Monday, December 05, 2011
I'm officially back with the low-carb train today. I tried two weeks of Paleo/Primal, and even with all of the minor substitutions I was allowing, it was damn near impossible for me. I knew dairy wasn't Paleo but I was comfortable with eating cultured dairy, so I allowed yogurt or cheese on a limited basis. What I didn't realize was that all legumes, INCLUDING peanuts and soy, are not allowed. No sugar, either, except for Maple Syrup, Honey, and Agave Nectar, and no artificial sweeteners. So when my coworkers and I went to Starbucks, the closest I could get to a paleo drink was a Skinny Soymilk Mocha without whipped cream. And that still wasn't even remotely Paleo.
You know what? I'd like to be able to get coffee with my coworkers without it being a stress-fest.
Plus, eating Paleo did nothing for my sugar cravings. Looking back to this past spring/summer when I went low carb, my cravings for sugar were gone after a week. For the last two weeks, I've been having CRAZY cravings. Maybe that's because I was eating so many more carbs during my training, but I really don't need a diet that does nothing to ease my cravings for carbohydrates.
So it's back to Protein Power style low-carb living. I'm diving in right this week, keeping my net carbs under 40 and my total carbs under 50. I've got a loaf of grain-free bread baking right now, so I can still enjoy homemade bread with my roasted chicken tonight. I had an egg over kale for breakfast with a berry smoothie and I've got a huge salad planned for lunch. I've got low-carb snacks ready to go: cheese sticks, cucumbers and herb dip, and almonds. I'm really freed up by not having to give up dairy and peanuts.
For me, it's just so much easier to track the numbers! I can eat whatever I want, as long as my nutrition numbers turn out okay.
A lot of folks think this way of eating is restrictive. It's too focused on the nutrition content of our food instead of just on the food itself. But it's so freeing for me, because it teaches me what TRUE moderation looks like. Once I get through the initial sugar withdrawal this week/next week, I'll be able to enjoy whatever foods I want in proper serving sizes. Sure, if I want a chocolate chip cookie, I'll have to give up something else, like bananas in my morning smoothie, but that's what REAL MODERATION IS. You make choices and yes, sometimes sacrifices, but your still enjoying the foods you want.
Paleo just didn't work that way for me. I can't go my entire life never eating peanuts, or soy beans, or black beans, or hummus, or yogurt, or splenda, or my husband's bread, ever again.
Do I plan on eating a grain-based diet again? NO. Not even when I start training for my next race. I'll keep on trying grain-free baking. But I want to have freedom of choice within my own performance and nutritional parameters.
So the anti-Atkins folks can flip out all they want and say I'm killing myself and or whatever. But this way of eating changed my body and my understanding of nutrition completely, and I need that change again!