Our Low-Carb Diet - Explaining What We Eat
and Why

Our Low-Carb Diet is very simple.  It is based on our Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Diet Plan, however, it includes a more narrow range of options allowed in that plan.  Why?  Because we have found eating a very simple, low-carb diet that is high in protein, with moderate to high amounts of fat to be what works best for us.  

It is similar to what our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors would have eaten, and it reflects the preferences that would have been particular to our individual, but similar more recent ancestry.

Your  version of a low-carb diet will reflect your personal background, needs, ancestry, and personal preferences, as I discussed in the article about a Healthy Diet.  The TYTN Diet Plan is a low-carbohydrate diet with plenty of wiggle room for individual needs.  

In this article, I will explain why I consider certain foods healthy despite mainstream beliefs ~ and my own beliefs at one point ~ believing some of the foods we eat to be among those I previously considered the least healthy.  My hope is that by understanding my choices, the mental resistance will be less of an obstacle to others who desire to lose weight and experience better health by eating their version of a healthy, low-carb diet.

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What we consider part of a healthy, low-carb diet

Take a look at the picture to the right.  Some people will immediately drool at the thought of eating that.  Others may be repulsed.

We have affinities to certain foods, often based on the typical diet our ancestors would have eaten over the last several thousand years - or more!

Even if you grew up with no sense of a connection to your ancestry, you are part of a chain.  Their DNA is within you, and whether you are aware or not, it could be affecting many of your choices.  Your preferences and your dislikes may hail from distant ancestors you never met.

The foods that were predominantly available ~ locally ~ would have been preferred foods.

Whether you consider pork, beef, dairy foods, saturated fats, etc. healthy is heavily influenced by your heritage.

Local brats cooked w/ cabbage & whole grain mustard, served w/ radishes ~ an Eastern European style meal that you can enjoy on a low-carb diet!

Beyond our ancestry - and culture - influencing what we may resonate with and prefer to eat, versus what we may believe is healthy, or not, is the subliminal but powerful indoctrination we have all been receiving on an ongoing basis - in media, schools, and elsewhere - whether we realize it or not.

Some cultures and religions believe the pig is a 'dirty' animal, while others revered pork.  Many of European descent included pork ~ raised naturally, not in artificial industrial settings ~ as part of their traditional diet.  Yes pigs roll around in dirt.  But so do dogs and cats.  This keeps them cool, and rubs off bugs.  And, it looks like they are having fun!

Pork is high in vitamins that beef is lower in, such as B1, thiamine.  Thiamine is used to help metabolize protein and fats, convert glucose into energy, and for maintaining healthy functioning of the heart and nerves.

Pork can be very lean, or very fatty, depending on the cut ~ same as beef.  The fat from pigs is at least one third monounsaturated which you may not be aware of.  Animal fat is not entirely saturated, however coconut oil largely is.

Pigs are ideal animals to have on a small farm.  They eat up scraps and forage, and turn it into useable, nutrient-dense protein, and delicious cuts that are higher in fat, such as pork belly which is cured to  become bacon.  

As all things, when consumed judiciously with mindfulness, it can absolutely be part of a healthy low-carb diet.

Red meat has also been under fire in the last several years.  Not too long ago, beef was the affordable, primary staple.  Why?  As Joel Salatin points out in his book, Folks, this ain't normal, until recently, grain was too expensive to produce.  Grains were consumed only during celebratory occasions, or among the wealthy. 

It took the convergence of cheap oil, government subsidies, and technology to allow a once very time-consuming and expensive process of growing grain to be suddenly available ~ on the cheap.  

Once it was cheaper to produce and ship grain, cows were taken off the pasture, and put on un-natural diets of now cheap grain.   Mono-cropping, tillage, and the use of  synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides replaced the more normal systems of raising herbivores on pasture in a dynamic and diverse agricultural system that was once the norm across much of the country.

According to Joel Salatin, "Actually, I don't think we should eat so much chicken.  If you really want to do something environmentally healing, eat forage-finished beef."

"...One of the most poignant and active environmental decisions you can make is to patronize 100 percent grass-based herbivores:  beef, dairy, lamb, chevon, yak, bison, deer, antelope, elk, moose...you get the picture."

Despite the popularity of low-carb diets, beef consumption has dropped dramatically over the last couple decades.

