New to Low-Carb Diets? Here’s What You Need to Know

After doing this ‘lifestyle’ for a while now, I forget that a lot of people have a completely erroneous belief system about what Atkin’s is, along with any of the other popular low-carb or moderated-carbohydrate eating plans out there making the rounds right now. I could whip out my Atkin’s book and fill your minds with all of the science behind carbs, sugars, glucose, glycogen, insulin resistance, the addicting properties of sugar, ad nauseum until your eyes roll back in your skulls and you reach for your usual evening snack of a Butterfinger and coke, but there are a lot of good books out there that explain the science. I  have a working knowledge of it, but I am no biologist, nutritionist, nor chemist.

So, let’s just start with dispelling some of the most common myths right away. These are things that I hear people chatting about in weight loss forums, and I roll my eyes at the ignorance.

“Yeah, my cousin just told me she’s doing Atkin’s. I mean, she’s living on mayo and bacon, OMG. She won’t eat bread, but bacon is ok?

“Yeah, my mom did that for awhile. She never ate fruit or veggies”.

” I can’t believe anyone who eats a diet primarily of meat fat can be healthy no matter how much weight they might lose. Imagine the clogged arteries. Just gross”. 20140108-193754.jpg

Ok ok. Enough of this crap. First of all, if the cousin is living on bacon and mayo, she might be trying to jump start ketosis. Ketosis? What’s that? A sign of kidney disease? NO. It’s not. That would be ketoacidosis, a very serious condition usually seen in uncontrolled diabetes where the body is burning too much fat. Ketones are a by-product of that fat-burn. You might notice ketone test strips for sale at the Rite Aid or see them in a diabetic friend’s bathroom. They let you know if you’re burning fat. For those of us who are healthy, a fat burn is a good thing. How do we burn fat? Well, first, it helps if you are not overeating the other fuel of your body- carbohydrate. The body prefers carbs simply because they are more easily burned, and the body does not give a flat damn how you look in jeans, it’s job is to efficiently turn your food intake into usable energy. The carbohydrate portion of what we eat is just easier to break down. It doesn’t mean it ‘s better for you. In a perfect world, all our carb sources would be vegetable and fruit, with a smattering of unrefined grains. The human body was not created with a need for , nor ability to properly assimilate the carbs known as candy bars, grocery store cakes , and those nasty little one dollar fried pies wrapped in wax paper wrappers. A little of anything will generally not hurt anyone.  So, pasta may not be brimming over with minerals, fiber, vitamins, protein- well, ok, anything of real value, really- but it’s a tasty holder for sauce and meat and veggies which do.  In low-carb diets, we just eliminate the useless, white filler foods which have no nutritional value and replace them with things that are good for you, such as more veggies, or meat or even cheese. All you’ve been hearing about fats like those in cheese turns out to not be so bad for you after all when eaten as part of a low-carb diet. Why is that?

Let’s back up to answer that. Remember the ketone strips, and burning fat rather than carbs, which convert into glucose/become glycogen.  That’s  right, either your body is running primarily on protein and fat, or it’s running primarily on some form of sugar. Most of us are in the middle. Tip the balance and we can gain or lose weight. You can also lose weight by simply consuming less, but most of us can’t seem to stay with that one long-term. Low carb makes this easier for those of us whose love of sweets and starches is more than simple oversight, more than a casual, occasional overeating phase. The bacon and mayo example above serves a great point for illustration here. As the body is being converted over from being a glucose/sugar burning machine primarily, to a fat burning one, the first two week ‘induction’ phase of most low-carb diets does consist of a lot of meat, cheese, and greens. Notice the greens. Some people swear by small fat/protein jaunts to speed up the process even faster, but I personally don’t feel it’s necessary for me.

