Saturday 9 November 2019

But I couldn't give up...

Oh, but I couldn't give up....

This is one of those phrases that creeps into the conversation whenever I tell people that I follow a low carb/keto way of eating.

OK, so let me make a confession - ‘My name is Jayne and I follow a low carb/keto way of life and I apologise’.

But why do I feel the need to apologise? Why is it that I’m made to feel like some sort of weirdo or freak because I don’t eat carbs?

I have friends who are vegetarians but to the world at large that’s perfectly fine.

I have friends who are vegans and again to the world at large that’s perfectly fine.

But when I say ‘sorry no potatoes for me’ I’m made to feel like there’s something wrong with me!

I can go out and about for coffee or for meals whether that be in a small local cafe, a city centre restaurant or even when visiting friends or family and there are numerous concessions made for diets. Plastered on menu boards everywhere is ‘vegetarian friendly’, ‘vegan this or that’, ‘gluten free’ or ‘lighter options’ but never anything to say ‘low carb’ or ‘keto’.

Now OK I am a big girl and actually following a low carb/keto way of life is pretty straightforward; I have no problem asking a restaurant to substitute in some extra veggies or salad instead of the potatoes or asking for cream when ordering coffee. And to be fair there is now more and more places that will have on their menus (although often hidden at the bottom somewhere) that burgers can be ‘bunless’ or that rice can be swapped for salad.

But I do still feel that what I’m asking for is considered to be a bit weird, often met with a questioning ‘so you don’t want the potatoes?’ Well that’s what I’ve just said!!

I’m really not looking for any special treatment or a special menu just an acceptance that it’s perfectly normal to not want the beige and boring carbs!

Now don’t get me wrong I am aware that we are beginning to see some companies and small businesses that are catering specifically towards the low carb market; often providing a low carb alternative to those ‘western diet’ favourites of bread and sweet things. These items are not necessarily the cheapest but at least it’s good to know that this ‘low carb thing’ is beginning to get recognised. For me personally I am a bit wary of these low carb alternatives as I’m not a lover of the artificial sweeteners that can be used but I think it’s great that options for those that want them are appearing.

At ‘Real Food Rocks’ back in July I was able to try some low carb pitta bread (Low Carb Food Company) and some low carb dark chocolate and raspberry brownies (Deliciously Guilt Free) which were both delicious. And for both of these I would personally consider them an exception to my usual way of eating. In fact if I fancy ‘a treat', something that I would not ordinarily consume, like a cookie or a piece of cake then I will allow myself to indulge. But this is only a rare occurrence and often I will find that sharing a piece of cake or just having a couple of bites is enough to satisfy any ‘craving’ I may have. A phrase we like to use in my home is ‘rare and appropriate’ (a term coined by Penn Jillette during his weight-loss); so for example when I reached the end of my radiotherapy treatment I figured it was appropriate to mark the occasion with a coffee and a nice piece of ‘full on’ cheesecake! So I had a piece of ‘proper’ cake and enjoyed it and that was that!

So let’s get back to what I started with at the top of this post...but I couldn’t give up…

I think this happens to everyone who follows a low carb/keto way of eating as soon as we begin to explain what it means we have the standard response ‘but I couldn’t give up...’ followed by one (or all!) mention of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta. Interestingly the ‘naughty’ foods of cakes or cookies are never mentioned because everyone knows that these are not good for us but the complete indignation that can be met should I dare suggest that perhaps pasta is not all that great is really rather surprising.

For those of us that have found low carb/keto and have experienced the benefits, whether that be weight loss, general health improvements, skin improvements, better mood or reversal of type 2 diabetes and more, we find ourselves wanting to spread the news. I know that I have done a lot of reading and continue to do so. Names like Gary Taubes, Gary Fettke, Tim Noakes, Dr David Unwin, Ivor Cummins, Nina Teicholz to name but a few are commonly spoken about in our house. We actively seek out new information, podcasts and websites. I absolutely love for the vast amount of information delivered in an easy to understand way along with a collection of recipes to suit everyone’s budget, tastes and cooking ability.

I find myself feeling quite passionate about this way of eating, especially knowing that the traditional diet of low fat, eat less and move more simply doesn’t work and is actually completely wrong. We have been ‘fed’ information over the past 30 years, and more, that was wrong, that was never tested as it should have been and has never been corrected despite evidence to the contrary.

So when people do ask me about losing weight, or keeping the weight off or simply ‘what is is that you eat?’ I want to tell them as much as I possibly can. But I am constantly surprised that most people seem to stumble as soon as they hear ‘no bread, no rice, no pasta, no potatoes’.

Perhaps I need to change my approach and tell them about all the lovely things they can be eating; all the cheese, meat, bacon, eggs, full fat yogurt, cream in their coffee, green veggies, some berries and my favourite extra dark chocolate!

Everyone knows that cakes, cookies and anything sugary is bad for them but what they don’t understand is that some of our food ‘staples’, and foods that we have been led to believe are ‘good for us’ are actually also full of sugar. I can’t recommend Dr. David Unwin’s infographics highly enough where he equates those staples of our diet to the amount of sugar in them, such an easy and surprising way to get the message across.
Infographic courtesy of
I also tell people to try eating the rice, the pasta, the potatoes or the bread just on its own with no sauce or seasoning to see how bland they actually are. These are after all bland and beige and I’ve never known anything that is bland and beige be ‘good for you’!

So ditch the beige and embrace tasty, satisfying and filling foods.

Eat the right foods and your body will do the rest. There is then no need to worry about ‘how much’ or ‘how many calories’ or feeling hungry. Listen to your body, eat when you are genuinely hungry and eat foods that will leave you feeling satiated and full of energy. You will turn your body into a fat burning machine and you will never look back.

Five and a half years ago I took on a challenge to lose a bit of weight, little did I realise back then that I would be able to keep that weight off, drop 2 dress sizes and feel great. I have learnt so much since then and I just want to be able to give those who want to listen and are prepared to give something a chance all the help, advice and encouragement I can.
Taken Summer 2013 - Standard Low Fat Diet
Taken Summer 2019 - 5 years low carb

 Please go back and read my other blog pieces about how I discovered this way of eating and how I've managed to stick at it for five and a half years.

And if any of this gives you cause to think then I urge you to just give it a try and you never know what might happen!