Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ten-year Atkins Anniversary!!!

Yesterday my husband Paul and I celebrated our 10-year Atkins Anniversary.  It's amazing to think we've been low carbing ten years now, but it's true.  It's been a fun journey with a lot of great discoveries, challenges, experimentation and lots and lots of learning.

Way, way, way back in early 2003, Paul and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to being fat.  I'd dieted before, of course; in fact at one time my doctor had put me on a low-fat diet, the most disastrous attempt ever.  I stuck to it, all right (how, I have no idea), but I felt horrible, weak and sick and headachy and dizzy, all the time.  I could eat and eat and stuff myself and never feel satisfied.  I had to basically give up everything I loved to eat, particularly cheese, and the tradeoff apparently was feeling hungry (when I didn't feel nauseous) and horrible 24/7.  Heck, I felt better fat and half dead.  So I'd just basically given up.

A couple who were close friends of ours, Joel and Ginger, had gone on Atkins.  One of the things we shared with Joel and Ginger was a deep and abiding love of food <G> and cooking.  The four of us always joked that no matter where we were or what we were doing, we'd always be the best-fed people in any given demographic -- if we went camping, we'd be the best-fed campers in the campground, for example.  We loved to fix meals for each other, so I figured I'd better do some research and figure out what I could cook for my friends without blowing their way of eating.

Well, I did my research, and as I did, my wonder grew.  Joel and Ginger could eat all the things I loved, including my beloved cheese.  I cooked a couple of low-carb-friendly meals for them and marveled at how easy it was.  Slowly, the thought "snuck up on me" -- I could eat this way.  I could enjoy eating this way.  This could WORK.

So Paul and I talked it over, looked at menus and recipes and products and talked with Joel and Ginger -- I'm an obsessive planner -- and we decided that, yes, we were going to do it.  Our targeted start date was March 15, 2003.

I got a couple cookbooks and stocked up on supplies for low carb cooking.  I was ready to go.  So I figured, hey, it's a couple days early, but let's do a couple of meals as sort of a dress rehearsal.  So on March 13, 2003, I cooked a low carb meal.

Then another.

Then another.

Then I cleaned all the old carby stuff out of my kitchen, because I was already low carbing, two days earlier than planned.

In some ways, 2003 was the golden age of low carbing.  A number of significant studies had come out showing the benefits of low carbing.  The low carb "boom" was on.  Low carb products were everywhere.  There were even a couple of specifically low carb shops here in Indianapolis, one very nearby.  Restaurants rushed to offer low carb options.  Low carb options were everywhere.

And so were pitfalls.  Sugar free candy was suddenly available in every possible form -- even my long-time love, Reese's peanut butter easter eggs.  Low carb breads, bars, baked goods . . . everything under the sun.  Paul and I relied on these products a lot more than we should.  We were still eating a lot of packaged, premade goods of dubious content, although we also cooked "from scratch" a lot more than we had been.

For good or ill, the low carb boom ended.  Suddenly many of the products we'd used and loved were no longer available.  We had to create our own healthy, low carb substitutes for beloved carby foods, but let me tell you, that kind of challenge to a creative cook is like waving the proverbial red flag in front of the bull.  And damn it, we did it -- full throttle, full steam ahead.

And have been doing it ever since.

What tickles me to death is that after ten years, we still have "D'oh!" moments.  It took me a couple years to discover the online low carb community.  I didn't discover flaxmeal for years.  I tasted my first Muffin in a Minute only last year.  I've only been experimenting with coconut flour for a couple months.  Numerous, numerous wonderful naturally low carb ingredients that could've been making my life easier for a long time.  But I don't mind, really.  It's great knowing that there are plenty of wonderful low carb tricks, foods, secrets, discoveries, just waiting out there for me.

It's an ongoing adventure, and I'm looking forward to it!

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