June 30, 2007

Read the Labels!!!

I like to hang out sometimes on low-carb recipe lists and boards. Not only for the menus and recipes themselves, ideas and new twists on old favorites, but because quite often, you can see clearly just why folks are either stalled, or losing weight very slowly. Sometimes it's the actual foods they are eating. Foods that upset their own metabolisms, hunger level, or insulin resistance. But generally speaking, they will post a recipe, with no carb counts, and when asked for those counts, the greater majority will say they don't know, but it's all low carb ingredients so it must be low.

They don't know?

How can you be on a low-carb diet, and not know how many carbs you are putting in your mouth? I don't get it. I really don't. Now, I can understand those who post a recipe and ask for counts because they don't understand or know how to do that. But most of the people who post recipes aren't doing that. They are posting recipes they are using on a regular basis without knowing the carb count for them.

Now if you're following a clear-cut plan, like some of the Kimkins plans are, or original Atkins where he lays out exactly what to eat, how much, and when, that is a different story. I'm not talking about those types of low-carb plans. I'm talking about the plans where you decide what you are going to eat each and every day. Each and every minute. Yet don't know how much you are putting into your mouths.

A good place to start is the labels of everything that we buy. In fact, I even check all of the non-carb labels for my husband, because I want to know exactly what is in there. Ingredients as well as nutritional info. Mainly because you never know when you might be in a situation where your options are to pick the lesser of various evils.

Let's take hot dogs and sausages for example. Some folks think they are essentially free from carbs but nothing could be further from the truth. There is a lot of filler and sugar in those products so you need to be very aware of what is in them. How many carbs are in a single serving.

And I bring up this example, because I've been guilty of this in the past myself. I glanced down a listing, showing large sausages to be roughly 2 to 3 carbs apiece, and assumed (that's a very nasty, self-defeating word by the way) that "polish" sausages would be the same. Well, after eating two of them, I discovered they weren't. They are 8 to 10 carbs apiece, so I paid dearly with a lot of pain and inflammation as well as stalled weight loss that week, due to the lack of action on my part.

We need to take our diets seriously enough to know what is in the foods we eat, and how those foods are going to effect us. Weight loss is not easy. It is WORK. But work we will be grateful we did, when we one day reach our goals.

June 28, 2007

Is the One Golden Shot Theory True?

Can You Eat All the Bacon and Sausage You Want the Second Time You Do Atkins?
What is the
One Golden Shot Theory?
There's been a lot of talk over the years about the One Golden Shot theory, but so far, no one has been able to demonstrate the truthfulness of the claim.

The theory says:

You get one golden shot at losing weight the low carb way. Just one. The weight will fall off you at that time, without effort, but if you go off the diet and return several years later, you won't experience the same type of results.

Dieting will be harder, slower, and more painful.

On the surface, you can see this happening to a lot of people, but what most people use to defend their position is the rate of fat loss they experienced the first time compared to the rate of fat loss they are experiencing right now.

The difference in rate is real, but is that difference due to the One Golden Shot Theory?

Or is it due to something else?

June 21, 2007

Crockpot Chicken BBQ Style

I was so impressed with the flavor of the Braised Chicken I made the other day that I wanted to see if it would also work in a crock pot. However, I wanted to fancy it up a little more, and make it taste more like BBQ chicken. So I added a few things to the recipe. Cut down on the amount of diet soda, and upped the One Carb Catsup a bit. I think it would also work with plain tomato sauce as well, since that's how I usually make my BBQ sauce, though I would probably add extra seasoning.

Crockpot Chicken BBQ Style

1/4 cup One Carb Catsup
2 tbsp diet Dr. Pepper
1 tsp hot spicy mustard
2 tsp Splenda
1 tsp onion powder
a drop or two of liquid smoke
1/2 tsp barbecue spice
1/4 tsp pepper

Place chicken pieces in crockpot (frozen is okay). Mix together all ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

How Long Are You Going To Be On This Diet?

Yesterday, my husband and I took a trip up north to pick up a new radiator for his truck. It gave us lots of time to talk. One of the topics that came up was about clearing out the kitchen of a vast majority of cookware that we really don't need at the moment.