So, which is superior nutrition? Bacon and eggs with strawberries, or cereal, pancakes, and fruit? Which has the most protein, by which your body fuels every muscle in your body? Which has more useless white  flour and sugar? Would you feed a racehorse straight sugar before a race? You see, spiking your blood sugar causes a rush of insulin to counteract. Once your blood sugar returns to pre-spike levels, you might often feel a crash, and get ravenously hungry and shaky and grouchy well before lunch. Not only does your body not have enough slower burning, necessary protein and fat to keep you going, but your blood sugar is now too low. So, in a misguided attempt to correct this, we might grab donuts, chips, candy  bars or the hallowed yet useless granola bars to quickly raise our blood sugar levels again,and it ‘s not even lunch time. I know that there are many normal weight people out there who have more stable reactions to sugars, who can eat cereal for breakfast and be fine until lunch, have their subs and chips and never be overweight, but I am not one of them, and neither are many of us. I am , like many of us in the world, strangely and profoundly addicted to the documented release in dopamine and seratonin from my brain which eating refined carbs and sugars causes. We are programmed from early childhood to capitalize on our natural enjoyment of sweetness by being rewarded with candies and cookies and cakes, for celebrations, good behavior, and are set up to think that these things are what we deserve for being ‘good’, when nothing could be further from the truth! 003Finally, good low carb diets like the one I follow is huge on veggies. In fact, the first two weeks meals consist of two salads per day, and after the first two weeks, the emphasis is always on veggies, low-glycemic fruits, and clean meats as much as possible, like salmon, other fish, meat, dairy and eggs/cheese. There is even a way to do low carb and still be vegan. Our carbs can come from moderate amounts of quinoa and couscous , too, but grains should NOT be the staple of the diet, veggies and protein should. I mean veggies that do not have a large carb/starch component, because the body converts that into sugar.

 << Me, When I couldn’t get to my Candy and Cookies fast enough!

Please dive into the myriad of reasons that table sugar and refined carbs need to play a much more minimal role in our diets: For further reading:

http://www.sugarbusters.com

Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity ...

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/researcher-sugar-addictive

Science Behind Atkins

www.atkins.com/Science/Science-Behind-Atkins.aspx
If these links don’t click, just copy and paste to your browser bar/window,.

 

Low-Carb product Review For April, 2014

I’ve been a re-dedicated low-carber since January of 2011 now. It’s been three years of mostly staying on the straight and narrow. At times, I have to retool and retrain myself, because I fall off the wagon , usually through slow little slips in the wrong direction over time. I have learned that I cannot eat more than 30 grams of net carbohydrate per day , even with working out, and lose weight. And, I cannot exceed 50 for more than a couple of days a week without gaining, and quickly. I get bored on my low-carb diet, and I am always on the lookout for low-carb substitutes to make it all more tolerable. Thanks to Viva Low-carb for coming to my rescue. I ordered some new things this time, and a few old favorites. A few of my selections were quite deliciously surprising!

Always a dream of mine- a good low-carb cookie. Nutritious Creations of Bay Shore, NY makes a delicious, giant oatmeal cookie that’s worth the 2.49 I paid for it, because it is a real cookie. At only 1 net gram of carbs, plenty of fiber, a nice soft chew, and great flavor, this is the only and best low-carb cookie I have ever tasted. Apparently it’s available also at http://www.snacksforlife.com . I have not been paid or comped for any of these reviews. I don’t mind giving raves and business to companies who are succeeding in supplying a market that is perhaps small, but persistent and growing. We are having a hard time finding anything in our home towns other than Atkins’ bars and diabetic, limited items full of fructose. Well, yay that fructose is natural, but it’s not low-carb, really, and makes me a giant bag of agonized gas… Anyway, A+ on the cookies.
Next on the A-listers is the Lily’s stevia sweetened dark chocolate. Great taste, texture, and flavor. It tasted like the real thing, and I highly enjoy the stevia as opposed to sucralose, which I am trying to ditch. By the way, the cookies I mentioned are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), and while really tasty, more evidence is coming in that sucralose is not safe for long-term use, and may be causing its current users problems now.
Both brands of the low carb bagels are good, but I think the Healthwise brand edges out Great Low-carb bread company for softness, chew, and size.
The Dixie mix carrot muffins…well, my past experience with Dixie has not been great, at all- but I am giving them one last chance. Typically, their products leave a strange bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

I bought some great bread. It’s California Lifestyle Soy and Flax bread. I like it. $6.99, but only 1 gram per slice?! Outrageously nice bite, full of fiber and good grains. Sometimes, though not often, I want bread.

Proto-toast. A strange chocolate crisp bread, slightly sweet, that would make a good holder for cream cheese or butter or peanut/almond butter.

Hi-Low Cereal with strawberries. A true low-carb cereal, with only 7.4 net carb grams per half cup. I had a cup at least. Portion sizes could be a problem, here. I really wanted cereal. I got this collection today, and have already deeply sampled a lot of it. I probably blew the 30 grams thing since I already had 15 grams of carbs at breakfast with my fruit smoothie (Shakeology).

And there you have it, the product review! Head over to http://www.vivalowcarb.com and see what catches your eye. They’re running a discount code that I used and shipping was fast! RMN20, and you can find more at retailmenot.com Also, Low-Carb U has some interesting looking goodies at their site as well. Enjoy!

