Like all things TYC, I was intentional when I decided to start my low-carb life. I spent a lot of time reading and researching. I learned how to choose low-carb substitutes for many things. The biggest switch was from sugar to stevia, then to Swerve. After that I changed all-purpose flour to almond flour or coconut flour. I stopped eating bread, potatoes, and rice immediately. It wasn’t as painful as it sounds. Over time I began to create delicious low carb versions of my favorite foods.
Before I get to what I miss, let’s talk about what I absolutely, positively do not miss. Sugar spikes! Sugar spikes your blood glucose and insulin levels. This spike gives you energy. It’s the whole reason I’d drink Mountain Dew on long road trips. However, that energy increase doesn’t last. After a lunch time “boost” I would be in dire need of my 3 o’clock snickers bar. Up and down. Up and down. Sugar was addictive. Trying to kick sugar was painful. I had headaches, nausea, and was super tired and agitated during my sugar detox.
I’m pretty transparent about why I moved to a low carb life. It had very little to do with weight. It had a lot to do with stabilizing my mood and energy levels. It was mostly due to my “rich” family history of diabetes. Amputations, heart issues, and kidney complications secondary to diabetes have been apart of my family for as long as I can remember. My grandmother and her sisters had Type-2 diabetes. My mother and her brothers have it. One of my brothers was diagnosed before 40. It’s real and it is not something that I can ignore. A low-carb diet was the answer. Keto was my solution.
Keto for the Win
The keto diet has been extremely beneficial for me. I’m not a medical doctor and I don’t play one of social media, so I’m not going to get super scientific. What I will say is that it has worked wonders for me. My daily energy is stable, no swings. Same for my mood. I have less inflammation and never any pain in my joints.
The positive affect on my mood and energy enhanced my motivation to get things done. I was already a hyper-focused, maniacal productivity hound. But now…my productivity is fueled by a healthy diet, exercise, prayer, and meditation rather than regular Coke, Doritos, and Snickers bars. *I still have a Diet Coke every couple of months…with lots of ice.
Despite making huge strides with the Keto diet and really winning in my low-carb life, there are just some things I have to do without…
Red Velvet Cake
The first time I made a low-carb red velvet cake I used Splenda. I think it tasted like motor oil and tree bark. I made a whole red velvet bundt cake and threw it in the trashcan while it was still warm. The next time I made it, I used stevia. Still no luck. That bitter red dye will not be defeated. Some recipes use beet root powder instead but that doesn’t work for me. So, I’ll just put my delicious cream cheese frosting on a keto carrot cake and call it a day.
I know. I know. I can still eat like half a sweet potato and be okay. I also know that sweet potatoes are healthy. But, I’m not just talking about eating a sweet potato. I’m talking about eating my sweet potatoes — the ones with butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves….AND real brown sugar. Let’s not mention that my sweet potatoes are topped with mini marshmallows toasted to buttery brown. For the last eight years I’ve watched my family and friends enjoy these sweet potatoes for Sunday dinner and holiday meals while I begrudgingly eat an extra helping of brussel sprouts. It is…what it is.
Mac and Cheese
Cauliflower mac and cheese is great. Delicious. It’s one of my favorite keto dishes. However, it is not the same as having elbow pasta cooked al dente swimming in eggs and cheese. To make matters worse, I’m the mac and cheese person at the cookout. My mac and cheese is award winning… for real. I’ve been making it for almost 30 years. When there are two dishes of mac and cheese on the picnic table— because the other person didn’t know any better— people come to me and whisper “which one is yours.” I miss my mac and cheese! I use all the same ingredients with the cauliflower but it’s just not the same. It’s good. But, it’s not macaroni and cheese. Oh well.
Here’s the deal…
Sometimes, it’s impossible to find a suitable substitution that gives you what you desire. This principle is true for the keto diet and for life. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. Completely give up the thing that is good to you and replace it with the thing that is good for you. That’s Shine TYC living!