Low Calorie & Zero Carb Pasta Does Exist (Sort of)

Pasta can be a very filling and tasty meal to have. But, the pasta itself is high in carbs and calories. For example, angle hair pasta (my favorite) has 200 calories per serving.

Fortunately, there are substitutes for pasta that taste almost exactly like pasta. For example, Costco sells Healthy Noodles. On the box, there’s a recipe for Italian Marinara using these healthy noodles. The noodles are precooked and each box contains 6 packs.

Nutrition-wise, they only contain 30 calories per serving. Plus, it’s got zero carbs because all of the carbs are from fiber which doesn’t get digested by the body and simply passes through. This is ideal if you are on the Keto diet.

Preparation is very easy. Just rinse the noodles and use them since they’re precooked. I tried this out with Rao’s marinara sauce and surprisingly, it tasted about 90% the same as regular pasta. I still prefer the taste of regular pasta, but for the calories saved by using Healthy Noodles, it’s worth the small difference in taste.

You can also try Shirataki Noodles by Miracle Noodle. They sell an angel hair style noodle containing only 5 calories per serving. No wonder it’s called Miracle Noodle!

UPDATE: I actually tried making pasta with Miracle Noodle Angel Hair style noodles. The shape wasn’t like angle hair pasta at all but more like spaghetti. More importantly, the texture wasn’t particularly good. It was too sticky. I think the Healthy Noodle option above tastes better.

You can also Nasoya Pasta Zero spaghetti but like the Miracle Noodle Angel Hair style noodles, I didn’t care for the texture which tasted like rubber.

Istanbul Food Experience

In October 2021, I visited Istanbul, Turkey to indulge in Turkish food. Below are some of the places I visited with my personal rating of how good each food tasted on a scale of 1 to 10. Some of the restaurants we visited were highly rated by others but we found them to be not as good as some unknown, hole-in-the-wall places. You can find the same type of food all over Istanbul as there are restaurants and street vendors everywhere. But, the pictures on display can be deceiving as the taste can vary greatly from one place to another.

Cağ Kebap

Şehzade Cağ Kebap
Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Google Map

Rating: 9

This place specializes in Cağ Kebap. The cost for 2 skewers and lavash bread is TL 34 (US$ 3.83). The meat was especially good. Unlike traditional doner kabab on a vertical spit, this one is on a horizontal spit.


Tatlıcı Safa
Hobyar, Hamidiye Cd. 2/A, 34112 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Open everyday, 8:30AM–12:30AM
Google Map

Rating: 7

This place specializes in Baklava. I found their to be just okay. Definitely not as good as Karaköy Güllüoğlu. The triangular baklava costs 17 TL ($1.85) and the square baklavas costs 14 TL ($1.53).

Karaköy Güllüoğlu
Kemankeş Cad. Katlı Otopark Altı No: 3-4, 34425 Beyoğlu, Turkey
Open everyday 7AM–1AM
Google Map

Rating: 10

This place is well known as one of the best, if not the best, baklava restaurant in Istanbul. They only have one location in Istanbul, unlike Hafiz Mustafa, which is everywhere. Karaköy Güllüoğlu does have really good Baklava BUT their ordering process is chaotic.

For to-go orders, you can order first and they charge by weight. The problem is they are so busy that it’s hard to tell them which type of baklava you want because there’s so many people in your way. For to-go orders, they will shrink wrap the boxes or aluminum containers with plastic so nothing leaks.

For dine-in orders, you have to pay first. The problem is they will charge you for whatever items you ask for regardless of whether any of the items are still available. I ordered a few different types of baklava and paid for them but when I gave my receipt to the workers behind the counter, they said that they ran out of a few things I paid for and had to substitute them with other things.

For one of the best baklava shops in Istanbul, they really need to do a better job with their ordering process. Maybe have a numbering system where you take a number and just wait to be called rather than have people walking all over the place looking confused. The ordering process was so lame that I didn’t even want to eat there so we just ordered to go and ate at the hotel. The baklava is really good though so we had to buy a bunch to bring back home.

