Week 1 Diet Missteps, Learnings, and Recipes

I’m one week into my plan for finding my optimal diet and I’ve already had some good insights about what does and doesn’t work for me:

  1. A larger breakfast works better for me than a large dinner. Dinner for us tends to be late because we usually work late and/or I try to get a workout session in when I get home. That means dinner is typically 8pm or later. As I noted in my previous post about sleep, a big meal in the evenings can inhibit sleep because it spikes insulin and causes a cortisol response. Additionally, since I eat a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet and fat and protein take longer to digest, eating a big LCHF meal that late in the evening is more likely to cause indigestion because a sleep position isn’t ideal for proper digestion.
  2. Sugar hides in unlikely places. As part of the Two Week test I am trying to avoid foods with added sugar. It wasn’t until I after I snacked on some of my favorite jerky that I realized I just took in 38g of sugar! No Bueno… Time to look into out some other jerky brands.
  3. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Some friends generously hosted us for dinner this week so as good guests we brought over wine and dessert. For the most part I stuck to my diet plan by opting for salad over pasta and only having one glass of wine. However, tried as I might, I gave in to a piece of banana crème pie from Whole Foods. Normally at the point of losing willpower and succumbing to peer pressure I would throw in the towel and just go for a second piece…and probably a third. But I didn’t this time! So instead of considering the night a dietary failure, I’m considering it a big success.
  4. Reducing coffee consumption is hard! I love coffee and it is as much of a habitual thing for me as caffeine addiction. I can satisfy the habitual craving with decaf but I don’t trust the chemical (methylene chloride) decaffeination process that most decaf coffees undergo. I prefer the non-toxic swiss water process instead. I found out that my favorite K-Cup brand uses the chemical process (oh yeah…I emailed them to ask) and so does Starbucks, which is the brand served in our office. Therefore, I may just need to get real crazy and get an aeropress or French press for my desk.
  5. Sipping herbal tea helps with sugar cravings. About mid-week I noticed that I was having some sugar cravings even though I wasn’t (and shouldn’t have been) hungry. Sipping on herbal tea really helped during those times (as did decaf coffee with a little heavy cream). I’ve also noticed that those cravings really started to subside as the week went on. One caveat here is that I don’t have a severe sugar addiction like I used to before I switched to a more ancestral LCHF diet over a year ago. I would have laughed in the face of anyone telling me this a few years ago while probably eating a cookie at the same time.

Meal planning has been essential and enjoying cooking has helped as well. My mom was right…if you love food and want to eat healthy, cooking skills are a must. The following are some of the foods I’ve been making and eating this last week. I’ve started an Evernote notebook with detailed recipes so if you want any of them just drop me a note or a comment and I can either send you recipes or give you access to the notebook. (Evernote is an amazing tool if you aren’t using it already.) As much as I enjoy cooking, I enjoy other things more. Therefore, I only make things that are quick, don’t require lots of prep and can easily be batched cooked for lots of leftovers. The finance/accounting side of me wants to say that I cook things that provide maximum return (volume of food) for a minimal investment (time).

Autoimmune Paleo & Two-Week Test Meals:

  • Fried eggs and sweet potato hash browns w/ avocado and sautéed greens
  • Fat based green smoothie
  • Spaghetti squash w/ turkey meatballs
  • Zucchini “pasta” with kale pesto and shredded chicken
  • Balsamic braised boneless short ribs
  • Roasted thyme and rosemary carrots and parsnips
  • Lemon and rosemary-sage broiled salmon
  • Roasted baby squash

Snacks:

  • Tuna w/ homemade balsamic vinaigrette
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Mini cucumbers w/ seasoned salt

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