Another 5 Bites the Dust

Last weekend I spent some time hanging round in a different part of town, so to speak. If you’ve spent any time reviewing the info on the web about low carb, you’ve probably come across groups other than Atkins folks who follow a substantially similar dietary lifestyle, but approach it from a different angle. A couple I’ve found so far are:

  • Diabetics. Low carb is a great way to manage diabetes.
  • Bodybuilders. They tend to emphasize the exercise first, and eat way more protein, but these folks, looking for noticeable results, have some really good information on their sites. Here’s an example.
  • Gastric surgery patients. If the size of your stomach is small, you can’t eat junk food, nor can you fill up on junk. Low carb is nutrient-dense, and is the way many of these people lead their lives after surgery.
  • Paleo People. There are a few varieties in here, lumped together, but these people try to eat as natural and raw as possible. You’ll find these people frequently espousing raw milk – even raw liver – sorry, I’m not going there anytime soon, but they do have a number of points worth considering.

One aspect that I found interesting, and Megamas touched on in this recent post, was the notion of low carb junk food – recreations of high carb foods in a low carb way, that are supposed to be a replacement for our cherished comfort foods – the ones that are making us morbidly obese and killing us.

They have their place: I would much rather see someone gnosh on an Atkins bar than those sugar-laden ‘energy’ bars that are the norm – it’s just that a lot of people go on low carb, live on these things, don’t lose a lot of weight, and say it’s because low carb doesn’t work.

I myself have been in a stall since January. I lost 20 lbs. very quickly, but then stopped at 195. This weight has always been one of the weights my body is comfortable at, but I’m not. I have a pair of pants I call my ‘reference pants’ – they are the smallest pants I expect to wear in my wardrobe. I can get them on, but my eyes bulge slightly, so I have more weight to go – I want to be between 170 and 180.

Looking at my diet after reading the paleo literature, I saw that I was living on two things that might be sabotaging further weight loss: artificial sweeteners and deli meat.

Latest news on artificial sweeteners says that it makes us more hungry because our bodies taste the sweet and pump out insulin even though there’s no sugar – so it can still mess with our hunger mechanism.

On the deli meat, I have no research, but a lot of research says that the nitrates in a lot of them are bad for you, and many (like bologna – a guilty pleasure of mine) have added sugar.

Based on the above, I decided last week to try to be more ‘paleo’ and reduce the sweeteners and deli meats.

I upped my vegetable count with a lot of raw vegetables, ate more unmolested meats like hamburger, and reduced my intake of artificial sweeteners. I still had them, as well as some deli meat and some low carb bread, but it was much less than usual.

The result: 5 pounds lost this week.

I didn’t feel particularly deprived, though I need to come up with a way to enjoy water more. I find straight water is too ‘flat’ – I had a friend tell me the minerals they add to Dasani water gives it a subtle ‘flavor’ that makes it more paletable – I tried it, and he’s right, but I don’t like the waste of buying water. Anyone out there have a trick for flavoring water without artificial additives?

Also – to my surprise – I’ve been enjoying the raw vegetables.

In reflection, I think there is a possiblilty to resensitize my taste buds to more subtle flavors, without pouring on the fake sugar or salt. I had both this week – I’m no saint – but the reduction in both seemed to serve me well.

I’ll try to do this for another week and see how it goes.

5 thoughts on “Another 5 Bites the Dust

  1. Excellent points, L, on the other dietary adjuncts out there. I’ve known for a few years now that serious body-builders are VERY into hyper-scientific nutrition, and I used to think it was all about lifting weights. One website essay I read was so thickly intense with a scientific explanation of exactly what things to eat in an exact sequence exactly “X” minutes after a particular workout and what was going on at an organic level, that I thought I was reading a biology textbook!

    I still want to delve into Paleo more; I think the concept of returning to the diet of our ancestors is intriguing. (BTW, you’re a sashimi fan, but you draw the line at liver? Maybe it’s the vision of Mia Farrow that people in our age group have burned in their memory banks.)

    From what you said about artificial sweeteners and what I learned a few weeks ago in GC,BC, I think our bodies are getting WAY too out of hand with this insulin response thing. I say we force them to only secrete if we actually ingest carbs, not just see, smell, taste, or think about them, and not if we’re eating something that’s fake! Who’s with me?!?

