Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Update

This blog has been a reflection of my journey, a place to note what has worked for me, an (inconsistent) record of my progress, and a repository of wisdom from the Low Carb/High Fat world.

I've been absent for so long, mostly because at 3 plus years in, I don't need the constant reminders to myself on what/how to do this, and I never meant this blog to be for other people. It was meant for my own encouragement and education.

So where am I now? I've stuck with Low Carb, and I plateaued for a long time. I weighed about 172-174-ish for what seemed like forever. I didn't get discouraged because I felt great eating like I do...my Fibromyalgia rarely raises it's ugly head, I wear a size 12 jean, I feel like I can dress up and not feel like I'm a sausage, and everything was pretty good.

I don't know what my average carb count was...in my head it is around 20 net carbs/day. I make my own breads, crackers, cookies etc when I want them, but they are not foods I eat on a daily, or even weekly basis. I feel better and stay on the low end of my new-normal when I eat a lot of fat. I feel better if I eat a moderate amount of cheese. I never worry about too much whipping cream, butter, cream-cheese (the exception to the cheese moderation) or bacon. I eat the fattiest portions of meats. I don't ever intentionally eat sugar. I eat KFC as a fast food treat, and I eat the skin. I occasionally eat chicken wings that are probably dusted in flour. I eat BBQ sauce with sugar if I'm dining out. I limited my fruit intake to berries, and sometimes melon, but mostly berries.

I had back surgery on October 31, 2013. It was a great success! I can walk now, with no pain! I am doing yoga (for the last two months...gentle restorative) and I am working at a full time job (one that has me away from home for 2 weeks and home /off 2 weeks). I live in camp and eat from the commercial kitchen when I am away (4 months so far). I was worried I'd gain or have a very hard time sticking to my diet at camp, but it has been quite successful.

There are "bag-up" rooms that have a big variety of low-carb foods to choose from-boiled eggs, cubed hard cheeses, lots of raw veggies, salad greens, raw spinach, gluten-free sandwich meats in individual packages, tuna, grilled salmon, cooked shrimp, chicken breast, fresh strawberries, cubed watermelon, cantalope, and honeydew melons, fresh lemons. Hot meals at lunch and dinner are usually a few choices of a meat or fish (at least one of which is usually un-breaded) a couple picks for cooked veggies (usually frozen but edible if not appetizing) and always a salad bar with balsamic vinegar and olive oil as well as packaged dressings. There are individual condiments like mustard, vinegar, butter, cream cheese, and mayonaise.
I have a fridge in my room, (a HUGE blessing!) and I can make my own meals from the bag-up ingredients.  I take my own MIM mixes and if I have eggs I can microwave a muffin-y treat in the mug-up room. There are lots of teas and water available, and I have had good success eating low carb, but I find at the end of a two week stint I am tired of everything!

At the end of my third month doing this, when I came home I weighed a new low of 164.5 pounds. At the end of this fourth turn around I cam home weighing 163.1 pounds!  I don't weigh myself at work.

Obviously this way-of-eating is working for me. I have zero temptation to eat the MANY baked goods at the camps, which are known for their variety and deliciousness to most "normal" eaters. I take Atkins bars with me and probably eat a total of 4 or 5 of them over the two weeks if I need a sweet, fast fix. I also eat a little pack of butter (a teaspoon each) a couple times a day to satisfy the cravings that most people kill with a cookie or brownie.

I take individual cream packages to my room and have 4 or 5 of them on a bowl of berries sweetened with my Truvia from home. I once mixed a couple packages (1 T each) of cream cheese with two or three butter packs and a little Truvia for a "frosting dip" to eat with my berries.
 I've been eating a LOT of watermelon and other melons there, far more than I've eaten in the past three years, and it's surprising to me that it's OK!  I've had a few nectarines and a couple peaches or pears (maybe all total 7 fruits/turnaround this last time) and I didn't gain, so my net-carb count is generally much higher now and I can still loose. I guess I've adapted, and I'm also active enough now that my metabolism is capable of handling more carbs than before.

I'm very happy with this way-of-eating and do not feel at ALL deprived, ever. I had an original goal in mind of 150 or 155 pounds, but when I was stuck in the low 170's for so long I kind of gave up on that. Recently I began telling myself that my body was, indeed, actually capable of burning off more fat, and maybe my belief and my positive self talk, along with my increased activity and elimination of the chronic pain in my life post-surgery have all made the difference, along with my eating well.

All I know is, I have no intention of stressing about my final weight...things are going in the right direction and I will not fixated on lack of progress anymore!


