Food Ennui on Keto – Lowcarb

Lately I’ve been having what one might call ‘food ennui’ when following my current lowcarb and IF plan. I’ve been doing ‘bulletproof fasting’ 3 days a week— Wednesday through Friday— and eating on the 4 remaining days. But it’s been hot lately, and I’ve been depressed over being far more socially isolated than normal. Last week I had a day which was NOT one of my scheduled ‘bulletproof fasting’ days in which I didn’t bother to eat and just had one or two bulletproof coffees. 

There is a problem with this. First, when I don’t eat when I’m supposed to, when I DO get hungry I tend to have strong cravings for carby foods. And I can resist anything but temptation. Also, I DO need to eat SOMETIME, and lately I just don’t feel that eating food is worth the effort of grocery shopping and cooking and cooking-cleanup. The garbage-carbs that tempt me just have packaging that has to be thrown away— no work there.

My first thought was to go to the Dollar General store in Stephenson, MI, the one place I can get to that carries Atkins drinks (I won’t call them ‘shakes.’) But they were out of those. Since I can’t afford a meal delivery service with keto options, what I did is this— since I mostly have only one formal meal a day, I bought some cheap microwave meals that are under the 30 grams of carbs mark. I found a couple of $1 frozen Michelina meals — Salisbury steak with mashed potato, and Cheeseburger Mac— and a couple of Hormel ‘Compleats’ in the 20 carb grams (18 net carb) Beef Pot Roast flavor.

My plan is to use these microwave meals as a ‘Reward Meal,’ as in the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. In other words, only one a day, and eaten within the 1 hour Reward Meal window. And no significant carb intake for other  eating events. 

I know, it’s better to make real low-carb dishes from my recipe books and freeze the extra servings, but lately I just have not been in the mood for heating and eating such things, not to mention the massive cleanup involved in cooking. I’m just barely able to handle making bulletproof coffees in the hot weather we’ve been having. 

As for the lack of Atkins drinks, I’m hoping to make my own drinks from a recipe I have which will be healthier, anyway. I’ll make a few servings ahead and freeze them, and I’ll be able to take out servings to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 

In spite of my ‘food ennui’ I’ve been sticking to my plan enough that my blood sugars and blood pressure are good and I’ve lost a little weight. I know I just have to keep going with my lowcarb way-of-life, because going on the junk-carb diet I used to be on just took too much of a toll on my health. It just isn’t worth getting obese again over it.

Carbquik: A Lowcarb – Keto Biscuit Mix

Some days I just miss carb foods like bread or biscuits. Back when I ate carbs, I often made biscuits— sometimes from scratch, but sometimes from a baking mix called Jiffy mix. But, alas, now I know how bad that is for me.

I have made a number of low-carb bread, muffin or biscuit substitutes, all of which call for a lot of eggs, and I love some of them, but they don’t taste like REAL biscuits or bread.

Carbquik is a commercial low-carb baking mix, and I’ve found that the biscuits taste like real biscuits. In fact, I find it hard to control my portions, so I usually make 1/2 or 1/4 batch of the biscuits. But even when I eat 1/2 a batch at one time, I’ve found it doesn’t raise my blood sugars or kick me out of ketosis like real biscuits would. 

Now, Carbquik contains ‘wheat, soy, egg and milk’ ingredients, so it is not for people with those allergies. It also has some canola oil in it. And there is 14 grams of fiber per serving: so, warning— you need to drink a LOT of water or liquid when you eat Carbquik biscuits, and add butter or other healthyfat source, or it could cause problems in your system (constipation.)

The Carbquik box provides a lot of recipes like Carbquik cheesecake and Carbquik turkey pot pie. In the inside, alas, it gives you hints on how to make Carbquik recipes ‘healthier’ — by which they mean, ‘lower in fat.’ Or, in scientifically accurate terms, ‘unhealthier.’ Ignore those suggestions, but remember that the Carbquik company isn’t your best source for keto lifestyle advice. And be sure to add butter! Or baconfat! (Baconfat is a lovely butter-substitute in or on biscuits— unless you are Jewish and keeping kosher.)

