What I eat.

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Grassfed burger with Kerrygold cheddar and a duck egg.
Side of buttered spinach.

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I wanted to make my blog a bit more personal, while still being relevant to my clients.  So here goes!

Over the years, my way of eating has ranged from SAD (Standard American Diet) with a healthy dose of liver and onions (thanks Mom!) to ovo-lacto vegetarian to pescaterian to “anything goes” to WAP-inspired to lacto-Paleo (aka Primal.)  This eclectic experience has helped me support my clients with a range of dietary choices.

I was slender until I hit 40 and then started putting on fat, like many peri-menopausal women.  I weighed 118 in high school (not much muscle), 122 as a fit personal trainer at 36, and 145 when I turned 47 years old.  Not OK–not for me!  I decided to do something about it.

For the last 3 years, I have been eating a low carb Primal diet, dropped 15 pounds, (gained 5 back!) and have felt better than ever, but I still was battling with my middle-aged middle and I knew I was not into starving myself or doing crazy amounts of exercise to reach my goals.  From all my research, I know that low calorie dieting and exercise are not sustainable or effective ways to lose body fat.  Read Gary Taubes, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” for more on the topic.

I am still eating a Primal diet, but have recently dropped my carbs even more–with excellent results!  I have easily dropped a few more pounds, have no bloating, can finally see my muscles again, my mind is clear and focused, I am sleeping better, and I have more consistent energy.  Yay!

I am now 50 years old, 5′ 6″, 125 lbs, small frame.

 

This is what I eat:

My first meal generally consists of steak and eggs, or a burger with eggs, or bacon and eggs.  Sometimes with a side of buttered spinach or chard.

My second meal is usually some cheese with olives or pickles or liver paté or salmon or oysters.

I snack on chocolate butter*, or almonds.

Beverages are water, tea w/cream, a  glass of red wine, bone broth, or a very occasional mixed drink (as low sugar as possible.)

Since I want to drop about 3 more lbs of body fat (to get back to my fit weight when I was 36 and a personal trainer), I am eating until I am just full, but not bursting.  I also stop eating by 6 pm.  Once I get to maintenance, I will eat as much as I want, while staying in ketosis.

Interestingly, I am not hungry until about 11 am or noon most days. I drink a cup of tea with heavy cream and a cup of salted bone broth to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes balanced.  I eat one meal late morning and another meal sometime between 4 and 6 pm.

Because I have trouble digesting many vegetables and fruits (FODMAPS-intolerance), I get my micronutrients and minerals from wisely sourced meat, eggs, dairy, bone broth, seafood, and liver/organ meats.   I eat plants that I can digest easily like spinach, chard, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, lemons and limes.

I supplement Vitamin D, Magnesium and Krill oil.  You can read my blog post about supplements here.

 

Ketosis

For the last month, I’ve been eating what is called a ketogenic diet.  Basically, I am running my body off fats (in the form of ketone bodies) instead of carbs (with the exception of the bit of necessary glucose I need for my brain.)  Similar to Atkins induction, but with more fat, less protein and only pastured meats, eggs and dairy and mostly local & organic foods.

Ketosis in a normal person is perfectly safe and some of us are regularly in ketosis in the middle of the night.  Read this and this for more about ketosis.

To stay in ketosis, I eat less than 40 gm of carbs a day, about 60 gm of protein and the rest of my food as fat.  I don’t count calories and I eat only when I am hungry.

The brilliance of being in ketosis, is that my body can access its fat stores and it is starting to self-regulate, like animals do in the wild.  I never feel deprived eating this way.

 

Fats

Yes, I eat about 80% fat!  I am not fat.  How can that be safe?  Read this post.

 

Cholesterol

I eat 3-4 eggs almost every day.  Am I scared?  Nope.  Read this post.

 

What should YOU eat?

I only know what works best for ME.  We are all very unique and what works for you may be very different.

This post on calories may be helpful.

If you want to try out a low carb diet read these posts first:

Tips and Tricks for starting or restarting low carb, part 1

Tips and Tricks for starting or restarting low carb, part 2

If I can help you create an eating plan that meets your needs and lifestyle, contact me here.

 

Other folks who eat like me (and have great blog resources!)

Peter @ Eating Academy

Peter @ Hyperlipid

Anna @ LifeExtension

Amber and Zooko @ Ketotic

 

 

* Chocolate Butter (courtesy Peter @ Hyperlipid)

Melt 8 oz of  butter, (preferably Kerrygold) turn down the heat to low and add two 3.5 oz bars of dark chocolate, broken into pieces (or 1 cup of chocolate chips) Stir completely.

Stir in a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix gently, pour into ice cube trays then freeze. Sprinkle sea salt on top if desired.

Pop out when solid and store in the fridge or freezer. Alternatively, you can pour into a shallow metal or plastic container, freeze and cut into pieces after popping out the hardened chocolate butter.

TIP:  putting the ice cube tray or shallow pan in a pan of hot water for a few seconds will make it easier to get the hardened chocolate butter out!)

 

 

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About Sondra Rose

11 Responses to “What I eat.”

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  1. barb says:

    Another great post! Wondering if you were suffering any other peri-menopause symptoms like ( hot flashes, fuzzy mind, waking up early AM when cortisol levels start to rise and the estrogen isnt there enough to buffer them) And if you did – have you noticed any improvement in these symptoms since going even lower carb??

    thanks,

    • Sondra Rose says:

      Thanks, Barb!

