In this article we’re going to teach you how to fill the physical and mental gap that cutting out carbs can create and let you in on the secret of keto bread.
Get Creative With Carb Restrictions
Since the keto diet restricts carbohydrates, it’s important to learn how to substitute them. From a nutritional perspective, carbohydrates provide us with energy. They also provide us with feelings of fullness and comfort.
Most people love bread, that’s just a fact of life. We often turn to carbs when we want to cheer ourselves up. We also use carbs to suppress uncomfortable emotions Awareness is key, and so is tasty keto bread you can turn to in times of need.
Carbohydrates are satisfying when we eat them. They cause the release of specific neurotransmitters in the brain which temporarily improve our mood. In the long run there are better, healthier ways to improve your mood.
However, we can’t ignore the psychological gap that cutting out carbs creates. Increasing your awareness of how you use carbs is the first step in overcoming the grip they have on us. Finding practical ways to indulge in carb-like food, including keto bread, will make your keto journey easier.
In our society, eating has become a very unconscious activity. We often grab a snack, or fill our faces without really thinking about it, rushing between appointments or scoffing in front of the TV. How often do you sit down and really, mindfully, eat? Do you ever focus on the food you are eating and how it benefits your body?
When we think about what we are eating, and have the pleasure of smelling it being prepared, the body is able to plan ahead and produce the digestive enzymes needed to absorb the nutrients more effectively. When we grab something on the run and shove it down without thinking it’s like a surprise attack on the stomach!
Fortunately, you will find that the keto diet makes you think more about what you are eating. Getting out of old habits and mindfully planning what you are going to eat, and why, will break the cycles of addictive and unconscious eating. The keto diet will make you think more about food.
So, let’s have a look at the role carbohydrates plays in our lives and how we are going to find keto alternatives. We are going to start with the feelings of fullness. For many people eating a big carb-heavy meal makes us feel sleepy and relaxed. Have you ever seen a baby right after eating? They look calm, peaceful, relaxed, content and will often fall asleep right away! The sleepiness is partly due to all the blood going to the stomach to aid digestion. But, after eating, babies are usually satisfied, their needs are met; it’s important that your food needs are met too.
When we use food for comfort, and suddenly that emotional crutch is taken away it can be very unsettling. Even if you are not physically hungry you can find yourself wanting ‘something’ to fill the void. Food can’t fill that gap, but other things can! The keto diet will remove physical hunger but not the emotional emptiness.
Being honest with yourself about the reasons you eat specific foods can help you meet those needs in other ways. We also use food to help us relax. Are you in the habit of having a big meal after work to help you relax? Do you look forward to feeling full, watching TV, winding down and letting go of the day’s stresses? Many people use food this way, but, there are other ways to unwind and de-stress.
On keto, food is more functional, providing energy and nutrition. The keto lifestyle gives you the opportunity and energy to find new forms of stimulation and relaxation! Exercise is one of the best ways to ‘burn off’ the stress hormones. Physically the body uses them up when we get moving. A gentle evening stroll or other physical activity will help you relax and sleep better, and fresh air and movement will naturally reduce depression and improve your mood.
If you are doing keto to lose weight, or improve any other aspect of your wellbeing, adding more movement to you day will speed up your progress. Massage, including self-massage, is another excellent way to relax and unwind. Maybe this could work for you? What else could you do at the end of the day to help you switch off and chillout? You can plan your keto food and your food-free fun and relaxation.
Boredom is another big reason we reach for carbs. We are overstimulated by our mobile devices, busy lives, media and more, so in moments of boredom we quickly fill the gap with food and other distractions. The mind races so fast that it finds silence or emptiness uncomfortable; we’re not at peace with ourselves internally, so we look outwards instead. Finding healthy ways to stimulate ourselves brings immense rewards.
If you find yourself habitually reaching for food when you are bored, ask yourself what else could I do? Do you need some new hobbies? Could you find a way of being creative or expressive? Many people find the simplicity of keto frees up time in the day. If you have an extra hour per day what could you do with it? Would you like to learn something new? Take a class, learn a new instrument or language or study online? Are there books you’d like to read or people you’d like to meet?
