Which Blood sugar level tester?

  • posted by Martie
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    Hi, I want to get myself a blood sugar/glucose tester but don’t know where to start. I’m not diabetic (I think!) and just want something affordable, basic, and accurate. Does anybody have any suggestions as I’ve looked and am overwhelmed by the options etc.?

    Also, how often should I test myself? What time of day? Anything else I need to consider?

    Thanks.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Hi there, as you are not diabetic the readings on a meter would mean absolutely nothing except that your BG goes up when you eat and goes down between meals or is low when you are hungry. Why on earth do you want to be stabbing yourself for no reason.

    Sorry if this is not what you want to hear or think this is not helpful but testing has to be to some good. It would do nothing but make you paranoid about something that should not be concerning you.

  • posted by Martie
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    Ooh, right! Sorry, it’s just that I’ve been reading the blood sugar diet book and I could have sworn there was a recommendation to get a digital blood sugar tester to test levels and track improvements etc…. did I miss something??

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Yes you did miss something very important. The BSD book was written mainly for diabetics and yes they should be tested but not with a home kit. We have a test called the HbA1c which measures the amount of sugar in the blood stream over a 3 months period. It is that test that tells you if you are pre diabetic or diabetic. Home finger pricking can only tell you that you have eaten something too sweet or carby. In a non diabetic the blood sugar goes up and down. Typically my husbands is higher than mine long after a meal but that is because he is not diabetic so not on meds or special diet. The main worry for diabetics on this diet is going too low and having a hypoglycemic incident which can lead to coma. Finger pricking is painful (more painful than my daily injection of insulin) and it causes loss of feeling in the finger tips over time. Even nurses do it wrong by pricking the centre of the tip when they should prick the side of the tip so as not to cause nerve damage.

    Having said that, this diet is for everyone who wants to lose weight and improve their health. Just go ahead and use it as a normal dieting plan and forget about the diabetes aspect. Lots of people on this site report other benefits like sleeping better, improvement in skin conditions, relief from arthritis pain, and so on. The body does not need processed carbs or rice and pasta as it can get all the carb it needs from other more natural healthy foods like beans, pulses and of course, veg. Keep posting and let us know how you get on.

  • posted by Martie
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    Ah right, that makes sense then. I nearly bought one for £40 whilst doing my shopping yesterday but fortunately I had my (far more sensible and patient!) 14 yr old son with me who advised me not to rush into it (he knows me too well!)

    I came here having read the fast diet and bought all Michael Mosleys books as they confirmed everything I’d read previously and present it all in a clear and easy to follow fashion. I clearly got the impression that doing blood sugar monitoring was something even non-diabetics were being encouraged to do, just in case they were pre-diabetic etc., but if I’m wrong I appreciate your help as that certainly sounds like a procedure I wouldn’t want to be doing regularly unless absolutely necessary.

    Thanks😊

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    No worries, enjoy the diet – the first thing that happened to me was I lost 5 inches from my waist in the first 3 weeks and it has never come back even when my weight goes up on holidays etc. Should help you get rid of the belly fat but remember no diet can target specific areas.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks, I’ve just been reading the book in preparation for starting tomorrow and if I’m totally honest I’m not feeling confident at all because, at risk of sounding negative, I’m tired of reading accounts by people who are clearly middle-class professionals, married, and have enough time and money to make the lifestyle changes necessary to make a success of this. Unfortunately, I’m non of those things and really can’t figure out how I’m going to do this surrounded by people who think this type of thing is ‘gay’ (I wish I was joking!), running a home on my own (with two demanding jobs and three kids!), and with very little spare time and money! I’m going to have to find the strength from somewhere (and at least I saved £40 not buying a blood sugar monitor!) but it’s really not feeling doable at the moment. (Sorry, I know that was a bit of a rant, but better out than in!)

  • posted by Verano
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    Ok so to dismiss no1 myth not everyone who posts here, and we are just a handful of people eating this way, are ‘middle class professionals’, and/or married, with loads of money.

    I live with a man who continues to eat ‘normally’ so there are always biscuits, crisps and chocolates etc in the house. I have chosen to ignore them for 98% of the time sometimes they catch me out!

    Eating this way doesn’t need to be expensive at its very basic remove bread, rice, pasta and potatoes from your diet and substitute with vegetables. Vegetables can be frozen or whatever is in season and cheap. Just try and stay away from vegetables that grow under the ground.

    This obviously won’t be as easy for you, as it would be if you were a ‘lady of leisure ‘ but it is doable and it just depends how much you want to do it! There’s loads of support on these boards and you will find a thread/people you can identify with. Dont give up before you even start. We can all find reasons to carry on with the status quo it takes a bit more effort to change your life. So take that first step and give it a try…. what have you got to lose!!

