This morning I found this great description of “Atkins Flu” on the Livestrong.com website. Bob and I both suffered the first three days after lowering our carb intake.
The Atkins induction flu is a term used to describe the side effects sometimes experienced by Atkins dieters when they start restricting their carbohydrate intake to very low amounts. The symptoms of the Atkins induction flu include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, irritability and nausea.
There are two main causes of the side effects sometimes experienced when starting on a low-carb diet. The first is carbohydrate withdrawal. Most people are used to eating about 50 percent of their calories as carbohydrates, so drastically switching to a low-carb diet comprising less than 5 percent to 10 percent of the calories as carbohydrates is a big dietary change. If your body was used to running on carbohydrates, you might require some time to adjust. The second cause is dehydration. Low-carbohydrate diets tend to be diuretic and help you get rid of unwanted extra water in your body, but if you do not properly replenish the lost fluids and electrolytes, dehydration and the accompanying side effects can occur.
Atkins dieters can start experiencing induction flu symptoms in as little as 12 hours after cutting their carbohydrate intake. The symptoms usually disappear within four to five days, although they might last up to a week for some dieters.
If the symptoms of Atkins induction flu are caused by carbohydrate withdrawal, patience is your only strategy. If you let your body adjust to this new way of eating, you will soon feel like you have more energy. To eliminate the diuretic effect of the Atkins diet, ensure that you stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Taking 1/2 tsp. of salt, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce or 2 cups of broth a day also is recommended to replenish the lost electrolytes. Talk to your doctor about this recommendation if you have been told to limit your sodium intake.
“Wheat Belly” makes a very convincing argument against eating grains. As I’ve long suspected, the grains of this age are not the grains of old. They’ve been genetically modified to the point that they are no longer digestible. The grains our grandmothers used were far different than the short, high-yield, disease-resistant and Roundup-resistant plants grown now. Roundup-resistant alone is enough to scare me out of eating them.
“The Paleo Solution” talks about the original human diet . . . the diet we were meant to consume. In other words, back to basics folks.
Mealtime around here is no longer a hands-on, time-consuming affair. Whether it’s a pot of soup loaded with chicken and veggies or a roast that’s cooked in the oven for a couple of hours, then combined with fresh veggies and a salad, it’s quick. What it does require is planning. It takes all of two minutes to throw a roast in the oven and about the same time to put a chicken in a pot of water. We’ve discovered that low-carb eating is very satisfying and after almost three years, our weight has remained at a healthier level. What could be better than that?
In 2010 I lost 20 pounds by low-carbing and tracking my intake. I hadn’t recorded my meals since August 2010 and finally in January 2012, after a 6.5 pound weight increase following a cruise, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, I started looking at carb creep. I’ve recorded every spoonful for the last week, and voila, I’m down six pounds. That has been enlightening. Staying on track is easier when I record what I consume.
I’m a left-brained gal and love to keep spread sheets for about everything I do, including my budget, the mystifying Comcast bill, my lipid panel, and my diet. In looking back this morning I discovered something quite interesting. Take a look at the table below.
Type of Diet
(this last week)
I don’t need convincing that dropping carbs works. By watching my carb intake, the weight has stayed off for almost 21 months.
Thanks to my friend, Carol, for posting this graphic to Facebook. It succinctly breaks down the carb to fat-accumulation process. I appreciate Massive Health for creating it. The graphic is fuzzy at this size. Click on it to enlarge. When it opens in a new tab, click on it once again.
Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
Apple Bacon Sweet Potatoes
Spinach, Eggplant & Artichoke Stuffing
Jelled Cranberry/Orange/Blueberry Salad
Cheesecake Factory Sugar-free Cherry Cheesecake
Are you worried that high fat intake will raise your bad cholesterol? Seventeen years of test results are below. I am now a true believer that eating correctly – low-carb, moderate protein, high fat – impacts health in a positive way. You just can’t argue with success. My only wish is that I’d had my blood work done in May 2010 before I started Atkins. The yellow highlighted cells indicate results that are outside of the ideal range.
From March 2005 to January 2006 I tried statin drugs. I will never take them again. The muscle cramp side effects were horrendous.
I lost my husband to brain cancer in Oct. 2006. He was diagnosed 3 1/2 months earlier, after which my weight fell at an alarming rate because of stress. Interesting that my cholesterol levels five weeks later on Dec. 5, 2006 were pretty great. I much prefer low-carbing to stressed starvation, however, to positively affect my totals.
Bob and I are on the road again, right now at 34,000 feet. Before we took off a friend of mine called and suggested that I blog about what we eat while traveling.
