Two things have hit me recently on the question of low carb. Firstly we just assume that everyone understands how to eat low carb and secondly that everyone actually understands what a carbohydrate is!
Here are some questions put to me recently:
- But muesli is ok isn’t it?
- It is ok to use honey for baking isn’t it?
- I only use wholemeal flour, that’s ok isn’t it?
My response and to quote Amy Winehouse – No-No-No.
To put it simply if it comes from a plant it is a carbohydrate, and the grains that comprise cereals and bread, wholemeal or white come from plants. Good carbs and the carbs we really need to include every day (and lots of them) are vegetables. The rule is – eat vegetables grown above the ground or that can be eaten raw. That rules out potato, kumara, and pumpkin but includes spinach, lettuce, capsicum, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, and avocados. Onions and beetroot, while growing below the ground are ok since we only eat them in small amounts (and can actually eat them raw).
Fruit always raises questions, and yes fruit is ok but keep this in mind – eat ‘what’s in season within reason’. If you are a bear, it would be a good thing to eat a lot of fruit before you hibernate for six months. I am sure that if you can read this, you are not a bear, and if you do feel like sleeping for 6 months then read on, low carb is definitely for you! Eat a maximum of 2 pieces of fruit a day but avoid bananas and grapes. Not only are grapes high in carbs, you tend to eat a lot of them in one sitting.
Your protein comes mainly from meat and dairy (eggs, yoghurt, cheese, milk, cream). Dairy is good but avoid low fat dairy, or low fat anything for that matter. Anything ‘reduced fat’ is higher in sugar. For many of us moving away from ‘low fat’ is a huge mind shift. I have been guilty of promoting low fat options in the past, but we need to get over it and move on. Fat tastes good, makes other food taste good, helps nutrients to move around your body, and makes you feel fuller longer. By including good fats in your diet you are less likely to feel like eating carb-laden foods. Good fats are:
- Coconut and olive oil
- Butter, cream, cheese etc
- Nuts and seeds – especially almonds, walnuts, macadamia and brazil nuts
- Fat on the meat you are eating
And finally avoid sugar in all its forms – plain sugar, castor sugar, maple syrup, golden syrup, honey. Use a small amount of Stevia or Natvia when cooking if needed, but you will find that your sweet tooth will disappear. Believe me on that one.
OK so lets take a look at what it all looks like. If you are a visual person this will help:
COLOURFUL, GREAT TEXTURE AND YOU CAN ALMOST SEE THE FLAVOUR.
JUST YELLOW REALLY
And if you are considering taking on the low carb lifestyle but think that maybe you don’t need to, consider this. A good sign that you are insulin resistant, and therefore do need to consider at least cutting down on your sugar, is this – If you were to walk into a wall, your stomach would be the first part of your body to touch that wall. That may not be you but no doubt is someone in your life! If you are over 40, over weight, over tired, or over stressed, then just do it.