Monthly Archives: May 2014

Eating Well – Low Carb and Without Grains

I am often asked, and sometimes volunteer, what I eat on my diet. Of course I eat a variety of things. At first, the thought of eating without grains is foreign to eating a Standard American Diet which stresses carbs from grains, breads and cereals. So what else is there? The next time you are at your market, stand in the middle of the produce section and look around. If you are at a large supermarket like Tops or Wegmans, you will see a vast array of fresh vegetables and fruits. These have carbs but they are usually low glycemic. Your meat section is another area that is generally grain free unless it is prepared and breaded. Frozen vegetables and fruits are another area to add to your diet. Also, the bulk foods area offers many nuts and mixtures that are delightful sources of good fats and proteins.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I enjoy the standard bacon (2 slices) and one egg breakfast except instead of potato and toast, I eat mine with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower (1cup each sautéed in 1tbsp of salted butter, with dried minced garlic and salt added). This adds bulk and slow carbs to the breakfast. I usually drink a 16oz glass of detox water (2oz Lemon Juice, 1oz Lime Juice, two packets of Splenda and 13oz of water). I also have a cup of coffee, This would seem like a lot, but the total nutrition for this particular breakfast, according to my LoseIt! app, is: Total Calories = 329, Fat = 24.6g (12.1g saturated), Cholesterol = 268.3mg, Sodium = 581.1mg, Carbohydrates = 10.8g (Fiber 5g, Sugar 1g, Net Carbs = 5.8g), Protein = 17.7g. You can lower these even more by using unsalted butter or olive oil, substitute turkey bacon and egg substitute. You can enjoy a satisfying meal that has little calories and is filling.

Another wonderful breakfast I enjoy is sautéed cabbage and vegetables. I usually slice up 4 – 6 cups of Savoy cabbage. I slice snow peas lengthwise into strips that complement the cabbage. I add carrot matchsticks, I also add small zucchini squash cut into matchsticks and shredded red or purple cabbage. I use a garlic and herb sautéing butter which adds wonderful flavor. I may add baby kale at the end and finish it with a sprinkling of lime juice. This makes it bright. For a protein component, I might add ham, sausage or chicken. A plate full of this goodness ranges from 200 to 300 calories, is delicious and satisfying.

Bullet-proof Coffee is coffee with 1tbsp coconut oil or butter added. I use coconut oil. My 16oz thermos of coffee, creamer and zero calorie sweetener with the coconut oil is 165 calories. As coconut oil is mostly medium chain triglycerides that are processed in the liver into ketones, it is great at staving off hunger.

My lunch can consist of 8 cups of fresh baby spinach / baby kale mix that is cooked down with minced garlic and onion in olive oil on top of turkey sausage. This is just under 200 calories. I usually eat a fresh grapefruit for an additional 106 calories. This lunch gives me a good supply of omega 3 fatty acids, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and fiber. I usually have herbal tea with my lunch.

My dinner usually consists of a stir fry using fresh or frozen vegetables and usually steak tips or fajita beef. With about 4oz of meat, vegetables and oil to stir fry, a calorie total is around 450 calories. I will then add some fresh pineapple for the sweetness, fiber and the great enzymes within the pineapple, the ones that disallow its use in gelatin. This meal completes out about 550 calories. I usually have my detox water (0 calories).

You can see that I can get variety, good flavor, and rich nutrition without eating grains. With that being said, I do find it hard to get enough fiber, so I supplement my diet with psyllium husks caps and ground flax seed (I usually add 2tsp to 3oz of low fat yogurt). I also take a multivitamin each day. Many people put no faith in vitamins but I think it is a wonderful insurance policy to get a greater range of vitamins and minerals in my diet.

What’s Up Doc?

There are very few times that you want to see your doctor. My last visit was one such time. I had gotten blood work done two weeks before. I wanted to know the effects of my low carb, high fat, anti-inflammatory diet on my diagnostic health.