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“Working Out Does Not Cause Weight Loss”…( I’ve heard it said)

Well, you’ve probably heard that working out will cause you to lose weight. Not necessarily. There are a few other factors at play in the chemistry of the human body that determine weight loss. Let’s look at raw calories, for example. Let’s also consider metabolic rate of burn. Is it consistent for all, or does it vary with the individual? Ask any 6 ‘ 2″ super thin guy who never seems to stop eating, who can virtually eat anything he wants, and still have a hard time staying UP to weight if metabolisms differ. But, then again, I would wager that same guy is pretty darn active…

So, in my experience, and what I have heard for a long time now, is that diet is 70% of the component involved in weight loss. On the other hand, a casual Googling of that only yielded me the usual urban legend and ‘common knowledge’ type posts from individuals who have no sources to site for the presumption. But, let’s just say that’s true, for sake of argument. 

I must say, I’ve lost no more than three pounds since starting my T-25 BeachBody workouts about five weeks ago, almost six. But, here’s the thing that nobody bothers to mention much. Diet alone does not do this to your body. On the top, prior to working out, with diet alone. In the purple shorts, 5 1/2 weeks later, after working out 5-6 days a week, you can seeImage much more muscle definition and tone!

ImageSo, what does this mean? Should a person just stick to diet, or could working out also be a great benefit?! I think the results are clear, and in five MORE weeks, I should be able to show even more startling results, The funny part? My actual weight has barely changed. My actual tape measurements? I’ve perhaps lost an inch off my waist. What I see in the mirror, though, seems like more than just an inch. I am seeing shadows and lines and tone I have never had before. In the before, or upper picture, I have on the same type and size of shorts, just a different color. And I didn’t get a tan, that’s just a different room with dimmer light. However, the results are clear. In the above picture, I’d been doing my usual low-carb dieting, and running routine. All that running seemed to be doing for me is a great cardio workout. And I am ok with that. I still run about once a week, and will go back to it. But what I have found, is that strengthening muscle is hard work that pays more dividends than diet alone. In addition to strengthening my muscles, lungs, and the greatest muscle, my heart, I am also converting fat stores to muscle, and don’t feel like I need to hide my body. I will always have stretch marks and chicken skin ( so to speak) in my lowest ab section from becoming very large carrying my children in utero. I can live with that!! What I cannot live without anymore, until I am too old to worry about it, is the feeling of accomplishment and strength that I now have. My lower abs have been so weak all my life, and I never knew how to isolate them and work them out properly. No matter how much I lost, I still had that pooch that I despise. So, to answer all the questions. Can you lose more weight working out AND exercising? Maybe yes, and maybe no. It depends on the person. I know folks that tend to drop weight from just walking around the lake leisurely a few times per week. That’s not me. What you will lose is fat stores, which convert neatly into muscle. By the way, muscle takes more energy to maintain, so it might be that you will lose weight because you are burning more calories not only from your workout, but from simply existing. And that’s nice. :) Now, to work on that cellulite …

My name is Lee. I am a mom, writer,  cashier, blogger, wedding officiant amateur wildlife advocate, voice-over artist wannabe, and a Beach Body Coach! I’ve learned a few things along my path, and I would love to help YOU reach your fitness goals! We’ve got a pretty great line up of workouts and clean-eating products and menus to get you on the right path. visit my facebook page at 

http://www.facebook.com/leeschallengegroup

 

Are you up for the challenge? Are you willing to trade instant fixes for hard work? Eating right 90% of the time and getting regular exercise IS the answer. Yes, I still follow low-carb, because that IS eating right! I might need more carb grams than I used to, but not many. I make sure to get plenty of protein and natural fats, water, and veggies! 

http://www.teambeachbody.com/leekirsten

You can message me or comment if you are ready to commit to being healthy. I can help!

 

 

Low-Carb, Super Healthy Pumpkin Bars

IMG_1797Hi! I cooked these up tonight, since I was in the mood for the amazing flavor and health benefits of the mighty squash- the pumpkin. Who says it’s only a Fall phenomenon? Psssh! These are not only decadent and delicious, but also LOW-CARB. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, sure, one or two out of three ain’t bad, whatcha got?” BUT you’re wrong. They really ARE good, in all ways.

So, you have to get a can of regular pumpkin, not the pie mix. The pie mix has already been sweetened.

Basic Recipe: 1 can pumpkin puree or such.

2 cups almond flour (See pic, I like Bob’s.

1/3 cup flaxmeal, also Bob’s Red Mill

total 1 cup TRUVIA, but it goes to different places (Stevia and Ethryritol Blend- a sugar alcohol that tastes REAL, and has not upset my stomach AT ALL)

1 egg

2-3 tbsp. butter

a teaspoon salt

cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. I like lots. ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and about 1/2 teas. nutmeg

CRUST; These bars are two -layer. Layer one, on the bottom of your 8×8″ pan, is the almond flax layer. 1/4 of that cup of Truvia.