Here are a few of my most recent pics, July 2014.






Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wheat is not really a cheap filler when you count the health costs.

It's almost two years since I've stopped eating sugar and grains.  My health has been much, much better. I've lost weight.  I'm more upbeat.

One of the insights I've come to, is that wheat is used in the Standard North American Diet as a cheap filler.   When we eat a sandwich it's much more about the filling than the bread.  When we eat lasagna, it's not the noodles that call out to us, even though it is the addictive qualities of the wheat that keep us coming back for more...and more...and more.
  Pizza is about the toppings, not the crust for the most part. While the yeasty chewiness of a good, homemade crust is a distinct pleasure, more people eat mediocre fast food, or even frozen pizza,  than make homemade or splurge on artisan restaurant crust. So why not look for alternatives to the cheap filler?

A couple stars on my go-to list include zucchini and cabbage.  I can get a big meal of healthy, delicious "filler" from a medium zucchini, and it costs pennies a serving.  I slice it thinly, saute it just till warmed through in a bit of butter, coconut oil or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and some garlic and it is a fabulous base for pizza toppings, lasagna stuff, cream sauce, or almost anything tasty I can think to top a pasta or pizza with.  I even recently ordered a "pasta cutter" online, and I use it to transform a humble zucchini into a huge heap of "pasta" which I can then add the textural experience of a big plate of spaghetti to zucchini's list of accomplishments.  Perfect!

Then there is cabbage. Inexpensive, much disdained, it's a perfect, neutral filler for a flavourful, saucy dish.  You can buy a bag of shredded coleslaw mix and get at least four servings. I saute it till tender and succulent with a bit of fat (think bacon fat), season it, add a bit of balsamic vinegar for a huge flavour boost, and use it as one of the cheapest fillers out there. And there will be no hidden costs to your health. It has loads of vitamin C, it's full of fiber and is just a perfect substitute.  Just top it as you wish or serve it on the side.

Tender steamed cauliflower will knock your socks off in a baked dish with loads of cheese sauce, mac' n' cheese style.  I steam it, smother it in my homemade sauce, top it with almond flour crumbs, bake it and serve it to even fussy teenagers with no complaints, and no carb-coma to follow.  It's so filling, delicious, energizing and guilt busting it's not even funny!

If you go looking for low-carb substitutes, look at your own recipes, and pick a few cheap carb replacements from among these vegetables, and play with your food.  Your health will thank you, and you might even loose weight enjoying all the "forbidden" foods you thought you could never look in the eye again.

Other ideas: jicima or radishes as a potatoe substitute in hash browns, daikon radish for all kinds of potatoe recipes, mashed cauliflower on it's own or as a base for many other foods as well as shredded steamed cauliflower to take the place of rice.

My weight loss had stalled for many months, but I'm happy to report I made it through the winter, and even though I am quite limited in my physical activity due to my back pain, I've lost another 2 or 3 lbs.  I'm currently 169. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ketogenic Diet Kills Cancer

This video is a good reason to cut the carbs.  Cancer cells cannot survive without the presence of glucose in the body. No carbs = no fuel for cancer.
When my Dad was diagnoses with advanced lung cancer the doctors and nutritionists recommended that he eat puddings, yogurt, fruit smoothies, ice cream...high sugar foods that would give him the calories they said were important during his chemo.  He lived tow years but I wonder how much longer he would have survived had he not fed the cancer cells exactly what they needed to grow and thrive. 
Diet Dr. has posted the link on his blog.

There are other parts of the diet that will kill cancer too...like Glutathion.  It is called "the mother of all antioxidants."  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is it OK to Replace Wheat with Flax?

From WebMD:

FLAXSEED Overview Information
Flaxseed is the seed from the plant Linum usitatissimum. The seed or the seed oil is used to make medicine. The information on this page concerns medicine made from the SEED only. There is a separate listing for flaxseed OIL.

People use flaxseed for many conditions related to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including ongoing constipation, colon damage due to overuse of laxatives, diarrhea, inflammation of the lining of the large intestine (diverticulitis), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable colon, sores in the lining of the large intestine (ulcerative colitis), inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis), and inflammation of the small intestine (enteritis).

Flaxseed is also used for disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), and coronary artery disease.

Flaxseed is also used for acne, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), kidney problems in people with a disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), symptoms of menopause, and breast pain. It is also used for diabetes, obesity and weight loss, HIV/AIDS, depression, bladder infections, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Other uses include treatment of sore throat, upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), and cough.