Cows out to pasture, a bucolic scene that was once the norm, here and throughout Europe, the West, and probably many other areas that were no longer hunter-gatherers.

A low-carb diet has been proven to be a healthy diet, which I covered in part in Healthy Eating.  I highly recommend three books that will helped convince Don and myself that eating a low-carb diet is our natural, healthy diet.  

NeanderThin, by Ray Audette; Life Without Bread, by Christian B. Allan, MD, and Wolfgang Lutz, MD; and Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes.  Why We Get Fat, by Taubes, along with Grain Brain:  The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers, by David Perlmutter, MD,  are also recommended.

You can also watch very interesting interviews and discussions with Dr. Perlmutter on YouTube, including this one discussing the ketogenic diet, carbs, and gut health.

In the videos to the right, Dr. Ted Naiman discusses what to eat and why a low-carb diet is better for weight loss and blood sugar balance.  He explains the impact different foods have on insulin  based on their glycemic index and glycemic load in the first video.

The amount of circulating insulin directly affects blood sugar balance.  Insulin is a hormone that contributes to fat storage.  Therefore, the more you consume foods which drive up the production of insulin ~ primarily carbohydrates ~ the more readily your body will store excess as fat, and make weight loss difficult while continuing to consume those foods.

The second video discusses which types of tests are the most important for determining your insulin levels, and overall health.  The main one being the ratio of your waist circumference to your height.  Don discusses this here.

Details of our version of a healthy, low-carb diet, based on our ancestry

  • We adhere to the principles outlined in The Trust Your True Nature Diet Plan, roughly outlined in the Healthy Eating article, or in our 30-Day Challenge here.
  • We avoid the foods listed in the Healthy Diet article.
  • We seem to be feeling our best when we consume only about 10% of total calories as carbohydrates.  I rarely eat more than 50g of carbs per day.  This may change over time.
  • We eat 3-4 meals per day.  This is actually more like two main cooked meals, and one to two mini meals or snacks.
  • My main formula for eating, (especially good for weight loss) is Pro + Fat x 3.  Have three meals per day  with a protein focus.  Have an appropriate amount and type of fat, and one other food, like a vegetable.  You can certainly have more than one other food with your meal, but that is the basic building block to success.  
  • Our main staples include:  beef (we stock up on the 100% grass-fed ground beef sales at our local Sprouts store), eggs, and some animal fats including unsalted butter (preferably Kerrygold, or other better quality butter), bacon and the bacon fat and fat naturally occurring in the meats.  
  • We supplement with ham or other cuts of pork, chicken, turkey, salmon, sardines, and some other fish on occasion, and some whole-fat dairy foods including heavy cream, half and half, 4% whole-fat cottage cheese, and a grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese we purchase from Trader Joe's.
  • Don and I have primarily  Hungarian, German,  French, Polish & English ancestry.   We enjoy our occasional bratwursts, sausages, radishes, and other salty or lacto-fermented vegetables including sauerkraut.  Our ancestors would have also consumed more fats from animal sources than plants.
  • Other foods we eat include nuts native to or grown in America and Europe, such as pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds; some seasonal fruits and vegetables.  
  • Our favorite summer vegetables  have been cucumbers, radishes, zucchini while in season, and tomatoes.  We also regularly consume onions and mushrooms.
  • Fruits include seasonal berries, plums, peaches, cantaloupe, apple, pear, and prunes.  When eating an apple or pear, which are both higher in fructose, I often consume a small amount, or up to one half at a time.
  • We regularly make and consume bone broth.
  • My main 'treat' food is 15g of 100% bakers chocolate.  I eat this after breakfast, as it helps me to finish my meal, and curb cravings for anything else afterwards.
Bone Broth Soup w/ added kale & tomato, served for breakfast w/ scrambled eggs ~ all low-carb diet approved!

My recommendations for making a low-carb diet work for you.

