I stick to a variety of fresh, whole foods that are low carb, with good fats and protein.
I eat lots of veggies. I still eat fruit.
I eat nuts, seeds, nut butters. I add olive oil to just about everything. I cook and bake with butter or coconut oil.
I eat a variety of meats, including every part of the chicken with the skin including the livers, the fatty parts of the pork and beef, and all types of fish and seafood.
I still eat beans, legumes and chickpeas (most keto and low carb diets restrict this, but I like to alternate meat days with meat free days and I don’t find I get a blood sugar spike from these foods if I have a small enough quantity)
I don’t eat (or at least limit) bread, pasta, rice, starchy veg.
I don’t eat desserts when I am out, but I make a lot of great sugar free, low carb desserts at home, such as cakes, biscuits, slices, etc. that make AMAZING substitutes. I usually have some back up sugar free or dark chocolate for days when I’m craving something sweet. Or berries with fresh cream or sugar free ice cream is an easy alternative.
I’m not terribly strict on myself and try to eat for enjoyment. I don’t get upset with myself for eating a chocolate or having a bit of sourdough with some avocado if I really feel like it. Life is absolutely too short to never eat another square of roast pumpkin ever again. But I am mostly low carb. Everything within reason.
I ALWAYS read the label for ingredients and carb content. When you’re buying packaged foods, you don’t always know what you’re getting. Become savvy with nutrition labels. Understand macro contents and the ingredient list. When I see ham or sundried tomatoes that have glucose in the ingredients, I steer right away. When I see a packet of sugar free biscuits with white flour as the main ingredients and 20g of carbs per serving, I put it away. When a bread claims to be low carb but is still 25g of carbs per serving, I don’t buy it. When I see almond milk that has 10 ingredients, I put it back on the shelf. When the main ingredient in tzatziki isn’t yoghurt, I don’t want it. I try to stick to less ingredients, less processed, and no added unnecessities. E.g. coconut milk should be just that. Coconut milk with maybe a bit of water.
- Low carb veggies or fruits or whatever you want to call them. That’s a huge range of non starchy veg. Generally anything that grows above ground. Anything leafy, green, crunchy, colourful. Eggplant, zucchini, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, capsicum, tomato, kale, green beans, avocados…. This is a great list from the Diet Doctor.
- Onion, shallots and garlic.
- I eat the occasional pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, parsnip, peas, but in small quantities.
- Low carb fruits, such as berries. And low GI fruits in small quantities, such as kiwi fruit and stone fruits. Lemons and limes, especially squeezed on salads or in soda water (sometimes with vodka, too).
- Dark chocolate. Preferably 85% Lindt or equivalent. Never less than 70% cocoa.
- Sugar free sweeteners. Stevia, erythritol, xylitol are my go-tos.
- Nuts, particularly macadamias, almonds, walnuts and pecans. Nut butters including almond butter and peanut butter. Almond meal.
- Protein balls and protein cookies (homemade).
- Dips with low carb seed crackers or veggies. Hommus, eggplant, roast capsicum, tzatziki.
- Thick, full fat Greek yoghurt. Great with berries, cream, sugar free ice cream, low carb pancakes, or mixed into a salad.
- Low carb wraps and protein bread. The occasional small slice of sourdough if it’s topped with fats to bring the GI down (avocado, butter, cheese, cream cheese and salmon).
- Salads, grilled veggies, steamed veggies, stir fried veggies.
- Good quality tuna in oil. Sirena tuna in chilli oil is my favourite.
- Seeds, including chia, sunflower, pepitas, sesame, LSA mix.
- Tahini. Amazing as a dessert with melted dark chocolate, or mixed with lemon and salt for a salad dressing.
- Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter, sesame oil.
- Sugar free chocolate (Well Naturally No Added Sugar or Sweet Williams are great).
- Homemade cakes, desserts, slices, biscuits.
- Unsweetened almond milk.
- Coconut milk.
- Black coffee and tea (or with a dash of full cream milk or almond milk).
- Red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, vodka sodas. No cocktails.
- Sugar free drinks occasionally, but I try not to make a habit of it.
I STAY AWAY FROM:
- Potato chips, corn chips, veggie chips. Nightmare for BGLs.
- Starchy carbs. Hot chips, mashed potato, pies/pastries, breads, pizza, pasta, crackers.
- Dried fruits, except occasionally small quantities of dates if mixed in with nuts such as in protein balls or baked into a cake.
- Cakes, biscuits, anything sweet from a cafe even if it claims to be healthy.
- Sugary chocolate bars and lollies.
- Ice cream.
- White sugar, brown sugar, fruit sugar, any sugar.
- Honey or maple syrup (unless in very small quantities in baking).
- Fruit juices.
- Smoothies (unless I make them at home myself with almond milk. berries, Greek yoghurt).
- Cereals. Make your own low carb granola or chia porridge.
WHAT I HAVE IN MY PANTRY:
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil.
- Vinegars, soy sauce, chilli sauce.
- Lots of spices and herbs.
- Tea and coffee.
- Tinned beans, legumes and chickpeas.
- Almond meal, coconut flour, LSA mix, flaxmeal.
- Baking powder, gelatine.
- Dark chocolate.
- Nut butters, tahini.
- Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
WHAT I HAVE IN MY FRIDGE:
- Lots of veggies.
- Olives and other antipasto things such as artichokes, grilled capsicum.
- Cold meats, such as salami, ham.
- Bottles of soda water.
- Limes and lemons.
WHAT I HAVE IN MY FREEZER:
- Sugar free ice cream.
- Meats including steak, chicken, fish, paleo sausages.
- Frozen berries.
- A loaf of lower carb Herman Brot bread.
A NOTE FOR THE VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS:
I totally respect veggies and vegans. As an animal lover, I do believe we eat too much meat for our own good (and for the sake of the animals themselves). I try to be mindful of how much meat, dairy and eggs I’m eating. I try to eat a veggie meal at least once a day and try to alternate a meat day with a meat free day if I can. Eating low carb can be restricting at times, particularly when you’re trying to eat less meat, but it doesn’t need to be. There is still a healthy range of veggies you can eat and a great variety of vegetarian recipes. It’s why I haven’t completely cut out foods like lentils and beans and some veggies. I try to have a good balance. It’s easy enough to substitute butter for coconut oil or another oil such as olive, macadamia or avocado. Eat lots of nuts and add some chickpeas or seeds to a salad. Fry up some tofu to go with a stir fry instead of chicken or beef. While I rely on eggs a lot, I try to be mindful of where they’ve come from, and always buy the true free range varieties (and often have the eggs from the backyard). I buy free range meat and sustainable meat if I can, and I’m mindful that when I eat out it’s not always going to be free range.