1-99 SparkPoints 16

Yes, I Eat Vegetables

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm going to tread carefully today because I'm a little incensed, and I have to watch my tone.

I told you a couple blogs ago about how I botched my understanding of Atkins with double quarter pounders. This was due to ignorance. I didn't read the books. I didn't know why people were able to lose weight on it. How can people lose fat by eating so much fat?

A common theme I see on the message boards is, "I tried Atkins, but I gained weight!" I messaged one of these people and asked her how her induction went. I never heard back from her. I'm guessing it's because she didn't read the book, and didn't do induction.

Most of the low-carb methods I know of have some level of induction. Even the "South Beach" diet. South Beach is a moderate carb, low-fat diet. I decided I was never again going to buy skim milk or low fat cottage cheese, so I didn't choose this diet. But I love the cookbook and still use it. I just use real butter and whole milk/cheese replacing the low-fat versions in the recipes. However, South Beach has "phases" that starts off with heavily restricting carbohydrates.

Just like Atkins. Just like Protein Power. Primal Blueprint doesn't have an induction per say, but it does restrict carbs to certain vegetables and fruit during the weight loss stages, and opens a wider variety during maintenance.

Here's why induction is essential - not optional - to low carb success.

Many of us on high-carb/low fat diets have unnaturally high levels of insulin in our bloodstream. Many of us were never diagnosed with insulin resistance or diabetes, some of us were. If we're carrying excess amount of bodyfat (33% in my case), we are in a state where our bodies cannot use all the carbohydrates supplied, and it gets stored as fat. In the presence of high insulin load, dietary fat gets turned into triglycerides, and we're unable to burn stored fat or dietary fat for energy.

Triglycerides are a fuel source. The reason why people with metabolic syndrome also have high trigs is because the insulin load prevents them from being burned. High triglycerides are a symptom of a very severe problem - insulin resistance. Your body can't burn the triglycerides in the presence of the dominant insulin hormone.

Insulin is a hormone that turns on fat storage and turns off fat burn. The point of induction is to drop that insulin load so we can start burning fat. If people skip induction, particularly if they are very overweight or insulin resistant, then they don't drop their insulin load when they start eating more fat. The fat they eat gets turned into triglycerides, makes their blood lipids worse, they get fatter, and then they declare Atkins doesn't work.

Still, there are some cases where people's bodies are resistant to losing weight (low carb OR other), and even if they do induction, they might not see the results many of us do. Dr. Eades has several tips for these people to try.

Induction is very restrictive, but it is temporary. Some of us experience 'low carb flu' where we feel sick. This is usually due to side effects from our high carb diets. Headaches and cravings due to sugar withdrawal, not too unlike a drug addict symptom, are common. Switching from burning glucose to fat results in an energy drop, but we adapt.

About 'low-carb flu'. I became very sick due to an overgrowth of candida. This was from years of high carb/high sugar and antibiotic use that allowed the candida to overtake my system. I never knew this was a problem, and took me completely by surprise. Allergies, eczema, chronic sinus infections, yeast infections, IBS like symptoms, poor digestion, and inability to lose weight were all symptoms.

I got the worst sinus infection of my life as the candida was being starved out due to sudden carb withdrawal. It took months of probiotics in order to get rid of it. Before I tried low-carb myself, I would have dismissed someone describing candida overgrowth as quackery.

I'm a believer from real world experience. I have been free of my candida infection for about 9 months. I have no allergies, no eczema, no sinus/yeast infections, no IBS, and lost weight. I don't care if there are no scientific studies to prove this. Anecdotal, coincidental or not, this was what happened for me. My quality of life is so much better. This is one reason why I won't consider going back to a high grain diet. I don't want that crap back.

I'm a little tired of people dismissing low-carbs as a valid diet because of a few ignorant people who didn't read the books and are eating poorly. Pizza is junk food. Double quarter pounders are junk food. Deep fried food is not low-carb. People who order steaks and skip the salad are not eating the way the low-carb books recommend.

Look, there are people who eat poorly on any 'diet'. I see people on the message boards exclaim, "I've done everything right! Why can't I lose weight?" You go to their food tracker, and there's baked Lays potato chips, Snackwells Devil's Food Cakes, and low-fat yogurt that has 26g of sugar. You know why I find this particularly sad and funny? Because this is what I used to do! I didn't lose weight that way either! I wasn't eating remotely healthy.

I know vegetarians who don't eat enough vegetables. Doritos are not a highly nutritious vegetable. Why is it if you search for 'vegan' on FoodGawker.com, 90% of the recipes that come up are vegan muffins, cookies and cakes? Aren't vegans supposed to eat vegetables? (And to be fair, low-carb has a similar problem).

"Low carb" friends who eat double quarter pounders because "the extra meat compensates for the bun" are making a poor choice. People who pick the toppings off pizza leaving the crust are making a poor choice. When I did this, I was making a poor choice.

I want to apologize to all my low-carb friends for perpetuating this myth many years ago.


