A Month of Low Carb: What I Ate

by Darcie
low carb cinnamon rolls and strawberries

In April of this year, Logan and I decided to eat a low carb diet for a month. In another post, I talked about what prompted my decision to test this “diet,” and how Logan agreed to do it with me. Since then, I have continued to eat low carb (I don’t count grams, but I cut out all grains, starchy vegetables, and sugar including ones from natural sources like honey and maple syrup) at home, and allow myself to eat what I want when I am at a restaurant or on a special occasion.

I choose to eat this way with zero intent to lose weight. My only goal is to lead a healthy lifestyle and feel good. I want to make clear that I am not an expert on diet or nutrition. I am only a person who enjoys reading about food and taking note of how my body feels after eating certain foods. With all of the conflicting information in the media about what comprises a healthy diet, I cannot advocate for adopting this diet as a lifestyle. I am only providing information about my personal choice to eat this way and the food I consumed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, overall I feel less bloated and believe I look leaner when I limit my intake of carbs. Again, it’s a personal choice that I feel works for me. If you are interested in learning more about the science behind eating low carb and how it may have positive health consequences, there’s a wealth of information on this site, and this video provides a great overview of what to eat and what foods to avoid or limit.

At the same time, I found it incredibly useful to read other people’s experiences with eating low carb. Despite the fact that I don’t have any formal education on nutrition, I have done my best to eat what I believe is healthy and good for my body. As such, I am regularly on Pinterest to search for new recipes and utilized it a ton during my low carb month and since then as well. There is a wealth of recipes available, but many from sources that I had never heard of.

Prior to eating low carb, I had several blogs, including Half Baked Harvest, Pinch of Yum, Cookie and Kate, and Skinnytaste, and Well Plated, that I regularly perused for new recipes. While some of the recipes on these sites are low carb compliant, I knew I would have to expand my repertoire. In searching Pinterest, I came across Wholesome Yum, which has become my go-to site for low carb recipes.

Because of the effort I know it takes to meal plan and the risk involved in trying recipes from random sources, I thought it might be helpful to share what I ate in a month of eating low carb. If I link to a recipe, I’ve personally made it and liked it. If I’ve made any changes to the recipe, I note them. If it’s a recipe that I created myself, I will provide basic instructions.

Warning: this is not a food blog so my instructions won’t be incredibly detailed, and I apologize in advance for my brevity.

Let’s get into it.

Day 1

Breakfast

-coffee with butter: of course everyone has their own preferences when it comes to strength and intensity of their coffee. But if you’re curious, I make mine on the weaker side using two tablespoons of coffee grounds and 16 oz. of water. Once it’s brewed, I pour it right into a blender and add about a tablespoon of butter. Because it’s very hot, be sure to start blending on a low setting and then increase the power slowly. I blend for about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a mug and you’re ready to go. If you like additional flavor, try adding a dash of cinnamon.

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins: to make these low carb friendly, I subbed erythritol for the honey/maple syrup. I added a splash of half and half to account for the moisture lost by omitting the honey/maple syrup. You could also use heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk. These freeze well too; just pop a couple into the microwave for about 30 seconds and you’ll be good to go.

Lunch

-beef burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, tomato, onion, cucumber, and chipotle mayo on a bed of spinach and lettuce. I ate out for this meal at Swami’s. Highly recommend if you are in San Diego. The staff willingly accommodated my requests and gave me all the chipotle mayo I wanted.

Dinner

-turkey burrito bowl which consisted of ground turkey with bell peppers, cheddar cheese, salsa, cilantro, Greek yogurt, and avocado. I browned ground turkey in olive oil. When it was almost fully cooked, I added quite a lot of minced garlic, cumin, and chili powder. I also added some salt (to taste), a dash of smoked paprika, and a shake of oregano. Separately I sautéed red and green bell peppers in olive oil. I added the cooked bell peppers and ground turkey to a bowl then topped with cheddar cheese, salsa, cilantro, Greek yogurt, and avocado.

Day 2

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-4 bacon-wrapped cream cheese-stuffed mini sweet bell peppers: I sliced the stem off of mini bell peppers, fill them with cream cheese, and then wrap them in bacon. I baked them at 425 for approximately 20 minutes, until the bacon was crispy.

Snack

-1 strawberry cheesecake fat bomb

Dinner

-turkey burrito bowl (see dinner day 1)

Day 3

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-turkey burrito bowl (see dinner day 1)

Snack

2 small spoonfuls of peanut butter (unsalted, nothing but peanuts)

Dinner

4 bacon-wrapped cream cheese-stuffed mini sweet bell peppers (see lunch day 2)

Day 4

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-3 cheesy sausage and mushroom biscuits: I used only half a pound of sausage and added mushrooms, and I made them much larger so I probably had about 12-15 biscuits (versus 35). I love, love, love these. Probably my favorite breakfast all month.

