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Your favourite carb substitute?

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We have been trying to eat healthier here; and while we do eat about 95% whole foods; but we (my husband and I) love our bread and pastas. I often make both myself; however we are getting older (Hubs turns 30 next month!) and we are definitely noticing that the carbs are starting to stick with us a lot longer than we would like.

I have tried some things; and I am having a hard time finding replacements. I have tried things like chickpeas, lentils, rice based pasta, gluten free flours for breads/baking, things like celery root instead of potatoes (yack!).

I am really struggling, as I can't seem to force myself to like any of those things. It is very hard to stick to something when you don't like it; and we are not so much focused on being "gluten free" (as we have no reason to be, we have no allergies) we are just interested in cutting carb intake.

I feel like without the carbs I am starving; and the veggies/protein just isn't staying with me, and it does seem to upset my stomach quite a bit.

Anyone have any suggestions? Particularly for a bread and pastas as they are the guilty pleasures.

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  1. So are you trying to decrease carbs in general, or breads and pastries in particular? Beans have carbs, although they also have plenty of fiber. So does rice based pasta, without the extra fiber.

    If you want to eat almost no carbs at all, you might have to sub in extra protein in order to feel satisfied. If you want to decrease carbs, then you need to limit servings of breads, pasta, potatoes, etc.

    If I am not having a carb with dinner or lunch, sometimes I eat a little cottage cheese as a sub. (Cottage cheese has some carbs)

    Subs for potato might be cauliflower or turnips. I have to say that neither work for me that way, but some people use them that way.

    You can bake a bread sub using 1/2 almond flour and 1/2 golden flaxseed meal. Noodle around the internet for "breads" baked with those products, or coconut flour, which I believe some people also use as a sub for regular flour.

    Ultimately you are not subbing this for that, but learning how to be satisfied with fewer carbs in a meal. This is a learning experience. But eating more lean protein helps with satiety.

    1. Quinoa is good, along with all natural broths, like chicken broth. I also love spaghetti squash, which is fairly starchy and can be topped with marinara and cheese. Almond Nut-thins are also quite good with a little cheese of choice on top. Im a fan of nuts and nut butter, eggs any style (try deviled eggs, just don't eat a bunch). Udi's gluten free bread is a good substitute for "real" bread, but make sure you toast it, and if you are craving gluten free pizza, Amy's has a good one and also a good GF burrito. Feel Good Foods also offers good GF egg rolls if they r available in your area. I find if I stick with the protein and veggies for a week, I can continue to eat that way, but everyone is different. Good luck!

      1. Enjoy a smaller portion. As in really ENJOY it. A great slice of bread with some amazing cheese. A small portion of pasta mixed in with a TON of veggies (a noodle stir fry works great for this). A classic baked potato.

        I have found that I would rather have a smaller serving of the real thing than a bigger portion of a lesser substitute. But if you want a faux healthy suggestion, I frequently make mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes at equal proportions (just start boiling the sweets about 5 minutes earlier) as a tolerable substitute for the real thing

        23 Replies
        1. re: autumm

          This is great advice, autmm. As a type 1 diabetic, I will have a small spoonful of brown rice with my chinese, thai or indian food and it always enough to satisfy without having to bolus much insulin.

          Spaghetti squash is a great sub. for spaghetti. Serve it with meatballs and red sauce and you'd be surprised how great it tastes and resembles pasta.

          I think the key, like autumm pointed out, is to allow small amounts. Complete restriction is difficult to live long term for most folks (although many on the special diets board do it and do it well).

          I sometimes bake protein muffins and cookies using almond meal/flour and protein powder. There are tons of recipes online. Wasa crackers are great and only 4 carbs per big cracker. I will occasionally use 2 to make a nut butter sandwich. Quinoa as someone pointed out is great in many ways - as a hot breakfast cereal (like oatmeal), mixed in a green salad, as a rice-like side dish, etc. These all have some carbs but generally are low carb and filling. Ooh, Tofu and tempeh are also great protein sources.

          Oh, and beware, gluten free products contain carbs. Usually in the form of rice flour.

          Happy Eating!