I am partially responsible for this stereotype, so I wish to make amends.

I am ethnically half Korean/half German. I grew up on my mother's yummy and healthy Korean meals, eating lots of vegetables along with protein and rice. I wasn't fat growing up.

One of my favorite dishes is Korean Kalbi, which is usually a marinated short rib, but sometimes my mom would use other cuts of meat like flank steak. A popular way we used to eat it was to take a bite sized piece and fold it into a fresh lettuce leaf like a wrap.

I grew up in Colorado, and in addition to my mom's Korean food, my cooking style is heavily influenced by Southwest Tex-Mex. Fajitas are my favorite tex-mex food.

Last night I made what my husband called "Kaljitas". Part kalbi, part southwest fajita. I grilled a flank steak, onion, and bell pepper like a fajita. I made guacamole and broiled a zucchini.

We wrapped it in lettuce leaves instead of flour or corn tortillas. Topped with a little guac.

This was 343 calories. A very respectable number even for low calorie diets.

I dare make the claim that this is healthier than my low-fat diet days. I would have skipped the highly nutritious guac because of its fat content, instead eating the comparatively nutritionally devoid tortilla. A small fajita sized tortilla has 90 calories. That's as many calories as my guacamole serving. I probably would have eaten 3 tortillas, making this a higher calorie meal.

Also, I do not buy "low carb" tortillas any more than I would "low fat" tortillas. Enjoy them if you wish, but please do not fool yourself into thinking it is somehow beating the system. Our biology knows the difference.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CATH63
    Great blog as usual! Would you share the instructions for how you make your own full fat yogurt with the Chobani? I'd like to try it!
    3141 days ago
    What you have and are learning about your body with food, I finally learned with yoga. I finally am beginning to understand when my body is talking and should be listened to over my mind. I think way too often, we give total credibility to our minds and ignore our bodies.
    3141 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4892468
    You are right! I've posted on blogs my feedback on why I think they aren't losing weight (too many processed foods, way too much sugar) and I never hear back from anyone. I guess I tick them off.

    I understand about candida overgrowth COMPLETELY. That stuff is insane!
    3142 days ago
    Another great post! While getting "less bizarre" every day, I am getting more comfortable not avoiding fat (that was a logically difficult sentence)

    But here I am sitting at the DFW airport, right across from my old nemesis Aunti Anne's pretzels and, other than a momentary pang (similar to seeing an old GF/BF after many years) feel neither compulsion or temptation to walk over and order up a salty, buttery lump of dough.
    3142 days ago
    JUSTBIRDY: I have a dear friend who is vegan and morbidly obese. She was thinner and healthier when she was vegetarian. She gained weight very rapidly on the 70% grains when she switched to vegan. It hasn't done her well. :(

    _RAMONA: I read your "Paleo? Why?" blog last night and thought it was brilliant! I haven't had a chance to comment on it yet because I want to read through it again. It does seem you and I are on the similar theme at the moment!

    Feel free to link what you like. :)
    3142 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2012 5:41:56 PM
    Another GREAT blog entry... I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share your experience and knowledge. I have similar issues with people all over Spark bashing low-carb, Paleo... basically anything they don't really understand , or which hasn't produced the 'miracle cure' for their fat elimination issues (people who want to simply lose weight no matter how drive me around the bend, LOL)... and the backlash when you try to correct misperceptions... YIKES! It's so refreshing to read someone who is informed and fair.

    I hope you don't mind (please say so if you do)... I suspect I'll be linking back here a lot... what we have to say seems to be dovetailing nicely at the moment!

    3142 days ago
    When I was a vegetarian, I thought it was ok to eat more fat with cheese because I wasn't eating any meat fat. Unfortunately, I also thought that the vegetable oil used to cook my "organic stone-ground" corn tortilla chips was perfectly OK, and I ate lots of them. The real trouble for vegetarians is going out to eat. Unless you are at a salad bar or vegetarian eatery, you are just ordering whatever crap it is and leaving off the meat. So that is white bread with a pc of lettuce, a slab of cheese and no meat. Or, a fried wheat tortilla with grated lettuce, salsa and some beans. It is mostly devoid of nutrition.
    3142 days ago
    It's all gone! Need to be quicker next time!
    3142 days ago
    That steak looks like it's cooked just the way I like it. Any chance of sending some this way?
    3142 days ago
    SALONKITTY: Low fat yogurts loaded with all those sugars are a landmine. Sometimes I have to back away from the message boards because they make my blood pressure rise (and I thought I cured that problem!). One girl said her registered dietician actually told her that the 'good outweighed the bad' in terms of yogurt versus the sugar. I saw a package of yogurt that had 29g sugar in it. A Snickers bar has 28g sugar. If they added probiotics to Snickers, would that make it a healthy breakfast? A RD would never propose Snickers is ok for a diabetic, right?

