Carolyn Ketchum is the writer and recipe developer behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low-carb and gluten-free food blog with a deeply relatable title. After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her third pregnancy, Ketchum had to start watching her carb intake. But that didn’t stop her passion for baking and cooking.
Whether you’re already low-carb or want to start, Ketchum knows a thing or two about making it your lifestyle. From dreaming about food to prepping the perfect pantry, Ketchum shares her favorite recipes and advice for making low-carb easy for women and men alike.
What was the catalyst for your journey with a low-carb diet?
I had gestational diabetes with my third child and although I was fit and healthy, it didn’t resolve after she was born. I chose to go low-carb to manage my blood sugars without the use of insulin or other medications.
What is a low-carb diet?
That depends. I now follow a keto diet, which is very low in carbs and causes your body to use fat for fuel rather than glucose. Eating very few carbs puts you in ketosis, meaning your body creates ketones for fuel. Some low-carb diets aren’t as low-carb as mine is, and there is quite a wide range of low-carb diets.
Why is a low carb diet beneficial?
It’s my firm belief that our bodies weren’t meant to consume the huge amount of carbohydrates that the current American diet usually contains. We should be mostly meat and vegetable eaters, like our ancestors, and we’ve strayed very far from that in the past hundred years. A keto or low-carb diet can help a lot of people with a lot of different conditions, not just weight loss. In my case, it keeps me well within normal glucose levels, but many people with conditions like Hashimoto's disease, PCOS, and inflammation find that a keto or low-carb diet helps them tremendously.
Are there differences in the approach to a low-carb diet for men versus women?
Yes, I do believe there are. Age and activity level also matter. I think men can consume much higher levels of fat and protein and not gain weight, but some women find that they still have to be calorie-conscious. Really, you have to take all of the “keto diet” advice and tweak it to suit your own lifestyle. I’m more active than many people and can consume a higher level of protein.
Are the results going to be different for men versus women?
Not really, if you find the right approach for you. Most people, male or female, find great success on keto or low-carb diets, either for weight loss or for managing some other health issue.
For someone who is new to low-carb, where should they start?
My suggestion would be to seek out some really good, well-respected recipes and follow them to the letter. Learning to cook or bake low-carb is tricky because you are using so many new ingredients. Almond flour and coconut flour do not behave at all like wheat flour, and you will find yourself sorely disappointed if you try to just sub them in one of your old conventional recipes. I highly recommend my cookbook, “The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen,” as a good place to start.
What are your go-to low-carb recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
I love any one of my keto muffin recipes for breakfast. I have tons, but right now, my Keto Coffee Cake Muffins are taking the low-carb world by storm. For lunch, I'm usually having leftovers from dinner the night before. And my Easy Taco Pie is a favorite dinner recipe for both adults and kids!
Favorite low-carb snacks?
I am currently obsessed with macadamia nuts. When I’m out and about and hunger strikes, I grab a fistful of macadamias for a quick energy snack. I love the Royal Hawaiian Sea Salt variety! And you can't go wrong with Whisps Cheese Crisps. The Asiago & Pepper Jack flavor is a great spicy snack.
What do you love most about Thrive Market?
Such a great selection of my favorite ingredients at great prices. And I love that they offer free memberships to people who can’t afford them. I feel like my money is doing double the work...good stuff for me and for other people.
What are your favorite products that you always order, and how do you use them?
Love love love the Thrive Market brand smooth peanut butter. It’s become my favorite natural peanut butter to use. The Thrive Market coconut oil is great, too. But I don’t just stick with the food—I also like some of the natural beauty products, like the Acure line.