Join Date: Nov 2009
S/C/G: See signature.
Height: 5' 5"
So! I just sent an email to a friend of mine, and it ended up being longer and more thorough than I'd planned. I thought I would share it here, for anyone who wants to give CKD a try.
I know when my friend told me about this diet, I was like:
"Yes, I get all that percentage stuff, but WHAT do I eat?"
and he was like
"What kinds of food?"
"I don't know, meat, cheese. Low-carb stuff."
"Can I eat veggies?"
"Eh, you know, just, low-carb stuff! Don't worry about it too much, I don't."
I wanted to do it PERFECTLY. I wanted to figure out EXACTLY what to eat. So I know how you feel and why you want to know exactly what foods to eat. Maybe this will be easier for you since I can tell you just what to eat. So the sections go: 1. Diet, 2. Foods to eat, 3. Foods to avoid, 4. Some foods to make. 5. Exercise.
Section 1: The Diet
When you stop eating carbs, your body burns fat. Why? Your body uses carbs for fuel. It uses the fuel it needs, and stores the rest. When you eat more calories than you burn, carbs are actually adding more ACTUAL fat than you think. Someone on an all-carb diet with excess calories is going to gain massive amounts of fat, even though they aren't eating any fat. On a regular low-fat diet, your body uses the calories you give it, then searches vainly for more carbs. It ends up using muscle first, and fat is the LAST resort. Fat is your EMERGENCY fuel--normally. When you stop eating carbs, your body is like "Crap, what am I going to do now?" If you're eating lots of fat instead, your liver is like, "Check it out, I'll start producing ketones and now you can use fat for fuel!" So your body uses the fat, but if you're in a caloric deficit (dieting to lose weight), your body is like "Wait, I don't have enough fat--holy crap! There are BILLIONS OF FAT CELLS FOR ME TO USE!" Suddenly that "emergency storage" is handy, easily accessible fuel for every-day use. This is called ketosis.
To stay in ketosis and get the right amount of fat, you need 65% of your calories to come from fat and 35% to come from protein. Obviously this is for 0g carbs, which is hard/impossible, so I usually aim for 62% fat, 32% protein, 6% carbs. I found that the best way to keep track of this is to get an account on thedailyplate. When you put in your food for the day, it actually gives you a pie chart on the right-hand side that shows exactly what % your calories are. Here, for example, is what I ate on the 28th: [[I can't post links yet, so that's removed]] 1g fat is 9 calories, and protein and carbs are 4 calories each. You can calculate the percentages for foods yourself. Just multiply the fat/carbs/protein by that number (9/4/4) and then find the % that is of the total calories.
Every week, you spend one day eating carbs to refill the glycogen deposits in your muscles. Since we aren't bodybuilders, we don't need a lot. I usually have a fruit smoothie for one meal and sweet potatoes and salad for the rest. BUT! If you have a party to go to or an event, you can totally eat cake or pizza, because you're STILL BURNING FAT.
You WILL gain a bit of weight after your carb day, because one gram of glycogen is attached to four grams of water. So one or two pounds of your initial weight loss is going to be water, but after that is ALL fat. I like to weigh myself every day, after I go to the bathroom in the morning, and I keep track of that number, but if seeing the scale go UP after your carb day will get you down, weigh yourself once a week, BEFORE your carb day.
Important to remember is that fiber does not get digested as a carb. When you could the carb content of something, take the total carbohydrates and subtract all the fiber. Something with 10g carbs and 7g fiber only really has 3 carbs, as far as you are concerned.
Ladies like you and I do best on diets around 1000-1200 calories a day on non-workout days and 1200-1400 calories on workout days. However, if you aren't getting enough calories, your body won't burn ANYTHING, it'll try to run on as little as possible and store everything. So if you're tired/hungry/weak, you need to raise your calories. Being tired does NOT mean you're burning more calories. Unless, you know, you just got back from the gym. :P
It might not seem like too much when you look at the calories on fatty foods, but trust me (I didn't when I was told this, but it's true), if you're eating fattening food, you will NOT be hungry. Like, the opposite. I have to remind myself that it's time for dinner, or it'll be midnight and I realize I have 300 calories left.
Section 2: The Types of Foods You Should Eat:
MEAT: Ground beef, ground turkey, turkey, chicken, fish, bacon, low-carb sausages and low-carb hot dogs (try to stay under 3g per serving).
FAT: Olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, macademia nuts, coconut. Avoid cashews, pistachios, chestnuts), all-natural peanut butter (the ingredients should say: Peanuts, salt. Almost all peanut butter has sugar added), mayonnaise, butter.
CHEESE: I love feta, cheddar, pepper jack, havarti dill, goat cheese, buttery brie, blue cheese. Just check the nutritional info, it should be less than 2 carbs per serving.
