Hopefully things have gotten easier by this point. You should no longer be using glucose as a source of energy and your body should be well on its way toward creating ketones and using adipose tissue for all your energy needs. This process will take between 2-4 weeks to completely transition depending on how glucose dependent you were previously.
The hard part is over. Most people feel there is a difficult patch between 7-12 days as your body adjusts and you can feel low on energy. This is somewhat typical. As you move beyond two weeks that should all be behind you and you should be feeling much better and more energetic. I hope that you have taken the opportunity to reach outside your comfort zone of foods and tried some low carb meals that you would not have otherwise tried.
Your body should have reduced the cravings for sugar by now and you should find yourself a lot less hungry. You should be starting to see and feel a difference in your body composition. If you are not feeling better and not losing inches and pounds yet then we need to double-check a few important items.
If you don’t feel great
If you are not on the way to feeling great and looking great than hopefully these reminders will help. As we move forward over the last half of the month we will really start to see and feel the benefits of all your hard work. We will also start to work towards how we can start to incorporate some of these ideas into a plan that will allow us to move forward after the challenge while not feeling so restricted. Good luck. Please, check in and let us know how things are going on a regular basis. We are here to help you succeed!
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Serves 2; Adapted from Your Lighter Side.
1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp crushed garlic 1/2 tsp garlic salt olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*
To "Rice" the Cauliflower: Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.
The trick to making this crust crispy throughout is placing it down on a hot surface. A pizza stone is ideal but I don't use them, so I just heated my cookie sheet in the oven as it preheated, formed my crust on a piece of parchment and then placed the parchment on the hot sheet once the oven hit the right temp. Very easy!
Preheat oven to 400
1⁄2 cup ketchup (we use low-sugar, you could puree your own tomatoes)
1 1⁄2 tablespoons of mustard ( I use Dijon, yellow works as well)
1 large egg
1-pound ground beef
1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
1⁄2 teaspoon of oregano
3⁄4 cup of onions (optional, I also use 1⁄2 cup onion and 1⁄2 red bell pepper sometimes as well)
Mix the ketchup and mustard together. Set half of the mixture aside and combine the other half of it in a bowl the rest of the ingredients. I use my hands, if there is a better way let me know. Spray a cookie sheet lightly. Separate the mixture into 4 equal mounds and place them on the sheet. Top them with the rest of the ketchup/mustard mix and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in oven for 25 mins. Cauliflower mashed potatoes; broccoli in butter or a large salad rounds out this banquet. It pairs well with a large glass of chilled water.
Steak and Mushroom / Cauliflower
1 small head of cauliflower (cut into small florets) 2 tbsp butter (cut into pieces)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
10 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Steam the cauliflower in a large pot until very tender, 18-22 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor, add the butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and puree until smooth.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. season the steak with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and cook, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing; reserve the skillet.
Add the mushrooms to the drippings in the skillet and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 3-5 minutes. add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and syrupy, 2-3 minutes more; season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.
Serve the steak with the cauliflower puree. Top with the mushroom sauce and sprinkle with the parsley.
The Salt Paradox
Excerpt taken from pg 240 of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
Jeff Volek, PhD, RD and Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD
When the human body adapts to a low carb diet, the kidneys fundamentally change how they handle sodium. Removing most carbs from the diet causes your kidneys to aggressively secrete sodium (and along with it, extra fluid). This is why many people experience dramatic early weight loss with carb restriction. But this means that a continuous moderate intake of sodium is necessary to keep your circulation adequate to handle ‘heat stresses’ like hot weather, endurance activity, or even a hot shower.
If you are eating less than 60 grams of carbohydrate per day, you need to purposefully add 2-3 grams of sodium to your daily intake (unless you are still taking diuretic medication under a doctor’s direction for high blood pressure or fluid retention). And if you do hard or prolonged exercise (enough to make you sweat), one of those ‘grams’ needs to be consumed within the hour before you start. At or above 60 grams per day of carbs, this prescription becomes optional. However if you go out planning to exercise for 30 minutes, but find you have to stop after 15 because you feel lousy or light-headed, try it the next time with a cup of broth within an hour before exercising and see how things go.
Practically speaking, the easiest way to get this sodium is to buy standard bouillon cubes and consume 2 per day. They are cheap, compact, last months without refrigeration, and hot water is easily found. A more traditional path is to make your own meat or vegetable broth containing 1 teaspoon of salt per quart.
I haven’t seen everyone’s food logs yet, but I have seen enough to warrant an email and little discussion on protein intake. Almost everyone’s carbs are below 50g (nice work) most below 35g even - but protein intake is too high. You may recall from our talk, protein in abundance is converted to carbs in the liver and stored as fat. So, if you have too much protein it is basically the same as having too many carbs.
This diet is low carb, high fat, MODERATE protein. About 1g per kilogram of body weight. If you want to find out how many kilos you are, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
Example, 150lb / 2.2 = 68kg. So a 150lb person should be eating NO MORE THAN 68g of protein PER DAY.
If you want to get really serious, then factor your protein for the weight you want to be - if the same person wanted to lose 10lb, the protein intake becomes 64g, and so forth.
But, a lot of people have more protein than fat or the same amount or protein and fat - this is something that we’d like you to take the next couple of days to remedy. Keep the carbs low, keep protein moderate and fat high. Give it a few days to work. If we need to, we can look at total calories for people as need arises as well. If you’re eating a high fat diet, you shouldn’t need more than 1500-1600 cal a day. Fat is what keeps you full. So if you are having fat at each meal with a small to moderate amount of protein and zero to very little carbs, you are set.
If your protein has been too high, don’t panic. This is a process. That’s why we are going for 35 days. Everyone has really attacked their carb numbers and we are impressed. But we need to now get more serious about protein. One of the other things you want to try to pay attention to is, eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you are full. A lot of people are probably still eating just to eat, or because ‘that’s what I do at this time of day’ or because “i’m bored” or because “someone made it for me.” You need to really cue into your body and find out if you’re getting hunger signals or just boredom signals, etc. When you eat a proper high fat diet, you aren’t a slave to the kitchen anymore. You are free to roam about your day because you have enough fat in your system to keep you full.
Here's another great resource for food sources:
This is the recipe. I have included the breakdowns for the specific items we use in this recipe. Feel free to use any variations you want but remember to check the totals for yourself. We use regular sugar and heavy cream because they are in our house and they will get used. Coconut milk and almond milk can work but we do not use them. These items fit our life and budget, yours may vary from ours.
Likewise, if you add blueberries you need to add the calories and carbs to the total. Topped with butter they were delicious. Could be a great breakfast option or snack. Be advised that without preservatives they only keep for about 4-5 days. We recommend storing them in the fridge to avoid mold.
Mix dry ingredients together well. Add wet ingredients and mix.
Scoop into muffin tins (1/2 to 2/3 full) bake for 15-20 minutes. (we use 17)
Makes 1 dozen muffins.
Our goal is to be under 50g. Write down everything you eat in your food journal. Write down the reasons why you want to complete the challenge. Think about what is important and what benefits you hope to achieve. What results do you want to see? How will these results make you feel? You will want to have these reasons written down to refer back to for motivation in times of weakness throughout the month.