All posts by Jeff Fidler

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Alcohol on the Low Carb Diet

Alcohol on the Low Carb Diet

For anyone new to the low carb diet, one of the most common questions that they have is regarding alcoholic drinks like beer or wine, and whether they need to avoid them while sticking to a low carb diet plan. Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy a drink or two from time to time, there are many types of alcoholic drinks that are perfectly suitable for the low carb lifestyle. Much like any other kind of food, alcoholic drinks need to be evaluated for their carb content and other ingredients in order to determine whether they are ok to have or if they should be avoided.

We’ve put together this handy reference that helps explain the different types of alcoholic drinks, and which ones are fine to have in moderation on a low carb diet, and which ones should be avoided. Many drinks that are traditionally high in carbs are now being made in low carb versions, and many mixed drinks can simply be altered with different ingredients to help bring the carb count down. Let’s take a look at how alcohol fits in the low carb diet, and how the different kinds of drinks fare in carb counts.

How does alcohol fit in a low carb diet?

Since the alcohol we drink, also known as ethanol, is not a sugar, it’s actually the other ingredients in the drinks that contribute to their carb counts. For example, drinks that are mixed with juices or sodas will have a higher carb count than straight alcohol because of the sugars contained in the mixers. When evaluating drinks, for their suitability in the low carb diet, it’s critical look at the other ingredients in the drink as a gauge of their carb count than the alcohol content by volume.

Which drinks are high in carbs?

It may come as no surprise that beer is one of the drinks that contains the highest carb content since it’s made from grains. Barley, hops, and yeast are the main ingredients in beer, and this is why the carb count tends to be on the higher end of the spectrum. While there are some beers being produced these days specifically to be lower in carbs, they should still be consumed in careful moderation. Even a low carb beer can be higher than many other drink options, so be aware before you crack one open.

Mixed drinks are where the real danger zone lies for low carb dieters. Many mixed drinks include ingredients that are very high in sugars, like syrups, colas, and juices. Pre-mixed coolers are notoriously loaded with sugars, and should pretty much be ignored by low carb dieters. Other examples of mixed drinks to be avoided include the classic rum and cola, vodka and orange juice, and white Russian. The standard ingredients for these drinks are very high in sugar, and if you’re considering making one, be sure to swap out as many as you can for low sugar options.

Which drinks are low in carbs?

This may surprise some people, but wine is actually one of the most suitable choices for alcoholic drinks for the low carb diet. Although it is made from grapes, the actual natural sugar content in wine is very low. Of course, it should be noted that certain wines contain slightly more carbs than others. Generally, champagnes and sparkling wines tend to be the lowest in carbs. Red wines such as merlot, pinot noir and cabernet are also low in carbs. Some white wines can be a bit higher in carbs, such as Rieslings or ice wines, so make sure you check the label for sugar content just to be sure.

Straight alcohol such as vodka, tequila, brandy and the different varieties of whiskey all come in at zero carbs. Of course, ounce for ounce these have much higher alcohol by volume, but if you’re just looking for a simple drink to sip on and not worry about the carb count, these can be excellent options. In fact, one of the most popular drinks with health-conscious dieters is a simple mixer of vodka and carbonated soda water, which goes by the cheeky name ‘Skinny Bitch’. Classic martinis are also an option for zero carb drinks, so if you want to get your secret agent style going, why not order a dry one shaken, not stirred?

Low carb mixers

Every now and then the time is just right for a margarita. Unfortunately, with regular margarita mixes usually comes a lot of sugars. Luckily for low carb dieters, the taste of a margarita can still be had with a sugar-free drink mix like these Margarita Mixes from Baja Bob’s. By using Splenda as a sweetener instead of regular sugar, these mixes deliver the classic taste without all the extra carbs. These are also available in flavours for a mojito, pina colada, or sour apple martini, so go ahead and explore some new low carb taste experiences at your next cocktail party.

More low carb drink ideas

If you’re now inspired to start getting creative with different kinds of low carb alcoholic drinks, there are plenty of ideas out there to keep you entertained. For example, this great collection of low carb drink ideas from Georgina over at StepAwayFromTheCarbs.com is sure to give you some ideas to try with your next dinner guests.

Conclusion

As the saying goes, everything in moderation. This is especially true with alcoholic drinks. However, low carb dieters should have no fears about indulging in the occasional glass of wine or nice single malt scotch. Alcoholic drinks should be treated with the same diligence as anything else you eat on the low carb diet. Simply keep track of your carbs and the math will easily tell you what your best choices are. We hope that you’ve found this information helpful! Cheers!

low-carb-lunch

Guide to the Low Carb Brunch

Guide to the Low Carb Brunch

Planning the perfect brunch menu can be easy, even when you’re on the low carb diet. Traditional brunch dishes cover a wide range of foods and flavours, many of which are inherently low carb already, and those that may contain higher amounts of carbs are easy to alter or swap out to better fit your diet needs. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to plan a great brunch menu that checks off all the essentials, and keeps the carb count low. Let’s get right to it!

What exactly is brunch?

Brunch is not simply just a late breakfast or an early lunch, and it’s certainly not a modern invention. Brunch traditions date back as far as the 19th century, and the typical foods served at brunch have changed significantly with the times. The standard cuisine that was originally popular at brunch has evolved as it became known around the world, adding in new dishes as different cultures adopted the meal to fit their lifestyles.

Traditional Brunch Dishes

Brunch menus span a very wide range, with some being extremely simple and others quite complex. Depending on formality, the size of the group, or the tastes of the culture, brunch can be a very different experience from one day to the next. Generally, however, most brunches include the following types of dishes:

Breads and Pastries

Most of the carbs found at brunch menus come in the form of breads and pastries, such as bagels, coffee cakes, waffles, pancakes, blintzes, crepes, muffins, and others. Breads and pastries are popular elements of brunch due to their wide range of flavours and tendency to be customizable for the unique taste of the individual. For example, a Belgian waffle can be topped with everything from maple syrup to a pile of fresh fruit or whipped cream, and in any combination.