          1. re: lynnlato

            Lynn, have you tried the new Ryvita Crunch? I buy the rye, they've got a lovely delicate texture and crunch and I think just enough salt added to amp the flavor. Not in most stores, yet but this is them: My old favorite was Wasa multi grain, but these are much better and no wheat (other than contaminants, I gather). http://images.iherb.com/l/RYV-00513-7...

            1. re: mcf

              Ditto on the Ry-Vita; my husband is out getting some more. They satisfy the sweet taste you get from a cookie. Very Good Buy.

              1. re: mortswife

                Did you buy the fruit and nut ones, mortswife? I bought the rye, oat bran and salt ones.

                1. re: mcf

                  I have both the Ry-Vita fruit & seed and the Ry-Krisp multigrain. Hubby and I are living sugar/ flour free and these really are the ticket. We live 95 miles from a store that carries them, so we buy several at a time. I haven't tried the oat bran ones.

                  1. re: mortswife

                    See if you can find the new Ryvita Crunch that i posted and let me know if you think it's as good as I do. I have to drive out of my way to buy it, may resort to buying it online.

                  2. re: mcf

                    I tried the fruit and nut one, spread a thick layer of greek yogurt on it for breakfast- new favorite thing!! Totally exceeded my expectations.

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      I eat low carb and the fruit and crunch is no good for me. Maybe if I put some meat on it, my blood sugar wouldn't spike so badly.

                2. re: mcf

                  Oooh, thanks mcf! I am headed to the store now and I do believe our grocer carries these. I'll give them a try!

                  1. re: mcf

                    mcf, where are you buying the Ryvita Crunch? I have looked in stores in my area and haven't had any luck. I really want to try these but I don't want to buy a case of 10. Help!

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      I've never tried them but have seen them at Wegmans.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        ShopRite in Commack, NY has them, Wild by Nature, which is a King Kullen store, and they're also online. Any store you go to that carries Ryvita will probably order them if you ask at the customer service desk.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Thanks y'all. I'm in the Southeast and am not having much luck. Why is it the more difficult it is to find something the more you want it? I will find those damn crackers! ;)

                          Oooh, it just occurred to me that my sister in PA has a Wegmans! I'll have her look for me. She's coming to visit in a few days! Thanks again!

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            They are a tiny bit salty but I like them. I wouldn't kill for them. I like TJ's pita crackers better.

                            1. re: walker

                              I got a bit confused; thought I was replying to TJ thread. For low carb crackers, I like the crunchmaster ones.

                              1. re: walker

                                That bit of saltiness is a huge reason I love them! The other reason is the incredibly delicate texture comparied to so many crisp breads.

                                iherb.com doesn't make you buy a whole case, btw, for the future. Or just ask your store manager. :-)

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Thanks mcf!

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    OMG, thank you for reminding me about iherb.com. What a great website! I just placed my first order. I got the Ryvita and I found my favorite soaps, Nubian Heritage, at a much cheaper price than at WF. I'm so happy!

                      2. re: autumm

                        I agree with autumm. The best substitute for carbs is to just eat less of them and creatively augment them with non starchy carbs (most vegetables), adequate protein (but don't overdo the protein), and some healthy fats.

                        After trying many of the fad diets (including no carb, high protein, vegetarian, etc., etc.) I find that I'm healthier by ignoring them all. I'm maintaining my weight better, and more satisfied in general by just using some common sense moderation.

                        Of course, everyone's different so there's not a universal answer...but sensible portions in general, increased intake of veggies, and moderate use of the "problem" foods (pasta, potatoes, rice, alcohol, etc.) should work for most people.
                        There are no quick fixes and a diet should not be a 'temporary' measure. Discipline in paramount...and properly monitored, favorite foods can still be enjoyed without guilt.

                        1. re: The Professor

                          Any time I see someone mention a "fad" diet or "no carb" diet, I know disinformation is about to happen.

                          Even the lowest carb 2 week induction on Atkins calls for 2 cups of non starchy veggies per day, and allows dairy, which also contains carbs, and nuts, olives, etc. which are also high fiber sources of carbs.

                          And let us not forget that approx 58% of dietary protein converts to carb/glucose as well.

