LA has a fascinating relationship with carbs. Restaurants like Lodge Bread and Bread Lounge are typically packed with Angelenos during the weekend and yet those same customers are glued to salads from Monday-Friday. It’s understandable, eaters feel like in order to enjoy a monster cinnamon bun on the weekend, you’ve got to earn it during the week. And therein lines the challenge with maintaining a low carb diet. But something to keep in mind while you dream of a deep dish Masa pie are some of the health benefits you can get from restricting carbs.
A low-carb diet has many noteworthy benefits, regardless of how loosely you want your jeans to fit. It has been known to help reduce risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, can provide mental clarity, sustained energy, and helps reset insulin sensitivity and hormone levels.
HOW? TALK TO ME ABOUT CARBS VS FAT FOR ENERGY
The short story is that our bodies use the carbs we eat for quick and easy energy. However, it’s when we give our body excess amounts of them when things can go sideways.
Our bodies break down carbs into sugar during digestion, that sugar then gets absorbed into the bloodstream as glucose, which spikes blood sugar, which then triggers an insulin release to help regulate that spike.
While insulin does help glucose enter the body’s cells to be used for all activities from breathing to running, it also means that the body continues to rely on the endless amount of carbs for energy, rather than pulling from the stores of fat waiting in the wings. Has our fat saying, “Put me in the game, coach!”. By limiting carb intake, the goal is to minimize the spikes in insulin levels and use stored fat as energy vs sugar.
While a low-carb diet does require cutting back on sugar in things like pastries, ice cream, processed foods, and pasta or bread, it certainly doesn’t mean your eats have to be boring! There are so many delicious options for low-carb meals that you can either make at home, have delivered, or pick up on the go.
DAY IN THE LIFE: THINGS TO DO AND EAT IN LA WHILE LOW CARB-ING
For fun’s sake, we’ll make our “day in the life” fall on a weekend.
In the morning, a breakfast of eggs and veggies is ideal to fuel you for adventures. If you didn’t have time to make it out to the grocery store during the week, and don’t feel like waiting in an endless brunch line somewhere in the city, Territory offers up some pretty incredible pre-made meals made by local LA chefs using sustainably sourced ingredients.
One of my low-carb favorites is the Scrambled Eggs with Bacon Cauliflower Hash and Chipotle Salsa. You’ll get all the protein, healthy fat and flavor, without the added carbs. Just be sure to order ahead of time from their Low-carb menu so your meals can come straight to your door first thing Thursday morning. They’ll still be fresh for the weekend!
A trip out to The Getty Museum in Bel Air is the perfect weekend activity, rain or shine. Just be sure to leave as early as possible, traffic can get pretty gnarly. Spend a couple of hours touring the exhibits, the building itself (it’s massive) and the grounds if you can. The views are stunning, so fingers crossed that LA Marine Layer will have burned off by the time you arrive!
Since you’re already on the west side, I recommend a visit to True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica. They have some amazing salads like the Mediterranean Quinoa or Good Earth Kale Cobb. If you’re feeling something more substantial, their inside out Quinoa Burger or traditional Grass-Fed Burger are both delicious, just go bun-less. Any of their side options are great, and you won’t even see french fries on that menu, so the temptation won’t even exist!
After you wrap up lunch, keep the fun on the west side rolling with some shopping on the 3rd Street Promenade (where True Food Kitchen is located), a stroll down Abbott Kinney in Venice, a pitstop at the Venice Canals (your Instagram feed will be poppin’), or even a few hours chilling on the beach.
Your shopping, strolling, or beach chilling may have worked up an appetite – now’s about the time to dig into your snack stash. Some easy but tasty low-carb options are mixed nuts, veggies and hummus, or kale chips. To pair with your afternoon-pick-me-up, treat yourself to a coffee of your dreams at Intelligentsia – one of my favorite spots on Abbott Kinney.
By the time 4pm rolls around, you’ll want to get moving – that LA traffic life does not mess around! After a full day out and about, it’s likely your sweatpants, couch, and Netflix are calling.
There’s nothing better than having dinner ready and waiting for you in the fridge, so having some Territory low-carb meals on hand make things easy breezy. The Tuna Niçoise Salad with Herb Vinaigrette is perfect for something on the lighter side, and the Steak and Green Beans with Sweet-Potato Parsnip Purée & Béarnaise is a must for when those comfort-food cravings kick in.
Territory meals are co-created with a crew of nutrition advisors and local chefs who build their meals from an anti-inflammatory foundation. You can feel confident that their food is going to be packed with the good, nutrient-dense ingredients and will never contain any gluten, dairy or refined sugars.
Two other reasons I love Territory – they deliver on both Monday and Thursday mornings so my meals arrive super fresh. And, for any commitment phoebes out there – while Territory does offer a subscription-based service, you can always order for one week at a time if you want to test drive the low-carb options before committing to a weekly order.
While having a Territory meal is more cost-effective for the quality of the food you’re getting, takeout or on-demand delivery on the weekend is always fun! There’s a new spot in town called Cauliflower Pizza (more towards the east side) that can easily cater to a low-carb diet. Or, if there’s a Tender Greens near you, order one of their Plate options – choose a protein and two sides. Their mashed potatoes may be tempting, but stick to a side salad and veggies.
And there you have it: a quintessential LA day that won’t compromise your health goals. Chances are, you’ll be around other Los Angelenos who are also watching their carb intake, so it’ll make things even easier. Intentional eating is always better with accountability partners!
Drop us a comment and tell us your favorite low-carb meal in LA!
Jordan is a NY transplant living in Los Angeles, an entrepreneur, social media consultant, and healthy living blogger. She’s also a former professional dancer and is passionate about making fitness and wellness accessible to all people, even those on a budget. Find her at dancingfordonuts.com or @dancing.for.donuts on Instagram.