  • Keep meals simple, especially if you have digestive issues, allergies, skin disorders, etc., as the simpler the meal, the easier to sleuth out dietary culprits.
  • Trust your true nature!  Lean more into what you feel drawn to, less what your mind has come to believe 'is healthy.'   The mind gets attached to ideas, which may or may not be true for you.
  • We like keeping an extra-lean ham loaf around.  I will measure anywhere between 50-100g to have as a snack with a little of the grass-fed cheddar cheese, and some vegetables.  I'm in the process of putting up a page highlighting some of our main low-carb snacks or mini meals.  Super simple, affordable, easy.
  • Consider featuring the foods most likely consumed based on your ancestral diet.  For example, many from Northern European descent consumed pork, beef, and dairy, including butter and heavy cream.  Those around the Mediterranean areas may do better focusing on fish and using more olive oil.  Coconut oil is not native to Europe or America, so I consider it more of a specialty item, not a primary staple, unless you are from a tropical area where they grow.
  • Ignore what mainstream media claims is or isn't healthy.  Tune in, not out.
  • Eat just enough to feel satisfied.  Protein will satisfy fast, and you won't over eat it.  Have enough fat with it, and fill in with what you crave of vegetables, fruits, nuts, or other carbohydrate-rich foods that are included in the TYTN Diet Plan, such as winter squashes, sweet potatoes, or very small amounts of whole grains if tolerated.
  • If you are consuming grain or bean products, I recommend doing so judiciously and mindfully!  These are often not well tolerated, but until experimenting with eliminating them all for a while, then slowly reintroducing items one at a time, it will be difficult to determine just how these foods are impacting health.  The anti-nutrients in grains and beans inhibit absorption of zinc, and other minerals.
  • When eating a low-carb diet, be sure to include enough good quality sea salt.  Eating a little bacon or having easy to grab foods around like the extra lean ham loaf will also provide needed sodium into the diet.  If it is too salty, place sliced ham in a container with water and keep in your fridge until eating.
  • Take a low-dose magnesium supplement 2-3 times per day if needed for helping with elimination.  I'll be writing an e-book on all you need to know about constipation soon!  Stay tuned!
  • Remember, animal foods and fats are the nutrient-dense foods.  Plant foods are enjoyable, and make a nice complement to animal foods.  Eat what you enjoy, in the quantity you crave, and trust what you are most drawn too!  Filling up on gobs of vegetables like we used to do is not necessary for optimal health.  Eating nutrient-dense animal proteins and fats, and just enough vegetables and some fruit if any is all that you need, and all our ancestors ate for centuries.
  • Be patient! Ride the waves of changes in the beginning, including any minor discomforts or changes to digestion or elimination.  They will pass!

How do you know when you are eating the right foods?

When you feel good.

When your skin gets smoother and softer.

When your hair gets more shiny and less dull.

When you lose weight if needed, without feeling deprived.

When your mood improves.

When your blood sugar remains more balanced.

When you can reduce dependency on pharmaceutical drugs.

When you feel more energized and motivated.

When you love what you eat, and eat what you love while maintaining good health.

In summary, I once believed that eating a mostly plant-based diet was the healthiest diet.  I have been a near life-long advocate of eating lots of dark leafy greens and vegetables ~ long before kale became a household name.  While eating a so-called nutrient-dense, produce-rich whole foods vegan diet, we consumed dark greens and lots of other vegetables ~ DAILY!

Well, despite my good intentions, mineral deficiencies began to show up over time.  Dry hair and skin, brittle nails, fatigue, and ongoing phlegm, congestion, allergies, bloating, constipation, and more.

Quite honestly, at this point, I could care less if I eat kale ever again.  Considering it is actually more of a winter green, I may change my mind.  My point being that I did a lot of research, and there are many who believe vegetables are not all that healthy.  They all contain a certain amount of anti-nutrients, as these compounds help ward off pesky invaders.

Fruits are actually the part of a plant that a plant actually wants you to eat.  I enjoy getting a little fruit in most days, especially during the summer.  Once it is cold out, my tastes will change.  This is natural. Our ancestors would have consumed what was available seasonally.  Cranberries are available in the late fall as these provide the needed vitamin C that may be otherwise lacking.

If you crave broccoli or kale, have it.  If you don't, don't force yourself.  Enjoy your diet, and enjoy your life!  And by all means, a Strong Spirit Woman decides what is right for her, rather than letting others decide for her!  Do your research, pay attention to your body's cues, stay open, and question everything, including and especially your long held beliefs for which you are the most attached!

A low-carb diet can be modified in endless ways.  Make it work for you!

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