What We Do and Why

When we started on our journey, both the BF and I had gone through various diets / lifestyle choices.  We had both been vegetarians.  I had been vegan for a short time.  And, yet, we were both feeling that our food choices were not working for us.  I had high triglycerides and was quite over weight.  He had cholesterol issues and was over weight.  We were both tired and our bodies were letting us know that we were doing something wrong.

However, it wasn't until a friend of the BF went on a low carb diet that I even considered it.  I was sorting out what changes we had to make.  Reading and reading and trying so hard to make sense of all the data.   Finally, I decided that South Beach was the way to go.  Pyker at the same time, had posted up that low carb was working for him.  So, the BF agreed to do South Beach with me. And, I think it was a great starting point.

So, for the first two weeks we ate no sugar.  No sweets.  Minimal carbohydrates (under 20 per day).  No rice, pasta, potatoes --- all my favorite food groups.  And, it was TOUGH!  But, we stuck to it... and I kept researching.   I knew I couldn't cook and count and all the crap that South Beach wanted for a long term solution.  Then the BF found a few primal sites - and I have to say it is the path for us.  My triglycerides are normal and the weight is going down (20 pound since we started and still losing).  The BF has better HDL and LDL levels and his weight is significantly lower (by 50 pounds! good job hon!).   And, we both have more energy and no more peaks and valleys over the course of the day.  No sugar rushes and crashes.  It is WONDERFUL!

That being said.... here is a overview on what we eat or don't eat.  It is a version of Paleo/Primal/low carb and is based on what works for us with regards to food.

  • Grass fed and finished whenever possible.  This is better for you, the animal and the planet. benefits of grass fed 
  • We try to eat all parts of the animal.  Although we have only gotten up to liver at the moment. 
  • Buying meat from sustainable and ethical farmers - part of the whole grass fed/finished
  • Low carb / low GI vegetables - the Nutrition facts website has a fairly extensive data base on foods and the nutritional value. Including glycemic load, carb counts, vitamins and minerals.  While it doesn't do a good job on meat - since grass fed has different fat and Omega 3/6 ratios.  It is pretty good for just basic reference.
  • Organic and/or locally grown - locally grown vegetables are picked later in their life cycle.  This provides better nutrients and tastes so much better. If you can get both organic and locally grown this is the ideal. Both yummier and better for the environment and you.  If you look at whats on my food site you can see what foods and the various pesticides.  The damages of these pesticides on the human body.  Did you know that kids with a "above average" exposure to pesticides are twice as likely to have ADHD? 
  • no starchy veg - like potatoes. Although I have the occasional sweet potato
  • occasionally.  usually as a dessert with some home made whip cream 
  • organic / local / in season - So in winter we tend not to eat any fruits - since they aren't in season for IL
Processed foods
  • none.  I do not buy hamburger patties or fish sticks or anything that is prepackaged.  
  • since most process food has sugar, chemicals, and weird random stuff added to it that does not need to be in food. Also, processed food supports large argi-business who do not care about the "product" but about making money.  Do you really want to trust a company to provide you with good food that is good for you?     
  • I do have a few exceptions - such as Italian sausage from a local provider who I know does not use filler or CAFO meat.  Paulina - while it is not grass fed - it is not factory farmed. And, yes I did ask once we started finding out more information and going paleo/primal.  I think most meat markets are happy to have customers who are informed and interested.  Since we are losing these direct markets to grocery store chains where you have no idea where the food comes from and how it was raised.  This isn't just meat - it is everything in the grocery store.  Have you ever stopped to think where that tomato comes from in the middle of January in Chicago?   
Rice / Wheat / Corn / Grains
  • hardly ever.  I would love to say never - but well, I eat pizza with crust perhaps once in 6 months or so.  And, sometimes some rice with curry.  The BF is much, much better than I am at not eating grains. And, yes, corn is a grain not a vegetable.
  • Mark's Daily Apple has a great definitive on grains.  So, I won't repeat too much of it here and let you read it for yourself.
    • high GI - which basically means that it turns into sugar quickly and then gets stored as fat just as fast.  If you are diabetic, grains will spike up your blood sugar. This study found that going on a low-carb diet will help control your diabetes. 
    • most breads / white wheat flour is bleached using either benzoyl peroxide (the active ingredient in acne cremes and hair dyes) or chlorine dioxide, a potent poison also used to bleach paper products and textiles
    • the rise in Celiac Disease, which according to the NIH now impacts 3 million people, is probably due to the changes in wheat/grains being produced
    • negatively impacts gut barrier functionality - read up on leaky gut
Oils / Fats
  • we eat and cook with butter/ghee
  • we cook with lard and fat (saved off bacon grease, chicken fat, etc)
  • we do not cook with most vegetable oils because vegetable oils when heated change characteristics and become unhealthy.  A study in 2001 found that "polyunsaturated oils like soya, canola, sunflower, and corn oil degrade easily to toxic compounds when heated. Prolonged consumption of burnt oils led to atherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease, and development of birth defects".
  • our exceptions to vegetable oils are: palm and coconut. Both oils are minimally processed, have the ability to withstand high heat and most importantly have a good omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.  So, if you are frying or cooking something that needs oils palm and coconut are great choices.  However, both palm and coconut oils have a distinctive taste and sometimes that will not work with a item on the menu. So mostly we use butter for cooking and I prefer to deep fry with lard. However, we do not deep fry often - perhaps once in two months or less.  Mostly, because it's so much work!  :)  Unlike using vegetable oils - deep frying with lard or coconut/palm oil takes planning.  You have to wait until the fat melts, then heats to a good temp and then you need to clean up all the mess. I think this is one reason that deep frying of food use to be only on special occasionally.  Unfortunately the easy accessibility of food has changed what use to be a work intensive process.  Have you ever made potato chips? It takes ages - even with a food processor.  I've done it all of once, which makes it a special treat.  Lard, coconut, palm - all are quite expensive when used for deep frying - and so it's another reason not to do it too often.
  • Mark's Daily Apple definitive on oils
  • Another good listing on vegetable oils - and the omega 3:6 ratios
Here is some studies showing that paleo/primal eating styles work... if our experiences aren't good enough for you. *grin*
 I will slowly update this as we go along the path of good eating. 

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