• Tina

Low-Carb Mania: The New Norm?

Low carb bagel with cream cheese
Low-carb bagel with cream cheese.

The hunt for low carb everything is at an all-time high. Keto seems to be the most popular “diet” on the planet (at least in my circle) and the demand for keto friendly options is growing exponentially. I do not subscribe to or promote the keto lifestyle, exactly, but I do see a huge value in eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrate consumption. I think it can be a good way to reset your body and your taste buds. If it resonates with you beyond that, well then, go for it.

In my experience with clients, giving up the carbs is a battle royale. I get it. It’s been a staple in the pantry for a lifetime whether it’s the bread, chips, crackers or cereal. It’s also can also be comforting both physically and emotionally. Physiologically these foods can act on opioid receptors and create a sort of high. This feel-good feeling perpetuates the cravings.

Refined carbohydrates also cause an increase in blood sugar. Of course, the sugar does, right? The cereal, the crackers and those chips, they do it too. The rise in blood sugar is followed by a drop in blood sugar which produces the cravings, again. Regular consumption can lead to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes, just to name a few.

So, what do you do? Here are some basics (at least for now):

1. Don’t eat refined carbohydrates. This includes most (but not all) packaged foods. Read food labels. You might be surprised. Actually, you will be surprised.

2. Eat whole grains, properly prepared. Soaked, sprouted or naturally leavened is the way to go. You can do this yourself, but you can also find many options in grocery stores these days.

3. Eat protein and fat with your carbs. A good rule of thumb is 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 30% fat. Go for grass fed or pastured animal products, wild caught fish, olive oil, and saturated fats like coconut oil, butter, lard or duck fat. Animal fats are the best. For reals.

What do I do? I cook from scratch much of the time and love finding the alternative recipe options that taste just as good as the original. There are more failures than successes, but the wins are usually big ones because they are typically easy, taste great and satisfy my carb loving family.

Bagel ingredients
Just a handful of ingredients. Mozzarella, cream cheese, eggs, baking powder, psyllium fiber, almond flour and bagel seasoning.

My latest experiment is a low carb bagel. I chose the bagel recipe because a typical grocery store bagel comes in around 45-50+ grams of carbs per serving. This is a lot if you figure the average slice of whole wheat bread is about 12 grams or that the typical keto-follower is likely to eat under 40 grams for an entire day. By my estimates this recipe comes out to 21 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of carbs per serving.

Sticky bagel dough
Sticky dough

I’m going to classify this recipe as a win but with one caveat. If you are comfortable in the kitchen this is a great recipe to try but it was the messiest clean-up of almost any single recipe that I’ve ever made. That said, I’d do it again but probably just for special occasions. It satisfied my carb loving family despite the fact that it doesn’t have that bagel “chew”, but it was still a great carrier for cream cheese or an egg and avocado. It also became a little bit expensive to make as I could only find one brand of grass-fed mozzarella at my local grocery at the time. I did later find an Organic Valley mozzarella at a lower price, so I’ll use that next time.

Very bagel-y

Low-Carb Bagels

With all of the low carb baking that I do I had never heard of Fathead dough before researching a low carb bagel recipe. So, that’s what this recipe basically is, an almond flour Fathead dough. Don’t ask where the name came from. I have no idea. Just eat it. It tastes good. I added psyllium because it helps to create a texture that I prefer when using almond flour and who can’t use a little extra fiber?

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)

2 ounces full-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup almond flour

1 T baking powder

2 T psyllium fiber

Everything bagel seasoning (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Stir together the almond flour, baking powder and psyllium fiber. Set aside.

3. Combine the shredded mozzarella and cubed cream cheese in a bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and combined.

4. Place cheese mixture into food processor and pulse to cool slightly.

5. Add in the flour mixture and eggs into the melted cheese mixture and process until thoroughly combined. You can also combine with your hands if you don’t’ have a food processor or you’re a glutton for punishment.

6. Divide mixture into eight equal portions (you can do six for bigger bagels). With your hands roll each portion into a tube and then pinch the ends together to form the bagel. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with whatevs. I made my own “everything” bagel seasoning but you could use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or whatever your heart desires.

7. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

8. Enjoy right away or let cool, refrigerate and toast later.

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