We have a very small kitchen, and since both us and my husband's brother and his wife share the house, things can get quite cramped at times. Especially since they are always dragging things home that don't fit into their 5th wheel (what they live in while my husband's brother is working). Which means I have to find a place for it.

My husband quickly agreed that dragging a lot of that stuff down to the basement would be a good idea. I didn't need dozens of pie plates and bread pans anymore, for example, and they were only getting in my way. But then he asked: "How long are you going to be on this diet?"

At first, I didn't understand what he was getting at, so I talked about my 6-month goal, how I wanted to lose all of my weight by the first of the year, and that anything I wouldn't need before that time could just as well be packed away.

He wasn't quite as enthusiastic about my projected time frame, and tried to pull me back into his reality that it just might take a bit longer than that. But then he said something that really struck home. "Isn't this a lifestyle change?" He paused for a moment, allowing that question to sink in, then continued with "if this IS a lifestyle change, then you aren't going to need most of that stuff even then."

Low-Carb Really is a Lifestyle Change

The biggest myth that most of have to unlearn is that once we have lost the amount of weight we want to lose, we will be able to go back to eating the same way that other people do. The truth is, that simply isn't true. And that's what hit me so hard yesterday.

Why are most of us so hell bent on returning to the way of eating that got us fat in the first place? Because the sad truth is that a broken metabolism never does fix itself. We can correct the imbalance. We can find ways of eating that will allow us to LOOK like other's who can eat anything they want to eat and not gain an ounce. But that will never, Never, NEVER be true.

That means a lot of the head work needs to be completed NOW...before we reach the maintenance phase, in order to avoid the temptations and desires that will attempt to get us to return to what we have always considered normal eating patterns.

Straighten Out Your Priorities

The homemade bread, fried potatoes, pizza, chocolate fudge chock-full of walnuts, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and all of those comfort foods we tend to indulge in when we think we deserve them for being so good are not really our friends. The sooner we get that through our thick heads, the better off we will be. And the more likely we will be to keep the weight off -- for good.

I think it comes down to a matter of priorities. Getting them straightened out, as well as getting them in the right order, so that when we reach that level of progress we won't feel deprived if we can't have all of the things we used to enjoy. Not that we can't ever have a piece of pizza ever again -- though some people really won't ever be able to -- but confronting ourselves with the scope of the problem.

What is More Important?

I was very surprised to feel a twinge of rebellion at my husband's suggestion that I won't be able to bake and cook in the same manner I am used to, even after losing all of my weight, because I absolutely love to bake and cook. At that moment, I realized I had to make a decision. A FIRM decision.

What is more important to me?

Successful weight loss (meaning maintaining that weight loss once I get to maintenance), or expressing my creativity through the kitchen?

Boye was the answer to that one going to bring about a radical change in my thinking. But then, isn't that what low carbing is all about? A radical lifestyle change. Not just cutting back on calories and starving ourselves thin, but completely leaving problem foods like sugar, fat, and flour behind us in order to begin a new love affair with foods that keep our bodies slim?

You Can't Heal Metabolic Issues

Insulin Resistance isn't going to go away just because we lose the weight. Insulin problems will always be standing close by to give us a hard time if we allow our thought process to return to our old patterns of thinking and looking at food.

And that's exactly what I had been doing. Allowing, "skip it for now" spoken so freely and so often within the Ask Kimmer threads to seduce me into believing that was true.

But it isn't really.

Because if we are telling ourselves we are only skipping eating these things for now, we really won't become accustomed to fully going without them. That is what we really need to learn to do. Overweight is an illness, and I think we need to begin thinking of it in those terms. Diabetics don't return to sugar after getting their blood glucose levels under control, an alcoholic doesn't return to social drinking, and we won't be returning to life as it was before.

Maintenance Isn't Much Different from Dieting

So with that in mind, my cooking is going to have to take a sharp right turn because maintenance isn't really going to be very much different than the way we are eating right now. It's really not. Maybe a few more carbs, and maybe an occasional treat, but the vast majority of our meals are not going to change. So finding foods and recipes that will fit into our current lifestyle is probably the most important thing I could do for myself.

