“I’m going to lose weight.” We’ve all said it. We really, really mean it when we do bring it up – often while plowing through a jumbo bag of southern biscuits and gravy flavored lays potato chips and sipping from a can of Cherry Dr. Pepper. I’ve said it countless times, made my work out plans, set my goals, and went on my blissful way without really changing anything. You know what happened? Nothing. Changed. I yoyo-ed in weight. I’d lose a little, and then gain it all back. Hit plateaus and go on a pity binge of all my favorite things. It took discovering the Ketogenic Diet to realize what I’d been missing in my pounds-to-lose crusade – I needed to make a change.
When you listen to motivational speakers, successful top-listers, or self-help gurus, you’ll find out they have one big thing in common. Most preach to make one small change to set you on the road to riches. In this case, the riches to be gained are in quantities of health and personal satisfaction. One small change, if held to faithfully, can snowball into something amazing, until we look back on our doings and almost can’t pinpoint where it began.
For me, that small change was taking out carbs. Not all of them, you wouldn’t believe the amount of carbohydrates in just about every stinking thing out in the big, wide world. But your big things, like pastas, breads, sugary confections, rice, etc. By removing those big ticket items, and substituting them for healthier options, I have lost 57 lbs in 6 months. I paired this diet plan with It Works products, but didn’t start working out until month number 4 – I tell you, working out is so much easier 32 pounds down the line.
The hardest part about the low carb journey was discovering the best substitutes for heavy-carb items in our favorite meals. It took experimentation and failure, and lots of Pinterest snooping. It turns out that a low carb diet doesn’t mean bland, disinteresting meals, and I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you over the next few months.
I know just where to start – Spaghetti.
Spaghetti is a comfort food in my house. My mother made amazing spaghetti, and in my childhood, hearing her say she was making spaghetti for dinner was like hearing Christmas was happening early, and four times this year. A great tasting sauce isn’t difficult to make; you can spice up just about any premade sauce by adding garlic, onions, peppers and spices and letting it simmer for a bit. To make spaghetti a low carb meal, it’s as simple as removing the pasta. In its place, use Spaghetti squash.
Start by slicing your spaghetti squash in half. Coat the inside with olive oil (a little goes a long way) and lightly sprinkle it with salt before putting it on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 450°.
While the squash is cooking, dice your onion and peppers, and mince your garlic and spices if you’re using fresh. Our favorite add in is Cuban oregano, a crisp succulent-like plant with rich oregano flavor. Grate your cheese and begin browning your meat with your favorite seasonings. If you’re rushed for time, you can do meat and veggies all together, but I usually do meat first, then sauté the veggies in a little of the left over juices. After you’re done sautéing (translucent onions are a good way to tell if you’re done), reduce heat to a simmer and stir in your usual tomato sauce for 5 – 10 minutes, or until your sauce is at your preferred consistency. Remove from heat and let rest while you move to the next step.
Pull the spaghetti squash from the oven, and with a fork, begin shredding the squash. It will come apart in pasta-like strands pretty easily. Be careful not to puncture through the shell by leaving enough meat (about a quarter of an inch) of thickness in the walls. Empty the shredded squash into your sauce pan, and stir it in.
Once it’s all mixed in, fill the squash shells with the mixture and top with cheese. The type of cheese is up to you. Parmesan and Mozzarella are great options, but Havarti or Gouda are surprisingly delicious, as well. Put in the oven for another 10 minutes. I tend to switch the oven over broil in the last five minutes to get that perfect browned crisp quality to the cheese. Pull out and let rest for 10 minutes, then grab a fork and enjoy!
Katlin is a consultant at Ava’s Bridal Couture and Classy Concepts Bridal Boutique. To request an appointment at Ava’s, call 817-732-4457 or text 682-233-0744. To request an appointment at Classy Concepts, call 817-473-2100 or text 817-707-3656.