For one thing we always pack string cheese, a mixture of nuts and a couple of apples. I keep a plastic knife in my carry-on for dividing the fruit, as they’re always more than one portion. I also keep a small supply of quart and gallon size baggies to use for anything we purchase and wash along the way. Beef jerky also travels well and provides protein, albeit most are cured with a little sugar.
For dinner last night, the choices near the hotel were very limited. We were in San Francisco in preparation for a flight to Beijing the next morning, the weather was a miserable 93º, and walking very far held little appeal. We found a Trader Joe’s where we bought a couple of apples and a bag of six boiled eggs. I always carry individual packages of salt and pepper, so this morning breakfast in our room was an easy option. As we were checking out of the hotel, I peered into the breakfast area where the choices were two kinds of cereal and waffles – a low-carber’s nightmare.
Today’s flight attendant served me salad with some great garlic full fat dressing, a small portion of tomato lentil soup, chicken with grilled veggies and rice, then a choice of cheese or ice cream sundae for dessert. The rice went back on the plate and I chose the wonderful selection of cheese that she offered afterward. I should also mention that Bob and I turned down the delightfully aromatic bread, hot from the oven. The four entrees offered all contained protein and so I made my choice by looking at the accompanying side dishes, much the same way as I do when dining in a restaurant.
As you travel, never let yourself get famished. It’s too easy to slip and fall if you do. Be prepared, just as if you were traveling with children. You certainly wouldn’t get on a long flight without snacks for them.
Finally, when you’re in a situation where dessert looks just too fabulous to pass, take a taste and then push it away. After all, there’s no thrill in swallowing. The first bite is always the best. Most of us just want to know what something tastes like. Happy traveling.
I suppose the number one question I'm asked is, "Aren't you worried about what a low-carb, high protein diet will do to your kidneys?" Most people think that "low-carb" means high protein. It does not. Atkins promotes low carbohydrates, moderate protein and high fat. Studies have shown that not only does low-carbing not damage your kidneys, it actually can reverse some damage already present, because the diet helps reduce blood pressure and brings your blood sugar back into normal ranges. High blood sugar will damage your kidneys. If you're one of the millions who are addicted to sugar, beware.
I don't consume much more protein than a lot of my friends, or more than I have most of my life. While raising my children, I always prepared a vegetable and a salad with our dinner meat (chicken, beef, pork or fish). We limited desserts to Sundays and didn't make sugary treats part of our daily food intake. I was never big on casseroles. Early on I had read that the same ingredient that makes sugar stick to cereal would make it stick to your kids' teeth, so that option was eliminated. The kids complained, but so what. We had eggs, oatmeal, some sugar-less dry cereal, Cream of Wheat, and whole milk. Not the same fare that today’s kids are offered. What amazes me are the photos I just saw posted of my classmates from 3rd-6th grade. There's not an overweight kid in the bunch. Take a look at your kids' class photos from this decade. Same bunch of lean children or chubby kids who consume hundreds of pounds of sugar per year? Today I still enjoy a salad and hamburger for lunch, sans the bun and ketchup . . . both of which are full of carbs and most likely high fructose corn syrup. I'm consuming fewer calories and none of the glucose created by all those carbs, which would raise my blood sugar out of normal range. If you're really concerned about wearing out your kidneys and pancreas, knock off the carb-laden food.
Ever look at an ingredient list on a packaged food and wonder why there are six different forms of sugar? Here’s an explanation.
Take a peek at the ingredient label on a box of “healthy whole grain” granola bars. The FDA requires that ingredients be listed in descending order of weight (from most to least). The first ingredient is oats, followed by rice flour, high maltose corn syrup, barley flakes, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, maltodextrin, canola oil, honey, glycerin (a sugar alcohol), palm kernel oil, tricalcium something or other and a long list of unpronounceable ingredients that no one would knowingly want to consume. There are six various forms of sugar listed. If the manufacturer were to combine all six and use only one sugar, guess what would rise to the top of the ingredient list? SUGAR!
The American public has begun to look at food labels and so manufacturers have doctored their products to fool us into thinking there’s not that much sugar within by splitting it up into various forms. When totaled, each bar contains 10 grams of sugar! That’s almost 2.5 teaspoons of sugar in each of the 1.4 ounce bars. I’m thinking they aren’t that “healthy”. How about you?
Buyer beware; it pays to read.
