Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crash Course in Low Carb Dieting

My first attempt at dieting came, as I said previously, when I realized the monster I had become. Eating every carb in sight, guzzling sodas filled with sugar and consuming as much pizza as the country of Italy in a single week. Ok, I may be getting carried away, but regardless, I determined the carbs had to be doing me in.

So I turned to Google, **Angels sing** and Google turned me to the South Beach Diet.

The basic principles of the South Beach Diet (SBD), as I gathered them from my quick google search, were to eat low carb foods until I felt full. I was intrigued.

I did more research to determine that the SBD is more than a low carb diet. It's a lifestyle change. The three phases of the diet are designed to kickstart your metabolism, help you lose weight steadily, then maintain the healthier you.

In the first phase, which I'll return to every now and again when I've had a particularly binge-full weekend, SBD cuts out sugars, including natural sugars found in fruit, breads, rice, potatoes, pastas, baked goods and alcohol. This phase lasts for two weeks and serves to eliminate cravings.

In phase two, you reintroduce good carbs, such as whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and even dark chocolate!

I have to admit, I never got around to phase three. Phase two is where I completely restructured my food choices and I haven't gone back.

That being said, I carry some of these principles with me years later:
* whole grains over white or bleached grains (brown rice over white)
* drink alcohol sparingly (aside from one glass of red wine a night; studies have proven a nightly glass of wine is actually quite good for you for a number of reasons)
* avoid processed foods
* avoid foods high in preservatives
* sweet potatoes are amazing

That last bit wasn't really something I learned because of SBD, but if you swap out regular french fries for sweet potato fries with your burger (wrapped in lettuce rather than on a bun, of course), you're likely to save yourself some time on the treadmill.

Here's a few of my favorite meals and snacks that I ate, and still eat, while on phase 1 of SBD:

Breakfast:
* Farmer's Cheese Pancakes (I use Ricotta as a substitute for the Farmer's Cheese)
* Southwest Style Chicken Frittata
* Egg White Omelets with low fat mozzarella, fresh spinach, mushrooms
* BACON! (Turkey or center-cut bacon)

Lunch:
* Leftover Beef and Bean Chili from the night before (when the flavors have all fully developed)
* Any kind of salad with honey mustard dressing
* Lettuce tacos

Snacks:
* Peanut butter and celery (You'll find FI and I LOVE peanut butter)
* Mixed Nuts
* String Cheese

Dinner:
* The aforementioned Beef and Bean Chili (Sorry to use it twice, but I love it that much)
* Warm Beef Salad
* Summer Chicken Chili

Dessert:
* Sugar Free Fudge Bars
* Lemon Ricotta Souffle

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