Wednesday, June 24, 2009

everything in moderation

I started talking to my co-worker, who has done low carb before and always falls off the bandwagon, as he says.

And another co-worker eventually wandered up as we were discussing carbs, and he said, "Everything in moderation!"

At the time I didn't think to say, hey, that doesn't work for all of us.

Exhibit 1: My husband. He's tall, relatively lean, and eats whatever he wants. I'd say he eats relatively high carb.

Exhibit 2: Me. I'm shorter, a bit fatter, and I've recently gained some weight -- not much, just enough for me to notice, and I eat relatively low carb.

I can hear some people saying, "So see? More carbs, skinnier person."

But that's not what I see, and here's why.

If I consumed the amount of carbs that my husband consumed, I would instantly gain weight. I would even go so far to say that within the course of six months, I would easily weigh over 300 pounds. I could prove this, but I would rather not, for obvious reasons.

At certain times, I weighed over 200 pounds while I was eating the same way he was, and it was extremely difficult to control my weight during those times.

I do not believe that one diet fits all, but I do believe that refined carbs and refined sugar are toxic foods to any person who is morbidly obese. To some degree, they are toxic to everybody, but some people can handle those foods better than others. Obese people are NOT those people.

Being obese does not mean that a person does not have self control. It does not mean that they eat too much and exercise too little.

In my estimation, it means that person cannot process refined carbs correctly. And why not? What's wrong with them?


To be perfectly frank, NONE of us should be able to digest that crap. It's an honest to God miracle that the obesity rate isn't 100 percent in my opinion. Through the evolution of mankind, refined foods have had no place. And yet we have the government touting six to eleven servings of grain PER DAY.

The hardest part for an obese person will be the first two weeks of going low carb. Why? Because they are addicted. I know. I was. Your body can barely tell the difference between a candy bar, a piece of bread, and a piece of pizza, and if you go through the daily meal plan of most Americans, you're eating carbs all day long. Why? Well, your doctor told you to cut fat! So you eat carbs, and your blood sugar stays high. And then you crash, and then you need more carbs, because your blood sugar has to stay high so that you don't feel like you're going to fall asleep, and your body will SCREAM at you if you try to change that state. In obese people, all of that sugar -- and yes, I mean potato chips and bread, those count too -- tells your body to store fat. Lots and lots of fat.

I was finally able to kick the sugar addiction after YEARS of effort. It wasn't easy for me. The first week I was off all bread and sugar (yes, even off gluten free substitutes), I felt like I would die. I'm not kidding. Why? Because I was an addict. And that's why people feel crappy on low carb diets in the beginning. Your body has to adjust back down to the amount of sugar it has evolved to take in -- which is far less than you're eating with the standard American diet.

Yet, there's resistance. People are horrified by talk of a diet that will make you feel bad in the short term. Although, I'm sure nobody tells people that they shouldn't quit smoking because they'll feel crappy for a few weeks.

After that, the fog lifted, and I was free. I could look at a muffin or a piece of pizza and not want it. In the entire course of my life, this had never happened before. But for my thinner husband, this happens to him all the time. He will put candy in the fridge and forget about it for weeks. Before I cut out sugar and bread, I would think about the candy in the fridge every single day until he ate it. Every. Single. Day.

For me, and for other people like me who cannot handle refined carbs at all, the whole "Everything in moderation!" concept is a joke.

I know full well that if I were to eat something high carb now, I would not be able to stop eating it. I have proof of this. I ate too much fruit at Disneyland, because they give you this giant serving. I was cranky and irritable for hours later when my blood sugar crashed. Why? Because my body had adjusted to less sugar. So when it was hit with all of that fruit, my body cleared that sugar out of my bloodstream quick as a flash -- now that it wasn't tired from doing that 24/7 -- and then I was hit by that cranky low. I don't care to repeat that experience.

Before I went low carb, I had made some changes. I had stopped buying cookies and cakes and I almost never had potato chips around. But that still wasn't good enough. Not when you're an addict.

Do people tell alcoholics that they should consume alcohol in moderation? Of course not. It's a trigger for them (and a trigger that has been tied to -- surprise!-- carb addiction).

But yet everybody seems to think that carb addicts should be able to eat a donut now and then.

Well, I can't. And other obese people can't either, unless they find or make reasonable low carb substitutes. Although I might not even want those. Sometimes I think about wanting a donut, but now I'd probably think they were so sweet I wouldn't want it.

So, that's what I think about this whole moderation thing. It might work for people who are physically like my husband, but certainly not for me -- and I seriously doubt there will be any measure of success for any obese person out there.

I am pleased to also report that when you eat low carb, you get a normal appetite.

Before, I was always, constantly hungry. Every obese person is, I think. I had no idea what real hunger felt like, because I was always jonesing for a starch fix.

It is such a relief to not be a slave to food anymore.

