Between settling into a routine, getting better at regularly cooking meals, being more mindful about eating "real food," and hormonal changes when I hit 25, I've packed on a few pounds. I'm pretty serious about getting back down to my "goal weight" which is about 30lbs off from where I am. This post (and any other posts that I may make about low carb food) is not for you to judge me. I have done the research, I understand the risks, and I also understand the benefits. For me, with my age, health, cholesterol, etc, I feel that it is a good option. Anyway, I'm doing this 40 day weight loss challenge with one of my coworkers where whoever loses the most percentage of body weight wins and the other person has to take her out to a nice lunch. This way of eating is working for me because there are no "ifs," "ands" or "buts" about what I am allowed to eat. Previously when trying to eat healthier, I got into habits where I could justify anything I felt like ("well it's LOCALLY PRODUCED ORGANIC CREAM!" "But I made this pie from scratch with lard that I rendered myself!") and here, there is no option to justify. The fact is that the carbohydrates are there and I am not allowed to eat them.
I've decided to do Atkins, and the starting off point of Atkins is the induction period, which according to Dr. Atkins is safe to do for up to 6 months, but people generally do it for 2 weeks. I just finished the 2nd week and lost 6.7lbs in those 2 weeks. I plan to continue until I make it to my goal weight or I hit 6 months, but I have a feeling that the former will come before the latter as long as I don't cheat. The purpose of Induction is to drain your body of stored glucose and get it used to burning fat for energy(also, when it doesn't have an insulin response from carbohydrates, it's not able to store fat - it's a use it or lose it situation). The process of burning fat for energy (in the absence of glucose) is called ketosis(totally simplified explanation). The induction period limits your carbohydrate intake significantly, down to 20 grams per day. Now you may believe that it's not that bad, but a sausage mcmuffin has 33grams of carbohydrates, a glass of 2% milk is somewhere around 12 grams, and pretty much anything (that's not all out hardcore meat) has some carbohydrate content. Even packets of splenda have carbohydrates in them (the anticaking agent has carbohydrates)as do eggs. A TUMS has 2g carbs. That's 10% of the allowed daily intake on induction. You get the picture, everything has carbs in it.
I nearly blew it one day when I ate a cucumber as a snack prior to researching it. It had somewhere like 7 grams of carbohydrates in it. Snacks are one of the tougher things to deal with on induction as almost any snack food has carbs. Nuts are prohibited because portion control is tough and they're not as low carb as you might imagine. Pork rinds are an option, but srsy, who wants to eat them? Gross. Pickles are fairly safe as they clock in at only about 2g/pickle. Sugar free jello is a good bet, but it's so full of weird chemicals that it's not really a good "all the time" option, though I do have snack packs stashed in my purse and car (and they hold at room temp!!!!) with a plastic spoon. With a limited number of acceptable snack options, it's important to not overdo any one item as not eating it severely limits your stockpile.
Being the compulsive researcher that I am, I found a mention that someone made about wrapping a dill pickle spear in cream cheese(higher fat cheese is safer than lower fat cheese as it's lower in carbs) smeared ham. So I figured it sounded like a Cuban sandwich and I'd try it! I added a little mustard to be extra authentic.
The verdict? Pretty damn good! One of those could easily satisfy a grumbly stomach and clocking in at 1.8g carbs seems like a pretty decent deal. I cut them in half so each piece is about .9 carbs. I used 1 slice Black Forest Ham from Costco(2oz), 1/6 of a Farman's Kosher Dill Pickle, and .4oz full fat cream cheese. Sorry about the crappy cell phone photos, I'm too lazy to pull my real camera out.