Protein Bars:  Good or Bad?

With so many protein bars on the market, it’s hard to know what to look for in a good quality low carb protein bar.  Some bars have more sugar than a candy bar or donut and not much protein.   When looking at the ingredients list, don’t forget that when following a low carb diet, you don’t just look at the total carbs.  You must look at the NET carbs.  These are the carbs that are left over after you subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols.  For example, if the bar says it has 28g of total carbs, 12g of fiber and 8g of sugar alcohol, it only has 8 NET carbs.  These are the carbs left that have a glycemic response and will affect blood sugars.  Other things to look for include:

  • Gluten Free
  • High Fiber (10g or more)
  • Moderate Protein (no less than 8g)

Basically, the fewer ingredients the better.  Why not make your own protein bars?  This will take the guessing game out of all of the unknown ingredients and you can control everything yourself.  Check out this site which has links to 50 best low carb protein bar recipes.

https://www.lowcarblab.com/best-low-carb-protein-bar-recipes/

Creamy Keto Hot Cocoa

Who doesn’t love a nice cup of hot cocoa especially in this cold, snowy winter to soothe and relax you?  Cacao is loaded with antioxidants which helps to protect your body, especially during the cold and flu season.  Try this recipe from Dr. Mercola and share it with your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon MCT oil
  • 1 teaspoon xylitol or other sugar substitute

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for three minutes.
  2. Place cocoa mixture in a small saucepan and warm the mixture over low heat. Be sure to whisk often to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  3. If you’d like to, add coconut whipped cream or cacao nibs.

Cellulite And How To Get Rid Of It

Cellulite, How Do I Get Rid Of It??

Did you know that 80% – 90% of women have some cellulite?  Isn’t that a crazy number?  Men are fortunate as only 10% of them are affected by cellulite.  So what’s the deal on this?  It’s more common in women because women are more likely to have the particular types of fat and connective tissue that cellulite is associated with.

What is that ugly cottage cheese-like stuff on your butt and thighs? The answer is simple: it’s just normal fat beneath the skin. It appears to be bumpy because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker. It isn’t harmful to your health, but many people try to get rid of it because it’s so ugly.

Cellulite doesn’t only affect women who are overweight; thin people get cellulite too. However, the more weight you lose, the more reduced your cellulite will appear. It can also be more visible if you eat a poor diet, follow fad diets, have a slow metabolism, don’t exercise enough, or don’t drink enough water.  It could even have to do with the color of your skin! Cellulite is less noticeable in darker skin tones.  There is no exact cause of cellulite, but popular theories include that it could have something to do with hormonal factors, genetics, your diet, your lifestyle factors and even clothing that limits your blood flow.  Hormonal changes, specifically a decline in estrogen levels, may contribute to changes in circulation and a reduction in the production of collagen.  A combination of fat cells becoming larger or increasing in number, a thinner collagen layer and change in blood supply may lead to cellulite.

So what can you do?  Unfortunately, at this time, researchers and doctors have not identified a cure for cellulite, or a treatment that may permanently reverse the effects.  However, there are strategies you may use to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite or which may halt the progression of the process.

Dry Skin Brushing:   Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  Although there are benefits to using dry skin brushing for aesthetic reasons, the technique also offers whole body benefits.   Dry skin brushing may help to soften hard fat deposits below the skin while distributing fat deposits more evenly. This may help to diminish the appearance of cellulite.  It also stimulates the lymphatic system, exfoliates the skin and increases circulation.  Use coconut oil as a moisturizer once you are done dry brushing.

Drink plenty of water: One of the jobs of your fat cells is to hold and sequester toxins that the liver and kidney can’t keep up with.   Without enough water, your body won’t be able to flush out toxins (which flush out the fat with it) and it won’t be able to effectively break down cellulite.

Coffee Rub:  Many women have reported success with a simple mix of coffee grounds and warm water.  Use this scrub for ten minutes twice per week on areas where cellulite reduction is desired.  You should start to see some great results after four weeks of regular treatment.

Essential Oils:  Juniper, Rose Hip, Birch and Rosemary oil help in various ways including increasing circulation and promoting detoxification of the cells.  Mix any or all of these oils on the areas that you want to reduce cellulite.

