Ok… Keto is pretty cut and dry in my opinion, at least when it comes to full meals. But what about snacks and other staple items that we likely ALL took for granted before starting this journey? Heck, I have been doing this off and on for close to 20 years and I am still discovering and learning new things. That is part of the reason I started this blog! It is a great way for me to store my scattered thoughts!
I was one of those folks who claimed to love food. I mean, I do, but at the root of that statement was my hopeless addiction to glucose spikes. It has been shown in research over and over again that glucose elicits some pretty interesting brain chemistry and response in some of the addiction centers. So, although we may say we love food, what we are really doing is masking the addiction.
This journey is a sort of war against our own mindset and brain chemistry. The craving starts in the brain. One of the best diversionary tactics to use when combating an addiction is to replace the activity. As someone who smoked for 13 years, I found carrot sticks and pretzel sticks very comforting. I replaced the activity.
What is one food addiction activity that we all tend to share?
Uncontrolled and unregulated snacking.
There was a time when I was on a very restrictive diet and I had adjusted my mindset to recognize every time I put something in my mouth that contained even a single calorie as a meal. It worked. It made an impact. It also forced me to balance those meals inside of a solid macronutrient profile.
This is a mindset that would benefit all of us because most of us snack just to snack. I am guilty of that today with some cheese chips I made last night. I found myself a little bored and little too focused on the fact that I did not eat breakfast. Not that I missed it, but I was not hungry and I try not to eat just because time dictates that I should eat.
I am not perfect and neither should any of you have that expectation for yourself.
So, since this is a war, we need to pick our battles and bring the proper weapons. After a while, when the addictions subside, you wont have this problem as much, but, if you are in the thick of it now, here are some tips based on my experience:
Chips – Why do you crave them? Crunch, salt, savory
Solution – Cheese makes a great chip if you cook it enough! Just about every kind of real cheese will work. Place little piles or slices on a silicone mat lined cookie sheet, cook at 425 for about 6-8 minutes until it starts to brown. Take them out and lower the oven temp to 325. Flip your cheese over, soak up the oil with a paper towel and place back in the cooler oven until they dry out. You can also do this with pepperoni, pancetta, bacon, salami and any other meat like that.
Candy Bar – Why do you crave them? Because we are addicted to sugar.
Solution – Berries or a fatty protein shake. Just watch the sugar intake here. If you are well into your adaptation, 4 or 5 strawberries will take care of it.
On the go? – Chicharrones or pork skins work well. Get the spicy ones because plain ones are a bit blah!
On the go and need some substance? – Every C store sells cheese sticks. Stay away from manufactured beef jerky because it is often loaded with sugar.
Soda – Why do you crave it? Who knows. Probably still related to the sugar issue.
Solution – For me, flavored water like Fruit2O works well. Or La Croix if you gotta have those bubbles.
French Fries – Why? This is tied to an epic glucose spike and likely some salt.
Solution – This could also just be a weird food fixation. Julienned carrots with some keto friendly dip seem to work for me. But, if it really is a French fry you are craving, consider roasted radishes or turnips. You would be surprised how well these turn out.
And yes, those are turnip fries above…
Just hungry! – Well… Given enough time, this wont be an issue, but, in the meantime, try cheese, hard boiled eggs (pickled eggs if you need to take them with you and are afraid they may go bad), pickles (great for the salt), olives (fat and salt), cooked bacon (use sparingly), any raw veggie like mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower…
I know this list isn’t very big, but it is where I currently am. I don’t snack much anymore, and in fact, I am not that hungry all that often. So, my encouragement to you is to just tough it out. You know you are not starving, your body is just going through some changes and adaptation. Next I will post about some staples we use in every day meals and how you can use more of some and replace others.
Until then, Keto on, my friends.
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