Lunch

-turkey burrito bowl (see dinner day 1)

Dinner

-roasted broccoli: my absolute favorite way to eat broccoli is to buy a bag of frozen broccoli from Trader Joe’s. Toss onto an oven-safe pan. Drizzle with olive oil then add, to taste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Roast on 450 for about 15 minutes, then toss, then bake another 10-15 minutes. I like my broccoli to be slightly charred and caramelized. I ate half the bag which is 8 oz.

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins: sometimes I like breakfast for dinner. (see breakfast day 1)

Day 5

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-3 cheesy sausage and mushroom biscuits (see breakfast day 4)

Lunch

-8 oz. roasted broccoli (see dinner day 4)

-3 pieces of cheddar cheese

-1 large spoonful of peanut butter

Dinner

Low carb spinach artichoke pizza: pizza is my all-time favorite food so I had to find a way to continue to make it. I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower crusts, except the one from Trader Joe’s which contains potato starch. I was ecstatic to find this pizza dough recipe. It’s so easy to make and is as stable as regular dough. Be sure to use parchment paper or else the dough will stick big time. I used this recipe for the pizza toppings.

Dessert

1/3 cup ice cream: I used 3/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 half and half. For sugar, I used xylitol. Be sure to chill as the directions say before you pour into your ice cream maker. I use this ice cream maker and it’s so easy. I was satisfied with the intensity of the coffee flavor, but it was slightly icy.

Day 6

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-3 cheesy sausage and mushroom biscuits (see breakfast day 4)

Lunch

4 sugar cookies and 1/4 cup coffee ice cream (see dessert day 5): you can judge me; it was Saturday and I had just gone on a hike. 😉

Dinner

-roasted broccoli (see dinner day 4)

-chicken pinwheel with cream cheese, kale sautéed in olive oil and garlic, and pepperoni topped with marinara and mozzarella. I used this recipe as a guide for assembly and baking.

Day 7

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-coconut flour blueberry pancakes: I didn’t like the recipe I used and still have not found a recipe I love for low carb pancakes. If you eat oats, this my all-time favorite gluten-free pancake recipe which I typically make with chocolate chips or blueberries instead of peaches or even plain. If you have a pancake recipe recommendation, I would love to hear. I top my pancakes with butter.

Lunch

-leftover chicken pinwheel (see dinner day 6)

Snack

-1 sugar cookie (see lunch day 6)

Dinner

-Ate different apps at a restaurant which included short rib, lamb burger with goat cheese, salad, and Brussels sprouts.

-2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc

Day 8

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 sausage, mushroom, egg muffins with salsa and avocado: I used half and half instead of almond milk and added mushrooms.

Lunch

-pesto with zucchini, bell peppers, feta, sausage, and shrimp: I made my own pesto and did not measure the ingredients (sorry!), but here are my approximations. 1/2 cup almonds, 16 oz. of spinach, heaping teaspoon of minced garlic, salt, pepper, blend with olive oil until you reach desired consistency. Then I sautéed zucchini, green bell peppers, fully cooked chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, and shrimp (love the Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s) in olive oil until cooked but veggies were still slightly crisp.

Snack

-2 small spoonfuls of peanut butter

Dinner

-3 bacon-wrapped cream cheese-stuffed mini bell peppers (see lunch day 2)

-2 caprese stacks. Slice mozzarella. Top with fresh basil leaves. Top with a slice of tomato. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drizzle stack with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I add avocado as seen below, but I didn’t this time. In the photo, I also used a balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s which is more processed than regular balsamic vinegar from Modena.

– 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc

Day 9

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

cinnamon roll: for sugar, I used erythritol.