Proper circulation helps to prevent and eliminate cellulite.  Avoid wearing clothes with tight elastic bands that may restrict blood flow to hips, thighs, and other areas prone to cellulite.  Also, if you experience a lot of soreness during physical activities, tight muscles may also be restricting blood flow.  Perform stretching exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi to loosen up cramped tissues and improve your circulation.  You can take supplements such as Gingko Biloba or you can purchase any products that are designed for varicose veins as all of them are designed to promote circulation, as well as strengthen veins.

Food For Thought…and Steve Jobs

As we progress into the new year 2018, it brings to mind the thoughts of Steve Jobs as he lay on his sickbed… so very true and ‘food’ for serious thought!!  Remember that achieving health is not just about diet and supplements.  It about a healthy mind as well.  Take a moment and read what he wrote.  It puts so many things into perspective. 

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, CEO and maker of iPad… iPhone etc., died a billionaire and here are some of his last thoughts and words on the sickbed:

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to… at this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – health and life itself.

When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – “Book of Healthy Life”.

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.

Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends.

Treat yourself well. Cherish others.

As we grow older, and hence wiser, we slowly realize that wearing a $300… or $30.00 watch… they both tell the same time.

Whether we carry a $300… or $30.00… wallet/handbag, the amount of money inside is the same.

Whether we drink a bottle of $300… or $10… wine the hangover is the same.

Whether the house we live in is 300 sq. ft… or 3000 sq. ft… loneliness is the same.

You will realize, your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world.

Whether you fly first or economy class, if the plane goes down, you go down with it.

Therefore, I hope you realize, when you have mates, buddies and old friends, brothers and sisters, who you chat with, laugh with, talk with, have sing songs with, talk about north-south-east-west or heaven & earth…that is true happiness!!

Five Undeniable Facts of Life…

  1. Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy so when they grow up they will know the value of things… not the price.
  2. Best awarded words in London… “Eat your food as your medicines, otherwise you have to eat medicines as your food.”
  3. The One who loves you will never leave you for another because even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find one reason to hold on.
  4. There is a big difference between a human being and being human… only a few really understand it.
  5. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between, YOU have to manage!!

Remember… if you just want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk together!!

Six Best Doctors in the World…

  1. Sunlight
  2. Rest
  3. Exercise
  4. Diet
  5. Self Confidence
  6. Friends

 

 

Almond Sesame Low Carb Buns

Have you given up bread in order to stick to your low carb diet?  You don’t have to with recipes like this.  I have been making low carb almond buns for months now and not only are they only 2 NET carbs per bun, they are also gluten free and high in fiber so they will fill you up.  They literally take only 10 minutes to make so take some time this weekend and do a few batches and then freeze them individually so you have them handy at all times.  Summer is coming up (not soon enough) and we will be BBQing again and who doesn’t love a big fat juicy burger on a bun?  You can even make them into sausage or hot dog buns depending on how you shape them.  Be creative and add garlic or olives to your recipe.  Add cheese on top…whatever you want!  This recipe is a little different from mine.  I got it from the Diet Doctor web site and it is my weekend project as I just ran out of my other buns.  Personally I like to have toast with my eggs or a sandwich for lunch so I need to make some more.  My family loves my bread so much I have made it for them as well!  Give it a try…you won’t be disappointed!

2 NET CARB KETO ALMOND BUNS

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups almond flour
  • 5 Tbls Psyllium powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and add it, the vinegar and egg whites to the bowl, while beating with a hand mixer for about 30 seconds. Don’t over mix the dough, the consistency should resemble Play-Doh.
  3. Moisten hands and form dough into 4 or 8 pieces of bread. You can also make hot dog or hamburger buns. Place on parchment paper so it doesn’t stick.
  4. Bake for 50–60 minutes, depending on the size of your bread. They’re done when you hear a hollow sound when tapping the bottom of the bun.
  5. Serve with butter and toppings of your choice. Store the bread in the fridge or freezer.

Was Your New Year’s Resolution To Lose Weight? Review Your Low Carb Rules!