Kofte (Turkish Meatballs)

Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi Selim Usta
Alemdar, Divan Yolu Cd. No:12, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Open every day, 10:30AM–11PM
Google Map

One food guide recommended this place which is located across the street from Sultanahmet Square. It’s supposed to specialize in Kofte (Turkish meatballs) as the name of the restaurant has the word “Kofte” in it. Ironically, the Kofte was just okay. Instead, the shish kabab was actually pretty good and tender.

Kofte Rating: 5
Shish Kabab Rating: 8

Left: grilled Kofte. Right: Shish kabab

Shisha and Sahlab

There’s this cafe directly in front of the hotel we stayed at (The Mercure Istanbul Sirkeci). Among other things, they offer shisha (hookah) and sahlab / sahlep. Both were exceptional.

Shisha Rating: 10
Sahlab Rating: 10

Pide (Turkish Pizza)

Guvenc Konyali
Ankara Cad, Hocapaşa Hamamı Sk. No: 4, 34110 Fatih, Turkey
Open everyday, 8:30AM–9PM
Google Map

Pide Rating: 7

One food guide recommended this place for its pide. Unfortunately, I found it to be just okay.

Mavi Halic Pidecisi
Sarıdemir, Kutucular Cd. No:28, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Open everyday: 8 AM to 6:30 PM
Google Map

Pide Rating: 10

This place is located in a small alleyway full of shops in what looks like an ancient marketplace. This time I ordered the pide (Turkish pizza) with eggs on top. The eggs were cooked just how I like them – somewhat runny. The entire pide including the eggs was very good.

Menemen (Turkish Egg Scramble)

Lades Menemen
Katip Mustafa Çelebi, Mahallesi, Sadri Alışık Sk. 11/12 11/12 11 D:12, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Open everyday 7AM–11PM
Google Map

Menemen Rating: 10

This place is located just off of the famous Istiklal Cadessi (Independence St). They specialize in Menemen (Turkish eggs scramble) as the word Menemen is in its name. I ordered the kind with Turkish sausage. It was exceptionally good. I would have ordered it twice but was afraid I’d get too full to try other food on the schedule for the day. If you visit Istanbul, definitely visit this place as you will most likely visit Istiklal Cadessi. It cost 25 Turkish Lira (US$3).

Kokorec (Intestines)

We weren’t planning on eating grilled intestines but since the place we intended to eat at was closed, we gave this place a try. The grilled intestines looked good but I didn’t really care for the taste.

Kokorec Rating: 6

Turkish Coffee

Asmalı Mescit, Olivya Gç. 1/A, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Open everyday 9AM–12AM
Google Map

Turkish Coffee Rating: 10

This coffee shop is located in a small alleyway just off of the famous Istiklal Cadessi (Independence St). A visit to this place was totally worth it as the coffee was exceptional.

In Istanbul, you can find many street vendors selling Turkish Coffee in ancient looking stands.

Iskendar Kebab

Kasap Osman
Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:22, 34110, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Google Map

Iskendar Kebab Rating: 8.5

This place doubles as a butcher shop as the name means Butcher Osman. I ordered the Iskendar Kebab which was pretty good.

Sütiş Kebap Dünyası
Katip Mustafa Çelebi, İstiklal Cd. No:13, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Google Map

Iskendar Kebab Rating: 10

We stopped by this place to try their meat. I’m glad we did because it was some of the best meat we’ve had in Istanbul! It cost 53 Turkish Lira (US$6).

Adana Kabab

Birben Restaurant
Hoybar Mahallesi, Eminönü, Arpacılar Cd. No:13, 34112 Fatih, Turkey
Open everyday 8AM to 12 AM
Google Map

Grilled Meat Plate: 8

This place is a little pricey for Istanbul standards – probably because it’s in the tourist area. The food there is okay.

Tantuni (Turkish Meat Sandwich)

Rüstem Paşa, Yeni Cami Cd. No:39, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul

Beef Tantuni Rating: 8.5

This place specializes in Tantuni (Turkish sandwich). They offer both chicken and beef sandwiches. I ordered the beef. It was pretty good.

