There comes a time in every low-carb life when burn out hits. A moment when it’s not just about splurging on sweets or pasta, which we need to do here and there, but more about lacking general inspiration. A sort of low-carb malaise settles in, and we feel like we’ve run out of things to eat. The groceries we’ve just bought seem totally unappealing. The idea of mixing it up seems annoyingly involved. You might think, how much more inventive can I possibly be? You don’t want to have to even think about your diet anymore.
Based on my experiences with ruts—and by the way, almost everyone falls into one (low-carb or not) at least once in a while—what I’ve found to be useful is to take a break from cooking. One way out of this is to invite yourself over to your pal’s place for dinner. The change of scenery and cooking style, and not having responsibility of cooking is refreshing and you get to focus on your friend, which is far more interesting than your rut. Ordering in, if it’s an option, is another great way to get out of the kitchen. A few ruts ago, the only thing I wanted to eat was Chinese food, but not my Chinese food, and I had some tofu, shrimp and vegetables delivered, sauces and sugary Hoisin on the side so I could take a few small dips and leave it at that. It was a cloud nine experience and, like eating at a friend’s, made me feel like someone besides me was taking care of me. Other times I’ve been in the fortunate possession of low-carb sweets, which tend to be rich, and have slowly enjoyed these on the following two mornings with my coffee, rather than reverting to my usual breakfast, a surefire way to get out of my breakfast rut. Soon enough I’m ready to go back to my veggie omelet.
The other thing you can do to get caloric energy until you’re inspired to cook again is to eat just one, basic thing. For example, there are days where I’ve eaten only handfuls, cupfuls or spoonfuls of olives, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, an avocado, cheese, almond milk—as my “meal.” I’m not referring to the mindless grazing we’ve all been warned about. I just mean sitting down to a few items that can easily be kept in stock and don’t require forethought and preparation. You can even put them in little bowls as if they were delicacies. During my last low-carb rut, I ate shirataki noodles with pesto sauce for two days. It was the only thing I had a taste for and the noodles can be heated in one minute via microwave or even warmed by running hot water over them. It’s certainly not a nutritionally balanced approach for the long run but while you’re in a pickle, why not just eat some? You’re essentially tiding yourself over until you’re ready to get back into that kitchen.