I’ve been following low carb high fat (LCHF) for over a year, which basically means cutting out most or all carbs, and replacing it with moderate protein and high amounts of healthy fats. This is a lifestyle that is approved of by lots of health professionals, including diabetes related organisations. I’ve written posts about the science and maths in the past, but the thing I want to talk about in this post is what it actually means to follow this lifestyle.
I’m calling it a lifestyle rather than a diet because I’m eating to keep as well as I can, not for some kind of ‘ end goal’. Ie I don’t do it for a few months and then go back to old eating habits and I tend not to have ‘cheat days’ like people on diets for losing weight tend to.
One comment I get a lot is ‘at least you’re not pregnant/have cancer. They have way more foods they can’t eat.’ Pregnancy is an easy reply- it’s 9 months. If you can’t manage to sacrifice booze and cups of coffee for 9 months, you’re not ready to be a parent, clearly. As for cancer, it’s usually people trying to be upbeat and ‘positive’, but it’s actually more annoying than anything else. Lots of people have diets and lifestyles they follow to keep them healthy or to try to anyway- there are lots of different types. Some of the things on my list are because they don’t fit in with LCHF, some are because they make me react with my reactive hypoglycaemia so it’s best to avoid them. So here are the things I don’t eat anymore:Cake
Pasta and noodles
Pastries like croissants
Pudding in general
Ice cream/frozen yoghurt/custard
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Chips and sweet potato chips
Some sauces which use flour or sugar eg ready made sauces you can buy in supermarkets
Most Chinese food
Most takeaways except things like Indian meat and kebab meat
Crisps except when I’m nearing crisis
Chocolate except dark chocolate with minimum 85% cocoa solids
Battered things eg battered fish, chicken nuggets, chicken Kiev
Drinks with sugar in, even natural sugars
Most diet drinks except from Coke Zero now when I’m having stomach issues
Hot chocolate, milkshakes, Frappuccinos
Beans except ones which are green
Some types of soup – some have a lot of carb in
Crackers and thin breads
Sugars and sweeteners
Semi skimmed milk
Jams and jellies
Honey and syrups
Some condiments which are packed with sugar eg bbq sauce
Salad dressings which have a lot of sugar in
Cereal and granola
Yogurt except for natural and Greek yoghurt
Quiche and pasties or anything with pastry
Things with lots of preservatives also tend to have a lot of carbs in them. So things which have a long shelf life tend to be out for me
Couscous and quinoa except in small quantities
Pulses and grains except in v small quantities
Sometimes, I go for a best case scenario, like if I’m eating out. Salads, meat and dairy are good, but sometimes options are limited so I go with foods which have the lowest carbs but aren’t necessarily as low carb as I would like.
Now if you see me eating one of the things on my list, I don’t need chastising. There might be a reason for it: I could be treating a hypo. I might be doing a test to see if my body can tolerate reintroducing certain foods. I might just have thought ‘sod it I really want to eat cake’. All of those are legitimate reasons! The good thing is, I’ve been doing it consistently for so long now that I don’t really want to eat a big slice of cake because I would basically have a hangover from the carbs. So it’s not actually worth enjoying a slice of cake for 5 minutes a lot of the time!
There are some foods I love which I can eat plenty of on LCHF:
Things with cream cheese
I’ve discovered a new love for fish and seafood
Meat in general
Bacon… lots and lots of bacon
All day breakfasts (minus the bread)
Raclette and fondue are amazing meals for me!
Cauliflower ‘mac’ and cheese is one of my favourite meals
As is butternut squash, mozzarella and bacon bake (as close to cheesy chips as you can get!)
You just have to be a bit inventive and imaginative with the way you eat things. Overall I’m finding the pros of this lifestyle outweigh the cons in terms of how I feel and manage blood sugar. Having said that, low carb puddings are not up to much!