Yes, it's that day we've all been waiting for! Let there be rejoicing in the streets, merriment in the town square, and reckless festivities in every home! The day has finally come!
(Puzzled Reader: "Um, what day is that?")
Well, for the forgetful among us.... Today marks one ENTIRE YEAR that I have been on the very-low-carb diet! Yes, truly! One whole year! One whole year of no sugar, no grains, no carbohydrates of any kind. I can hardly believe it's been a whole year!
That being said, let the party begin!
* Insert sounds of merriment, frolicking, dancing, etc. *
Of course, there's only one small problem to the "one whole year" bit, and that is.... I am ashamed to admit....
Yes, yes, I cheated! (*Hangs head in shame.*) Indeed I did, so it's a good thing that I didn't have any money bet on this business (though if I had, I wouldn't have cheated!).
And when did this shameless indiscretion occur?
Last week. Last Friday, to be precise.
Yup, in the last week before meeting the one-year marker, I cheated.... and can anyone guess what temptation caused me to cave? It was...
Yes, blackberries. Last week we went blackberrying in northern Arizona (fools that we were, it took us TEN YEARS to discover that there are blackberries in Arizona... ten long, wasted years! *sob*), and if there is one thing in the world that I cannot do, it is to go blackberrying without eating every second berry. And of course, after that came....
... which is truly the food of the gods (which is fitting, since I consider blackberrying to be one of earth's closest ties to heaven on earth!). And I didn't say no to that either! Truly, it was a day of indulgence.
However, I immediately reformed and repented, and I am back to orthodoxy and orthopraxy (though admittedly somewhat tired of both).
And so, dear readers, what are my conclusions after being on the VLC diet for one year?
Well, primarily, not much. As you all know, this is an ongoing experiment to see if the VLC diet can prevent severe morning sickness (hyperemesis, or HG). The last time through pregnancy, I got very mixed results because I cheated (see above link for the full story). This time through, I have determined not to cheat so that our outcome will not be adulterated. However, as of this point there is no outcome, because we're not pregnant! So the jury is still out.
Here are a few things I've learned this past year:
It is only by the grace of God that I have completed this year - My dietary self-control is near zero, so the fact that I have abstained from grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes, sugar, etc. for an entire year is truly a godsend. All the credit is His!
Creativity is a must - On this diet, it's very easy to get into a serious rut, because there is so little in the standard American diet that one can eat. It's very easy to have an entire houseful of food, and not be able to eat any of it! Or to get into the rut of eating the same thing every day and get intensely tired of it all. Planning ahead and switching things up are important! (Or else you will end up doing what I did a few months ago - eating nothing but omelettes for two straight days. Not that I'm complaining - it's a first-world problem. But my goodness, one can get tired of omelettes.)
The VLC diet is a challenge with kids - Why? Because high-carb foods are almost always an easy sell to kids. Low-carb items (vegetables, etc.) are a much harder battle. I find that I need to add side dishes (beans, rice, cornbread) to meals to make them child- and husband-friendly. However, I do my best to cook primarily the same main dish, because it is otherwise an easy road to insanity (especially when I'm cooking yet another dish for the baby with texture issues).
The health benefits have been awesome - Is a very low carb diet natural? Probably not... but there have been clear and distinct benefits! Here are just some of them:
- My skin has cleared up - no more constant adult acne!
- My skin quality has also improved - I no longer use any skin care products whatsoever, and my skin feels better than it ever has.
- I've lost the baby weight.
- I feel better and have more energy than I've ever had - and this is a huge one, as energy problems have been a life-long issue for me.
- 90% of my pesky residual pregnancy nausea cleared up within 12 hours of starting the diet - and this last time, it was really a problem. (I've recently also cleared up that last 10%, but that, my friends, is a secret to reveal on another day!)
Brown-bagging is a given - Wherever I go, I bring my own food. Why? Because besides a vegetable tray at a potluck, almost every food at a public event is going to be high-carb. I'm used to it now, and it's just a way of life.
At some point we're going to have to tell the extended family - We have not shared what I am doing with our respective families. Why? Because I do not like to discuss health issues with family, especially when it has been made quite clear that they think we should have stopped with one child and were/are insane to even consider any after that. I've just been "going low carb." However, things are a bit awkward when visiting family, because I don't cheat even at family dinners (I would if it was for weight loss, but since it's a serious medical issue, I don't), so we're going to have to mention what I'm doing so that we don't end up alienated from family. *Sigh*.
However, all in all it's been an awesome year! I've learned a lot about nutrition (plus more that I hope to share soon!!), have learned a whole new way of cooking and eating, and have really enjoyed the journey. If there are ever any *results* to share, I will of course share them here!
In the meantime.... Feel free to leave any questions, and I would be glad to answer them!
Happy Zero-Carb Day!!*
* I should say that this diet is not "zero carb," because a zero-carb diet consists of only meat and oils (fun!). This is instead a very-low-carb diet, which also includes low-carb dairy (heavy cream and cheese) and low-carb vegetables and nuts.