Low Carb Bloggers Share Holiday Recipes and Survival Tips

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LOw Carb Tips for the Holidays

I love being on a strict low carb diet because it does wonders for my diabetes management. And I hate being on a low carb diet because, well, I love pizza, pasta, croissants, chocolate chip cookies, almost anything with cinnamon sugar… You get the idea, right?

One thing that helps me stay on track is following low carb bloggers. Finding new recipes all the time, and reading about others’ low carb successes reminds me that life after bagels doesn’t mean a future of nothing but lettuce wraps and crustless quiches.

As inspired as I am when I see my blood glucose levels consistently in range, I can easily be undone by fresh bread, cakes, pastries, fruit… This holiday season, with the hope of not spending days at 200, I reached out to some of the best low carb bloggers for advice on how to stick to low carbing when temptation (latkes! Christmas cookies!) is everywhere.

Carolyn Ketchum

Carolyn KetchumMost of you know Carolyn Ketchum as ASweetLife’s culinary contributor and author of the incredible blog, All Day I Dream About Food. Carolyn has written about her transition to low carb baking after her pre-diabetes diagnosis almost five years ago. Here’s what she said when I talked to her about low carbing in the holiday season:

Are the holidays the hardest time of year for you to stick to your diet?

Not really anymore. I’ve taught myself to make low carb treats as good or better than their high-carb counterparts so I don’t feel I am missing out. And when I have gotten off track and indulged in something I shouldn’t, I always end up feeling awful. So it isn’t worth the indulgence. Mind you, yesterday I did eat a tiny chunk of non-low carb peppermint bark. Just a small amount and I was satisfied.

Do you have any tricks or tips to share to help people stay on track?

It all comes down to preparation. The more you can make your own snacks and treats that satisfy, the less likely you will succumb to temptation. Take a day or two and bake some things that can be frozen for the days ahead. Offer to bring something when going to parties so you know there will be at least one thing you can munch on. Bonus points if it’s so good, no one realizes it’s low carb and sugar-free!

Favorite low carb sweetener?

Swerve Sweetener (erythritol-based)

Favorite holiday dish?

I am a huge fan of Christmas cookies, so there are a lot of these! But last year, I managed to make low carb Mincemeat Tarts. I grew up eating mincemeat during the holidays, but the commercial kind is jam-packed with sugar, raisins and candied orange peel, designed to raise your glucose level at the tiniest crumb. My version has an almond flour crust, just a little apple and raisins, sugar-free dried cranberries and walnuts. No real meat is involved, and it tastes just like the mincemeat of my childhood.

Dixie Vogel

dixie-dec14Dixie Vogel runs a popular Facebook page and accompanying website, Low Carb Zen where she shares recipes, and supports people following a low carb lifestyle. In 2003, following medical advice to change her lifestyle to prevent Type 2 diabetes, Dixie began “for real” low carbing. She has since lost over 100 pounds, but more importantly, found a peace surrounding food she did not know possible.

After over 11 years of low carbing, Dixie says she’s had periods where her adherence has fallen decidedly short, but she’s never completely abandoned low carb eating.

Are the holidays the hardest time of year for you to stick to your diet?

Yes and no. There are certainly extra temptations during the holidays, along with plenty of the “just a little bit won’t hurt” philosophy going around. But I actually struggle the most maintaining good habits when I’m under personal stress. Feeling overwhelmed or drained, it’s much too easy to skip the extra effort healthy eating requires.  Sometimes stress and holidays coincide, of course.

Do you have any tricks or tips to share to help people stay on track?

Plan ahead! Have options ready in advance so it’s easier to pass up those “treats” that are not really treating you so well. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. It just has to be appealing to you.  Once you fully find your groove, it will be easier than you could have guessed. But finding your groove requires willingness to cook at least a little (even if you’re not a master chef), and consistently reading labels. It also helps to be willing to experiment. There is zero reason to feel deprived with this way of eating. Recipes are great for inspiration. Support communities provide tidbits of information and encouragement from people who are there with you. But the most important thing of all? Never stop! If you stray a minute, immediately get back on track and keep on going. Every good choice you make, every tiny improvement counts.

Favorite low carb sweetener?

Swerve is my hands-down favorite, followed by Erythritol-Stevia blends like Pyure. I do a little mixing and matching depending on what I have on hand, but those are my preferred choices.

Favorite holiday dish?

I have a tremendous sweet tooth, so I take full advantage of the wide variety of creations so generously shared by the many gifted low carb artists. I’m a total sucker for chocolate, but couldn’t claim I limit that to the holidays. Thank goodness for low carb recipes!

Martina Slajerova

 Martina Slajerova

Martina is the creator of KetoDiet, an on-going project she started with her partner in 2012. It includes KetoDiet for the iPad, KetoDiet Basic for the iPhone and the KetoDiet Book for the Kindle. Martina started eating low-carb in 2011, shortly after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Since then, she’s been trying to figure out what works best for her and discovered some of the great benefits of low-carb eating. Her mission is to help people reach their goals, whether it’s their dream weight or simply eating healthy food.

Are the holidays the hardest part of the year for you to stick to your diet?

Yes, especially with all the family gatherings. In general, I stick with a low-carb, paleo / primal diet. Rarely, I may have more carbs than I’d like to but I never eat foods with gluten.

Do you have any tips or tricks to help people stay on track?

Don’t be too strict with yourself. I personally pick 3-5 occasions a year and eat a meal I would usually avoid. However, if there is a way to have a low-carb alternative, I always opt for it.

Favorite low carb sweetener?

Erythritol and stevia.

Favorite holiday dish?

Although I live in the UK, I was born in the Czech Republic and love making traditional Czech meals. I even converted my favorites to fit my low-carb life style. I make “potato salad” from cauliflower and fried carp using almond flour / flax meal or pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs. For some of Martina’s holiday recipes, visit here.

ASweetLife wishes you happy and healthy holidays!

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