About a month after switching to lchf, ditching sugar and grains in particular, my A1C level went from 8.4 to 5.5.
It’s now one year since I went lchf—did I stick with it? What happened?
Still lchf—it’s not at all difficult to eat this way. Contrary to what “the authorities” claim, it IS sustainable. I’ve lost 35 pounds since I started (and maintained the 30-pound loss I’d already achieved with the low-fat diet). My blood sugar readings have stabilized—I rarely have a glucose reading above 100 and they’re typically in 80-90 range. I need to get my A1C level checked again—shooting to get that done within a week or so. But what’s really great is I’ve lost the additional 35 pounds without ever feeling hungry, without cravings, without that deep hunger that cannot be ignored (you know what I’m talking about!)
Other benefits: my psoriasis has cleared up, my osteoarthritis is vastly improved, no more edema, my HDL went up so high (and triglycerides so low) the test results indicated a negative risk factor for cardiovascular disease. No more brain fog and a lot more energy. LDL cholesterol particles are the big fluffy type. I try sweet things every once in a while but find them unpleasant—and watching people eat things I used to love, such as gelato or cake—doesn’t bother me. I don’t eat potatoes or high-starch vegetables or fruit except once in a while, I’ll indulge in fresh pineapple. I no longer miss bread, though I do miss sandwiches (I’m going to make some paleo bread this weekend, though without honey, to see if it’s worth the trouble).
I’ve learned to be very careful about ordering things such as hamburgers at restaurants—tried one at Sherwood Diner about a month ago and it made me quite ill (not to mention my blood sugar reading shot up)—I assume they use wheat-based filler in them since they menu did not claim they’re 100% beef. I miss pasta, so I have shirataki noodles instead (konjac), and it does the trick for me. I make my own tomato sauce because I can leave out the sugar (commercial tomato sauce has a shocking amount of sugar in it—make sure you check the label!)
I eat lots of eggs, macadamia nuts, walnuts, meat (except lamb, which I don’t care for), fish, cheese, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, low-starch vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus mostly), small amounts of berries (blueberries and strawberries mainly). I eat more tomatoes than I should—my biggest frequent indulgence. My total carb count averages less than 30 carbs per day. Right now, I try to be ketogenic. No corn oil, canola oil, or other nasty fake oils. I try to eat as clean as I can afford to—I would love to eat nothing but grass-fed meats but they’re really expensive, so I do the best I can.
Would this work for everyone? I don’t know—it’s working for me. When I lose the rest of the weight I want to lose, maybe I’ll add in some more carbs (more fruit, probably) if I want to, but I don’t feel an overwhelming need to do so. Or even a slight need to. I suspect it would be good for anyone with diabetes, autoimmune diseases, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or other chronic conditions to at least give it a month-long trial to see if it helps. Others have said the first week to ten days of switching to lchf makes them feel kind of ill, but I didn’t find this at all (maybe I was just lucky?) One or two weeks is not long enough to try it—give it at least one month, longer if you wean yourself instead of jumping in with both feet. I couldn’t believe how quickly I started feeling better when I switched—and I switched about two weeks after I’d had major surgery. Experiment with the right level of carbs—it’s different for everyone.
My current problem is most of my clothes are too big and I don’t want to replace them yet because, well, I’ll lose more weight. What a problem to have, huh?
What do I do to make this work? Well, I use FitDay to track what I eat, weigh, do, etc.—tracking and measuring my food and weight helps keep me on track. I follow Diet Doctor, Authority Nutrition, and a few other lchf/paleo sites (most of the ones here: http://www.dietdoctor.com/new and a few others). I track my blood sugar at least three times a day (fasting, before dinner and after dinner). I weigh myself every morning. I drink lots of water. I have bulletproof coffee every day (coffee with coconut oil and butter and heavy cream—my version) because I love it and it gives me good energy. I read Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes (excellent book) and recently read Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets by Jenny Ruhl (pretty good—the reality that it’s not an overnight miracle for weight loss for most people, especially for middle-aged, post-menopausal women!) and this site for diabetes information: Blood Sugar 101 (anything by the American Diabetes Association is bullshit).
It’s been an interesting year. And it feels good to be writing again.