Tag Archives: tea

A Post-Flu Report

So I’ve nearly kicked the flu to the curb and I finally feel up to writing again. I suppose it’s just as well that I’ve experienced this flu for you and the issues that come along with a low carb lifestyle, especially for those of you who have yet to get sick on LC.  In my previous post – excluding all the pre-scheduled quotes – I was trying to tackle the issue of what to eat while sick, and I’ll confess I didn’t do a great job of sticking to LC while I was down and out. I wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t great either.

Things I’ve discovered that worked for me:

Firstly, I upped my intake of water. Not tea, for some reason I just didn’t feel like tea, I just wanted water. Cool, refreshing water. I mainlined about 3liters a day. At night I made myself have a cup of fennel tea, just because it soothed my headache and my stomach.  Higher Living do a marvellous ‘Evening Tea’ that has a variety of different herbs in it ranging from lavender to peppermint, and it’s marvellously relaxing. Keep in mind that I was still working during the day – no staff meant I couldn’t leave my husband to run the Cafe alone, especially not over the weekend – though I did get to take Thursday off and spend it on the couch like I wrote about last week. I thought I had it beat then, I’d maintained my low weight despite the cheat day on Wednesday; but our power went out and didn’t come back on until Saturday. Now, I live in the Dandenong Ranges, it’s winter time and no power meant no heating. Friday night was awful, actually the coldest day we have had in a long, long time; and I remember thinking that your breath shouldn’t be fogging in the middle of your lounge room. I was wearing around five layers of clothes, and when I finally braved the icy bed I wore two. We had five blankets on the bed, plus a dog and two cats. And yet…still freezing!

Needless to say, that didn’t do my flu any good, and it was back in full force on Saturday. I spent every spare hour at home after work napping on the sofa, an absolute ball of miserable snot. I couldn’t focus on my lc, I just felt too awful, so I ate what came across the table – not that I was eating much, as something – I suspect it was the Olive Leaf Extract I’d taken in the morning – had set off my phantom gallbladder pain.

I ate around 900kj that day. Not good. I knew it wasn’t going to be good because the lack of kilojoules, my flu, and of course, the cold, were bound to have slowed my metabolism down considerably. So the next day I stuffed myself a little silly, and yes, I had a little bit of bread. My sweet spot for a comfortable kj deficit appears to be around 3500kj at the moment, and without trying I ended up around that mark. So, day post-900kj the scales read 63.3kg (just over a 2kg increase!); day after upping intake of food to ~3500kj, the scales weighed back in at 61.3kg. Much better.

In other words, what I’m trying to say is that while you’re sick, you’ve got to feel out what you can manage and don’t stress too much if you find you can’t manage to stick to your extreme low carb count: boost it up a little, you’ll bounce back!

Clear skies,
Vee

 

Low-Carb ‘Morning Sickness’

A couple of days ago I rolled out of bed, went through my morning routine and headed off to the Cafe. Nothing new, nothing different, except that about half way there a wave of unbelievable nausea hit me. No, I’m not pregnant; though, ironically, diet-change nausea is remarkably similar to morning sickness!

I’m sure some of you have experienced the nausea, the headaches, the dizziness – and not necessarily during the first weeks of carb flu hell. Don’t worry, this is a normal thing, though, if you’re doing things right you shouldn’t be experiencing it more than once in a while. If you’re experiencing constant or regular dizziness, nausea, or other symptoms you find worrying, see your GP. The reason why we experience these symptoms is – sardonic drum-roll, please – because of our blood sugar. So say you’ve had a great LC day, you’ve been exceptionally good and you’ve even managed to squeeze in some exercise time! Awesome. Now, make sure you have a snack before you go to bed, preferably something protein or slow-burning carby – like, say a bit of cheese, or some nuts.

“Why?” you ask.

Remember, you’ve been eating regularly ever two-three hours while you’re awake – theoretically, anyways – to keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar steady; you’re not doing that while you’re asleep. So say you sleep for 8-10 hours, that’s a long time for your newly programmed body to go without fuel, and sure, you’re not using as much fuel as you would when you’re awake, but still… What I’m getting at is that by the time you wake up your body’s out of fuel to burn up so you’re running on left over energy. This means your blood sugar’s going to drop drastically, so until eat you’re going to feel off. Sometimes it can just be that feeling you have normally when you first get out of bed – especially if you’re not a morning person! – but other times, if you’ve had a particularly low carb day the day before, you’ll feel the heavier symptoms of nausea and dizziness etc. This is exactly what women go through with morning sickness as their body’s adjust to their new physical needs. It’s normal, and it’s easy to fix.

“Okay, that’s interesting enough…but how do you fix it?”