                          The most important food for satiety and appetite control is protein, eat all you want, at least at first, it's the most important part of human nutrition, followed by fats. For satiety and healthy, lean body mass promotion.

                          Even the uber severe Johns Hopkins ketogenic epilepsy diet isn't "no carb."

                          1. re: mcf

                            Well said, and point taken. The way I read it, we don't disagree at all.

                            However, I did conclude by saying that there's no one _definitive_ answer for everyone. ;-)

                            1. re: The Professor

                              I don't think we need to tell people what to do so much offer accurate information so they can make better informed decisions.

                          2. re: The Professor

                            I agree. Moderation does it, not cutting carbs completely. I have a baked potato a few times a week, with nothing on it. It's a vegetable and I believe that natural carbs are different than the processed ones.

                            While I love pasta, I don't do well eating it once a week. I overdo it, because I love it. But I bake a spaghetti squash in the oven, throw some chopped tomatoes on top, roast it for 45 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of cooked, whole wheat spaghetti in my portion and it satisfies me. It's not the same as a whole plate of just pasta, but it cuts the amount in half.

                            I also measure my rice. At my evening meal, I measure a half cup of rice, and put all of my stir fry one top of that measured amount.

                            I do not have any carbs at lunch. And I only have a 1/2 cup of Kashi go lean, with almond milk and 1/2 cup almond milk for breakfast, with a 1/2 cup of frozen, unsweetened fruit. If I'm hungry before lunch, then I have a grapefruit or banana.

                            Good luck! For me it's a daily battle.

                            www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                        2. I'm not a low carb person by any means.
                          My first instinct is to say just have an open faced sandwich with one slice bread instead of two, and make half as much pasta but add twice as many veggies to it. Keep making your own bread but cut your portions of it in half.

                          Have you made socca with chickpea flour? Its stupid easy and really delicious, also high in protein.

                          There are lots of low carb muffins and breads made with almond flour or coconut flour but those can become really high calorie and fat as well.
                          These pancakes are made from just eggs and bananas (i haven't tried since i hate bananas....and eggs....)
                          http://www.recipegirl.com/2013/01/26/...

                          Also check out the Whats for dinner low carb version on this board for ideas.

                          Or, honestly, eat your gorgeous bread (in moderate amounts) and just excersize a bit more.

                          1. I am 68 and my husband is 74. I have removed anything with sugar from my house along with anything with flour-he has lost 20 # and I have lost 15 #. I slowly added spinach in my salad; now I add more raw veggies. I never liked beans, but am learning how to fix them other than just boiling them. The internet is fabulous for finding recipes. Be patient and in the long run you will feel great. Whole grain bread is really good when you haven't had any bread for awhile!

                            1. I have found kelp noodles to be a surprisingly satisfying carb substitute. If you boil them for 20 minutes or so, they are very much like rice noodles. I've eaten them in stir fries and used them as pasta (with sauce). They've made an incredible difference in my low-carb life.

                              I've tried all the soy-bean pastas, and spaghetti squash (which was better than I thought it would be), but kelp noodles take the gold.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Teddybear

                                There are low carb tortilla's in stores too. You can get some chicken or pork along w/ cheese & make quesadilla's or enchilada's along w/ some sauteed onion & peppers.

                                1. re: Teddybear

                                  Finally tried kelp noodles with pasta sauce last night. Much better than I expected and well worth a try for those searching for substitutes.

                                  Also was surprised to enjoy shirataki "rice" -- it's really more like Israeli couscous. Pricey, but nice for a change.

                                2. I'm not sure of any bread or pasta substitutes that would likely fill your cravings for those foods. Most of them are different and just make you want whatever you wanted even more. If you are going to cut down on carbs, you will need to increase protein and veggies more than you think as carbs are calorie dense. I eat very few carbs and have found with myself and others that even a little bit can trigger wanting more. For many, if you go without for a while, you eventually get used to it and don't even want them much anymore. Not that this works for everyone but it does for many. Others do OK with smaller portions, but for most if you just stop eating them your body will adjust. Not as substitutes but you might try adding more complex carbs - legumes, quinoa, farro, barley, etc.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    I've been eating a pretty low carb diet since the beginning of the year, and I don't miss the starches most of the time - I think it's key to make sure you have enough veggies and protein but also enough fat, which increases satiety. If I have enough fat in my diet, I'm able to decrease my total calorie intake without a lot of effort. We do eat a lot of cauliflower. My husband isn't purposefully eating low carb - he's just eating food that I cook, and he's lost about 5 lbs without even trying.
                                    My suggestion if you want something in between is to cut the sweets and starchy carbs on weekdays - fill up with good fats, with lots of veggies, and then on weekends enjoy your bread and pasta as a special treat.