Ok so we are 18 days into the New Year.  How many of you made a New Years Resolution to lose weight?  What are you doing to lose the weight?  Are you still following it or have you fallen off of it already?  Anyone who has tried to lose weight will say how difficult it is because it is so hard to give up your favorite foods.  I will say again and again and again…STOP DIETING!!!  Change your lifestyle and don’t be too lazy to prepare your meals.  I mean, how bad do you want to lose weight? Not everything comes so easy but if you are determined to lose weight AND gain health, follow the rules of my low carb program.  Know that you can have bread and buns but you have to bake your own so they are low carb, high fiber AND wheat and gluten free.  Most of my recipes use almond or coconut flour and are so much better tasting than any other breads I have ever had.  I can go to a restaurant and order a hamburger (providing there are not fillers such as bread crumbs in it) and bring my own bun.  The first time I did this, I think my husband was embarrassed.  I seriously don’t care.  I just tell the waitress to bring my burger without a bun and say that I can’t eat wheat so I brought my own.  They honestly don’t care.  There is nothing that you can’t have if you make your own.  I never used to bake but now I am learning to make my own breads, pizzas, chocolate, sweets and whatever else I want.  I post many recipes on my blog but you just have to google low carb, gluten free recipes and boom…thousands of recipes are available.

So, for now I am going to re-post some of the more important things about following a low carb diet.  Please see below for the Rules of the Game on low carb diets.  It is important that you don’t cheat and slip in  more carbs than you’re allowed.  Once you are down to the weight you want to be you can start increasing your carbs but if you start gaining weight again, follow the rules and get back to where you should be.

NOTHING TASTES BETTER THAN THIN FEELS!

I think following any diet that consists of low carb, HIGH good fats and moderate protein is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I promise if you follow what I am telling you, you will start to lose weight right away and your energy will increase and most importantly, you will lose all cravings for sugar/carbs. Please see the rules below. This program works by starving your body of sugar forcing it to burn fat for energy. The #1 fuel that your body can and does easily use is sugar. When you keep your sugars/carbs below 30 NET carbs, it has NO CHOICE but to burn its reserve energy which is fat! See below for checking how much fat you are burning.

#1 RULE to remember…EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING with the exception of meat and fat is a carbohydrate and all carbohydrates are sugar! This includes fruit, vegetables, grains…everything except meat and fat breaks down into sugar.

RULE #2: You are only allowed 30 NET carbs per day or less. What is a NET carb? Not all carbs are created equal and some behave differently than others. For example, fiber (which is a carbohydrate) and sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol etc) cannot be absorbed by the human body so they go through the system unabsorbed and more importantly, they do not have a glycemic response. This means they do not require insulin to be metabolized. So to determine your NET carbs, here is the math:
Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = NET carbs. (Note: Atkins products uses glycerine in their bars and some other products which cannot be absorbed but he never lists the amount of glycerine so the math never works)
Example: Total carbs = 30 Fiber = 15 Sugar Alcohols 11. So 30-15-11= 4 NET carbs. The carbs left over after subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols (and glycerine) have a glycemic response and require insulin to be metabolized and these are what you are counting. Remember only 30 NET carbs per day. You will be surprised how many carbs are in an apple or a cup of broccoli. Here is the link for the Atkins carb counter site. Use it for reference all the time:
http://files.atkins.com/1501_CarbCounter_Online.pdf

RULE #3: No potatoes, NO pasta, NO rice, NO bread and NO fruit (for now). I have a deadly recipe for low carb, gluten free bread made with almond flour and psyllium husk but you cannot have this for at least 2-3 weeks until you break old eating habits.

RULE #4: You MUST increase your good fats. These include coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil and MCT oil. I use MCT oil for my salad dressings, coconut oil for EVERYTHING including cooking (it is very stable under high heat conditions) and take a shot of MCT oil mid-afternoon and/or prior to my meals.

RULE #5: You MUST check your ketones. This is non-negotiable! When you are burning fat (it usually takes 2-3 days to convert your body) a by-product of fat burning is ketones. This means that once you start burning fat for energy, ketones will be in your urine. Go to the drug store and ask for ketone stix. You can even get ketone/diastix which will show fat burning and blood sugar levels, should you have blood sugar issues. The ketone stix go from a beige color all the way up to deep purple. The darker the color, the more fat you’re burning! If you are not burning ketones, you are NOT burning fat, simple as that. This means that you are still eating too many carbs or more importantly not eating enough fat. There is no cheating on carbs on this program. Your body will happily use sugar way faster than fat for energy as it is the easiest. It’s actually exciting to pee on that damn stick to see the dark color knowing that I am burning fat! I have noticed that if I don’t eat enough fat, my ketones are just showing trace. Once I started taking more MCT oil (shots in the afternoon and as a salad dressing) my ketones went large! You will see the difference right away.

Glycemic index and glycemic load: It is important to note the glycemic index in your food choices. The low glycemic foods do not require as much insulin to metabolize. You can download lists of food and their glycemic index from Google.