Easy: eat something! Just don’t go nuts – er, crazy – eat something simple that your body’s not going to throw right back up. For me that usually means avoiding my usual breakfast foods of eggs and ham and avocado, so I’ll have half a tomato with some salt on it. I’ll wait half an hour after that, then have some more – the other half of the tomato with salt – and if that settles it I’ll try a proper breakfast. Due  to the fact that I no longer have a gallbladder I have to be extra careful, so you might find you can eat heavier foods to fix your ‘morning sickness’, it’s really a matter of trial and error. The things I would definitely avoid however are dairy products, they are just too fatty + carby for an instant fix. It you’re really not getting anywhere with light foods, try getting a whole-grain cracker – like 9 grain Vitawheats, for example – and munching on one of them. Check the box and count the carbs to see how many you can have to stay within your limit, for me that’s usually around 2-3, but I only ever eat them if I’m desperate for something that feels like a cookie.

The other thing I can advise is peppermint or spearmint tea. I use it pretty much as a cure all for headaches and nausea but not everyone likes the taste – especially not without honey or sugar. So if you’re really stuck, say you’ve got a meeting and you really need to be able to concentrate, get some sugar-free spearmint chewing gum and chew on two of those for a while; the menthol and spearmint flavouring should fix your nausea, but keep in mind that it does contain sorbitol – which is a sugar alcohol, something I’ll discuss in greater detail later.

Clear Skies,

Vee

Water, water everywhere…

You’ll undoubtedly have read somewhere that you’re meant to drink 8 large glasses of water to help with the weight loss. So today I’m going to be tackling a few questions that I kept asking myself because I’m sure I’m not the only one asking them.

Firstly then, a simple one: just how much is 8 glasses of water? Well, roughly speaking, in metric 8 glasses translates into 2 litres of water, give or take a little.  That’s the equivalent of roughly 67.5 fluid ounces, and half a gallon. In other words, it’s a lot of water, so don’t try to drink it all at once!

The second question that I keep wondering about is: does it have to be water? Can it be tea, coffee, soda water? The jury appears to be out on this one; the Atkins website says ‘yes, it does’, but a variety of other sites suggest that it doesn’t matter provided that you’re getting some pure water into your system. The trouble we get into, I think, is that a lot of our water intake is actually included in our food. Celery sticks, for example, half a high water count. There’s water in pretty much everything we eat, so it becomes tricky for someone to say: you must do this thing! Mind you, the 8 glasses a day is supposed to be in addition to whatever we’re getting from our food.  In my own experience, I don’t drink 8 glasses of water a day: but I do drink at least 2 glasses of pure water and substitute the rest with very large mugs of herbal tea. If I’m exercising, I do add in an extra couple of glasses of pure water. My rule of thumb is to use water to quench thirst and then drink tea mugs throughout the day, so far it’s been working just fine. Really, however, it’s up to you.

Okay, next question: why do we have to drink so much water a day to lose weight? Well, apart from the fact that the consumption of an appropriate amount of water a day is necessary for our wellbeing – regardless of whether we’re trying to lose weight or not – water helps move fat. In a nutshell, your kidneys need high amounts of water to be able to flush out your system. If you don’t keep them properly hydrated they’ll off load some of the work onto the liver, which is meant to be focussing on metabolising fat. Not only that, but all the fat that has been metabolised needs to be washed from the system, which your kidneys can’t do unless you’ve been drinking your water! Then there’s the other issues that crop up, especially when you’ve just started this new diet: constipation. Water keeps your bowels moving, stopping you from getting stopped up. And last, but not least, we often mistake thirst for hunger and act accordingly; next time you find yourself extremely hungry, have a glass of water first, not only will the water fill up part of your stomach, taking away that drastic urge to stuff your face with whatever’s on hand, but it’ll also fulfil any thirst requirement you’ve got.  Apart from those things, water does a whole heap of good things for our bodies; proper hydration means clearer, healthier skin, eyes, hair, nails, muscles, you name it, it’ll do it.

And finally, what is water weight and why do we have to be aware of it while we’re on any kind of diet? In lay terms, water weight is the weight of the excess water your body retains. This water tends to be stored in fat cells as part of your body’s reserves. Those first few weeks on the LC diet where we lost a ridiculous amount of weight? Yeah, that was primarily water weight. Think about when bread gets wet, it tends to expand, like a sponge, soaking up as much water as it can. That’s a natural process, but now we’ve gone and cut out the bread, and the pasta, and the flour, and the rice. In other words we’ve cut out a lot of the things that help our body retain water, so the first thing that’s going to come lose – because it’s most easily shed – is water weight. This is also one of the reasons why you might feel bloated if you’ve cheated on your diet and one of the reasons why the scales are saying you’ve regained x amount of kilos – it’s not just the actual weight, it’s also water weight.

