Like most people, I'm concerned with the practical needs of everyday life, and therefore research issues of health and livelihood.
I ended up putting on a lot of weight. I took care of my Mom for almost ten years and during that time, I mostly quit working out and the high stress of the situation caused me to eat all the wrong things. I could make that long story even longer, but you get the gist of it.
It got to the point that I couldn't hardly do anything, I'd put on so much weight. In fact, though I haven't documented my progress in terms of numbers or pictures, I can tell you I've been losing weight because I can put my socks on without feeling like I'm dying.
I decided to go on a sort of modified keto diet, which I guess is to say a low-carb diet, because I don't really like bread and that sort of thing that much and I have a fondness for most high -protein foods like beef and chicken and fish. So, low carb was right up my alley.
My Modified Approach
I can't eat dairy. Not sure why, but it tears up my stomach. So, I can't eat eggs and I can't eat cheese, a couple of great sources of nutrients that are allowed on the Keto or low-carb diet.
I also noticed while on the diet, I was tired and hungry. I was depriving myself of something I needed. So, I did add a couple of healthy carbs to the diet. Primarily these were beans and a very limited amounts of rice and bread.
I'll eat a cup of pinto beans with a meal or I'll eat a slice of whole wheat toast with butter and once in awhile about a half cup of rice thrown in with a half cup of beans, along with something like the allowable chicken and lettuce and tomatoes.
Well, it's not like you are not allowed any carbs at all on a low-carb diet. I limit it to no more than 60 grams of carbs for a meal and no more than 15 for a snack. This is a modification for me because I started off cutting out all carbs from my diet. It was all meat and vegetables when I started. Now I'll throw in a piece of toast with my breakfast, which only adds 17 grams of carbs.
Also, I count net carbs. This is just the number of grams of carbs, minus the number of grams of fiber. Fiber allows your body to process carbs more efficiently, and so more healthily, so you can subtract the fiber count from the carb count. This is why I added beans and whole wheat toast, they are high in fiber. It's not like I'm eating a slice of chocolate cake with meals or something!
Example of a Meal Plan for a Day
- Five sausage links
- Two slices of bacon
- A sliced tomato, salted
- One slice of whole wheat bread, buttered (12g carbs)
- Hamburger patty with mayonnaise and mustard (no bun, of course)
- Salad with Italian dressing.
- Half a cup of chili (11g carbs)
- Marinated chicken thighs
- Steamed broccoli with butter and season-all and black pepper
- Half a cup of brown rice (22.5g carbs)
Some Fast Food Alternatives
Can't help it, I still love my fast food. When I get a hankering, typically I'll get a Power Bowl from Taco Bell. This meal has chicken (or steak), lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, and a negligible amount of beans and rice that doesn't go over the amount of carbs allowed. Well, let's put it this way, the power bowl only has 6 grams of net carbs. So, it's perfect for a low-carb diet. It's usually pretty filling, but if I still feel a little hungry afterward, I'll make a nice little salad with lettuce, spinach, maybe some other greens, diced tomato, avocado and a delicious vinaigrette. It rounds it off nicely.
I've also had a lettuce wrap from Carl's Jr. These are great and a decent amount of food. I will get one with a side salad. Last time I got their Bacon Avocado Burger which is great because avocado is delicious and allowed and we all know how scrumptious bacon is. I ate it with a fork, it's pretty cumbersome to pick up and eat even with a big leaf of ice berg lettuce. At any rate, it's delicious.
At KFC, I'll get the 2 or 3-piece dark meat meal with Cole slaw. Obviously the mashed potatoes or the wedges are too high in carbs but the Cole slaw is just fine. It's 41 grams of net carbs for a 2-piece meal with Cole slaw, 48 with the biscuit. You can put butter on the biscuit but you might want to skip the honey. I suggest unsweetened iced tea if you have to have a drink. Stay away from the BBQ baked beans, it might sound healthy in a way, but it's got a lot of sugar.
So it's very possible to eat a lot of delicious food on a low-carb diet!
I've run into difficulty with the snacks. At first I was having low-carb nuts, which, turns out, are expensive. Nuts like Brazil nuts, pecans and macadamia nuts put a dent in the pocketbook. I gave up on that.
I tried cottage cheese but found out it had the same bad effect on me like the rest of dairy foods that I can't eat.
I can eat pork rinds, however. Also, I'll have a piece of toast with peanut butter on it once in awhile. There are some carbs in it but it's negligible and the fiber and nutrients make it worth it. Also, I am fond of celery with peanut butter and it's good to include a lot of veggies in your low-carb diet.
However, even though I can't eat those things I mentioned that I can't eat it doesn't mean you necessarily can't. If you go with the cottage cheese you can always top it with some good low-carb raspberries or blackberries.
What I Allow and Don't Allow
Here are the things I allowed in a limited way:
- Whole grain rice (about 1/2 cup a meal)
- Whole wheat bread (1 slice in a meal or snack)
- Beans (1/2 a cup)
- Peanut butter
Here are things I don't eat at all:
- Sweets like cake, cookies, candy
- Meat and fish
- Fats and oils
- Vegetables and greens
I love a good salad with some chicken strips, lettuce and spinach and other greens, diced tomatoes and sliced avocado with some tangy Italian dressing. I also love to eat chicken thighs with something like green beans. Fish is another great dish. I had a delicious plate of tilapia with a mango salsa the other night.
I just read labels and do net carb calculations and make sure I'm not going over my carbohydrate limits for meals.
So What's the Result?
I've been on my low-carb diet for about a month now and the difference is noticeable. Before I was on the diet my extra weight, along with my respiratory issues, made it a struggle just to put on my socks, or, believe it or not, take a shower. I was in bad shape. I've very quickly gotten to the point where I can do both of those things with no trouble. This is my measurement for how well the diet is going: How I feel and what I can do.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.