is substantially higher – which may or may not present a problem long term. Additionally – I’m a bit concerned with the authenticity of most commercial organic products. Unless I was there on the assembly line, how can one be 100% positive it’s genuine? Furthermore – any kind of carby snack that boasts “all natural” and organic should still be avoided if they contain grains of any kind. I will add though, that we had some organic blueberries the other day that were out of this world. Way better than the cheaper chemical-laced berries.
- “Cheating” never has an upside: Even if you’re on a huge “winning streak” and feel better than ever – there is NEVER a time to “cheat” just because you “deserve it.” Because cheating is just punishing yourself. One, you’ll most likely get a stomach ache (or experience body pain and stiffness). Two, it will raise your blood sugar levels and knock you out of nutritional ketosis. Could be a day, two or more before you’re burning stored body fat again. And lastly, once to have that taste of the addictive carbs – you’re prone to cheat a few more times within a short time-frame (until the suffering wakes you back up). Staying on track is much more rewarding than 15 minutes of “palate pleasing.”
- Watch your alcohol: After drinking nothing but red wine for a few years – I had the cravings for an ice-cold frothy beer during one of our warmer days this past summer. That kicked off a week or two long streak where I didn’t care. The beers went down nice (and you got a different “buzz” too, believe it or not) but I felt worse the following days. I don’t care if beer has a different sugar (Maltose), it’s still not a smart choice if you need that drink. Stay off the beer (think “beer belly.”)
Recommended Low Carb Reading
- The Big Fat Surprise – Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz: A NY Times Best Seller and filled with 1000′s of references, The Big Fat Surprise was the result of over a decade of research that absolutely DESTROYS conventional “wisdom” about nutrition we were all force-fed for the past 40+ years. Bottom line, our obesity epidemic is most certainly a “western disease” thanks to misinformation, the industrial revolution, and more. Quit “counting calories” and being afraid of good fats and you’ll be in great shape.
- Wheat Belly Cookbook and Wheat Belly 30-minute (or less) Cookbook: Together, these two cookbooks will give you over 350 dishes you can create that are wheat and grain-free. Absolutely fantastic (especially the 30 minute version). You’ll never miss bread again, and if you start today – perhaps by next summer you’ll be ready to wear a bikini at the beach for the first time in a long time!
Good luck to whomever is finally about to take the low-carb plunge! You’ll be amazed at how you can turn you life around for the better!