Friday, August 10, 2007

Rules to Maintain a Balance

Sometimes when we first start a low-carb diet, our bodies react in ways that might seem off, so the next rule addresses the "potty problems" that some find when they're starting on a new low-carb diet.

Rule 12:
  • If you are constipated, mix a tablespoon or more of psyllium husks in a cup or more of water and drink daily. Or mix ground flaxseed into a shake or sprinkle wheat bran on a salad or vegetables.

This rule compliments rule 11 - that is it helps with strategies to avoid and counteract constipation. Water and high-fiber supplements are recommended to help maintain regularity. With any changes to your daily diet your body may experience short-term bouts of constipation and the above rule helps get you through this. It also reinforces for the long-term what works for constipation naturally rather than chemically processed products or sugar-laden fiber mixes that are commercially available.

The secret of this rule is that it is providing you with natural ways to alleviate constipation, not only in beginning, but in the long-term as you look to maintain your goal weight if you still have occasional issues.Important in this rule is to understand what it is to be constipated.

Constipation is not just not having a bowel movement for a couple of days - it is having the urge to have a bowel movement and being unable to go to the bathroom! When you do finally go, the feces are dry and hard. While not going for a day or two may be alarming, if you are not uncomfortable, you are probably not constipated. When you are constipated it is important to be sure you are getting plenty of water and increasing your fiber so that you are able to go without straining. Drinking water as instructed in the previous rule along with this one give you the tools to regulate yourself naturally.

The last rule we'll look at speaks directly to the recommendation to take, at minimum a good multivitamin with minerals. It's pretty much a universal given no matter what type of diet you eat that you should include a vitamin each day, and the same is true for those starting a low-carb diet.

Rule 13:

  • At a minimum, take a good daily multivitamin with minerals, including potassium, magnesium and calcium, but without iron.

Many people starting out on a low-carb diet with both feet and take a large number of supplements.

In this rule, Dr. Atkins makes it clear that at minimum you need a good multivitamin each day. Also specifically mentioned are minerals, which are important to maintain electrolyte balance, especially when you're starting a low-carb diet and will experience a metabolic shift to burn fat primarily instead of glucose, which releases a lot of water from stored glycogen.

Much like the rule on water (fluid) intake is universally agreed as a "good rule", so too is this rule. While some people will benefit from additional supplements to their daily multi-vitamin, it is not necessary to start with more than a good multi-vitamin with minerals.

In the long-term, maintaining this habit of taking a good multivitamin is also a good idea no matter what diet you follow.

It is important to note with this rule that the multi-vitamin must have potassium, magnesium and calcium - these control and keep in balance your electrolytes (your body salts), so chooing one with a good balance and ratio of these minerals is important. Important too is to use a multi-vitamin not packed with iron (unless you have a medical reason to take additional iron) since your diet will now contain enough iron (if you follow it correctly) each day without additional supplementation of iron. Too much iron is as deterimental to your health as too little. Unless you have a reason to take more iron, find a good multi-vitamin without iron!

The secret within this rule is to learn to keep a balance - insure you're getting all the nutrients you can with real food and have a multivitamin each day to be sure if you missed somewhere along the way, you had it in your vitamin.

This rule and the one before it aren't about extremes - it is about balance.

By taking care of potential "potty problems" and including a good multivitamin each day, you're developing a habit that will enhance your ability to get all of your nutrients each day - even on those days you may not eat "well".


  1. I was "blog-tagged" (by "Sparky's Girl") to spill my guts about eight random things about me. I normally don't go for this kinda thing (I don't forward those "cute" chain emails so I guess I'll have bad luck for a gazillion years), but this is all in fun - so I did this one (on my blog). I now have a compelling obligation to tag eight others to also spill their collective guts about eight random things about themselves. So I am tagging some of my favorite low carb bloggers and forum/journal posters to see what they might share about themselves.

    So anyhow... Tag, Yer It!

    You can read about it here:

  2. I just found your blog and think it's fantastic! You offer great support and such great explanations of your reasonings, it's good to come across something like this on the internet. I look forward to reading more!