A funny thing happened to me last week. It had been awhile since I’d made brown rice, so I made a big pot of it. I was excited because I love brown rice, and I know it’s good for you. With brown rice you have to be patient. The short brown rice I buy takes about 40 minutes to cook, and another 25 minutes before it was sufficiently cool to eat. I wanted to have it as a breakfast cereal with raisins, some pineapple tidbits, a bit of shredded coconut, a few pieces of walnuts and whole milk. Mmm….doesn’t that sound good? If you’ve never tried it, don’t make a snap judgement. All cereals are made from grains including rice. This idea came from childhood when my dad told me how tasty rice is with milk and sugar. Of couse when I was growing up I made it with white rice.
So here it is early afternoon when I sit down and eat my bowl of rice….probably 3/4 cup of rice easily. Immediately after I finished eating it, I got really sleepy. I mean I felt as if someone had drugged me I was that sleepy. I’ve had this feeling before after my whole wheat multigrain pancakes, but not as bad. I knew it was carb heavy, but they were good carbs and I also had protein from the milk. No one likes to feel that tired in the middle of the day. For some time now I’ve been noticing that certain foods make me retain a bunch of water, or I’m tired after eating them. And if you’ve read my clean eating post, you know that I usually limit my whole grain carbs to once a day if at all for the most part. I had to figure this mystery out.
Interestingly enough my husband had started a low carb diet about 3 weeks ago. He and I are both lifetime Weight Watchers members, so it had probably been since college since he tried low carb. We’ve always had great success doing a variation of Weight Watchers at home, and I wasn’t sure why low carb was calling his name this time. It did leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth as back in the 90′s I had never believed it was a healthy way to eat. In my mind it conjures up lots of meat and fat, no veggies or fruit…and back when hubby did it in college I was a strict vegetarian. But I kept my mouth shut because he was motivated, and you all know how hard motivation is to come by at times.
Hubby’s 4 years of running had been derailed about 2.5 years ago after he got on statins for just a couple weeks. After years of being told of his high cholesterol, he finally gave in to his doctor and tried them. Big mistake!! As someone who could easily run 10 miles at the time, he immediately felt muscle fatigue and couldn’t run at all. Turns out that’s one of the side effects, and it’s pretty serious so he got off the medication. Since then he’s had jumps and starts here and there, but nothing like when he was running marathons and doing triathlons. And a bit of weight has crept on.
So back to this low carb thing. It was working for him (he’d already lost 7 pounds), and being ever conscious of health and wanting to support him…I decided to research this Atkins and the low carb thing. Not to mention I needed to make sure any meals I made fit into his eating plan. And what food blogger doesn’t love a challenge? I was also very surprised and intrigued when a few days into the program, he came to me and said, “Hey, this is very similar to the way YOU eat.” What? Really? Hmm….
So when the brown rice incident happened last week, I began thinking more about carbs. Even though the carbs in brown rice are considered good healthy carbs, whatever is happening in my body isn’t a good feeling. As a 40 year old busy mom of 3 I need all the energy I can get. I rarely eat my favorite pancakes anymore, or I’ll eat them for dinner since they also make me sleepy. I started thinking about how I would like to lose 8 to 10 pounds or a bit more, and if this plan he’s following is close to the way I already eat then maybe I’d give it a shot too. Especially since one of the benefits of low carb eating is that you have increased energy! Oh horrors…I was shocking myself…this long-time former vegetarian (over 8+ years) was going to try the protein-rich Atkins diet? I might just have to eat my words!!
Turns out like anything you don’t thoroughly research, I’d had preconceived notions (misconceptions) about the low carb way of eating. You eat veggies throughout the whole program, but just take out the starchy ones in the beginning (peas, corn, potoates). So you still get all those yummy leafy greens and big salads. You also get to eat fruit, but the first 2 weeks of Atkins on the induction plan you cut it out because all carbs (even good ones) turn to sugar in your body, and sugar turns into fat. I was interested to learn that Dr. Atkins set this eating plan up for his patients who were diabetic, and the weight loss was an added benefit. If the 2 week induction seems extreme, you can just begin in the next phase. It’s just a good place to start if you want a nice jump start to weight loss. You start of low carb, and then you increase your healthy carbs a bit at a time until your weight loss levels off. It’s not like you give up carbs altogether or for the rest of your life.
Then yesterday my hubby tosses me this book that compares all the many different low carb plans out there, how they differ and how they’re the same (Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, and many others). The author also mentions some of the newer programs out there like The Maker’s Diet, Biggest Loser, You: on a Diet, etc. He details the how and why low carb diets work. Talk about an interesting book!! I couldn’t put it down for the next hour. The author seems to have a lot of the same views I have about healthy fats and real food, as well as staying away from artificial sweeteners and processed food. He also goes into depth about how If you’re curious at all about the different low carb eating plans, and how they compare with one another, I highly recommend it!
As a “real” food blogger I will still be blogging about and sharing all types of recipes including baking with my freshly ground whole wheat flours and my favorite sugary treats as well. I’m not transitioning in to a “low carb” blogger. The only difference is that if a recipe happens to be low in carbs I’ll be putting it in the low carb category and tagging it low carb. I already do that for vegetarian and gluten-free. I’m also NOT going to be using any artificial sweeteners or eating any low carb protein bars (they have way too many ingredients and are processed).
My focus will remain on eating real foods, but learning the carb count of each so that I can further incorporate that into my lifestyle. I just wanted to share what I’ve been learning, and thought you all might be interested in how low carb eating fits in with a real food philosophy. I’ll be eating low carb the next few weeks as a bit of an experiment to see how my body reacts. Then I’ll transition into the next phase where I increase my healthy carbs a bit at a time. Extra energy and weight loss sure are some great perks, and I’ve been hearing you’re never hungry with this way of eating…sign me up!
I’ll update on my progress periodically. So far, I’m 3 days into the plan, and already down 3 pounds! I know there’s usually water weight at the beginning, but after that it’s fat burning time! My clothes are already getting loose, and that’s what matters most. To be honest though, it’s exciting to stumble onto information that is life-enhancing, and FUN that my hubby and I get to learn about it and implement it together!!
*I’d love to hear your experiences with low carb eating. If you have any tips or low carb meal ideas feel free to share them with me. And definitely share the successes!!
*I’ll be sharing a healthy greek salad later this week. AND as a food blogger I have a couple fun events/dinners I’ll be sharing later in June as well. If you’re not following Creative Kitchen on Facebook, and would rather subscribe by email…that’s a new feature here. Just look up near the top right of this page, and type your email into the box (above the Recent Posts tab in the side margin). You’ll get an email each time there is a new post or recipe here at Creative Kitchen. And as always, if you liked the information here, I’d appreciate a “share” below. Thanks!!