Jul 212015

I started my journey to a healthier low carb way of life 21 days ago. Yes, I can count the days, minutes and seconds since I started my diet. My last meal the night before I started my diet was on June 30, 2015, at approximately 7:30 pm. Oops! Let’s not forget the mini Mounds bar I had as a bedtime snack around midnight.

I should mention that I have Type 2 Diabetes.

This journey didn’t start out as a way to lose weight. My blood glucose (BG) levels were out of control and I needed to do something. My blood glucose was 230 the morning that I started my diet, and that was with medication and insulin. A normal blood glucose reading should be between 70 and 105, and no higher than 180 two hours after a meal. Those are the ADA guidelines, which I believe are old and outdated. From what I understand, it is when the blood glucose reaches 140 that it begins to cause damage to organs and nerves. This is why I have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and probably why I have had cataracts and have to get the pressure in my eyes checked every year for fear of glaucoma. I know many of my ailments come with age, but I also know Diabetes has been the cause of many of them.

It had been a real struggle trying to keep my diabetes under control. Over the years, my doctors have gradually added more and more medication until, finally, it wasn’t enough and I had to take insulin. I hated it! Having to prick my fingers three to five times a day, shots in the morning, evening, and before each meal. The more I ate, the more insulin I needed. My doctor told me I was just feeding my diabetes.

I had no will power. It was foods like fried rice or spaghetti that made it very difficult. I would outdo myself when it came to pasta, potatoes and rice. Now, they are not even in my repertoire of recipes when I cook for myself. I do still cook them for my family on occasion, but most of the time they can do without. They are much better off making healthier choices, even if it is me that is making the choices for them. Otherwise, hey, they can cook for themselves, right? I can’t even get my 21-year-old to make his own grilled cheese sandwich. I know, I enable and indulge him. I’m a mother, and that’s what I do. I enable and indulge.

When I do cook high calorie/carb foods for them, I can usually do without and add something I like instead. For example, they love spaghetti and I would never deprive them of my spaghetti and meatballs. So, while the sauce is simmering and the spaghetti noodles are boiling, I spiralize a zucchini (I call them zoodles) and saute it in a little EVOO and garlic. I then have the zoodles with a little sauce and meatballs. It is so good!

zucchini spaghetti and meatballs

Zucchini Spagetti and Meatballs – 291 calories, 15g net carbs

I started with a 3-day fast so that I could try to get my insulin dosage where it should be, without food. I then began to add carbohydrates back into my diet. I soon found that my body cannot tolerate too many carbs without spiking my blood sugar too much. So, I settled on a less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (that’s right, not per meal, PER DAY!), preferably less than 30g. Now, instead of seeing BG readings in the 200’s, I’m seeing consistent readings in the 80’s and 90’s. I couldn’t believe it!

I have about 50 pounds to lose, so I decided to try and restrict my calorie intake as well. Believe me, calories do matter. It takes quite the balancing act to lower carbs and calories at the same time. So, in addition to lowering my carb intake to less than 50 grams of carbs, I now stick to a 1200 calorie diet. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. I actually get to eat a lot of low carb food, so I’m not feeling hungry all day like I did with high carb, low fat diets. This diet has changed my life! In fact, to me, it’s not a diet at all. It is a new way of eating, a low carb way of life. Hmm, NWOE and LCWOL. Not Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF), exactly, because I’m not comfortable with eating a lot of fat. It makes me feel queasy when I eat too much fat. Besides, I read that too much fat can spike my blood sugar because it contributes to my insulin resistance. However, I don’t eat low fat, either, because I feel that some fat in my diet helps me feel full and satisfied. Like I said, it’s all a balancing act. Anyway, there are plenty of pros and cons out there about the LCHF diet, but I’m not going to get into that. I just want to write about what works for me and, hopefully, give others some ideas on making healthier choices. I know it’s only been three weeks, but I honestly feel that I’m in this for the long haul.

This is not about physical fitness, although I definitely plan on becoming more active as I go along. For now, a trip to the grocery store once a week, running a few errands, working around the house, and tending to my vegetable garden is about all I can handle for now. I look forward to the days when I can hop in my van, go from store to store, and shop ’til I drop.

This isn’t a recipe blog, but I do have quite a few of my favorite recipes. I have to admit, not too many of them are low carb or calorie. However, you can adjust many of them by excluding the potatoes or rice, or by replacing them with cauliflower. Just look at the drop-down categories under “What’s Cooking”. As I gradually add more low carb recipes to my blog, I will include a link to those pages.

Some of my favorite low carb foods:

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Pork chops with cauliflower pork fried rice
Zucchini spaghetti and meatballs
Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Sauteed chicken and green beans
Sausage and sauteed cabbage served over cauliflower rice
Oven baked cod and broccoli
Corned beef and cabbage
Romaine lettuce wraps with ham, roast beef, tuna, turkey and chicken salad.
Roasted asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant
Snacks: mozarella sticks, peanuts, cucumber chips, strawberries and whipped cream. I also found a mock danish that was pretty good.

I would love to hear your story, or any tips or words of encouragement that you might have. Please add your comments below. Thank you! ~Susan