    Good luck on your journey.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Martie, you are right that it certainly is easier if you are only needing to cook for yourself and have fewer demands on your time and more flexibility about when and how you eat. I put off starting this diet for months until I retired for fear it would be too tough to handle with the job (God knows I was exhausted enough at the end of the day and the thought of less than half the amount of food seemed pretty daunting).

    But in retrospect, with 3 weeks into it, it is soooo much easier than I ever thought it would be….but I was already low carbing so I had that hurdle over with.

    And to me the good news about this diet is it is CHEAP! I had hummus and a bowl of meat free vegetable soup for lunch ( 4 cups of boxed chicken broth and onions, cabbage, green beans, some tomato paste and dried herbs…cheap!). The hummus batch serves 6 and my veggie soup has 5 servings. I reserving 1 serving of soup for tomorrow and freezing the rest. Make some food for yourself and freeze servings for your lunches. No sweat.

    After lunch I took out a frozen serving of hamburger stuffed red bell pepper for dinner. Had an omelete and salad for dinner last night.

    Nothing expensive or fancy about any of this stuff. In fact, I fully expect to save enough money on food to actually buy new clothes in a smaller size down the line. Most meals you can have everything your family is eating except the potato or rice. Just give yourself and extra vegetable (another idea I use is creamed spinach using cream cheese with herbs…make and freeze that in single servings as your “extra vegetable”).

    And some excercise is always a good idea, but not necessary for the diet.

    If you have not already been eating low carb, the first couple of days are challenging (you might start on a Sat ?). But after 3-4 days, you are going to find this the easiest and cheapest diet you have ever been on.

    Hope it all works out for you….but do give it a shot. Extra vegetables now are a lot cheaper than diabetes meds down the line.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi Martie – we’re all different with different life styles, some have with more disposable income than others, but there is no reason for this way of eating being out of your reach. No need to be making different meals for you and the children, just don’t add the carby stuff to your plate and increase the veggies – as Verano said.

    If you need packed meals, think salads, plain yogurt with berries/nuts/seeds, cold roasted Mediterranean veggies, veggie patties etc. And really, just do what you need to do and don’t discuss it with the nay-sayers – once they can see the changes happening, they may not be so keen to knock it. There’s no reason this WOE needs much more time than any other – yes you need to keep track of cals and carbs, but that doesn’t have to take up hours.

    It all seems very daunting when your first start, but once you have made a start and begin to get your head around it, it very quickly becomes normal. Hope you give it a go and will use the forum to get advice and support. Don’t feel you are in this on your own, ‘cos we’ll all be here to help you along the way.

    Best of luck to you.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks for those replies, I guess I do have everything I need, I’m just going to have to be willing to do things differently, to change for the better etc. I read once that life’s little disasters are the genius of the subconscious mind, and my little rant certainly acted as a catalyst for exactly the advice I needed, so thanks again.

    I guess it’s also because I’ve tried and failed with this stuff so many times in the past (I used to be a big fan of Gary Taubes books) and even though I’m already fairly healthy I just struggle to shift the middle-aged-middle, largely due to my love of sweet stuff and potatoes. I guess I’m just going to have to buckle down and give it my best shot (and feeling sorry for myself is the first thing I’m quitting!) 🙂

  • posted by JackieM
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    Hi Martie, lunch for me is often pre-packed ham with salad out a bag, with a teaspoon of mayo, or pre-packed slice (s) of beef spread with cream cheese wrapped around raw spinach. I hate cooking with a passion so it has to be quick. A can of tuna with some red pepper and mayo. You are right, I don’t need to worry too much about budget (at this point in my life, that’s not always been true) but I would say our food bill has gone down because I’m not eating the secret biscuits etc etc. I certainly spend less on chocolate in a week, even though the quality has gone up the quantity has gone down.

    What is it specifically you think will be hard for you to deal with? Not eating with kids, preparing special food, something else? If you can pin point what it is then people on here can offer specific advice on how they dealt with it if that would be helpful.

    Wishing you lots of luck, I am sure you will figure it out so it works for you xx

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks also SunnyB and JackieM.

    I guess what troubled me the most was when I looked at the picture section of the book and I just Sat there wondering when I was going to get the time and money to eat like that. Yes, I’m sure it’s not all that expensive but it’s REALLY difficult meal planning whilst holding down two jobs, and especially as I’m not that clued up on food (although I’m far from being a pie and pint can’t of bloke!)