L -- Protein drink, string cheese
D -- Steamed cabbage w/sour cream, turkey burger wrapped in lettuce w/1/2 tomato, onion slices, 1/2 C sliced strawberries in 2 ounces of heavy cream
S -- String cheese
B -- 2 eggs, 1 oz Monterey jack
L -- Turkey burger in lettuce w/tomato and onion, dill pickle
D -- Chicken in cream sauce, asparagus, eggplant, blackberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, 1 1/2 c variety lettuce w/balsamic vinaigrette dressing
S -- leftover veggies
B -- 2 eggs, 1 oz Swiss cheese
L -- huge bowl of spinach, 1 can tuna, Parmesan, 3 T ranch dressing
D – Baked delicata squash, 2 chicken brats, green snap beans (a ton of them) w/fried onion and bacon pieces cooked in olive oil
S -- 1/2 orange
B -- Protein drink, 1 oz cheddar
L -- Huge spinach salad w/ 1 can tuna and 3 T ranch
D -- Celery and green chili dip, low-carb barbecue chicken (the recipe is on my site), spaghetti squash w/ feta cheese, spinach salad w/ ranch
S -- Parmesan crisps and cheddar crisps -- take 1/4 ounce of shredded cheese, mound on cookie sheet and broil until brown. Or place 1 oz of shredded cheddar in the shape of a bagel on a small plate. Nuke it for 1 minute and remove from the plate while it’s still warm. Yummo
L -- raw broccoli w/ ranch dressing, hamburger lettuce wrap, onion, tomato,
D -- (too full from late lunch) 4 oz cottage cheese, string cheese and a cup of strawberries
S -- Beef jerky from our friends in Idaho, shrimp
L -- romaine salad, 1 can tuna, ranch dressing
D -- arugula w/ dressing, bruschetta w/ tomato, cream cheese, olives, pastrami around pear slivers, raspberries, salmon, 2 tsp whipped potatoes (wedding fare)
S – Gouda cheese
L -- protein drink (painting day, too busy to eat)
D -- 1 oz cheddar, steamed mixed veggies with lemon butter, celery w/ cheese, cauliflower, cucumber slices, ranch dressing, tomato, romaine, chicken strips, zucchini in tomato sauce.
S -- raw broccoli and ranch dressing, 1/2 orange.
Plateaus are common. This may help you by seeing what our weight loss has been. I plateaued for 8 days and then had a couple of 4 day spells along the way.
Week 1 = -6
Week 2 = -1.5
Week 3 = +1
Week 4 = -5
Week 5 = 0
Week 6 = -2.5
Week 7 = -1
Week 8 = -1.5
TTL = –19
Week 1 = -6.5
Week 2 = -1
Week 3 = -1.5
Week 4 = -2.5
Week 5 = -1.5
Week 6 = -1
Week 7 = -1.5
Week 14 = –1.5
Good luck and let me know of your success. Happy eating!
Edit: I’ve had several friends try to improve on this way of eating. Low-carb/low calorie doesn’t work. Neither does low-carb/low-fat. If you follow the instructions I’ve outlined, you’ll most likely lose weight. If you try either of the two options above in this paragraph, your metabolism will slow down and you’ll stay where you are and just be miserable, lethargic and hungry. Don’t do it. The formula that works is low-carb, moderate protein, high fat. The highlights are above. Do yourself a favor and read Atkins new book.
I have several friends who are losing weight with this way of eating. Here’s a sampling.
“Okay - I’m excited – 11 pounds down this morning on the scale! What’s amazing was that yesterday was my first time at a Mexican restaurant since starting this. I got halibut tacos and ate the insides only with cabbage and a sauce that didn’t taste sweet, all of the guacamole and pico de gallo, and a few tastes of the black beans, with a white mild cheese sprinkled sparsely on them. YUMMO!!! I tasted the salsa dips with my fork and NOT ONE CHIP crossed my lips! ! ! That’s a first! Then I went home to help fix dinner for my guys. They had steak tacos plus my chips and salsa from lunch. I ate some of the steak, tomatoes, lettuce and a little of their guac and sour cream! ! ! What a delight to be DOWN that far this morning! ! ! In the past I would not lose after eating beef! ! !” (Edit: my guess it was the taco shells and rice and not the beef that stymied weight loss in the past.)
“I just had to share. . . exactly 8 pounds down this a.m.!!! I couldn’t be happier! Made a full batch of cauliflower style funeral potatoes yesterday and my family loved it! Thanks, Coach.”
“I ate NO junk at the baby shower today. It was hard to pick out something I could eat . . . veggies and dip, 4 pieces of legal fruit, little chicken and lettuce salad. Tanked up on good salad when I got home much later. Bought regular cottage cheese for the first time I can ever remember . . . wow did it taste great! Maybe I will survive this new way of eating!“
“I looked at more food labels today than ever after your coaching. . . the imitation crab at the store was in the freezer case . . . 13 crabs (I think she meant “carbs”) per serving! It had way too much junk in it so I bought cooked shrimp instead.“