Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Losing weight with slow carb living

I've been slow-carbing my breakfasts and most of my lunches and many of my dinners for a few months now, and Droptober has come and gone. The burning question is . . . how much weight have I lost?

Well, perhaps a few grams.

It isn't the fault of the Slow-Carb Diet
I have not attempted the Slow-Carb Diet as prescribed by the mighty Tim, so I am not in any way blaming his methodology, his research, his recommendations, nada. What I set out to do was make some dietary changes rather than going on a diet, so that once I lost the 2.8 kg I could easily maintain it. Slow-carb is a way for me to learn some new habits and become accustomed to eating a smaller daily calorie load. So, my ambitions with regards to the diet were always small.

Giving up grains
And I have found it easy to give up grains. A relief, actually. I stopped eating risotto ages ago, much to my husband's disappointment. He makes a great risotto. In the 90s (senior's nostalgia moment coming up), he used to make it once a week. Our favourite risottos?
  • feta and carrot or spinach
  • sashima tuna and green beans
  • with gravlax and a grilled pepper salad
  • with Not Bacon and peas
We always ate it with a roast tomato salad or green salad and bread with oil and balsamic. White bread and white rice in the same meal. Aaah, the 90s.

But while I would happily never have another mouthful of rice or quinoa, pasta and bread are different stories.

Everyday slow-carb
The social dimension of eating influences our decisions in so many ways. If I was to insist on eating slow-carb at every dinner, I would be cooking for myself much more often (instead of enjoying my husband's beautiful meals) at great inconvenience to the family. So it means pasta once or twice a week. It's always fresh, flavourful, full of vegies, accompanied by a big green salad (no baguette no more). I portion-control and eat most of the salad, but I'm still breaking rule #1: avoid 'white' carbohydrates'.

Pasta is also a useful stand-by when eating out. I don't eat red meat, and sometimes choices are limited. On Tuesday last week I had an exquisite seafood pasta at Pendolino. On Wednesday I had a gluggy, creamy bowl of starchy mushroom pasta at Cafe Sopra. Under the circumstances they were my best options.

Limitations of the Slow-Carb Diet (for me)
Tim admits that 'meat isn't necessary, but it does make the job easier'. I have found that it is difficult to come up tasty, nutritious ideas for meal after meal with eggs and tempeh as my principal sources of protein. And that is the weakness of all these low-carb approaches to weight loss: they suck for vegetarians. Not that I'm a full-blown vegetarian any more as I eat fish and chicken every week, but I don't eat them every day and I don't want to.

I try to be guided by my values (don't always succeed, of course) and one of my values is not to eat meat. I won't go into the complex reasons why now, but for me the ethics of what I eat is as germane to my choices as the nutrient profile.

Of course, some diets are totally plant-based and not the least concerned with animal welfare or environmental destruction. That's the Esslestyn no-meat/no-oil/no-dairy approach. Tim provides a thoughtful rebuttal to this approach on his website that I have thoughtfully linked for you. I find this a fascinating response to our malaise around food and eating (check out the healthy librarian for an devotee's perspective), but what I dislike about it is that it is plant-based but not vegan. It's not about animals but cholesterol and heart attacks. Obdurately anthropocentric.

This is not a rant
Time to sign off because I'm getting earnest. More on all this anon. Perhaps the conclusion I'm grasping towards is that in some crucial respects I can't slow-carb in a purist sense because of my values. And so I have to find other ways to lose more than a few grams.

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