Bread-substitutes like Carbquik should not be an everyday part of your keto lifestyle. I use Carbquik biscuits as a Sunday treat, and it makes a great treat on Sundays (or Saturdays, or perhaps Fridays for Muslims.) I also use it to break a carb-cheating habit. Some weeks I have an every-day craving for carb treats around 3 in the afternoon, which often causes me to run to the store to buy some ‘crappy carbage’ carb-filled junk food. (And, yes, even a loaf of whole wheat bread is ‘crappy carbage’ and junk food.) Making a batch of Carbquik biscuits staves off this temptation.

My Carbquik biscuit recipe

1/2 [1/4] batch of the package recipe, with a few modifications.

1 cup [1/2 cup] Carbquik

1/3 cup [2 Tablespoons]  water

1 pinch [half pinch?] garlic powder, optional

1 pinch [half pinch] kelp powder, optional

1/4 cup [1/8 cup] shredded cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Put Carbquik, and garlic, kelp and cheese, if using, in mixing bowl. Add water and stir. If dough ball fails to form, add a touch more water. Divide dough into 6-8 equal portions. Pat each portion by hand into a biscuit-shape. Place on baking pan that has been greased (coconut oil) or sprayed with olive oil pan spray. Place a small pat butter on top of each biscuit before baking. May substitute bacon grease or coconut oil for the butter. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

I have also made the Carbquik box recipe for brownies. It was good, I overate them, but it didn’t raise my blood sugar or kick me out of ketosis the way you’d think it might. (I wouldn’t risk having these brownies in the house all the time, though. It’s nice to have the option, so I do keep the ingredients in the house. It’s better than being tempted to eat carbs!)

All in all: Carbquik is too much of a processed food to be our staple food, but when you get sick of pork chops and chicken thighs and eggy-tasting stuff, making a Carbquik recipe is better than having a carb binge. And since it’s easy to make, on days when you are too busy or too sick to cook a fancy keto meal, you can make yourself a few biscuits to go with your simple low-carb meal.

Learning to Do Keto/Lowcarb the Right Way

I read once about a hapless couple who decided to try the low-carb Atkins eating plan but weren’t the kind to read a book about it first. They had heard that the Atkins diet forbids bread. And so they ate pita bread and pasta instead.

Sadly there are people out there who just don’t want to READ. They know how, but reading isn’t something they do. Or perhaps they read only one kind of thing— romance novels, hunting magazines, graphic novels— and they don’t think they can plow through a whole book about how to go on a low-carb eating plan.

For those people: think of it this way. A person in Alcoholics Anonymous may not be a big reader, but he often makes a point of reading from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book every single morning. It can be inspiring as well as informative.

When I first started doing lowcarb, I read in my Diet Revolution book every morning to keep me on track. Before long, I knew by heart the kinds of foods that were allowed and not allowed on a lowcarb eating plan. This made it easier to plan meals, shop, and make food-related decisions.

If you are not the type to read a whole book about a low-carb eating plan in an evening, try this: get a good basic book about low carb, such as:

Atkins Diet Revolution, Robert Atkins, 1972

New Atkins for a New You, Westman, Phinney & Volek, 2010

Keto Clarity, Jimmy Moore, Eric Westman, 2014

Real Food Keto, Jimmy Moore, Christine Moore, 2019

Now, every morning read a chapter or part of a chapter from the book. Or do it in the evening if your mornings are hectic. If the book has a ‘diet sheet’ as the Atkins Diet Revolution does— a short list of allowed foods and forbidden foods— look that part over daily as well. You might purchase the book in audiobook form, if available, and listen while you are doing something else.

After you have finished the book, start over at the beginning until you have read the book or listened to it a few times. Every time you read or listen, you will be internalizing the information a bit more, and inspiring yourself to stick to the plan.

It’s not just that the books tell you precisely how to do the diet. They explain why it works, give some of the scientific research that backs up this way of eating, and also in many books you will find recipes. The more facts you learn, the more you will be able to follow a healthy low-carb diet accurately. It will keep you motivated.

You might also listen to some of the low-carb podcasts by health podcaster Jimmy Moore. He tends to have many prominent guests who can give out good science-based low-carb information, and he has a talent for explaining the complicated stuff.

The problem with being on a healthy low-carb eating plan is that we are surrounded by misinformation about diet. We have to almost un-brainwash ourselves to keep us from going astray with the daily temptations— such as those sugar-filled, carb-filled breakfast cereals with the words ‘heart-healthy’ on the packages.

Do you know about a good book, audiobook or podcast on a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic eating plan?  Let us all know about it in a comment!