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4 Low-Carb Swaps That Changed My Life

In case you don't know me very well, it is important that you know that there are four foods that are basically my favorite (though let's be real, I'll eat just about anything):

Bagels (Everything or onion)
Pizza (Hawaiian pizza is delicious. FIGHT ME)
Cupcakes (Any kind. Literally. Any. Kind.)
Cookies (same as above)

So basically, carbs, carbs, carbs & carbs. Oh, and sugar. Now, I am not about to get preachy and I am not going to go into a ton of detail about my lifestyle shift (I prefer that to "diet") in this post, but suffice it to say that I was strict keto for a few months, starting in August. After about four strict months, I've reintroduced carbs but I have dramatically reduced my intake of carbs to maintain my lifestyle. That's right. The hallmark of the keto diet is low-carb.

I have just told you that:

a). My favorite foods are all carbs
b). I decided to give up/reduce carbs

Am I crazy? Yes. Did I know it was going to be hard? Yup. Did I also feel like trash a lot, run down, tired, and itchy? Sure did. I knew something had to change, and a coworker had luck with keto, so I gave it a shot. I knew in order to be successful, and to stick to it I would need to find ways to replace those things I love. Deprivation does not work for me (and probably not anyone else, either). If I couldn't still eat versions of things I loved, I knew I'd quit faster than Spectrum Internet on a rainy day.

Enter Pinterest. I knew I would find a wealth of info and recipes that I could make use of, and I was not wrong. You can peep my keto board here for just a small sampling of what is out there. But I was able to find swaps for my four favorite foods and I wanted to share them with you all, so you too, can be inspired to do what you need to for your body and realize you don't have to quit the things you love.

Bagels


I made dis

Ya'll. I love bagels. With butter, cream cheese, as a sandwich with stuff in the middle. Chewy, tasty bagels. I knew I had to find a way to keep these in my low carb life. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a recipe for keto-friendly bagels. Almond flour and cream cheese are the secret ingredients, but also Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning; a game changer on more than one level.

Making them was a little tricky; there is some melting and stirring and the dough is pretty sticky. These are hand-formed, hence the inconsistency in shape but I think that makes them r u s t i c. I ate all five of these in like, 2 days. I ate one with cream cheese, one with cream cheese and lox, and one as a PIZZA BAGEL. The mouthfeel is a little different, but the flavor and texture was close enough to the real thing that I felt like I didn't even really miss it. It's been a minute since I made them so now that my mouth is watering, I'm gonna add them to the list for this weekend.

Pizza

I've loved pizzas as long as I can remember. If I'm being honest, pizza has been bae for life, ride or die, BFF. It rarely has hurt me (unless you count the burnt mouth, which is my fault, not the pizza's). Giving up pizza entirely would be like giving up a piece of my heart. I'm not exaggerating. I knew finding a low-carb swap for pizza would be paramount to my success. YouTube gave me what I needed. Honestly, how did we exist before Pinterest and YouTube? I watched this video and gave keto pizza a try.
She ain't pretty, but she was delicious

Look. At. That. Crust- check. Sauce- check. Cheese- Double check! Toppings- YES. Like the bagels, the mouth feel is slightly different. It's a thin crust, which I like anyway, but if you're into really doughy pizza this will be an adjustment. But the flavors and feel were there. Thank you, almond flour, cream cheese, and mozz! It reheats well, too, so I cut this up and took a couple of pieces to work for lunches. Game. Changer.

Cupcakes

There are few things I wouldn't do for a cupcake. They are kryptonite for me. I generally have pretty good willpower, but if I see cupcakes, I become weak. Once, I walked to the local grocery store in a blizzard because I was craving a cupcake. And it was worth every frigid step. I love cupcakes and as someone who is a pretty good baker, I knew I would have to find a way to whip up some cupcakes whenever the craving arose. Pinterest to the rescue again. There are a bunch of recipes out there but this is the one I liked best.
Keto chocolate cupcakes w/ PB frosting 

Out of all the keto swaps I have done, the cakes have been the least similar in terms of mouthfeel. Nothing beats a real, gluten-y, sugary, moist (ew) cake. But these came close enough that I did't much care. I was able to trick my brain.

The frosting was a bit of an experiment. I used cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered Swerve, vanilla and heavy cream to make it. It turned out great, and is what really gives it the flavor. After all, a cupcake without frosting is just a muffin. On top, I added some Lily's chocolate chips, which are keto and delicious!

The first time I made these, the cake was too dense. I swapped out half of the almond flour with coconut flour the second time and it made a big difference.

Cookies

It is Girl Scout cookie season. As a former Girl Scout, I always feel compelled to buy. I have to support young female entrepeneurs! And, full disclosure, I purchased some this season, and I plan to enjoy them. Again, I'm not about that deprivation life. That said, I have found some keto cookies I love and for that I am grateful.

Cream cheese is a keto staple, and I use it to make some cream cheese cookies that are b-a-n-a-n-a-s. They use coconut flour, and the consistency is that of coconut macaroons. I LOVE coconut. They are moist and sweet and sometimes I dip them in melted Lily's chips after baking, or add the chips in like in the photo. Either way, major satisfaction! I've also made keto peanut butter cookies. Those were...okay. Too crumbly and dry. I'll need to do more research on those.

The photo does not do them justice
So, the moral of this story is, it is possible to shift your eating habits without completely sacrificing things you love. Creativity can help! And if you're interested in low-carb cooking and baking, here are some staples to be sure you have on hand:

-Coconut and almond flours
-Cream cheese
-Sweetner (I like Swerve; they have brown, granulated & confectioners)
-Mozzarella cheese (I basically buy this shit in bulk)
-Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
-Butter 

At some point I will do another post about my keto experience in more detail, but I wanted to share some of my low-carb swaps that are part of my success. 

What are some of your favorite low-carb go-tos?






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