Lunch

-4 caprese stacks (see dinner day 8)

-strawberry cheesecake fat bomb (see snack day 2)

Snack

-1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

Dinner

-pesto with zucchini, bell peppers, feta, sausage, and shrimp (see lunch day 8)

Day 10

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 sausage, mushroom, egg muffins with salsa and avocado (see breakfast day 8)

Lunch

-pesto with zucchini, bell peppers, feta, sausage, and shrimp (see lunch day 8)

Dinner

-roasted broccoli (see dinner day 4)

-1 small spoonful of peanut butter

loaded cauliflower mash

Day 11

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 sausage, mushroom, egg muffins with salsa and avocado (see breakfast day 8)

Lunch

-pesto with zucchini, bell peppers, feta, sausage, and shrimp (see lunch day 8)

Dinner

-loaded cauliflower mash (see dinner day 10)

Dessert

-2 strawberry cheesecake fat bombs (see snack day 2)

Day 12

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-loaded cauliflower mash (see dinner day 10)

Snack

-2 small spoonfuls of peanut butter

Dinner

-pizza with pesto, chicken, shrimp, bell peppers, and onions. I used the fathead dough (see dinner day 5) then topped with pesto (see lunch day 8) followed by mozzarella cheese, then I added seared chicken and shrimp and sautéed bell peppers and onions.

-2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc

Day 13

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-cinnamon roll (see breakfast day 9)

Lunch

-pesto pizza (see lunch day 12)

Snack

-2 small spoonfuls of peanut butter

Dinner

-2 legs of roasted chicken (made by Logan with no recipe that he recalls) and roasted Brussels sprouts. I roasted the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper on 425 until charred, probably about 20-25 minutes.

Dessert

-ice cream (see dessert day 5)

Day 14

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-cinnamon roll (see breakfast day 9)

Lunch

-2 eggs scrambled with sausage, 2 tablespoons of pesto (see lunch day 8), and cheddar cheese. For the sausage, I used the uncooked chicken sausage in the casing from Trader Joe’s. I removed the uncooked meat from the casing and cooked it on the stove. I ate about half a sausage.

Dinner

-carnitas burrito bowl: First, I slow cook the carnitas. I used this recipe as a guide for the spices, but I didn’t measure anything. I sprinkled them on and pressed them into the meat. Then I seared the meat on all sides then put into the crock pot with chicken broth and lime juice (NOT beer, coke, or orange juice) for 8 hours. Once it was tender, I shredded it, poured some of the liquid on top to ensure that it stayed juicy, and then broiled it on high until crispy. I checked on it every minute to toss and make sure it wasn’t burning.

I made the cauliflower rice by chopping a head of cauliflower and blending it in a food processor until it looked like rice. Then I sautéed it in olive oil and then added cumin, chili powder, and minced garlic.

To assemble, I spooned cauliflower rice into a bowl, then added carnitas, cheddar cheese, cilantro, salsa, full fat Greek yogurt, and avocado.

Day 15

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil: switched it up from butter! I used a little less than a tablespoon.

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-carnitas burrito bowl (see dinner day 14)

Snack

-2 slices cheddar cheese

-1 spoonful of peanut butter

Dinner

-ate at friend’s house: tomato soup with scallops and shrimp

-2 glasses of dry red wine

Day 16

-coffee with butter

-2 eggs scrambled with sausage, pesto (see lunch day 8), and cheddar cheese

Lunch

-3 meatballs with marinara and mozzarella: I used a combination of ground pork and turkey.

Snack

-roasted broccoli (see dinner day 4)

Dinner

-carnitas burrito bowl (see dinner day 14)

Day 17

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-carnitas burrito bowl (see dinner day 14)

Snack

-1 spoonful of peanut butter

Dinner

-sausage, mushroom, and chicken casserole: I reduced the amount of chicken to about 1 cup and found that it made about 4 servings.

Dessert

-ice cream (see dessert day 5)

Day 18

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 eggs scrambled with sausage, pesto (see lunch day 8), and cheddar cheese

Lunch

-sausage, mushroom, and chicken casserole (see dinner day 17)

Dinner

-3 meatballs with marinara and mozzarella (see lunch day 16)

Day 19

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 blueberry almond flour muffins (see breakfast day 1)

Lunch

-sausage, mushroom, and chicken casserole (see dinner day 17)

Dinner

-zucchini carbonara

Day 20

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-2 sunny-side up eggs with avocado

Lunch

-sausage, mushroom, and chicken casserole (see dinner day 17)

Dinner

creamy garlic mushroom chicken thighs with cauliflower mash: for the mash, I kept it simple with only garlic, salt, and butter.

Day 21

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil

-2 pumpkin coconut flour muffins

Lunch

-creamy garlic mushroom chicken thighs with cauliflower mash (see dinner day 20)

Dinner

-margarita pizza with spinach and spicy pork sausage: I used the fat head dough (see dinner day 5). I browned spicy pork sausage, then added minced garlic (to taste; I used around two teaspoons), then added about 6 oz. of fresh spinach. Then I stirred in 1 large diced tomato. I fully cooked the pizza dough, then lightly drizzled the dough with avocado oil. I sprinkled mozzarella cheese then topped with sausage/spinach/tomato mixture. Because I love cheese, I added a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Once it was cooked and I had lightly broiled the pizza, I added freshly chopped basil.

