“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”
― Giuseppe Verdi
"Dinner time! Baked ziti!", was a familiar call by my mother. Baked ziti, angel hair pasta, bread, rice. In non-Italian terms, the more carbs the better. I loved them and thought all people who gave them up were crazy, until I became one of them.
I was introduced to an amazing nutritionist, Maria Emmerich, whose online blog started it all. I read her ideas about health and factual information which made a lot of sense for me. I love everything I tried including almond flour waffles, no carb lasagna, low carb cinnamon bun cookies, etc. The main thing was learning how to cook this way. At my house, we never used butter, oil, or mayo. Always "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" spray, lean cuisine meals, skim milk, whole wheat pasta, low cal/low fat this and that. Little did I know by getting rid of the calories and fat you add a TON of carbs. When I told Maria this she said "EAT REAL FOOD" meaning butter, unprocessed stuff that has lower carbs and more fat and calories. It still didn't make sense because that is how I thought you became healthy and lost weight. I guess I just had to get over it.
A big thing I learned that our bodies are only supposed to have 1 tsp of sugar in our blood to be normal. For every 4 grams of carbs= 1 tsp of sugar, so if for have something with 16 carbs that means 4 tsp of sugar which is 4 times the amount of sugar we are supposed to have at a time. So what happens is our insulin, which was really only meant as a back-up system, is having to be over used to get that level down and in order to do that, our bodies stop getting rid of fat and starts to store it. So we think by eating low cal we're doing great, but it in the end we actually end up storing more fat and, in the long term gaining weight. There was always at least one carb attached to each meal, so I literally had to get rid of everything in my personal pantry and retrain my brain.
I learned to enjoy protein and fresh veggies way more then I expected and my meals consist of that mostly. I add some dairy from time to time but my energy levels changed drastically. I feel so much better getting all the excess carbs and processed crap out of my system. Looking back at how I ate and how I eat now, I can't believe I ever functioned or even knew what feeling good was like. I have myself back and that is a huge achievement. So when I tell people that I don't eat carbs and they say "OMG, I feel so sorry for you", I tell them not to and wonder if they every really know what feeling good truly means. I am still the daughter of an Italian mother and still enjoy amazing Italian dishes that I modify for my diet, even though I still dream of freshly baked bread. *Sigh*
At the end of the day, there is no 100% perfect "diet" the world must follow to be healthy. Some people cannot process gluten, some can't process dairy but whatever makes you feel good from the moment you wake up till the moment you fall aslessp, that is probably what is best for you. Whatever makes your blood work come back good, what your professional health adviser says is right for your body is probably what is best for you. This is what works for ME, and that is who I am focusing on. So don't feel sorry for me. I feel great and I wouldn't change my diet for the world.
For great health advice and amazing recipes check out Maria's health blog mariahealth.blogspot.com