Crumpets are not a good breakfast….or lunch
I decided I wanted to write this blog as I would like to share my experience with you. This has changed our lives and this may perhaps change yours. I am tired of seeing adverts of “fad diets” and “loose 30 pounds of belly fat in a week” etc. I wanted to share something that has actually worked. Before I start though, this was not about loosing weight. This was about cutting out something that we knew was bad for us. Sugar. In all forms.
Please note, I am not preaching or trying to convert.
About 4 months ago I was chatting to my amazing (yes amazing) chiropractor/osteopath/ART guy about nutrition and I was telling him that I was not the best example for my clients regarding nutrition. We were chatting about what each of us has for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast for me was crumpets! With butter and peanut butter. YUM I said. Lunch would then maybe be some more crumpets or scrambled egg or even some of those cheeseballs (basically orange flavoured air) you can get at tescos. Dinner would then be a veggie and fruit smoothie to counteract all the non nutritional foodstuffs I had chucked down my throat that day. Of course snacking would involve the nutella jar. A good few spoons or some nutella on a cracker or even, yes you guessed it…on a crumpet! Being very diplomatic and not wanting to show his absolute horror at my eating plan, he just nodded and said something along the lines of “well you are very active”…. Take from that what you will.
Obviously I wanted to see if he ate something similar to me (sure). Just an FYI, my chiro is well over 6 foot and not an ounce of fat on him. Well, breakfast for him was something like 2 babybells, some salami or cold meats and coffee with cream. Huh? Lunch was then some more meat and fats and maybe some dark chocolate and then dinner was some sort of veg and meat. I was intrigued. I knew I was not eating correctly but this sounded like something that didn’t sound that great either. Loads of fat…. Everything I had learned in my PT course and in life told me that’s not healthy. He then recommended I read “Why we get fat-and what to do about it” by Gary Taubes.
And so I did. In 2 days. Granted, it wasn’t a long book (about 140 pages) but it was FASCINATING. It turned everything on its head. Every argument he makes is backed up scientifically.
Did you know that the original food pyramid that came out in the 1960’s doesn’t look like the one now. Grains and carbs were not on the bottom tier in the draft……(until the agricultural industry got hold of it). The US obesity epidemic started shortly after…
In a nutshell the book shows through research and science (every report and experiment is backed up) that sugar is what causes us to get fat, and not fat itself . The moment you put any type of sugar into your mouth (bagels, pasta, cereals, chocolate, bread etc) insulin is produced, fat is taken from blood stream and stored in fat cells.
The First 17 days
I was almost converted before I had started after reading the book….
I looked at my diet, my lack – sorry laziness – with cooking and decided I wanted to give this book a chance. It went against everything I had learned but I reasoned that if it caused any problems I would just come straight off it.
I spoke to my husband Rich, about maybe putting into practice Gary’s principles. Which basically meant cutting all carbohydrates and anything with refined flour and sugar. He had been wanting to do this for quite sometime (paleo type diet) but wanted me to come around to it on my own rather than him tell me to. So we started in June.
I had been fuelled on carbs. Now I wasn’t eating carbs. There was no fuel coming in. And I had to go running with clients, cycling and general exercise. I felt AWFUL. I couldn’t pick my feet up, I was low in energy. I was not impressed. What they tell you when you embark on this way of eating is to not exercise for about 2 weeks. The reason: Your body which is fuelled by carbs is not being fuelled by it any more. The body now has to learn to use fats as the fuel (this is called Ketosis). This can take some time. For some people it takes 2 weeks, others it can take a month. However, my job is exercising so I had to put my head down and deal with the lack of energy. For me, it took 17 days to kick in. It was incredible. The 17th day of this way of eating I ran to a client expecting to feel lead feet and legs again when suddenly I could run!!! I was almost back to my old pace and I didn’t feel like I was piggy backing my client instead of running next to them.
Sugar is a class A drug. We all say this kind of jokingly. But when you go through something like this you realise the hold it has on you. You do go through cold turkey. In the first month I went to the grocery store just so I could stand in the bakery and smell the foods. My mouth used to water at just the mention of anything containing something with sugar. I dreamt about minstrels and doughnuts. When people say “I would miss pasta too much to do follow this way of eating,” it’s not the pasta per se, it’s the sugar in the pasta that you will miss. The feeling it gives you when eat it and shortly after as well.
Rich and I were regimental in the first month and didn’t want to have any slip ups. We knew if we weren’t we would probably have stopped. On our one month anniversary we had something we had been craving since we started. I think mine was some minstrel type chocolates. By now our taste buds were starting to come alive and things that had a slightly higher sugar content were tasting awfully sweet. We noticed that the taste of all real food was heightened.
What changes had we noticed in the first month?
- Skin didn’t need to be moisturised (from all the fats coming through the skin)
- Weight loss, more muscle
- No side effects that anything with grains give you like gas or bad tummies while running (this was my problem)
- Taste of food
- Less cravings
BUT the biggest change was we were starting to loose the emotional connection to food. We weren’t waking up in the morning and thinking “ooooooo, what am I going to have for breakfast” . Food was starting to become more a fuel then something that would occupy head space. There were also no sugar lows. When your sugar drops and you get hungry a lot of people get ratty. Temper shortens and you get grumpy. However, after being on this for a month, Rich and I now found that when we were hungry we wouldn’t get snappish, we just got tired. There was no more emotion attached to the food.
We have now been on this way of eating for 3 months. We decided that after getting through the first month that when we were invited to people’s houses for dinner parties, bbq’s or birthdays etc, we were not going to say no to anything that was offered. We eat like this in the privacy of our own home but we didn’t want to be that couple who were saying no to the food served up on your plate that someone had lovingly prepared. So yes, we have had carb days but the easiest part of this way of eating is that you just go straight back onto it the next day. Nothing is messed up.
3 months later – Cholesterol Test
I decided that with the large amounts of fats that I was eating I wanted to check my cholesterol. The science in the book made me believe that what I was doing was right, but I just wanted to be sure. So about 3 weeks ago I took a test. In a side story, someone I am close to had their cholesterol test done and the result was a 7. This is a high number for cholesterol. I had told this person about our new life style and they were “appalled” at the amount of fat we were eating. Any-ways, this person’s diet was what we would normally think of as text book. Lean meat, no fat and lots of veggies. However, every evening he would eat nearly a slab of chocolate as pudding. He is active and slim so it didn’t really show physically as unhealthy.
I went for my test and came back as a 2.3. This is a really good number. (My good cholesterol HDL’s were on the high end of the scale and my bad cholesterol LDL’s were on the low end of the scale). Hmmmmm .
Those results kind of sealed it for me that I am doing the right thing with this way of eating. This is not for everyone and it was really difficult in the beginning. Very. I felt like I was really on some sort of cold turkey. But, I am so glad that it has worked out for us.
The person above has since cut out a lot of sugar in his diet and his Cholesterol has dropped down to a 5. (He didn’t change anything else).
This was never about weight loss for us. This was about eating correctly for ourselves. The bonus is the leanness and the increased muscle mass. I find food now is not something I think about anymore. It used to be on the brain constantly before we started this way of eating. I totally believe that was the sugar’s hold on me.
I have cooked more now in 3 months than I have in my whole life. I made flourless and sugarless muffins the other day. They had strawberries inside. They were unbelievably good. But that’s for another blog….
This may be a controversial blog, hence my disclaimer in the beginning that I am not trying to preach or convert. Just wanted to share my story.