Day 22

Breakfast

-coffee with heavy cream: I love half and half in my coffee but tried subbing heavy cream for a change. It tasted very similar to me. I’ve read that half and half has sugar in it, which is why the keto diet recommends heavy cream, but I’ve found that the half and half from Trader Joe’s doesn’t contain any sugar.

-3 mini cinnamon rolls (article featured image): I followed the recipe and want to emphasize that the dough was very sticky and hard to roll out. Just roll it out the best you can; it will bake together. These cinnamon rolls were delicious and I would make them again, but I would say that they are drier than traditional cinnamon rolls and less elasticy/gooey, if that makes sense.

-5 strawberries

Lunch

-salad (see lunch day 21)

Dinner

-margarita pizza (see dinner day 21)

Day 23

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil

-4 mini cinnamon rolls (see breakfast day 22)

Lunch

white chicken chili: I omitted the beans and quinoa and added shrimp, zucchini, and green bell peppers.

Dinner

-beef burger with goat cheese and avocado over mixed greens: Logan made these burgers. He mixed ground beef with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, cumin, and oregano (sorry, we don’t measure!), and then added in crumbled goat cheese. He grilled the burgers on a stove-top skillet then put them on beds of lettuce and drizzled with olive oil mixed with salt and pepper on top. He sliced avocado on top.

Day 24

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil

stuffed cannolis with mixed berry compote: For the berry compote, I put some frozen berries in a couple tablespoons of water and the same of erythritol and then simmered until it was just shy of the consistency of jam.

Lunch

-white chicken chili (see lunch day 23)

Dinner

sausage and pepperoni pizza stuffed peppers: I made my own marinara sauce using a can of tomato sauce. I put that in a saucepan then added minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Day 25

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil

-waffle breakfast sandwiches: I made these waffles minus the cinnamon swirl and icing and instead, once the waffles were cooked, scrambled an egg with a piece of bacon and melted cheddar cheese, assembling it breakfast sandwich style. I also added avocado.

Lunch

chicken spaghetti squash boats

Dinner

cheesy taco skillet: instead of adding a store-bought taco seasoning, I added minced fresh garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika to the ground beef. I used all spinach. I topped this dish with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and avocado.

Day 26

Breakfast

-coffee with coconut oil

-waffle breakfast sandwiches (see breakfast day 25)

Lunch

-cheesy taco skillet (see dinner day 25)

Dinner

creamy cashew zoodles: I swapped zoodles for the fettucine.

Day 27

Breakfast

low carb granola with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blueberries: I used a combination of almonds and cashews. I also added a scoop of vanilla MCT powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Lunch

-creamy cashew zoodles (see dinner day 26)

Dinner

-salad which consisted of chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, hard-boiled egg, shredded carrot, diced red bell pepper, grilled corn, diced tomatoes with spinach and red leaf lettuce. I made a very simple dressing of avocado oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

Day 28

Breakfast

-low carb granola with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blueberries (see breakfast day 27)

Lunch

-salad (see dinner day 27)

Dinner

green goddess sauce over zoodles with fried halloumi: I used all zoodles. I also subbed almonds for the pistachios because it’s what I had. I also omitted the jalapeno.

Day 29

Breakfast

-2 pumpkin muffins (see breakfast day 21)

Lunch

-green goddess sauce over zoodles with fried halloumi (see dinner day 28)

Dinner

chicken, shrimp, and veggie curry over cauliflower rice: I used mushrooms, carrots, and onions. I omitted the corn, basil, goat cheese, jalapeno, zucchini, and peaches. I used 1 tbs of regular yellow curry powder and about 4 tbs of red curry paste. I used two cans of coconut milk and 2 tbsp soy sauce. I used a combo of shrimp and chicken. I put it over cauliflower rice which I prepared by making rice out of cauliflower in the food processor then sautéed it in sesame oil and added minced ginger.

Day 30

Breakfast

-coffee with butter

-low carb granola with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blueberries (see breakfast day 27)

Lunch

-leftover chicken, shrimp, and veggie curry (see dinner day 29)

Dinner

Udon zoodles: I used zoodles instead of udon noodles. I omitted the fresno pepper and used ground pork.

There you have it! A month of low carb meals. If you like these kinds of posts, let me know and I’ll do more of them. Also, if you have any must-try low carb/keto recipes, post below; I’d love to try them!

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