I was a high-carb eater for the majority of my life — I grew up eating rice, bread, and other highly refined carbs. I also loved anything sweet, including sugary fruit drinks, cinnamon rolls, and white chocolate.
In college, I started getting symptoms of what I now know is reactive hypoglycemia. If I didn’t eat every two or three hours, I would start feeling shaky and sweaty. Nobody commented on my unhealthy diet or encouraged me to eat healthier because I have always been thin; people assumed that I was healthy because I was skinny.
It wasn’t until after I started this website that I began to question what I was eating and how it was affecting my body. As a recipe developer, I wanted to know if my recipes were healthy or not. To learn about nutrition, I started reading scientific journal papers. It was a gradual learning process driven by curiosity; there weren’t any serious or urgent health issues that prompted it.
The decision to pursue a low carb lifestyle wasn’t easy — I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to devote a lot of effort to. I asked myself why I was adopting a restrictive way of eating when I didn’t have to. Ultimately, I decided that a low carb lifestyle would allow me to live the best life I could, and that was important enough to me.
The first thing I did was have long discussions with Mr. Savory Tooth to learn what he knew about nutrition, and that’s how I first heard about the ketogenic diet and ketosis.
The second thing I did was read The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I found the book to be mind-blowing, and I was so excited about the things I was learning that I would take long notes while reading the book. Every evening, I would use my notes to talk to Mr. Savory Tooth about what I read, and we would dissect everything together and come to our own conclusions based on the scientific findings presented in the book.
This led me to the decision to try carb restriction. Mr. Savory Tooth and I decided to jump head first into a strict keto diet by consuming less than 20 g of net carbs per day. The transition wasn’t seamless — my body wasn’t adapted to primarily burn fat and I felt fatigued and sluggish for the first week. What really helped was making sure that I was drinking enough water and watching my electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, and potassium intake). After the initial 2 weeks, I felt normal again.
I felt great knowing that I was eating healthy and treating my body well. I no longer had hypoglycemia crashes. Another benefit that I hadn’t even considered before was dental health. I have soft teeth and they’ve been plagued by tooth decay all of my life. I have had countless dental fillings and crowns over the years. It’s good to know that by reducing carbs, I’m no longer feeding the bacteria in my mouth that causes tooth decay. I’ve also noticed other benefits like clearer vision, mental clarity, fewer headaches, better digestion (significantly less gas), less stomach bloating, stable blood glucose levels, and no longer “hangry” all the time.
Like many others, I thought that a low carb diet would be very restrictive in terms of what I could make and eat. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. There are so many delicious foods that are low in carbs, and it’s easy to convert most high carb recipes to low carb versions. You can probably find a homemade recipe for nearly any high carb craving that you have, whether it be bagels, cookies, or cheesecake bars. Going low carb has fueled my creativity on the site, and Mr. Savory Tooth and I have been having fun creating low carb versions of our favorite foods.
After experimenting with this way of eating for 4 years, I have started settling into a good rhythm. My diet is “low carb, sometimes keto” — I am not on a strict 20g/day keto diet, but I eat low glycemic foods by either reducing carbs or buffering my meals with protein and fat. I try not to be too restrictive with my diet because I can become easily obsessed with numbers and tracking, leading to disordered eating behaviors. For me, the most sustainable diet in the long-term is one where I’m allowed to eat what I wish while being mindful of what is healthy for my body.