Low Carb Enlightenment

A week before Thanksgiving I saw Dr. Marlene Merritt. I was feeling pretty crappy. Low on energy. A bit of weight gain. Weird dizzy spells. Ugly PMS. It’d been going on for a while and I kept telling myself I needed to eat better, exercise more and change my outlook. But there was no motivation. It was really depressing knowing what I needed to do but not having the kick-in-the-pants to do it.

Then I talked to a friend from work who had similar symptoms and turned it around after seeing Dr. Merritt and so I figured I’d give it a try. I really didn’t have a clear idea of what would happen, only that I needed SOMETHING. Dr. Merritt is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an acupuncturist and a nutritionist. The first visit was overwhelming. We spent a good 2 hours talking about how I felt and why. She explained the relationship between a diet based on carbohydrate abundance, blood sugar and insulin imbalance, and how that way of eating was making me feel unwell, and could in the not so long term, cause diabetes. In a nutshell, I eat way too many carbs, I eat sporadically and sometimes go way too long without refueling, I don’t drink enough water and I don’t take a whole food supplement. This was causing a terrible cycle of insulin surges and crashes and wrecking havoc on my system. She challenged me to eat differently for 7 days. Eat every 2-3 hours. Every meal has a veggie, a protein and a fat. No more than 60g of carbs a day. And take a whole food supplement (Standard Process Catalyn). Then she did acupuncture and massage.

Aside from totally falling off the wagon over Thanksgiving, I’ve been about as loyal to this diet as I can be. Has it changed my life? For sure. I actually wake up in the morning and have the energy and desire to get out of bed and start the day! I’m no longer crabby and tired in the afternoon. And this bizarre symptom of dizziness has totally vanished. My head feels clear, I’ve lost a few pounds and I feel like I’m finding myself again. There are certainly moments when I want to jump into a bowl of chinese noodles, but on the whole I’m surprised how easy it has been to eliminate most carbs from my diet. What was even more shocking was how utterly retched I felt when I ate carbs and sugar over Thanksgiving. Since then, I’ve been able to splurge in moderation and keep it within my 60g a day goal.

Short-term Thanksgiving Carb Bliss

I’m probably a little nuts for starting this life change over the holidays, but I’ve managed to find some awesome recipes that are really satisfying, including this one from weelicious, as featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Whether you’re trying to curb your carbs or not, this one is a winner! It’s about as easy as it gets and it’s totally scrumptious.

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes (makes 8 individual ramekins, or you can also make one big pie)

* 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened (soften on a plate for 20 seconds in the microwave)
* 1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree
* 2 Eggs
* 1 Tsp Cinnamon
* 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
* 1/2 Cup Agave or Honey (you can either sub no-carb Stevia or reduce the real deal for a lower-carb delight)
* Accompaniments: Crushed Gingersnap Cookies or Graham Crackers, whipped cream or ice cream (I made a very low-sugar whipped cream that was divine!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a mixer or in a bowl with beaters, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth.
3. Add the pumpkin and mix until smooth and combined.
4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
5. Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
6. Pour into 8 ramekins and fill 3/4 full. (I didn’t have ramekins, so I just used a pie dish and it was still great!)
7. Bake for 25 minutes.
8. Cool and serve.

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2 Responses to Low Carb Enlightenment

  1. LauraC says:

    OH MY GOSH!
    The weird dizzy spells… that is me! And sluggish and no energy.

    Sorry I didn’t understand the low carb thing when we were there, I thought it was someone else doing Atkins. I’m scarred by my MIL and SIL who are always on crazy diets.

    I may have to try this after next week.

  2. Kristen says:

    This is pretty similar to the gestational diabetes diet I had to follow when I was pregnant with the boys! I am on it again with this pregnancy but it is my sugars are WAY more under control so I have a bit more flexibility. Generally, I can say…once you get the hang of it…it feels awesome! You are never hungry and never cranky from sugar high. I only wish that I had the kind of self control to stick with it after I don’t “have” to… 🙂

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