“Give us this day our daily bread…”-Matthew 6:11
“The weight comes off, you know? If you stop with the bread and the pie, it really does. It really works.”-Philip Seymour Hoffman
Carbs. Both a beautiful thing as well as a painful thing for many of us. I could eat carbs at every single meal, if I so desired. I could even eat carbs as a snack between my carb packed meals. I’ve even gone so far as to jokingly mention to my boyfriend I want a carb bar at our wedding. You know, macaroni and cheese, fettuccini Alfredo, some lasagna, garlic bread, sister Schubert rolls, my grandmas homemade cheese biscuits, etc. Wow. Now that is what dreams are made of! But that’s also what bloated evenings and tight pants are made of. As much as I love carbs, I find it absolutely impossible to cut them out of my diet completely. I tried it once; I just couldn’t do it. I cut sandwiches, tacos, pastas, pizzas, etc out of my diet. It wasn’t enjoyable. So I quickly reintroduced carbs to my diet. But I have a very sensitive stomach. If you are like me at all, too many carbs can cause you to feel bloated (or even gassy at times, gross!). I had to find a compromise. I couldn’t keep eating carbs at every meal. The discomfort was too frustrating. So in order to both please both my stomach and my taste buds, I’ve cut back my carb intake. To clarify, I’ve mostly cut back on my bread intake because bread is packed with carbohydrates. If cutting carbs out of your diet, or even cutting back on carbs, seems daunting, here are a few meal ideas that helped me do the thing. And let me tell you, I’m still doing the thing to this day. If getting rid of carbs completely is too difficult for you, try this!
- Open-faced bagels/sandwiches. Breakfast is not only my favorite meal, but it’s my favorite cuisine. I could eat different breakfast foods for every meal throughout a day, and believe me, I do. One of the main staples of my diet (and I use this term loosely. While I do watch what I eat, I do not consider myself on a diet. I’ll write a blog about that later.) is bagels. Whether it be a bagel from my local Bruegger’s, a bagel from New York (which by far are my absolute favorite bagels on the planet), or a blueberry bagel from my local grub kitty (food lion for those who have no idea what a grub kitty is). Instead of completely cutting out bagels, create an open-faced sandwich with them. I like to put eggs and turkey bacon on it. Yum! (I bought this bagel sized pan from Harris Teeter and it makes eating an egg bagel so much easier because your eggs aren’t hanging off the bagel!) This open-faced sandwich allows me to still eat carbs, but to an amount that my stomach will thank me for. If you don’t eat breakfast sandwiches, this works great for lunch sandwiches too. Take one piece of lunch bread, put on your meat or spreads, but instead of closing it with another piece of bread, leave it open! Easy peasy.
- Taco bowls. Tacos, like bagels, are a staple of my diet. I used to buy these cute little street tortillas from the grocery store to eat my tacos on, but when I realized just how calorie packed those little tortillas were, I quit buying them. My new favorite way of eating tacos is in a bowl. It’s like something you might order at Moe’s or Qdoba. I put my taco seasoned ground turkey in a bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of salsa for a kick, 1-2 tablespoons of queso for some creamy goodness, and some lettuce to add a crisp coolness. I mix it all together and go to town. While my tastebuds are having a dance party, my stomach will thank me later.
- Pasta with twice the meat & veggies. I really like a good pasta every now and then. It’s so comforting, but it can also be discomforting at the end of the night. If I make pasta at home, I double the meat on top. I recently made a pesto chicken pasta with broccoli. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The recipe called for 1 package of bow tie pasta, 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, some pesto, and 2 cups of broccoli. I added 2 extra boneless skinless breasts and 2 additional cups of broccoli. Now instead of this being a pasta recipe with a hint of chicken and broccoli, it’s a chicken and broccoli recipe with a hint of pasta. This ultimately lowers the carbs of each serving, while still being able to enjoy pasta.
The scripture I chose for this blog is “Give us this day our daily bread”. This can be read and interpreted two ways: the first bread as a physical bread, like manna (read Exodus 16 to learn about manna), while the second bread as in Jesus (read John 6:35 to learn about Jesus being the Bread of Life). For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to focus on the former. In that case, each day we should be asking for bread! If that isn’t a sign to NOT give up carbs completely, then I don’t know what is. The Lord has used bread for years, and I seriously mean years, to sustain his people. If the Lord wants us to eat bread, I will be the first to take a bite. On the other hand, the quote says that the weight will indeed come off if you quit the bread. Since our goal of this blog is to just cut back on the carbs, not to quit completely, I want to find a happy medium between the verse and the quote. Hoffman says that you’ll lose the weight avoiding the bread. In a similar manner, you’ll feel less bloated if you cut back on the carbs. I know I feel better having cut back. There are a lot of reasons you can feel bloated and gross after eating carbs. (Here are a few if you’re curious – https://www.livestrong.com/article/444370-why-do-i-get-bloated-when-i-eat-carbs/.) The good news is that if you eat less carbs, you won’t feel as bad or bloated afterwards. The lower the carb intake, the better your stomach will feel and look. It is possible you might lose a few pounds in the process of cutting back. But if you want to lose weight, there are many other ways that might be more beneficial for you. This blog is simply to find a happy medium between all carbs and no carbs. I think I’ve found my happy medium with open-faced sandwiches, taco bowls, and pasta with more meat and veggies. The scripture says that each day we need our daily bread, but the quote reminds us that we don’t want to eat too much bread, because with it, we can feel and become bloated. Try the recommendations and see if they can be your happy medium, too. Girl, cut the carbs.
P.S. – I would love to hear from you on how you cut back carbs, so drop a line!