      The only perimenopausal symptoms I had were insomnia, weight gain, vaginal dryness and mood swings. I reduced all of these, except the mood swings, about 3 months after going Primal. And dryness was completely eliminated.

      In ketosis, no mood swings at all, sleep is deeper and I already mentioned the weight loss! My libido seems to be up as well…hurrah!

  2. newtopaleo says:

    Looks like ketosis is working for you. Keep an eye on your labs to make sure everything is good under the hood. Especially reverse T3 and lipid profile. Ketosis does not work for everyone and you could get into a vicious spiral of thyrod problems and adrenal fatigue from which its hard to climb out of. People like Paul Jaminet who recommend some “safe starches” are not stupid. They have valid reasons for doing so.

    http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/09/high-ldl-on-paleo-revisited-low-carb-the-thyroid/

    Go through the comment section also to see what I am trying to say. You can see multiple examples of LDls headed the wrong way. I am not worried if my LDL goes from 140 to 160. But when it reaches north of 200 something is off. Especially if Apob close to 150.

    • Sondra Rose says:

      Thank you for your comment!

      Having transitioned slowly from about 70-100 gms of carbs to 30-40 gms of carbs, I am not concerned about my thyroid or my lipids. I have never had any thyroid issues. I currently have no hypothyroid symptoms and I am not a fan of the lipid hypothesis, in any case.

      Many people go low carb and extremely low calorie abruptly, triggering all sorts of distress in the body. Some of may have previously undiagnosed thyroid issues that they attributed to going vlc. While I don’t dismiss their concerns or distress, I don’t think adding back carbs or taking thyroid meds is the only answer.

      Many new folk who try vlc Paleo are deficient in Vitamin D, A & K, Magnesium, and Iodine, all of which are required for optimal thyroid function. Over the last 4 years, I’ve made sure that I eat a nutrient-dense diet and supplement as needed to avoid these deficiencies.

      Also, if you get tested while you are losing weight (like many folk), your lipid profile will not reflect the state of your body once you reach maintenance.

      While I haven’t read Paul Jaminet’s book, I have read many of his blog posts and online conversations with Jimmy Moore and Ron Rosedale. Like them (and the bloggers I mentioned at the end of my post), I find that I disagree on Paul’s conclusions/rationale around the necessity of a minimum amount of carbohydrate in the diet.

      This article speaks to the thyroid topic: http://drcate.com/going-low-carb-too-fast-may-trigger-thyroid-troubles-and-hormone-imbalance/

      • newtopaleo says:

        Hmm thats a good article. I must have made the transition too fast I guess. I was also stressed at work and that may have contributed. Such a complex system and everyone is so different. I think Rosedale is ok with a higher rT3. He says that contributes to longevity. But I didnt feel good at all. But if its working for you thats great.

  3. newtopaleo says:

    The increase in your mid section is most likely your progesterone falling off a cliff as you age. Have you checked your levels?

    http://raypeat.com/articles/aging/aging-estrogen-progesterone.shtml

    Keep an open mind. If the general public thinks fat is bad for you and you know better then maybe the general thought that sugar is bad for you may not be true either.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/glucose-sucrose-diabetes.shtml

    • Sondra Rose says:

      Yes, estrogen dominance was an issue for me and I have read most of Ray Peat’s online articles, especially the ones on Progesterone. Before I started eating a Primal diet, I used Pro-gest progesterone cream for over a year in an effort to address my perimenopausal weight gain and insomnia. While it helped my insomnia, it did nothing for my belly fat. However, once I started supplementing D3 and dropped the sugar, grains & legumes from my diet, I was easily able to drop the fat.

      I actually raised my sucrose levels after reading Ray Peat’s articles like the one you linked to, but I felt sluggish, bloated and regained the body fat I had lost when I was eating about 50 gm of Primal carbs/day.

      While I think Ray Peat has some helpful and interesting ideas (I learned from him about the glycine in gelatin that helps me sleep soundly), I trust my personal experience/experiments to know what works best for me.

      I don’t think sugar is “bad” for you. I think that many of us in the States have been overexposed to sugar from an early age and our systems got overloaded. This was certainly the case for me.

      Our epigenetic histories will determine in large part whether or not we tolerate large amounts of sugar in our diet. There is no “correct” diet for anyone, since we all come with vastly different genetic and nutritional backgrounds.

      • newtopaleo says:

        Yeah. I am sure my epigenetics suck. I grew up on a three times a day grain based diet. Sugar does not make me bloated. I also added gelatin to my diet but sleep didnt improve at all. Oh well…..

        • Sondra Rose says:

          Have you read my blog posts on Sleep and Supplements? You may find them helpful.

          • newtopaleo says:

            Yeah I have done all that. I use blue blockers after sunset and it does help me go to sleep. VitD is close to 100. I do take daily magnesium. I still wake up at 3 am or so and cant go back to sleep. Reading Ray Peat I figured maybe I am running low on glycogen by this time so I tried some ice cream at night for a few days. Hasnt worked for me at least. I do take the gelatin as per his recommendations but I havent noticed any changes yet.

          • Sondra Rose says:

            Dr. Gominak found that the optimal range of D3 for good sleep for her patients was 60-80 ng/ml. Just a thought that perhaps your D3 level is a bit high?

            http://drgominak.com/vitamin-d

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