Why I Eat a Low-Carb Diet

Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food. Hippocrates

For the past 7 months I have been eating a very low-carbohydrate diet, one that consists mainly of low-starch vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, nuts, and healthy oils. I don’t eat anything made with flour (bread, pasta, baked goods) or potatoes (except for occasionally sweet potato), or sugar (or honey, syrup, agave, etc.), or rice. I don’t worry about calories and I don’t worry about fat intake – after all, if I gave up carbs AND fats it wouldn’t leave much to fill me up. We eat almost entirely whole, natural foods. Nothing processed more than all-natural almond butter, and no artificial sweeteners except for very, very special occasions when we want the sweet without the sugar spike.

I began eating this way not for me but for my husband. He is a type 2 diabetic (T2DM) and the ADA (American Diabetic Association) method of dealing with the disease was simply not working. Foods that he was told were ok in moderation were causing his blood sugar to spike and having any of those foods around the house was too tempting. So, after a lot of research about the disease and diet we settled on a very low-carb diet. If a food caused his blood sugar to spike it was taboo for both of us. That led to all of the “I don’t eat…” above.

The first month was difficult for both of us – the detoxification process and training my body to get its energy from fats and protein took about 4 weeks. We both suffered through withdrawal symptoms of weakness and shortness of breath at the slightest exertion, but when we broke through to the other side we started feeling wonderful and were once again able to exercise. Over the past several months his glucose readings have become better and better (to nearly normal) as have his lipid readings. Both of us have slowly lost weight without having to count calories.

Now that I have experienced the health benefits of this diet I would probably not change much, even if my husband was miraculously healed of his T2DM. I might add in a little bit more healthy grains or an occasional potato and definitely more fruit (most of which he cannot handle right now), but probably not more than one or two servings of grain/starch a day. The sweeteners would still be taboo except on special occasions. Even now I might treat myself to a taboo item – but rarely more than once a week and often I go more than a week without a “treat”.

I enjoy the total lack of cravings that I now experience along with an increased ability to stop eating when I am no longer hungry. I also enjoy never having those sugar crashes that I used to have in the middle of the afternoon leaving me shaky and faint. Food tastes different to me now. Vegetables that I didn’t like in the past now taste wonderful; processed food tastes horrible; sugary foods taste way too sweet.

I do believe that most people would find their health would improve if they reduced their starches (grains, potatoes) to only a couple of portions a day and their sugars to only once or twice a week. Over the course of 52 Weeks of Health I will be encouraging you to reduce these items (but not necessarily eliminate) in your diet and let vegetables and healthy fats take their place. I know you will feel a difference. I have researched diets from vegan to paleo and right now I think that a lower carbohydrate diet with animal protein sources makes the most sense, with very low-carbs for diabetics. However, as I research, I know I will be tweaking my diet to get the most nutrition.

Because I eat this way, most of the recipes that you will find on this blog will be low-carb and diabetic friendly. However, I do not think all carbs are evil for all people and so sometimes I will post recipes that contain carbohydrates at a level that most diabetics who are trying to control their diabetes without drugs/insulin should not eat. I will note that on the recipe.

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4 comments

  1. Liz Brown

    If you are trying to eat low-carb, what would be a good number of carbs to eat during the day–what is considered to be the “low-carb” number?

    • That’s a great question, Liz, but I’m not sure I can give you a precise answer. On most days I eat fewer than 30 grams of carbs in a day and those carbs come entirely from my green and salad vegetables – greens, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, spaghetti squash, etc. (Thirty grams of carbohydrates is about how many there are in one SMALL order of McDonald’s fries.) The average American consumes 200 or more grams of carbohydrates each day!

      I dropped to this low intake of carbohydrates because of my husband’s diabetes, but I think I would continue it because I feel great and I would encourage anyone to try it and see how they feel after a few months. However, if that seems extreme to you I would suggest to someone trying to lose weight to first try cutting your carb intake to fewer than 100 grams (and even better would be fewer than 75 grams) and don’t let more than 5 of those grams come from sugars. If you are eating all of the vegetables you should be eating they will account for about 25 -30 grams. Fruit is high in carbs (and sugar, even if it is “natural”) and one serving may give you close to another 30 grams. A slice of bread is around 12 grams.

      I’ll try to do a larger post on this topic in the future – but I hope I have given you a starting point.

      • Liz Brown

        Thanks RoseAnne. It gives me an idea on where to start anyway. My husband agreed to try it also, which is good.

  2. Pingback: Climbing Out Of The Hole | My Journey in a Journal

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