This is the video that started it all for my husband and I. We both were diagnosed as pre-diabetic, which means pre-insulin. We both do not want to inject insulin, and so began the research:
One statement stands out: “How many carbs does your body need to survive? ZERO.”
Wait . . . did she say zero? I don’t NEED any carbs to survive?
It is at this point where my husband did deep research into how carbs are used in our bodies and what is a good balance, a healthy eating lifestyle. We scratched the word “diet” from our vocabulary. If you eat what your body requires, without feeling deprived, you WILL lose weight. This lifestyle is for everyone, not just those who need to take off some weight. This is for your health.
WHAT IS A CARBOHYDRATE?
Carbohydrates are organic compounds consisting of Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen that break down into glucose. Our bodies use glucose as the primary source of energy. Foods high in carbohydrates are grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy, legumes, and sugary sweets. Fortunately our bodies have other ways of creating energy. (Energy)
- Stop eating sugar.
This is easier than you may be thinking right now. No cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, muffins, sodas, or candies etc. Stop baking it; stop buying it. Get rid of it in your house (and not by eating it). Sugar creates a vicious cycle, where you always want more. It IS addictive! A high sugar intake is linked to increased appetite and weight gain, and is just terrible for your health.
After removing most sugars from our diet, we started feeling better. We had less cravings and more energy each day.
Drastically reduce refined starches.
Cut out white flour breads and white rice. Seems drastic, doesn’t it. It’s not. Choose, for awhile, very small portions of brown rice, one piece of a whole grain bread, or 1/2 of a burger bun. Try a small amount of legumes. Beans are high in carb, but also high in fiber, which makes you feel full. This phase is about cutting down, not eliminating. If you are having pasta, forget the breadsticks. Or if you have a small amount of potatoes, forget a 2nd or 3rd carb.
Before August 2018, a typical “game night” meal for us was BBQ ribs, mashed potato, mac and cheese, and a oily garlic white roll. That is an over-the-top carb load. We still have ribs on game night, but our sides will be 1/2 small baked potato and broccoli. We also still have BBQ sauce, but it’s not slathered all over the ribs; we dip it in as we eat the ribs. We only consume about 2 Tbsp of BBQ sauce this way.
We don’t eat breakfast, at all. This may not be reasonable for all people, especially families with children. We do intermittent fasting everyday because we do not eat anything between dinner and lunch the next day. We do not get shaky; we seldom are hungry. We do not snack. This changes if we do heavy work in the garden or when we decide to hit the gym/pool. Again, one size does not fit all, and you have to decide what is best for you and your family. On days of gardening, I may eat a few egg bites, which are pure protein: if you do not have a Ninja Foodi or an Instant Pot, these can be made in muffin cups in the oven, and they freeze so well. Always have these on hand. [Recipe coming soon]
Get rid of processed foods
You should now be reading labels and knowing what is being processed into your food. The more simple cooking you do, the healthier. Purchase organic as often as possible, and buy foods with the least amount of ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably should opt for something else.
Know your added sugars. Anything that rhymes with “gross” is bad. You may wish to introduce some alternative sugars, so you can enjoy a dessert every now and then. The sugars with the least insulin resistance are erithrytol, monk fruit, and stevia. Everyone metabolizes sugars differently, so it is important to find what works for you.
Xylitol is our favorite because it has no aftertaste and can be used in baking.
Know your fats. Steer away from vegetable oils. Did you know that the process to make canola oil takes 20 steps? That’s hardly “natural,” wouldn’t you say? Avocado oil, coconut oil, lard, and real butter are good fats for fighting insulin resistance. (FATS)
Vegetables – Eat root vegetable sparingly
Fruits – Berries only
Nuts – good protein, good oils
Low Carb/High Fat (LCHF)
We, as humans, love labels. LCHF is the closest “label” of our Simple Eating Plan, but again, everyone is different. What works for one, may be a bit different for others. We try to stay under 50 grams of carbs a day, but some weeks, we may go up to 80. Neither of us go low low. You don’t really need to count carbs, but rather have a ballpark estimate of how much you are eating each day. We use an app called Carb Manager to look up foods (food lookup is free and has a massive database of foods). If you do wish to count every carb, fat, or protein there is a monthly fee for that service. We find it is just not needed for our WOE.
Calories do matter. To gain a pound, you need to consume 3500 calories. If you eat low carb and healthy fats, you will not have to watch this so close. You would have to eat a three pound steak to equal 3500 calories, but a decent sized steak (6-8 oz), creamed spinach, and a loaded salad with all sorts of veggies w/ a serving of Ken’s Blue cheese dressing is 987 calories. A 500-600 calorie lunch would make this day around 1500 calories. Of course to cut it down to 1200 calories, have a less steak.
Maintenance: You can up your carbs from 50 to 100, if you so wish; it is not necessary though. A low carb lifestyle is sustainable at around 50.
Weighing yourself – everyday, weekly? Expect fluctuations, sometimes big. Our bodies can, at any given time, have 1-2 pound differences, so being obsessed with the scale can make you question what you are doing and why. Both my husband and I weigh everyday, and we use the app “Happy Scale” to track it. If I have a weight gain three or four days in a row, I know that I need to make some adjustments somewhere. Nine times out of ten, I am eating too many carbs or processed foods.