So what are you eating?

Protein (eggs, cheese, meat, bacon, protein isolate shakes for snacks etc). The ONE bars ad Quest bars are low carb but I would stay away from them for the first few weeks to wean off of sugar taste. Also, they may take you out of ketosis but you will know by checking it.

Vegetables but not the root/starchy ones. Good choices are all lettuce(s), cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, celery etc. CHECK the Atkins carb counter for amount of carbs in these vegetables. We have been programmed to count calories but calories do not count on this diet. You MUST however count carbs (NET carbs).

I strongly suggest that you have a dozen boiled eggs in your fridge at all times, as well as cooked chicken and cut up vegetables and lettuce. Sometimes we get lazy cooking and so having stuff prepared makes it much easier. I also have a home-made soup in the fridge at all times. My soups have chicken and vegetables (the ones allowed above). Be careful not to eat too many vegetables though as they are carbs.

Copy and paste this link to get the Dr Atkins NET carb counter:  https://files.atkins.com/1501_CarbCounter_Online.pdf   Know and chart your total carbs for the day so you stick below 30 net carbs but remember that everyone’s level of total carbs are different so again, it is vital you check your ketones.  If you’re not burning ketones, you are eating too many carbs even if you are at 30 net carbs.  It still may be too much for you.

 

 

 

Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight over the Holidays

Are you concerned about weight gain over the holidays?  It’s certainly easy enough given all of the food and drink we are exposed to for weeks during the Christmas holidays.  Since we are probably going to indulge in some extra treats, here are some tips and strategies that you can consider in an effort to not gain any weight.

  1. Protein, protein, protein! Protein such as turkey and other lean meats will keep you full for a long time.  You don’t have to be hungry to eat but feeling full is the only time you don’t think about munching.
  2. Eat slowly. The quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register that it is full so slow down.  Take time to enjoy your food and savor each bite.
  3. Choose high fiber foods like beans, legumes and loads of raw vegetables. These foods not only fill you up but fiber will inhibit the fat from being absorbed from you foods.
  4. Eat plenty of healthy fats. Everyone likes fat but be sure to stick to the good fats like avocados (guacamole here we come!), nuts and homemade dressings for your vegetable dips.   Fats create satiety and fullness.  Don’t be afraid to bring your homemade veggie dips with you to parties.
  5. Use smaller plates. Plate sizes have increased significantly over the years. The brain associates empty space on your plate as not enough food.  Also using smaller plates means less food eaten.
  6. Stick to natural sugars and ditch the simple sugars like holiday cookies, cakes and pies. These treats are definitely tempting but offer nothing but weight gain. Stick to fruits with a no sugar added yogurt dip.
  7. Take time before grabbing seconds or thirds off the buffet table. It takes 20 minutes for your body to register that it is full so wait at least 20 minutes before reaching for more food.
  8. Stay away from very high carb foods like bread, potatoes and pasta. These foods break down quickly into glucose and too much glucose is a recipe for weight gain.
  9. Watch the alcohol. Many drinks like beer, eggnog and fruity drinks carry a bunch of unnecessary carbs and sugar.  Stick to drinks mixed with water or club soda using lemon or lime instead of sugar.  Spice your drinks with cinnamon or other flavors.  Too much alcohol can weaken your resistance to overindulging in food as well.
  10. Drink plenty of water. Water fills your belly so drink plenty of water before you go to the party and while you are at the party to ensure you eat less.
  11. Keep up with your exercise regime. We all know how busy we can be during the holidays and it is a little harder to get to the gym so try doing some exercises from home.  Do some squats while chopping at the kitchen counter or go for a long walk to de-stress.
  12. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation is quite common during the holidays and it may cause weight gain.  Those who don’t sleep enough tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and get less physical activity.
  13. Bring a healthy dish to share. This way you know you’re safe eating what you brought without looking like you’re being picky.
  14. When baking use the following substitutes to cut calories and fat:
  • Replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana or pumpkin puree
  • Instead of sugar, use a low-calorie substitute such as stevia or xylitol
  • Add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips or candies
  • Flavor recipes with extracts like vanilla, almond or peppermint oils instead of butter or sugar
  1. To reduce fat in cooking use plenty of herbs and spices instead of butter; bake, steam or grill instead of frying; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream; replace cream cheese, sour cream and mayo with Greek yogurt