Low carb dieters are in luck, as there are many options available for low carb mixes that taste great and make perfect, fluffy pancakes and waffles. This pancake and waffle mix from Big Train is one of our customers favourites! Combine them with a sugar-free maple flavoured syrup from Joseph’s, and you’ve got your brunch menu off to a fantastic start.

Meats and Eggs

You’ll find a wide variety of meats and seafood suitable for a brunch menu, which is perfect for low carb dieters. Prosciutto, smoked salmon, shrimp, bacon, sausage, and eggs of all kinds are great additions to any brunch feast. In fact, smoked salmon served on a Thinables Fiber Gourmet low carb cracker with a touch of dill and some cream cheese is always a smash hit with brunch guests. An array of bite-sized salted and cured meats, along with assorted cheeses to accompany them, will give guests lots of flavours to explore, and will help keep the carb count low.

Another standard menu item you’ll find at nearly every brunch is the classic Eggs Benedict, which is a delicious combination of a poached egg, thick cut back bacon, a fluffy toasted English muffin, and rich hollandaise sauce. It’s a scrumptious dish that is simply essential to serve at brunch. Fortunately, Eggs Benny is easy to make the low carb way by substituting in a low carb English muffin or swapping out the muffin entirely for something unique, like a fresh slice of tomato. This great idea comes from Brenda over at SugarFreeMom.com. The cool, fresh taste of the tomato is a great contrast to the warm, rich flavours of the egg and the sauce. Here’s a link to the recipe Lightened Up Eggs Benedict (Low Cal & Low Carb).

Hollandaise sauce has a reputation of being a tricky one to make, but you can simplify things a lot by going with a mix like this one from Mayacamas. This gluten-free hollandaise sauce tastes great, and only needs a little milk and butter. Even better is that it’s ready in just 5 minutes, giving you more time to perfect your egg poaching technique.

For those brunch goers who are fans of bold, southwest foods, putting huevos rancheros on the menu is a surefire way to get rave reviews. Huevos rancheros are a delicious combination of scrambled or fried eggs, sautéed peppers and onions, Mexican rice, and a tomato-chili sauce all wrapped in a corn tortilla. Serve these up with some fresh guacamole and you’ll fall in love with this dish. Making low carb huevos rancheros can be as simple as skipping the rice and swapping in a low carb wrap like these from Mama Lupe’s, keeping all the amazing flavours but ditching the carbs.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruit of all kinds can be found at brunch tables, and often times this is when you will see some more unusual fruit choices to select from. In addition to the common breakfast fruits of berries, oranges, grapefruits, and apples, you will likely see a wide variety of melons, as well as pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruits. As a good rule of thumb, we recommend that you simply stick to the fruits that you know will be lower on the sugar spectrum, such as berries and melons. Avoid those fruits very high in sugars, such as grapes, bananas, and mango.

Brunch Beverages

Another way that brunch tends to differentiate itself from breakfast or lunch menus is that it typically includes some type of alcoholic beverage on the menu. Common alcoholic drinks served at brunch include champagne and mixed drinks such as a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or Irish coffee. Treat these drinks the same as you would any other alcoholic offering, and stick to your diet plan accordingly. Brunch always has many non-alcoholic drinks to choose from as well, including fresh juices, coffee, tea, and more, so don’t feel obligated to grab a glass of champagne if it’s not ideal for your diet.

Conclusion

Brunch is a great meal for trying out new and creative food options, and since the entire menu usually has such a variety of dishes, brunch fans are usually excited to try something different and unusual. Brunch is great for low carb dieters, and it really allows you to let loose and try some new flavour combos that you’ve always wondered about, as well as put new spins on old recipes to make them your own exciting creations. We hope that this article has given you some inspiration and some new ideas for your next brunch.

low-carb-tortillas

Tips for the Best Low Carb Tacos and Burritos

Tips for the Best Low Carb Tacos and Burritos

If you’re a fan of the big, bold flavour of Mexican cuisine, then you’ll be glad to learn how easy it is to fit Mexican food in to a low carb diet, including burritos, tacos, and all your other favourites. Fortunately, Mexican cuisine starts off with a heavy emphasis on meats and vegetables, which is exactly the kind of base ingredients that works so well with a low carb diet. From there, most Mexican dishes are then easily customized for the individual tastes of each person, and that includes substituting or subtracting any ingredients that may be higher in carbs.

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of ingredients that are typically found in two of the most common Mexican dishes. Tacos and burritos have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences to be aware of, and making sure that your meal stays low carb hinges on a couple of handy tricks that we are going to share with you. Let’s get started with the essentials!

Essential Low Carb Taco and Burrito Ingredients

Low Carb Tortillas

The basis of any taco or burrito recipe is a good quality tortilla. Since most tortillas are made with wheat flour or corn flour, this is where a bit of research really pays off for low carb dieters. Regular tortilla shells should be substituted right from the start with a low carb version, such as these amazing tortilla shells form Mama Lupe’s. These are one of our customers’ all-time favourite products, and they are absolutely perfect for a huge variety of Mexican recipes.

The key characteristics of a good tortilla are that you want one that is soft, and a little bit flexible, so that they don’t rip or tear easily when you wrap them up. Also, the size of a tortilla shell is critical as well, since you want to make sure the one you use is going to be big enough to hold all your fillings with enough room so that it doesn’t explode all over you. You’ll also want to avoid choosing a shell that’s way bigger than necessary, or else you’ll end up with a taco or burrito that is more shell than anything else.

Once you’ve chosen your tortillas, the next ingredient to look for is a seasoning that suits your taste, and the type of meat you intend to cook up.

Low Carb Taco and Burrito Seasonings

There is a wide variety of different dishes to choose from in Mexican cuisine, however the vast majority of them rely on a small but key set of spices and seasonings in different arrangements to give them their own unique tastes. Virtually every Mexican recipe will require some combination of garlic, oregano, cumin, and some variety of chili pepper powder. The type of pepper used will determine how ‘hot’ the food is, and many of them have distinct flavours, too. For example, the most standard chili pepper powder used is Cayenne, but if you’re interested in slightly milder heat and smokier flavour, you may want to choose Chipotle pepper powder instead. We recommend trying a few different types of chili pepper powder to find the ones that suit your tastes best, and deliver just the right amount of heat that you’re looking for.