                                    1. re: Savour

                                      It's been years for me; breads and pasta are not treats and I never miss them. Plus, as a long timer, I can tell you they trigger cravings in many, if not most of us.

                                      But some of our needs are different; I'm diabetic controlling with diet, no meds, and I'm diabetic 7 days a week.

                                      Now dark chocolate with sea salt... ;-)

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        "It's been years for me; breads and pasta are not treats and I never miss them. Plus, as a long timer, I can tell you they trigger cravings in many, if not most of us." This is also true for me and at times when I do have them I find they trigger cravings even when I consciously don't want the food.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          If I think about it, I never could have imagined I'd go a decade without eating pasta or bagels or good, hot, NY pizza. I never crave them, rarely miss them.

                                          But if I ever find out I'm terminal, I'm going to have a slice of pizza with the crust, at least the first bite, always the best.
                                          ;-)

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          I can skip pasta with no problem, and most sweets have begun tasting too sweet. But bread is still something I miss - not every bread, but really good bread. But I'll forgo it most of the time, and accept the cravings for a day or two if I really want to indulge. I was speaking more to the OP re: the bread and pasta. I'm pretty happy with my breakfast of chicken liver pate spread on endive.

                                          1. re: Savour

                                            i was struggling with low carb ways to eat things you would usually smear on a cracker, like pate or soft cheeses. for special occasions i will make some almond flour crackers. but for everyday stuff, i like cucumber slices and red pepper strips. a chicken liver pate i bought tasted wonderful with both.

                                            1. re: dinaofdoom

                                              I do endive and sometimes apple slices. Celery is pretty good, too,

                                              1. re: Savour

                                                Also jicama and kohlrabi

                                    2. Rutabaga puree subs for mashed potatoes, or sliced in gratins. Or, small white turnips, well drained or even celery root.

                                      Spaghetti squash, julienned eggplant noodles sauteed with a sauce you love (very meaty, high fiber and satisfying), or zucchini ribbons.

                                      For a true spaghetti sub, try Exas Explore Asian golden soybean noodles (amazon.com has them). Very high fiber and protein, don't budge my blood sugar post meal.

                                      If you can get to an Asian grocery, try buying dried tofu sheets in the fridge or freezer case and cut them into lasagna strips or other usage.

                                      I like La Tortilla factory low carb tortillas for wraps or pizzas.

                                      I would highly recommend ignoring "gluten free" labels, as the stuff is often even more glycemic than wheat and just as carby. Also, ignore claims that quinoa or any grain is a good source of protein or is slow to digest. Anyone testing their glucose post meal can tell you that's not so.

                                      Bump up the proteins and fats in your meals, and choose a variety of colorful, non starchy veggies to saute, steam, cook in gratins, roaste til carmelized and use as a side dish or omelet fillings, etc.

                                      Also, flourless chocolate cake recipes and cheesecake translate extremely well to low carb without loss of quality.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: mcf

                                        How do you prepare the veggie noodles to maximize texture/minimize the "wet"? That is the skill I need to acquire to finally sell these to my gluten eating & blood sugar stable hubby. I managed to get him happy with cauli rice, but it's not inherently AS wet.

                                        Do I salt and drain the cut up veg then cook? I never see technique addressed on the low carb sites, but I think it's so important.

                                        I love the eggplant idea!

                                        1. re: Vetter

                                          With the eggplant, I salt and drain on thick layers of paper towels first, then saute. You could do the same with zucchini ribbons, even minus the salt. Alternatively, you can squeeze them in a dish towel or paper towel.
                                          As to spaghetti squash, I just pierce it enough times so it never explodes all over my microwave (again!), then fork out the threads an blot on paper towels, but I think sauteeing then sauces could amp up their flavor. As long as they're not soggy, I'm happy.

