Success at following a low carbohydrates life style comes most readily with a few cautionary suggestions.
Foods to Enjoy
Your choice of foods is always the first place to start. Which low carb foods do you most prefer - eggs, meat, cheese, shellfish? You can eat them to your heart's delight. Even if it means spending a little more money (the money you are saving by avoiding processed foods, fast food, snacks, and ultimately higher medical bills), buy a higher quality than you ate before.
Reach for the tastiest organic cheeses, seek out the pasture-raised chicken, beef, and lamb, and look for the organic, hormone-free pork. Pay an extra dollar or two for eggs from free-range chicken. Buy the larger avocados and the tastier olives. Buy a large bag of organic nuts and make them into Crispy Nuts. These foods are all more tasty, higher health quality, and easier on the planet.
Drink plenty of water or tea and add salt to your food to taste.
Vital Supplements to Consider
- Probiotics. Everyone can benefit from some daily probiotics, and from a variety of probiotics over time. They support overall health and particularly the health of your digestion as you make a switch in foods.
- Food sources that are also low-carb include kombucha and lacto-fermented sauerkraut.
- Supplements can be really helpful.
- #1 Choice for ease and effectiveness: Integrative Therapeutics Probiotic Pearls. Tiny blister packs slip easily into pockets and the tiny pearls themselves go down easily, even without water, and particularly for people not comfortable taking pills.
- If you have taken antibiotics at all in the last five years, consider adding a synbiotic such as Bio-Immersion Original Synbiotic Formula.
- L-Glutamine by Metabolic Maintenance is helpful in two ways. L-glutamine is a wonderful alternate “fuel” for the brain which is shifting from glucose (carbohydrate) to ketone (fat-burning) but not quite there. Additionally, any gastrointestinal inflammation from a prior diet of carbohydrates or current discomfort from a dietary change are both relieved by doses of l-glutamine ranging from 500 to 10,000 mg. daily.
- Magnesium levels are generally low and evidenced by constipation. If you have any tendency toward constipation, supplement with Thorne Research Magnesium Citrate, 2-4 capsules daily.
- Digestive enzymes are sometimes needed such as Thorne Research Dipan-9 if your abdomen complains with the added protein and fat load as it remembers how to digest these foods. Add in Betaine HCL if it seems your stomach is still slow to do its work.
Exercise is not essential, but how you exercise does matter. If exercise is part of your life, you can choose fat burning rather than fat storing exercise. Exercise does not work by burning off calories - if you don't replace them, you are trying to lose weight by eating less than you need, which is a hopeless treadmill going nowhere.
So you don't go for a higher number of “calories burned” on your treadmill readout, but rather you go for a metabolic burn by exercising in an interval fashion.
Slow steady “aerobic” exercise may burn fat, but your body seeks homeostasis, so it will replace burned fat with more fat. Interval exercise burns energy stored in muscle, and your body will burn fat to replace that muscle-stored energy.
Choose intervals. Alternate bursts of 20-60 seconds of all-out exertion with 10-90 seconds of rest or gentle motion. Repeat up to 8 times. Rest 5 minutes and repeat the whole set if you choose.
Think safety. When you choose an all-out activity, consider your level of fitness and the safety of any equipment involved. Treadmills work only if you have the expertise to hoist yourself off at the end of the interval. Running only works if your legs and feet are already in running shape. Safer options include pushups (men's or women's style), sit-ups, and sprinting up a set of stairs.
Sleep is essential in any healthy lifestyle. An optimal amount of sleep for a healthy metabolism is probably 7-8 hours a night, with some individual variation.