Saturday, February 13

Cutting Out The Carbs: 5 Food Tips

Say NO To High Fructose Corn SyrupIt's time to do another stint of low carbohydrate dietary adjustment.

As always, the big question is what to eat? Everybody knows you can turn to meat, cheese and certain vegetables, but that can get boring.

Here are five alternative foods that I've been turning to in an effort to mix things up:

  1. Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is bursting with antioxidant phyto-nutrients. Also, it's reported that this may help with the production of serotonin. One serving has 4g of net carbs. You can opt for different percentages but check the labels as this will change the numbers.
  2. Sunflower Seeds: If you can find these hulled and non-salted they only have about 2g of net carbs in 1/3 of a cup. I see different values online so check your labels.
  3. Water Chestnuts: Generally available from the supermarket in a can these are great in a stir-fry or even on the side. A half cup may run you 12g of net carbs but you can get away with adding two or three to get their texture and flavor if that's too much.
  4. Sugar Free Jello: While you may consider this boring, once you are low-carbing it becomes a treat. Try making some orange Jello and once it is done add some (low carb) whipped cream or even just plain whipping cream. This is reminiscent of a Creamsicle.
  5. Salsa: Plain store bought salsa, keep an eye on the sodium, has only about 1g of net carbs in a two tablespoon serving. It's a convenient way of adding the goodness of tomatoes, peppers and onions without all the shopping and chopping.
Finally, I read something the other day that made sense. Some people eat poorly following a normal diet, perhaps living on pizza and chips, while others may eat poorly when following a low-carb diet. So, just because something doesn't have carbs that doesn't mean it's good for you from a nutritional point of view. Make good food choices, keeping junk to a minimum, no matter what type of nutritional lifestyle you are following.

It's been quite a while since I have dropped the carbs. In fact, I don't remember seeing any dark chocolate on the shelves that last time around. If you have some good alternative food choice ideas, new or old, please leave a comment. My stomach will thank you.

UPDATE: I've bought ketostix to monitor for ketosis. I can state for sure that the above foods eaten in appropriate moderation won't keep you from achieving ketosis. Please, no uninformed comments about the supposed danger of ketosis for those without existing medical conditions. In our natural state periods of low food availability would be common (causing ketosis) -- and it does not result in damage.

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33 comments:

Mick said...

Dark chocolate is quite good as the bitter taste restricts gorging but at the same time is very tasty.

Roger said...

The Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate is a bit too much for me, I prefer to go for the 70% which is more palatable.

Frugal Guy said...

Mick, Roger, thanks for the comments.

I've noticed a big difference from 75% to 85% dark chocolate. Basically, if I haven't eaten anything -- especially anything sweet -- then I can work on the 85% and enjoy it.

I find that the smaller the nibble the more enjoyable it is.

Anonymous said...

Good ideas about the carbs but, if you do not eat enough each day you can go brain dead. The brain needs enough to be effective.

Frugal Guy said...

Anon,

:)

The body is perfectly capable of supplying enough carbs as long as you are eating protein.

The transition can be a bit rough since most are generally so used to eating large quantities of (refined) carbs...

Anonymous said...

Protein is key. It is true it can be changed into carbs I am told right?

Frugal Guy said...

Anon,

The process is called gluconeogenesis. Certain glucogenic amino acids (components of proteins) can be used in this process.

Anonymous said...

I gave up on low carb dieting as I always seem to get really sick on the diet, but have had good success with South Beach or Zone diets. It comes off a bit slower because you avoid ketosis, but you get to add in lots of green leafy veggies to avoid boredom and it's a lot easier to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle once you go off the active phase of the diet. The biggest trick to avoid blood-sugar induced appetite spikes is to never consume more than 15 net carbs at any one meal or snack (at least 3 hours apart) so you avoid an insulin response. As Dr. Atkins correctly observed, no insulin response equals no hunger cravings and no new calories being rammed into your fat cells, but the newer research indicates you don't need to cut your carbs quite so low to reap the benefits of a low carb diet. Good luck on your diet!!!

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anon,

I agree that you don't need to be in ketosis in order to lose weight via carb control.

The real key, in the long term, is to get away from refined carbs and eat healthier foods.

Also, I just wanted to be sure that people knew that you could do low carb dieting and still eat vegetables -- due to the concept of net carbs.