And the thing that will bring about the success that I crave.

June 18, 2007

Taco Salad

Mexican Food Can be Easily Trimmed of Carbs
For an Easy Low-Carb Meal
Leave the Taco Shells Behind
Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines, and within that cuisine, my favorite food is tacos.

If you're on a low-carb diet, you don't have to go without tacos. You just have to start making them a little differently.

Like burritos, the taco filling is going to be the lowest in carbs, so if you ditch that 10 net carb corn tortilla, and load up your plate with just the filling, you can whip up a hefty taco salad without going over your carb budget.

Instead of those moderate-carb corn tortillas, reach for the pork rinds or homemade cheese crackers instead.

June 16, 2007

Protein: Are You Getting Enough?

With Jimmy Moore over at his Livin' La Vida Low Carb Blog moving from Atkins Maintenance to the Kimkins Diet in a serious effort to quickly peel off the pounds he's gained recently, as well as the last few pounds he never got around to losing, the subject of adequate protein intake came up on the Atkins Support Group I belong to.

Original Kimkins Protein Recommendation

At Low Carb Friends when Kimmer used to post there, the original recommendations on protein for the general Kimkins Diet was 70 to 90 grams per day. Even though she clarified that amount within her infamous "Ask Kimmer" thread to be the minimum amount she recommended, not the maximum, it upset some of the group members who thought 90 grams of protein a day was starvation rations.

How they came to that conclusion was using the mathematical calculation where 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories to figure out just how many protein calories one should eat per day on the Kimkins Diet. Due to the answer they received, they jumped to the conclusion that protein insufficiency was why those on the diet were losing so much weight so quickly... In their opinion, they are literally starving.

The 4-calories per gram of protein ratio is only telling you the amount of protein calories in that particular protein source. It doesn't reveal the total amount of calories because protein doesn't come by itself. It always comes in a protein-fat ratio. A good example of this would be hard boiled eggs. They have 6 grams of protein each, and 62% fat. An egg doesn't have a measly 24 calories, which was what the forum member first assumed, but 80.

The knee-jerk reaction to the protein-calorie calculation got me thinking. How much lean protein does it actually take to eat the minimum recommended amount? Are Kimkins members really starving to death?

What Does 70 to 90 Grams of Protein Look Like?

I went to Fitday and played around with the possibilities the other day, in order to see what 70 to 90 grams of protein actually looks like. What I came up with was the following:

70 to 90 grams of protein equals:

  • 2 to 3-1/2 cups chopped, cooked, dark meat chicken
  • 1-3/4 to 3 cups chopped, cooked, white meat chicken
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized chicken leg quarters
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of boneless chicken
  • 1-1/4 to 2 large chicken breasts (with bone)
  • 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 small chicken breasts (with bone)
  • 3 or 4 large hamburger patties (about 1/3 lb each)
  • 2 to 2-1/2 large or 3 to 4 medium pork chops
  • 12 to 16 slices of tofu
  • 12 to 16 eggs

At that point I stopped calculating, because it was easy to see that 70 to 90 grams of protein were just typical portions. Roughly, it came to about 6 oz per meal, 1/3 lb of meat, which is exactly what Atkins Nutritionals recommends themselves.

Atkins 72 Compared to Kimkins: How Much Protein Am I Eating?

I looked at my own charts this morning, and I first focused on how much protein I had been eating on Atkins '72 the week before I began the Kimkins Diet. The average protein intake was around 75 to 80 grams per day. Then I looked at the charts for how much protein I had been eating on the Kimkins Kimmer Experiment Diet, and my average intake was much higher: about 90 to 120 grams. Now that I have started the general Kimkins Diet, yesterday my protein ratio was back down to 77 grams. That's well within the acceptable range according to Atkins.com. I don't feel hungry, and I'm not experiencing any metabolic slowdown.

Course, low carb itself, takes the alternative metabolic pathway that the body uses when you are in starvation. So where is all the fear really coming from? Heck if I know.

