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Old 09-09-2011, 01:07 PM   #1
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Default Help with designing a lower carb diet?

There are some things I'm pretty smart about, like exercise. But when it comes to DIET, I'm not. I used to be able to eat anything I wanted and it's only been recently where I've found that no matter how much I exercise and no matter how healthy (in concept) my food choices are, I'm not losing weight. Obviously I'm eating too much. My doctor said at my visit yesterday that she believes I'm eating too many carbs, specifically, and told me to cut my carbs in half.

My question is: what tactics have you used to address your diet? My personality type is more the type to completely remove an offending item from my diet than to try and work it in in moderation. For example, I drink no alcohol, no soda, no coffee, I eat no dairy products (because I'm allergic).

My primary sources of carbs are, in order as best I can figure:
Pasta
Fruit
brown rice
Potatoes (with skin)
Beans
Quinoa
Amaranth

If you were to look at that list, what would be your recommendation? What I'm considering is just cutting pasta completely out of my diet, and at meals where I would normally eat pasta trade it out for some green vegetable. Fruit is another likely culprit although I love fruit too much to simply get rid of it...that would be one food I would try to figure out how to do in moderation.

I am not the type of person that can do a no carb diet. Atkins and diets like that simply don't appeal to me because I don't like meat that much. Currently I eat vegan about 45% of the time. The South Beach approach doesn't seem too bad, but what I'd like to do is figure out how to do something like that without constantly having to adhere to a book or a recipe.

Any ideas?
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:30 PM   #2
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Come over to the Atkins board and check it out - we can help you. You might not want to do induction (20 carbs) but the ongoing weightloss level allows for more carbs.

I would probably attempt to eat a low carb diet and then have a healthy carb exchange (ie one serving) allowed with each meal.

Ie for breakfast scrabbled eggs with spinach and feta and fruit salad

lunch = large green salad with jicima, bell peppers, olives, cucumbers, 1 serving of quinoa and shrimp (can use tofu if want to do vegan)

dinner - TVP stirfry with soy sauce, green beans, carrots, bamboo shoots with 1 serving brown rice (ie 1/2 cup).

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. Yes, perhaps doing the maintenance phase of Atkins would be okay, and it's possible I have a skewed view of Atkins. My Dad did it and I just remember him eating Steak and salad 3 times a day, and I simply can't eat that much meat. I will come check it out, and thanks for responding!
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
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If you are looking for something where you aren't following a specific plan, why not take your doctor's suggestion literally and take a half portion of grains or starches any time you would have had a larger one, and then fill out the rest of your plate with veggies, and maybe a slightly larger serving of protein.

Veggies and fruits are carbs, but most people refer to grains and starches in terms of what to cut out, esp. to lose weight.

I know that's not what you said about cutting things out rather than trying moderation, but it could be a way to start reducing carbs and then if you aren't happy with the results, you could try something a little more restrictive.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by April Snow View Post
If you are looking for something where you aren't following a specific plan, why not take your doctor's suggestion literally and take a half portion of grains or starches any time you would have had a larger one, and then fill out the rest of your plate with veggies, and maybe a slightly larger serving of protein.
That would definitely simplify it- just eyeball what I would normally take and take half of that, fill the space in with low glycemic veggies and protein. I like that idea, too.

Thanks !
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:32 PM   #6
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Personally, I can't diet without portion-control. I've stalled weight loss on South Beach Phase I and even on Atkins induction (and I bet I could even gain on it, if I put my mind to it).

I just can't do "mindful eating," because my hunger switch is faulty. I can't tell the difference (or if there even is one) between "real" and "false" hunger - it all feels like hunger to me.

I am hungriest on a high-carb diet, and least hungry on a very low-carb diet. Hungerwise, super low-carb would seem to be the way to go, but I don't feel well on super low-carb (mostly blood sugar issues I believe, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, light-headedness, even fainting if I don't eat soon after feeling faint).