    I’ve already been doing the 5:2 diet for about 5 weeks and have lost maybe a pound and about an inch off my waist, which I know isn’t much in 5 weeks but I’ve been really ‘cheeky’ on the non-fast days and am way too fond of chocolate biscuits and crisp butties!

    With all this in mind, I’m beginning to wonder, as I’m not diabetic, if I might be better off sticking with (and improving my efforts on) the 5:2 diet, maybe even shifting up to 4:3 and going increasingly medditeranian on the non-fast days as the BSD may be surplus to my requirements at this point??

  • posted by Martie
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    I’m also wondering if it’s worth me looking at the occasional meal replacement drink. I don’t usually eat breakfast and can easily make it to around 12ish before eating so one of them (sugar-free?) might be an idea with a bit of veg as a snack?

    Can anybody recommend an good sugar-free meal replacement that’s available in the UK?

    Thanks

  • posted by JackieM
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    Hey Martie – I definitely do not eat like that! I could not be bothered with it! I eat very simple thrown together meals – for example the sandwich filling without the bread and a bit of green on the side, or cauliflower with a bit of butter and grated cheese on top, or the roast meat without the potato but a bit of broccoli on the side.

    Whatever you decide to do has to fit in with your lifestyle and how bothered you are by your tummy (I think that’s why you are doing this?) you will get fastest results with BSD 800 cals, but if it’s too extreme for you you can choose not to. In the book I seem to remember he says a low carb approach will work over time, especially on 5:2, but people with insulin issues need to do it fast to try and reverse their problems thus the extremely low calorie intake for 8 weeks. It does genuinely work though, and if you aren’t that overweight won’t take 8 weeks even.

    If you do keep eating the high carb stuff on your free days I think it will slow things down and make the restricted days harder and you will be hungrier. That’s based on how carbs make me feel though. You have to find the balance that makes you happy.

    Good luck!

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks JackieM. I understand that the books suggestions are all understandably designed by nutritionist and the pics taken by professional photographers etc. but it’s good to balance that out with your down-to-earth suggestions etc. I’m about 80% there to be honest, I just need to go that extra mile now if I’m to start getting the results I want. Thanks again.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Right off, Martie, if you ditched the choccie bics and the crisp butties it would be a huge help! As JackieM says, keeping it simple works just as well as using fancier recipes and there is no need to eat three meals a day. Use your daily cal/carb allowance for as many meals as you like, three, two or just one – it’s totally up to you. I work pretty much to a 16:8 pattern, so 16 hours overnight fast and then two meals in the space of the remaining 8hrs.

    Although I like cooking, most days I just keep it plain and simple – one small meal between 12 and 2pm, may be yogurt and berries, or a small med platter with some cold meat and cheese, veggie patties or perhaps an omlette; then an evening with a protein element usually meat or fish and veggies or salad – even if it’s bolognaise I’d have the sauce over green veg and cook some pasta for my OH. There really is no need to make things unnecessarily complicated.

    I’d recommend giving it a try, think you’ll be surprised how easy it is to fit into you lifestyle and will be happy with the results. Keep us posted.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks SunnyB. I’m feeling a lot more enthusiastic and optimistic now following all your suggestions. The only thing I’m worried about now is will I have enough money to buy smaller clothes?! 😉

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Martie, for what it is worth, I did the 5:2 several years ago and am on my 4th week with BSD, so have done both. I find the BSD easier….less hunger, more flexible, easier to plan around. On 5:2, even though I was already low carbing, I found going from an “eating day” to start all over again for each “fasting day” tougher. I now find it pretty simple even to just eat one decent 500-600 calorie meal a day and have soup or a salad for a mini meal for the other. No breakfast.

    MM recommends not doing back to back fast days on the 5:2 but I found Day 2 if done back to back much easier….its the first day that was always the challenge. With BSD there is only one first day….all down hill after that. And oddly, those that have been on BSD for a while and have a “off or binge day” say getting back on has not been a problem.

    Each person has to decide what works best for them…but the big advantage of having these forums is getting the real life experience of lots and lots of folks that have tried lots and lots of strategies. Do know that of course you are getting a bit of a bias….because we are on this forum because we have found BSD has worked best for us. For me it is a god send and really opened a door I thought would never be available to me.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Make the charity shops and ebay you best friends, Martie. As my size started to drop and I had to side line garments, I picked up cheap replacements in local charity stores and on ebay, knowing that they too would be side lined in a couple of months. Now that I’m where I want to be, I have started buying my replacement wardrobe both from normal high street stores as well, but there as still some great bargains to have elsewhere too.

