Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Welcome to Megan and David’s Low-Carb January!

By: Megan (and David J)

I realized that I was blowing up my FB wall talking about low carb January, and I think it would be a more efficient use of “space” to just make them bog posts!  So here we go with an in-depth look at this fun project we embarked on and our lifestyle.  These lifestyle changes were accumulated over the course of a couple of years, not all at once.  There are (numerous, thanks to David) links embedded throughout the post for in depth explanation of many topics on which you may have questions.

First of all, anyone interested in embarking on this on their own should know that my family follows the Primal Blueprint.  If you want to know more about that, look into the book “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson.  It’s basically an ancestral diet, a throw back to our caveman ancestors, heavy in meat and vegetation.  NO wheat, corn or gluten grains.  Minimal sugar (except what’s found in fruit and “real” food).  It’s similar to the Paleo diet, but a little more relaxed.  We DO eat dairy in moderation, mainly butter, yogurt, cheese, and milk.  David is stricter than I am.  The girls and I follow more along with the “80/20 Principal”, or 80% the stuff you’re supposed eat, and up to 20% of stuff that maybe is not so perfect (e.g. dark chocolate -yes, it has some sugar, but the chocolate part is actually very healthy).

Anyway, we do sometimes eat brown rice.  It is a grain, but it’s gluten free.  We allow it for convenience mostly.  You can purchase brown rice pasta, crackers, cookies, baby puffs etc. in the health food/gluten-free section of most regular grocery stores.  The main downfall is that it’s  got a lot of carbohydrates. Essentially, it’s not terribly bad for you, but it’s not doing anything great for you either. David has his own reasons for low carb January (it’s more of a body fat experiment for him).  Personally, I wanted a month of low carb for a few reasons.  First of all, I think I have been relying on brown rice products too heavily for quick dinners, snacks etc., where I should have been reaching for veggies, eggs or cheese.  I instead was munching on rice crackers and pasta.  Secondly, my weight loss had plateaued.  I really want to lose these last 20-ish pounds.

So let’s jump straight to what some of you were asking for, an example of my day. This was yesterday,

Grams Today
Percentage of Intake
*Fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbs.  Fat is 9 calories per gram.  Protein and carbs are each 4 calories per gram.

My food log for the day looked like this:
Breakfast (which was at 11-ish am) – 3 large eggs, whipped up in a little whole milk and cooked in butter. I also had three pieces of bacon.
Lunch (around 3 pm) – 2 hardboiled eggs with salt and an entire pouch of tuna in sunflower oil.
Dinner – A Hershey dark chocolate bar J
Snacks – 1 ounce pouch of cheddar cheese cubes and 6 pieces of bacon. (We keep bacon cooked and stored in the fridge all the time. We snack on it ALL…DAY…LONG!!! Our blood pressure and cholesterol are perfectly normal, if not better.)

Counting protein really only matters if you are weightlifting and want to put on muscle. The standard recommendation is 1 gram per pound of LEAN body weight (not counting weight from fat) per day to maintain weight or 1 gram per pound body weight to put on muscle.   Fat is great and may be eaten in abundance (preferably animal and non-processed plant fats like avocados and coconut, NOT soybean oil and margarine).  Also, these nutrient proportions are not necessarily a make-or-break each day type of situation.  It’s more like a monthly average situation. So if you’re a little carby one day and a little less the next, it’s fine.

We also practice IF, or intermittent fasting, which is where we fast for 16 hours each day.  It pretty much breaks down to skipping breakfast and waiting until about 11am to eat, then not eating after 7pm.  There are various benefits to IF, from health, wellness, and disease prevention to fat loss without losing muscle mass.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, but seems overwhelming, please don’t be turned off. I cannot stress enough how slowly we have implemented change around here – and how slowly change continues to creep in. We are actively considering new theories and ideas about health and food all the time (for example, switching to raw milk, the actual benefits of vitamin supplements, and various methods of strength training). We are by no means professionals and nothing we say should be taken as doctrine. It all started with a documentary (“Fathead”) that made us question the “common wisdom” version of a “healthy person” (we’ll leave that rant for another day – maybe I’ll make David write it, lol!) and we just keep questioning.

I think that about covers it! I’ll keep sharing my Low Carb January results, the good AND the bad, cause I believe in being REAL around here! If I missed anything, please leave questions in the comment section – I will do my very best to answer them.

(The more technical parts of this post are all thanks to my main (cave)man – he’s the best! Thanks babe!). 

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