Friday, August 31

Pastafarian Groove

Before I say this, I need to point out that PASTA WILL PROBABLY KILL YOU. OK, my moral duty is done.

Next, I also want to point out that Big Daddy D has a zucchini-as-pasta recipe he rates as his #1 lowcarb favorite recipe, which since his website is stuffed full of awesome recipes is probably really saying something.

I just wanted to mention kind of a trivial thing here.

Long before going lowcarb, before the carb thing was even a conscious issue for me, I had a problem with pasta. The problem was, even in my blood-sugar-oblivion of those days, I knew very well from repeat experience that pasta would make it spike and crash. For some reason, I could eat three times the carbs in other foods and not seem to have too major an effect, but eat pasta, and I would literally get dizzy and lightheaded, or if sitting down like on my bed with my laptop, might literally just pass out into sleep without ever going through the conscious decision to do that first. It was frightening.

Some time ago I bought "Dreamfields" pasta. This is said to be "lowcarb" pasta. It's got hype all over the box, and all over the internet.

See the idea is that the processing of the grain makes the protein count much higher, and the fiber count much higher -- rather like in Wheat Protein Isolate for example (a flour-type that products like CarbQuick utilize) -- and hence, the resulting pasta made from that flour has enough of both to offset the more limited carb count and slow down its digestion so that it has a lesser impact on your blood sugar.

The problem is, for me, it doesn't work.

I am not diabetic. I do seem to be insulin resistant. But there are only a couple of foods that so kick the ass of my blood sugar regulation that shortly after eating them I all but pass out, and pasta -- even in limited doses -- is one of them.

Since pasta with pesto was hands-down my favorite food in the universe next to pizza, the other food-that-will-kill-me as irony would have it, this is just SUCH a bummer.

I tried Dreamfield's pasta. And I had the same blood sugar response as I get with regular pasta, basically. If it was reduced in any way, it was not measurable to me -- since I'm not literally measuring the "high" of the blood sugar as diabetics do, merely reporting on my physical "nearly passed out" response to the later blood sugar drop.

I've heard other people report this on the lowcarb forums, including diabetics who were measuring: that Dreamfields pasta spiked their blood sugar in a way it was heavily advertised not to.

So, my 30-second hope that maybe teeeeny amounts of pasta on my higher-carb cycling days would be do-able were dashed.

But then....

Had to buy some pasta for a dinner I promised to make for the kid and her friend. Standing in the grocery, I see this pasta called Barilla Plus. Now, Barilla is the primary manufacturer of pasta in the world. They've probably induced more gradual diabetes than any corporation except the soda makers. But this "Plus" version, as I read it, appears to be the equivalent of Dreamfield's: high protein, high fiber.

It doesn't actually make any big deal about the lowcarb aspect, but that is the essential result, is less blood sugar impact from the carbs which is the whole point. So I figure since I have to buy something for the kids, I'll try this -- I'm mixing it with meat so hopefully they'll at least have more protein.

Dinner -- hamburger meat, newman's spaghetti sauce, and penne pasta of the Barilla Plus variety, with parmesan cheese and some oregano on top -- looked and smelled so amazingly good that I fell completely off the wagon and ate a bunch of it. Not just a little. A bunch.

Oddly, the "dizzy nearly passed out" feeling never happened. I felt perfectly normal and hours later, marveled.

Probably a fluke, I figured. And there was lots of meat in that dish to try and 'balance' the carbs better and... and it was probably a fluke. I'd love to use that excuse to try and explain why, about six hours later, I nuked a bunch of this concoction (which was very thick, between the meat and penne) and ate a whole plate of the stuff.

And still I had NONE of the "blood sugar crash and burn"-effect that I get with any other form of pasta -- including dreamfields.

I ate some more of it the next day. For whatever reason, this ghoulash-like thick mix in the fridge called me like a siren -- something that carbs in general don't do, by the way, when I'm on lowcarb I am not really tempted by carby food in general. It just tasted really GOOD and was great as a quick heat-up munchie food. But still no measurable effect.

Here's the more amazing thing. I ate two big portions of this one day, and another big portion of it the next day. And it did not seem to affect my ketosis at all.

Whether this is the meat, or the improvement of the pasta, I have no idea. But since even lowcarbers sometimes make pasta dishes for others, or have carb-cycling high-carb days, I thought I would mention this stuff.

Barilla Plus. Make it with white sauce and lots of chicken, or red sauce and lots of beef burger, if you must have it at all. (I'm sure the preference is not to have it at all, on lowcarb plans -- especially if you are gluten-free!) Given that it didn't make my blood sugar crash as-prepared, and didn't seem to interfere with my ketosis, I think I may plan this as one of the foods I have on my higher-carb days -- not in excess, just as a nice change.

I don't really like the idea of programming myself to eat high-carb-variants, as I feel that sorta defeats the purpose of learning to eat well, but my kid is a pasta freak and it's difficult for me to resist that particular temptation. From now on, if and when that might happen, I'm using that stuff instead.


Thursday, August 30

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Hey! I AM alive. Hard as it is to believe some days.

