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.

 

 

 

Artificial vs. Natural Sweeteners

Have you ever read the back of a package of sweeteners found on the dining table in restaurants and coffee shops?  These are the little blue, pink and yellow packages?  Some of them have warning labels that say “This product contains 28% sodium cyclamate.  Cyclamates should be used only on the advice of a physician.”  Some others say “Use under medical supervision.”  Have you ever read that?  I have to wonder why they would put these warnings on the packages.  How do we know which sweeteners are safe and which ones aren’t?  People are often surprised at how often dangerous artificial sweeteners are included in prepared foods, medications and beverages.  Here are a few surprising examples of where to check for the dangerous sweeteners: chewing gum, cough syrup, no-calorie drinks, breakfast cereals, yogurt, frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts, candies, baked goods, toothpaste and mouthwash and medications, to name a few.  If you want to learn more about any one of these sweeteners, you will have to research them individually.  There are tons of information on each one listed below.  I will also help you decide which ones are the safest to take, in my humble opinion.  Let’s look at some of them briefly but before we do, know that there are plenty of natural, healthy sweeteners available that provide essential nutrients and taste great which I will also list below.

Aspartame:  Aspartame is currently used in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, and over 500 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.  Some health professionals say this is the most dangerous sweetener on the market.  Some of the technical names for aspartame are NutraSweet and Equal.   Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.  Aspartame is comprised of approximately 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol.  Aspartic Acid (Aspartate) which acts as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.  Some side effects of aspartame include headaches/migraines, anxiety, dizziness, rashes, heart palpitations, joint pain, vision problems, seizures and much more.

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K):  This is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, nausea, emotional imbalances, and damage to the liver and kidneys.  Acesulfame-K has been shown to produce breast tumors, lung tumors, and other types of tumors, leukemia, and chronic respiratory disease in rodents.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low):  In the 1970s, saccharin and other sulfa-based sweeteners were believed to possibly cause bladder cancer, and it was required to carry the following warning label: “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”   The FDA removed this warning, but many studies continue to link saccharin to serious health conditions. Sadly, it’s the primary sweetener for children’s medications, including chewable aspirin, cough syrup, and other over-the-counter and prescription medications. It’s believed that saccharin contributes to photosensitivity, nausea, digestive upset, tachycardia and some types of cancer.

Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose, derived from sugar, was originally introduced as a natural sugar substitute. However, in reality, it’s a chlorinated sucrose derivative. Yes, chlorine, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. Sucralose was originally found through the development of a new insecticide compound and wasn’t originally intended to be consumed.  It’s uncertain as to why the FDA approved sucralose knowing the nature of chlorine. You should know too that it was approved even though the pre-approval research revealed possible toxicity of the substance.  Some of the side effects some people experience with sucralose include migraines, intestinal cramping, rashes, dizziness, bloating, acne and chest pain to name a few.

Agave: Agave is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of the agave plant. This sweetener has more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup and has been shown to alter liver function, promote obesity, and increase insulin resistance for both diabetics and non-diabetics.

There are many more sweeteners that are possibly dangerous…too many to mention but know that there are also some sweeteners that are ok to have.  Here are some of them:

Stevia:  Stevia is not an artificial sweetener but actually a plant which happens to taste 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.  It has been used for hundreds of years in South America to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss.  Today, stevia is available in liquid drops, packets, dissolvable tablets and baking blends. It has zero calories, zero carbohydrates and none of the nasty side effects of artificial sweeteners, making it an ideal natural sweetener.  You can even buy diet pop which is sweetened with stevia called Zevia.  I buy it myself and they have some great flavors to choose from and taste great.

Raw Honey:  Raw honey is a true superfood.   It’s packed with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help to neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on the glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table.  Look for local raw honey at farmer markets and directly from local beekeepers.   Also, the darker the honey, the richer the flavor and the greater the health benefits.