Eating to Suppress Emotions
We also reach for food when we are feeling anxious, sad, lonely or depressed. Depression and Anxiety have reached near epidemic proportions, impacting over 30% of Americans. As a society we don’t seem to be coping with life very well! Our desire for instant gratification means we reach for quick fixes. We shy away from confronting the real problems. We rely on the instant ‘high’ from sweets and numbing out life with antidepressants. The real problems are lack of purpose; passion; life direction and community. These things can’t be fixed overnight.
Unfortunately our Westernized diets directly cause both depression and anxiety. The foods we grab to comfort are the exact same ones which make us miserable! The new study of Nutritional Psychiatry has linked deep-fried foods and carbohydrates to an increase in depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. This creates a vicious circle of comforting ourselves with foods which makes us more miserable. Fortunately, keto foods naturally boost mood and reduce depression.
A Chance for A New Beginning
We also need to learn to ‘self-soothe’. That means finding more nourishing ways to cheer ourselves up when we feel negative emotions, and learning how to express ourselves when we feel low, rather than burying them with food. Find purpose and direction outside of the kitchen! If you use food as a form of comfort, give yourself permission to address your unmet needs. What is it you really need? Keto is a totally new lifestyle, why not renovate other areas of your life too? Take the chance to review your lifestyle and what changes you would benefit from.
We are creatures of habit: no matter what diet you follow, if you don’t change your habits then you will not succeed. You can’t expect to do the same things and get different results! So, if you are a boredom eater, how else could you fill your time? What would bring you joy, happiness or entertainment? If you comfort yourself with carbs do you know why? How else could you lift your mood and put a smile on your face?
For many people the keto diet is transformational and life-changing. This is your chance to proactively direct your health, wellbeing and happiness. Give yourself permission to follow your dreams, passion and inspirations. Try new hobbies, activities and events, meet new people or reconnect with old friends. Could you fill your time with more things that you enjoy? Are you putting YOUR needs first? You could start looking for fulfilling things to do right now! Feel free to give yourself permission to try something new.
We can’t ignore the other big reason we eat carbs: the delicious tastes! Specifically, desserts, chocolates and candy. Most of us have a sweet tooth of some kind. Many people even have a special chamber in their stomachs reserved especially for desserts, even when they’re full from eating a main meal!
Carbs also have some very practical uses which are ingrained into our daily habits. Like sandwiches, toast and a wide array of bread-based treats, practically we use bread to ‘hold’ our fillings and mop up our sauces. Fortunately, there are some awesome keto bread options!
You can make a delicious keto bread using almond flour and egg whites. It’s easier than it sounds and it is VERY satisfying to knock up your own tasty loaf. Keto bread is MUCH easier to make than wheat bread. Here’s how to make it:
Take a pack of almond flour, a dash of baking powder and some egg whites
Whisk it up and throw it in the oven – that’s it!
25 minutes later you have fluffy, tasty, hot keto bread to melt butter onto!
We’re sure you will love keto bread, it’s a game changer! Check out the bread section in our recipe collection for more details.
Rice and pasta are also ‘practical’ carbs which we use to complement traditional and saucy meals. Cauliflower makes a really nice swap for rice. You can grate it by hand or chuck it in a food processor. The ‘grains’ of cauliflower are then cooked quickly in a tiny bit of water on the stovetop. Just a few minutes of steam-frying and you have something rice-like to serve with your meal. Pasta is a bit more complicated, but we have found a delicious protein-pasta that we love. If you are a pasta fan check out the latest additions to the kiss my keto shop.
Understanding how and why you use carbs is vital to finding alternatives that suit you! It’s really important that your keto diet satisfies you nutritionally, physically and emotionally. Finding flavors and textures which you enjoy will help you maintain motivation. This is why we have created a huge database of easy and tasty keto recipes [hyperlink]. You can pick the ones which work for you. Keto bread is just the tip of the tasty keto iceberg!