There we go, I hope I’ve explored a few options to let you think about. If you’ve got any questions, send me an email via the Contact Vee page and I’ll see what I can do!

Clear Skies,
Vee

Websites & Articles to have a look at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24464774
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/11/20/3633741.htm
http://www.lowcarbluxury.com/water.html
http://www.phlaunt.com/lowcarb/19058097.php
http://www.atkinsexposed.org/atkins/14/losing_(water)_weight.htm

Crazy Cravings

Today we’re dealing with the delightful hurdle that is the ‘c’ word: CRAVINGS.

Remember, you’ve cut out what has up until now been a staple of your diet: your body is going to be missing it, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. I found that I was fine for the first month or two; very few cravings to speak of, weight running off me like nothing before, and no major stalling – even with Christmas and New Years in the mix. I found that I wasn’t tempted to try bits of the cakes and cookies I bake at the Cafe and all I had to do if I was remotely tempted was tell myself:

“You don’t need it. You’re doing great. Stay with it!”

That worked pretty great for a while, and then, I became a victim of ‘carb creep’.

Carb creep is what happens when you’re losing weight so well you start allowing yourself a little treat here and there, you’re no longer so strict with yourself because hey! You’re losing the weight so good, that extra bit of pumpkin isn’t going to hurt right? You can make it up tomorrow. Sure, you can make it up tomorrow, but remember, this isn’t just about weight loss and gain: this is also about keeping your bloodsugars level so you don’t start feeling dizzy or sick again. We’ve got it tough, us LC-ers: we’re trying to regulate our insulin levels right along with our weight. I know some of us aren’t doing that consciously, but that is one of the great side effects of a LC diet – the level blood sugar I mean – it’s better for your health and ups your metabolism, which is what we’re after here.

The problem when you start to sneak in those extra treats is that you’re allowing your blood sugar that extra spike, whether it’s a sharp spike or a gentle one doesn’t matter: you’ve upset the steady rhythm you’ve been working on so hard over the last couple of months: you’re body’s gone “Oh! Carbs I remember these, I like these!” and has tried to revert to form. When you then don’t have those extra treats again the next day: wham! Cravings. Which is fine if you’re ready to be strong the next day and not give into the cravings.

Now, ladies, you in particular will know what I’m talking about when I talk about hormonal cravings, but this counts for the guys as well! While we’re busy not stuffing our faces with whatever comes across our path, our bodies are still going through their natural hormonal cycles which change our appetites. Women often experience severe cravings for carb foods during their monthly bleeds, and it’s really up to you whether you want to give into those cravings or fight them. 99% of the time, I ignore them as best as I can, occasionally treating myself to a piece of 80% dark chocolate – I’m afraid milk chocolate really is off the menu, people, sorry – and run through the mantra again:

“You don’t need it. You’re doing great. Stay with it! You’re doing so well!”

There are some days, however, that you have to write off for whatever reason. You’re only human, if you’re having the worse day in history and you just can’t fight anymore just give in. It’s okay, tomorrow’s another day. Whatever you do don’t let days like that become a regular occurrence: once in a while it’s okay to give in, but you can’t just let your cravings rule you, you’re stronger than that. Make up your own mantra, go for a run/swim/walk, dance around the house, look at yourself in the mirror and see how great you’re looking, play a video game that requires both hands, eat a handful of almonds or walnuts, knit, do whatever you have to do to not give into those cravings!

My favourite way of not giving into cravings is by giving into my newest vice, one I’m quite proud of, does me no harm and keeps my mouth and hands occupied – I’d really love to say sex, but I’d be joking, though hey, also a good option if your partner’s willing! – which is herbal teas.

Yup, herbal teas. Lots and lots of herbal teas. I must have increased my stash of teas by 300%. My preferences at the moment are peppermint, ginger, rooibos, hibiscus, spearmint, and fennel teas. I’ve been lucky enough to find a brand called Higher Living of teas that do beautiful blends. So when I start craving something I pop the kettle on and go through the variety of tea that I’ve got and pick what I think might be best suited combat that current craving. Not only does the tea keep me from eating something I shouldn’t, but it also helps me get through my water allotment for the day as I drink large mugs of the stuff. It is not unheard of for me to drink ten mugs of tea a day, sometimes more depending on the type of day. If the craving is strong enough, especially for sweets, I’ll do a green tea or a green mate: while the caffeine in both of these may spike my bloodsugar a little bit, it also stops me from wanting the sugar.

I highly recommend you find something similar, develop a harmless vice that you can safely allow yourself to become addicted to so you can keep yourself out of trouble. Whatever you choose, if it’s something you’re drinking or eating, just double check if it’s got any hidden carbs in it, and avoid too much caffeine if you can help it at all.

Clear skies,

Vee