Low-Carb Twit | Summer 2004


I want to write, just in time for the summer, about an issue that is weighing on me. This is not a light topic; indeed, you might say it’s a heavy topic. It’s a huge subject, a subject on a rather large scale. A subject of mammoth proportions…

I’m on a diet. A low-carb diet.

I’m not going to advocate a specific low-carb diet here, so I won’t tell you I’m doing the Atkin’s diet.

Why a low-carb diet (never mind it’s become the latest diet fad)? Well, time and experience have shown me that my body is fairly sensitive to carbohydrates. So some years ago, when I first heard of low-carb diets, I decided to try one, with some success.

Back then–about 10 years or so ago–low-carb diets were just starting to come back after about a 20-year or so hiatus. Being a bit of a trendsetter, I started out on a low-carb diet at the time and lost a significant amount of weight. I modified the diet a bit after some time, eating a balance of carbs, protein and mostly good fat (monounsaturated) and actually became thin for the first (and thus far, only) time in my adult life (my four-year stint in the Army notwithstanding). I actually stayed thin for a while, until French fries, rice and beans, bread and other high-carb goodies found their way back onto my plate.

Back then, of course, it was extremely difficult to find any low-carb goodies anywhere. Low-carb dieters were pretty much stuck with eating steak and a salad (skip the potato and rolls, please) and not much else.

But now, you can’t walk into a supermarket without finding all kinds of low-carb products. Many of them actually taste quite good. Even the fast food places are in on the craze, offering low-carb versions of their more popular dishes.

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (although every once in a while I will crave sweets). But one of my biggest weaknesses (after my biggest, rice) is bread. Being partial to bread in its multiple forms, I’m in heaven with the new low-carb rolls and bagels. Of course, if you think about it, low-carb bagels make sense: all the carbs must be in the holes!

One obvious advantage to a low-carb diet is you don’t have to go hungry to shed pounds. Another advantage is you don’t have to deprive yourself to the same level you do on other types of diets.

For example, you can have bacon and eggs for breakfast, a steak for lunch and lobster for dinner. Naturally, some low-carb advocates are advising dieters not to go overboard. Bacon and eggs are okay from time to time but you shouldn’t have them everyday. And you shouldn’t have steak and burgers (sans buns, of course) everyday, either. Have some chicken and fish too.

Don’t forget the veggies. One mistake some low-carb dieters make–which has lead to some misconceptions among those skeptical of low-carb diets–is they forget they’re supposed to have SOME carbs each day. Those carbs are supposed to be made up of low-carb vegetables, such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts (yuck!), etc.

I’ve been pretty good about that but I know of some people who aren’t–how shall I say this–such sticklers about following the rules. One of my father’s co-workers, for example, would drink half a can of regular soda every single day for his daily carb intake. It doesn’t take a doctor to see why that’s not a good idea.

Lucky for me, my significant other–JulieAnn–is not only also on a low-carb diet herself, but she’s a pretty good cook. She has this awesome recipe for ribs. Needless to say, ribs have become one of my favorite foods on this diet. Could you imagine that? Ribs on a diet?!?

Of course, I follow my own advice and do eat low-fat meats, fowl and fish as well. But it’s so cool to tell people you’re eating ribs and steak to lose weight!

So, am I losing weight? I actually did make a mistake as I (re)started my low-carb diet. I didn’t go weigh myself. But I can tell you my pants feel looser since I started. So I know I’m losing weight. Like Whoopi Goldberg (on the Slim-Fast commercials), I’m a fat loser!

One of the more interesting aspects of doing a low-carb diet this time around is, as I mentioned before, the number of low-carb products available on store shelves now. There’s bread, of course, pasta, sauces, breakfast cereal, soymilk, ice cream and more.

My favorite was seeing that Entenmann’s had a whole line of new low-carb products. Again, I don’t have a big sweet tooth. But this lets me indulge once in awhile without blowing my diet. For me, the funniest part was the oxymoronic aspect of this discovery: low-carb Entenmann’s. Before Entenmann’s introduced low-carb items this year, I’m sure very few people could’ve imagined such a possibility.

I even heard recently that scientists have developed a low-carb corn. Low-carb corn! A side benefit to this development is the increased amount of protein contained in such corn–a factor that could make this corn a useful supply of food in places where people are too poor to be able to afford meat.

Now, if only they could come up with a low-carb rice. I’d really be in low-carb heaven then. Yep, THAT would take the low-carb cake.