Well, it has now been almost 7 months since I decided to take the plunge and not only improve my A1C, but also lose some weight. I am happy to say I have done both by pursuing a low carb regimen. It is now 35 pounds later and I haven’t felt better in years. I’ll be the first to tell you that it was hard. I’ll also be the first to tell you it wasn’t as hard as I imagined.
I do however have a couple of confessions to make. I didn’t do the strict Keto diet thing. For instance, I didn’t develop Macros or adhere to meal plans where my culinary future was determined by what someone else told me I should eat. All of you out there that go that route, don’t hate me. If you are happy with that, and it works for you, go for it. I just didn’t think I needed it, and in reality, I knew if that was what I had to do to accomplish my goal, I would fail. Also, I wasn’t looking to lose a ton of weight in a very short period of time. I was willing to wait.
I was pleasantly surprised that applying the principles of low carbism, I was able to find foods that I wanted to eat, recipes that I wanted to try, and a lifestyle change that was comfortable for me. For me riced cauliflower is my new rice. Turnips and rutabagas are my potatoes. Check and check.
I started by looking for recipes I would like to try and immediately ran into my first road block. If I was going to do this thing, it appeared I would need a couple of staples that I didn’t normally keep on the shelf, like almond flour, coconut flour, almond milk, flax seed meal, beef gelatin powder, MCT oil powder, oat fiber, liquid allulose, psyllium husk powder, xanthan gum, collagen peptides, granulated, powdered and brown sugar substitutes, and pork rind crumbs. I own them all. I have even used some of them. I’m sure many will die in place.
For me, here’s the deal. Once I got into this, I started to look for substitutes. As my cabinets began to bulge with all this stuff, I started researching what they did, why I needed them, and what else could I use. My first epiphany was that I often found that there was a more ‘normal’ ingredient that performed, or tasted a lot like the original. I was amazed at how many eggs were involved in low carb cooking/baking, whole or just the whites. I saw a Cloud bread recipe that called for 18 egg whites. I don’t think so.
I am often my own worst enemy. By that I mean I tend to jump into things, embracing the whole nine yards instead of sneaking up on it. It began with making my own bread. I tried several times and several recipes and they all turned out awful. It just wasn’t what I considered bread. So I started shopping. I tried a few different brands off the web since no stores near me carry low carb bread. I ultimately found Aunt Millie’s and my search was over. The same thing with hamburger and hotdog rolls. Had to hunt around, but eventually found an acceptable product. I just had to decide when to make something or when to buy.
After much disappointment in my quest to find a pasta replacement by trying noodles made of zucchini, palm, tofu, and shirataki, I finally found a company that makes faux fettuccine, spaghetti, elbows, and linguini that isn’t bad. And so it goes. I have built a cookbook of low carb recipes that look good, so I file them for later use. Sometimes I will just look for recipes that use a specific ingredient, like peanut flour, so that I can use it up. There are so few recipes that call for some of this stuff that it will probably outlast its shelf life. Live and learn.
I depend a lot on my Air Fryer and Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Between them, I am able to create delicious meals while enjoying a wide range of proteins. I use herbs and spices to kick them up a little. I tried breading with the pork rind crumbs, but am not really a fan. They are going to last a long time I think. The same with a lot of the powders and I think I can live without coconut flour. I still use almond flour, but have been leaning more toward a couple of brands of Keto flour that are wheat based, but only slightly higher then grain free. The carbs, spread over several slices or muffins is not high enough to concern me and I think (personal opinion) my baked goods come out better.
As I progress with this regimen, I am slowly developing my own assessment of ‘must have’ items. My wife had a huge online cookbook of recipes collected over the years and there are several favorites in there. So I am now attempting to reproduce them in a low carb version. Often it is just a matter of subbing almond milk or heavy cream and a sugar substitute, and perhaps adjusting some of the other ingredients. Since I attempt to keep my daily carbs around 25, I try to keep my meals at less then 10 carbs per serving. It’s not as hard as you may think, and I have resurrected several favorites.
I know low carb is forever and I’m OK with that. I think my successes have made it possible for me to accept that fact. I am also now in maintenance mode which is still a work in progress. I still don’t know where my break even point is. How much is too much. But I find that even if I could eat more, I don’t require it. I’m happy with my current portions. However, the bathroom scale is never too far away and I check it often. So I will just continue to bop along, trying different things and keeping those I like. My next semi annual doctors appointment is in three weeks. I know my A1C is down. I just don’t know how much. And I have to believe my cholesterol and blood pressure levels have to have taken a turn for the better. We’ll find out I guess.
Oh. One last thing. Don’t ever think you are too old to change. I’m 81.