Sugar alcohols:  Sugar alcohols like xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and mannitol have been around for decades without safety problems. But some people do experience stomach discomfort or diarrhea after eating sugar alcohols. If they give you trouble, try sticking with only erythritol, which research shows is not fermented by gut bacteria, meaning it may cause fewer digestive woes.

Coconut Sugar:  Most people have heard about the benefits of coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour and, of course, fresh coconut.  Now, more and more people are using coconut sugar as their natural sweetener of choice because of its low glycemic load and rich mineral content.  Packed with polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous and other phytonutrients, coconut sugar is versatile and now readily available. Coconut sugar is extracted sap from the blooms of the coconut and then heated. Next, through evaporation, we get coconut sugar.

There are other natural sweeteners available but the ones listed above are my personal favorites.  Give some of them a try and see how you like them too!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Tell me this doesn’t look delicious!  I personally love pumpkin recipes and am going to make this one for myself!
Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 5 Eggs separated
  • 1/2 Cup (58g) Coconut flour
  • 1/2 Cup (107g) Erythritol or sweetener
  • 1/2 Cup (113g) Butter, unsalted softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup (245g) Pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin spices
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 oz (224g) Cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup (54g) Erythritol Or Sweetener
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Crumble Topping
  • 1/3 Cup (38g) Coconut flour
  • 1/3 Cup (71g) Erythritol Or Sweetener
  • 1/4 Cup (56g) Butter, unsalted softened
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Instructions
CAKE LAYER
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/375F degrees.

  2. Grease and line an 8 inch springform cake tin with parchment paper.

  3. In a bowl, mix the erythritol and butter together until soft and blended.

  4. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

  5. Add the coconut flour, salt, baking powder and beat until combined.

  6. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.

  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

  8. Spoon half of the mixture into the baking tin and smooth evenly.

CREAM CHEESE LAYER
  1. In a bowl, add the softened cream cheese and beat with the erythritol (or sugar substitute).

  2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice, zest and beat until smooth.

  3. Spoon this mixture over the cake mixture into the cake tin and smooth evenly.

  4. Add the other half of the cake mixture over the cream cheese layer and smooth.

STREUSAL/CRUMBLE TOPPING
  1. For the topping, place the coconut flour, cinnamon and erythritol in a bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Add the butter and mix with your hands, gently, so that the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

  3. Scatter the topping over the cake mixture.

  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until firm and the top is cooked.

  5. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then place in the fridge to firm.

Recipe Notes

Serves 10 slices

Nutritional Info per slice:  278 Calories, 24g Fat, 7g Protein, 10g Total Carbs, 5g Fibre, 5g Net Carbs

Author: Angela Coleby

Coconut Oil Debate

I was watching Dr. Oz last week and he had on 2 doctors debating about whether coconut oil is good for us or bad for us.  He was urged to do this show because of the latest article from the American Heart Association (AHA) saying that saturated fat is bad for you and will cause heart disease.  If you weren’t confused before watching the show, you would be now.  One doctor says it is bad due to the saturated fat and even put on a demonstration with the amounts of saturated fat in lard, butter and coconut oil (coconut oil dominating the other 2).  So butter has less saturated fat than coconut oil but it is still high in saturated fats.  Haven’t we been told lately that butter is actually good for you?  I mean it’s certainly better than plasticized margarine (hydrogenated fats).

The other doctor talked about why coconut oil is not so bad due to the MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which behave completely different than other saturated fats. He went on to say how it protects our brain from amyloid deposits which cause Alzheimer’s disease among other advantages like anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

So what the heck is one to think?  At the end of the show, Dr. Oz said that you can have a little coconut oil but not to over do it.  This is where you all need to make up your own mind whether you choose to believe it is good for you or not.  As always, it is best to do your own research from all different professionals, medical and natural.  Personally I choose to believe it is good for me and only use coconut oil for cooking, baking and putting on steamed veggies etc.  I use MCT oil with Balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings and in my smoothies and yet I still use some olive oil due to it’s health benefits as well.  I eat avocados which are high in fat but again it’s a good fat.