VEGGIES: Spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, wild salad greens (NOT iceberg/romaine), sprouts, radishes, asparagus, green beans, bok choy.
EGGS: Eggs are amazing. One egg has 4.5g fat, 6g protein and 1g carbs. That comes out to about 59% fat, 35% protein and 6% carbs. They are almost the perfect food for this diet, just a liiittle bit low in fat. Solution? Cook them in oil or butter! There is significant evidence that the cholesterol in egg yolks does not affect your actual cholesterol that much, so don't worry about eating them, particularly since we're both young. 2-3 eggs a day is fine. While low-fat dieters might eat just the egg whites, you need the egg yolk, since that's where the fat is.
DRESSINGS/FLAVORS: For ALL of these, you want to AVOID "light" or "low-fat" versions. When fat is removed from dressings, SUGAR is what they replace it with. Buy the full-fat version of everything. Non-honey mustard, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, blue cheese dip, creamy caesar, balsamic vinegar (NOT vinaigrettes, though. They are often sugary), horseradish. You might notice that I had really high sodium levels for the 28th--that is TOTALLY OK. Because glycogen holds so much water, you'll lose a lot of water on this diet, and sodium helps you retain water and makes you thirsty. You also get potassium from veggies, which you don't eat much of on this diet, so I recommend getting light salt that has potassium added.
EXTRAS: Pickles are AWESOME, but you have to be careful they aren't sweetened. Kosher dill pickles are usually safe. Olives are great.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: Animal fat is NOT the healthiest fat around. Fat has gotten a bad rep because, well, it's not always good for you, even on this diet. I still try to buy reduced-fat versions of meat products, and then I supplement it with olive oil, which is a crazy healthy fat.
Section 3: The Foods You Shouldn't Eat and How To Fake Them
Things you might think are OK but aren't: Meat made with barbeque sauce (full of sugar!), honey mustard, ketchup. Any kind of milk (even whole milk), sweetened anything, candied anything, honey-roasted nuts, sugary veggies like peas, corn, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, tomato. Most peanut butters have sugar added.
If you're like me, you crave sweet stuff. The good thing is that, despite believing it to be impossible, I really have lost a LOT of my carb cravings on this diet. But I still want sugar in my tea and crave sweet things occasionally. Splenda and other sweeteners are questionably in their safety. I use truvia, which is made from erythritol and the stevia plant, something that's been used for a long time as a sweetener in other countries. Eryhtritol is a sugar alcohol that, unlike other sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol) is created with a pretty natural process and isn't digested at ALL. So things sweetened with stevia/truvia will say they have carbs, but you don't digest them, so it's OK. One thing I love to do is mix truvia into a pot of coffee, freeze the coffee into ice cube trays, mix up a chocolate mint protein shake and let the coffee freeze and the shake sit in the fridge overnight. Protein shakes just taste better when they've been allowed to sit and absorb into the liquid. Since they usually have no fat, I make it with half and half, which means it's creamy and delicious. In the morning, I put four ice cubes and a cup of shake into the blender, and bam, I get a chocolate mint frappe for breakfast!
Adding half a packet of truvia to a serving of peanut butter makes an awesome dessert. I actually like to mix truvia and dark cocoa powder (not chocolate milk mix, just plain baking cocoa) with cold peanut butter and sort of whip it up with some half-and-half and pop it in the freezer to get colder. It's delicious.
These days, there are plenty of sweet drinks sweetened with stevia. Sobe 0-calorie Life-Water is SO GOOD. If I have an intense craving for soda or something sweet, that's what I get. Just make sure you don't get the regular Life-Water, that's full of sugar.
Diet sodas, while they use artificial sweeteners that are havoc on your liver, are OK once in a while. Sometimes restaurants will have unsweetened iced tea. If you keep 4 packets of truvia in your purse at all times, you can just add that to the iced tea. People did this all the time with sweet'n'low before that became popular, and lots of people still do it with splenda.
One thing I will swear by is Celestial Seasonings Very Cherry Berry tea. Put two tea bags into 8oz almost-boiling water. Stir them around and let them steep for 2 minutes. Take them out, add two packets of truvia. Pour it on top of a glass full of ice cubes and stir. I'm telling you, it tastes like Jell-O. It's SO GOOD. Just be sure to not let it over-steep or it starts to taste funny and less fruity.
Section 4: Easy-To-Make Meals and Snacks
It's not necessary, but I own a kitchen scale and it helps A LOT. I can keep track of EXACTLY how much of something I eat, and weighing/portioning out food is a good, methodical task. If I'm hungry and craving something, I weigh and portion it and then eat it, and for some reason, food is just more satisfying when it takes time to prepare.
