Skip to main content

ATB BB Series: My 10 JERF food rules

I will complete five years (or six?) this September since I first decided to go on a low-carb diet.

I lost the weight I needed to in about 15 months, and since then have maintained my weight loss (touchwood). In the meantime, I have experimented and cycled through a number of diet variations to now arrive at what are my food rules through trial & error. I say trial & error because while there is a lot of information online on "How to lose weight", there isn't enough on "Maintainance". In addition, there are those random websites (who me? lol) who keep adding to the confusion with misinformation because just they want to make a few quick bucks.

This is quite honestly the rules I follow currently. These may or may not work for you. The important thing is to educate yourself about research on nutrition.

I am assuming if you have come this far in reading this post, you have an interest in weight loss. If you are unhappy with your weight & health, you can do something about it. Don't go down that "Fat Acceptance" rabbit hole (that's a whole another post).

I initially started with my weight loss on Atkins Phase I diet / Keto plan, basically a very low carb diet plan. This lasted for about eight months, during which I cut out dairy, potatoes, grains, sugar & legumes. After that, I slightly raised the fat & carb content of my diet and was basically doing paleo for a while, and then I reintroduced milk. I am still doing a version of paleo, but with slight modifications. I call this way of eating: JERF

This is from my Instagram account :)
JERF = Just Eat Real Food

Losing weight & keeping it off involves a balance of making the right food choices & certain behavioral changes. 

In this post, I will talk about the kind of food I eat. Behaviors will follow-up in the next post.

And these are the rules of my food selection:

1. Avoid processed food: If it is made in a factory, (unless its frozen raw veggies only - like peas) don't buy it. That means buying raw single ingredients like vegetables and meat and making your own food rather than the "Heat & Eat" bowl. Instead of drowning your salad in EVOO, add a few real olives. I try to adhere to this 90% of the time. I generally buy processed condiments like Dijon mustard because the amount I eat weekly (barely a spoon) isn't worth the effort it will take me to make it from a batch of seeds. But other than that, my basket is mostly single ingredients.

2. No sugar: Whenever I am expecting the kind of guests who will want chai, I have to check if there is sugar at home. Because there is none. I have a small jar of honey that I use in my face packs. But that's it. I don't use sugar in my cooking and I don't eat it in food outside. Again I adhere to this 90% of the time. I also don't have any artificial sweeteners nor fancy things like agave or stevia (though I have the plant growing in my balcony). I believe it keeps the tastebuds used to sugar and the cravings alive. If I want something sweet, I make sure it is made with real sugar. No HFCS.

3. No grains: Other than rice & quinoa and corn (very occasionally, it comes in my frozen veg mix as one of the five veggies) I don't eat any other grains like wheat, oats, millets etc. I believe this rule along with "no sugar" keeps my carbs low & me away from temptations such as cakes, pizza when outside, and helps me make a healthy choice like grilled meat with veggies etc.

4. No legumes too: The only exceptions I make here are peas, peanuts. chickpeas & black beans (rajma) but not everyday. Again, skipping yellow dal keeps my carbs in control. Besides, I am a non-vegetarian, so I don't need to rely on them for protein.

5. Half your plate should be veggies: Whenever I sit down for a meal, I make sure that half my plate is filled with veggies. I even add veggies to my chicken curries to up my intake. I alternate between salads & grilled dishes, but I make sure to eat enough raw veggies. And no, fries & ketchup don't count as vegetables. I do eat starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes & beetroots. Vegetables are my sources of carbohydrates.

6. Calories do matter: There is no scientific proof behind the commonly heard "starvation mode" and "lowered metabolism". Studies also show that people vastly underestimate their caloric intake even after being scientifically trained to count calories. (Look for a show called "Secret Eaters" on YouTube). Having said that, I also think focusing on the "quality" of calories pays off for health in the long term. You can lose weight while eating processed food if you eat at a deficit. Just like a car will run if you feed it petrol that has impurities. But you won't get the best performance out of your car & it will also break down sooner thanks to the damage caused by inferior fuel. Our body is the car & food is our fuel. Eat the best you can afford. Have butter instead of vegetable oil.

