If you cannot eat a low carb or ketogenic diet but still want to take steps toward better health and can’t seem to get away from old carby comforts, why not simply start by swapping out any PROCESSED foods for lower carb versions? At least, to begin with.
Hear me out: While anything processed isn’t ideal for anyone’s health, omitting them completely is usually unsustainable for most folks. In case you didn’t already know – there are vast, endless options for processed low carb foods and while the ingredients for each may be equally vast and endless (and un-pronounceable), they may very well be healthier for you in the long run than the higher carb options. Especially if you have insulin/hormone issues or carb intolerance.
Remember – healthIER does not necessarily mean healthy, but it’s a few steps in the right direction.
So, what might that look like?
Think about a vice you just can’t quit or the many convenience foods used because, well, they’re convenient. And comforting to some degree. We’re talking about processed foods like potato chips, cereal, bread loaves, candy, pizza, ice cream, crackers, frozen meals, and most packaged deli meats.
Imagine if you could just swap a few of these out for lower sugar, lower carb versions. What improvements might you see?
You might notice slightly less inflammation around your joints, less bloat throughout your body, your arteries and your liver might thank you, healthier skin, slightly reduced body fat, slightly better balanced hormones, slightly reduced risk of developing or worsening insulin resistance and other chronic diseases or disorders like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, etc.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s just a starting point and the benefits of these modest swaps outweigh the risks of doing nothing at all.
There are countless people out there who started off simple – swapping some basic comforts for satisfying low carb versions, and just felt better. So good, in fact, that several of those folks decided to go a step further and swap processed, low carb foods for natural, unprocessed foods regardless of carb count. And the benefits amplified. A handful of people even reversed their chronic conditions completely.
Over time, the “slightly” better this or thats above become “significantly” better this or thats.
And it’s cool. But is it realistic for everyone struggling?
I wish it worked that way, but we’ve been conditioned to eat certain foods in our lives to suit different situations or emotions, when socializing, for times alone. Our minds are ingrained with these habits rather than the understanding that, at its core, food is simply fuel.
Most of us, myself included, will never be able to view food as just fuel. It’s comfort, it’s community, it’s an anchor as much as it weighs me down at times.
I 100% believe that removing most added sugar and sticking mainly to whole foods (high or low carb) will greatly benefit anyone’s health. And all the benefits listed above, and more, would likely happen for anyone willing to try.
And I 100% believe that very few people have the kind of lifestyle, discipline, or mentality that would allow them to *sustain* a very clean, whole foods diet.
Keep eating your usual veggies and proteins but maybe try trading potato chips for protein chips for a few weeks and see how it goes. If that works out, substitute another vice for something lower carb and see how that goes. Rinse and repeat and take note of how you’re feeling. Did that constant ache in your joints subside a bit? Can you breathe little better? Clothes fit a little better? Non-scale victories are way more meaningful.
These steps may be small in the great big scope of things, but they are the most important. If they’re the only steps you take, that’s okay too, because it’s still an improvement and better than where you started.
You could call this processed-vice-swapping a Modified Low(er) Carb Diet, but do we really need to put a label on it? Let’s just start building a healthier relationship with food and call it a day.
Keep it simple, keep it real, and you WILL see positive changes.