To learn about what led me to a low carb lifestyle, please read my introductory article, My Journey to Low Carb: Part 1: Did I have PCOS? and Part 2: Committing and Recommitting to Low Carb Eating.
Many things happened when I switched from a low carb approach to a Primal lifestyle, but perhaps the biggest change was my attitude. I started questioning things. I no longer ate something simply because it was low carb; I now needed to know everything that was in my food, where it came from, and how it was made. Since a Primal diet didn’t allow for legumes, grains or processed foods, a lot of the foods I had eaten in the past – Atkins bars, low carb tortillas, and tofu to name a few – were off the list. I could no longer delude myself into thinking that just because something was high protein, or low carb, meant that it was good to eat.
I made the leap from reading the macronutrient content on packages, to scouring the ingredient list. I didn’t care how many carbs were in products anymore; I cared about the food itself. Was it good for me? Was it Primal?
Making that change made me realize how much crap I had really been eating, all while thinking I was being super healthy: mayonnaise made from soybean oil loaded with sugar, low carb bars made with soy protein isolate loaded with chemicals, baked goods made with soy flour loaded with Splenda. It became very obvious why I hadn’t had success with a low carb approach: I had been consuming chemicals, grains, and legumes on a daily basis, in the form of “foods” that my body didn’t recognize.
Many people struggle with adopting a Primal or Paleo lifestyle, but I didn’t. The change was very easy for me. If I wanted a protein bar, I learned how to make them myself. When I wanted mayonnaise, I made it myself with olive oil and eggs. I started making my own pickles, sauces, and condiments; I even made ketchup. I stopped buying into the industrial food complex and found that I had a lot of extra money every month – money that had previously gone into flashy packaging and marketing campaigns that I could now spend on quality, whole foods.
One reason I hadn’t had great success with a low carb approach was I had been eating too much protein. Another was that I wasn’t eating enough of the right kinds of fat. Rendering my own lard and tallow, and cooking liberally with it, was perhaps the change that made the most impact on my health. Before that, I had been limited in my choices, as supermarket shelves are loaded with industrial seed oils, and it’s too expensive to deep fry in butter or coconut oil all the time. Adding massive amounts of quality fat into my diet had an immediate impact – I had sustained energy, my hair became silky and thick, I started losing weight, and I wasn’t hungry much anymore. I could go almost an entire day without eating – my hypoglycemia had vanished.
Sometime during the first four months of eating a Primal diet, most of the medical conditions I had been suffering from disappeared. Along with the hypoglycemia went the PCOS, endometriosis, arthritis, Hidradenitis suppurativa, depression, IBS, and insulin resistance. My weight loss was steady at first. When I hit my first plateau, I didn’t throw my hands up in defeat. Instead, I tweaked my diet, cutting down on the amount of fruit and nuts I had been eating and just keep moving along. I actually didn’t care how much I weighed, since I was feeling so good all the time.
Eventually, I realized I had lost a hundred pounds and didn’t have a reason to visit doctors anymore. All of my syndromes, diseases, and conditions were gone.
I have now been Primal for almost four years. I still eat fairly low carb, but it isn’t something I consciously do; the food choices that are available to me are naturally low carb and my body thrives upon them. This isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle – one that has given me back my health, vitality and power.
If you are struggling with losing weight on a low carb diet, look at the amount of fat you’re eating. Increasing my fat intake gave me the biggest return on investment out of any of the dietary changes I made. Luckily, Dana Carpender and the CarbSmart staff have just released a new book to help you do just that: CarbSmart’s Fat Fast Cookbook. Check it out today!