My week HCLF (high carb, low fat)
It seems pretty uncommon eating vegan and yet not eating HCLF. Everyone seems to rave about it and I didn't really know what it was like or what it was about. Pictures of banana icecream towering out of glasses, images of huge bowls of fruit for lunch, monomeals... What is it like?
So I set myself a challenge, eat high carb low fat for a week and experience what everyone else loves. Will I feel so much more energetic? Or will I be hungry all the time? Will I lose weight? Gain weight? Will my skin flare up like in the infamous detox period? A LOT of questions.
So what actually is HCLF?
Well, Mindfully Bliss calls it "a diet or as I like to call it, a lifestyle, where one consumes mostly carbs such as fruits and veggies, and low amounts of fats (sugars, salts, oils, etc)"
My Vegan Belly says a HCLF vegan is someone "that primarily eats carbs (from fruit!) The diet is made up of raw fruits, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, cooked carbs (rice quinoa, potatoes, corn), and beans, with a few nuts and seeds. 80/10/10 means that 80% of the diet is made up of carbohydrates, 10% fat, and 10% protein."
So my challenge started, one week HCLF.
What do you eat for breakfast? Well some people say oats are okay, some people say they are not as they are a lot higher in fat than fruit. So some days as much fruit as possible, others banana icecream, smoothies etc. I had mostly fruit based breakfasts, no nuts or seeds or nut butters which I found strange! I do really enjoy banana icecream though so it didn't feel like it was deprivation.
Lunch/dinner? Lots of carbs, of course! Some people go down the fruit monomeal route, I stuck with savoury food. I had lots of big salads, lots of rice, quinoa, potatoes, etc. Also, pasta! I tried making a low fat pasta sauce which was strange to me as I am used to cooking the onion and garlic in oil and sprinkling some nuts on top, etc but it was very tasty and I didn't feel I was missing out.
Snacks? Lots of fruit! Bananas, apples, oranges, dates, dried figs- you name it, I ate it! Certainly very healthy but I found that I craved something a bit some substantial sometimes and dried fruit without nut butter didn't seem right!
It definitely does help digestion, there is no denying that. You get bloated after a large fibre filled meal but it digests quickly and you do feel a lot lighter in your stomach. Also it means that food passes through quicker, which is good for those who suffer from constipation.
Energy wise? I'm ordinarily pretty energetic so it's hard to tell the difference in energy levels between a healthy vegan diet and a healthy high carb low fat vegan diet. Definitely not a negative impact anyway! I think you would notice a bigger difference going from a already quite unhealthy diet to hclf however.
Would I stick to it? Probably not. Why? Well as someone who ALSO can't eat gluten, life would start to get pretty difficult when I eat out. I think also not eating very much fat would make life very difficult for me as it would restrict my choices even further. Also, I do love nuts, avocado, etc and I couldn't see myself cutting them out to make sure it fitted into the 10% macro ratio.
So what have I learnt?
Banana icecream for breakfast more often because it keeps me full for ages and gives me lots of energy.
Less nuts and more fruit as snacks because the sugar hit helps keep you going
That it's not going to be that bad at all at uni when I'm going to be eating big portions of rice and pasta and nothing that fancy to liven it up, this week was cheap and tasty!