For me, going on a full carb-less diet is like telling a mouse to quit cheese cold Colby — it’s just not gonna happen for this guy.
But I am cutting back on the carbs in any way possible. And that includes attempting… DUN DUN DUNNNNNN… trying out the lettuce wrap.
Here’s the thing: I love bread. When I started this project, I admitted my addiction to pastries (Side Note: It’s been THREE WHOLE WEEKS since having a pastry! Not a single one!). But, I also have a thing for all carbs — bread, crackers, hot rolls in cute baskets at dinner tables — it’s my weakness and always has been. I always go for healthier options, though — I eat whole-wheat bread (with wheat-based flour, none of that enriched stuff!), organic Kashi crackers, and wheat tortilla wraps, but I’ve never gone full-on elimination when it comes to eating classic bread-friendly dishes sans the carb.
But this is a perfect time for a challenge, right?
So I started simple and made a Thai turkey-meat lettuce wrap (right) as my gateway in to a more carb-less lifestyle. It was my first attempt at the recipe and the pictures actually do it justice — it was a gorgeous and tasty dinner. And, wait for it, I didn’t once miss a tortilla or any sort of bread! (If you want the recipe, let me know — I’d love to share it!)
Okay, here I am eating lettuce wraps. This is a pretty big deal, guys. But the stakes were about to get higher. Could I eat a hamburger wrapped in a piece of lettuce?
Here’s the deal: I don’t understand a lot of things in this world — “The Jersey Shore,” decaf coffee, bubble-less baths — but eating a hamburger wrapped in a piece of lettuce just seems so wrong. And, the weirder thing is it’s like, a normal thing at fast-food joints in Los Angeles. You can get pretty much anything wrapped in a piece of lettuce (My Chicagoan friends are rolling their eyes right now!). I get the health benefits, but why even eat a hamburger if you’re not going to enjoy it for how it was designed? (See: my confusion with decaf coffee.) But now that I’m in this new mode of life, I decided I was going to give the All-American dish a healthy attempt and ordered my very first burger wrapped in greens (IN PUBLIC! At a well known burger joint!).
Sitting at our table, I looked around at other diners’ plates — every one was enjoying succulent burgers on over-sized doughy buns. It was instant temptation: “Maybe I’ll try the lettuce situation next time,” I kept saying to myself as I salivated over the menu. But it was now or never.
The waiter approached and offered the specials, but all I could think of was how it was going to go down when I sad the “L” word during my order — lettuce wrap?!! Was there going to be a sudden screech of a record somewhere? Were they going to throw me out? This is LA for gosh sakes, they have to understand — right?!
As it became my turn to order, I instantly blurted it out, “I want a lettuce wrap!” The waiter looked at me weird, but that’s because I didn’t tell him the kind of burger I wanted. My partner shook his head and laughed at my awkwardness… but it was done. I had just ordered my first lettuce wrapped burger.
…Annnd it tasted… um, okay (what, you thought I was going to be an instant changed man?!). I mean, it was a burger wrapped in lettuce not a brownie sundae!
But what I’m learning is that picking and choosing our battles in dieting and life style changes is key. There will be some things that I will not give up, but I can learn to adjust! I’ve cut way back on other carb intake and switched to vegetable options for many sides. Sometimes I’m going to splurge and order fries or sandwiches on bread. If that means I have to cut back somewhere else that day, I will. If that means I have to run/walk/jog/hike/jumping-jack like a crazy guy to snag my quality carb moment, I will.
But my official lesson for the week: burgers are made to be on buns. Pass it on.