Friday, January 4

Designing Your Appetite

Some days when I am crankier than usual, there is something that really bugs me about, in general, "the low carb world" that I see online. (Meaning, the overall 'social result' of community.) Do you ever notice this?

It's this: so many people just want to eat crap.

If you tell them they can't have crappy carbs, they instantly start doing everything they can to reproduce the crap in a lowcarb fashion.

Surely this must be what inspired all those horrible frankenfood pseudo-lowcarb abominations that bombed in the grocery world (and gave the erroneous impression to marketers that "low-carb is dead" as a result).

I found that when I quit eating things breaded, for example, I quit needing to find semi-lowcarb grain-based specialty-foods for breading stuff. This matters because, even though you can do it, most the time it means you use the majority of your daily carb on lowcarb bread crumbs or carbquik instead of on something actually good for you like veggies. (Or at least almonds or seeds or cheese or something.)

If it were just a little in a muffin batch or meatloaf it'd be one thing, but foods with major elements that are based on crappy food have more than one problem.

I've nothing against creative food. It's one of my personal focii in fact. And I've nothing against reproducing highcarb food in lowcarb ways really, that's natural. Except that some things, you really cannot produce in a lowcarb way without either getting into highly processed stuff or ...

Or without keeping your taste for it. If despite being lowcarb, I continued to eat tacos instead of taco salad, burgers instead of pattymelts, and breaded chicken instead of baked, roasted, crocked, parm'd, grilled chicken, then I would still WANT those things.

A great deal of going-off-lowcarb seems to hinge on the person feeling like there is something that is high-carb that they just aren't getting. Over time, I've come to feel that in fact, the problem is not that there is something they aren't getting. The problem is that they have not adapted to "wanting what they have."

Think of it like an appetite for sex -- food being related. ;-) A man might not have the buxom blonde coworker he thinks is sexy, but that is only an issue if he really wants her. If he is happy with his woman, he won't CARE that he doesn't/can't have the other one; it may be eye-candy just like some high-carb foods are, sure, but it's just no big deal and there is no real desire that would make him give up what he has.

Well I think it's kinda similar with food. If a person keeps eating "crap-LIKE" foods, they continue their appetite for crap food. Then when someone goes, "Hey, here's some crap food!" they eventually think, "Wow, that looks great, and it's even more familiar-tasting than the crap-LIKE food I've been faking on lowcarb!"

But if you adapt people to eating real food in a way that is healthy, and they learn to like real food made healthily, then they have far less reason to "go off" lowcarb. They don't feel like they're "missing or faking" a burger bun with lettuce. They don't feel like they're missing a tortilla when they eat the ingredients as a hot plate. They don't feel like they're missing breading when they eating roasted chicken.

And eventually, they will breed an appetite, and a FAMILIARITY, with good food, and reduce both appetite and familiarity with the crap. Familiarity is one of the big issues too.

So, some days it just irks me to see so many trying to stuff highcarb into lowcarb. Crap is crap. I don't care if Wheat Protein Isolate and Sweetzfree and ThickNThin made it possible to just barely squeeze that food through the digestive system as "a mostly low-carb ECC" value. That only means that
(a) all those carbs someone could have eaten in life-giving food, they didn't, and
(b) they continue their familiarity with that food, and
(c) they continue their appetite for food that tastes like that, and
(d) they continue their dependence on specialty foods the local grocery likely doesn't have or that cost more.

I'm not saying we can't use high-carb or specialty-stuff. I do. I'm just saying that sometimes I see people who so overwhelm their food with it, either so often, or so overwhelmingly in a given dish, that the reality is, they are NOT "adapting to eating lowcarb as a lifestyle," they are instead, "attempting to temporarily adapt lowcarb eating to be just like the crappy highcarb eating they always did, except the carbs, and a sense of 'fake/not as good'."

Until people learn to LIKE lowcarb well enough that they have NO REASON to be "so tempted by that buxom blonde breaded-fried chicken that they "fall off the wagon" and have some, lowcarb is going to BE a wagon that they can fall off.

Because that is really the point: men don't sleep with the secretary because they want her, they sleep with her because they have lost interest or concern for their wife. So the reality is that the reason for the wandering-into-badlands is about his relationship with his wife and how he feels about that. If you see what I mean. Well if your relationship with your lowcarb food is great, you have no reason to feel you "need" high-carb food. Because it isn't about what you don't have, it's about how well you like and are comfortable with what you DO have.

When you can eat a piece of roasted chicken, a plain hamburger patty, some stir fried broccoli, and be genuinely happy for it -- love it, have it be your most familiar food, have it be something your body learns to have an appetite for -- lowcarb is no longer HARD. It's easy and constant and familiar.

Anything that's hard, is usually temporary. So it matters.

That is my soapbox for the night!



Sue said...

Yes, I agree. Some low-carb foods are okay but we really need to eat real foods, not processed foods even if they are low-carb.
We need to use our carbs on lots of green salad veg, nuts, seeds etc.
Take vegetarians for instance. A lot are abstaining from meat for many different reasons but one reason may be because they think eating this way is healthier. Why then do they eat the fake-meat, processed garbage!!

Oh.2.B.Fit said...

