For however brief a period it lasts, I am back on the South Beach diet. This regime is also known, of course, as the diet sure to give me 24 hour PMS, put me on edge, and render me generally grumpy. Thus, you can all imagine how thrilled I am to be starting it up again!
Before I get too far into my diet-themed whinging, I must start with a bit of honesty – the damn thing works when I adhere to it properly. The first time I attempted this torture, I was on it for two or three months and lost quite a bit of weight without plateauing for more than a week or two. Of course, during that time I was a miserable bitch to live with and would literally grab French fries out of people’s hands just to get high off the smell of carbs.
In case you aren’t familiar with the torture that is South Beach, allow me to enlighten you. This is a diet formed around the concept that carbs are bad. Yet even that is too simplistic an explanation, so I’ll elaborate.
Dr. Atkins started this carb-free craze by telling people they could eat the fattiest foods they wanted as long as they didn’t indulge in anything even vaguely resembling a carbohydrate. And let me tell you – those carbs hide in the most devious of places! Carrots, pumpkins, green peas (but not snow peas), chocolate cake, and even wine are completely verboten and teeming with evil carbohydrates. South Beach, on the other hand, takes a slightly healthier view of carbs and admits that some aren’t completely bad. Moreover, it says that not all fats are good for you either. Not having ever tried Atkins, I can say with absolutely zero authority that South Beach is a healthier and superior form of the carb-free diet craze.
South Beach is a diet in three phases – and I’ve never reached the third. During the first phase (in theory the first two weeks), you are supposed to completely remove all carbs from your life. You are allowed no wine, no bread, no pasta (not even whole wheat), and even veggies with more than a trace of carbs are out of the question. Phase two allows you to wean yourself back onto simple carbs like soy flour (Yum?) and, thank the gods, liquor!
(I just took a break from writing this blog to make myself a few pieces of bacon, eggs, and whatnot. I am not a fan of eggs, which is why the breakfast portion of this diet is so hard for me. Heck, I’m not even a big fan of breakfast to begin with! That said, my breakfast doesn’t taste entirely horrible. Bravo, day one!)
Low-carb diets are easier to cope with in the Real World where products like turkey bacon (Yum!), specially packaged and designed low-carb foods, and a huge variety of naturally (and less than naturally) low-fat foods can be found in virtually every supermarket. Ricotta cheese isn’t exactly an everyday product in Nairobi, let alone the low-fat variety. That means I have to be a wee bit more imaginative in my menus and in my interpretation of South Beach’s rules.
But it isn’t all bad news. After checking online for low-carb recipes to use this week, I realized that although Hubby and I tend to eat a lot of rice- and pasta-based dishes, several of our favourites could be modified to be allowable. Crappy-laya (aka jambalaya without the rice) isn’t one of our better experiments in this method, but soy tacos without the tortilla, soy chili with lots of beans, and stir-fry are all variations on things we enjoy cooking and will still work within my new South Beach life.
So let the betting pools begin! How long will Typ0 last on South Beach this time? I hear that several people have already bet on less than a week. Hubby has secretly put his money on one week. Even I am hesitant to promise miracles beyond two weeks – assuming I’m completely honest with others and myself. In the meantime, I’m off to stare at pictures of Fettuccini Alfredo and dream about the days when I was allowed to eat pasta.