The holidays are excellent times to break bread with family & friends. But what do you do when you don’t eat bread anymore?? It’s unfortunate that a lot of our social connections are built upon a foundation of carby foods, but the holidays don’t have to be restrictive. And you don’t have to feel the need to cheat to get through it.
This will be my 3rd holiday season after going low carb, so here are my tips and favorite (i.e. ACTUALLY GOOD) keto-certified recipes that may help you survive Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Several months ago, my mom posted in a family Facebook group a post about a caramel pecan cheesecake that looked too die for…as well as complicated and full of sugar & refined grains. She requested a keto version, so I set upon the answer. I found it.
There are many things that I’ve changed in my lifestyle that have zero to do with ketosis. Ketosis is getting your carbs down low enough to be in a state where fats are broken down and converted to ketones, a fuel source for the body.
Outside of that, all the changes I’ve made have had to do with overall health & longevity. One thing I’ve prioritized as much as staying low carb is ditching vegetable/seed oils. That includes these:
“But some of these are advertised as heart-healthy!” YES! And that’s the tragedy, as you’ll see by the end of this blog.
Systems are made for change. If an old part of my system
isn’t working for me anymore, I can try something new. There’s no deadline.
There’s limited willpower involved. It’s plug & play. Setup & go. Set
it & forget…wait, no, not that one.
This last February, I started regular alternate day fasting (ADF). Every other day, I ate nothing but water and salt, which amounts to three 40-ish hour fasts a week. I burned out of that after about 4 weeks, so I had to make a change.
Chinese food is one thing that is hard for keto dieters (and low-carbers) to order. The sauces are made with both sugar and starch. The meals are paired with rice. The side items are wrapped and fried with flour.
So we tend to avoid Chinese food altogether because, well, why bother?
I set out about a year ago to create General Tso Chicken, which was one of my favorite dishes before I gave up sugar, grains, and starches. I couldn’t find a recipe that looked doable, so I set out for another popular and tasty dish: orange chicken.
Could I take a regular orange chicken recipe and make it low carb?
I hope you guys had an incredible weekend! I had been cranky all weekend, and I think it was because I didn’t do anything particularly physical. And I looked at my phone too much. Probably those things 😀
I want to talk about systems today. In my first blog post, I discuss how my whole worldview shifted when I adopted systems thinking. We tend to think in goals.
How many pounds I want to lose by what date
What size clothes I want to fit into
How much money I want to make
What home I want to live in
These are some examples, but goals can be (and are) set for practically anything. But the problem with goals is that we often don’t meet them. We get sidetracked. Outside forces affect our ability to reach them. They weren’t attainable in the first place. There are a trillion reasons why we fail to reach our goals.
So we get sad. Motivation disappears. We hammer down on the behaviors that keep us from moving forward. Things get worse.
Today is Day 23 out of 30 of my no Keto treats & processed substitutes. I thought it was going to be a lot tougher, and sometimes I do still battle some cravings (and maybe have given into peanuts a few too many times), but it’s made fasting immensely easier. If you stall (or are stalled), the hyper-palatable foods (keto treats and bars, substitutes, dark chocolate, nuts, cheese, pork rinds, etc.) may be causing over-consumption. They were for me. I still haven’t given up cheese and nuts, though. I’m not quite ready. But I foresee that change in the future, at least for some portion of time.
I just got back from my second InBody 570 scan. This uses bio-electrical impedance to determine muscle, water, and fat by sending alternating currents throughout the body. The most accurate? Probably not, but since I can’t do a DEXA scan right now, it’s better than nothing.
As I discussed in last week’s blog, I’ve given up all things sweet, all things processed. Why? Because I’m an addict.
That may seem overly dramatic to call it that, but biologically, that’s exactly what it is. My brain gets a dopamine hit from sweet, processed foods, even if they are low or no carb. I seek out sweet taste and the comfort of a processed treat. I could be full to the brim on ribeye, but I’m going to still eat a huge hunk of chocolate or down a half (or whole) pint of keto ice cream.
I’m working slowly through a textbook called Processed Food Addiction. In the introduction, it has the following about the compulsive and impulsive nature of addiction that I’ve identified in my own dealings with sweet and processed food.
Over the last few weeks, it’s come to my attention that I’m addicted to sweet things. It surprised me, especially since I’m not addicted to sugar or carbs. Just the sweetness.
I partially discovered this disruption in my brain’s dopamine system because I read The Hacking of the American Mind by Dr. Robert Lustig. I identified symptoms of addiction and watched myself over the following weeks.
Even while listening to the book, I would take a second to consider not eating my favorite sweets, and I would immediately reject the idea.
But even before this, I noticed potential trouble. Since going keto 1.5 years ago, I spent a lot of time toying around with keto substitutes, such as bread, cake, cookies, and more. And I got really quite good at it.
I’m a serial loser. Sure, I’ve lost 100lbs in the last year and a half. But over my life, I’ve probably lost hundreds of pounds after a cycle of regaining and losing. One thing that is different this time is how much more I’m enjoying my losses. Part of that is focusing on how far I’ve come instead of how far I have yet to go. Part of it is keeping track of NSVs, Non-Scale Victories.