I cut in about two tblsp. butter to my 2 cups almond meal and flax.

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I pressed this into the pan, and cooked at 375f for 20-22 minutes, to keep it from sogging later.

Meanwhile, while that cooked, I prepared my pumpkin with an egg, 3/4  C. Truvia, nutmeg, cinnamon, and about a cup and a half of whipped topping, which I THOUGHT was real whipped CREAM at the store, but whatever. It worked.

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THIS gives it a light and fluffy texture, that’s why. And when I made regular pumpkin pies, I always mixed in the same, or Cool-Whip. Some folks prefer evaporated or condensed sweetened milk. That adds richness but not fluff. I like fluff. Besides, there’s not a lot of sugar per- the- ounce in Whipping cream or Cool-Whip, but there IS in either of the other choices.

Ok, so now your pumpkin delight is ready to ladle atop the crust you’ve prepared. Do that, and cook it at 375f for a while..ha ha. Don’t ya’ love non-specificity? It was like, for a while, at some temp, until I liked the way it smelled and looked. Really. But to help you out, I think it was 375 for what felt like an eternity….(25-30 minutes)

Once done, I took MORE whipped topping in a can, and played decorator, as you can see in the pic. It’s yummy, and I liked it warm, but I am gonna LOVE it cold. That’s just how I roll. Image

Carbs? I am not a scientist with measurement devices lying around the house, however- I do know that the entire CAN of pumpkin has a net of 24.5 grams carbs. The flax negates it’s 4 gr. carb with 4 gr. FIBER. The almond flour is about 3 grams per 1/4 cup. I used 2 cups per the recipe. So, 24 for the entire recipe- but they ARE nutty carbs…so, there’s that. The whipped cream on top is optional. I cut mine into 9 large portions. 49.5 PLUS the Truvia. Well, let’s look at the carb count for that. Ok, well…darn. It’s higher than I would like. 48 for the whole recipe. Shoot. This is turning into more of a REAL treat than I had imagined. Let’s do some math. Ok, so, if you cut it into 9th’s , you get about 11 grams carbs per the piece. Ideas: cut the pieces smaller, or omit the 1/4 Truvia in the crust, and use the 3/4 cup Truvia in the pumpkin alone, and nix the 2 grams for whipped topping, and you could get it down to about 6 net grams of carbs. Still not so bad, considering how yummy it is. :) Besides, let’s look at the health benefits of flax, pumpkin, and almonds!

Pumpkin nutrition facts

Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. This humble backyard low calorie vegetable contains vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance . SOURCE:  www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

Flax benefits:  NUMEROUS :)

(slow connection speed to pertinent articles driving me mad) Finally, beloved, the benefits of being able to have some sort of ‘treat’ when you spend 360 days of the year adhering to ABSTINENCE from foods that can somehow bring a truly satisfied smile to your face- is a great thing. Oh, sure, I smile like crazy when I am eating raw broccoli…and kale…and yet another rendition of “how can I make THIS egg seem more special?”. And believe me, I keep searching for the holy grail of egg recipes, but…yeah. I’m a whipped cream, chocolate mousse, nachos with cheese kinda woman, trying to stay in the corral of lean meats and veggies. Ok, not so lean meats at times…Help me out! Just ordered Quest bars. They are Truvia and Stevia blends, with like 3 grams carbs and 20 gr. protein. I am So excited to see these arrive in the mail! I will be reviewing them for YOU! I really hope you guys know that I am working HARD to get in shape, eat right, innovate and create recipes for us ALL, so that I can shed light on the fact that it IS possible to eat right AND still enjoy it . I have learned so much from people like George Stella, Low Carb Confidential, (see his blog here, he rocks!), and so many more. Thank you for your support. I REALLY crave feedback, questions, and comments. Please give ME some ideas!! Thank you!

I

Low carb Cinnamon Delight!

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1. Low carb tortilla- 6 gr. net carb
2. TruVia / butter cinnamon Spread

Fry tortilla til golden on both sides. Add salt. Spread your premixed cinnamon/ Truvia/ butter blend on while hot. Delicious snack with no regrets!! In case it isn’t clear, just dump about 3 tbls. TruVia into a bowl, sprinkle in about 2 teasp. cinnamon, blend it into about a tablespoon butter. Spread that on the tortilla. See, you have to forgive me, but something like this isn’t about precise measurements, it just happens.