The Struggle is Real

Oh sugar.

There are two types of snackers in this world. The first are sweets people, the second are savoury snackers. Whether you can control yourself or you’re an indulger, there’s always a go-to.

Yes, those salty, garlicky kale chips in your hand, for example. Good choice, you savoury person you. At least it wasn’t a bag of potato chips or a stash of pork rinds, but you’re still a savoury.

And you – yes, you, who just “straightens” the edge of the cake, never taking a slice, just nibbling and pecking for a little sugar punch to the taste buds – you, my friend are a sweets person.

Me? I lean towards savoury. Give me salt, a dose of something fried, a little spice and I’m in snacker’s paradise. I love chocolate ice cream – I mean, come on! It’s ICE CREAM, but I know in my heart of hearts if you offer me movie theatre popcorn with extra butter I’ll denounce both Ben and his partner Jerry (unless it’s really hot out, but that’s not a fair fight!).

The problem with snacking is that I’m a snacker. It doesn’t help with the battle of the post-baby bulge (and certainly didn’t help in the battle of the pre-baby bulge, either), but after years of trying different methods of healthy eating and weight loss, I’ve learned what works for me.

Cutting out the beloved carbs.

Sorry carbs.

Carbs are essentially sugar. Whether it’s refined sugar, or carbohydrates, which the body breaks down as sugar, both forms of sugar are not doing us snackpacks any good!

Carbs are the 21st century scourge and scapegoat the way saccharine and diet colas were the solution to all problems in the 70s and the removal of all fat was the answer to our weight-control prayers in the 90s. Those fat-free foods, what? How can you have fat-free sour cream? Fat-free potato chips? Fat-free turned out not to be such a great idea either.

My favourite quotable quote of the recent nutritional revolution is from a book I listened to (I went through a phase of listening to audio books on my daily commute) called Skinny Bitch. Author Rory Freedman said ‘Whenever you see the words fat free or low-fat, think of the words chemical shit storm.’ Truer words, my friends, truer words. 

Not only do I NOT want to eat a chemical shit storm, I do not want to feed my family a chemical shit storm. I don’t want to teach them that chemical shit storms are a good replacement real food.

But what I also learned is that fat is not the enemy and sugar is actually not my friend. That fats are not the evil monsters I once thought. This is a realization that many people are just now starting to discuss.

I’m not even going to get into the politics.

Because politics.

I’m also not a nutritionist so I’m not giving advice here. This is just my personal experience after trying to figure out all of this nutrition stuff.

I live better when I live without carbs. Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, these fad diets are actually not fads at all. They are lifestyle changes to remove some foods that best allow for weight control and curbing cravings.

Yep. NO CARBS. Generally the average person is supposed to consume between 225 grams to 325 grams of carbs a day – roughly half of a day’s caloric intake will be from carbs. But if carbs are cut to a maximum of 50 grams per day, the body goes into ketosis. This is a state where it burns fat for fuel instead of sugar.

Who even knew a body could do that?

I’ve tried it and I like it, but I find it can be hard to sustain. But without carbs, I get no cravings. I get no hunger pangs. I get no sugar rushes or crashes. My body burns my fat supply as readily accessible fuel. It allows me to make better food choices.

There’s definitely something about sugar…

My mantra: Food is fuel. I can enjoy a nice steak, just skip the dinner rolls. I can have some savoury kale chips, just smaller portions. I can even indulge in chocolate, so long as it’s good, dark chocolate with no sugar added. I seriously love 85% cocoa chocolate.

It’s astounding what the body can do. There are apps to help track carbs and lists of healthy and nutritious foods that will give you all of the nutrients you need, it’s just a shame there’s no app that can actually convince me to put down the snacks and get to the gym!

NOTE: There are differing views on ketogenic diets. A ketogenic diet has been considered beneficial for medical reasons – like treating epilepsy, weight control – but can be extremely dangerous, too, specifically to diabetics. Before embracing this diet, please do your own research and talk to your doctor.