Okay – maybe not that type of diary but still.
Keeping calories and glycemic load under 10% means making a pile of smart choices that allow you to feel like you’ve had something to eat while not getting bogged down in carbohydrates.
As I mentioned in a previous posting, one of my go to sites now for getting information on food counts is Foodstruct. It doesn’t cover everything but this is a really good site for getting most of the facts you need all in one spot without having to jump around on different websites.
For example, food labels do not provide you the glycemic index of foods. You have to look that up somewhere else. While there are a few standard references I’ve also found that there isn’t really a single reference that covers everything.
Having said that – on my fasting days now, I’m restricting myself to the following foods as I can have what seems to be a reasonable amount of these items and still keep my calorie and GL counts down to where I need them to be.
- Almond Milk
- Broth (Beef, Vegetable, Chicken)
- Bell Peppers
- Herbal Tea
- Carbonated Water
- Red Wine Vinegar
I want to highlight Stevia especially. Anything with Aspartame is going to be counter productive to your fasting. It causes major problems with your gut bacteria and messes with your insulin resistance. It is a major reason why many products made with this substance don’t work for those trying to lose weight. Stevia is inert which means essentially it doesn’t have any major chemical drawbacks that impact your digestion or insulin sensitivity.
So to give you an example, I like my soda drinks, however because aspartame is so destructive, I’ve turned to creating my own flavored “soda” using Nestle PureLife Sparkling carbonated water and then adding 0.5 oz of pure lemon juice and 0.5 oz of pure lime juice. If I want something more on the sweet side than sour, I add 1/8th of a teaspoon of stevia, otherwise I just drink as is, with ice, stirred, not shaken.
It allows me to drink “soda” which is truly calorie free (< 5 cals) without any of the harmful effects of store bought diet soda. This is now my go to drink even when I’m not fasting as it is so good.
A typical fasting day would go something like this
- Supplements (Emergen-C, One-A-Day Vitamins, B-Complex, Amino Acids, and Omega-3-6-7-9 Complex)
- 16 oz Tea with 2oz of Almond Milk and Stevia
Throughout the Day
- Broth or Lemon/Lime Soda
- Sliced Carrots (100g) and Avocado Dip (57g) when hungry
- 1/2 Beef-eater Tomato (130g) with Lemon Pepper
- Supplements (One-a Day Vitamins, Apple Cider Vinegar)
- 16 oz Tea with 2oz of Almond Milk and Stevia
You have to track portions, weigh, and measure anything that isn’t water. You can’t avoid doing this. The reason is that it is far too easy to unintentionally exceed your allowance for the day.
Case in point: After tracking my body fat and exercise level using the Samsung Health app, I can see that my maximum calorie count for the day should be between 2800-3000 calories. There are other ways to figure out what your max should be but this is a good general purpose calculator so long as you keep it up to date and include your body fat measurements along with weight.
So, based on the 10% rule, my maximum calories for fasting days shouldn’t exceed 280-300 calories. Further, the types of foods that you eat shouldn’t exceed a glycemic load (not index) of 10.
So now you can play with what you have to work with above.
100g of tomato is 18 calories and 2 GL units
So if you wanted to you can skip the tea and everything else on the list and have up to 500g of tomatoes along with water and supplements. While you would only have 90 calories for the day, 5 x 100g servings of tomatoes would max out your GL count for the day.
Once you hit max on either calories or GL units for the day, you need to stop eating.
It is that simple.
You can do lots of things within those boundaries.
Example: yesterday I had a craving for bacon one day into my fast. You will note above that protein is not on my list of things I’m suppose to have while fasting. This is the reason I have the amino acid supplements to offset the fact that you need protein in order to get essential amino acids.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t include it if you are willing to make the trade off for something else. So I included 18g of bacon in my nutrition plan yesterday (90 calories and a GL of 0). From a fasting standpoint, 18g of protien vs 500g of tomato is a big trade-off but I kept my calorie count down for the day and satisfied my bacon craving.
You can’t do that with every type of food however. If you are craving a cupcake you are going to blow your entire day’s allotment on 1/4 of a cupcake which will just leave you feeling more hungry later in the day.
Quite often what I find is that it is flavors that are the key ingredient in satisfying hunger cravings.
While seasonings are not truly the zero calorie alternatives they indicate on the package, they can help satiate food that might otherwise seem bland by comparison.
As an example of this, today’s lunch was tomato (100g), baby spinach (70g), and bell peppers (100g), with red wine vinegar and Mrs. Dash seasoning. The entire meal was about 60 calories and 5 GL units. This still leaves room for carrots (100g), avocado (57g), and tea later today for dinner. The entire day’s eating if I include all of that is 200 calories and 10 GL units.
It takes some getting used to. The first 3-4 days are the worst when you are first starting out. Broth is actually your better friend during those days as it has much more bold flavors. Once you start to do this however you will find that as you get to the end of week 1 and into week 2 that its really very easy to maintain.
The trick is controlling the temptations around you and being willing to let other people know that, if they value your friendship, they will support you on your quest to be a better you.