Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

Categories: Atkins    
Roast chicken on a cutting board
Image by: Wow Phochiangrak

If you already follow the Atkins Diet, you probably already know how to avoid many high carb products.

When you want to also apply the concept of eating Real to your diet, there are a few new things to learn.

All packaged food, whether it's carnivorous, gluten free, paleo, vegan or any other kind of special diet food, have been adulterated with unnatural ingredients. It is vital to read the ingredients on the packages.

There are a lot of low carb products on the market today, but the vast majority of them contain a lot of very highly processed ingredients. If you're serious about permanently reducing your carb intake, you eventually have to get to the point that you accept the fact that you're not going to be able to eat many servings of fake bread every day. It isn't just that you're working on reducing carbs, you also need to realize that the core concept of the food pyramid, for example, is simply wrong. Grain / bread products should not be the base of our diet. And you're not going to be able to replace grain breads with fake breads, and expect to maintain or promote health.

The Atkins Diet does have a lot of purchased, prepackaged food available. Many think this is a core requirement of the program. But it is not. Packaged food is, by it's very nature, highly processed, and never fresh. It is virtually impossible to find a shelf stable, packaged food, that does not contain non real ingredients. You will want to work to remove these packaged products from your pantry.

Many similar items can be made at home, with fresh products. With some planning, you can spend a bit of time every few days to make yourself some fresh "convenience" foods to add to your daily routine.

An often missed part of the Atkins diet is the fact that fresh vegetables must be eaten. When you reduce grain intake, you reduce fiber. This fiber then is eaten via eating vegetables. When the right vegetables are chosen, that can result in a very good, high intake of vegetables, which is very good for your health. Eat as many of them raw as possible; raw food has more nutrients, more digestive enzymes, and more fiber. A good rule of thumb is to eat 2/3 of your vegetables raw.

Roast lamb on a dinner plate
Image by: Alex Munsell
When you make your own food, you're able to control what you cook with, the freshness of the ingredients, and ultimately how healthy you are.

Some on the Atkins Diet have added soy as an alternative protein. However, soy is really a very bad food choice. It has been shown that 25% of people are actually allergic to organic soy; the rate is even higher in non organic, as most soy is now genetically modified (GM or GMO).

Soy has been touted as a complete protein, and contains all 12 protein types. What many people don't know, is that is also contains a 13th protein, which is one of the causes of much of the problems with soy. This 13th protein cannot be properly digested by humans. No matter who you are, whether or not you have physical symptoms or not, you cannot properly deal with this protein. This will eventually cause you problems.

Soy also is an estrogen mimicker. What this means is that it will seriously mess with your hormone levels. It is not the exact same as human estrogen, so it doesn't even properly behave as human estrogen would. This estrogen mimicking causes major imbalances in your hormones. For men, adding estrogen is disastrous. Men should not be adding any estrogen into their bodies, as it causes serious health problems, from baldness, to the creation of breast tissue, erectile dysfunction, sterility, etc.

There is less fruit on the Atkins Diet than most people are used to. When you maintain this lower fruit intake, you'll find over time that you can actually reduce your "taste buds" by losing your "tolerance" for sugar. What I mean by this is that eventually, fruit that did not seem sweet by itself, without added sugar, will actually start to taste sweeter. That means that over time, you'll be able to add more less sweet fruit to your diet, that ranks as lower carbs, yet still feel like you're having a sweet treat. Just like vegetables, try and eat 2/3 of your fruit raw.

On the Atkins Diet, they do say some artificial sweeteners are acceptable. But, when you want to add the concept of eating Real, all artificial sweeteners are a no-no. Stevia is acceptable, as it is not an artificial product, but is actually a plant extract. You need to be careful and not buy Stevia that is loaded with fillers. Unfortunately, most Stevia products on the market now are loaded with these fillers. But, hunt around for some pure powder or liquid extract, though this is a processed product, so technically isn't a Real food, so if you choose to use it, use it only rarely. If you have a "green thumb" you can even grow your own. You can even hunt around and find some dried leaves. Then you can experiment, and use it straight right in your food. It can be brewed to extract the sweetness, then you can use the "sweet water" as a sweetener wherever a bit of liquid is acceptable.

There are some fats that are listed as acceptable on the Atkins Diet that are not considered Real. You want to avoid all highly processed, and GMO oils, such as Canola, Corn, Grape seed, Soy, Sunflower, Safflower, or any other Polyunsaturated oils. Polyunsaturated oils are not stable, thus they need to be highly processed to become shelf stable. Eating polyunsaturated fats in fresh food is fine, because it is fresh, and has not been processed.

For cooking, you should be using saturated fats, such as meat fats, butter, coconut oil and palm oil. The monounsaturated fats are not suitable for cooking, as they are damaged during cooking. These can be used cold, such as in salad dressings and other cold sauces. The monounsaturated fats are things like Olive oil, Sesame oil, Almond oil, and Walnut oil.

Let us know some of the ways you have worked towards making your Atkins Diet more real, and tell us what you ate!

Thora Toft

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