Version Of a Popular Low-Carb Diet
When I first
ventured into my low-carb regimen, I did not mean to stick to it
longer than 2 weeks. I was pretty well known for my sweet tooth, my
weakness for everything unhealthy, for those cravings that struck
even at my work place. In fact, my colleagues accused me of getting
them addicted to sweet nothings that were high on calories and bad
for their figure. But well, I had to do something about my weight
that had steadily climbed to an ominous 205 lbs! In the two years
that I stopped my gym routine, I had gained an incredible 52 lbs! I
was beginning to have severe acid reflux problems, and I often
imagined that I was having palpitations.
That was when a friend of mine mentioned to me about the South Beach
Diet, which was supposed to be easier than the other low-carb diets,
and more suited to the Indian eating ways. The diet promised a
weight loss of 8-13 lbs in the first two weeks!
I didn’t believe for a moment that I would be able to stick to the
diet beyond two weeks. But here I am, four months later, and 33 lbs
lighter, still pretty much on the diet.
The diet worked for me primarily because of two reasons. The pay-off
was high. I began to shed weight almost immediately. In the first
two weeks, I had lost 10 lbs. The weight loss continued steadily,
and by the end of 2 months, I had lost close to 25 lbs. The second
reason was, as promised, the diet curbed my cravings for sweets and
carbs. The Beach does not demand calorie counting and portion
restrictions. But, for somebody, who couldn’t survive without
chocolates and rich desserts, reaching this craving-less state was
nothing short of magical.
It also helped to have a support system. My sister-in-law went on
the diet along with me. We support each other, and exchange recipes.
Encouraged with my success story, many friends are now at various
stages of the regimen.
Popular low-carb diets are not designed keeping the Indian eating
habits in mind. That is where creativity comes to play. My
sis-in-law and I have devised ways to Indianize the diet to suit our
The following is an Indian variation to the low-carb diet.
Phase I Goals
In the first two weeks you can lose anywhere from 8-13 pounds,
mostly from your belly.
The reason for restricting the foods below is to reverse insulin
resistance, reduce cravings, and get you losing fast.
What did I eat: Eggs, chicken breast, fish, canola oil (I
limited intake to just 2 tsps a day), non-fat milk, non-fat cheese,
non-fat yogurt, skim milk ricotta cheese, veggies (carrots,
potatoes, corn and beets have a high glycemic value, and are to be
strictly avoided) and lots of nuts. I also added my own Indian
recipes to the diet. Moong dal dosas*, and low-fat paneer.
I usually marinated my chicken breast in tandoori masala and
baked/grilled it, after spraying it with ‘I Can’t Believe Its
Not Butter’ cooking spray.
To satisy my sweet tooth, I added Splenda sugar substitute in my tea
and coffee, and into my desserts.(Pls see recipe for mocha ricotta
crème below.) I also stocked my freezer with non-sugar fudgesicles
and sugar free jello.
Phase II Goals
Foods I Reintroduced: One phulka (dry roti) or 2 slices of
brown bread topped with peanut butter for breakfast. Green peas,
black eyed peas, rajma, chole, sprouts, one serving of fruits like
mangoes, strawberries, apples, oranges, grapes, grapefuit, dried and
fresh apricots, cantaloupe, cherries, peaches and plums. In fact,
most fruits except bananas and watermelons.
I am still on phase II of the diet. These days, I do not cook
separate meals. If I have to eat chicken, I just pick the breast
pieces from the chicken curry I’ve cooked for my family, or I
break in a couple of eggs into the curry. The same goes for veggie
curries. I eat the same food my family does, except for the rice and
rotis. Don’t I feel hungry? Well, I’ve added another Indian
trick to my diet. I make thin dosas out of besan (chickpea flour)
and have them as substitute for roti. Also, since there are no
portion restrictions, I eat really big portions until I feel full. I
also keep a jar of peanuts, almonds, walnuts and cashew nuts handy
for whenever hunger strikes. One can eat up to 6 times a day in this
Phase III Goals
I will get into the third phase of the diet once I reach my target
weight loss. The third phase is a maintenance phase and is
life-long. When I reach that phase, I will increase my carb intake.
I will have a roti with every meal. Or, alternatively, I will have
one serving of brown (par boiled) rice. I will enjoy regular food,
but sensibly. I will probably enjoy a chocolate/dessert once a week.
But at all times, I will guard myself against going back to my old
Moong Dal Dosa: Soak moong overnight. Grind to a fine paste,
along with cumin, coriander leaves and salt. Make thin dosas and
relish by itself or during lunchtime with curry.
Tomato Omelet: Mix besan with chopped onions, tomatoes, green
chilies, salt, turmeric and water. Spread on hot pan to make thin
‘omelet’. Flip over after a while.
Mocha Ricotta Crème: Mix together half-cup skim milk ricotta
crème, two packs Splenda, walnut or pecan bits and mocha (coffee).
Makes a tasty dessert.
*This article is written by a non-medical person and is not
meant to be taken as medical advice.