                                          The original eggplant idea came from Alton Brown. His recipe was so bland, but the idea a hit. I'd already used it, dredged in carbalose flour, baked, as lasagna noodle subs, but this idea flies with my husband, not an eggplant lover at all.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            I make zucchini noodles all the time. I do thicker skinnier slices vs. thin, wider ribbons. If I have time I'll give them a quick salt and drain but if I don't have time they are fine just sauteed in a pan for a few minutes.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              yes, i think sauteeing in a pan to remove a lot of the liquid is key. i have a spiralizer and love making zucchini noodles. the thin style really is like pasta.

                                              1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                I agree, I might like it even more than pasta or at least I seem to want it way more than pasta.

                                      2. There's a really interesting special they air on PBS sometimes during pledge weeks called the Hunter-Farmer Diet (it's based on a book by the same name). It's about how recent research shows that some people have adapted well to a carb/grain-based diet and truly thrive on it, and some people just haven't and don't. (I tried to start a discussion thread about it a while back, but only got comments from people who had no knowledge of the program beyond my post and the Amazon synopsis.) Anyway, the information in that special really helped me to think differently about what a healthy diet is for me. I'd recommend taking a look at ithe show or the book if you can.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ninrn

                                          This is very interesting I have read this just recently. A good read . I do eat high fat / protein/ low carb. My body feels better eating this way.
                                          I just started adding back beans and legumes because I love them and they fill me up. And they don't make me feel bad like white flour products.
                                          Everybody is different and adding beans/ legumes or the occasional sweet potato might not work for everyone but for me it does.

                                        2. I'm a type 2 diabetic and am always looking to limit my carb intake. Nuts, nut butters & seeds are low carb but high in fat. Hard cooked eggs, deviled eggs, cured meats like bacon, salami, prosciutto, for me anyway, shut off my appetite. I also eat cottage cheese, ricotta, plain yogurt with berries, olives, canned tuna & sardines, pickles, gardinera. Like you I'm not a fan of substitutes like spaghetti squash for pasta or even whole wheat pasta which are all horrible, IMHO. I rather have the real thing or do without.I rarely eat pasta anymore and virtually no rice or potatoes.I do eat some high fiber whole wheat toast in the morning. Pizza I'll have once a month.Tonight,for dinner I have a sirloin steak in my cooker and I'll have sauteed asparagus and a half of a small sweet potato. I just eat more of the meat & asparagus and less of the starchy sweet potato. Watching your diet sucks but it's a necessary evil sometimes.

                                          1. Wow thank you guys for all of the suggestions. I will look into all of these things!

                                            1. I found this today at the Cuisinart Blog.

                                              http://www.cuisinart.com/blog/entry/1...
                                              Substituting starch with cauliflower

                                              The article gives a nice general overview of what people do with cauliflower to mimic potatoes and rice.

                                              18 Replies
                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                Cauliflower is nice and works well, but again you'll know it's nice rice or potatoes :) but still worth a try I guess

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  I know, but it seems that cauliflower works for some.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    Works for me. I just started experimenting a week or so ago and I'm hooked which is why it's worth a try. I'd rather have a plate of cauliflower over potatoes or rice probably 9/10.

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      Send us some recipes! I admit cauliflower as starch just leaves me cold. But a family member is using this and liking it. I need to be nudged, I guess.

                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        Here are a few

                                                        http://www.food.com/recipe/just-like-...

                                                        http://nomnompaleo.com/post/165759886...

                                                        http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2013/08/...

                                                        http://rachelschultz.com/2013/05/01/l...

                                                        http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2012/...

                                                        http://nomnompaleo.com/post/319509830...

                                                        http://www.everydaymaven.com/2013/how...

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          Thanks a bunch!

                                                          The mashed cauliflower would be good with roast chicken, no?