Right now I am working like 8am to 2am. It's nuts. So I don't have much time to write and it's kind of hard to formulate ANY thought, let alone a decent blog post. But I will be back soon!

I have several major focuses in my life which tend to take up about 98% of my attention when they are present. At which point, everything else falls away. I go through these focuses one at a time. And when I am with focus X, everybody in focus Y and Z think, "What on earth happened to her?!" and my friends get irked at me and so on.

I guess the reality is that I am a chronically over-committed sort and I can only be with any program "cyclically".

Alas, that seems to include an eating program. I've been ignoring Lowcarb for awhile now but AS OF MONDAY 9/3 I am back on a 12 week plan. I have a nifty spreadsheet for that as well as one for general tracking that I will link on my next post in case anybody else wants to use them.

I haven't had any money for awhile (when I say that I am being quite literal) but I get paid tomorrow so can finally go shopping for REAL FOOD. Not the carbfest nightmare (Ramen is 6for$1) I've been eating while in temporary poverty. I know, some great bloggers have exampled how LC can be done on a budget (Regina at Weight of the Evidence) has more than one good post on that) but I don't think I budget well enough to do it on twice that budget. It's a good thing I have a job is all I can say.

Meanwhile back at the... er, mental world of PJ, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the stuff I blogged on some time ago regarding society bias against fat, and "fat activism" and things like that. It really moved me and made me feel quite differently about my lowcarb public stuff than I used to.

I eat lowcarb--not as often as I should--because for me, it is healthy, it tends to avoid gluten, it definitely avoids carbs, it increases my protein, and I like the food. I am much healthier when I'm eating lowcarb. I feel so sorry for people who, when they diet, are really doing nothing more than being miserable and underfed for awhile but otherwise see little benefit to it besides a slow wasting of muscle that reads on the scale as weight loss so they're happy.

Totally aside from weighing some insane amount I am too frightened to step on the scale to rediscover, I would eat low carb because it's good for me in so many ways. It isn't really about weight loss. Yes, I *want* bodyfat loss -- absolutely! But I want about a dozen other things just as much frankly, all of which matter too. Putting the focus on 'weight loss' first, is kind of misleading because it ought to be about bodyfat, not just pounds. Second, it's kind of overbalanced because it ought to be about health, not just size. And third, it's just incomplete, because LC is as good for me for other reasons as it is for gradual weight loss reasons.

So I think when I get some time (in a day or so--by end of this weekend latest I hope) to come back and blog properly (I have several taggings I must respond to!), I think I am going to take my weight off my blog. I'll keep it on my journal on the forum so anybody can see it if they want, as I link to it with my screen name from here; it isn't that it's a secret.

Recently there was a big drama (actually I think it is quietly continuing) about an eating plan that is, off-paper and into the hands-on practice, basically a starvation diet. Well, I really want the focus on this blog to be "healthy lowcarb yummy stuff and life", not, "the contest to lose scale-pounds by eating a certain way", and partly that's because this mentality about "eat this way to lose weight!" is really part of the same problem that drives people to starvation diets to begin with.

If the focus were on what is healthy for you, what makes you feel good and strong and mentally clear and physically able, then there would never be any confusion about why living on 400 calories a day might be ok. I say this as a person who regularly, if not forcibly on a lowcarb eating plan, lives on sometimes that many calories a day. That is why I'm hugely fat. I ought to be a walking testimony-of-terror to anorexic groups about what mucking up your metabolism in the most serious way can do to a person.

So I'm not saying I don't understand. Eating is inconvenient and time consuming and in general a bother unless I have time and interest. If someone fed me, I'd eat all the time. When my laziness and busy-ness (I am over-"focused" as attention goes) has to compete with food, it often loses. So I am no saint on the food front. I'm just saying that the whole focus on butt-size compared to what goes in your mouth is really part of the problem to begin with, that causes people to starve themselves or live solely on cabbage or all kinds of other bizarre and stupid acts of hysteria to deal with fat. And meanwhile, it means that even the people who should most support the acceptance of 'size' in our society, no matter what it is, are basically playing the same game as those against it, when the primary focus isn't "Hey I'm healthy and happy and isn't this eating plan great" but rather, "Here's how much of that nasty ugly weight I've managed to lose."

Maybe in reality we shouldn't congratulate people for losing scale weight--but for improving their health, which is just as hard-won an effort for people who do this in ways like removing cream from their coffee, or getting off gluten-containing foods, or improving their vegetable intake, as for people who do it by "officially losing weight."

My point is that the whole concept of an eating plan is life-wide. It shouldn't really be about your butt. It should be about your health in 1001 ways, your longevity, your quality of life. Person X who is eating broccoli and roasted chicken but not losing weight if that's the case, is working JUST AS HARD on improving his life as person Y who is eating pepperoni and frankenfoods but losing weight on the scale.

A focus on health would circumvent a lot of problems and put the lowcarb focus where it belongs. I believe this issue of putting the health goals first and weight issues second is the way it ought to be, and I plan to do that with my exercise blog as well. Which I forgot I even owned until recently. Damn, I am such a scatterbrain! Can I blame this on eating all those carbs?! :-)