Since I have to "count" anyway, I like counting by way of an exchange plan. I must have followed at least a dozen different exchange plans on this journey. So you could say I followed multiple variations one plan (exchange plans) or that I've followed multiple diets (an exchange plan based on Atkins, one based on South Beach, one based on Primal Blueprint....)

The first formal diet I learned and followed was an exchange plan when I joined Weight Watchers with my mother in 1972 (I was 8 years old). WW was an exchange plan up until 1997.

The great thing about exchange plans is that almost all of them are based on the same plan first created by the American Diabetes Association, and the American Dietetic Association in the 1940's for diabetics. The recommendations for distributing the exchanges has varied, but the exchanges themselves are pretty much the same, to the point that virtually all exchange-based cookbooks can be used intercheangeably (or can easily be translated - for example the DASH diet is an exchange plan, but the DASH protein exchanges are based on 3 ounces not 1 ounce as standard exchanges are. So one DASH protein exchanges are equal to three standard exchanges).

I use a low-carb exchange plan like those in the link below (at the end of the pdf). In this pdf, they're called high-protein food plans.


http://www.frugalabundance.com/exchange-plan-diet.pdf



One nice thing about exchange plans, is that they're very adaptable. No matter how you want to eat, you can find an exchange plan to match.

For example, I use the 1500 calorie high protein food plan as my base plan, but then I allow 6 "optional exchanges" that I can "spend" on any combination of protein, fruit, starch, fruit, or dairy exchanges (it comes to about 400- 500 calories, no matter how you mix them).

So daily my calorie range falls between 1500 - 1800 (as long as I stick to my plan, of course).

If I wanted to keep carbs lower, I would spend those 6 optional exchanges only on protein.

If I wanted to model my diet after Atkins, I'd cut the fruit and bread exchanges out altogether, increase fat servings and would have to be careful on what foods I chose to satisfy each exchange.


If any of what I've said sounds confusing, you can easily simplify. Just pick any of the plans in the pdf and try it. If you want to experiment, tweak as you go, or choose another plan whenever you want to (though if you want to find what works best, you probably want to stick with one at a time for at least a couple months or more).
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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I eat lower carb too. I just can't do actual low carb diets. I try to keep my daily carb consumption at 40% or less of my total calories. The site I use for logging my foods (http://caloriecount.about.com/) tracks my macro nutrients and gives me a pie chart. I keep them low by doing basically what April Snow said. I have a decent portion of carb at breakfast though because I usually work out shortly after breakfast and I have blood sugar issues. After breakfast I never have more than 1/2 serving of a high carb food at a time. At this point some of my meals don't have any high carb foods. It gets easier and feels more normal after you've done it for a while. I fill my meals in with veggies and extra protein. For instance, when I have spaghetti I don't have many noodles and I add tvp, zucchini and yellow squash to my sauce to bulk my meal up. I also got rid of almost all white carbs and use as much whole grain as I can. I find that helps.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:02 PM   #8
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@ Kaplods- Thanks! I actually had never even heard of an exchange plan, so I'm going to read up on that. I am truly a diet newbie and so this thread is teaching me a lot!

@FitGirlyGirl- Thanks for your suggestions, also. I love spaghetti so your suggestions for making substitutions there will help me also.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:09 PM   #9
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Have you used TVP before? We use tons around here (thanks to kaplods) and my DH says it helps him feel full the way carbs do.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:29 PM   #10
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Have you used TVP before? We use tons around here (thanks to kaplods) and my DH says it helps him feel full the way carbs do.
I actually don't even know what TVP is, so probably I haven't used it? What is it?

Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
I actually don't even know what TVP is, so probably I haven't used it? What is it?

Thanks!
TVP (textured vegetable protein, also called textured soy protein) is a meat substitute made from defatted soy beans. It comes in a variety of shapes, and flavors, but I use the unflavored, granule or flake form. It looks like Grapenuts cereal or beige aquarium gravel.