To keep things fast and easy, many people will go for a packet of pre-mixed Mexican seasonings. There are seasonings available for every kind of dish that you can think of, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chili, and more. Be sure you choose a seasoning that doesn’t have any high-carb ingredients added. We recommend checking out products such as this taco seasoning from Mayacamas, or this enchilada sauce from Frontera Mexican Gourmet. They help simplify your Mexican meals with great tastes and low carb counts.

Other Taco and Burrito Ingredients

As far as meat goes, you can pretty much choose anything you’d like. Beef, chicken, and pork are all perfect fits, and most Mexican dishes are commonly served with any of those meats. Seafood is also fair game, and fish tacos or shrimp burritos are a great way to change up the typical recipes with a new twist to try.

Vegetables commonly found in Mexican recipes include bell peppers, onions, corn, tomatoes, and avocados. For low carb dieters, you may want to skip the corn as it does tend to have a higher carb count than some other vegetables. Pile on a few more peppers or tomatoes instead.

Burritos traditionally come with rice as one of their basic ingredients, but low carb dieters should find an alternative, or skip the rice altogether. Refried beans are also a common side dish with many Mexican foods, but are not something that should be included in a low carb meal. Instead, try some fresh salsa and sour cream on the side, or go for an extra serving of guacamole to keep the carbs down.

More Low Carb Mexican Ideas

For even more inspiration on low carb tacos and burritos, check out this great collection of 11 low carb taco recipes from Rozelle over at LivingChirpy.com. There’s lots of different flavour combos to choose from, and these recipes really keep the carb counts low. Give some of these a try and we’re sure that you’ll be making taco night part of your regular meal plan.

Conclusion

Although at first glance Mexican foods might look high in carbs, you can see just how easy they are to fit in to a low carb diet. Many of them are already low in carbs, and the others just require a few small, but simple, substitutions and adjustments to bring the carbs under control. Tacos and burritos are great additions to any low carb diet, and are a fantastic way to work in some exciting new flavours to your weekly meal plan that your family will just love. We hope that you find these ideas helpful, and that you’re inspired to give them a try!

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Tips for Great Low Carb Stir Fry Cooking

Tips for Great Low Carb Stir Fry Cooking

Of all the wonderful things that Asian cuisine has to offer, stir fry has to be one of the absolute best, especially for the low carb lifestyle. Not only are stir fry meals delicious, but they also are very easy to prepare and have nearly limitless ability to be customized to your preferences. If there’s a vegetable you love, throw it in. If there’s a sauce you don’t like, swap it out for another one. The flexibility of the stir fry method means that no matter what your tastes or your dietary concerns, you’ll always find a way to create something amazing.

Stir fry is particularly well suited to the low carb diet, as its heavy emphasis on vegetables and protein make it a perfect meal option with a very low carb count. Of course, just as with any other style of cuisine, there are certain things that low carb dieters need to watch for. Some recipes may call for particular ingredients that are higher in carbs, and some styles of sauces can have high sugar content. Fortunately, there are many low carb and low sugar products available that can be substituted for these ingredients, and nearly every stir fry recipe can be made low carb quite easily.

Tips for Preparing Meats and Seafood

When it comes to stir fry, fresh is always best, especially when it comes to your meats and seafood. Whether you’re working with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, or fish, you’ll always want to choose fresh over frozen for the best results. Cooking from frozen in a stir fry meal can result in meats that aren’t as tender, and will detract from the taste of the recipe.

Since wok temperatures tend to be higher than other frying methods, foods will cook quickly and require frequent attention in order to achieve the best results, especially when it comes to meat. The last thing you want in your meal is chewy or tough meat, so be wary of overcooking to ensure your meat stays tender and delicious. This is especially true with many types of seafood, such as shrimp and scallops, as they cook extremely quickly.

Regarding beef, you have a couple of different choices when choosing how you want to prepare it. Some people prefer very thinly sliced beef strips, which cook quickly and are perfect for many types of stir fry dishes that include some type of noodle. For stir fry dishes that involve mostly fresh vegetables cut in to large pieces, many people choose to cut their beef in to larger cubes in order to better suit the style and presentation of the dish. By doing this, you are also able to achieve different levels of ‘doneness’ to your beef that can’t easily be achieved with thin strips. Larger cubes allow you to prepare your beef to be a little bit pink in the middle, if that’s what you prefer. Keep this in mind when deciding what style of stir fry you are making, and what your personal preferences are.

Choosing the Best Vegetables

Now, your vegetables are where you can really indulge your personal preferences in a stir fry. While there are many vegetables that are considered to be pretty standard, and sometimes even essential in many stir fry recipes, there are no rules set in stone here. You can easily add, subtract, or substitute any vegetables for ones that better suit your taste and dietary concerns. Fortunatley for low carb dieters, many of the vegetables found in stir frys are already low in carbs, but there are a few that you may choose to avoid in order to keep the carb count as low as possible.

Bell peppers are an ideal vegetable for many stir fry recipes, as they are low in carbs, commonly found and also add a nice variety of colour to your meal. You should always have a selection of bell peppers handy to incorporate in to your stir fry creations. Bamboo shoots are another low carb veggie that is perfect for stir frying. Broccoli, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy are all great choices too, and are all easy to find at most fresh food stores. Just as with choosing meats, fresher is always better in a stir fry!

There are a few vegetables that tend to be higher in carbs though, and should either be avoided or limited when you see them listed in a recipe. For example, it may seem like virtually every stir fry recipe you see has onions listed as an ingredient, but they are a type of vegetable that can bring the carb count up if used in excess. When it comes to onions, don’t be afraid to reduce the amount or simply leave them out altogether. Carrots, leeks, and ginger also have higher carb counts, and should be used sparingly or substituted for alternatives.

