T Nation

Relatively Carb Free Living

I’m really hoping to get some feedback from the fine minds here about a new diet I’ve started. Basically I found myself weighing 240lbs, and really no where near as strong as I used to be, also feeling (for lack of any better terminology) less “healthy” overall. So, I have completely changed the way I eat and train for that matter. I’m really looking for suggestions and commentary, but also thought this might be informative for anyone interested in this type of thing.

I started by cutting out all gluten and dairy… and pretty much any other source of carbs except for vegetables. Before this a meal might have consisted of a cup of rice, sauce, and a lb of chicken if I was lucky. On a bad day I might eat a whole pizza and a half gallon of milk at one sitting. Now my days are looking like:

Breakfast= 6 eggs scrambled w/ketchup, cup of green peas
Lunch= 1lb of chicken, hot sauce, whole avocado, 1 serving pumpkin
Dinner= 1lb of chicken (or 3 salmon fillets/10oz of red meat), 1/2 cup walnuts, mixed veggies
2nd Dinner= 6 eggs fried over easy, cup of green peas

This isn’t written in stone, but what I end up eating the most often. A couple times a week I’ll make a shake pre workout that has an apple, apple sauce, pumpkin, cinnamon, 6 raw eggs, plus “Grow” whey. I also often have some “Grow” whey post workout as well.

I’ve been eating this way for about a month and a half now, and so far my experiences have been very positive: I’ve dropped a little over 15 lbs, energy levels are pretty high throughout the day, my workouts have not suffered in fact I’d say my strength has stayed very steady, maybe an increase while dropping decent weight, hard to tell because I’m training a bit differently, I feel much less bloated/gassy, this used to be a pretty common problem while I was at work, my mood has also seemingly been improved, along with a decrease in chronic pain. So basically I’m feeling good on all fronts. I’m really kicking myself for not taking before pictures, my avatar is so out of date and a very poor reflection of where I am at now.

I don’t want to get too out of hand with walls of text, but I’d love to hear what you guys think, suggestions, questions, I would even probably settle for being called names, such as “holistic nutgrabber”. I’ll update soon with where I’d like to go from here, other things I’d like to try out, and how my training has changed. Also if you want me to guinea pig any ideas for you let me know.

If it’s working for you and allowing you to reach your goals while having more energy, less bloating, and dropping weight then keep doing what you’re doing.

I’ve been eating a high fat diet (less than 60 grams of net carbs/day) for 15 months and love it for the same reasons you do.

Looks like a pretty solid plan to me!
If you took out the pumpkin, and walnuts, it would be the green faces diet. Put it in the search if you havnt seen it.
I wouldnt change anything if its working for you though. Except maybe change up the nuts to some raw almonds, or or brazil nuts sometimes.

where’s the beef?

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
where’s the beef?[/quote]

For whatever reason I’ve always found chicken to be quicker for me to prepare and eat, which is important because I eat two meals at work. That said I usually try to incorporate some grass fed stew meat on my weekends. Salmon is easy for me too, wrap three fillets in tin foil with a good amount of olive oil/lemon juice. The limiting factor with salmon is the smell, and wanting to put my coworkers through that.

So, from where I am right now I would like to continue dropping weight to 210lbs, then put a little back on. I’m looking to see where people might go from here, as I’m pretty new to this type of eating. I’m thinking about incorporating rice pre workout a few times a week and seeing where that gets me. Probably start with 30 grams, and go from there. The most surprising thing for me is that I’m still getting great pumps and energy in the gym. I really thought that would go away without carbs, and am excited to see if it will intensify with the addition of some carbs.

Many others report similar experience with gluten, homogenized dairy

And since you’re lifting regularly, then absolutely yes on rice/potatoes/etc

If your goal is to remain adapted to a high fat diet, then skip the workout carbs. They’re not necessary. In my experience, pumps aren’t correlated with carb intake.

