It’s not Christmas without a Peppermint Mocha!

Back in May, my husband and I went on a low carb diet to lose weight.

I had zero expectations that we were going to be able to stick to it because… bread. And pasta. And potatoes. And even healthier carbs like black beans and oranges. So we committed for three months.

We had good results and – surprise, surprise! – we did stick to it. Both of us lost weight. And it had an unexpected side effect for me in that it has stabilized my blood sugar. I’ve been hypoglycemic since I was a teenager so it’s felt weird to not have my body take a nosedive if I miss a meal. So we decided to stay on the diet.

I have had a few temptations – yes, those sweet potato fries were really calling my name – but I’ve done pretty well staying on the path, just finding substitutes that are legal and focusing on the things I can have, like real butter on my broccoli. Even at Thanksgiving.

But I hit a serious road bump after Thanksgiving when the Christmas season hit full force. I realized – gulp! – I couldn’t have a peppermint mocha. PMs are what makes the snow and the crowds and the stress of the holidays possible for me without throat punching someone.

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I tried to find a way to still have one but even with almond milk from Starbucks, it was still too many carbs because the almond milk is sweetened. I’ve not had great results with trying hacks at the counter (one person used so much heavy cream that I couldn’t even drink it) and our Starbucks doesn’t have sugar-free mocha or peppermint. And most of the homemade recipes I’ve tried have been just meh. I started to think I would literally have to buy an espresso machine and make them at home, which really wasn’t going to happen because my husband already frowns on my coffee addiction.

To make me even more cranky, not one but two people brought into the office chocolate covered pretzels, which are my favorite – sweet and salty. And I never make them because at my house, I’d be the only one eating them. So in the past, I’ve lived for the moments when I get a chance to have them in doses. But this year, I can’t.  I’ve just had to gaze at them longingly and have one of my coworkers point out that one batch also has a toffee coating. Thanks, Mark.

So I was resigned to spending Christmas in purgatory.

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But my rescuer came from an unlikely place.

I am not a big Walmart fan, especially around Christmas. I will pay a few dollars more or drive out of my way to go somewhere else if I can. But last week, I couldn’t. I live in a small town and I needed a few things that I could only find there. So I sucked it up, went in early and decided while I was there to finish my Christmas shopping. Walmart is also the only place in town that carries the coffee my mom likes so I decided to get some for her Christmas stocking – sshh! Don’t tell – and lo and behold, sitting on the shelf were Great Value Peppermint Mocha coffee pods. On sale. I almost didn’t buy them, sure they would disappoint. I checked the box. No sugar so no carbs. Just like regular coffee. So, still skeptical, I bought a box.

The next day, I tried it out. The fact I use real cream in my coffee, combined with the hints of peppermint and chocolate, did the trick. I even topped it with a little whipped cream. Tasted just like Christmas! So I’ve had one every afternoon this week at work and my holiday mood did a complete 180. Sometimes, it really is the little things that make us happy.

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Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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