On Keto + Craving Carbs? How to STOP
When you begin transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle and switching your eating habits for better, cleaner foods and life practices, you can still fall victim to massive carb cravings, especially in the beginning. Sometimes, we attribute these carb cravings to a lousy day at work or a stressful week of deadlines, but carb cravings can also come from physiological imbalances.
When you feel stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, skyrockets along with your blood sugar. To compensate, your body releases the fat storage hormone, insulin, to help bring your blood sugar back to stable. When that happens, insulin can tend to overcompensate (hey, your freaking out!!), and your blood sugar dips lower than it should. Your body becomes confused and thinks it needs more energy, and a carb craving is born.
Why Carbs? Because carbs are the easiest for the body to break down, which simple means easy fuel, faster. And a low blood sugar situation can be life-threatened…. so the body is simply trying to correct the situation as quickly and easily as it can.
Now that you know this, you can take steps to work with your body when it comes to carb cravings. First, you can take steps to reduce your stress (easier said than done) or learn healthy coping mechanisms for when it arises (TAPPING!!!). But you can also change your eating habits to satisfy that carby craving without derailing your progress.
Here are a few of my favorite keto hacks to do this…
The Salty Swap
Next time you can’t shake your craving for a crunchy, salty snack like potato chips, consider something like dill pickles, or even jerky (watch for sugar), or pork rinds (if you eat a few processed foods.) The protein in jerky is sating. The salty sour punch of a pickle is satisfying and it will help with electrolyte issues if you are having those. And pork rinds are a chip-lover’s low-carb dream. Again, watch for hidden sugars (read the ingredients.) And you may have to try a couple brands to find one that suits your taste preference. #notallporkrindsarecreatedequal
The Sugary Sweet Swap.
Sweet tooth at it again? Next time you’re longing for a dessert, you can try these. A square of dark (or even Baker’s) chocolate (80% or higher in cocoa) dipped in erythritol. Sugar free Jell-o. I know, I know. Aspartame. But if your choices are death from diabetes or possible aspartame complications, do what you gotta. Use the crutch, and transition out and away as soon as you can. (I know a lot of you may get hacked off at me for saying aspartame is ok. Here’s the thing. I’m not saying make aspartame your life partner. Use it as a transition to get from one place to another.)
The Pasta and Bread Swap.
And of course, there are the staple items you’ve always eaten with every meal because that’s what you’re used to. Rice, pasta, bread, even cereal…these are all high-carb foods that will derail your efforts. Luckily, there are swaps you can make that will fill you up while still being satisfying. Cauliflower is a great way to make pizza crust, breadsticks, mashed “potatoes,” and even rice. Many stores are now carrying these items pre-made so the “hard work” is done for you. But if you’re a DIY kinda gal, using a spiralizer will help you make noodles out of vegetables that taste amazing too.
Now that you’ve gotten some ideas on how to tackle those carb cravings — keep these ingredients in your kitchen, so these hacks become second nature.