Eating Right.

I did something crazy over the weekend.  I started a low-sugar, low-carb diet.  Diet is probably not the right word because I'm not dieting, per se, I'm just trying to eat better.  To know me is to know that I love carbs.  Love, love, love.  Especially sugary carbs, like donuts.  They are fantastic.  But here's the thing: I have been feeling slugglish and gross lately, and I know it's because I have been eating way too many carbs throughout the day without much else in between.

One of my favorites to rely on for a quick snack is a granola bar/protein bar/cereal bar/whatever you want to call it bar.  I love bars.  You can find some with a lot of good ingredients in them.  The problem with them: they are loaded with sugar.  I just happened upon this article last night about sneaky sugar.  It states that women need about 20g of sugar a day, and some of those bars can have 24g-plus in just one bar.  That right there makes me not want to eat them anymore, and I don't want to give any to the kids, either, which were a really easy snack (kids need only 12g a sugar at the most!  I'm horrified!).

So anyway, cut out the granola bars, the crackers, the bread, carb-y snacks, candy, sweeties, and goodies, and what am I left with?  I am a snacker!  I need quick options!!  Except, really, I don't.

I've stopped myself often in just the past three days- grabbing a cracker, looking aimlessly in the cabinets, snicking one of the kids' cereal squares- and realized just how much I eat and just how much I don't need to.  It's crazy the amount of times I've wandered around the kitchen looking for food.  I don't need to be eating that much!  And what's ended up happening is I grab a few pistachios that have been sitting on the counter or a few grapes, and I go on my way.  If you feel like you're eating a lot for no purpose, I encourage you to try cutting something out and see how many times you find yourself looking for that type of food.  I bet you'd be surprised.

 This one heard me crack open a nut.  She loves pistachios.  Can you see the tail wagging?

So what do I eat?  I haven't cut out carbs completely- I still think there are good cereals and oatmeal and things like that so I'm starting slow.  I've had more fruit each day, eating a banana and an apple (with some kind of nut butter on it!) or a pear, berries, melon, etc.  Salad with  dinner instead of bread.  More beans, more nuts.  Yogurt, cheese.  I found some crackers that I love that are sweet potato-based.  They have flour but that's not the only binding ingredient.  It's definitely being creative.  The sugar is the harder part because it's in everything, even salad dressing, so we'll have to make some changes as we run out of things.  I've had to stop myself from grabbing something many times already.


In the end I'm hoping to feel better and get more energy.  I know a lot of people have said that when they cut out carbs and sugar they get both, so I'm hoping to see the results in those areas.

Are you a carb monster too?  Constant snacker?  Health-food junkie?  
If you have good snack suggestions for me, please share!!

6 comments

  1. I read a book recently called Foodist that I think you'll enjoy. Like you said, it's not about going on a "diet" it's about having a healthier lifestyle--and that's the whole message of the book. She talks about what foods will keep you full aside from complex carbs, there's a chapter about exercise and how to make it fun instead of a chore, there are a handful of recipes, etc.

    Sugar IS really sneaky. Do we really only need 24g a day? Jeez. I'm way over...

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  2. ahh... I had a comment and then it disappeared.

    Alright, low carbs is great. I do think you have more energy and not so sluggish plus it also makes you feel less bloated. I hate feeling bloated.

    I try to go low-carbs as much as possible but sometimes I get bored because I'm limited on the foods I can eat. Not being able to eat most fruits and nuts makes your food choices very limiting.

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  3. Awesome! Good for you... I mean, REALLY GOOD for you!! :)
    About 8 wks ago I cut out white carbs (breads, crackers, white potato, rice, cereal etc) and most sugar from my diet. The difference in how I feel is night & day. I've lost 14.5 lbs which is great and not too quick of a reduction so I know it's healthy weight loss. My skin feels and looks better than it's felt/looked in years. The pores on my face have gotten smaller. LOVE that part. My digestive issues have gone away. Poof! It's definitely hard to pass up the pizza when we go out for Italian, but I feel SO good, it's just not worth going back. One thing I've found is that with eating more proteins and veggies, I am satisfied longer through the day. When I do feel like snacking, I will have a 1/2 a banana with peanut butter and a cup of tea or a cappuccino, or I'll have nuts and an apple. Those things are easy to grab and so satisfying :)
    I agree... this is not a diet. It's just a cleaner way of eating.
    Best of luck! Keep me posted :)

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  4. Wow good on you Kristen! For me I just eat anything moderately. But i'm not much a snacker .. Maybe because i rarely stock up on snacks :) Do you like Japanese rice crackers? Maybe it's a much healthier option

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  5. I am a total carb lover. That has been my biggest downfall in wanting to lose weight! If I want crackers, I try to stick to whole grain ones now...I eat more fruit, more water so I don't feel hungry. Grapes! :)

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  6. 20g might be all we technically "need," but unless you are diabetic, there is no reason to eliminate all sugar. Most health articles will advise you to limit your intake to under 60g, I think. I've even read 80g, depending on your caloric intake (and probably size matters here too).

    It also depends on the type of sugar. Refined white sugar is the bad guy. Sugar from fruit or other less-processed sources is not bad for you. Also, if you cut out more carbs, be careful what you eat to fill that void. A lot of people will go on a low-carb diet and start eating turkey bacon several times a day because they think that's healthier. But turkey bacon is loaded with sodium and nitrates, other bad stuff. Ditto a lot of "low-carb" alternatives that focus on eating more meat, less bread. It sounds like you are making really good substitutions though. :)

    I actually do know how to eat really healthy, but most of the time I still eat all the things I know I'm not supposed to. My diet is probably 80% carbs right now. I eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of pasta, bread, treats. For a while I did an experiment to stop taking a multivitamin and see if I could get all the vitamins and nutrients I need through food alone, and still get the recommended protein, carbs, etc., without eating processed stuff. It was really hard, and took way too much time. Planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking everything I ate. It can take over your life.

    I will probably try to start cooking more complete meals again soon. We've been doing so much work on the house the past year and are still getting settled so I just don't want to devote hours every day to what I'm eating.

    Also, I will say that a lot of what you can "get away with" in your diet varies from person to person and is determined by your genetic makeup. So some might be able to eat whatever they want and still have all good test results coming back from the doctor and be a healthy weight, etc. Others have to watch what they eat much more closely. Just like everything in life, no one way of eating works for all.

    This is the longest comment ever. ;)

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