Getting Saucy

Choosing a great sauce for your stir fry can really take the taste to a whole new level. Most people will be familiar with the most popular sauces like Teriyaki or Szechuan, there are many more exciting flavours that you can try. Stir fry sauces cover a huge range of tastes, with some being mild and gentle and others being bold and spicy. Depending on your tastes, you might opt for a lighter sauce like a lemon or soy sesame sauce. If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, check out sauces made with chili pepper, or perhaps a bold tasting sauce like Hoisin.

Regardless of the type of sauce, or how spicy it may be, be on the lookout for the sugar and carb count. This is where a lot of traditional stir fry recipes will get their carbs from, so a simple substitution here for a low carb version of your sauce, or crafting your own, will help keep the carbs under control.

Here’s a collection of stir fry sauce recipes from Yummly that has lots to choose from. We’re sure that no matter what you plan on cooking up in your wok, you’ll find a sauce that works on this list.

For a great tasting stir fry sauce that is really low in carbs, we recommend trying Yai’s Thai Almond Sauce. It’s a creamy curry sauce that works really well with a lot of different stir fry combinations. Try it with chicken or shrimp to create a unique spin on traditional Pad Thai.

Noodles and Rice

Even though many stir fry recipes recommend serving over rice or noodles, the reality is that you can skip these entirely and not be missing much at all. If you do decide to serve your stir fry over noodles or rice, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve chosen a low carb version to make sure your carb count doesn’t go up too high. There are lots of options available for low carb noodles, such as our customer’s favourite Miracle Noodles. You can find Miracle Noodles in a wide range of styles to suit your preference. If rice is more your style, you should pick up some Miracle Rice to go with your meal. Made from the same ingredients as Miracle Noodles, it has almost no carbs or calories, and is perfect for a wide array of Asian dishes, including stir fry meals.

Start Experimenting Today

Once you start getting creative with your stir fry combinations, you’re bound to have a lot of fun discovering new tastes. Don’t be afraid to try different varieties of ingredients, sauces, meats, and vegetables. The very nature of stir fry cooking is all about experimentation and discovery of new things, so take some chances and you could discover something original and amazing. For low carb dieters, stir fry cooking is a blessing for meal planning, since it’s so fast, easy, and flexible. Start working in some wok time this week, and have fun exploring a whole new world of low carb cooking!

low-carb-myths

Low Carb Myths: Busted

Low Carb Myths: Busted

With any special diet or healthy lifestyle method, it’s easy for misconceptions and half-truths to get spread around and make it difficult for people to truly evaluate whether the changes would be beneficial for them. It’s no secret that the low carb diet has its fair share of myths, too. Many of these are simply the result of incomplete information, assumptions, or just misunderstandings. We’re here to help clear the air around these common low carb myths and shed some light on the truth, so you can get the whole story on what the low carb lifestyle is really about.

Read a quick overview of the basics of the low carb diet.

Myth #1

“The low carb diet is just a fad diet.”

The Truth

This one is definitely the most common, and fortunately, it’s also the easiest to prove wrong. The low carb diet is in essence a structured way to monitor and moderate our intake of the types of foods that are closely related to weight gain and a multitude of other health concerns. Even though the term ‘low carb diet’ may be somewhat new to mainstream culture, people have been put on a variety of low carb diets by their doctors and nutritionists for decades, and the results are proven and effective.

Low carb diets are proven in a wide variety of scientific studies to be an effective way to lose weight and improve general health and well-being. Even the most widely-recognized low carb diet plan, created by Dr. Atkins, has its origins trace back as far as the early 1970’s. In addition, there are many instances of low carb meal plans appearing in health and nutrition journals even earlier, with some even appearing in the late 1800’s.

We’re quite certain that any diet with that kind of authority is the furthest thing from a ‘fad’.

Myth #2

“All you are allowed to eat is meat and vegetables.”

The Truth

There is a reason that it’s called the ‘low carb diet’, and not the ‘no carb diet’. While meat and vegetables are a huge part of the low carb lifestyle, there is nothing stopping you from still having grains, fruits, and other food groups. The low carb diet is built around moderating and adjusting the quantities and types of foods we eat, and understanding how our daily intake stacks up across all the nutrients that our body needs so that we stop taking in too much of the things that are making us unhealthy.

Most low carb diet approaches are just common sense, when you think about it. For example, you might not be able to have a bagel for breakfast, a foot-long sub for lunch, and then a giant bowl of pasta for dinner. That’s three out of three meals delivering a huge pile of carbs. Making sensible substitutions throughout your daily food routines, like having a grilled chicken salad instead of that foot-long sub, or scrambled eggs instead of your bagel, are where you will see the biggest changes.

In a nutshell, the low carb diet works by carefully reducing our carb intake and substituting healthier options, not eliminating all carbs forever.

Myth #3

“It’s a really complicated diet to follow.”

The Truth

There is a bit of a learning curve at the start of the low carb diet, but it’s not at all complicated or difficult to adopt. As we’ve mentioned, the main components of a low carb diet are counting the carbs we eat, making smart substitutions and changes in our meal plans, and living a generally healthy lifestyle including exercise. In fact, counting carbs is easier today than it’s ever been. We now have many tools available to help make carb counting fast and easy.

Nutrition labels on the food we buy is more detailed now than ever, and make it crystal clear how many carbs are in each serving. We also have health and nutrition apps on our smartphones that can quickly track and sum up our carb counts every day, as well as provide us all the information we need on how to make smart choices when dining out or searching for a new recipe. Low carb dieters have never had it better, or easier, than they do today.

Low carb specialty stores, like The Low Carb Grocery, make it easy to shop for a wide range of low carb products of all kinds. You can visit one of our many Low Carb Grocery locations, or shop online any time and have your order shipped right to your door. Going low carb is not that hard at all!

Myth #4

“You end up eating way too much meat and fat.”