                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                            Absolutely, to soak up all the yummy juices. I like it with steak.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              It's great with meatloaf and gravy, as a topping for shepherd's pie, some folks make fried patties with it, or latkes, but I haven't. I tend to use zucchini.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                If I could find a meatloaf without breadcrumbs, I'd be in business :)

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  I use bran and almond flour. Husband likes it bready, I don't. But it's his fave, not mine, so I do it. Some folks use flax meal, not sure I'd like that. I've also used toasted low carb bread or whirred fiber rye crackers. Fran McCullough's low carb meat loaf is Atkins style, and uses only two Wasa crackers in a large meat loaf.

                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    I use crushed pork rinds for a meatloaf binder - works like a charm. I've also used breadcrumbs made from LC bread, but really, the pork rinds work beautifully.

                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                      Thanks, I imagine this might work for meatballs as well?

                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        Yes, I use them just about anywhere you might use breadcrumbs. Very useful!

                                                                      2. re: biondanonima

                                                                        I recommend this to non-low-carbers as well, because it makes for perfect meat loaf, imo.

                                                                      3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        Quick oats, or cooked rice or barley or bulgur.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          Those aren't substitutes, though, as asked for in the topic header.

                                                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  I just ran across a new cauli rice that looks splendid - can skip the raisins, obviously, but isn't this interesting? Bright spices, tartness, texture from cashews: http://food52.com/recipes/21165-spice...

                                                                  1. re: Vetter

                                                                    Wow, looks tasty. Thanks.

                                                      2. Have you cooked dried large lima beans? The canned version is sold as butter beans; they are NOT the smaller, green lima. Soaked and slightly overcooked, they have a texture and flavor that I defy anyone to tell from smashed cooked potatoes. Legumes are of course carbs, but they have more protein and fiber than potatoes, will will you up for longer, and do not spike cravings. I use the large limas for "fauxtato salad" - just use as you would cooked potatoes in your favorite version of potato salad. If you passed the beans through a food mill after cooking, to remove the skins, you could have a perfect impostor for mashed potatoes once you added some dairy and seasonings. I don't do that because I WANT the skins - they are also good fiber and I don't want to waste them.

                                                        I also recommend you search the Home Cooking board for threads on mujadara/mujadarra/mujadera. It's a filling vegetarian combo of mainly onion, lentils, and rice, that can be served hot, warm, or cool, as a main or side.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          The OP asked for "carb substitutes" and you've posed all carbs.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            I think a lot of people think whole grains and legumes are somehow low in carbs, when usually their carb count is even higher than for grain and bean products with the hulls removed. Maybe they're confusing carb content with glycemic index. I don't know.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              I acknowledged that IN MY POST. OP does not mention any factors like diabetes or metabolic syndrome, just wanting to avoid weight gain from a carb-heavy diet, and to get beyond a need for carbs to feel sated. OP does not appear interested in converting to the meat/fat-centric diet you repeatedly advocate. Hence the suggestions for legumes used as potato analogs. I am sure that you know that legumes and other high-fiber foods are filling without spiking blood sugar and cravings the way the typical
                                                              "white starch" foods do.

                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                I think your interpretation of OP's post is accurate. I interpreted it as wanting to reduce overall carbs but also wanting to eat more "from the earth," whole grain, slowly digesting, filling carbs.

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  I didn't get that from it at all!

                                                                  Not to mention the word "substitutes" in the topic header.
                                                                  :-)

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    And I asked for clarification about what poster had in mind, but received none. It is not surprising that people are confused by what poster really wants.

                                                                2. re: greygarious

                                                                  The OP asked for carb subs, though, particularly for breads and pastas.

                                                                  Then she described her aversion to lentils/legumes.

                                                                  She also mentioned feeling starved without them, which is something frequently triggered by eating starchy stuff when trying not to.

                                                                  Whether or not a person is diagnosed with metabolic issues, craving carbs when first limiting them is very typical and finding ways to eat more only makes that worse.

                                                                  For the record, there is no difference between the glucose spike I get from lentils and the one I get from white potato or white flour, much to my regret, because I always loved lentils.

                                                                  All color of starches do, too.