Kunafe (Turkish Sweet)

We found a Kunafe shop near Misr Carsisi (Egyptian Spice Market). We ordered Kunafe with cream. It was pretty good.

Kunafe Rating: 9

Sahlep (Hot Turkish Milk Drink)

We found this waterfront cafe in the Karakoy area of Istanbul facing the Bosphorus Straight. Whenever you see these golden dispensers, you’ll normally find sahlab. Unfortunately, this one didn’t take very good at all.

Sahlep Rating: 5

Tomato & Beef Kabab

Sütiş Kebap Dünyası
Katip Mustafa Çelebi, İstiklal Cd. No:13, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Google Map

Domatesli kebap Rating: 10

This place has some of the best kababs in Istanbul. We tried their Domatesli kebap which means “Kebab with Tomato” and it was especially good! It cost 55 Turkish Lira (US$6).

Real Fruit Juice

We came across this fruit juice seller near one of the entrances of the Egyptian Spice Market. We ordered the mixed juice and it was really good.

Mixed Fruit Juice Rating: 10


If you’re going to visit Istanbul, I highly recommend you visit the places.

  • Lades Menemen (order mixed Menemen)
  • Sütiş Kebap Dünyası (order Iskendar kebab, Domatesli kebap, and pretty much any other meat item)
  • Mavi Halic Pidecisi (order Pide)
  • Karaköy Güllüoğlu (order Baklava)

Air-Fried Baby Creamer Potatoes

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to French fries, here’s one.


  • Baby creamer potatoes
  • Seasoning (I use Bruschetta seasoning mix)
  • Olive oil


  1. Wash potatoes
  2. Cut potatoes in half
  3. In a bowl, slather potatoes in just enough olive oil to wet the surface of each potato
  4. In a bowl, sprinkle on seasoning and mix
  5. Preheat air fryer to 400 F
  6. Add potatoes to air fryer and cook for 10 minutes
  7. Flip potatoes
  8. Cook for another 10 minutes
  9. Eat

Air-Fried Chicken Breast Strips

Chicken breast meat is packed with protein and very little fat. But, it often comes out dry after baking. Here’s a recipe that is quick to cook and results in a more tasty, tender meat.


  • Chicken breast
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs canola oil or olive oil


  1. Mix all spices in a single spice dispenser
  2. Cut up the chicken breast into 1 inch wide strips
  3. In a bowl, rub olive oil over the chicken strips and sprinkle on the seasoning. Mix with hands to ensure complete coverage. 
  4. Set air fryer to a target thermometer temperature of 165 F.
  5. Insert thermometer such that tip is at center of thickest part of one chicken strips
  6. When air fryer has preheated, put all strips in
  7. When half way done, turn strips over
  8. When target temperature reached, remove legs and let stand for 5 minutes
  9. Eat

Broccoli, Chicken n Egg Scramble

Here’s another high protein, easy-to-cook, delicious meal for you.


  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1.5 cups chicken breast (for simplicity, I get precooked grilled chicken strips at Costco)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu (available at Costco)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt n pepper to taste
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Put olive oil in 10″ pan on medium-high heat
  2. Add tofu to pan and cook
  3. Defrost broccoli in microwave and add to pan
  4. Heat up grilled chicken in microwave then add to pan
  5. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper
  6. Add 4 eggs
  7. Sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella cheese
  8. Scramble
  9. Eat

This recipe is also good without the chicken.

With tofu

High Protein, Low Carb, Healthy Smoothie

Get > 40 grams of protein in a yummy smoothie drink.