[quote]forkknifespoon wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
where’s the beef?[/quote]

For whatever reason I’ve always found chicken to be quicker for me to prepare and eat, which is important because I eat two meals at work. That said I usually try to incorporate some grass fed stew meat on my weekends. Salmon is easy for me too, wrap three fillets in tin foil with a good amount of olive oil/lemon juice. The limiting factor with salmon is the smell, and wanting to put my coworkers through that.
[/quote]

fair enough mate, although I personally find the opposite. Chicken is so bland you have to make a sauce, whereas beef can be eaten solo. When I’m cooking lunches for work I seriously half-ass it. Who can be arsed cooking a full meal that you can’t eat then and there?

there have been times in the past when I’ve had chicken breasts for taking to work. I’m not proud to say that I cut them up and boiled them. You read that right; I boiled chicken breasts.

It actually wasn’t that bad. Doused them in olive oil and chilli flakes and had them with broccoli. Low carb laziness at its finest.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
If your goal is to remain adapted to a high fat diet, then skip the workout carbs. They’re not necessary. In my experience, pumps aren’t correlated with carb intake.

[/quote]

Your comment reminded me of a question I always had. Do you know for a fact or believe that once fat adapted your body uses fats to fuel your workouts? I ask because even though I’m usually on some form of CKD there are times when I’ll go for 2-3 weeks with under 35 grms of carbs and after awhile I notice that my pumps are really good and my energy for my workout is pretty decent compared to my usual pre workout drink of gatorade and whey.
A lot of so called experts claim that there is no way the body can biologically use fats to fuel a weightlifting workout. Other so called experts say yes you can once fat adapted. I always wondered what the real answer was.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]forkknifespoon wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
where’s the beef?[/quote]

For whatever reason I’ve always found chicken to be quicker for me to prepare and eat, which is important because I eat two meals at work. That said I usually try to incorporate some grass fed stew meat on my weekends. Salmon is easy for me too, wrap three fillets in tin foil with a good amount of olive oil/lemon juice. The limiting factor with salmon is the smell, and wanting to put my coworkers through that.
[/quote]

fair enough mate, although I personally find the opposite. Chicken is so bland you have to make a sauce, whereas beef can be eaten solo. When I’m cooking lunches for work I seriously half-ass it. Who can be arsed cooking a full meal that you can’t eat then and there?

there have been times in the past when I’ve had chicken breasts for taking to work. I’m not proud to say that I cut them up and boiled them. You read that right; I boiled chicken breasts.

It actually wasn’t that bad. Doused them in olive oil and chilli flakes and had them with broccoli. Low carb laziness at its finest.[/quote]
Don’t feel bad i’ve boiled chicken breasts more than i can remember haha.

[quote]as wrote:

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
If your goal is to remain adapted to a high fat diet, then skip the workout carbs. They’re not necessary. In my experience, pumps aren’t correlated with carb intake.

[/quote]

Your comment reminded me of a question I always had. Do you know for a fact or believe that once fat adapted your body uses fats to fuel your workouts? I ask because even though I’m usually on some form of CKD there are times when I’ll go for 2-3 weeks with under 35 grms of carbs and after awhile I notice that my pumps are really good and my energy for my workout is pretty decent compared to my usual pre workout drink of gatorade and whey.
A lot of so called experts claim that there is no way the body can biologically use fats to fuel a weightlifting workout. Other so called experts say yes you can once fat adapted. I always wondered what the real answer was.
[/quote]

This is something I’ve really been the most curious and least informed about. How hard do you guys think it really is to become fat adapted? I feel like I still get in a lot of trace carbs from what I eat, although I haven’t really sat down and done the math. A dozen eggs a day is 12 carbs right there, plus ketchup carbs, vegetable carbs, carbs in Grow whey, etc. So while I’m not consuming any explicit carb meals they are still present.

Another thing I’ve been really wondering about is throwing in a couple of “carb days” every month. Quite a few years ago I tried the anabolic diet, really liked it, but found it way too restrictive for that point in my life (college). Is it pretty normal to include a type of “refeed” in a det like this, or would I be better off just eating similar macros every day. That said I have experimented with pre workout carbs, but not in large quantities. How do you guys feel about that too, I know there is some thought out there about eating fat instead of carbs prior to training somehow priming your body for using the fat for fuel.