The Truth

Just because the low carb diet places more emphasis on protein from meat, it doesn’t mean you get to eat all the bacon in the world. Too much of anything can be unhealthy for us, and that goes for protein, too. The secret to a successful low carb diet is proper moderation and adjustment of the quantities of all the different foods we eat every day. Carbs need to be reduced, and protein needs to be increased, but it’s not a zero-sum game, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

A large portion of the carbs in a typical North American diet are found in foods that have been processed, and therefore have had additional ingredients added as part of those processes. Going low carb means veering away from large amounts of processed foods and sticking to fresh, natural products instead. This means you can still have a hamburger, but the ingredients that go in to it will all be healthier versions with fewer carbs and more nutrients.

Myth #5

“Our brains need glucose to work, and glucose comes from carbs.”

The Truth

Certain parts of our brains do need glucose as fuel, that is true. Carbs produce glucose in our blood, that is true, too. But what this myth conveniently leaves out is that our bodies can synthesize glucose out of protein and other chemicals in our bloodstream, and that many parts our brains can also function by using ketones as fuel.

As carbs are gradually reduced in our diets, we eventually reach a point that is called ‘ketosis’, where ketones are produced as a result of the breakdown of fatty acids by the liver. The liver is also where a process called gluconeogenesis occurs, where protein and fat metabolism byproducts are converted in to the glucose needed to fuel the necessary parts of the brain not powered by ketones.

The Myths Go On

Myths about the low carb diet are so prevalent, there are dozens of other blogs that have also tackled this topic in order to provide clarity and facts to low carb dieters, including this one from TheFitHousewife.com that addresses myths about energy levels, saturated fats, and more.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, the truth about the low carb diet is that it’s not a fad, it’s not all about meat, and it’s not that complicated. Making the switch to a low carb diet can result in many significant health benefits, including weight loss and increased energy levels.

If these myths prove anything, it’s that no matter what healthy lifestyle change you may be considering, it’s important to always seek out trusted and reliable resources to make sure you’re getting accurate facts before making any changes to diet or exercise regimes.

Good luck with your low carb diet!

walden-farms-low-carb-food

Introduction to Walden Farms Low Carb Products

Introduction to Walden Farms Low Carb Products

Walden Farms is one of North America’s most popular and innovative health food manufacturers, and with good reason. Walden Farms products are top quality and made with only the finest ingredients, to achieve a wide variety of healthy foods perfectly suited to diets requiring controlled amounts of carbs, sugars, fats, gluten, or calories.

History of Walden Farms

Founded in 1972, Walden Farms was one of the first companies to develop salad dressings that had reduced calories and reduced fat in an effort to improve the health and well-being of their customers, without making sacrifices to taste or flavour.

As the success of Walden Farms grew, their product line expanded to include a broader range of categories for an increasingly diverse customer base. Products were introduced that were designed to help customers control their intake of carbohydrates, sugar, and gluten in addition to fat and calories.

Popular Walden Farms Product Categories

Dressings

Delicious salad dressings are the secret to Walden Farms’ success story. Since day 1, Walden Farms dressings have been praised for their great taste and texture, and are available in all the classic varieties, as well as some special creations that are exclusive to Walden Farms. Some of the most popular dressings available are the classic Italian with Sun Dried Tomato, the sweet Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette, and the zesty Thousand Island. Browse our entire selection of Walden Farms dressings here for even more delicious options.

Spreads, Jams, and Jellies

If you’ve been looking for a peanut butter alternative or something new and different to spread on your morning toast, you’ve got to check out Walden Farms spreads, jams, and jellies. Our customers agree that these products are simply delicious, and the huge selection of flavours mean that there’s bound to be something for everyone. Some of the most popular spreads from Walden Farms are their delicious Apple Butter Spread, Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Spread, and their Strawberry Fruit Spread. Browse the full range of Walden Farms spread products.

Dips

Traditional dips that you’d find at your regular supermarket are loaded with calories, carbs, sugars, and fats. Walden Farms dips, however, are healthy options that are loaded with only one thing; taste. From big bold flavours like blue cheese, to sweeter varieties like chocolate and caramel, Walden Farms dips are a tasty way to enjoy your chips or veggies with a bit of extra flavour and zest. We recommend the Bacon Dip and the French Onion Dip. Our customers just love them! Browse our entire selection of Walden Farms dips.

Sauces & Condiments

Walden Farms products also include a wide range of sauces and condiments for all kinds of cuisine and food types. If you’re mixing up some pancakes or making waffles this weekend, you’ll want to make sure you have a bottle of Walden Farms Sugar Free Pancake Syrup on hand to top them off. And your next turkey sandwich won’t be complete without the creamy taste of Walden Farms Honey Mustard Mayo. Lastly, make your next shrimp cocktail even better with the tangy taste of Walden Farms Seafood Sauce. There’s plenty of other sauces and condiments to choose from, including pasta sauces, dessert toppings, barbecue sauce, and more.

Even More from Walden Farms

There’s always something new to discover from Walden Farms. We’re sure that once you start exploring the huge selection of Walden Farms products at The Low Carb Grocery, you’ll be inspired to try some of these new tastes with your salads, desserts, sandwiches, breakfasts, and dinners. With Walden Farms, you can be sure you’re getting the best quality low carb products with a taste that’s tough to beat.

Shop the entire selection of Walden Farms products here at The Low Carb Grocery.

low-carb-technology

Cool Tech and Essential Apps for the Low Carb Lifestyle

Helpful Tech for the Low Carb Lifestyle

Adopting the low carb lifestyle requires you to learn some new techniques for tracking and measuring the foods you eat, and incorporating more exercise in to a routine that’s probably already very busy can be a daunting task. Fortunately, these tasks can be made much easier with a little help from some modern technology.

There are dozens of apps available for smartphones that are geared towards healthy living, including meal planners, recipe guides, fitness trackers, and more. Sorting through this mountain of apps to find the really good ones can take time, so we’ve decided to help you out with some top recommendations you should download to your smartphone today.

We’ve also gathered a couple of examples of some cool tech gadgets that can really help you with your healthy living efforts. If you’re ready to start, let’s dive in with a selection of great smartphone apps!