I sat, waiting in the private room for my doctor to appear. He asked if I had blood work done, I said that I did. He began reviewing the records. He said that my blood glucose level was good, it was 100. Even with trying to keep my carbs below 100 grams, mostly successful. I was happy to hear that my fasting glucose was good. The then told me that my Total Cholesterol level as 188, the best in a long time, down from 203 in February. This actually surprised me since I was sure that my total cholesterol level would go up with the saturated fat and eggs that grace my breakfast so very often. I have been trying to get 60% or more of my calories from fat. I have been using olive oil, coconut oil along with butter and animal fat. I was very happy. My HDL cholesterol had increased from 40 to 42. My LDL dropped a little from 135 to 127. My doctor was surprised that my Triglycerides fall to 97 from 136. He was very pleased with my progress. My blood pressure was good 118/84.

My doctor then lifted his brows, almost asking, “You have lost 30 pounds. The last time you were at this weight was 6 years ago.” Then after pausing for a moment, he asked “What have you been doing?” I told him that since I had last seen him, I had been on a low carb – high fat, no nightshades and no grains. He asked, “You mean no breads or cereals?” I answered that yes, it meant no breads or cereals. He asked what my typical breakfast looked like. I told him that it could be bacon or sausage, an egg, sautéed broccoli, 3 oz. of yogurt with 2 teaspoons of ground flax seed and bulletproof coffee. Explaining that bulletproof coffee for me was coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil melted in it.

I explained to my doctor that I was trying to heal my stomach and that the weight loss was a fortunate side effect of the diet. Being my doctor, he was familiar with the stomach problems that I had been experiencing since last August along with my ongoing joint and muscle pain. I proudly announced that my stomach, although not healed, was feeling much better. I also told him that I had stopped taking three of my prescribed medicines, namely the pain killers and acid reducer. I told him that I wanted to stop taking my other medicines as well.

My doctor was quite pleased with my overall results. I explained to him that this has been a miraculous journey for me, that I now have more energy than I ever had before. He remembered when I had to walk with a cane because of my arthritis and neuropathy, but I assured him that I now walk for miles. I even bragged to him that I went on a 7 mile hike with my son.

He was excited for me and told me he looks forward to seeing my progress in August. I am looking forward to that visit as well. I feel like a new person. I have been given a new chance at an incredible life. Life is precious and fleeting. I do not want to take it for granted ever again. I have found my new medicine – it comes on my plate. What I put into my body matters. Listening to my body is important. Pain is a body’s way of saying something is wrong. Doctors are usually great at treating symptoms of problems, but I think it is more important to go to the root cause. My body speaks and I am listening.

Who am I?

In my workplace, they have announced that there will be layoffs soon. This will be the third time in 4 years. This time it is a little different, the previous layoffs were for staff reductions. The current layoff is due to outsourcing the department that I work in.

We still don’t know when, just why. As I try to uplift my fellow employees, as I was their supervisor until the last layoff, I try to focus on their talents and potential. During one very serious discussion, we spoke about who we were. There are lots of long term employees who are nervous about the upcoming cuts. I have 30 years in service. With so many years in service, many are unsure what they might do, or even can do. I reminded them that they are not what they do. Something I had to realize several years ago.

I shared with them that I once was very ill and that I felt that I could not continue working the position that I had. I told my manager at the time that I could not continue in that position and understood perfectly that he would need to replace me. I was ready to move on to whatever path awaited me, but my manager offered me another position that was less physically demanding and I remained with the company.

I came to grips that what we do isn’t necessarily what we are or who we are. Employers will find others to fill our positions. But the person we are cannot easily be replaced. I am a: father, son, brother, husband, friend, citizen, uncle, nephew, cousin, student, teacher, mentor, mentee, worshipper, and even a sinner. I am all these things. So even if I am chosen to leave my employ, I am still me. I will just have to seek other ways to use my energy and talents. I’m thinking about going back to school. But I will have to wait and see what will happen. Until then I will concentrate on who I am, my potential, my talents, my passions. I am me.