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.

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.

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

Cheesy Oven Baked Brie

Who doesn’t love baked brie?  Try this recipe and use some low carb gluten free crackers or even celery sticks for scooping up this delicious cheesy dish!

Ingredients:

  • 9 oz. Brie cheese or Camembert cheese
  • 2 oz. pecan nuts or walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or fresh thyme or fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the cheese on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or in a small nonstick baking dish.
  2. Mince garlic and chop the nuts and herbs coarsely. Mix all three together with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Place the nut mixture on the cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is warm and soft and nuts are toasted. Serve warm or lukewarm.

Recipe taken from Diet Doctor.com

Fat Burning Foods

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could eat and the foods you eat help you burn fat?  What a concept…but there are foods that help you lose weight.  Some foods either help you build muscle, some promote fat burning, and some simply use energy (burn calories) just to digest them!  Keep in mind that that muscle tissue is metabolically active so the more muscle you have, the more you burn fat as it increases your resting metabolism.  In other words, because muscle needs a lot of energy to maintain, the more muscle you have, the more you are burning fat at rest.  This is why it is vital that you get enough protein in your diet so you don’t waste your muscles away.  Let’s have a look at some of them and how they work:

  1. Whey Protein: builds muscle; burns fat
  2. Eggs: builds muscle; burns fat
  3. Lean meats: build muscle; burns fat
  4. Almonds and other nuts: builds muscle; reduces cravings; burns fat
  5. Low fat dairy; builds bones; increases metabolism
  6. Coconut Oil/MCT oil; burns fat
  7. Avocados: burns fat; reduces cravings
  8. Berries; improves satiety; prevents cravings (also powerful antioxidant)
  9. Celery; takes more energy to metabolize than what you have ingested
  10. Peanut butter; boosts testosterone which builds muscle and burns fat
  11. Dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao): encourages fat burning; reduces cravings
  12. Fatty fish (herrings, mackerel, salmon, tuna); builds muscle; burns fat
  13. Green tea; increases metabolism; burns fat (also great for immune system)
  14. Grapefruit: burns fat; regulates blood sugar and metabolism
  15. Chili peppers; boosts metabolism
  16. Beans and legumes; builds muscle; burns fat; helps digestion
  17. Apple cider vinegar: burns carbs; burns fat; levels blood sugar
  18. Lemon water: burns fat; makes you feel full
  19. Oysters: Regulates appetite

So try to add as many of these foods in your diet and let’s burn some fat!!!  What can it hurt?

What to Look For in a Low Carb/Low Sugar Protein Bar

When hunger hits and it’s not meal time, I go for a protein bar.  Since I follow a low carb diet, I only buy bars but there are many very healthy bars that are not so low carb but are all natural, made from raw ingredients which include nuts and seeds, dates etc.  For the purpose of this article, I am going to stick with the low carb protein bars.  So here is a list of things to look for in a low carb, low sugar bar:

  • Protein content: This is the first thing I look at.  I look for a minimum of 20 grams of protein.  The higher the protein the more filling it will be and will keep you fuller for a longer time which ultimately reduces your  cravings as well.  Protein has a high thermic effect which means it requires a lot of energy to break it down. This means that up to 30% of the calories you consume from protein are used in the digestive process.  Most proteins come from milk and whey so they are not good for anyone who has a lactose intolerance.  For those of you with this issue, you would have to choose a vegan or vegetarian protein bar
  • Low sugar/Low carb: This is the 2nd thing I look for.  You would be surprised how much sugar are in some bars.  Most of the vegan bars are high carb but they are good carbs.  So to get a low carb bar you will most likely have to get one made from dairy/whey.  It is important to understand the difference  between total carbs and NET carbs.  Most low carb bars use sugar alcohol (xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol) etc.  Sugar alcohols always end with “itol” where sugars end with “ose” such as sucrose, fructose etc.  Sugar alcohols cannot be absorbed so they pass through the system and do not have a glycemic response, meaning that they do not require insulin to be metabolized.  Also, many low carb bars contain a high amount of fiber which like sugar alcohols, are not absorbed by the human body.  They pass right through, so…we can subtract them since neither of them have a glycemic response.  As an example:  Let’s say the bar has 28g protein, 17g fiber and 10g sugar alcohol.  28-17-10=1 NET carb.  This one carb left over has a glycemic response and is the only carb you count for your daily carb amounts.
  • High fiber: As mentioned above, the higher the fiber content the lower the total carbs. Also, fiber is great for blood sugar balance
  • When you’re choosing a protein bar that is quite low in total carb count, then they often will contain sugar alcohols. While many people will have no problem tolerating these, some people experience bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and bad gas as sugar alcohols draw water into the bowel. You will have to try them out for yourself to see if you react this way, but if you don’t these can be a very helpful fat loss aid. If you suffer from chronic constipation, they may be helpful for you

There are many high protein bars that are low carb and low sugar.  You have to learn how to read the labels to know.  Some of the low carb/sugar bars would include the Quest bars, B-Up bars and Oh Yeah ONE bars but there are many, many more to choose from.  Enjoy a guilt free snack that provides great protein and fiber without the guilt of carbs!