                                                                  In fact, what I know from regular blood glucose testing is that lentils, even in very small quanitites, spike my blood sugar all to hell. as do limas, cannelini and black beans. I can eat all the black soybeans I want because they are high in protein, fiber and fat.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    Hope this isn't going too far afield of the original topic, but I wonder, mcf, do you find you have any estrogen-related problems with black soy beans? I've only eaten them once and don't remember any backlash, but I can't tolerate any other soy any more, so I've avoided the black ones, too. If there's some difference in how they affect people hormonally I'd love to know about it.

                                                                    1. re: ninrn

                                                                      Nope, none. I know some folks with thyroid issues who feel immediately very bad if they eat soy.

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        Ah, so there's a thyroid connection. I figured it was the estrones, but this makes sense. Thanks so much.

                                                                        1. re: ninrn

                                                                          It is very often thyroid, but that doesn't mean it can't be another effect. Thyroid just the most commonly reported on.

                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                      One thing I noticed helped me to shift away from a grain-based diet to a veg and protein one was to include fermented foods. They seem to help with the digestion of meat and veg in such a way as to reduce cravings for starches and other easy-to-process foods. Even just a bit of fresh fruit and live culture yogurt first thing in the morning or last thing at night can give you the "pre-biotics" you need to digest better all through the day. I've found that things like sauerkraut are what work best for me.

                                                              2. When I need the comfort of chicken noodle soup, I find that egg drop soup works great. There is a low carb taco shell(4g.) made by La Tiarra. If I want a crunchy cookie, I've found some fortune cookies that only have 3gs. of carb.

                                                                1. I try to eat veggies, a protein, and fruit for breakfast. No or low carbs.

                                                                  I eat veggies with every meal. Usually fruit for lunch and breakfast, not so much at night.

                                                                  Look up George Stella; his mock potato salad and mock mashed potatoes are excellent. (made w/cauliflower)

                                                                  someone mentioned eating open faced sandwiches, which I do, AND I take the toppings off pizza and leave the crust behind.

                                                                  I drink hot broth before meals, and I just avoid the carbs I can live without; cornbread, rice, sweet potatoes (except for Thanksgiving), pasta ("most" of the time). Yes, I've been known to eat pasta sacue over french green beans.

                                                                  I tell you all this because you really have to find out what works best for you.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                    Just wondering how this fits into the discussion "I drink hot broth before meals." I also love to drink broth but I'm missing the connection.

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      Drinking the hot broth helps satiety? Just a guess.

                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        For weight loss, some folks like to get a feeling of fullness before eating?

                                                                        I don't get how fruit and veggies equals "No or low carbs."

                                                                    2. Another idea I just remembered while making my lunch for tomorrow - zucchini "butter." It's not a substitute for any carb really but more of a way to add some volume to a meal. It's super easy to make and you can season it with any number of different seasonings. I, then, serve it over chicken or steak.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        I cannot picture what zucchini butter is.

                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                          Sorry, I have no idea why it's called that, it's more like zucchini spread. http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-jenni...

                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                            I googled it, and it looks great - just what I needed.

                                                                        2. I've tried to cut back on my carbs too. If you're not used to eating large quantities of veggies/protein (because previously you were tucking into the carbs instead) it can cause digestion issues. Try easing into it rather than jumping in. For pasta, my favorite subs has been vermicelli noodles (made from beans) and tofu shirataki noodles (made from soy and yams). The tofu noodles are the best. They come in different shapes just like the real stuff. For rice I like steamed/mashed cauliflower. It picks up all kinds of flavors easily just like regular white rice. Beans are also very filling. There's all kinds and lots of recipes so keep trying them. My fav is Greek style gigante beans. I can eat just them for a light meal and be happy. Sweet potatoes are better for you than regular ones so maybe you can make that switch. For bread though, honestly, you're just sunk. Low carb commercial breads taste like saw dust to me. I would suggest you just have some once in a while as a treat and skip the rest.

                                                                          1. Here is my recipe for onion rings with no flour or breadcrumbs: Dredge onion rings in water chestnut flour (from a Chinese grocery), then egg wash, then finely chopped almonds. Fry as usual. Also, as a sub for crackers with cheese spread or whatever, pork rinds for the crunch.

