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What Is A Low Carb Diet?

03 January 2020 | 0 comments | Posted by Linda Mkhwanazi in Masterchefs

how to move to a low carb diet

For the masses who want to lose weight, tone up, gain some great abs or eat and live healthily, cutting back on carbs is the go-to place. For this eating habit to work, it has to be done right. Otherwise, it could be harmful to one's health.

So what is this "low carb diet"?

Maybe I ought to define carbohydrates, to begin with, and then everything else will make more sense. Carbohydrates belong to two classes:

Simple carbs

As the name already suggests, these are carbohydrates that are rapidly digested and release sugar quickly into the bloodstream. These are found in foods such as milk, milk products, and so on.

[1] Simple carbs are either monosaccharides ( one-sugar molecules) or disaccharides (two-sugar molecules).

Complex carbs

These are starchy carbs that are made up of various simple sugars joined together by bonds. Examples include food like peas, whole grains, vegetables and many more.

[2] Now that I have established what carbohydrates are, evidentially then, a low carb diet is one that restricts the sugary foods and starches like pasta, bread et cetera.

The basis of a low carb diet

In essence, a low carb diet cuts out the consumption of simple carbs and leaves space enough for complex carbs. Carbohydrates play a vital role in nutrition as they are the body's primary source of energy and are essential for the proper functioning of everything from the smallest muscle to brain activity.

It is thus that most health-conscious individuals venture into cutting out unhealthy carbs, to make provision for more nourishing foods.

Eating complex carbohydrates does reduce the chances of feeling fatigued or hungry in between meals because they are joined by more bonds which in turn makes them more complex and take longer to break down.

The reasons to cut down on simple carbs are man, but above all is that of putting oneself at fewer risks of diseases, weight gain, emotional and hormonal imbalance. They also threaten the healthy amounts of blood sugar if not controlled or cut back.

Want a brief overview of the carbs that need to cut out of your diet?

Here is a list:

  1. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks – basically, liquid sugar in a bottle.
  2. Sweets, confectionary- even the ones that are labelled "made with the real juice."
  3. Pastries, cakes, biscuits, wheat, bad fats- all these are just bad news for your body.
  4. Sugar and Flour- Giving up these transforms your life drastically, reduce your weight and empowers your health beyond belief.
  5. Anything that is not natural or that has been tampered with and changed from its original form. Most of these sugar-free, fat-free products are heavily laden with sugar, fat, and so much more.
  6. Lactose-Cow's milk, milk products like cheese and yoghurt, ice cream, butter, custard, sauces, and so on. This is chiefly because most animals, due to genetic engineering, are not 100% grass-fed. Instead, the stock feed is induced with some other things, and the cows also receive quite a lot of growth hormones and antibiotics that are not in favour of the human body system. Apart from that, most people suffer a great deal from lactose, and they never realize this because it manifests in small ways like weight gain.
  7. Inorganic meats. It is still a debatable issue in the health industry, but time and again, the use of conventional meats is questioned because protein from meat comes to us as a secondary source when one could consume the protein from plants, first hand.
  8. Cereals- Like Coco pops, Rice Krispies, Milo Duo. These are decked in sugar, colourants, flavourings and a whole enchilada of chemicals that we may not even know about in the food.

Read the labels

Another great tip is to become a label reading ninja (Lol, yeah, seriously). Read your product labels before you purchase! So many companies out there are selling things that do not even qualify to be called food, laden in chemicals that threaten the health of your body and mind.

Two examples of such infused chemicals are aspartame and monosodium glutamate. Often these are found in various names and painted as part of the nutrients when in fact they are associated with triggering a lot of sicknesses and allergies, for example, migraines. So what is the correlation between low carb and organic vegetables, you may ask?

Well, if you do remember in the previous article, we did explore quite a lot of the benefits of eating organic.

Organic food, in short, supplies the body with a lot of the needed nutrients and sugars, which is beneficial for one who has cut back on a lot of simple carbs to eat healthily.

Organic vegetables, in their natural state, nourish the body in the most recommended and natural ways that do not tax the human body system or put it at risk of contracting diseases. It is then fitting that when one has decided to venture into a low carb diet, they supply their bodies with more nutrition to avoid also the cravings that come with cutting out certain food groups.

When you adopt this lifestyle, one should do research thoroughly for recipe ideas, ways to cook certain vegetables, finding out where you can obtain organic food at an affordable price and anything that supports healthier food choices. Lifestyle changes are where most people usually fail when going low carb, so if you can master this one, then you are good to go.

What to eat?

Well, I could write a whole book on that one so I will summarize what you can choose to eat.

  1. Nuts and seeds – These make a great snack but watch out and don't overindulge because most nuts have a high carb and omega six content.
  2. A whole lot of organic vegetables- Leafy greens like kale and spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, mushrooms, artichokes, cabbage, beets
  3. Fruit- Any of your choice, from berries, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, plums, dates, oranges, grapefruits, papayas and many more. Again, watch out for overindulgence and limit your daily intake to a healthy amount.
  4. Healthy fats- Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados
  5. Free-range eggs and meats- If you are an animal product consumer, then go organic for the best health ever. Make sure the eggs are produced in a farm that grain feeds the chicken and grass feed the livestock.
  6. Whole grains- Oat, rye, brown and wild rice. These are the healthier crabs, but you won't avoid too much of them in your meals. A point to note as well, It is not healthy to eat carbs before bed or in the evening rather. This gives the body no time to rest as the digestion will go on for a while before the system shuts down for sleep. In turn, it gives you an exhausting morning, undigested food that ferments in your stomach and provides gas and breath that is not fresh. The list is endless, save yourself the drama and avoid late evening carbs.
  7. Non-GMO Soy and soy chunks – These are a great source of protein. Just make sure you cook them, right!

A low carb day

You are thinking of what you could eat on any given day? Do not worry about yourself; there are plenty of options! I will provide you with what I could have on a typical Sunday.

Breakfast

Rolled Oats with molasses or dates to sweeten instead of sugar or with almonds and honey. Rye bread with cooked beans and vegetarian sausage.

Lunch

My version of a Greek salad made from lettuce, kale, carrots, radishes, beetroot, peppers (green, yellow and red), tomatoes, onions, olives, celery and avo. If you like hot things like myself, add some jalapenos. For meat consumers, you could add a bit of grilled chicken breast for some extra savour to your salad.

Dinner

Fruit salad- A whole variety of them like bananas, kiwi, apples, and whatever fruit you love!

Becoming carb clever

As you can see, you do not have to crack your head and break the bank to eat healthy, organic and low carb. All you need is the determination, the effort and a lot of research on what is right for you. Keeping healthy is never a headache at all, you need to focus on the results, and that means a more vigorous, lighter and happier you!

For all those who are struggling with losing weight, I can promise you; nothing beats this kind of lifestyle. Exercise is just the cherry on top; bodies are made in the kitchen and by your mouth. Ladies, let us ditch these fad diets that cost us a lot of money and give us no results but leave us feeling so depressed to the core.

It is in nature that we find our health and we find our healing too. Food if properly used, is indeed functional medicine for our bodies. Remember, less simple carb, more organic!

References

  • 1 - www.medilineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19534.htm
  • 2 - www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/spotlight-lowcarbohydrate-diets

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is the eating healthy.

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