Ditch the Carbs - How it All Began

I have been on and off diets my whole life. The earliest was the Scarsdale Diet at age 11. For the next 30 years, I meticulously counted calories or points to lose weight, but overall, my diet was unhealthy. I ate cake and junk food as long as it was within my calorie or points allowance.

I began eating whole-grain bread and more fruits, vegetables, trim milk, and low-fat foods. I even started training for and running half marathons. Nothing resulted in weight loss.

In 2013, I attended various lectures and workshops in which I discovered the low-carb, healthy fat (LCHF) way of eating*. It led me to question everything I ever knew about food. The workshops were run by Professor Grant Schofield, Dr. Caryn Zinn, and Dr. Mikki Williden, who are part of the Human Potential Centre at Auckland University of Technology. They are world leaders in LCHF advocacy and research. 

They encouraged us audience members to get out and spread the LCHF and real food message. “It’s up to all of us," they said. LCHF is about eating real, unprocessed, low-carb, whole foods. LCHF helps some to lose weight, gain control of their appetite, and increase the nutritional value of their diet by making simple swaps from processed carbs (like bread, pasta, cakes) to whole foods.

Worldwide, there is an amazing group of scientists, doctors, and health professionals who are trying to re-educate the public and change our idea of healthy eating. Their task is incredibly difficult because of the huge level of influence that food companies, lobbyists, agriculture, and the traditional way of thinking has on public opinion.

I am a Registered Pharmacist and I considered retraining as a dietician or nutritionist so I could learn more and help others eat low carb, real food. Sadly, that path wasn't right for me.  I would have had to study the traditional dietary advice, it would have cost me $10,000’s, and it would have an incredible impact on our family. Had I gone that route, I probably would have ended up working part-time helping only a few people. Instead, Ditch the Carbs was born. 

Ditch the Carbs is a LCHF food website especially for families. The goal is “real food, real easy”. As a mum of three young children, I knew I wanted the entire family to eat the LCHF way, so I had to re-invent all of our family recipes. Gone are the sandwiches, toast, cakes, biscuits, and sweets. It’s hard work, but so worth it. My youngest son really doesn’t like vegetables and is the hardest one to please, but this has only made me more determined to continue to improve his diet. 

Family recipes have to be easy and quick. Parents truly want the best for their children, but so many just don’t know how to start. Ditch the Carbs shows simple swaps and ideas for slowly getting the junk food out of the house and eating more nutritious foods. I know what it is like to have picky eaters and to turn them around. It is simply the best feeling to see your child choose real food over junk food.

I started the website in February 2014 and it has grown incredibly quickly. It is the number one recipe website in New Zealand with nearly 4 million page views. It continues to grow beyond my expectations. The success of Ditch the Carbs demonstrates the ever-increasing interest families have in making the switch to real food and going sugar free.

Ditch the Carbs helps families in practical ways to make the change to eating LCHF, plan meals, and get inspiration. When I started eating LCHF, it was hard to find family-friendly recipes, especially school lunchbox ideas. I wanted my site to help others make the transition to going low-carb and real food as easy as possible. We all want our children to grow up with an incredibly healthy attitude towards food and nutrition. Sure they can have treats, but they know the importance of eating well. Take a look at one month of my children’s lunchboxes.

All my recipes are made with real food and are:

  • Low-carb
  • Wheat-free
  • No added sugar
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free

Don’t worry, you can have occasional treats, but the point is you won’t want to and that has been a game-changer for my family. The treats become less often, and less appealing. That is why I believe the LCHF way of eating can be so successful long-term. Eventually, cakes, biscuits, and processed food lose their appeal!

The Ditch the Carbs Food Philosophy

  • Don’t eat CRAP – Caffeine, Refined, Artificial, Processed
  • Eat low-carb
  • No sugar
  • No wheat
  • No grains
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Eat more greens
  • Eat more healthy fats
  • Eat real food
  • Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not.

Libby Jenkinson is a Registered Pharmacist and mum of three children who discovered that the low-carbohydrate, healthy fat (LCHF) way of eating works far better at maintaining health and wellness for her family than any diet ever did. She started Ditch the Carbs with her re-invented LCHF family recipes. Ditch the Carbs is a website that provides LCHF guidelines, substitution ideas, recipes, and inspiration to families looking to make the LCHF change. Follow Ditch the Carbs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

*Editor's note: We at the IRN feel it is important to state that we do not believe there is one diet that is ideal for every person. We believe that real food instead of processed food is ideal for every person, but again, we don't endorse any one particular diet.

We're highlighting Libby's low-carb, healthy fat resources, because many of our readers have diabetes or prediabetes. Dietary carbohydrate restriction has been shown to have the greatest effect on decreasing blood glucose levels and is perhaps the most effective dietary approach in managing the disease. Ditch the Carbs is a great tool for our readers who choose to follow a low-carbohydrate diet. And, Ditch the Carbs emphasizes real food, which is the whole point of the IRN.

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