Argh! Where to start? What to do?
Does thinking about changing your diet send you into a spin of reaching for your go-to treat food?
Hopefully this will shed some light on the matter for you and will help you make better choices more easily.
The case for cutting down on carbohydrates
When we hear “carbs” we think
But did you know that every fruit, vegetable and legume has carbohydrates too? And in many cases they’ll give you more nutrients, fibre and slow release energy.
In our Western world, we live in a carbohydrate-rich environment. Walk into any food court and you’ll have trouble finding a snack or meal that doesn’t involve one of the above.
Unfortunately these often white, processed foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. They are addictive because they give us a sugar high (most are high GI unless you chose wholegrain / brown versions but even that isn’t a guarantee of “better choice”)
We can all benefit from a low carb diet but the benefits are especially significant for those who are overweight. Results can include weight loss, better metabolic health and general well being.
A high carb diet (high GI) can lead to increases in blood sugar levels and can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and their associated health consequences.
However, loosing weight has been proven to start reversing and sometimes stopping the progression of Type II Diabetes.
I love the idea of using our food intake to “medicate” or “cure” our bodies.
So what does low carb mean for you in day to day life?
Thinking about a typical day, it can easily look like this:
- cereal / toast for breakfast
- sandwich for lunch
- protein with vegetables and rice/potato/pasta etc for dinner
Add in a muffin for morning tea and a biscuit with your afternoon cuppa and you’ve consumed a highly processed, high GI carb with every meal.
To remove those processed carbohydrates from at least two of your meals can be confronting.
In a low carb diet, it is recommended to aim for 50g -70g carbohydrates per day. Ideally you’ll get these carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals or bread.
This list will give you an idea what 50g carbohydrate looks like:
45g oats/all-bran/untoasted natural muesli
4.5 Ryvita biscuits
3/4 small wholemeal scone
50g multigrain bread
1.5 thin slice fruit bread
240g cooked, drained lentils
120g cooked, drained chickpeans/red kidney beans
30g raw quinoa or couscous
150g sweet potato
150g green peas
Bear in mind that each of these would be your full day’s allowance of carbohydrate so you could split the foods eg 30g oats for breakfast and 100g pumpkin with dinner
What do I eat? You cry.
Try these ideas to get you started:
- Fruit salad with plain Greek yoghurt (fruit has carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins, yoghurt gives you protein and diary to keep you full)
- a handful of almonds for morning tea. If you’re having a milky coffee, that’s morning tea
- a large green salad with a protein (tuna, egg, chickpeas) for lunch
- piece of fruit for afternoon tea
- your usual dinner but keep the pasta/rice/potatoe to 1/2 cup cooked and load up your plate with low carb greens
Other breakfast options include
- boiled egg with one slice of low GI bread
- porridge sweetened with cinnamon and fresh fruit
- green smoothie
lunches can include:
- vegetable soups
- stuffed mushrooms
- homemade turkey burger without the roll
- pork fillet with asian greens
- 125g salmon fillet with salad
- 150g chicken breast grilled with baked sweet potato and broccoli
Yes, it will take some planning and yes it will mean re-thinking your meal plans a bit but the benefits far outweigh the effort and it quickly becomes a habit.
I run a 6 week Rock THAT Frock program which includes 6 weeks of meal plans, grocery lists and recipes.
It’s a low carb plan designed for weight loss but also to re-educate participants on how to make lower carbohydrate food choices for long term health and well being.
As one participant said to me:
I shocked myself today when I reached for an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter instead of my usual afternoon tea. Success!
If you’d like more information, contact me on 0403 335 950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org