    Anyway, don’t worry about that now, it’s not a good reason to put off improving your health and fitness and taking control of your weight. Keep us posted on your progress and I’ll look forward to reading some great positive results from you in due course.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks again folks, I’m definitely leaning towards the 16:8 BSD approach as I can easily skip breakfast and last well into the early afternoon so it makes sense to try that as 800 calories in a 10 hour waking period isn’t all that hard going (and the snacks were never really needed, they were just a habit etc.)

    And fortunately my kids got me into shopping in charity shops a few years ago and I get most things from them (apart from jeans, can never find jeans I like in charity shops!), so not too worried about the clothes 🙂

    Today’s been a good day, no sugar or refined carbs and not been a struggle at all. Feeling good 🙂

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Great that you are feeling more positive about things , Martie. Sounds like you have made a good start by trimming out the refined carbs already and I’m sure you will settle into the 16:8 pattern just fine, as you are already used to skipping breakfast. And you’re right, 800 cals in the 8hr window is comfortable.

    Keep us posted on your progress and hope to see you on some of the other threads, as you start to make progress. Best of luck with your quest.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks, just a quick question regarding carbs:

    What about brown rice and lentils? Would these be classed as ‘good’ carbs?

  • posted by Verano
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    Hi, well lentils are certainly ‘good’ carbs the only problem is that there is an abundance of them, 60g per 100g uncooked weight. So you can have a small amount occasionally, but not too often if you are sticking below 50g a day. I make a lovely lentil soup but only have it very occasionally now because of the carb content. I’m not sure about brown rice as opposed to white but with between 22g and 33g per 100g uncooked weight again it’s quite high in carbs and I’m not sure about the nutritional value.

    I’m sorry I’ve not read this thread through but try an app like fatsecret or myfitnesslpal and it will give you the nutritional values of lots of foods but take care because they can sometimes be incorrect. Alternatively you can just google nutritional value of ….. and you will get the information you require. Sorry if you already do this.

  • posted by Martie
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    That’s a big help, thanks. I usually buy a packet of green lentils, some bulgur wheat/quinoa/chickpeas (Sainsbury’s do that in a packet), olives, and some brown/wild rice – chuck it all in a bowl, spice it up and throw in some olive oil and cyder vinegar before putting it in a few containers to have as a meal 4 times a week. Is difficult to gauge how carby that is but I guess it’s a fairly healthy meal (is quite filling)?

  • posted by Verano
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    You should find the carb content on the packets but if not if you can check the product out on the companies shopping website, which usually gives all the nutritional information. Afraid it will just be a case of weighing all the ingredients, counting the carbs and then dividing by 4. You may be amazed at the carb content of even an innocent small/medium apple, which can have 19g of carbs so the chances are your concoction, as nice as it sounds, will be pretty high!

  • posted by Martie
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    Oh dear! I will get to work on that and see what I can find out Thanks 🙂

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hey Martie – I think you will be surprised how carb heavy that concoction is. Could you maybe look at making some Mediterranean roast veggies instead – peppers, courgettes, onions, aubergine, button mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, a little olive oil, a sprinkle of herbs. If you make a big batch, you can have dress it with cyder vinegar or lemon juice and divide it up to eat cold with cold meats, tuna, etc. Or may be roast some cauliflower with herbs or spices or make salad or homemade coleslaw. All of these would be much lighter on the carbs and will also be filling.

  • posted by Esnecca
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    I can tell you right now that is not a BSD-friendly meal, sorry Martie. Like Verano said, people do eat very small portions of lentils and chickpeas but they have to be portioned into minute amounts. Yes, they are complex carbs, high in fiber, slow to digest and therefore less likely to cause blood sugar spikes, but they will absolutely slow down the weight loss process. Vegetarians who require pulses for protein almost always lose weight far more slowly than omnivores on the BSD. At the end of the day, carbs are carbs. The more of them you eat, the more elevated your blood sugar and insulin. The more elevated your insulin levels, the more unbudgeable the fat.

    Bulgur is just wheat. Wheat is on the no list. Its high fiber content doesn’t change its cereal essence, which is why there are 58 grams of carbs per 100 gram serving even after you subtract the 18 grams of dietary fiber. Quinoa is somewhat less terrible carb-wise with 18 grams per 100 gram serving. Brown rice is just as bad as white rice in terms of carbs.

    I hope I’m not bumming you out too much. I know it’s been a challenge for you contemplating all these changes with all the pressures of single parenting, working two jobs and a tight household budget. I’m afraid you’re going to have to let go of some of what you’ve thought of as “healthy meals” in the past, because this system works best when you whittle down your daily carb intake as much as possible, cutting out flour, sugar, grains, cereals, rice and root vegetables. You’ll find that plenty of so-called healthy foodstuffs are crammed to the gills with carbohydrates.

