How to survive the JLo No-Sugar No-Carb Challenge

I’ve all the time been in a position to eat no matter I need with out gaining weight — till now. They name it “center age unfold” for a purpose. So I used to be intrigued when Jennifer Lopez laid down her 10 Day No Sugar No Carb Problem. Her coach reportedly informed the media-savvy singer/actress that she wanted to chop out carbs and sugar in preparation for her starring function as a stripper within the upcoming film “ Hustlers .” Fairly than do it in personal, she challenged the world to affix her. I’m a sucker for movie star throwdowns, so I made a decision to take part. In any case, I figured, even with out a personal chef or movie star coach to supply encouragement, how onerous might the JLo Problem be? Right here’s what I found:

There’s no such factor as a no-carb weight loss program

Whereas JLo was vocal concerning the problem, she didn’t provide many specifics, merely asking individuals to swear off something with sugar and carbs, together with dairy merchandise and fruit. Upon additional analysis, I found there isn’t any such factor as a No Carb weight loss program. Nearly all of the greens Lopez urged consuming in images she posted to her Instagram tales, resembling cucumbers, inexperienced beans and yellow peppers, comprise some carbs. She additionally favors blackberries, which have some sugar, and nuts, which comprise some carbs.

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Her problem resembles the keto weight loss program, wherein you eat a lot of meat, seafood, eggs, avocados and salad and only a few carbohydrates — no pasta, fries, bread, bagels, doughnuts or dessert. (Since there are subsequent to no carbs to burn, the physique burns fats, thus making certain weight reduction.)

The JLo Problem additionally bans alcohol, though I discovered that gin, rum, tequila and whiskey comprise zero grams of carbs and sugar per ounce. And a 5-ounce glass of pinot grigio or pinot noir accommodates solely a bit of over three grams of carbs (lower than a handful of walnuts) and simply over 1 gram of sugar.

Nonetheless, I used to be dedicated to the problem and swore off all alcohol through the 10 days.

Studying meals labels turned my life

Normally I’m out and in of the grocery store in 10 minutes. However after embarking on the JLo Problem, I discovered the trek for much longer as I turned an avid reader of meals labels. Nearly each grocery product accommodates data on the quantity of carbs and sugar per serving.

Since I knew I might be consuming a lot of salads, I spent appreciable time within the condiments aisle, the place I found that pickled okra, capers, jalapeño-stuffed olives, grilled piquillo peppers and giardiniera (a mixture of picked cauliflower, purple peppers, carrots and celery) can actually costume up a salad and make it tasty.

Though the JLo Problem eschews dairy, I found that feta cheese has no carbs or sugar. Ken’s Steakhouse Merely French dressing Greek Dressing and Mrs. Cubbison’s Parmesan Crisps additionally comprise no carbs or sugars, so I used them sparingly on my salads.

HEALTHY RECIPE: Strive low-carb Eggs Baked in Avocado

The rule of thumb in relation to greens is that these raised above floor (lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and so forth.) comprise fewer carbs than these raised beneath (potatoes, beets, parsnips). It’s onerous to overeat something with leaves.

An eggs-acting menu

Eggs — hard-boiled, sunny-side up, scrambled, poached, fried — have been my go-to meals for the problem. I ate so many eggs through the 10 days that I used to be starting to cluck. (I believe it might be onerous for anybody with excessive ldl cholesterol to tackle the problem, so it’s necessary to test along with your physician earlier than embarking on such a plan.)

Nevertheless, by scouring the online, I found some recipes that put a brand new spin on eggs. Baked eggs in avocado have been simple to make and an actual deal with.

Through the problem, breakfast often included eggs and bacon (baked within the oven) or sausage. Lunch was typically a big salad with turkey or ham, lettuce, veggies and condiments. Dinner often featured grilled salmon, steak, pork chops, lamb chops, or turkey tenderloin with a aspect of grilled asparagus, sautéed spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts or grilled veggies.

I additionally experimented with making ready cauliflower hash browns and baked eggplant fries (dipped in egg, almond flower and cayenne pepper) — with various levels of success. My largest culinary victory got here from executing a recipe for hen filled with spanakopita (spinach and feta) from the Coronary heart Wholesome Greek web site.

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Additionally, I used to be lucky to start the problem throughout crawfish season, so Sunday afternoons have been spent at Revelry, which presents a $30 all-you-can-eat crawfish particular. I added the mushrooms and sausage, however ignored the potatoes and corn.

Classes discovered

One massive problem of the problem is a gnawing starvation that exists between meals. I curbed it with a handful of nuts, carrots dipped in almond butter, or a bit of rolled-up ham slathered with stone-ground mustard, which turned my go-to snacks.

Nevertheless, I discovered that once I did eat, all the things tasted significantly better as a result of I used to be really actually hungry. The 5 to 10 blackberries I restricted myself to as a dessert at evening have been pure heaven.

On the finish of the problem, I misplaced 6½ kilos. Whereas nutritionists frown on such diets, saying individuals often find yourself gaining again all the burden, and extra, as soon as they go off the fad plan, I’ve dropped a couple of extra kilos since ending the problem a couple of weeks in the past. And I really feel a lot lighter and more healthy, too.

Greater than anything, the JLo Problem gave me a brand new mind-set about meals. I proceed to have a look at labels for hidden carbs and sugar (I found ketchup and cocktail sauce have tons of sugar), and actually take into consideration what I eat. For instance, I eat bananas extra sparingly (one banana accommodates 27 grams of carbs and 14 grams of sugar), now not rely upon a handful of Craisins for a snack (¼ cup accommodates 33 grams of carbs and 29 grams of sugar), and I keep away from bolillo rolls (30 carbs in a single roll).

HEALTHY RECIPE: Spanakopita Stuffed Rooster

I’ve additionally discovered that it’s all about making higher selections. Ketchup and barbecue sauce have 10 to 20 occasions extra carbs than Tabasco. Blueberries have 3 times extra carbs than blackberries and raspberries. Pistachios and cashews have 4 occasions extra carbs than pecans, Brazil nuts or macadamias. A mug of beer has 13 occasions extra carbs than a glass of champagne. Vitamin Water accommodates 32 occasions extra carbs than water with lemon.

I’ve misplaced most of my cravings for pasta, bagels and baked potatoes. However once in a while I savor a chocolate chip cookie, an order of McDonald’s fries, or a margarita. Such delicacies style even higher than normal as a result of now they’re actually particular.

Clifford Pugh is a Houston-based author.

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