    I make my own yogurt because I cannot find a brand of plain full fat yogurt that I like. I use non-fat Chobani as my starter, but I use full-fat milk for the yogurt base. OMG - Chobani with full-fat milk tastes out of this world - no sugar needed!

    FITGIRL15: I decided I was going to stop buying skim milk, low-fat anything, and just buy the real stuff. I agree about the processed food crap. I think if people just buy the stuff on the outer edges of the supermarket - produce, meat, dairy - that the macronutrients and portions will fall right into place. That's how it works for me, anyway!

    And yes! Veggies all day long! Well, except for breakfast? I don't know how to fit a veg in there. I can't wrap my mind around salad for breakfast! Maybe a "British Breakfast" with a tomato!

    WOUBBIE: Cool! That was an unexpected experience when I went low carb. I had no idea there was such a thing as systemic candida infection! I had no idea that was the cause of my chronic sinus infection. It was a nightmare getting through, but it was so worth it.
    3142 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2012 3:06:33 PM
    Well done, once again! I'm sending a link to this to someone who has severe candida issues (and was recently diagnosed with celiac to boot!)

    It's great to see your posts on the forums as well! Your experience is really illuminating!
    3142 days ago
    If our society paid half as much attention to how their body responds to certain foods then they spend on the latest gadgets or celebrity gossip... people wouldn't have a problem with their weight.

    Convenience foods, fad diets, advertising... it's all to blame!
    I eat PLENTY of fat in my diet (oil, whole eggs, cheese) but I monitor portion... which I think is far more important to the average consumer then macronutrients!!! (IMHO)

    PS... vegetables should be consumed with EVERY meal!!!
    3142 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2012 12:47:47 PM
    Another great blog, Vhalkyrie! I'm really enjoying your posts. I think you've made an excellent point about there being SO MUCH junk food out there that people aren't viewing as junk (either out of ignorance or not wanting to give up the 'treats'). Those low-fat or fat-free sugary yogurts are a killer....it took me a long time to realise those were not healthy yogurts at all.

    I personally had a really hard time wrapping my head around the idea that I needed to eat FAT. I blogged about this briefly before, when I said I'd had my own "Faileo" version of Paleo. I thought I could eat low/no fat and high protein and that would work. Well, it DID work in practical terms, as I lost about 70 lbs, but I felt really awful and was battling sugar and carb cravings, as well as lots of hunger pangs. That way of eating and exercising was absolutely NOT sustainable, and I gained back 40 lbs. So here I am again. I think I've got it mostly right now. Eating fat makes all the difference in the world, and I am losing more weight with really no difficulty at all. I also am not having trouble sleeping, which I was when I was avoiding fat.

    I also really like that this post ties in so nicely with your earlier post about the importance of reading books and following the instructions carefully.

    Your Kaljitas look fantastic! I love using lettuce leaves as wraps. So much healthier than low carb wraps or tortillas, and I think wrapping stuff in lettuce just tastes better.

    3142 days ago
    Awesome blog!
    While I don't follow a low carb diet, I believe all of what you say to be true.
    I have several digestive diseases & the rec'd diet for gastroparesis is extremly high white carb diet (because your stomach is partially paralyzed and you "need" food that will pass through quickly) & extremly low fiber. I also have a very slow colon/intestines- diet for that is high fiber....
    I took the meds the dr's gave and followed the diet- never got much relief at all & certainly didn't lose the last 20 pounds i wanted to shed. Earlier this year I developed the rare very serious side effects to the meds & had to stop taking it. At that point I realized i could not continue with their plan for treating. I stopped the rest of the stomach/inttestine meds (i still need lasix for edema & miralax daily) and decided to do an elimination type diet.
    I found what most aggrevated my system & caused the bloating, nausea, vomitting, severe lethargy- were 2 main things- the additives & preservites & chemicals in processed foods & the highly refined carbs that they had me primarily living on.

    I switched to mostly clean eating (about 70-80%)- i still have a small amount of processed items but almost everything is homemade. Ditched the low fat and went to the real verisons of most things (except milk-still use super skim) and added more real fats- olive oil, olives & avocados are daily staples now for me. I've been vegetarian for nearly 9 years but I still eat fish/shrimp.

    Within 3 weeks of eating like this, I lost 15 pounds and my dr was amazed and wanted to know what i was doing :)

    Since the high heat & humidity has come & stayed here- my gi issues have been flared intensly & have been bloated- but I now know this time it's an environmental factor and not something i'm eating.

    I have no doubt you feel amazing & your energy levels are probably soaring. I wish you the very best with your healthy lifestyle!! :)
    3142 days ago
    I'm in the 'learning' phase for low-carb so really enjoyed reading your blog today - thanks for the book suggestions [reading Protein Power now] and for sharing your real-life experience with the rest of us.
    emoticon emoticon
    3142 days ago

    (I can't speak either Korean or German, either!)
    3142 days ago
  • BOB240
    "half Korean/half German"

    Spielst du Baduk?
    3142 days ago
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