Counting Carbs

I met with a nutritionist a few weeks ago to discuss the best diet I should be keeping to help deal with PCOS (I was diagnosed in late April, TMI?). My doctor had previously suggested the book “The Schwarzbein Principle“. I picked it up on the way home from the appointment (type A anyone?) and read it cover to cover during which my face contorted several times and my eyebrows sunk to dangerous levels above my eyes. The idea is good: eating “whole foods” instead of “processed foods”.  But its really strict, and also omits several of my food groups like: MILK!, CHEESE!, BREAD!, ALL PASTA!  I find that radical. It also suggested you eat several veggies I have never heard of ( Jew Ears???) and likely would not find at my local Hannaford.

So I made an appointment with a nice nutritionist named Judy. She too agreed that I’m eating too many processed foods and carbohydrates. So now I’m a countin’ carbs. It’s joyous.

It’s really shocking (well to me, anyway) how many carbohydrates are hiding in unsuspecting foods. 1/8c. of blueberries – 5 carbs! Crazy, right? 1 pear – 25carbs. This is madness!

Currently i’m researching WW friendly recipes that are “low carb” to share with all of you! Excited? They will probably be devoid of blueberries and pears. I’m mad at them right now.

Lastly, here is part of a great article from allrecipes.com on reducing carbs. It’s helped me a lot these past few weeks.

1. Tell the waiter to hold the bread. At almost every restaurant, your meal starts with a basket of rolls, breads, and crackers made from white flour. If it’s not put on the table, you won’t eat any. Or, if you really need something to nibble on, ask if they have whole wheat varieties.

2. At Chinese restaurants, ask for brown rice, and limit how much you eat to one cup. In fact, some Chinese restaurants have started offering to swap a vegetable for the rice in their combo dinners, knowing that many people are on low-carb diets. At home, always cook brown rice instead of white. Brown rice hasn’t been processed and still has its high-fiber nutrients.

3. Instead of bread, use eggplant slices to make a delicious sandwich. I’m not a big eggplant fan, but I plan on trying this.

4. Wrap your food in lettuce leaves. Yes, skip the bun, tortillas, and bread slices and instead make a sandwich inside lettuce leaves.   This is not as bad as it sounds.  We had hamburgers last week and instead of a bun I just put mushrooms and a slice of light swiss on top.  The bun was not missed.

5. Buy old-fashioned snacks in kidsize bags. Truth is, pretzels, tortilla chips, potato chips, and cookies are mostly bad carbs, made primarily of refined flour, sugar, salt, and/or oil. You want to remove as many of these foods from your daily eating as you can. But if you can’t live without them, buy them in small bags–1 ounce is a typical “lunch box” size–and limit yourself to just one bag a day.

6. Break yourself of your old spaghetti habits. Almost everyone loves a big bowl of pasta, topped with a rich tomato sauce. The tomato sauce couldn’t be better for you; the spaghetti, however, is pure carbohydrate. While spaghetti is fine to eat every now and then, for those sensitive to carbs or wishing to cut back on their noodle intake, here are some alternatives to the usual spaghetti dinner:

  • Here’s the easiest choice: Switch to whole wheat pasta. It is denser than traditional pasta, with a firm, al dente texture similar to what you’d get in Italy.
  • Grill vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onion and slice them into long, thin pieces. Mix up and pour your spaghetti sauce over the vegetables for a delicious and immensely healthy meal.
  • Substitute spaghetti squash for the pasta. Boil or microwave the squash until soft, then scoop out the seeds and pull the strands of squash from the shell with a fork.
  • Try healthy whole grains as a replacement for pasta. Spaghetti sauce goes better than you’d expect on brown rice, barley, chickpeas, and such.


7. Cut up 1-ounce portions of cheese and divvy up 1-ounce portions
of nuts into tiny snack bags. Now you have a handy snack at the ready.

8. Eat potatoes boiled with the skin on. The effect of potatoes on blood sugar depends on how the potatoes are prepared. No need to unspud yourself completely! Also, new potatoes tend to have fewer simple carbs than other types of potatoes.

9. Eat lightly of the new low-carb products. More than 1,000 low-carb products were introduced in 2003, but the FDA has yet to publish any guidelines as to what “low carb” really means. Instead, many new “low carb” foods are to carbcutting what “low fat” cookies were to fat-cutting: just a new way of pitching foods high in calories and low in nutrient value. In fact, Consumer Reports found that many packaged low-carb foods are actually higher in calories than their regular counterparts. For instance, a serving of Keto’s low-carb Rocky Road ice cream has 270 calories, almost double the calories found in many regular ice creams and twice as much fat.

10. Think lightly of the new net-carb measurements. Many of the low-carb weight-loss programs are trying to get their followers to use “net carbs” as the measurement of choice for the appropriateness of a carb food in their diet. This is a measurement of the “bad carbs” left in a food after you adjust for those carb ingredients that don’t immediately affect blood sugar. The folks at Atkins Nutritionals say the proper way to measure net carbs is to subtract fiber (as well as sugar alcohols and glycerin, when applicable) from the total carbs listed on the nutrition facts panel of a product. But that’s just their version, and that’s the problem. “Net carbs” is not a regulated or standardized measurement–manufacturers can define it how they want, and say what they want on product packaging. And there is no science to say that tracking net carbs offers any unique weight-loss benefit.

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3 thoughts on “Counting Carbs

  1. I have a good suggestion for you, Shirataki noodles. You can buy them online here, but I’ve seen them in Whole Foods before. 1 package has 8 oz of “pasta”, and each serving is considered to be 4 oz, which is double the normal serving size for pasta.

    But check out the nutrition facts for 4 oz of this pasta, only 3 carbs, 2 fiber and 20 calories! It’s like drinking water. I have yet to try them but I’ve been meaning to forever. Your post just reminded me of them, I’ll be picking them up this week.

  2. You know, I’ve made a lot of these changes already. The easiest way I’ve found to lose some weight is to stress over a wedding and stop eating 😀 But seriously, if only I liked eggplant my life would be easier.

    ps. It’s been contemplated I might have PCOS or at least Insulin Resistance.

  3. Sharnette Jackson says:

    Hi Amanda
    My name is Sharnette I am friends with Jenn Jackson Braun I am on the Atkins diet I am limited to a certian amount of carbs so I am on a low carb diet . it really is not that bad not having bread, and pasta and several other foods. But what I like about low carb is that there are so many foods that i can have. Like cheese cake ( ask jen our friend about my cheese cake she has some stories let me tell you) i make low carb crab cakes, If you want so recipies you can e-mail me at wwjd_36@hotmail.com

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