What to eat on a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet

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Transitioning into a low-carb, high-fat way of eating (also known as ‘Banting’) can be challenging: for many of us, carbs make up a substantial portion of our daily intake, and figuring out what to replace them with can be tricky and confusing. That’s why it helps to go into it with a plan – or more specifically, an eating plan – so that your attempts aren’t derailed before you’ve even started.

Here’s a list of things you should be eating on a LCHF diet, as well as some suggestions for each meal.

Eat a lot of: healthy fat. This includes avocados and avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, animal fat (choose organic, additive-free cuts of meat including chicken, beef and bacon), oily fish and fish oil.

Eat some: protein. You need to include fat and protein in every meal, but remember that LCHF is a HIGH fat, MEDIUM protein, LOW carb way of eating. Overdoing it on the protein can impede your weight-loss efforts and also result in nausea. Remember to include eggs too.

Eat few: carbs. Even on a low-carb diet, it’s still essential to include some carbs in your daily intake. Choose lower-carb fruits and veggies like leafy greens, salad greens, cauliflower, berries, melons, cherries, oranges, tomatoes and avocados. You want to exclude starchy vegetables (all of those that grow under the soil, as well as peas) and high-carb fruits like bananas, plantains and raisins.

What about dairy? The right kind of dairy is an important part of a LCHF diet. Choose hard cheeses, cream, butter, full-fat yoghurt and so forth. You want to avoid any ‘low-fat’ items, and opt instead for those with greater amounts of fat and fewer carbs/no added sugar. Learn to read food labels.

The food lists at Originaleating.org are extremely useful if you need a little guidance. View them here.

LCHF meal ideas

Breakfast
  • Boiled/scrambled eggs on seed toast
  • Avocado on grain-free bread
  • Bacon and eggs with sliced tomato and fresh basil
  • Poached eggs with ham and asparagus
  • Cheese and mushroom omelette
Lunch
  • Meat or egg salad drizzled with olive oil
  • Chicken breast with cream cheese and side salad
  • Cold meat roll-ups (slices of meat filled with cheddar and tomato and wrapped in lettuce)
  • Bacon, avocado and seed salad
  • Minute steak wraps made with chopped cucumber, tomato and cheese, all wrapped in lettuce
Supper
  • Chicken fried ‘rice’, substituting cauliflower for rice and adding your low-carb veggies of choice
  • Steak, veggies and slices of fresh avocado
  • Roast chicken breasts stuffed with feta and drizzled with olive oil, served with salad or vegetables
  • Pan-fried salmon with asparagus and cauliflower rice
  • Roast lamb chops with cauliflower mash and veggies
  • Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash
Snacks
  • Nuts (especially almonds, macadamias and walnuts – avoid peanuts as these aren’t actually nuts, but legumes)
  • Biltong
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Mini meatballs (make ahead and keep in the fridge/freezer)
  • Leftover chicken breasts (always cook in bulk when you can)

Here are some more great meal ideas and recipes from Authority Nutrition. The list also includes dressings and sauces to spice up your meals.

Don’t start the eating plan without being fully prepared, or you could become frustrated, bored or under-nourished. Know what you’ll be eating and more importantly, where you’ll be buying your food, so that you’ll never be left hungry. Also, keep snacks in your car, handbag/briefcase, etc so that you never find yourself ravenous and resorting to shop-bought carbs to fill the void.

It’s easy once you’re in the swing of things and you’re bound to feel – and notice – a difference.

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Day 93: Meat vs veg – my lightbulb moment

These days, you tell people that you eat meat and you may as well have said that you skin kittens in your spare time. In a world of vegan hipsters, meat is murder and using animal products is about the worst thing you can do after using plastic or not having a beard. Don’t get me wrong: I grew up in a house that was 50% vegetarian – neither my mom nor sister eat meat – and I have the utmost respect for the fact that they don’t eat meat – as they do for the fact that my dad and I do.

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Anyway, the point is that SCD had shown me that my body tolerates protein far better than it does simple carbs/veg, and while I could live on veg quite happily… Well I realise that I actually can’t.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll have seen me post photos of my food. Most of my meals consist of a little protein and A LOT of veg. Some meals often don’t contain any protein. And now, having tested my food and my reactions for three months, I know one thing for sure: veg is knocking me for a six, and I need to completely change how I’m eating. It’s a huge mental shift because for so many years, I’ve built my meals around vegetables, and eaten much less meat. It’s not that I don’t like it… it’s just that I preferred veg. But I realise that, if I want to avoid excessive bloating, loose stools, cramps and gas, can’t keep loading up on veg and adding a dash of protein as an afterthought.

I’m not going to radically change anything while I’m still on SCD. I’m going to finish off this last week properly, and then as I mentioned last week, I’m going to transition to paleo, and to a more high-protein, low carb way of eating. It irritates me that this is a ‘fad’ now (have you heard of banting?) – just as it annoys me that it’s a fad to be ‘gluten intolerant’, making all our foods so much more expensive! But at least it might make my belly happier, which is the ultimate goal.

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Parties, booze and little steps forward

The past four days have been interesting in terms of diet. I’ve eaten lots of meat and much less veg, and I feel far less bloated. I’ve also been eating almonds (blanched and slivered this time) and that seems to be a little more tolerable. That said, I know I need to take it easy with them.

Last night, after a long day of celebrating birthdays and family visits (read: drinking), I dove into a packet of vegetable chips at home. They didn’t contain any illegal additives BUT they did contain veg that I shouldn’t have eaten, like sweet potato, so again, I’ve proven to myself (not that I didn’t know this already – doh!) that after hours of champers, I need to be kept away from temptation. That said, I didn’t eat ANYTHING bad or illegal at any of the dinners or parties we went to, which made me so proud of myself. Like several times before, while on this diet, I showed myself that i can have a great time despite not stuffing my face. It’s really been a revelation for me.

NOT yesterday's selfie

NOT yesterday’s selfie

I’m entering my last week of my personal SCD challenge and I’m so excited that I’ve finally had my lightbulb moment (I can’t believe it took me this long). It’s going to be quite a challenge to switch up my diet so radically (for me), but I think after SCD, I can handle anything 🙂