Apps

Carb Manager

This app was created specifically for people on the low carb diet, and includes a ton of utility to enhance the low carb lifestyle. In addition to a beautifully simple carb counter, this app also features helpful resources and educational information so you can stay informed and up to date. It has a massive recipe archive which you can search and sort by ingredients or your personal preferences, and has really handy meal planning and shopping list tools so you can save time and make sure you never miss a product ever again.

Carb Manager also includes in-depth reporting and analysis of your progress, and helps make sure that you know precisely how your food choices add up, and the impact that you are having towards your goals. It’s been proven that people to diligently track their food intake achieve better results, and this app makes it easy to do just that.

Virtuagym Calorie, Carb & Fat Counter

This app from Virtuagym is available for iOS and Android devices, and includes a huge database of foods that is validated by professional nutritionists. Using this app, you can save custom configurations for meals you eat regularly, add in your own foods, get regular reports that are easy to read and understand, plan your own nutrition goals, and track your progress.

This app also comes pre-loaded with a variety of diet plans, including high protein and low carb, as well as fitness-specific versions like cardio or muscle building. Virtuagym’s Calorie, Carb & Fat Counter apps is one of the top-rated apps in the health category. If you’re looking for a simple and effective carb counting tool, this app is a great choice.

MyFitnessPal by Under Armour

This app from Under Armour includes a complete set of tools for tracking food intake, weight changes, exercise progress, and even water consumption. This app has dozens of features in it, such as the ability to select from dozens of exercise types, set and monitor goals, engage with other users in the community section, and more. MyFitnessPal is very easy to use, and it acts as a complete food and fitness journal that you can use to track your progress right from the start.

Download it today on your iOS or Android smartphone and start logging your food intake and daily activity. You may be surprised at just how fast everything adds up, and it will become quite clear whether you’re lagging behind, or are staying on track with your healthy living goals.

MyFitnessPal also has a great blog that is updated regularly, and contains a ton of awesome tips and information to help keep you motivated. Check out their Fitness blog for great tips for your next workout, and to explore new exercise routines that you may want to incorporate into your fitness regime.

In addition to the utility provided by these apps, you can also enhance your healthy living activities with high-tech gadgets. Here are a few of the most popular ones you should consider.

Tech Devices

FitBit Activity Trackers

These awesome little gadgets from FitBit are incredibly popular, and with good reason. Available in several different styles and colours, FitBit activity trackers are just as much of a fashion accessory as they are a healthy living tool. These little devices are packed with sensors that monitor your every movement, keeping a precise tally of just how much activity you are getting every day. They transmit the data wirelessly directly to your smartphone, and you can see it all from the FitBit app.

FitBit trackers are available in many different styles, including tiny clip-on trackers, wristbands, and some even double as wristwatches. Once you start keeping track of your movement using an activity tracker, you start to think of new ways to beat your high score. This can be great encouragement for you to get out more and explore new types of exercises and activities.

Once you start using tech like your smartphone and activity trackers like the FitBit, you’ll really have some eye-opening moments on how your fitness routine and food intake really stack up day after day. As WorkingMother.com blogger Ellenore Angelidis wrote in this great blog post about her FitBit experience, you learn a lot about yourself and how your lifestyle needs to change to achieve your goals.

iHealthSmart Wireless Blood Sugar Monitor

Low carb diets are often recommended for people who suffer from diabetes, as the diet affects the level of glucose in the blood. This clever device from iHealthSmart makes monitoring blood sugar levels easy, and provides a simple way to track your blood sugar data, set reminders, and can even generate reports that you can digitally send to your healthcare providers and family members. Its compact design makes it easy to keep in your pocket or purse, and allows you to test anywhere, any time.

Conclusion

The key to success on any diet is consistency and dedication, both of which are made much easier with the right tools. By equipping yourself with the right apps and tech, you can help make sure that your low carb diet not only stays on track, but also accelerates your results and helps you achieve your goals.

We hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that you enjoy exploring the benefits that these apps and devices can deliver!

low-carb-bagels

Introduction to Low Carb Bread

Introduction to Low Carb Bread

It’s no secret that most of us eat a lot of breads and grains. A typical North American diet is loaded with foods that fall in to this category, including sandwich bread, hamburger and hotdog buns, bagels, wraps, cereals, cookies, cakes, muffins and more. It seems like the list of foods we love that use some kind of wheat or grain is nearly endless, which can be discouraging for those who either need to switch to a low carb diet for medical reasons, or simply want to change their diet to a low carb plan for general health and well-being.

Whatever the reason you may have for going low carb, you need not fear about the loss of bread from your daily routine. The fact is, there are dozens of low carb alternatives out there that you can swap in to your diet seamlessly for the traditional high-carb products. You can still have all your favourite breads and grain products in a low carb version that delivers the taste, texture, and convenience that you know and love.

First off, let’s take a look at why traditional breads are so high in carbs. It begins with the fact that most of the carbohydrates in bread consist of starches, which are digestible carbs, and fibre, which is an Indigestible carb. Generally, the carbs you need to avoid are the digestible kind. Indigestible carbs are perfectly safe and are essential to having a healthy digestive system.

Digestible carbs are the ones that your body breaks down for energy, and if consumed in excess, they will eventually get stored as fat. Eat too much of these carbs, and it will cause weight gain and a host of other health issues. These are the types of carbs that we need to reduce in our meal plans if we want to switch to a low carb diet.

Regular white flour milled from wheat is the main ingredient that contributes the most carbs to traditional breads and grain products. The flours used in baking low carb versions of your favourite breads and other baked goods are different because they are usually made from a different base material, like flaxseed, almonds. These different types of flour each have their own texture when baked, and as such will be more suitable for different types of baked goods.

If you’re interested in making your own bread, and are looking for a great low carb bread recipe, we suggest taking a look at this low carb bread recipe using almond flour from WholesomeYum.com. It’s simple, low carb, gluten free, and paleo and uses only a small number of ingredients to produces tasty bread that has a great texture.

