A “delicious diet” need not be an oxymoron. It is possible to eat plenty of tasty food and yet lose weight! Here is an account of the vegetarian low carb, high fat, high protein diet that I am on. This has lead to a significant and rapid weight loss (for me) with practically no exercise.
This is a follow-up to: How I lost weight, gained it all back and lost it again! Members of Asan Ideas of Wealth may recall that I recently shared a TEDx talk on the subject (linked below).
I would give the normal disclaimer of consulting your doctor before changing your lifestyle but doctors have their own propaganda drilled into them and if what I hears is true, “big pharma” is strong enough to control what they read in med school! So your doctor might scoff at the idea of eating more fat (qualified below). If you do take this post or the resources linked below seriously, do start slow and make small changes, let you body adapt for a couple of weeks and go to the next step if you can tolerate this.
What Does “Eat more fat” mean?
For a start, it does not mean, eat only fat. Most of our diets are high on carb. A safe guess would be 70-80% of carbs. We also eat a lot of sugar (much of it from carbs) – often disguised. As explained in the videos below, this puts tremendous stress on the liver, gets stored in our body (you know where!) as fat and messes up our ability to process sugar in the long term.
Eating a low-fat diet is extremely unhealthy for us! It often means a high-carb, high-sugar diet and this gets converted to fat reserves in the body.
A diet with good amount of carbs is not bad, but those who are diabetic or those genetically predisposed to become one, should definitely be eating less of it.
For normal individuals (not diabetic and no family history), a diet with about 30% fat + 30% protein + 30% carb would be well balanced in every sense of the way. Reduction of carbs from the 70-80% levels to 30% levels accompanied by an increase in fat intake is what I mean by EAT MORE FAT. Kindly do not misinterpret this.
Diabetics may consider lowering the carbs lower.
The beauty of this is that the food would get tasty! One can eat cheese and butter and not feel guilty about it!
You can refers to sources linked below for exact details, but the key idea is well known. Eating more carbs results in blood sugar swings. And if we overeat the rest gets stored as fat. Proteins take a bit longer for the stomach to process and fat the longest. For someone who does not binge eat (meaning eat when stressed and not when hungry), eating more than what is necessary is hard. So if they eat less carbs, they would not feel hungry often.
And if they eat only when they are hungry, the fat reserves will gradually dissolve (the body will convert it into energy) and they will lose weight. It is so simple that it is ingenious! The problem is we (incl doctors) have been brainwashed into believing that fat is bad.
Before I get to my diet:
Tips for Losing Weight
- Do not confuse staying fit and losing weight. Exercise is for staying fit and is essential. it has nothing to do with losing weight. This depends on what you eat and how much of it you eat! Exercising, feeling hungry and eating a wrong diet will not help.
- Drink plenty of water. To state it bluntly, our urine should not become a dark yellow at all times of the day. This is essential for the body to work on our fat reserves.
- No sugar or processed food.
- No starving. That will result in eventual overeating and weight gain.
- Eating only when hungry.
- Eating slowly so that the body can signal to you stop. There is a saying that slow eaters live longer!
It is not too high on fat or protein but I get a lot more of it now. The carbs have reduced drastically. A Low Carb High Fat Diet is easier to achieve for a non-vegetarian. I love meat but can’t eat when I am at home (guess why!) so I am practically a vegetarian! I initially cut sugar and all processed food. Then I gradually stopped eating rice/wheat – all staple grains. So I dropped from 85-86 ish Kgs to about 65-66 ish Kgs over the course of less than a year with not much exercise aside from an evening walk. This may not work for everyone.
LIKE ALL MY OTHER POSTS, I DO NOT CLAIM THAT THIS IS THE ONLY WAY. THERE ARE MULTIPLE WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY AND LOSE WEIGHT. JUST STATING MINE.
Breakfast (9 am): Coffee + Idly + Coffee (or unsweetened hot chocolate or cocoa)
The cocoa offers the proteins + fibre + iron + happiness. The coffee (plus water) wakes up the intestines.
Some days I eat ragi flakes (no sugar added).
This is a high-carb breakfast and is something I am trying to change at least for a few days of the week.
Eggs + butter is a great option low carb option. So are nuts (see below).
Breakfast falls at an extremely busy time of the day. You need to get to work, the kids have to be sent to school. So it is better not to fool around with it too much.
Morning snack (11 am) (Spot the movie: “I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip”)
That cup of hot cocoa would fit right in here. The unsweetened taste will need some getting used to, but it can be incredibly filling. You can get milk from the office cafeteria and dunk a couple of spoons of cocoa powder (stir rapidly!)
Few almonds/walnuts/peanuts etc. also can take you to lunch time.
Lunch (1 pm):
My favorites: Spinach + coconut or Beans + coconut.
All green veggies + cheese. Will make a fine meal. It can hold for at least 2- 3 hours depending on your metabolism and activity.
Potatoes and Elephant Yam are my weaknesses (both high carb). I indulge in them once a week.
No rice; wheat bread etc. There are plenty of carbs in vegetables and it comes with fiber too.
Eating more fat can be scary if you are overweight. So you can go easy on it, watch the results and increase the intake.
Afternoon/Evening Snack (4-7 pm): This is a proper meal for me. My favorite is two handfuls of nuts mixed with warm milk + coffee.
The nuts can be pecans or almonds. Walnuts do not go well with milk. So do peanut.
Because of my Myasthenia Gravis (an auto-immune condition), I have trouble chewing. So I grind the almonds. Boy ground almond + milk tastes like heaven! It is so soothing and calming that it would make an excellent low-carb high-fat breakfast.
Roasted peanut has more carbs than raw peanuts, but that is a wonderful snack and if eaten enough a good meal. As long as you don’t eat carbs and do not overeat, the fat from nuts alone will not result in weight gain.
I love peanuts and in fact during my previous weight loss stint (see post linked at the start), had them (only them for lunch/dinner). But now I cannot seem to tolerate them due to the other meds I need to take.
In addition, I also drink a cup of coffee an hour before and a cup of cocoa an hour later, just before I head out for an evening walk.
This way the intake is spread out and I do not get hungry.
Dinner (8:30 -9:30 pm):
On most days : Cabbage/Chayote Squash/Bridge gourd/Bottle gourd/Pumpkin/Ash Gourd/Cucumber/Zucchini cooked with moong dal to form a gravy/porridge (what we Madrasis call “kootu”).
Moong Dal is high carb, but is necessary to tolerate the green veggies
Some cheese added in, if necessary. One can eat plenty of this kootu.
Before Bed (12:30 – 1 am): 1/2 cups of curd.
Caution: I do not claim this to be healthy, nutritious, balanced or optimal. It is just a space in the diet terrain I have found some shelter in. Please do not change eating habits dramatically. Eat what suits you.
Just like not everyone will end up rich, not everyone will lose weight. Each human being is unique. We all need to find what works for us.
The main reason I share this with you is to invite comments. What is your version of a well balanced diet?