June 14, 2007

Fiddling Around with Low-Fat Low-Carb Recipes

2 Chicken Recipes and a Dip for Hard Boiled Eggs
Learning to Cook
Low-Fat Low-Carb Recipes
Wanna Join Me?
Cooking low-fat low-carb isn't as easy as just doing Atkins, so in this post I'm going to show you how to adapt a low-carb diet to be lower in fat.

With my week on the K/E jump-start plan about to come to a close, I thought it was time to seek out low-carb recipes and recipe ideas that will fit into my new low-fat lifestyle.

I love to cook, but I wanted to keep the initial stages of breaking through my turtle-slow weight loss rather simple. I didn't want to be tempted by all the high-fat things I have learned to make low carb, things I can't have at the moment.

Since hard-boiled eggs and chicken breast are low-fat staples, I decided to tackle those first. Even if you're not doing a low-fat Atkins plan, you'll still find the following recipes useful since I also offer advice and alternatives for beefing up the fat.

June 08, 2007

Fear of Ketosis: Are Ketones Toxic and Dangerous?

Anti-Atkins Crowd Enjoy Attacking Low-Carb Diets
Is Eating Steak and Veggies
Really Bad for Your Health?
The anti-Atkins crowd enjoy attacking those on low-carb diets, justifying their reaction by appealing to the amount of dietary fat allowed on the Atkins Diet.

Their behavior is not really surprising because Atkins does tend to be higher in fats than a standard, balanced diet, and the U.S. government agencies and panel individuals responsible for setting the dietary guidelines for Americans is way behind the curve.

What I didn't expect:

Was the reaction I got from one of my friends when she learned I was following a low-carb diet.

June 07, 2007

Ketosis: Three Ways to Jump Start Your Diet

Man and Woman Jumping On Ocean Shore
How to Jump-Start
 Your Low-Carb Diet
It's interesting to read about all the various theories, ideas, beliefs, and suggestions regarding weight-loss diets, but it can certainly get pretty confusing with so many conflicting paths out there:
  • Should I eat more calories, less calories, or eat about the same?
  • Should I eat more fat, less fat, or eat about the same?
  • Should I eat more veggies, less veggies, or eat about the same?
No one agrees.

Despite all of the scientific research, eventually you come to realize that you are basically on your own.

It is YOU who decides what you are going to put into your mouth and what you are not. What you choose to do about weight loss is generally based on what is most important to you at the moment.

June 01, 2007

Low-Carb Memorial Day Feast: Chicken, Sausage, and Veggie Kabobs!

Chicken and Sausage Kabobs with Onion, Peppers, Zucchini, Mushrooms
Holiday Food at its Best:
Chicken and Sausage Kabobs
Traditional Memorial Day menus generally take advantage of tons of barbecued meats and vegetables, which make the perfect choice for those following low-carb diets.
  • steak
  • hamburgers
  • all-beef hot dogs
  • pork ribs
  • chicken
  • Italian sausages
All easily translate into a great meal.

Where low-carb dieters run into trouble are the carby marinades and super-sweet barbecue sauces that can quickly turn a safe, protein-rich menu into a nightmare.

If you're looking for a few recipes to make your Memorial Day feast more special than just hamburgers and hot dogs, you won't want to miss this Memorial Day low-carb menu.

Yummy Spinach Pie

Spinach Pie
Spinach Pie is a Favorite
 Low-Carb Side Dish
(Photo Laurel F., CC BY-SA 2.0)
I tried quite a few new low-carb recipes when my in-laws were home this past week. One we particularly enjoyed was a Yummy Spinach Pie.

I don't normally do that, as I prefer to serve recipes that are Tried and True (TNT). I take pride in my cooking and work hard to dial in my recipes, so they come out perfect each and every time.

Since the in-laws have moved to a low-carb lifestyle recently, I wanted to show them -- not only how versatile and yummy this way of life can be -- but that they don't have to be afraid to try new things.

I also wanted to show them how easy it was to adapt recipes to fit in with their new way of eating.