Some people use flaxseed to lower their risk of getting weak bones (osteoporosis) and to protect against breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Flaxseed is sometimes applied to the skin for acne, burns, boils, eczema, psoriasis, and to soothe  inflammation.

How does it work?

Flaxseed is a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The fiber in flaxseed is found primarily in the seed coat. Researchers believe this fiber binds with cholesterol in the intestine and prevents it from being absorbed. Flaxseed also seems to make platelets, the blood cells involved in clotting, less sticky. Overall, flaxseed’s effects on cholesterol and blood clotting may lower the risk of “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).

Flaxseed is sometimes tried for cancer because it is broken down by the body into chemicals called “lignans.” Lignans are similar to the female hormone estrogen - so similar, in fact, that they compete with estrogen for a part in certain chemical reactions. As a result, natural estrogens seem to become less powerful in the body. Some researchers believe that lignans may be able to slow down the progress of certain breast cancers and other types of cancers that need estrogen to thrive.

For systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), flaxseed is thought to improve kidney function by decreasing the thickness of blood, reducing cholesterol levels, and reducing swelling.


Also, for a superb article on flax see this one.   One of the worlds most nutritious foods, flax is definitely for me.  This article answered my questions about the estrogenic properties of flax.  I don't eat it every single day, and I feel the benefits for me are fantastic. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why is Wheat Bad?

This link says it well.

The past two months or so I was pushing my low-carb diet a bit.  I am settled into a weight that feels comfortable, though it is 20 lbs above what I wanted to weigh as my goal.  I have been fairly stable at this weight for about a year, and when I do gain a bit, it comes off quite easily.

The past two weeks I was pushing it because I was feeling maybe I was over vigilant about my food.  I had some beer two or three times. Not a whole beer, but up to 6 or 8 ounces.  Then on Thanksgiving, I had Nialle's stuffed, baked potatoes (1/2 at dinner; half the next day).  That week we went out for wings and Dan, Nialle, Josh and I ate 7 lbs!!!  They all had sauces with sugar, and/or were coated in a floury spice mix.  I tasted a corn chip twice (and was surprised they did not taste "like more").  For the most part during that time I was eating normal low-carb, just not pushing the veggies, and not eating extra fat.  I did eat a lot of Splenda sweetened stuff though.  I also was eating popcorn every day, usually a whole bag, for at least two weeks. 

Following the wing night, I was really sick.  Like, REALLY sick...I had a migraine for days, and my body hurt all over.  My back, my hips (especially my hips) and my shoulders were very painful.  I also put on 5 lbs.  I was up to 175.8.  It was awful, a full blown return of the fibromyalgia.  I felt terrible, sad, depressed, exhausted, disappointed in myself and afraid.

Following that week, when Daniel went back to work, I turned back to my "normal" diet, and got in some extra veggies,  no popcorn, no beer, limited sweeteners, and cooked low-carb meals and ate whenever I felt hungry.

Daniel left on Monday afternoon, and by Friday I have lost the 5 lbs, and feel much better.  The soreness has subsided again, so I'm guessing the inflammation is gone, and the headache is also gone. 

I want to lose more wight.  5 or 10 lbs would be fantastic.  I bought a whole bunch of new (to me) clothes today, and I just love the way I feel when I am eating well and taking care of myself.

It's a simple plan, and I know it works and I know I not only feel great eating low-carb, but I respect myself a lot more too.

No more wheat for me.  The way it makes me feel makes it plain as day that it is poison to my body!!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Two Week plan?

I want to try the full-on Induction for the next two weeks. Just like in the beginning of this low-carb way of life.  I'd need to cut out a few of my favorite foods that may be crutches...flax, sweeteners, too much cream.  Up the vegetables and the fats, eat enough meats to satisfy me, and see what happens.  Will I lose weight again? I want to see if this helps me lose a bit before I see the surgeon, and definitely before I have the surgery.  I'll see if the ketogenic kicks in and the sweets cravings, which are more frequent and which I indulge when they hit, will stop again.  I'm curious to see if this will be easier or harder than the first time.  Can I change course and show as much willpower to overcome my impulses now?  Is artificial sweetener harder to kick than sugar?  I KNEW sugar was making me sick.  I believe the Spelnda is less harmful, so can I kick it too?  
Game on.  Here is a selection of pictures from my before, to my current state, just as a record of the difference a low-carb diet makes.




  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Surgery Options and Information

This is the suggested treatment for my back issues, along with a description of what can be done about it.

This is a video about the surgery to treat the spinal stenosis.

Here are some exercises to help.  This is a description of the surgery. 

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007389.htm

This is a terrific video explaining the surgery in detail.