For several months now, we've had a dietary shift of direction here...well, I have, and Alex and Bella have been along for the ride a little bit. What I've given up entirely are sugar and refined grains and potatoes, and I only consume the tiniest bit of whole grains. It's something I've known I should do for a long time, but it just sounded so HARD. No sugar? No cherry Coke from Sonic in the afternoon? No crackers with my cheese? NO BREAD? How would I live?
I did a lot of reading, with the major influencers of the plan I ultimately chose being Gary Taubes' scared-straight treatise on food and obesity, Michael Pollan's books, and the books and websites of the Drs. Eades. This is NOT some crazy, high-fat orgy of cholesterol...I'm not having bacon and bacon sandwiches with bacon chips on the side. But I'm also absolutely not worrying about things like saturated fat at present. I may get to a point where weight loss slows down enough that I DO have to start paying some attention to denser-calorie choices, but it hasn't happened yet. The light-bulb moment for me was realizing that humans have zero nutritional need for cereal grains. None. It's something that just hadn't ever occurred to me before.
To tell the truth, it hasn't been that hard, really. In exchange for the things I was giving up, I got to stop worrying about some other things, like fat content and calorie-counting. I very rarely even have to count the carb content in the food I'm eating, because once you learn the basics, it's just super-easy to keep each meal or snack coming in at 1o grams net carbohydrate or less. You basically just load up on quality proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables--all you want. The only thing I even have to halfway watch are my fruits, but I stick to the high-fiber fruits, mostly, so even then it's pretty much cruise control. My big indulgence is a bit of 85% cocoa chocolate almost every day.
What I like: Not having to "fuss" with calories, fat grams, points, portions, etc. Losing weight steadily and easily. Having ZERO G.I. issues (which, if you've been with me for a while, you know were a SERIOUS problem for me). Having fewer headaches. Never feeling "bloated" or overfull. Never feeling hungry.
What I don't like: Lack of convenience and "quick and lazy" options. Picking up a sandwich or tossing a frozen pizza in the oven, while still an option for Alex or Bella, isn't an option for me. Many, many more trips to the grocery store than I'm used to making--lots of fresh food means frequent re-stocking of the fridge. Lack of variety in snacking (this may just be my personal lack of imagination, but I wind up having the same snacks over and over, mostly different kinds of nuts and cheese).
What I miss: Crackers and milk. That's pretty much it. I do occasionally work a glass of milk into my day, but I really have to plan for it. Likewise, high-fiber crackers are not out of the question, but they do have to be worked in carefully. This doesn't really fit my usual cracker-eating style, which begins with an open box and ends when there are no more crackers. For my crunch-cravings, I'm pretty much left with almonds.
I don't always manage to stay on the straight-and-narrow with this way of eating--I usually mess it up when I'm tired or in a hurry. My biggest temptation is sushi, and every time I have some, I wind up feeling bloated and gross...and that's just because of rice.
Anyway, I wanted to post about it, because I know there are a lot more of you out there who've been doing this longer than I have, and that you'll have great suggestions and more to think about. Got some protein-dense snack ideas? Conversions of recipes that would traditionally be carb-laden? I'm eating tons of Blue Diamond Bold almonds and making tons of vegetable casseroles. A recent dinner was shrimp scampi with broccoli and whipped cauliflower gratin with carmelized onions--and it was perfect. I need more meals like that on my menu!