The compliance question: low-carb

Pretty much any diet works if you stick to it. The question is, can you stick to it?

With low-carb I think I managed quite well. I don’t think I managed the 20g of carbs per day target every day, but a back-of-the-envelope guess told me I probably managed it more than half of the time[1], and I don’t think I had a day where I ate more than 50g of carbs. Which is pretty good.

What was it like for eating out?

Business travel: I had a large breakfast and skipped the sandwich lunch, in the evening I had a steak. Staying in an out-of-town chain hotel, I strolled around the corner to an out-of-town retail park and had a cheeky Nandos (chicken, coleslaw, salad, water). It was rather nice.

Takeaways: Curry takeaways, I went for a piece of fish (Salmon Tikka) with various vegetable sides. Probably not 100% low carb, but pretty close and actually surprisingly nice – normally I’d have shared a rice AND a nan but it was a treat anyway without them.

Breakfast: Eating out for low-carb breakfast is trivial in the UK – bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato.

How easy was it to be veggie?

I’m not a vegetarian – you can probably work that out from my answer to the eating out question – but I like to eat a lot of vegetarian food, so being able to be veggie much of the time is pretty important to me. This was one of the tricky bits about low-carbing. I ended up eating a lot of nuts, eggs and cheese, which is fine, but I also ended up eating more meat than I’d normally like to. I really missed being able to eat beans and lentils.

What about snacking?

I did get quite hungry from time to time. Just kidding – I nearly ate my own jumper once. For snacking there are a lot of high protein things people suggest (“a hardboiled egg”, “some ham”) but nothing quite worked as well as a piece of fruit would have done. Apart from… Avocados and tomatoes, which are of course pieces of fruit. Who’d have thought it?

Cream cheese as a dip with some celery was quite nice, but contains a few carbs so can’t really be eaten to excess. Also, protein rich snacks take a while to stop you being hungry which is rubbish when you’re hungry.  There were no low carb snacks on the train or station when I was travelling up to Glasgow – I had to leave the station during a big gap in the journey, walk to a mini supermarket and get myself some Brazil nuts. That said, there aren’t that many diets which are easy to follow on a rail-replacement bus service.


Was it easy to comply?

Looking back at the last 4 weeks I’m quite pleased that I managed to stick to the diet. It’s not one that naturally fits what I like to eat, but it was interesting to eat different stuff for a bit. Olive oil, cheese, coconut oil, coconut cream… All usually things I minimise. You have to plan, particularly for travel.

If I had to sum it up I’d say that the low carb was hard to follow, but made an interesting change.


[1] I’m not going to count – that way lies dietary obsession [2]

[2] Of course you may think that following a different diet each month and keeping a blog about it is already a sign of dietary obsession, but I’m not sure.

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