Sigh. I've broken down, folks, I'm becoming one of them: I'm presently on the Atkins Diet.
I hadn't planned it. But my girlfriend went on it, and I visited her on the island last weekend (took her to DOA!), and rather than make her watch me eat things she couldn't, I went along with it, mostly to see what it was like. I am, after all, around 100 pounds heavier than I ideally should be, and have been warned by a couple doctors now that I am close to having diabetes. I've been meaning to do something about this for awhile; apparently the time has found me.
It turns out that it's actually pretty easy to do - it requires some effort at food preparation and shopping and such, but things that I expected to be features of the diet - like a craving for carbs, endless hypoglycemia, and, perhaps, a sudden heart attack from eating meat all the fucking time - have not thus far materialized. Nor is my head falling off from the strain of counting carbs at the grocery store - I don't know why I presumed it would be difficult. All in all, the diet is actually fairly workable, though I do get hungry if I don't eat for awhile, and I have allowed myself the odd cheat (a baby carrot here, a bit of yoghurt, some cashews - I plan to eliminate all of them as of tomorrow!). The basic idea is pretty simple: you restrict yourself to under 20 grams of carbs per day, avoiding bread, rice, potatoes, sugar and what have you, while sticking mostly to foods on the "allowed food list." Meat, eggs, salads, low-sugar veggies, that sort of thing. It requires some resourcefulness, but I'm entering day six at present, and feeling okay about it, like I could keep it up for awhile yet.
What's particularly interesting about the Atkins diet is that - who knew? - you have to piss on little things called Ketostix to monitor your progress. They have a little tab on the end that registers that you are burning off stored carbs, by darkening; it starts out flesh coloured and can go all the way up to brick red, depending on how much of whatever-substance-they're-measuring is in your urine (ketone, I see. Not sure what that is. Anyhow, the more the merrier, on this diet). So far I've shown "moderate" progress - landing mostly in the middle of the pink-to-brick spectrum. Tomorrow my goal is to make the pee strip go as dark as possible, just to see if I can. Here's a quick before-and-after demonstration:
...And yes, I know: the REALLY high-status diet at the moment, to prove how morally, spiritually, and ideologically evolved one is, is a raw food vegan one. But yadda yadda, I have a Mom to cook for, who I share most meals with. I've TRIED to convince her in the past that she should do without meat, back during my own past periods of vegetarianism, but she gets quite adamant: "I WANT MY MEAT!" Caring for her takes enough energy and patience as it is, without trying to sway her in that direction; it's tricky enough making a carb-free meal for myself, and a carby one for her. (Granted, she's also overweight and diabetic, but she's never really been one for controlling her diet - she eats what she wants when she wants, without much sense of consequence or control. She's much, much better now than before she had her stroke - not because she tries, but because her appetite was greatly reduced, somehow, during her hospitalization. She still ended today's dinner with a couple of baby donuts...).