Seattle woman charts low-carb course to fame

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I don’t know about you, but when a blogger wears a strip of bacon on her shirt — clarification: a picture of bacon — I’m going to be interested. When deliciously low-carb recipes follow, I’m bound to be infatuated.

Seattle-area blogger Kyndra Holley came to my attention not long after she began her blog, “Peace, Love and Low Carb.” You know how it goes: Someone commented on one of her recipes; I saw it, checked out her Facepook page and was immediately delighted.

Everything on there looked delicious and manageable in the few hours I devote to cooking every week. How rare is that?

In our current culture, just about anyone can be his or her own social media star.

Kyndra might seem an unlikely luminary, but with 30,000 Facebook followers, a blog receiving 150,000 individual views per month and a cookbook that has boiled over the rim of the usual number of sales from such self-published efforts, she looks to be firmly on the ladder going up.

For starters, she was talking cauliflower in that first recipe I spied. As in, using the modest veggie for pizza crust, which I dearly longed for as I moved along my own low-carb journey.

Not that I mind limiting myself to toppings when we have end-of-week pizza at Home Place, but sometimes a girl just needs to chew something “cludgy.” You know what I mean.

This woman gets it, and “it” began when she and her husband took a long, hard look at themselves the day before Thanksgiving, 2011, Kyndra said.

“We both gained weight after our wedding. I always tell people we went through the ‘fat and happy’ stage.”

Although the couple had been actively dieting since that summer, her scale still registered 250 pounds; it was clear things weren’t working, Kyndra recalled. “We took pictures and when I looked at them, I just said to my husband, ‘Do I really look like this?’”

Part of the problem was believing that limiting her carbohydrate intake could be the single magic bullet, à la the Atkins Diet, she explained. “I thought I could eat bacon cheeseburgers dipped in ranch (dressing) all day, every day.”

It didn’t help matters that she worked as a manager in a great restaurant at the time, a position she recently left to focus on other goals.

Yet the experience she gained from years in food service has become invaluable, Kyndra would come to realize.

She started things off by taking her family’s favorite recipes and recreating them with health first and foremost in mind. That and taste, of course.

In time, she was posting dishes like “Mustard Blackened Chicken,” “Creamy Turkey Taco Soup” and “Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers,” most with step-by-step visual tutorials.

Kyndra had me, and my entire family, at “Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip,” which she posted nearly a year ago. Everywhere I’ve taken this dish, people are happier to see the bowl in my hands than me. It’s a lovely mess of sauteed onions, bacon, cream and Parmesan cheeses and sour cream ... producing basically a mouthful of, yep, love. And peace, in bacony bliss. But don’t be frightened, there are many less-decadent recipes, too.

She tries to avoid looking at other cookbooks, she said. “I don’t want something that’s not mine to creep in, so I do my best not to seek them.”

Working around professionally prepared food in the restaurants gave Kyndra the tools to adapt recipes and developed her eye for appealing dishes. As a sometime food-blog follower, I can attest to how important this is for readers.

There’s nothing like seeing a photograph of food that sounds delish, but is poorly presented — spills, plate rims not wiped off, similar colors too close together, the messy background of someone’s dinner table as dinner is in progress. I could go on.

Readers responded with enthusiasm, Kyndra recalled, some taking it so far as to steal her intellectual property and repost it as their own, down to her signature ingredients, “2 Tbs. Peace and Love.”

That has been difficult to take, she conceded. “My blog settings were not very strict. It was a learning curve. I saw places where people were using my photo and everything verbatim ... that just feels like a punch in the face.”

And when she took a recipe off her blog because it’s included in her new cookbook? Boy howdy, the crazies came out of the crockpot. My words, not Kyndra’s.

Her skin grows thicker by the day, however, and Kyndra knows now that each negative reaction will be overbalanced by a thousand positive offerings of praise and motivation, she said. “I’ve learned a lot about the integrity of others.”

In the meantime, she is committed to counting carbs and calories, plus a rigorous exercise routine, which has aided her loss of nearly 60 pounds and multiple dress sizes.

There’s still work to be done on her 5-foot-10-inch frame, she said, but focus on strength and more has to be key.

Kyndra promotes what she preaches on her Facebook page, where she sometimes posts the contributed pictures and stories of others undertaking the same battle, cheering on their victories.

Now free of outside jobs, the writer is steaming ahead with marketing her cookbook. Her husband is completely supportive of her goal, she said.

“He seems too good to be true. ... He never badgers me about not spending enough time with him, he knows I am building a future for us.”

To see more about Kyndra and her fabulous recipes, go to ubne.ws/11SRnGV.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at 509-526-8322 or sheilahagar@wwub.com.

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