1. Learn to love coconut.
When I first started out on this low carb journey I avoided coconut like the plague. Unless it was coated in chocolate, then I was in boots ‘n all. Now not a day goes by when coconut is not included in my diet in some form or other and mostly minus a sugary coating.
Why coconut? It is high in fat and low in carbs.
Keeping your fat consumption up is imperative if you want to survive the distance.
Fat helps you feel more gratified.
Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acid with far more health benefits than its evil cousins, vegetable and seed oils.
Coconut’s many guises; raw, flour, milk, cream, oil, desiccated, shredded, butter and flaked means it is versatile so lends itself to many recipes, sweet and savoury. Coconut sugar doesn’t make the list. Coconut sugar is made by boiling down the sap from the coconut flour and although is lower than sugar on the glycemic index it contains a similar amount of fructose and so has no place in a low carb diet.
The uses for coconut are only limited by your imagination but here are a few examples:
- Coconut milk yoghurt
- Use the flour in a coating for chicken nibbles, fish fillets, etc.
- Cook with the coconut oil, it imparts a lovely flavour and has a higher smoke point than olive oil.
- I use the butter, flour and shredded coconut in my protein balls.
2. Have an Avo every day
Avocados are also high in fat with about 2/3 of that being monounsaturated.
Monounsaturated fat is shown to contribute to lower risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol levels, and help with weight loss. What’s not to like here.
Pete eats a half an avo every morning smeared with vegemite. We add them to salads; make guacamole, avocado sauce and my favourite, avocado and feta cream which we have with our bacon on Sundays. I have recently started adding avocado to desserts such as chocolate mousse and chocolate fudge, which will be featured on the blog this week.
3. Use olive oil, extra virgin olive oil that is.
It is the most natural of oils; it doesn’t undergo any processes once it is pressed from the fruit and so it still contains a lot of the natural goodness of the fruit itself.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamin E.
Despite what you may have heard, as olive oil only contains 11% of the polyunsaturated fats which break down when exposed to heat it is fairly resistant to damage when used for cooking.
4. Listen to your body.
This is possibly the most difficult tip to follow. After the initial withdrawal, eating low carb should improve your wellbeing. We are all guilty of ignoring the warning signs our body sends out. If you feel, tired, grumpy, or lack energy you may be lacking in something. Heed the signs and make adjustments.
Make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables; in fact, most of your carbs should come from dark leafy veg or from veggies that grow above ground. They will help provide the essential nutrients you need.
One of the first problems we encountered was cramps. After asking Mr Googlet we found that perhaps we weren’t getting enough salt. Eliminating processed food from your diet also cuts out a lot of dietary salt. Pete has a 1/2 a chicken bouillon cube in hot water every morning now to compensate and I make sure I add salt to cooking. Vegemite is also a good source of salt, so become a “happy little vegemite”.
Being hungry could mean you are consuming too much fructose. Try sticking to low fructose fruit and watching for those hidden, added sugars.
5. Keep away from low carb snacks.
You know the ones you see in the health food aisle at the supermarket. They usually contain sugar alcohols such as maltitol which besides its possible links to cancer can cause stomach upsets, diarrhoea and excessive gas and flatulence. Farting is not something I am aiming to do more of.
In a low carb diet, these sugar alcohols can still cause sugar spikes in your system.
They can also play with your brain, giving you that sugar taste but not the hit and so setting you up for the dreaded sugar cravings.
Do you eat a low carb diet? What would be your top tip?