The low carb and Atkins diet has been promoted so much that most people are aware of it or are practicing it. The low carb craze is making people aware of reducing consumption of white flour products, but they should also be aware that they follow the Atkins diet plan or other low carb diets properly.
Dangers of Atkins
Sometimes I wonder if people are using the Atkins diet as an excuse to continue eating a heavy meat diet high in saturated fat. A quick search on the internet brought up many websites listing the dangers of Atkins. Increased consumption of animal products combined with decreased consumption of fresh produce have a powerful effect on increasing the risk of various kinds of cancer according to a website by Dr. Fuhrman.
Dr. David Norwood’s website says Atkins diet increases the risk of heart disease, kidney problems and the excessive protein may leach calcium from the bones, leading to osteoporosis.
However, those who do the Atkins diet stress the importance of using supplements and eating greens to avoid risks.
As I’m not a meat eater, I decided to try another way to eat healthy, lose weight and feel good.
It’s a combination of eating healthy carbs – lean proteins and raw foods, consuming healthy fats, using herbs to spice up your food and stimulate weight loss when necessary, detoxing your body, drinking plenty of water and exercise.
You might have heard about the South Beach diet – it focuses on reducing unhealthy carbs and eating healthy carbs. I have been following this to some extent since the beginning of March and have lost 14 pounds.
Five Points to Remember
When following a healthy eating plan, it’s important to remember five things that will really help – cut back drastically on white flour products, reduce or give up sugar in all its forms (so no juices or soda pop), eat small amounts every three hours, consume healthy fats and include protein in every meal. I should state I’m no purist. I’ve been less restrictive with this eating plan on weekends and have been known to give in to chocolate cravings about once a month. But I just call 1-800-chocolate and I’m good for another month.
On the South Beach diet, it has three phases for eating. The first phase is the most drastic but it purportedly stimulates the pancreas to burn fat faster. In this phase, you give up all carbs like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. Plus you give up all fruit and don’t drink any fruit juice. I followed this for four days but had to eat fruit by the fifth day – my half grapefruit and apple. The first phase is meant to be followed for 1 – 2 weeks. I should mention there is a nifty little book you can get that lists the foods to eat and avoid. It’s called The South Beach Diet – Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide.
I have used this in my eating plan and it’s been quite helpful. The second phase of South Beach encourages the use of healthy carbs (whole grain breads, etc) and the third phase is the maintenance phase.
One thing I’d like to mention is raw food – it’s so important for good health. I eat raw food 4-5 times a day, usually 2-3 fruits, a salad or raw veggies on bread or in a wrap. You can buy so much prepared raw food now, it’s easy to keep it handy to consume. I make sure my fridge is stocked so I can always grab something. You’ll never feel guilty about pigging out on a bag of snow peas. Fill up on the raw food and use good fats and a small amount of nuts and seeds.
Good fats are from fish oils, flax seed, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, grapeseed oil and olive oil, which you can also consume as a supplement. These essential fatty acids (EFA) are good for your health in many ways, help your skin look great and help keep you satisfied so you are less likely to give in to cravings. Make your own salad dressings to consume more of these healthy fats. Here is a simple dressing; Use ½ cup oil such as grapeseed or olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp dill, 1 tsp dry mustard and 1 tsp. powdered onion. Shake well and let flavors blend before putting on salad.
By now you might be thinking; fish, raw food, beans – boring. Well, you can eat lean chicken or other lean meat instead of fish. But I want to mention a way to make your food more interesting. I use herbal pastes I make by blending an oil such as olive or grapeseed with a herb in a blender or food grinder. I have used garlic and fresh ginger combined with grapeseed and olive oil. For the garlic, I cut up about 5-6 cloves and put them in a food processor with enough olive oil to cover – about ¼ to ½ cup. Finely process then pour into ice cube trays. When hard, pop them out of the trays and keep in a freezer bag ready for use.
Some uses include rubbing the thawed herbal paste onto fish or making a marinade of the garlic and some apple cider vinegar and soy sauce for steak. Use also in soup, sauce, salad dressings and for cooking veggies.
Detoxing and Cleansing
Consuming green foods is important for balancing the ph levels in our bodies, stimulating our immune systems and keeping us healthy. Consume green foods by eating more raw foods. You can also consume green foods in a drink – I drink 1 tsp. or more of chlorophyll in water every day. By consuming green foods or going on a detox (spring is an excellent time) you help your body get rid of toxins and you may also lose weight in the process.
Good luck with your healthy eating plan this spring. Whatever program you follow, make sure you’re not neglecting your health.