[quote]as wrote:

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
If your goal is to remain adapted to a high fat diet, then skip the workout carbs. They’re not necessary. In my experience, pumps aren’t correlated with carb intake.

[/quote]

Your comment reminded me of a question I always had. Do you know for a fact or believe that once fat adapted your body uses fats to fuel your workouts? I ask because even though I’m usually on some form of CKD there are times when I’ll go for 2-3 weeks with under 35 grms of carbs and after awhile I notice that my pumps are really good and my energy for my workout is pretty decent compared to my usual pre workout drink of gatorade and whey.
A lot of so called experts claim that there is no way the body can biologically use fats to fuel a weightlifting workout. Other so called experts say yes you can once fat adapted. I always wondered what the real answer was.
[/quote]

I’ve had the same experiences and same questions. I’ll share a bit of what I’ve found through my reading: Even when fat adapted, our muscles are not depleted of glycogen. Biopsies have shown glycogen levels of %50 - %60 in muscle tissue. During near maximal weight training, this is more than enough glycogen to fuel the muscles which is why I, and others, haven’t found our lifting hampered by eating a VLC diet. I’ve also started running, and have no problem finishing 3 - 5 miles.

What I’ve read, but haven’t experienced my self, is that during sustained, high intensity exercise lasting 2 - 5 minutes (think 800m and mile races), the fat adapted athlete may burn through the local glycogen stores, may deplete the liver’s stores, and may be rate-limited by the livers ability to produce more glycogen.

In a nutshell, high intensity efforts lasting less than 2 minutes (weight lifting, sprinting, etc) shouldn’t be hampered by a VLC diet, longer distance definitely shouldn’t be hampered and would most likely be helped (see my link of a low-carb ultramarathoner who knocked 21 minutes off a 100 mile race record while consuming 1/3 the calories during the race as the other competitors), but we might see performance drop a bit during high intensity efforts in the 2-5 minute gray zone.

Ok thanks for your input. One more question for you or anyone else if you don’t mind. I notice when on low carb diets whether it’s straight keto or CKD that I feel very heavy limbed so to speak. Like everything I do is in slow motion and takes effort. It feels like lactic acid builds up very quickly even just walking up a flight of stairs. Anyone know what this could be? I guessed dehydration or salt or even being too acidic but corrective measures didn’t work. Now I’m wondering if it’s low potassium. I already take plenty of magnesium. Anyone have any ideas or have this sensation?

I haven’t experienced that but I hope you’re able to track it down quickly.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
I haven’t experienced that but I hope you’re able to track it down quickly.[/quote]

Lol ok thanks. I can get through it, I always have but it’s tiring to feel like that. I’m back to thinking dehydration though. I urinate like crazy when on low carb diets. Two to three cups of coffee a day isn’t helping either. But right before my workout I will load up on almost 60oz of water with BCAA’s and I’ll feel great. Thanks though.

“Do you know for a fact or believe that once fat adapted your body uses fats to fuel your workouts? … A lot of so called experts claim that there is no way the body can biologically use fats to fuel a weightlifting workout. Other so called experts say yes you can once fat adapted. I always wondered what the real answer was.”

Here is one piece worth reading, and you may want to follow the citations for more information: www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/1/1/2

Terrific info, thanks for the link revchad.

Thanks for that interesting read. I was pressed for time and kind of glossed over it real quick but I did not see anything applied to weightlifting only to aerobic endurance which I also personally found to be able to do endlessly while on aCKD. Did I miss something?

Bit I do have a theory on why the weightlifting becomes easy again after being fat adapted and maybe Dr Pangloss you can chime in here since you seem to have a lot of experience with low carbs.

I think that once you become fat adapted you become fat adapted your body preserves muscle glycogen while using fat for your normal daily expenditures. i also believe that your body becomes more efficient at creating glycogen from fat and protein I forget the actual chemical process something about glycerol etc.