Flaxseed is particularly common in low carb versions of bread that comes in loaves for sandwiches. Almond meal is often found in baked goods such as muffins and bagels. Whatever type of bread you are looking for, you can be sure you’ll find it at The Low Carb Grocery. You can browse our entire selection of low carb breads.

Here are some of our customers’ favourite low carb breads and baked goods that you can work in to your new meal plan:

Mama Lupe’s Tortillas – Soft tortilla shells are such a universally handy bread to have on hand. You can use them as sandwich bread substitutes, tear them up and swap them for chips when you’re dipping, and are perfect for whatever you’ve cooked up for Taco Tuesdays.

Bakers Deluxe Dream Bagels (Everything) – Who doesn’t love a good, toasty bagel with cream cheese? Not only that, but Everything bagels have a great taste that works with sandwiches of all kinds. Swap some of these in for your normal bread, and you won’t be disappointed when you make your next turkey club sandwich.

Joseph’s Bakery Pita Bread – Pitas are very popular, and with good reason. The soft texture and delicious flavour of pita bread make them a perfect choice for all kinds of lunch and dinner options. You can use them as wraps or pizza crusts, and you can even cut them up in to little pieces, perfect for using with your favourite dips.

We’re sure you will be surprised and delighted with the huge selection of low carb breads that you will find here at The Low Carb Grocery!

Explore – find your favourite bread, flat-bread, and tortillas!  

artifical-sweeteners

Guide to Sugar-Free Sweeteners and Flavours

Guide to Sugar-Free Sweeteners and Flavours

Regular old sugar is one of the biggest sources of carbohydrates in the typical North American diet, and it’s easy to see why. Sugar is a common ingredient in many of our favourite drinks, like colas, juices, and we even put it in our coffee. Baked goods like cookies, donuts, and pastries are loaded with sugar. Sauces and marinades frequently use sugar to obtain sweet taste characteristics. Even when we opt for what we think are healthier options like fresh fruit, there can be large amounts of natural sugars in them that many people simply just don’t notice.

Given how widespread the presence of sugar is in a huge variety of foods, you’d think that there would be no way to escape from it. For low carb dieters especially, it is indeed a challenge to limit and manage sugar intake in our diets. Fortunately, it is now easier than ever to substitute regular sugar for a completely sugar-free alternative and still maintain the sweetness in the foods we love. Sugar alternatives are now available in many different types, and in forms that can be used in everything from sweetening our drinks to baking amazingly delicious cakes and cookies. In this guide, we’ll explain how to identify regular sugars that should be avoided, and list the most popular sugar substitutes. We’ll talk about what sugar substitutes are actually made from, what their most popular uses are, and where you can find them. Let’s get started!

About Real or Natural Sugars

Natural sugars come in many different types, but they generally all have names that end in –ose. Some examples that you’re probably already familiar with are glucose, dextrose, lactose, and fructose, to name a few. While these are all considered to be ‘simple sugars’, their names tend to indicate in which foods you will commonly find them. For example, lactose is commonly found in dairy and products made from milk, whereas fructose is usually found in fruit and related fruit products. Regardless of where it comes from or what the name is, common sugars are all carbs and need to be carefully managed as part of a low carb diet plan. This means limiting your intake of food products that contain these natural sugars and tracking the carb counts correctly for each portion. While these can be substituted in processed foods with sugar alternatives, there’s no way to take the fructose out of an apple or pear. Fresh foods should be tracked and moderated for their sugar content carefully as you track your daily carb count.

Sugar Substitutes and Sugar-Free Sweeteners

Sugar substitutes have been available for quite a long time, with the first being saccharin, which was discovered in 1879 and introduced to the public as a sweetener in the 1950’s. Use of saccharin has declined in favour of other superior artificial sweeteners that are far more common.

Popular and Common Sugar-Free Sweeteners

Aspartame

One of the most common artificial sweeteners in the world, and also one of the most intensely studied and tested, aspartame was introduced in the 1960’s and can be found in thousands of very popular products around the world. Aspartame is made from a combination of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It can be used as a table sweetener in powdered form, and acts just like normal sugar but has an approximately 200x stronger sweetening effect, so less is required to achieve the same level of sweetness. Aspartame is used in products ranging from frozen desserts and gelatins to soft drinks and chewing gum. Generally, it is not ideal as a baking ingredient, since aspartame will break down in to its component amino acid when it is heated.

Stevia

One of the newer artificial sweeteners to be introduced to the North American market, stevia has actually been popular in other countries around the world since the 1970’s. Stevia has zero calories, and is made from steviol glycoside, producing a sweetening effect similar in strength to aspartame. Stevia has been used as a sweetener by some of the biggest brands in the world, including Coca Cola and Pepsi, and is commonly found in drinks and sweetener drops used to add flavour to water and other foods. Common trade names for stevia sweeteners include Truvia and PureVia.

Sucralose

Sucralose is made from a base of either sucrose or raffinose that is chemically altered to produce a sugar-free sweetener approximately 600x sweeter than normal sugar. Introduced in the late 1990’s, sucralose found a great deal of success due to its ability to be effectively used as a substitute for sugar in baking and other cooking methods and not breaking down from the heat. Sucralose can be commonly found in everything from drinks, candy, and desserts to baked goods and other prepared foods. Sucralose is more commonly known in North America by its trade name, Splenda.

Sugar Alcohols

In addition to manufactured artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols are also popular sugar alternatives for low carb dieters. Sugar alcohols can be used much the same as regular table sugar, and their sweetening effects are milder and not nearly as potent in as other artificial sweeteners. Sugar alcohols do not count as carbs since they are digested differently than regular sugars, and do not affect the blood sugar. Some of the most common sugar alcohols used as substitute sweeteners are Xylitol, Erythritol, and Malitol.

Sweetening and Flavouring on the Low Carb Diet

Low carb dieters are fortunate to have such a wide range of sugar subtitutes to choose from. You’ll never need to worry about missing out on sweet treats because of a low carb lifestyle, and there’s no need to force yourself to drink black coffee if that’s not your preference. It’s easy to find great alternatives to regular sugar in your regular routine, or satisfy the occasional craving for something sweet, and here are some of our favourites.

