Imperatives are “things ya gotta do” –stuff you can’t get around not doing. So if you’re going to be a ballerina, you have to learn all those foot positions. If we’re going to improve our daily fare, (a word much better than “diet,'” IMHO), we’ll be dealing with new requirements. Specifically we’ll be dealing with planning, cooking, and shopping. When re-starting this lifestyle, these are good issues to consider.
LCHF and paleo lifestyles involve cooking. There’s no getting around that. Oh, there’s the constant reading of labels-in-tiny-tiny-fonts (such fun on a Saturday morning–damn, still no sarcasm font), and there’s the eternal question, what am I going to eat today, tomorrow, right now? etc. Cooking and preparing one’s own food is, however, the key to making this work.
When we cook, we have better control over our fooding. Okay, fooding isn’t a legitimate verb, but my late husband used it all the time, and it has fond memories for me. In our family, fooding means having a meal as in, “So what’s the plan for today’s fooding?” Would we be having lunch or brunch? Eating in, ordering in or eating out? Did we have to go to the store or were we all set? (My husband died young of leukemia, and I miss him. We keep our memories alive in small ways and large).
WHAT we cook is, of course the Key Problem. If you stumble into the Beginner’s Roundups of “How to Paleo” and read the books, you will find tons of rules. In the early days of ardent conviction, one reads everything and tries everything and ends up with a list of “no-no’s” that make going to the grocery store arduous and even angry-making. Sugar is everywhere. Wheat is in everything. Starches are often large parts of our various cuisines (unless you’re a Native Alaskan. I’ve had muktuk. It’s an acquired taste and unlikely to be found at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods.)
Moving Toward Better Fooding
If one can’t cook, this is a real problem and many a would-be paleo enthusiast has stumbled on the path because of this. Paleo definitely made me have to up my game. There are excellent food blogs and videos and resources out there for learning to cook, but oh, my, the amount of time! The amount of energy! Yes, it is an investment, a real investment of time, money and then there are the horrible cooking disasters.
Cooking involves recipes and there’s the rub. The “easy” recipes are often just plain terrible. And the tasty recipes? Well, they may say they are paleo but you’ll see all kinds of ingredients to make your blood sugar go a bit whack-a-doodle (or worse, skyrocket like Fourth of July). Probably fine if you’re twenty and your pancreas is in tip top shape, but oh, gads, if you’re trying to lose weight or control your blood sugar, then um. Not a good idea. A brownie recipe that relies on gluten-free flour, for example, is simply a gluten-free brownie. It is not paleo, no matter what the chowderheaded blogger says.
My Own Personal
After folks have read and read and read, and come to their own informed opinions about how they will be approaching paleo/LCHF, people tend to start merrily off in a thousand directions. Some people get very Puritanical and even cultic, which leads to magical thinking, endless agonizing, and becoming a complete and utter bore on the topic, especially at dinner parties. 🙂 On the Internet, people just love becoming smug gasbags of superiority. Then there are those jump-on-the-bandwagon people who think gluten-free is the same as paleo and sugar is “natural” so it’s paleo too — and people get led down the garden path of tasty sugar-laden, blood-sugar busting fooding. Even my beloved Simple Mills baking mixes contain coconut sugar, as if that’s somehow more allowed than cane.
Low Carb, High Fat is mostly about upping the healthy fat and lowering the carbohydrates. Paleo is a compatible lifestyle and the recipes CAN be interchangeable so long as one as one has guidelines. Some LCHF groups and eating styles are VERY quantitative about what is “low” in terms of carbs and what is “high” in terms of fat. I’ll be going over some of that in later posts.
For now, I’m introducing my own personal guidelines for re-starting (and re-learning) LCHF and paleo lifestyles–as suited to a mild diabetic intent on getting better.
I’ve laid before that my new way is a kinder, gentler (and admittedly eclectic) LCHF/paleo lifestyle. There are no absolute no’s. There are guidelines.
- Try to have at LEAST one egg in the morning for breakfast. The better the breakfast, the better the rest of the day is likely to go, food-wise. I can control breakfast, even if breakfast is a protein shake with a raw egg cracked in for the extra fat.
- Limit sweets. I use stevia– and allow a little sucralose from time to time. It’s far easier to get sucralose if I forget my little stevia packets, and a decaf coffee with a bit of sweet is my go-to cravings extinguisher. I also allow myself at least some sugar for baking as it is a requirement for browning and other important chemical processes. I look for work arounds all the time, as this means I really have to limit baked goods, which brings me to Guideline 3.
- Limit gluten-free products. These can be just as bad as sugar for making blood sugar soar to the moon, but sometimes, well, they can help get me through a difficult day. A gluten free tortilla that I have in the house (and debate about daily) has 24 g of carbohydrate. There are low carb tortillas, made with wheat, that have a whole lot less than that! I’m going to be trying those and other products out.
- Limit wheat as much as possible. I began this journey as an ardent follower of Dr. Bill Davis and his Wheat Belly movement. He wants people to ERADICATE wheat from their diets and for several years I did. My migraines? Disappeared! My general health and appearance? REMARKABLY improved. I highly recommend people who start this lifestyle to Wheat Belly it for at least six months. Losing the wheat cravings is very helpful in many ways. How-some-ever, wheat is in EVERYTHING and it’s very hard to eradicate unless one establishes total control — and then we begin turning into those picky people who won’t try Grandma’s cake. My charming daughter endured me all those years and tried to make foods without wheat — stunningly good dishes, mind you, but what a pain for her and her growing family. And I hate the salads typically provided as the offerings to those with wheat allergies at business lunches. My life is full of business lunches. I couldn’t seem to make myself create my own salads (that is going to change this time around).5. Limit carbs. I am going to make some exceptions, such as low-carb tortillas, that will help me to make this way of eating more sustainable for me, personally–and keep my carbs down to no more than 35g per meal.
These guidelines should make for a livable, sustainable way of life for me — and importantly, a path out of diabetes. Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be driven back into remission. My goal is to see blood sugars around 112 (100 is normal) after meals. It’s a big goal as currently they are around 150, when I eat according to these guidelines — but I am JUST re-starting.
Off to figure out lunch. And this week’s fooding plan. Namaste ~Lola