Hey PJ,
Have I told you lately how much I LOVE reading your blog!!! You're a wonderful writer, and this is soooo true. I always find myself trying to come up with some sweet concoction because I still want crap :( I still haven't had a single cheat in almost a year now, but I still have that monster lurking around inside of me. I think reading your blog right now opened my eyes to a few things about myself. I've also been "stalled" for a couple of months. NOW, I'm not sure if it is an actual stall or not. I had tried to maintain my weight loss for a couple of months because I got so depressed losing weight (how crazy is that???). Now that I have started "trying" to lose again I don't.

The reason I am not certain it is a stall is because I think part of me still isn't ready to start losing again. Fear is a mighty powerful thing :( I know I'm not doing all the things I should be to lose, but I am also not gaining. I have been between 239-237 for MONTHS now.

Anyways I think it's time to get my self going again. I have also been eating more Sugar Free Candy which I wouldn't even buy before. I know that will keep me stuck. I think I do this on purpose. I think I have a bit of a twisted Well, your blog rally helped me today sweetie. And look, I even got to ramble a!!!
I hope you and your daughter have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!

Peace ^_^V

Complex said...

Wow! What a revelation. I agree with you. I'm printing this for my husband.

Complex said...

PJ I love your fitness blog. I just downloaded your spreadsheet. This is very helpful. Please dont stop blogging over there. I'm sure there are many who can use the inspiration. ME for one;) Exercise is very different when one has a lot of weight. PJ I am so excited about finding your blogs. You go girl and I will be reading later.

orodemniades said...

I agree with you as well.

Better people eat a bit of what they actually want, such as bread or fruit or cake or what have you, that go to the substitutes, which are expensive, generally taste disgusting, and are made of 'ingredients' no one outside of a lab has ever heard of.

nonegiven said...

When you improve the quality of your food it is harder to settle for some of the crap out there.

ItsTheWooo said...

HI :)

I agree, I don't think people should be eating this stuff until they have a solid foot in LC.

Me personally I am the LC fake queen. My house this christmas had so many low carb cookies that really, you would be very very picky if you said you could "Taste the difference". Some of my cookies were even preferred to the high carb versions.

The thing is though, I know myself, and I will never ever eat crap food again. I'm in absolutely no danger of saying "hey this cookie is good but the one from the bakery is better!!!". I can just enjoy my LC cookie and feel satisfied.

Also, it's important to remember the reason we do LC... I do it simply because on a physiological level I can't metabolize carbohydrate. That's all. If I didn't have this weird issue with carbs/insulin/blood sugar I would eat normal food.
I'm not really all that interested in eating "perfect" food. I do try to eat healthy, and I"m sure I eat much healthier than most people (its very difficult to eat less healthy if you low carb, veggies are so convenient starch replacers). But, I'm not exactly going to lose sleep over the fact that my snacks are like, green tea lattes (made with splenda) and linzer cookies (made with almond meal, kevin's flour blend, and home made raspberry sauce, sugar free with splenda).
I mean I could have spent those 3 carbs on a big bowl of spinach sure but... uh... no thanks LOL.
My main meals always have a few veggies anyway, and I eat so many healthy foods, I don't worry too much about it.

Besides, most of the carbs from my low carb fake foods actually come from nutritious things. I don't spend any carbs on splenda nymore, so it all pretty much comes from nuts, chocolate, berries, zucchini, etc. The flour itself is very low carb.

So for me LC is just about being not-fat, and getting control of hypoglycemia and PCOS and stuff like that. I do care about the healthfulness of my diet but I don't see any point to depriving myself unnecessarily. I will relish everything I can still eat, and I will not beat myself up because I don't always eat veggies.

(Actually I just found out that too much protein actually adversely affects my glucose control and health; I always wondered why I felt so much better eating my "fake cookies" and things, now I know why: I was decreasing my protein intake. Sometims, food that seems healthy is actually the food that keeps us less healthy. We all know this is true about oatmeal and sweet fruits... but I've just discovered even seemingly low-carb-perfect food like a lot of meat can be just as bad as carbs).

Anonymous said...

For me having food that is simulated high carb is a bit like a recovering alcoholic having near-beer.. No it's not the actual thing, but it's close enough to elict a pavlovian kind of response. For me eating a L/C diet with foods that would have been available in the 1950's seems to work best. Once I'm through induction and over the really strong carb cravings that come with that this 50's style L/C seems to keep my carb desires at bay quite a bit better.


Anonymous said...


Well said and at the right time!

I have seen so many recipes for faux breads, faux cakes, pies and other things to take the place of the real thing.

I tried some of those and I cannot get used to the carbulose, carbquick and anything trying to take the place of the "real thing!"

I wish everybody would read this. I would rather have the "real thing" than the fake stuff, but I don't want it.

So Thank you for writing this! This is the most logical article I've read since doing Atkins!!

Good Job!!

Sharon said...

Great post! As I was reading I kept thinking "yes! She has hit the nail on the head! It IS about adapting to real food that is LC rather than trying to make high carb foods into some kind of frankenfood that has lower carbs."
I have a metabolism that just won't metabolism any flour products properly. I can't have any of it at all. Unfortunately I LOVE all bread products and everything else that is made with flour. (Pancakes, muffins, pretzels, cakes, cookies, etc.)
I feel so deprived when I see others eating those things and I SO want to be able to eat them too.
I loved the analogy about the buxom blood. It IS all about being happy with what you have.
Real food, whole food, non processed food. Actual food.
Love your blog. So glad I found you and hope we can travel this LC journey together with great success.