It's meant to be rehydrated with about equal parts by volume of hot water.


For example, if you add 3/4 to 1 1/4 cup of hot liquid to 1 cup of hot water you will get a little more than the equivalent of 1 lb of ground beef.

You can use it any recipe that calls for browned, ground beef.

It's pretty bland on it's own, but it picks up the flavor of whatever it's cooked with.

When I started using it, my husband didn't like the taste of plain tvp, so I started adding just a little to ground beef to strongly flavored dishes like taco meat, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce and chili. Hubby didn't notice, so I kept adding just a little more tvp. We've both decided that we prefer the 1 cup of tvp to 1 lb of meat in most dishes, and for really spicy dishes we're ok with a higher proportion of tvp (for example 1 lb of tvp to 3 or 4 cups of tvp and 3-4 cups of broth or water - roughly equivalent to 4-5 lbs of meat)


I've posted my basic recipe here at least a dozen times so you can either search on tvp recipe, or here's a link to it on my 3FC blog (it's currently the second post - June 25, 2009.

http://www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/kaplods



I've also used it to increase the protein in instant oatmeal (which I find too sweet anyway).

Into a mug, I measure out about 22g (about 1/4 cup, 80 calories, 9g fat, 3 net carbs, 12g protein) which = 1 protein exchange on my exchange plan.

I add the instant oatmeal from a packet, and then add the water called for on the oatmeal packet plus about 2-3 tablespoons of water (I like really thick oatmeal, you may have to experiment with the liquid amounts if you like a thinner or thicker texture)

Then I microwave for about 30 seconds longer than recommended on the oatmeal package.


The tvp's protein, brings down the glycemic index of the instant oatmeal, and also the sweetness level. If you want it sweeter, you can use whichever sweeteners you're comfortable with.



I've always found oatmeal (even sweetened instant) to be extremely filling in the short-term. However, I would often be hungry again within an hour or two. With the tvp, I seem to stay full longer.


I recommended it to my hubby, but the 1/4 cup of tvp was too much for him (he said it changed the taste of the oatmeal too much). So you may want to start with only a teaspoon or two (just add a tsp of water for every tsp of tvp you add).
































I use it to
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:57 PM   #12
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Oh! Thanks Kaplods. I have used it, but it was a long time ago. I should try it again. I actually don't mind meat substitutes and currently use a lot of different milk substitutes since I'm allergic so I'm sort of used to trying out new stuff.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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Looks like you've gotten some great advice and ideas.

So on a side note, if you don't mind me asking, what part of Alaska are you from? =) My husband is in the Army and we're PCSing to Fort Richardson in a few months.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:18 PM   #14
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Looks like you've gotten some great advice and ideas.

So on a side note, if you don't mind me asking, what part of Alaska are you from? =) My husband is in the Army and we're PCSing to Fort Richardson in a few months.
You'll be about a 15 minute drive from where I live. I live in Eagle River, about 20 miles north of Anchorage.

The joke about Anchorage is you're 15 minutes away from Alaska. Ha. It's kind of true- you can get into the State Park pretty quickly. Ft. Rich has a HUGE area that we all call the backside of the base that has lots of lakes for fishing, river access, and hiking, too.
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:53 PM   #15
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You'll be about a 15 minute drive from where I live. I live in Eagle River, about 20 miles north of Anchorage.

The joke about Anchorage is you're 15 minutes away from Alaska. Ha. It's kind of true- you can get into the State Park pretty quickly. Ft. Rich has a HUGE area that we all call the backside of the base that has lots of lakes for fishing, river access, and hiking, too.
Oh wow, that's funny that it's so close. I still can't believe I'm going to be living in Alaska. Sure I knew there was a change he'd get stationed overseas so Germany, Korea entered my mind. But never Alaska! The few people I've talked to who live up there or did at some point all love it so I'm trying to keep an open mind.
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