I recently got engaged. After the celebratory Champagne and indulgent restaurant meals my fiancé and I enjoyed in our month of post-betrothal bliss, reality set in: soon I must fit into a wedding dress.

Of course, dresses come in all shapes and sizes, just like brides. But have you seen the price of a wedding photographer lately? I’d like to look my best.

These days, the main weight-loss food trend seems to be the ketogenic diet. Like the Paleo and Atkins diets, eating keto means cutting carbs. Unlike these other diets, keto isn’t high in protein; it’s high...

I recently got engaged. After the celebratory Champagne and indulgent restaurant meals my fiancé and I enjoyed in our month of post-betrothal bliss, reality set in: soon I must fit into a wedding dress.

Of course, dresses come in all shapes and sizes, just like brides. But have you seen the price of a wedding photographer lately? I’d like to look my best.

These days, the main weight-loss food trend seems to be the ketogenic diet. Like the Paleo and Atkins diets, eating keto means cutting carbs. Unlike these other diets, keto isn’t high in protein; it’s high in fat. The idea is that depriving yourself of carbs and protein will cause your body to burn fat for energy — starting with the bacon and eggs you ate for breakfast and ending with your thighs.

As someone who routinely checks out of the grocery store with more cheese than vegetables, this sounded good, so I looked up a few dishes. The food blog The Spruce Eats has a variety of keto recipes for beginners, so inspired by summer farmers’ market bounty, I tried a zucchini bread made with almond and coconut flours and a sugar replacement called “Swerve.”

A note on shopping for keto ingredients: they are expensive. A two-cup package of Swerve runs you $8, while the titular ingredient of my zucchini bread costs 75 cents. Even with wheat prices soaring, King Arthur is still cheap compared to its bespoke, gluten-free alternatives.

My zucchini bread was disgusting. Swerve imparts a flavor I can only describe as “cold” — like drinking Listerine for dessert. An hour after trying a hot-from-the-oven slice, my mouth was still tingling with a sort of minty carbonation from this supposedly natural sweetener.

I tried a keto lasagna. I quickly learned during this experiment that a keto lifestyle means making even basic ingredients from scratch: spice rubs, sauces and, in this case, noodles, which must be re-invented carb-free, usually with a food processor, somehow. My lasagna calls for two pounds of cauliflower to be minced in the Cuisinart, sauteed, mixed with eggs and cheese, and baked until noodly. Perhaps the key to keto’s success is that it simply delays you from eating with prolonged meal prep. After the initial cauliflower-noodle fuss, the lasagna tasted pretty normal, if not as structurally sound as a casserole relying on an OG sheet of carby pasta. If I weren’t suffering significant digestive discomfort from my encounter with Swerve, I would have enjoyed my pie more. Ground beef, tomato sauce and ricotta: what’s not to like?

I happen to be marrying a doctor, who was horrified when he found out about this experiment. The keto diet, he pointed out, was invented not for weight loss, but as a treatment for epileptic kids. Though I do feel like I’m going to have a seizure when I look at our to-do list, he’s right that keto probably isn’t a healthy choice for me. Planning a wedding is stressful enough; I might be willing to do it without bread or cookies, but I’m not going to do it without wine.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s October 2022 World edition.