    You’ll see in my post tomorrow the results of my cutting out the Italian salamis I’d been enjoying in increasing quantity during the alcohol respite. I believe whatever was in them, whether the nitrates, nitrites, or simply the salt, was causing me to not only stall but gain in slight and steady increments. I don’t want to lump prosciutto in this group because if you buy the authentic meat, like Prosciutto di San Daniele, the only ingredient used to cure it is a sparing amount of sea salt (the salt content in a properly aged Prosciutto di San Daniele is less than 6 per cent).

    Water: I’ve found drinking water is something you just have to do without thinking about it. There’s nothing exciting about it, yet without it, we die. We have a fridge at home with a dispenser and a built-in filter (we used to put a Brita pitcher in the old one), and we simply refill and chill a bunch of plastic bottles we bought that once contained commercially produced water. Grab a bottle and drink half, a while later, repeat. Do this four times a day and don’t think about it. I have a PDA program I picked up for free called, “Water Log;” it lets you keep track of your intake and even rings an alarm periodically to remind you to drink some more. I don’t need it now, but there was a time it came in handy.
    I don’t think there’s anything out there as far as water flavorings without artificial sweeteners of some sort. Fruit2O has Splenda in it. I’ll look for some though and let you know. Even so, if there’s sweetness of any kind in it, it sounds like your body is going to secrete insulin as a result of the taste, not the true content.

    Veggies, raw: I did this as a weight loss gimmick of my own design many years ago, and I did lose weight, a lot of it, just by replacing my daily lunch with a combo of raw broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Again, very boring, but something I did without dwelling on it, and without knowing at the time that the bulk of it was low on the glycemic list. I’m not so into veggies anymore, and even the salad I had last night felt like I was being a traitor to myself.

    PS – Congrats on the loss! I wish I weighed what you do right now, and that’s five pounds less than my primary goal of 200. I still haven’t donated my skinny pants to charity yet, they’re sitting here in a pile staring at me, waiting. By the time I fit back into them, they’ll probably be out of style!

  2. Congratulations on your success.

    I too have forsworn processed and artificial foods while doing low carb, and the results have been wonderful.

    As for water, I installed a brita 3 stage filter on the sink. It filters water and adds in minerals. I was a bit of a bottled water snob, and I really enjoy it.

  3. While shopping today, I scoped out the water situation at my local supermarkets. Almost all the flavored waters seem to be sweetened with either sucralose (Spenda) or aspartame (Nutrasweet). All the flavored seltzer waters I looked at were made that way using “natural” flavors, and many of the sparkling waters were as well. I found a line of flavored Italian mineral water branded by Wegmans (one of our local chains in NY state) that comes in lemon, lime, mixed berry, and lemongrass flavors that also use only “natural” flavors; I just had a glass of the lime flavor and it’s delicious. I prefer non-carbonated water, so this will be a pleasant diversion from regular tap water.

    PS – On the prosciutto front, the Italian deli at my Wegmans does not carry prosciutto di San Daniele, but they do carry prosciutto di Parma, which is made the same way as the other (only sea salt to cure).

  4. I like to eat my raw vegetables with a thick salad dressing (or dip if you prefer) made from approximately equal parts of yogurt and sour cream and about half as much cottage cheese. The other three ingredients are onion flakes, parsley flakes and Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend. Typical mix: 1cup yogurt, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1Tbs onion flakes, 1Tbs parsley flakes, and 1 Tsp seasoning blend.

    I’m familiar with the insulin response to artificial sweeteners. Perhaps a little stevia in your water would make it less of a chore to maintain hydration. Whether stevia provokes an insulin response, I don’t know.

    I must confess I don’t have a weight problem but I don’t consume desserts very often anymore. When I do it’s usually whipped cream on fruit or pie. The whipped cream is sweetened with minimal powdered sugar. By the way, you can make powdered sugar from granulated sugar in a ten dollar electric coffee grinder. This is the part I like. If you make a lot of whipped cream you can freeze it in a yogurt, sour cream, or cottage container. It doesn’t taste exactly like regular ice cream but it’s pretty good sprinkled with nuts mixed with a little granola. Let it thaw a bit before dishing it up. Or you can chip it out with a fork and wait until it softens a bit to eat it.

  5. As to the water, I bought some lemon juice and would throw a dash in a glass before drinking. I drank way more water yesterday, so this might work.

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