Most people, myself included, won't stay at extremely low carb levels for very long.

ParisGirl111 said...

I love dark chocolate. It is so much more satisfying than milk chocolate...only takes a small amount. I never thought of using the sugar free jello. Thanks!

Lillie said...

I grew up on Creamsicles. Thanks for sharing an alternative with the Sugar-free Jello. I will definitely give this a try.

Frugal Guy said...

ParisGirl, Lillie,

Thanks for taking the time to write a note... but I'm a bit suspicious of your sincerity as you both seem to be linking to a debt solutions company.

Alas, my feelings of providing an interesting post now fade into concern that I'm being duped by some SEO campaign. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

If you do not get enough fat in your diet you will not heal and could get cancer. Agnes

Frugal Guy said...

Thanks for dropping by Anon. I'm not sure where people would get the idea that a low carb diet is some type of low fat diet...

Linda said...

Hershey's make dark chocolate kisses that help me with portion control. Each kiss is about 25 calories and you get three kisses for one carb serving if you are using the new diabetic eating plan.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the tips. I love chocolate and switch to the darker versions. It actually prevents me from eating as much as I used too with milk chocolate.

Frugal Guy said...

Linda,

I did find that the dark chocolate takes a bit of getting used to.

However, I'm not sure if the Hershey's dark chocolate is all that dark with respect to sugar content.

As I'm doing true low-carb eating I am less concerned about calories than grams of carbs.

Frugal Guy said...

Jessica,

I've swung around on my eating habits a bit. At first I was not used to it so I'd be a bit put off by it.

Later, if I hadn't had anything sweet (or cold -- as that ruins the melting aspect) I'd enjoy it. I started to crave it.

Now, it's still best if not eaten after anything sweet or cold, but I don't seem to be having cravings that much anymore.

I've found it great to keep around at work so I can avoid getting too hungry and succumbing to the vending machines junk food.

FindSavings said...

I like how you offered up different carb choices. I always end up eating the bad ones! Thanks for sharing this information.

Amy & BeefonaBudget.com said...

Yay to cutting carbs!! I try to live as carb free as possible, makes me feel the best! There is nothing like protein rich diet!

Jessica said...

Have you tried raw sunflower seeds? They are really great if you soak them in water overnight. Then it breaks down into amino acids so it is excellent protein and easy to digest. Very tasty too. I eat 'cereal' made from sliced bananas & strawberries, raw walnuts & sunflower seeds with almond milk.

Anonymous said...

Low carb is good to loose weight but, the problem is it means low heat which can make more germs live on you. It can make you want to eat much more that you should not. Protein is the key. It also helps with optimal brain work too.

Leesha said...

Good for you!! I think I will follow your lead and do some things I have been avoiding!See you later!

FrugalCollegekid said...

I love dark chocolate but I'm personally not really into the whole low-carb thing.I'm more worried about fat and oils than carbs.

Conrad said...

You see more and more people cutting out carbs but as an earlier comment mentioned carbs are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Following a balanced diet with the correct servings of each food group every day is far better than eliminating a specific item.

Thanks for the post.

Judy said...

What did you eat the salsa with if you couldn't have tortilla chips?

I find it hard to follow a low carb IF you're also avoiding aspartame & sucralose....

:(

Amy said...

I lost 25 lbs last year following lower carb lifestyle. When I eat carbs I make sure they count by only eating Whole grain and sugar free if made with splenda. One of my favorite tricks is to food process steamed cauliflower and add butter and cream cheese for a great mock mashed potato. I always say I dont eat no carbs I just make them count, it helps me keep my cabinets healthy for the whole family.

commoncents said...

I just wanted to say I really like your blog! Keep up the great work!!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

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Christine said...

Great tips! For ideas on how you can take charge of your own health care costs, check out Whatstherealcost.org

Cindy said...

great post with some sound suggestions. Thanks

corrin said...

My default "diet" is low carb, and I've had great success over the years loosing weight and keeping it off.

Some of my favorite meals are meatloaf with spinach and feta, pork chops topped with salsa and a dollop of cream cheese mixed with shredded cheese, a modified chicken ala king, and steak with an instant coffee rub!

I also found that low carb on a budget works best when I shop in bulk. I freeze meat and cheese in smaller portions.

Frugal Guy said...

I think I've fallen far behind on answering comments.

Thanks for adding your ideas and advice!