Bottom line…we should not be afraid of eating a lot of good fats as they have health promoting properties and pretty much every cell needs them.  We should however be afraid of eating the bad fats especially hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and trans-fats which you will find in processed foods.  Stick to fresh foods and natural fats.  Seems a little obvious but it is what it is.  If you want more information on coconut oil and MCT oil, you will find it in my earlier blogs.

Have You Heard of Caralluma Fimbriata for Weight Loss?

Do you have a voracious appetite?  Do you find yourself munching and you’re not even hungry?  I just watched this video from a bariatric doctor who talked about Caralluma Fimbriata which is a natural cactus plant extract which comes from India, and it’s supposed to decrease appetite and support weight loss.  The plant has been eaten in India for centuries.   Although it has been around for centuries, it gained popularity as a diet pill in the last few years.

So what is its mechanism?  Caralluma apparently works by blocking a specific enzyme (called citrate lyase) , which is necessary for the formation of acetyl CoA, a basic ingredient of essential fatty acids that become stored in the body as fat.  Caralluma blocks the formation of an enzyme (called Malonyl CoA).  Caralluma manufacturers claim that blocking these enzymes necessary to form fat will prevent the body from storing fat. This, combined with a purported interference with the brain’s hunger signals will cause you to eat less, and your body will burn stored fat for fuel.

Other health benefits of this cactus include:

Anti-Inflammation: Disease is often caused by inflammation within our bodies. Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of omega-9 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. It’s also been linked to healthier blood glucose levels, reduced cholesterol, and more regular blood pressure.

Reduce Fatigue: As mentioned above, Caralluma fimbriata can activate stored fat, turning it into lean muscle mass and burning the rest as energy. This makes you feel more energetic while also enhancing results at the gym.

Anti-Aging: Like many plants, Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants target free radicals within the body, which reduces aging in the brain and the body. That means fewer wrinkles and better overall cognitive and physical health.

Having said all of this, the studies are still new.  This supplement has only been available for a few years and studies on it are on-going so ones that are released now are still preliminary.   You never know…this could turn out to be the most promising weight loss aid in the near future.  Keep your eyes out for more studies and weight loss results!

 

Have you Heard of Forskolin for Weight Loss?

Dr. Oz has talked about it and many celebrities have made claims that it has helped them lose a lot of weight, but does it really work?  Many of us will try anything for weight loss and most of us want that quick fix.  Firstly, let me say that I have never tried a single pill without any dietary changes and lost weight and believe me I have tried them all.  However, some of them show much promise for weight loss but only alongside a healthful diet.  If I had a magic pill, I would be rich and retired, sipping Mai Tai’s on a beach in my skimpy bikini (sigh) but there is no such thing.

We have sold Forskolin in our stores (nutrition house) for many years and many of our customers have said that it helps them to lose weight.  It is added into many body building products as it helps to increase testosterone (up to 30%) and build muscle as well as burn fat.  Forskolin has shown marked ability to affect muscle/fat ratios in the body and regulate blood lipid levels.  As well it helps promote healthy hormone levels which in turn will help you lose weight.

Forskolin is a natural compound found in the root of Coleus Forskohlii, which is a purple-flowering botanical herb. It has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurveda medicine as a means to treat digestive issues, hypertension, chest pains, allergies, eczema, obesity, IBS, urinary tract infections, ‘advanced’ cancer, and even erectile dysfunction in men and it has been shown to help heal the heart.

It has very few reported side effects and is generally considered safe for use by nearly everyone.

If you want to try Forskolin, go for it!  Just remember that if you want to lose weight, you still need to keep your carbs low, your protein moderate and your good fats high.  Add MCT oil to your daily diet as a salad dressing, added to your protein shake or drizzled over your steamed veggies and you will lose weight even faster!