Nuts! Both in weight loss and weight maintenance I had to navigate and decide what part nuts played in my diet. Do they help me? Do they keep my bio-markers and inflammation low? Does choosing them trigger me? Will I over eat them?
The answer is YES- they help and hurt at the same time. Oh NUTS! It took a lot of work to figure this one out. It's well worth it.
Here's how I navigated the one of my only foods I can eat in moderation* (see below for disclaimer). I gave up almost all moderation strategies for weight maintenance except this one.
What's out completely: peanuts. They are legumes, trigger foods, and have no place in my life. Dismissed, eliminated, and kicked to the curb. I do not miss them one bit. This leaves almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans.
How I to got to this point:
Weight loss mode:
During my last weight loss attempt, peanut butter was on the Medifast plan. I realized I was on a slippery slope when I "Just HAD to have" a tablespoon every night. If I just "Have to HAVE any food" that = trigger food. Really. I know myself that way.
I ditched peanut butter right then and there. Never looked back. I did experiment with PB2, a low fat peaunt butter substitute. Once I read the Refuse to Regain book (Barbara Berkeley) and The Paleo Soultion (Robb Wolf) and realized peanuts were legumes and not recommended from an inflammatory standpoint or for weight maintenance, I ditched the PB2 also.
Weight Maintenance Mode: I tried almond butter, almond butter with flaxseeds. It was most yummy. And I just "had to have it". So I stopped. I feel better without trigger foods- Paleo or not. I want clarity, recovery, and peace more than anything.
*Disclaimer- I will kick nuts to the curb- all of them if I start to be triggered. I will take responsibility. 100%
Choosing not to have nut butters is a huge relief and puts me solidly into my new normal. Contrary to popular strategies one might choose during weight maintenance, restricting myself does not lead me to binging, it leads me away from it and keeps me happy, healthy and pain (emotional and physical) free. I accept this and I own this. Fully. I know myself this way.
What does work: I stet up "NUT RULES". Macadamia nuts in general have those great medium chain fatty acids and are a portable and sustainable snack. The other nuts also have a lot of omega-6 so, that's important for me to balance out with Omega-3's.
- Unsalted nuts only!
- Weigh them out into portions or half portions
- One portion a day!
- If I overeat them, I stop nuts cold turkey for a week or two.
- I like macadamia nuts but I do not "Have to have them".
- Only eat pecans, walnuts, cashews in very tiny amounts as part of recipes. Think Dukkah seasoning, pecan crusted chicken.
- Other than macadamias and almonds- all other nuts out of bags = trigger.
- If I am in a business situation and I cannot eat at a regular meal time, I have either almonds or macadamia nuts. This has probably saved me personally and professionally many times. I can go 2-3 hours on a half serving of macadamias or a pre-packaged serving of almonds from Trader Joe's. I feel like I put on a superwoman cape and I can jump any hurdle or do any task. A powerful tool and the reason why I developed the NUT RULES.
- Moderation of peanuts or any salted nuts
- Absence of "NUT Rules"
- Thinking I just "Had to have" any type of nut or nut butter.
- Nut butters- hello triggers.