“What do you eat?”
I’ve been living la vida lo carb with varying degrees of commitment for quite some time. I must credit my mother who has always said, “I don’t eat bread.” She would tell me that when I complained about how fat I got in high school and college. People who didn’t know me back then can hardly believe that I was that fat. I was at least 20 pounds (10 kilos) heavier. I was three or four bra sizes bigger (which boys loved so much I was honored with the nickname “tits magee”). I was unhappy with how I felt and looked. Over the years, I cut out more and more carbohydrates from my diet and lost a lot of weight.
But this isn’t about how much you weigh. Weight isn’t only about physical appearance, it’s proven that people with healthy body weight live longer and less painful lives. This is not a weight loss plan, although, for me, it has slimming side effects. I already adhered to a similar diet when I read Grain Brain by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, but I was shocked when the book revealed that the things I was already steering clear of were directly linked to crippling neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, bipolar and depression. In the book, Perlmutter pointed to way too many highly scientific studies to list that indicated that chronic inflammation is the cause of many life-ending diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Stress, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins and diet all contribute to inflammation. With diet, specific foods and eating patterns can combat the free radicals that cause anti-oxidation and thereby inflammation. This why goji berries have been so popular… But beyond trendy superfoods with limited use, Perlmutter singles out one class of foods to put on your no-eat list: gluten and grains.
Here are the rules I eat by. These guidelines work well for me. I have plenty of energy for two surfs, plenty of dancing, baby chasing, working, and cooking low-carb delights.
1. Just don’t eat wheat, end of story.
2. Drink a ridiculous amount of water.
3. Embrace good fats.
4. Eat lots of vegetables and some fruit.
5. Take breaks from red meat.
6. Eat dark chocolate.
7. Only eat when your hungry.
I don’t eat breakfast. If I eat before I get some exercise – at the worst go for a walk or do some vigorous house cleaning; at best surf pumping waves – my brain doesn’t turn on properly. I will be sluggish all day trying to digest.
8. Cook for yourself regularly.
9. Invest in a good Probiotic.
10. Don’t Deprive Yourself.
If you love tacos, eat tacos. I love trying to make a healthy version of my favorite foods. If you just live for deep fried twinkies, then have one every once in a (great) while. If you restrict yourself too severely, you’ll be more likely to binge on your favorites.