Here's how to make the stuff I eat on a regular basis.
1. Tuna. Mix 1 can of tuna with 2 tablespoons of olive-oil based mayo. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. No chips? No bread? It sucks, but that's life. One thing I've tried once and I think I'll do again, is melting mozzarella cheese in a pan, letting it pool out thinly, and cooking it until it's brown and crispy. Ta-da! "Chips"!
2. Fish. I buy frozen haddock filets at Wegmans. They come with the skin still attached. I put one filet on a pan, LIBERALLY brush it with olive oil (haddock is low-fat, so you need to ADD fat). I add salt, pepper, and then I squeeze some lemon juice on it (not too much, lemon is carby). Bake it as per directions on the package--usually 350--until it looks sort of fried on the edges. You can also fry it in a pan.
3. Sausage and peppers. Peppers are kind of sugary, but when paired with a fatty food like sausage, and eaten in minimal amounts, it's fine. Yesterday I had 3 oz Trader Joe's Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa, 3oz sweet red peppers, and I fried them in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the peppers and olive oil first and cook them over low heat for a while, until the peppers aren't so crispy. Add the sausage, sliced into small chunks, and cook until the outsides are browned and crisped up a bit and the peppers are soft. Even with the peppers, that, for a meal, is 190 calories, 12.5g fat, 3g carb, and 17g protein. If you do the calculations, that's 59% fat, 6% carb, and 35% protein. Almost perfect!
4. Omelette. Take 3 eggs, beat them in a bowl. Add a splash of water, salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and heat on medium. Add a handful of spinach and cook until the spinach has shrunk up a bit. Take the spinach out, pour in the eggs. Wait until the edges look cooked, then add the spinach and 2oz mozzerella cheese. Let it keep cooking until the cheese melts, then flip. Turn the heat off and let it sit until it's as cooked as you like it. I like to do it this way because the cheese, being on top, gets nice and browned when you flip it.
5. Salad. A bowl full of baby spinach or wild greens mix. Add crumbled feta, chunks of grilled chicken, olives, and caesar dressing.
6. Cheeseburger. Make a huge, thin meat patty out of ground beef or turkey. You can add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and/or cayenne pepper for flavoring. Put cheese in the middle--I like pepper jack in cheeseburgers. Fold the sides to cover the cheese, and then cook on a skillet/pan until both sides are a bit crispy. The cheese in the middle means less chance of the center of the burger not being cooked properly. You can also just cook regular burgers and add cheese. Dijon mustard for a topping--no ketchup! Cheeseburgers are what I eat a lot when I'm hungry and don't have a lot of time. You can even buy them in patty form and save even more time.
1-2 stalks of celery and 2tbsp peanut butter. This is a great afternoon snack if you've got 700 calories left, 2tbsp natural peanut butter is around 200 calories, depending on the brand.
Mini babybel rounds. They're low-carb, delicious, and they come individually-wrapped so you can put them in your bag or wherever.
Individually-wrapped bags of nuts. I like walnuts the best, but you can find nuts of just about any kind in single-serving packages. If you can't, just buy a tin of them and some little baggies and portion them out yourself.
Cheese! If I'm hungry and don't want a whole meal, I eat a piece of cheese. I buy packages of feta and portion them out into 1-ounce cubes.
Section 5: Exercise
So I've lost 10 pounds of fat (possibly more, but probably water weight) without any exercise other than biking to class and waitressing (which, admittedly, is a workout). If you DO exercise, this diet will be crazy effective. Just remember to eat a bit more on workout days.
Low-carb days: Cardio. Running, biking, elliptical, jogging, dancing. Do it up.
Carb-loading days: This is trickier. On the day you eat carbs, you want to eat something really carby an hour before your workout. I like to eat a sweet potato. Then, for your workout, you want to do WEIGHTS! NOT cardio. Get those muscles working hard! They're being invigorated with all this glycogen after being wrung dry. Do an entire-body workout. If you can, get some cute buff guy at the gym to show you how to properly use freeweights. If not, just use the machines. Do leg presses, seated leg curls, hip abductions, hip adductions, calf raises, chest presses, lat pulldowns, flies and that other thing that's like a backward fly. Whatever you do, MAKE SURE YOU WORK OUT. Working out on the carb-loading day minimizes the weight gain from eating carbs. You need it, though! The reason people feel weak and tired on atkins is that their muscles have lost all their glycogen. The reason they aren't TOTALLY immobile is that atkins is way more carbs than CKD, they eat 50-80g per day. It's unhealthy to eat no carbs, ever. CKD means you maximize your fat loss on low-carb days and then store up your glycogen one day a week.