    On the plus side, it’s actually not difficult at all to calculate the carb content of a meal with multiple ingredients like your mixed grains and pulses bowl. Check out MyFitnessPal or Fat Secret. They make it a simple matter of searching for a product or brand, selecting the serving size from a dropdown menu and clicking the button to add it to a recipe or to your daily food log. Then the software does all the tallying for you. I use MFP religiously both to record meals and to plan them in advance so there are no ugly surprises.

    It goes without saying, I hope, that we old hands are here for you whenever you need us. I’ve been doing the Fast 800 for 14 months. It’s second nature to me now. I can run any calc you want in about 3 seconds flat. I also love to cook so I’m always up for a challenge like figuring out a viable substitute for ingredients or dishes to make a meal BSD-friendly. You have an army behind you.

  • posted by Martie
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    Well, I’m extremely glad I asked that question because I thought my little concoction was the healthiest thing since not eating sliced bread! Thanks for the suggestions, they sound way better (in every way) to what I’ve been having so it looks like it’s time to seriously rethink the shopping list! Thanks again 🙂

  • posted by Esnecca
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    For beans, see if you can find non-GMO canned black soybeans. Eden Foods is the brand I get here. https://www.evitamins.com/uk/organic-black-soybeans-eden-foods-52672 You can also find dried ones online, but as with all legumes, they need overnight soaking and a slow simmer for a couple of hours which is probably not something you have time for with your crazy schedule. They can easily sub for standard beans in any soup, hummus, salad, burrito bowls, etc. They have carbs but only a single gram in a 130 gram serving (7 grams fiber).

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks Esnecca, I’ll look into getting some of those 🙂

  • posted by Martie
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    Well, I changed my shopping list and came back with tonnes of veg (no lentils, bulgur, rice!). I got aubergines, onions, peppers, button mushrooms, courgettes etc…cooked them in light olive oil with some spices and himalayan salt, let it cool down then put it in containers in the fridge.

    I made batch of quinoa (is that better than wheat, lentils, bulgur, rice etc.?), and put that in the fridge.

    I made a big batch of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, which I steamed, then put in the fridge.

    I also chucked a bag of spinach, a whole parsley plant and a cucumber in a smoothie maker with coconut milk, poured it into glasses, and shoved that in the fridge.

    The only problem I have now is that I need a bigger fridge because I’ve gone completely over top and the kids are utterly appalled (as kids tend to be!) by the sight of so much veg!

    Just need to quit sugar now…

  • posted by Verano
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    Hi quinoa and rice have similar carbohydrate values but the quinoa has more fibre. So yes better in some ways!

    Well done on the rest of your shop sounds great.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks Verano. I guess I’ll just go easy on the quinoa (I have made rather a lot though! :D) One thing that’s puzzling me is that people seem to be cutting out carbs altogether, have I got that right? If so, is that really necessary, or even a good idea?

  • posted by Verano
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    Hi Martie some people do cut their carbs to fewer than 20g a day but that’s the exception rather than the rule. This is a ‘low’ rather than ‘no’ carb way of eating and it really depends on what your goals are and how quickly you want to reach them. Also, it’s quite a personal thing because some people can manage quite well with few carbs, but for others it’s much harder. I think the important thing here, especially if you have diabetes, is to eat the ‘right’ sort of carbs. So it’s a case of trial and error to see what suits you best. I think lots of people use 50g as the maximum number of carbs a day, but 30g is a popular amount. Have a look at Diet Doctor for some ‘graphics’ of low/medium/high carb foods. Also get yourself an app or computer program such as myfitnesspal or fatsecret which list the carb/calorie content of many, many foods.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Hi Martie! I just wanted to pop in for a moment to tell you that quinoa freezes
    very well. No need to feel compelled to finish it up if you’ve made too much.
    I’m one of the one’s Verano mentions in terms of <20 gms of carbs a day,
    but I’m very insulin resistant (also very impatient to succeed) so this was
    highly successful for me. 10 stone in 10 months……
    Very best of luck to you on your journey!

    Allie

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hey Martie – that sounds like foods for a really great start, go easy on the quinoa and you should be fine. Don’t worry about getting the carbs super low right now. Get yourself used to the pattern of things, keep the calories as close to the 800 as you can and once you are in the stride, start looking more closely at the carbs. Most people get on fine at around 30g to 50g, but I personally find I need to push much lower, if I want to see real results but as I said, give yourself a chance to get the basics under control and any carb withdrawal issues have settled first.

    Best of luck for a great day one tomorrow and we’ll look forward to reading of your progress.

  • posted by Martie
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    Thanks SunnyB, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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