  • Silk Unsweetened soy milk (7 g protein per cup)
    You can also use unsweetened almond milk but that has only 1 g protein per cup.
  • Ratio KETO Friendly Dairy Yogurt (15 g protein. 2 carbs)
    or any Vanilla greek yoghurt with no or very little added sugar
    or Two Good vanilla greek yogurt (only 3 g of carbs but 12 g of protein)
  • 1 scoop of 100% whey protein (25 g protein, 0 carbs)
    Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate (Unflavored) 2LBS
  • 3 frozen strawberries
    (low carb, 3.58 millimoles anti-oxidants per 100g)
  • 1 tbsp of Navitas Acai Powder
    Acai has way more anti-oxidants than any other food. 15,405 mmol compared to 4,669 mmol in blueberries per 100 grams.
  • 1 tbsp of Chia seeds
    (low carbs, lot of anti-oxidants)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • Half a handful of walnuts (optional)
    3.72 millimoles anti-oxidants per 100g)
  • 1 tablespoon of Matcha green tea powder (optional)
  • 1 scoop (5 g) of Creatine Monohydrate (optional – if weightlifting)


Blend everything

Toasted Chipotle Steak n Cheddar Sandwich

So, the other day I went to Quizno’s and had this Chipotle Steak and Cheddar sandwich. It was mighty delicious so I had to try to recreate it.

Here’s how it came out.

It was actually really good so here’s the recipe. Note: I substituted steak with pastrami. You can also use roast beef.


  • Pastrami (from Costco) – may substitute with roast beef
  • sliced green bell pepper
  • sliced onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • Chipotle mayonnaise (substitute with hummus for healthier alternative)
  • Francisco Gourmet Sesame Seed Rolls


  1. Slice the bell pepper and onions into slivers.
  1. Heat up some pastrami in a microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes. If the bell pepper and onion are cold from being in the fridge, heat them up along with the pastrami.
  2. Spread some Chipotle mayo on both sides of the bread
  1. Spread pepper and onion evenly on bread, add pastrami, add cheddar cheese and toast in over until cheese has melted

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Amazingly Good Air Fried Chicken Recipe


  • 6 chicken legs
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs canola oil or olive oil


  1. Mix all spices in a single spice dispenser
  2. Using a clean rag, grab part of the chicken skin with the rag and pull the skin off
  3. In a bowl, rub olive oil over each chicken leg and sprinkle on the seasoning. Mix with hands to ensure complete coverage.
  4. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer the better. Overnight is best!
  5. Set air fryer to a target thermometer temperature of 160 F.
  6. Insert thermometer such that tip is at center of thickest part of one chicken leg
  7. When air fryer has preheated, put all legs in the air fryer
  8. When half way done, turn legs over
  9. When target temperature reached, remove legs and let stand for 5 minutes
  10. Eat

Granola Yoghurt Parfait Recipe


  • 1 container (150 grams) Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla Greek Yogurt (15 g protein, 0 g added sugar, 100 calories) – Target
  • A little bit of Kefir (Lifeway Kefir cultured lowfat milk 1% milkfat plain unsweetened) (1 cup / 240 ml / 110 calories, 0 g added sugar, 11 g protein) – Smart n Final
  • Handful of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • ½ cup granola (Kirkland Signature Organic Ancient Grain Granola) – Costco
  • 1 tbsp crushed mixed nut topping


Mixed everything

Shakshouka / Menemen Recipe

Moroccan Shakshouka and Turkish Menemen are very similar. Here’s my version of these dishes.


  • 5 eggs
  • 1 8oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Target / FoodMaxx / Smart n Final)
  • 2 handfuls of frozen diced onions (Smart n Final)
  • 1/4 lb of ground beef
  • 2 tbsp wet minced garlic
  • 10 tbsp olive oil
  • Smoked paprika (not regular paprika)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional – remove seeds so you don’t sweat)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • Sourdough bread
  • 1/8 cup cilantro for garnish (you can also use Lightly Dried Cilantro)
  • Shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Pour olive oil in large 12″ pan on high heat
  2. Fry ground beef, onions, jalapeno pepper and garlic until slightly brown
  3. Pour in diced tomatoes and sprinkle in smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste (optionally, add tomato paste) and cook for 5 minutes. Optionally add cheese.
  4. Put 5 slices of sour dough bread in toaster and toast until slightly hard
  5. Add eggs being careful not to break the yolk
  6. Cover and poach on medium heat until egg white changes from translucent to white. Turn off heat so that egg yolk is still runny.
  7. Garnish with cilantro
  8. Eat by scooping up Shakshouka with spoon and chase it with a bite of the bread