Friday, 27 February 2015

My Low Carb/High Fat Journey So Far

So, I have been doing the low carb/high fat way of eating for a few months now. I'm finding the transformation a lot easier than I expected I would; I actually think my brain was hindering me before, because I was convinced I couldn't live without refined carbs! 90% of my aches and pains have disappeared - I still get the odd ache, but considering I was in constant pain 24/7 before starting this journey, I am ecstatic. The side effect of losing weight while consuming more fat, is an added bonus and still a little hard to get my head around. We have been told for years not to eat fat, to eat more grains and fruit and I have now learned that the opposite is true for me. By flipping the food pyramid on its head, my health is improving.

I had previously been diaganosed with Ankylosing Spontilitis, Hypothyroidism (I only have half a thyroid due to an operation in Nov 2012 to remove an enlarged parathyroid gland and multiple nodules in my right thyroid gland), Fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, anaemia, insulin resistance, GORD, peri-menopause, low vitamin D, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Before starting this, I was a bit of a mess to say the least. I struggled every day just to take care of my kids, let alone do any cooking or anything around the house.

Since beginning low carb/high fat, my passion for cooking has returned. I wish I could say my house was spotless, but baby steps! I am sure I will get there. I still have problems with fatigue, but nowhere to the degree I used to. I am coping a lot better with the kids and actually being able to enjoy them again. My blood pressure has returned to normal, my blood sugar is stabilizing, my cholesterol has come down (come down from eating saturated fats?? Sugar/carbs are the enemy people - not the fat!) and my health has improved a hell of a lot. I will get blood tests soon to check the other things, but I have a feeling that everything is improving.

I am finding it way easier than I thought I would to give up refined carbs. I still cook the same meals, but I replace the carbs with a healthier alternative. For instance, if we are having shepherds pie, I make it exactly the same, but replace the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Mashed cauli is my new fave food and you so have to try it if you haven't already. It is made exactly the same as mashed potato, except I use a hand blender instead of a masher. Add in butter and cream and it is honestly hard to tell the difference! Even the hubby and kids like it. If making spaghetti bolognaise, replace the noodles with shredded zucchini or parsnip. Use thin slices of sweet potato, egg plant, kale or or zucchini to replace the pasta in lasagne. I make my own bread out of flaxseed meal, olive oil, cream, eggs and baking powder and have this for breakfast smeared with peanut butter, avocado, cream cheese or real butter.

I don't eat any fruit at the moment, but I load up on low carb veges for the vitamins and fibre. Berries like strawberries are lower in carbs, so can be incorporated into your diet if you like. I will do that once I have lost the weight. If your main source of potassium is bananas or potatoes, then you just have to make sure you are getting it from a different source (eg mushrooms, salmon or avocado). Nutritionists will tell you that you need grains to get your daily intake of B vitamins, but the truth is that the process of refining those grains strips most of the vitamins out and they actually add them back in. Natural sources of B12 come from animal products, such as meat, eggs and dairy. Mushrooms are a valuable source of not only potassium, but B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D and selenium. Dairy products also contain B vitamins, as do leafy greens, offal, nuts, seeds (especially sesame seeds), poutry and eggs. Animal fat and dairy are also a great source of retinol or vitamin A - which is very important for thyroid health. Cutting out fat can cause a lot of problems for a sluggish thyroid. As long as you are sensible and eat a variety of vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy, you should be fine. I take ferritin and B12 as I was deficient before starting this.

I have a bit of info and recipes here: In summary, I've cut out refined carbs like sugar, bread including anything crumbed or stuffed with crumbs, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes. I've upped my intake of saturated fat including things like real butter, cream, full fat cheese, olive oil, coconut oil, dripping, eggs, avocado, bacon, and peanut butter. To date, I have lost 5.5kg but I cannot remember the exact date I started. It has been slow going, mainly because of my thyroid issues and menopause, but the weight is going down so I am more than happy with that. I will never go back to eating bread, pasta, rice, pastry and cereal. Most of these things I can easily replace with something healthier for me. I will post again when I hit the 10kg mark, wish me luck - though I have a feeling that I am not going to need it!

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