During a non-sugar, non-starch diet, you do not eat any foods that contain either starches or sugars. There are two approaches you can take with this diet, one based solely on all starches and sugars, and another based on processed sugars and starches. Which one you choose has a great impact on the foods you eat during this diet.
The Strict Non-Starch, Non-Sugar Diet
A strict non-starch, non-sugar diet has you eliminating sugar and starches in all forms. This essentially becomes a very low carbohydrate diet, since it is impossible to find a food that has carbohydrates without starch or sugar. This means that you will not eat any form of bread, rice or pasta. All fruit is out. Essentially you are eating meats, eggs, cheeses and green vegetables.
One of the benefits of this diet is that it is fairly hard to make bad food choices. No ice cream, cookies, cakes or fast food. Dieters who undertake this type of eating plan generally lose quite a bit of weight quickly. In addition, the high protein content of the diet means that you tend to not lose as much lean muscle tissue. However, this is a very difficult diet to start. Radically eliminating all forms of carbohydrates from the diet leads to very low levels of energy and lethargy while the body adapts.
If you choose to undertake a strict version of this diet, make sure you start it at the right time. Don't start this diet just as you are getting ready to start studying for final exams, or right before your big project. The best resource for this strict interpretation of the non-sugar, non-starch diet is the original Atkins Diet.
The Loose Non-Starch, Non-Sugar Diet
The loose form of the non-starch, non-sugar diet means that you do not eat any processed starches or sugars. Any starch or sugar in its natural form may be consumed. This opens up your diet quite a bit from the strict interpretation. Meats and vegetables are still in, but you have now added fruit and potatoes. Bread is still out, but there is a bit of debate on grains such as wild brown rice. Some versions add the brown rice, others leave it out. The good part of this diet is that it is hard to go wrong when you leave out all processed foods and focus solely on eating natural foods such as fruit, nuts, vegetables and meats. Another good thing is that you do not have the initial low energy and lethargy that you find on a strict no-sugar, no-starch diet. The bad part of this diet is that sometimes it is easy to start blurring the line between processed and natural food. "A potato is a natural food. So a crisp must be natural as well. Maybe if I cut my own potato and fry it in olive oil imported from Italy I can still call it natural." Don't allow yourself to slip into that type of thinking. Cut out all processed starches and sugars completely and stick to completely natural food choices. Two great resources for this version of the diet are The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain or the No Flour No Sugar Diet by Dr. Peter Gott.
Tips for Both Diets
Either diet can work well, but you can do a few easy things to make either one much more likely to succeed. The first is to plan ahead. Know what you are going to eat the next day. Make sure you have that food on hand. Do not go to work and just hope everything works out. Make your lunch. Have ingredients ready for dinner. Making sure you have the right food will help you make sure you eat the right food.
The second tip relates to the first. You need to think about the times that you know are going to be difficult to keep your eating habits in line and make sure you have a plan to deal with it. If you are not eating any starches, an Italian restaurant could be difficult. Can you go somewhere else? If not, then commit to ordering a salad or chicken and vegetables. A good idea is to eat before you go out. It is easier to order a salad when you are just not hungry. The last tip is a simple one. Make sure you get in some exercise. You do not have to join a gym or run a marathon. Just make the commitment to something, even if it is to walk your dog every day. Doing something small every day is a lot better than planning to do something great tomorrow.