Sorry I veered off topic today. SCD by itself is not a low carb diet, but I think there are MANY people with digestive dysfunction who need to LOSE weight. I think every obese person can benefit from SCD, because SCD also cuts sugars and starches. If you have IBS, Crohn's, colitis, and are obese, you can benefit from a lower carb version of SCD. You will heal and you will feel better. If you need to gain weight, pile on the carbs! It's a proven method.

My heart goes out to every obese person out there. I have several in my own family. I want to help my family change, but it's very difficult to change the behavior of an addict -- especially when the government tells them that they are eating the correct foods to lose weight.

Quick link: This lecture by Gary Taubes is fantastic. He's talking to a bunch of doctors about why telling their patients to eat less, exercise more does not work at all. If you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

bacon and low cost SCD food

Again, I must apologize for lack of posting!

However, I do have several recipes in the works, but I'm not quite ready to post them yet.

Tonight, though, we'll be having legal bacon for dinner!

It's hard to find legal bacon, so I always check packages whenever I go shopping. So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Ralph's brand low sodium bacon was SCD legal!

I do believe that Ralph's is part of the Albertson's/Jewel family of stores so you may find similarly marked store brands of bacon at those stores as well. It's usually on sale, too -- 2 packages for $6 or $7.

One caveat: I have heard that some companies use undeclared corn starch to keep bacon slices from sticking together. I do not know if this is true, and I go by the label. My son is pretty sensitive to most SCD illegals and he has had no issues, but if you have an allergy, by all means contact the company to ask about any additives during processing.

I also wanted to share some of my bargain basement food finds with you.

Guys, it really, REALLY pays to shop around when you are on SCD. The variance in prices is simply astonishing. In my area, the major supermarkets (like Ralph's for example) sell produce at a huge markup. In fact, most of it is what I would consider to be unaffordable.

When I was living in my old neighborhood, I was about a block away from a store called Jon's. I never went there, for some reason. I usually drove down to Albertson's. We are creatures of habit, after all.

Anyway, one day I ran out of something and I didn't have time to go to Albertson's, so I decided to walk to Jon's and check it out.

I found the most amazing prices on produce I'd ever SEEN.

Apricots for 59 cents per pound. Roma tomatoes, 2 pounds for a dollar. Oranges, 3 pounds for a dollar. Big bunches of fresh herbs for 89 cents apiece. Pickling cucumbers for 99 cents a pound. And about ten different kinds of peppers (this is southern California, after all). Yellow onions, four pounds for a dollar.

The entire department was humming with activity, and all of the produce was incredibly fresh. I was absolutely STUNNED.

So now, I always go to Jon's for produce. I recently moved, and one of the first stores I looked up was the closest Jon's. Recently I got raspberries for 99 cents per little container (which I don't think is quite a pint ... or is it?) and fresh strawberries for $1.50 per pound. I've gone home with something like ten pounds of produce for under ten bucks more often than not.

Now, I amuse myself by looking at the prices at Ralph's when I go there!

I do still go to Ralph's for cheap fresh chicken parts without additives. I can buy large amounts of fresh Foster Farms chicken parts at Costco, but when I want to buy smaller quantities, I go to Ralph's. Read the packages and you'll likely find some kind without additives. Sanderson Farms is one of the good brands.

I also check their meat markdown section -- if it's expiring in a day, that's fine by me!

Where else have I found some great prices? Trader Joe's. Cheap food at Trader Joe's? It's true! I had someone snort at me when I told them Trader Joe's had cheap frozen spinach. They thought my definition of cheap was somehow different from theirs.

Try $1.29 per pound -- and it's pesticide free!

I usually can't afford organic produce all of the time, much as I'd like to be able to. So I make do with what I can get. I get five pound bags of organic green beans at Costco for about $5. I get five pound bags of organic baby carrots there, too, for about the same price. The pesticide free spinach at Trader Joe's isn't organic, but it's certainly better than the conventional stuff -- and it's even cheaper than the conventional stuff!

I also get light coconut milk at Trader Joe's. It's SCD legal, and only a dollar per can. Their almond butter is only $5 per jar, which is cheaper than the Whole Foods 365 brand. And TJ's also has goat cheddar for around $7-$8 per block -- far cheaper than Chevre Noir, and better tasting to boot.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the olive oil, however.

If you love the taste of good olive oil, check out the TJ's California olive oil. A 16 oz bottle costs $6 and it is AMAZING in my opinion. A review is here. I am no snob when it comes to food, but I can't get enough of this stuff. It tastes so good!

And one other thing to look for -- the NutriClean Certified sticker. I recently bought a butternut squash with this shiny purple sticker on it. I had no idea what it meant.

Turns out it is part of a program that tests produce for pesticide residue. If there's no detectable levels of pesticides, the food is then NutriClean Certified.

So if you can't afford organic, then look for NutriClean! It's pretty great for those of us who can't exactly break the bank when it comes to food.

So! Hope that helps you save a few bucks. In this economy, we can use all the help we can get.