Let’s quickly recap the practicalities of carbs on keto:
Carbs are very restricted – they should be 5-10% of your calories, depending on your calculated macros
You need to avoid traditional carbs – like rice, bread and pasta altogether and swap them for keto options
Sweet things are VERY carby, unless you have learned the sweet secrets we are going to teach you next
To calculate carbs you need to look-up nutritional content for fresh produce or read nutritional labels
You can’t just guess by the taste!
Swap carbs for keto friendly options like delicious almond flour keto bread
Find ways to fill your time and lift your mood that avoid food!
The Different Types of Carbs
There are a couple of different types of carbs which you need to be aware of, and a few different systems people use when talking about them. Let’s cover them really simply now so you understand some of the terms you might see:
Fiber is biochemically a type of carbohydrate, but the body cannot digest it. It’s not broken down into sugars, so it has no impact on blood sugar and does not count as part of your carbohydrate intake! Soluble fiber, found in nuts, actually lowers blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, found in vegetables, helps move food through your bowels, preventing constipation. Fiber is essential for health and reduces the risk of diseases including heart disease and cancer.
The keto diet keeps carb intake very low. But since there aren’t any accessible carbs in fiber you don’t need to count it. This might seem a bit odd, but we are only concerned with the carbs the body will absorb. We saw this briefly when we looked at food labels in a previous article. You need to do a little bit of math: take the carbs from fiber and subtract the total carbs. This gives you net carbs, the carbs that the body will absorb. You might even see net carbs listed on some products, you’ll certainly see it on our recipes as it’s a vital keto measure!
This is used to prevent the highs and lows of blood sugar management for diabetics and dieters. Some carbs cause a huge spike in blood sugar and insulin, while other carbs have less impact. It’s a popular, although slightly complicated, way of managing the insulin response. Natural sugars, for example in fruits like cherries, are more gentle on the body, they are low GI, especially compared to refined and pure sugars like white sugar which are high GI.
When sugars are in their natural state it takes the body more time and effort to access the energy.
For example, eating some cherries: first, the mouth has to chew the cherries. Then enzymes in the saliva and stomach break down the cherries. After digestion, the fruit sugars are released and they can be used to make energy. This process takes time and effort.
Compare this to a can of cola: the pure refined sugar is immediately absorbed in the mouth in a few seconds and the body has to react in a panic, so it releases loads of insulin. When you eat fruit the body responds in a calmer way and releases the appropriate amount of insulin. Even if the carb count is the same, a low GI carb will have less impact than pure sugar. So, if you choose to have some carbs, choose low GI ones! A Glycemic Index of under 55 is considered low, these are the best. Above 70 is high and moderate is in the middle!
Impact vs. Non-impact Carbs
This is another system of separating carbs that cause a dramatic insulin release from those which have a much milder effect. Unfortunately, the chemical system of ‘carb’ classification doesn’t equate very well to how the body responds. Nutritional science is only just catching up with the idea that your body is not a simple furnace burning foods. The carbs in vegetables and what are called ‘sugar alcohols’ have a much more gentle impact on the body, they are low GI. This means eating them will impact your ketosis much less, they will not cause you to start storing fat and crash out of keto.
Complex carbs is yet another term used to describe carbs which are better for your body. They contain more than just the carb, they have fiber and other nutritious elements. In a way it’s a bit like drinking alcohol: downing two shots of vodka on an empty stomach will have a much more immediate effect than slowly drinking two glasses of wine with a nice meal! The volume of carb is important, but how the body receives it is also a key factor. Slow, steady, natural carbs will always be better for you than a sugar crusted donut.
So, there you have it, everything you need to know about carbs on keto: basically - avoid them! Learn to understand why you really want them. Carb cravings are often the result of addition; years of sugar-laden food will do that to you. But, after just a few weeks on keto the physical addiction goes, and your mood will naturally lift, leaving room for you to figure out what really makes you happy, beyond food.