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Harley Morenstein eats thousands of calories of carbs when he’s filming episodes of his hit YouTube series, "Epic Meal Time."
But when the cameras aren’t rolling, he's all about loading up on fat and protein. “Keto is a lifestyle I can get behind,” the 32-year-old Canadian actor recently told TODAY Food.
“It’s very good for a sedentary lifestyle, and I spend a lot of time sitting and editing videos,” Morenstein admitted. All kidding aside, the digital star (his channel boasts over 7 million subscribers) credits the ketogenic diet with helping him shed over 60 pounds. Though it is not recommended by all nutritionists, the keto diet is growing in popularity with many proponents claiming it helps with weight loss and lowering insulin levels.
At 6-foot 6-inches tall, Morenstein now weighs 235 pounds. He has become such a believer in the high fat, high protein lifestyle that he developed his own snack line company: Super Snack Time Pizza in a Bag, a pepperoni jerky that comes in three flavors, which recently hit Walmart shelves last month.
Super Snack Time Pizza In A Bag Pepperoni Jerky, $3.98, Walmart
While fans have seen Morenstein munch — or inhale — carb-loaded feasts (like a 125-pound dish of nachos or a giant Oreo cookie/cake confection), the extreme eating veteran definitely doesn't eat like that in real life. Here are some of his top snacking choices that he says helped him along his weight loss journey and continue to keep him full.
“Eggs become your best friend,” Morenstein told TODAY Food when asked about they key to adopting the ketogenic diet, which he’s been doing on and off for about three years. He estimates that he eats about three eggs a day, often scrambled and with bacon. “I also always grab a hardboiled egg if I’m in the airport because they sell those now."
“If you want a guac-based or nacho-based snack but regular chips aren’t part of the game plan, use bacon chips,” recommends Morenstein. In the “Epic Meal Time” cookbook, his Bacon Strips Nacho Chips recipe calls for baking the strips at 395 degrees to ensure extra crispiness. We imagine they'd be great dipped into this Spicy Chipotle Guacamole.
Morenstein’s favorite veggie to munch on is bacon-wrapped asparagus, which comes as no surprise given the YouTuber's affinity for salted pork. “If you’re doing keto, not all veggies are your friend,” Morenstein noted, explaining that he used to think packaged beet chips were carb-free. “But pretty much all green veggies are guaranteed to be your friend.”
“I like the burger with bread,” confessed Morenstein while citing burgers as his favorite drive-thru "snack." But, in keeping with keto principles, he’s learned to live without the bun — and with the judgement that comes with it.
“You just deal with that brief period of humiliation when they’re like, ‘Excuse me?’" Morenstein often orders his burger in a lettuce wrap or in a bowl. “When I go to L.A., it’s the easiest thing. I mean, you ask for a burger and they’re like, ‘Do you want it in a bowl or a lettuce wrap?’” he explained. “But when you do the same in Canada people look at you like you’re just bonkers.”
“I don’t like depending on cheese so much,” admitted Morenstein, who says it’s his number one snacking go-to. “But it [tides] me over for a little bit. I’m that weird guy on the plane who leaves the fruit and only eats the cheese.” He’s even a fan of the powdered cheese featured Kraft Dinner (aka boxed Kraft Macaroni & Cheese) in Canada. “Whenever I give myself a cheat day, I think of mac and cheese first."
Carb-free and sugar-free condiments
“I put mustard on everything,” said Morenstein. “But it’s got to be regular mustard. Anytime there’s syrup or sugar added, it’s not in the game. That’s why ketchup isn’t in the game.” Another condiment that he considers “in the game?” Hot sauce. “It’s changed my flavor palate in so many ways that one kind of hot sauce no longer cuts it,” he explains. “I have to have a plethora of hot sauce choices handy.”
Favorite cheat-day food? Challah!
“Bread. Specifically, challah,” Morenstein emphatically told TODAY Food when about the one food he wishes wasn’t a carb so he could have it more often. “When I got into weightlifting, I started to notice that I needed to have carbs as well,” he recalls. “Carbs aren’t really the arch-nemesis of our body. You have your good carbs and your bad carbs.
"The greasy potato fries are not going to be your friend. Your big, buttery bun is not going to be your friend either.” Still, Morenstein says he isn't above spending some quality time with his frenemies, on occasion. "Like my friend says, 'There's no vanity in comedy.'"