The point of no return
In 2013, after a year on a low-carb diet, I pretty much realised that my family had reached the point of no return. We felt better than ever, dropped some kilos and could think coherently … most of the time anyway. We wanted to share the joy of our nutritional values and lifestyle with others, but many people were so overwhelmed by the thought of foreign eating habits and figuring out recipes that I decided it was necessary to take on our proudly South African recipes and ‘decarbify’ them!
My goal became clear. I needed to help clarify and simplify LCHF. I needed to take all those big words and turn them into layman’s terms and, even better, recipes! Plain and simple. And all of this needed to happen on a budget, because low-carbing cannot be only for the rich and famous.
But why would any person in their right mind voluntarily choose to cut back on carbohydrates, starches, grains, sugar, fructose and processed foods? I mean, everything in moderation is okay, isn’t it? Is this not leaning towards the fanatical?
Allow me to share some of my personal reasons:
I’m a writer, voice artist, concept developer and performer. I really need to think on my feet and come up with great ideas on demand. I used to live a mostly vegetarian lifestyle – simply because meat and fat just did not quite do it for me – and I often found myself writing until the early morning hours a few times a week. I started to become more and more forgetful and depressed. I felt old, tired and overwhelmed by life. I constantly had sweet cravings and chocolate became my best friend. Two weeks after unhealthy carbs left my kitchen, and I had eaten more bacon and eggs than ever before, my brain came back to life, I dropped a size or two and felt like life had colour again.
I am also a wife and mother of four wonderful planet shakers! Let me tell you what they experienced:
My husband used to eat a ‘healthy’ breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and fruit. Around 10h00 he would feel ravenous and attack a candy bar at his office. Around 13h00 he would eat his ‘healthy’ packed lunch of crackers or a sandwich. Around 16h00 he would feel light-headed and would struggle to focus on his computer. He would come home and attack a packet of chips or a couple of bananas, cookies … whatever he could find. He would then eat two helpings of dinner and fall asleep in front of the television, only to get up tired the next morning. What we did not realise at the time was that he was highly insulin resistant and a breath away from full-blown Type 2 diabetes. He was very overweight, and ALWAYS tired. After changing to a low-carb lifestyle he shed 40 kg in 14 months, he has more energy than ever and lives a life that is not ruled by cravings and sugar spikes and dips. He is now the BOERTJIE (farmer’s boy) who tells other folks that they will survive without their meat AND POTATOES regime, and the ‘eat as much as you can buffet’ has lost all of its carb-filled appeal. Food is not his boss anymore!
My son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was only three years old. A few weeks after we had started our low-carb journey, I realised that most of his tantrums had disappeared and more skills and integrated coping skills had emerged. There was such a dramatic difference we could hardly believe our eyes! Upon further research I discovered that a grain-free, low-carb, high-fat diet is the best for kids on the autism spectrum or with ADD or ADHD. It eliminates the excess inflammation of gluten in the brain and literally soothes and heals its sensitivities that can manifest in the form of awkward behaviours and emotional meltdowns.
My daughter is a dreamer. Some would call it ADD. We took most processed carbs, wheat and sugar out of her diet and now she is focused, slender and the pre-teen emotional roller coaster is almost half what it once was!
While writing my book, I was also pregnant with our precious twin girls. More than ever, I thought cutting out inflammation-driven and insulin-spiking foods where the best gift I could give our babies. I have come to understand that prevention is better than cure and have been keeping potential food allergens out of my system from the get-go.
My pregnancy was by far the least complicated of the three even though seen as a high risk pregnancy. Our girls are healthy and happy babies and are reaching every milestone with ease. We feel so blessed.
They love eating real food! Sugar free and grain free is the way to go for us. This will just be their normal. This will be the foods they crave.
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