By Jodi Zulueta

It seems like I have been struggling with weight-loss forever.  Before I had my first child, I was able to eat whatever, whenever, however, (WHYever?). Now I’m a forty-something mother of four and I got frustrated over weighing more than I did when I was nine months pregnant, so I decided to go low carb. My main struggle with this decision was “how do I do a low carb diet while still feeding my family what they need?”


Jodi Zulueta with her three youngest children

Apart from our four kids to raise, I work days, run a jewelry design business on the side, I’m on the board of a cooperative gallery, I paint, and my husband works nights – time to plan meals? Um, yeah, sure. I had pizza and Chinese food on speed dial before I became a premium member of Julie Anne Rhodes’ website and her Personal Chef Approach™ (PCA™). The weekly menu plan means I don’t have to think about planning healthy dinners – I just print, shop and cook. I didn’t want to lose the convenience, time, and money it saves me, so I posted my dilemma in the premium members online community. “What do I do when the menu plan contains pasta, breadcrumbs, sugar, flour – all the things I can’t eat on my low carb diet plan?

It turns out with a little creativity, I can still cook directly from the menu plan for my husband and kids while at the same time, with a few tweaks here and there for myself, it still falls into place beautifully for me too. I’ve even expanded my cooking skills beyond what I thought was possible!

Penne & Zucchini Arrabiata

Penne & Zucchini Arrabiata

For example, penne and zucchini arrabiata was on the menu the other day. Penne? On low carb? Pasta is my downfall (along with rice, bread, STARCHES, etc.). So what did I eat while my family enjoyed this insanely yummy pasta dish?  While the pasta was cooking,  I took a whole zucchini, sliced it thinly into ribbons, sautéed it a couple of minutes in olive oil, and voila, the bed for the sauce (which I had doubled, because I froze the rest for later enjoyment). I didn’t miss the pasta one bit, I was fully satiated, and I felt great.

Another favorite of Jewels’ versatile recipes, is the maple glazed Brussels sprouts and pancetta hash. The recipe calls for maple syrup. I found a sugar-free maple syrup, used that, and the dish tasted just as good as I remember eating it with the regular syrup. Sugar-free maple syrup is something I also use in recipes which call for molasses too, like her molasses marinated flank grilled steak (another big hit here).

Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Hash

Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Hash

For recipes which call for flour – I either eliminate it altogether (thanks to the advice I got in the “cyber living room” forum from Julie Anne and the other great folks hanging out in there), or, if I absolutely need to include it, I found an Atkins version. While this is very pricey, it’s worth it because the bag lasts a long time. I only use tiny amounts when I need to use it at all.

Recipes which call for panko breadcrumbs –  for example, Jewel’s Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders – I use shredded Parmesan cheese.  In this case I doubled the amount of cheese to compensate for the lack of breadcrumbs. And you know what?  My kids loved them!

Jodi Zulueta

Guest blogger Jodi Zulueta

So my low carb journey has not only benefited me health-wise because I’m now making smarter choices by increasing my vegetable intake (using them to substitute for starches). As a result of this change, I’m far more active, sleep better, and I’m in much better physical condition than I’ve ever been.  

Yesterday I ran 1.35 miles for the first time!  Six weeks earlier I couldn’t run half a block without feeling like I was going to hyperventilate.

I wouldn’t have been able to do this without premium membership. The weekly menu plans, the recipe library, and the forum have made my low carb journey not only tolerable, but a solid lifestyle change I can manage thanks to a little finesse and the Personal Chef Approach™.

Julie Anne Rhodes

Hi - Jewels here now...

I can’t thank Jodi Zulueta enough for writing this blog post, because it is the perfect illustration of how adaptable the Personal Chef Approach™ truly is for all different types of dietary needs, even within the same household. Not sure how to make the needed adjustments? Just ask in the forum for help. BTW, spaghetti squash is another great low carb substitute for pasta Jodi, and congratulations on getting so healthy and fit!

Jodi’s words inspired me to make this new dish today, but first – I’m interested in knowing (in the comment section below) what recipe adaptations have YOU made to fit your own personal preferences or special diets? Also, feel free to ask any questions you may have about premium membership to my website.

Fusion Chicken with Grilled Vegetables

Fusion Chicken with Grilled Vegetables

This marinade will definitely shake you out of any dinnertime boredom, with your taste buds firing on all cylinders. The addition of smokey grilled vegetables just adds to the fiesta in color, flavor, and texture. You could even round it out nicely with some of my cauliflower mash – with or without the chipotle peppers. Please sign-up here for FREE membership to view all of the above recipes (if you are not already a member). If you’re on a low carb diet like Jodi, either omit the brown sugar or use a sugar substitute.

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