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Added carbs back, unhappy with results. Help?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Hi, guys!

So I recently moved to Osaka, Japan as a study-abroad student. I'm going to be here til August.

Edit: Also, I'm conversationally fluent in Japanese, so I'm fine with recipe labels!

I had been eating pretty low-carb, with lots of leafy greens, no fruits and only the occasional starchy veggie, since August. When I moved to Japan, in the beginning of January, I decided to add back in starches a la the Perfect Health Diet. Starches were limited to potatoes and white rice. (I'm allergic to gluten and dairy.) However, I feel that I've gained weight and lost muscle in the month since coming here. I don't have the numbers to prove this, but it's just my gut (heh) feeling.

However, there have been a number of other changes in my lifestyle besides adding in carbs. It's way colder here, since there's no central heating. I do a little more aerobic exercise walking up and down stairs and biking to and from class every day.

My daily diet consists mainly of fish or lean protein and vegetables (leafy greens, cabbage, daikon)- I've been trying to eat a little more fat, but the burner in my room doesn't get hot enough to stir fry so I've been having a little trouble.

However, since carbs are such a portable source of energy, I'd love to hear some ideas about adding them back without any bad effects Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!

(Also, speaking of the weak burner- does anyone have any tips for getting some more calories in my diet without the ability to use higher heat? I'm allergic to milk products so butter is out, and tallow, lard, and good oils are rare here.)

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 18, 2013
at 03:58 PM

Aji no moto is MSG and Japanese cooks add it to almost everything, plus it's often on the table as a seasoning like salt and pepper are in the US.

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4 Answers

2
E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on February 18, 2013
at 03:38 PM

From my experience living in Japan, I often felt bloated from accidentally getting exposed to additives (MSG in particular). It's in a LOT of Japanese food, and not just packaged, pre-prepared ones you would expect. Sometimes even fish is sold brined in a solution that contains it. If you're experiencing some bloat that could definitely make you feel like you've gained weight.

I agree that you should try soba, but most soba sold now contains wheat. Do you know how to read a Japanese food label? If not, learn. I never studied Japanese writing, but I did learn to recognize a lot of food words so I could avoid certain ingredients.

Proteins are expensive, but the Japanese also value very fatty cuts of meat. If you can afford some of those, you shouldn't really need to add more fat to your diet. These meats are often sold in very thin cuts that should be easy to cook on your burner or "shabu shabu" - cook by swirling quickly in a pot of boiling water or broth.

Also try a classic Japanese breakfast. Stir a raw egg into your bowl of rice :D

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 18, 2013
at 03:58 PM

Aji no moto is MSG and Japanese cooks add it to almost everything, plus it's often on the table as a seasoning like salt and pepper are in the US.

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 18, 2013
at 04:02 PM

In my college days I cooked everything in an electric frying pan. Is that a possibility?

You might try adding coconut oil to hot tea to up the fat.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 18, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Soba might be a better carb (buckwheat) and tastes good cold. Protein is expensive in Japan so you might have to start eating a lot of canned fish.

A couple other ideas. Get yourself a rice cooker, which doubles as a good food rewarmer and steamer. Also try some smoked chestnuts, which were my go-to snack in Japan. Maybe not perfect but better than all the rice and soy.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on February 18, 2013
at 02:08 PM

How are your insulin levels, how are your blood sugar levels when you eat and don't eat carbs, what's your A1C? Get those tested.

You can get an A1C monitor and glucometer here in the USA off Amazon, depending on health laws you might be able to do the same in Japan, otherwise, have a doctor test these for you. You'll want to make sure you don't have high A1C, or insulin resistance before adding more carbs back in.

Can you get coconut oil, or red palm oil, or bacon? You can try making ghee out of butter by slowly simmering it and skimming off the protein off the top, then using a paper coffee filter over a wide mouth jar held by a rubber band, pour the melted butter into the jar. You might not react to the ghee.

Any chance of getting a microwave?

In terms of muscle, have you changed your protein intake, or your workouts? It's possible you have the same muscles, but if you've gained fat that you won't see it. Or perhaps you're actually losing muscle. Aerobic exercise vs resistance training can cause atrophy of muscles that aren't used, but usually you'd lose fat as well. If you're over 50, it could be sarcopenia.

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