Yes, it’s true. I went on a fad diet this summer. And now I’m even going to tell you how good it was.
For many years I have heard people advocating a no-carb and low-carb diets. There are a variety of these diets, including Atkins and Paleo. I’m not really fond of extreme diets that severely limit the intake of particular foods, calling them, “bad.” I prefer the balanced diet approach of Mediterranean and “real food”.
This spring I met a chiropractor that was offering a weight-loss program guaranteeing a loss 20 pounds in 6 weeks. Afterwards you would move back to a balanced diet. Although I don’t have any food allergies, I asked him if it was compatible for people with food allergies and he said it was entirely compatible. At that point I knew it must eliminate grains from the diet (soy, wheat, and corn are very common food allergens). His method was a “trade secret,” but when he said in other conversations that he never felt hungry, didn’t count calories, and still craved the food from the diet I knew it had to be a Low-Carb High-Fat diet.
I had heard about the Low-Carb High-Fat (LCHF) diet before and knew the basics of it. Eliminate grains and sugar. Eat butter, cream, meat, and lots of vegetables. Since the chiropractor advocated the diet for a limited time and it was the height of Farmer’s Market season, I decided this sounded doable and worth a try. (I also needed a way to mix up my recipes since I was in a rut.)
To rope Husband in, and make it workable, I knew my version needed to be less strict. We agreed to no rice, no potatoes, no bread, no corn. We could still eat out (and I wouldn’t tell him what to order). I also promised a low-sugar (almost diet friendly) slice of cheesecake once a week.
We started easing our way into it after the Fourth of July. I wanted to start in full-force, but hadn’t been able to purchase meat in bulk yet. We started in full-force on July 13th, took a break for vacation from the 22-25th, then finished up again hardcore through August 2nd. During that time we still had fast food hamburger combo meals every Sunday.
Overall, I felt very satisfied throughout most of the diet. I had a few issues during “that time of the month.” At that time my body always craves carbs, and until I gave it whole grains I was constantly feeling faint. Unfortunately, my body did think it was starving and decided “short-circuited” my body for the month. I also learned my body doesn’t particularly like a very low-carb diet. My husband felt fine the entire time but if I didn’t have carbs at breakfast (fruit, nuts & honey was enough) my body would feel unwell during the day. But once I made sure to eat carbs at breakfast (couldn’t just do egg and cheese) I was feeling fantastic.
And I loved that on days where our meals were still rather low-calorie as well,we would supplement with cheesecake and either fruit sauce or homemade dark chocolate sauce. And I got to eat bacon. And steak. And cheese sauce. And I learned I love raw broccoli with ranch dip so much I crave it. And I lost five pounds. That’s right! FIVE pounds.
All-in-all it was a very positive experience. It was nice to see the weight going off so quickly while still feeling full. I still got to eat lots of delicious food. I discovered a lot of new and delicious meals. And it put me on an even healthier path.
I still don’t think bread is bad and find it to be very yummy, and I do believe a balanced diet is best; but I do plan to take side-trips now and again into the bread-free world.
Afterwards, I found these very interesting pieces that related to our diet experiment.
- A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat (New York Times)
- Easiest Diet Plan Ever (Dilbert blog)
- Dr. Zorba Paster: Another look at carbs and fat (Wisconsin State Journal)
Some New Favorites
- For Breakfast:
- One fresh nectarine (diced)
- Large scoop of full-fat Greek yogurt
- Drizzle of honey
- Splash of vanilla extract
- Toasted pecans
- For anytime
- Raw broccoli
- Hidden Valley Ranch dip made with full-fat sour cream
- Lunch or Dinner
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- Taco Salad
- Replace chips and lettuce with raw broccoli slaw blend
- It leaves you with a nice crunch
To make a “diet-friendly” cheesecake I started with the Smitten Kitchen New York Cheese Cake recipe. I replaced the regular cream cheese with Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese (it’s sweeter), I only used 1 tablespoon flour, and I only used 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey.
You can top it with either a fruit sauce with minimum sugar, or a dark chocolate sauce.
Dark Chocolate Sauce
This recipe comes from the mother of my good friend, Mary.
- 1 TB butter
- 2 TB cocoa
- 2 TB heavy cream
- 3 TB sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
Melt butter in saucepan, making sure not to boil. Whisk in sugar, cocoa, and cream. Bring to boil while whisking continuously then immediately remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla.
Other Meal Ideas
Here is the list I put together when trying to come up with ideas. If you have any questions about a particular recipe, please comment and I will reply.
- Grilled chicken w/cheese sauce & broccoli
- bell peppers stuffed with mexican ground beef & quinoa topped with cheese
- meatloaf with cheesy “chips” & peas
- apple pecan salad
- coconut & sesame crusted chicken nuggets w/green beans
- eggs cooked in pepper slice w/cream sauce
- ham & egg cups
- crustless apple fritatta
- fish on wilted spinach salad
- chicken in cream green onion sauce w/veggies
- custard w/nectarines & pecans
- mozzarella sticks with fruit & veggies
- ham w/green beans
- sizzling steak w/tomato salad
- ham & egg scramble
- mexican salad w/ avocado & salsa
- egg battered sausage patties
- meat/quinoa stuffed poblanos
- pork chops w/spinach & blueberry salad
- fried eggs
- chef’s salad
- fried egg in onion rings with cream sauce
- brie & spinach stuffed chicken w/fruit salad
- pork chops w/cream sauce & green beans
- crustless fruit fritatta
- salisbury steak w/roasted carrots