Alternative Table Sweetener

Fill your sugar bowl with an alternative table sweetener like Swerve, which uses the sugar alcohol erythritol as its main ingredient. It’s perfect as a replacement for table sugar, and you can use it in coffee, tea, and many other things that require a little bit of sweetness.

Alternative Baking Sweetener

Not all artificial sweeteners are great for baking, but this brown sugar alternative from LC Foods is made from stevia and works wonderfully in a wide variety of baking recipes. It’s as simple as swapping LC Foods Sweet Brown at a 1 to 1 ratio, so there’s no complicated conversion required for your recipes.

Alternative Flavoured Sweeteners

Artificial sweetener drops and syrups are available in virtually any flavour that you can possibly imagine. Everything from banana and berry to chocolate and caramel flavours are available in convenient concentrated drops that you can use to add a delicious twist to your favourite hot beverages and other foods. Check out the wide range of sugar free flavour drops and sugar free syrups at The Low Carb Grocery.

Sugar Free Recipe Inspiration

If all this talk about sweeteners has you getting a bit hungry, check out this great collection of sugar free recipes over at SugarFreeMom.com. There’s a huge archive of recipes for all kinds of sugar free cooking and baking, and they’re all fantastic. You’ll find ideas for desserts, frozen treats, appetizers, snacks, and more. Start exploring, and we’re sure you’ll find lots of ideas to try for any occasion.

Conclusion

Managing your sugar intake is easier than ever with all these alternative sweeteners available to choose from. You’ll be able to enjoy all the different sweet treats and flavours that the world has to offer with this many options, and you’ll never have to worry about your carb count going off the rails. We hope that this article has encouraged you to explore a few new ways to sweeten up your weekly meal plan, and perhaps inspired you to try a few new baking projects that you’ve always wanted to experiment with.

low-carb-appetizers

Tips for Great Low Carb Appetizers

Tips for Great Low Carb Appetizers

We love appetizers! Appetizers come in so many different varieties, you can find one that’s perfect for any occasion, any season, and any reason. Whether you are a fan of something light, crisp and cold to nibble on, or if you prefer the savoury, warm and comforting tastes of a hot appetizer, these little bite sized delights are the perfect way to start off a big family holiday event, or a quiet evening with friends.

Many appetizers, however, can be high in carbs and might not be the best choice for low carb dieters. A lot of appetizers involve things like crackers, sweet dips, sauces, pastries, and breads. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to change up traditional appetizers to cut out the carbs while keeping all the delicious flavours that you love. Here, we will take a look at some tasty hot and cold low carb appetizers that you can try out at your next event. We’re sure that you’ll love to try them all!

Cold Low Carb Appetizers

These cold low carb appetizers are easy to make with just a few ingredients, and they are definitely delicious!

Antipasto

This appetizer is actually a traditional first course in Italian cuisine, but the simplicity of it, and the variety of tastes it delivers, makes it a perfect option for any occasion. Antipasto is simply a collection of various Italian cured meats, paired with vegetables, as well as soft and hard cheeses. Most antipasto plates consist of meats like capocollo, mortadella, prosciutto, and salami, sliced very thin. You may choose to opt for spicier versions if you feel in the mood for a bit of heat. Popular cheeses for antipasto include mozzarella and provolone, usually cut in to irregular chunks for variety. To complete the plate, add some artichoke hearts, olives, and mushrooms. Antipasto plates will often include an olive tapenade as well. Pretty much everything on an antipasto plate is low carb, but if you want to swap any of the main items for some others that you fancy, don’t be afraid to mix it up with new combinations.

Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Dip

This dip is absolutely scrumptious! The combination of flavours from the three main ingredients play off each other and simply taste great together. Most recipes for spinach, feta, and artichoke dips are low carb already, but just be sure to review all the ingredients for any that might be sneaking carbs in. The basic components of this dip, aside from the obvious three, include sour cream, garlic, mayo, parmesan cheese, shallots, red wine vinegar, and salt & pepper. That’s a pretty safe list for low carb dieters. Once you’ve found a dip recipe that you like, make sure you choose a selection of different low carb crackers for dipping to give your guests an extra bit of variety. Check out our wide range of low carb crackers, here.

Hot Low Carb Appetizers

Now that we’ve looked at fresh and cool low carb appetizers, let’s look at a couple examples of hot low carb appetizers.

Dry Cajun Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are an absolutely essential appetizer for big game parties, and this version is a unique twist that is big on taste! Most of the time, chicken wings are usually prepared by frying them and then drenching them in a variety of sauces. This time, we’re going to change things up a bit by baking instead of frying, and using a spicy Dry Cajun Rub from Hot Mamas. Simply toss the chicken wings in the rub, bake them up, and serve alongside a low calorie blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping. The spicy Cajun flavour goes great with the cool taste of the dressing. Once you try these, you’ll be coming back for more again and again!

Meatballs in Chili Sauce

This savoury appetizer is perfect for those occasions like potlucks or holiday parties where there is lots to choose from, but rest assured that these tasty little meatballs won’t last long! These are very simple to make, and you can use your preferred meatball recipe or make it even easier and get some pre-made meatballs. Just make sure that the ones you buy don’t have hidden carbs in them in the form of breadcrumbs or other extra ingredients. Try to select ones that are either pure beef or pure pork. Once you’ve got the meatballs cooked up, all you need to do is simmer them in your favourite low carb chili sauce, like this Chili Pepper Sauce from Jok’N’Al. Our customers love this sauce for its sweet and spicy flavour.

Conclusion

With this collection of appetizers, you’ll have something new to try at your next family gathering or potluck party, and by keeping things low carb, you’re also making sure that your diet stays on track. These are just a handful of suggestions, though. If you’re excited to explore more options for tasty low carb appetizers, check out this excellent list of low carb appetizer recipes from the blog at lowcarbmaven.com. It’s chock full of delicious recipes that are perfect for your next big sports game party! Don’t be afraid to try a low carb version of any appetizer you might find. Half the fun is trying new things and getting creative!