You understand the basic principles of low carb and how to shop for it from previous articles. That’s a great first step. Now, before you enter the real world, you should know how to do things low-carb if you decide to eat out and how to adjust if you’re an athlete.
Add salt if your performance is lacking
Whether you’re an athlete or not, it’s possible you will get what’s called the ‘induction flu’ after switching to low carb. The symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, light nausea, and irritability. The reason for this is that carb-rich foods may increase water retention in your body. When you stop eating them, you’ll lose excess water through your kidneys. This is also often why physical performance is affected. The flu goes away rapidly after a few days but the side effects can be eliminated by drinking more water and increasing salt intake. If you have issues with performance, try drinking a large glass of water with 0,5 teaspoons of salt 30 – 60 minutes before your activity.
Give your body time to adapt to fat burning
Another reason why your performance might not be 100 % is your metabolism. Adaptation to burning fat can take a few weeks or even months depending on how much your exercise and at what intensity. Your body needs time to shift from being a sugar-burner to burning fat for energy in the muscles. Stick with it and you will see you can exercise just like always or even better but without the need to constantly fuel with sugar.
Learn to avoid carbs when eating out
When ordering a meal with carbs on the side, like potatoes or rice, most restaurants will be ok substituting a salad or extra veggies for the starch. When going for a burger or sandwich try replacing the bun with lettuce wraps or just leave it on the plate. Some condiments like Béarnaise sauce contain mostly fat, mustard is low in carbs with only 6 g per 100 g, while ketchup contains up to 26 g. Make sure to ask for ingredient list with any condiments you don’t know and avoid those that contain sugar or flour. When it comes to ordering drinks, sparkling or plain water, tea, and coffee are all good options. If you chose to have an alcoholic beverage, champagne, dry wine, light beer, or spirits are all low-carb.
Ask for extra fat
You can always choose fatty fish like salmon, or tuna, or get fattier cuts of meat, but if that’s not an option, then ask for extra avocado for your salad or butter and olive oil to drizzle over your veggies or meat.