                                                                            1. Shirataki noodles. I tried these noodles probably more than 5 years ago and wasn't really into them but recently I've revisited them and actually really enjoy them. They are great tossed into soup. I don't really like them used exactly as pasta with sauce poured over but are good in stir fry. They might be worth a try.

                                                                              1. I am going to recommend that you eliminate one carb portion a day. I think since you are young, that would probably be enough for now. If you are having baked potatoes, don't have bread or dessert or fruit. If you are having pasta, again don't have bread or dessert. You really don't have to have carbs at either breakfast or lunch. You could eat a microwaved poached egg for breakfast and a salad + protein for lunch. You could then indulge with a carb portion at supper.

                                                                                Those of us who do hard core low carbing are more likely to want to sub stuff for the carbs we cannot have. But if you simply want to diminish the number of carbs you eat, leave them out of a meal every day, or limit them when you do eat them.

                                                                                1. I have found this trick helpful. It is silly, but I am easily fooled.Take one slice of a substantial whole wheat bread, a low-carb bread if you can find it, and "butter" it with horseradish and lay it on a large dinner plate. On it lay one thin slice of deli roast beef. Then on top of that put a huge amount of mixed green salad, whatever mixture you like, and sprinkle it with whatever dressing you use. The trick is that you then eat a meal that is mainly green salad on a dinner plate with a knife and fork so that with every big bite of salad you get a teensy bit of the bread and meat and the whole effect is that you are eating a whole meal instead of just a salad.

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                    I did that with a BLT sandwich, and it worked pretty well. Bacon didn't cut as well as deli roast beef would have, but I had all the flavors very heavy on the "L" I put the tomato on top for color.

                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                      I just had a sandwich made with a single slice of diet rye bread and a lot of roast beef with a really sharp horseradish aioli and romaine lettuce.

                                                                                      I limit bread, not protein or fat. I do tend to eat meals with huge salads or veggie servings, but they always have substantial protein and fat, too.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        I like Trader Joe's sprouted rye bread. It's a small piece but is only 7g carbs and has 5g of protein. If I have bread, it's what I use. And, like you, I always have a good bit of spinach salad and/or a roasted vegetable. That little piece of bread is enough to satisfy me... and I do really like the bread. It has good texture and a nuttiness that appeals to me.

                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                          Is that net or total carbs? I've never had luck bg wise with their other breads, but don't know if I've ever tried rye.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            It's total carbs. Sprouted grains are very gentle to my bg. The sprouted grain breads have a great texture, chewy and satisfying. I'm a fan. And I think the protein/carb balance helps too. I don't eat much bread but these are my go to.

                                                                                            Still haven't found the Ryvita. I've checked WF, Earthfare, Trader Joes and our local grocery stores. I'm not giving up though. ;)

                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                              I liked the texture years ago when I tried them, but not the spike. Those were Ezekial and probably had some wheat, too, which is always a spiker out of all proportion to grams.

                                                                                              I thought your sister was bringing Ryvita Crunch?!

                                                                                              Don't forget amazon or iherb. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                I check the ingredients - it contains both sprouted rye and wheat so it might not be good for you if you had issues before. :(

                                                                                                I forgot to ask my sister. :(

                                                                                                I only found large quantities on Amazon. I want to try them before I commit to a box of 10 packages. I"ll check out iherb . Thanks again!

                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                  I posted upthread, I think it was iherb.com that doesn't make you buy a lot: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9658...

                                                                                              2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                Yay for sprouted grains ... they're better for you.

                                                                                                Look --> http://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/p...

                                                                                        2. re: Querencia

                                                                                          I love your trick! I just located a new reduced carb bread that has larger slices than the bread I use most often. I bought a loaf thinking about sandwiches. I could use a slice of that for a "sandwich." If I made a BLT, I could fry up small pieces of bacon for me, instead of a entire slices. And I could have a BLT (my fave sandwich) using sliced cherry tomatoes instead of those unripe tomatoes I find this season.

                                                                                          I also think this would make a good Reuben, although I don't have a source for reduced carb rye.

                                                                                          Many thanks for the tip.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            Weight Watchers makes one, and if you can find it, Arnold make a melba thin rye.