April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Lower Carb Experiment

I've noticed lately that anytime I eat a lot of junkie carbs (like bread, crackers, etc.) I shortly thereafter feel an anxiety spike. I've never been on anything that would be called a low carb diet for more than a day (that was a very bad day -- I thought I'd try a vegetarian version of Atkins, eating mostly eggs and cheese... after a day of this, I felt like I had the flu.) I don't think that I want to do a complete Atkins induction type low carb experiment, since as you know I still don't eat meat much and I don't want to eat truckloads of saturated fat. But I'm wondering how much I can lower my carbs, especially the high glycemic index ones that seem to cause the most damage, and then measure the effects on my ambient anxiousness.

I once read a book called _The Good Calorie Diet_ (well, I read it about fifty times, as I do with books I really like, so I can't say "I once read...") and its sequel, _Naturally Slim and Powerful_. I think both are out of print at this point, and they're both definitely "diet" books. They focused on low glycemic index eating, and I've read a lot of things that say that doesn't matter, but I guess it depends on what your goal is. I'm not concerned about losing weight... if anything, I am starting to realize that the fun parts of losing weight are over and now it will only be annoying if I get any thinner. However, I am very concerned about creating a diet that is optimal for my mental functioning. The second book talked about how the author had discovered after the publication of the first book that women who tried the diet not only lost weight, they achieved a level of calm and mental focus that they had never had before. He had some weird explanations for this, and I'm sure that if I re-read the book today I would disagree with a lot of what he has to say, but my experience of anxiety reduction on the diet (and it was not a low calorie diet, it was more of a high-volume low glycemic index vegan diet -- I ate brown rice and beans for breakfast everyday) definitely corresponded to what the author said other women experienced.

I actually suspect that my low calorie day of my Two Representative Days will work just fine, and I may stick to it religiously for a few days just to test this. The giant shot of eggwhite protein in the morning, the very light dinner with low calorie veggies soaked in chicken broth with brewers yeast, and the friendly calcium sources in milk and yogurt. Since I'm not trying to induce ketosis (even though one of my CR brothers initially thought that might be the explanation for the anti-anxiety effects the CR seems to have for me) I'm not worried about the carbs in milk and yogurt.

So the question is this: are the Zen effects that I seem to experience from CR purely a function of total number of calories per day, or does it matter what those calories are?


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