Carbs, Starches, & Grains Denial

Here is an update after almost 2 months of cutting out the above mentioned nutrients (?) as I attempted to keep my insulin response under control (remember, no diabetes here) and push my fat cells to deplete their supply. First the hard part, bread and potatoes were sorely missed by my brain. My family continues to shake their collective heads that one can go without eating any type of grain, refuses dishes made with flour, laughs in the face of fresh sourdough (sigh), or can sit and watch them eat fresh cut french fries from In-N-Out Burger. That leads me to the other hard part, eating so radically different from those around me. I am not low-carbing, or doing Atkins, or eating primal (still enjoy some dairy), so folks find it hard to pigeon-hole my plan. Plus, I still count calories since I don’t care how much fat I eat and want my body to chew up its own fat stores, not live off of what I ingest.

Now the easy part. Eating this way is easy. I am never hungry. Variety is limited only by my lack of originality in cooking. Eating out is easy since most restaurants will happily leave off side dishes even if they won’t substitute fruit for potatoes or give me an extra side of veggies. Besides, we rarely eat out except for breakfast and eggs are so on my plan.

So what am I eating and how much of what? Looking back at the last month, my carb intake per day has ranged from 9 grams to 87 grams with an average of 55 grams/day. The highest day came from an intended splurge of a mocha coffee. So much for no sugars, huh? That was my only refined sugar source the entire month. Protein mainly comes from lean sources such as fish and roasted chicken breasts and eggs, although I do eat more red meat now than I did last year when I had this strange aversion to meat sources from animals with eyelashes. The can of whey protein sits languishing in the pantry for a desperation snack when I am too lazy to eat real food and need some calories. I eat no more than 2-3 servings of fruit per day – always berries except for the occasional fresh pineapple. Eggs – I love eggs! I always keep a few hard boiled ones hanging around, again so I know there is acceptable food available. But, I prefer my eggs freshly cooked and usually with some Canadian bacon and maybe a touch of Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese and mild green chiles and whatever else I can throw in to spice ’em up. Raw almonds and walnuts are other acceptable food sources as long as I measure them out. Salads, you bet – with oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. One food I have to be careful with is Greek yogurt. I buy non-fat Fage and add my own berries, but sometimes it reminds me too much of ice cream. Plus, the whole question of dairy in one’s diet is still bouncing around in my head. Although, I refuse to give up my 2 tablespoons of half-n-half with my morning coffee and the occasional bit of cheese. Veggies, I need more veggies – working on that.

Exercise… I am still on the very, very slow track of walking because of my statin-induced myopathy. Enough said or I just will start whining.

Supplements: Because of my damn myopathy and overall attempt to lower inflammation (which is unrelated to the myopathy), I am now taking Vitamin D3 5,000 mg/day, fish oil 3 gm/day, L-acetyl carnitine 500 mg/day, some multi-vitamin with a bunch of stuff in it (helpful, right?), and CoEnymeQ10 300mg/day.

I’ll end here with a fun side-effect of CoQ10 that few people experience – photosensitivity. I never, ever sunburn. But in Hawaii after 2 hours in the sun I developed a blistering burn on my chest that lasted for 3 weeks and a lovely spotted reaction on my arms and legs (where the skin wasn’t so virginal).

Oh, yeah – I lost 10 pounds.


CoQ10 Photosensitivy Reaction


5 thoughts on “Carbs, Starches, & Grains Denial

  1. Very interesting about the eating plan you’ve been following. Do you find it difficult to exercise hard without ingesting many carbs? This is something that’s always affected me.

    Also, I have trouble not getting a little sugar or carb during the day because it seems to make my brain foggy. I can’t be foggy. Although it doesn’t have a proper citation, I’m guessing it’s true. This article states the brain uses up to ten times the oxygen and glycogen as the entire rest of the body while working (mental work, not physical work). Incredible. Here’s the article:

  2. Thanks for the link, Michele. The brain is such an amazing organ. Glucose and ketone bodies are the sources of brain fuel. Carbohydrates, however, are not an essential human nutrient. We can make glucose from amino acids (which are essential) and fats (essential) and, um, other stuff – please don’t make me go back any farther in biochemistry. (I hated biochemistry because it was just taught without application, and now realize how important it is to understand nutrition.) Ketones only get utilized in carb starvation mode, which I haven’t been in given my partner doesn’t complain about “ketone breath” 🙂

    Regarding exercise, I haven’t been able to exercise much because of muscle damage from a statin medication. The more I use my non-damaged muscles, the more fatigued they get. I am slowly getting better, which is wonderful given that 60%+ of people with this type of nasty side effect have permanent muscle damage. I can say that in the past when I tried Atkins and was definitely in ketosis, I had no problems exercising a lot.

    I doubt that my diet will be sugar, starch & grain free forever, but for the next 46 pounds, yes – except when I choose not to.

  3. Very interesting, Jan. I sometimes think it would be easier for me to just cut out grain products than to eat them moderately. My issue and reasons are different than yours – I find that grains are what I tend to overeat and crave.

    • You might be craving grains because they are carbs; carbs cause an insulin response; insulin causes hunger. As with all things in nutrition, one size does not fit all. Some of us are more sensitive to the effects of insulin on hunger and also on the impact of carbs on fat storage. I know that I am one of those people who respond all too well to insulin by getting hungrier and making my fat cells store more crap.

      I can’t encourage you enough to read Barbra Berkeley’s web site Refuse to Regain and her book “Refuse to Regain!: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You’ve Earned!” It isn’t just about maintenance but also about eating to get there. And, I know I keep beating the Gary Taubes’ drum, but he really does back up his statements about why carbs, starches, grains are not so good for many of us in his book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”. It is full of easily digestible science and history of American nutrition gone bad and good.

  4. Great information Jan. Thanks for your comments on my post today I will take any input and advice. I do understand that fats are okay even good in some instances. This week I just want to concentrate on the low fat proteins so my body will adjust to the no carb and not sugars. I am not looking forward to the first couple of days but I am going to do my best to grin and bare it. 🙂 I guess my biggest concern will be the loss of energy I need to work out but this portion is only for 1 week then I will start to add in some vegetable and a little fruit. It is great to see this working out so well for you it gives me hope.

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