7. 5:2 rule: For five days of the week all my meals have been prepared at home, by me. On the weekends I eat one meal outside, but the rest again at home. That way I use the freshest ingredients & can balance out my meals. Generally, I prefer takeaway if I am eating alone. For the reason in point 8.

8. Serving sizes when eating outside are way larger than they should be: Here in Australia, I find serving sizes are really generous. So generous that they actually compose two meals for me. If you come from a childhood where wastage was frowned upon, you end up eating a lot more than you need. So if I am eating alone, I generally prefer takeaway so I can split the food into two meals for myself. Or I share my plate with my food partners. And this includes dessert. It is very easy to overeat when there is more food on your plate and get mislead about the correct serving sizes. Just take a look at this article

9. I eat animal protein & fat at every meal: They both have a satiating effect far more potent than carbohydrates for me. I have eaten "low-fat" in the past and found that it was the vilest diet I went on. Food tasted like sawdust and it was impossible to adhere to for me.  Just rice & beans in a meal, and I'm hungry in three hours, but on eggs & veggies I can go a lot longer.

10. Exercise: Stay active through the day. Make sure you get 30 minutes of exercise every day at the least. I have had the "advantage" of not knowing how to drive, yet, so I rely a lot on public transport to get around. That means walking & standing on my feet and I can't get away with snacking in the train, unlike the car. But you can't outrun a bad diet. It is easier to eat less than to run longer for me.

My next post will talk about behavioral changes that I believe complement these food rules.   


Popular posts from this blog

Reetha, Amla & Shikakai Home Made Shampoo - Weekend Experiment

Good Morning Lovelies, I hope your weekend was fun. Mines was, well, ho-hum, but anyways, we are not talking about that here (let’s save that cribbing for twitter).
I have been suffering from quite a bit of hair fall since some time. I have tried changing products to using intensive conditioning and the works. It stops the hair fall for while, but then it rears its ugly head again.
So on lark, & for lack of better things to do, my best friend & I decided to make some Reetha – Amla – Shikakai shampoo at home. This century old ayurvedic herbal concoction is reputed to not only strengthen hair, but also darken it and stop hair fall.
I got the 3 biggies from a local kirana store. All 3 are priced at 15 Rs for 100gms.

How to: Soak 5 pieces of Shikakai, 4 balls of Reetha  (Soapnut) & handful of Amla (Indian Gooseberry)  in about 500 ml of water overnight. In the morning, heat the mixture on gas till it just starts to boil. Let it cool, when lukewarm mash all the amla, reetha and…

Skin Care Myth: Sunscreen will stop you from Tanning

Image via Wikipedia I know I did a recent article on skin care myths (read it here), but I don't know how I forgot to mention this particular myth. In any case I think this warranted a post on its own.

Myth: If I use a suncreen regularly and religiously, I will not tan. 

Fact: This is a very simplistic statement. But before I bust this myth, kindly bear through a science lecture. This is to bring all readers of all backgrounds on the same knowledge level.

Lets define sunscreen (from Wikipedia):Sunscreen (also commonly known as sunblock or sun cream) is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects "some" of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn. Sunscreen helps protect only against direct DNA damage as it cannot dissipate UV as harmless heat.

The SPF of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen …

I made "Washed Ghee" at home and it turned out great!

Yesterday I posted about the importance of fat in our diet. While doing research for the same I came across the recipe for "Washed Ghee" or Shata Dhaut Ghrita (100 times washed ghee).

After I read about this miracle at home cream, it was inevitable that I would try to create this cream myself. All I needed apparently was some cow ghee & water.

So I made it last evening. And here is how it went.

For those readers who haven't read the earlier post: Hundred times washed ghee is prepared from organic cow milk ghee by washing it in purified water, repeatedly, 100 times in a copper vessel, using a specific prescribed method while chanting some mantras

This procedure transforms the ghee into a soft, cooling, nourishing, silky unguent that is used as a traditional moisturizer and anti wrinkle skin cream. It produces radiant and glowing skin, especially for people with easily inflamed skin. It can be used as a daily face and body moisturizer or for facial massage. Apply it for…