Published November 4, 2004
She’s low-carb, all the way
Vancouver chef lost 32 kg with lifestyle type
RICK McGINNIS/METRO TORONTO
Karen Barnaby is a staunch advocate of the low-carb diet.
No bread, no pasta, no sugar – it’s the prescription of the often-maligned, yet widely followed, low-carb diet.
Ever since Dr. Atkins began promoting the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle, millions of people have begun to migrate to a grain and sugar-free diet plan.
But the greatest complaint that many low-carb dieters have is that the diet is simply boring, unflavourful and difficult to maintain.
Enter Karen Barnaby, chef at Vancouver’s Fish House restaurant, and low-carbohydrate lifestyle advocate.
Barnaby lost almost 32 kilograms over the past three years with the aid of a carbohydrate-controlled nutritional plan.
Her new book, The Low-Carb Gourmet, combines her experience shedding kilos with recipes that satisfy the low-carb lifestyle.
Barnaby says the key to eating low-carb and not becoming bored with the diet is to get creative.
"You have to step outside of the boundaries that you’re used to cooking and eating in," she told Metro in an interview last week. "It’s more about mindset than anything else."
To get past those mental barriers, Barnaby advises those following her dietary lead to simply avoid products like flour and sugar and find alternatives.
In one of her pizza recipes in the book, the chef uses meat as a base for the normally-naughty delicacy.
Sauce, cheese and vegetables are then built on top of ground beef. Other recipes use products such as ground almonds to replace traditional baking ingredients.
"You have to be smart about it and think, I’m going to be eating this way for the rest of my life, how can I make it interesting for the rest of my life."
Barnaby admits "mourning" carbs during her dramatic weight-loss, but in the end she says that perseverance and a willingness to change eating habits must prevail if a person truly wants to lose weight and maintain the loss.
That means making custom orders when eating out and avoiding the junk food section in the supermarket.
Fat, on the other hand, is definitely not off-limits. Some of Barnaby’s recipes – the shepherd’s pie with smoked cheddar and bacon, for example – are extremely high in fat, but she dismisses criticism from nutritionists who argue that low-carb eating might be harmful in other ways. High-fat, she says, is simply part of eating low-carb.
But her ultimate piece of advice for those trying to drop weight is simple – don’t rush the loss.
"Remember that if you’re in bad health and overweight, it took you years to get there," she reminds.
"Don’t be in such a hurry to get to your goals that one small derailment or plateau will make you go, ‘forget it, I can’t do this anymore.’
"It has to be a mindset. You have to tune your mind that this is the way it’s going to be."