All posts by Jeff Fidler

popular monk fruit sweetener

Monk Fruit Is A Popular Sweetener

Monk Fruit Sweeteners – What Are They & What Makes Them Different?

Sweeteners are defined as a substitute for refined sugar that can be added to food and drink to sweeten the flavour. People looking to lower their sugar intake can try an array of artificial sweeteners like Sweet ‘N Low, Equal, NutraSweet or natural ones like honey, coconut sugar, Stevia or monk fruit.

Monk fruit is the latest craze among fans of natural sweeteners but what exactly is it and can it actually make someone not miss sugar in their morning coffee or in their soda? Ultimately, if you’re on a mission for a healthy sugar substitute then you should leave no stone unturned. This means giving monk fruit a try. We’d be surprised if it doesn’t end up becoming your go-to sweetener especially if you’re on a low carb diet.

Let’s take a deep dive into everything monk fruit to give you a better idea of what it is and why it has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. This article will also explore some of the better ways to use monk fruit sweetener and how to incorporate it into a low carb diet.


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Are Sweeteners a Healthy Alternative?

Sweeteners have proven to be a worthy alternative to sugar. They are believed to carry little to none of the risks associated with a sugar-laden diet. At the very least, by switching to an alternative you can see several health benefits including decreased blood pressure and less chance of heart disease.

Remember, moderation is key. Just because you use a sweetener like monk fruit doesn’t mean you should go overboard and sprinkle it over everything you eat and drink.

What is Monk Fruit?

Sure, it has a funny name that feels as if it belongs in an Abbey but monk fruit is like any small melon. It’s a round green fruit that turns brown during the drying process. Originally cultivated and popularized in China and Thailand, it quickly became a staple in herbal remedies commonly used in traditional Eastern medicine. Prior to landing in North America, it was heavily relied upon as a sweetener.

Sometimes called luo han guo, this fruit’s sweetness is derived from mogrosides. Via solvent extraction, a powder made up 80% mogrosides can be procured and is processed by the body in a different manner than sucrose and fructose.

Monk fruit extract offers distinct value because it is unbelievably sweet, doesn’t increase blood sugar level and contains no calories when pulverized into a powder. To date, it is recognized as being completely safe with no known negative side effects, and is even recommended for people with diabetes.

This fruit is substantially sweeter than sugar, contains antioxidants and promotes better health for one’s immune system, digestive tract, glands and respiratory system. There are some schools of thought that monk fruit can also act as an anti-inflammatory, but this is currently unconfirmed by the medical community.

What monk fruit doesn’t do is just as telling. It doesn’t rot your teeth nor does it lead to kidney stones or raise your risk of heart disease, liver issues or weight gain. Additionally, monk fruit has zero carbs compared to the roughly 13 grams found in a single tablespoon of sugar.

Monk Fruit Sweetener Products

If you’re curious to try monk fruit sweetener, here are a few products worth checking out. You can mostly use these the same way as you would a packet of sugar.

Monk fruit also comes in some unique products that you can use to make desserts, treats or to sweeten pancakes and waffles.

Monk fruit is versatile and delicious. We recommend trying a few different types and including it in some amazing low carb recipes. 

Low Carb Recipes Featuring Monk Fruit

What better way to test monk fruit’s ability to replace sugar then by trying some recipes where sugar would traditionally be included in some capacity.

Bacon-Wrapped Maple Parmesan Asparagus

This sweetly delicious and hearty recipe can be used as either an appetizer or a side.

Get the following ingredients ready: ½ cup of maple flavoured syrup made with monkfruit, ½ cup of unsalted butter, ½ tsp. of salt, ¼ tsp. of black pepper, 1 lbs. of asparagus (washed with the ends removed), 8 slices of bacon and 20g of grated parmesan.

This is an easy recipe to make. All you must do is preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While that is happening, add the maple syrup, butter, salt and pepper to a pot over medium-low heat and bring it to simmer, whisking every so often so that it doesn’t clump. Take off the heat and place somewhere safe.

Wrap a slice of bacon around the stalks of a group of asparagus and keep it in place with a toothpick. Place the bundle in a casserole dish. Pour the cooled syrup mixture over them and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes.

You can crisp the bacon by setting the oven to broil for the last couple of minutes. Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks and add some more parmesan before serving.

Keto Coffee Cake

Treat your guests to this crumbly coffee cake that’s low carb and nut-free. They’ll love the sweetness provided by monk fruit and the moist consistency. Oh, and make sure to offer monk fruit sweetener for their coffee or tea.

The cake ingredients you will need are 9 eggs, 2/3 cups of softened coconut oil (not melted), 1 ¼ of cup monk fruit sweetener, 2/3 cup of coconut flour, 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract, 2 tsp. of cream of tartar, 1 tsp. of baking soda, ¾ tsp. of xanthan gum, ½ tsp. of cinnamon and ½ tsp. of salt.

For the crumble, you’ll need 1 cup plus 3 tbsp. of shredded coconut, 5 tbsp. of melted coconut oil, ¼ cup of monk fruit sweetener, 3 tbsp. of coconut flour and 1 ¼ tsp. of cinnamon.

The directions are simple. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×9 pan with coconut oil. Add eggs to a bowl with coconut oil and vanilla extract and mix for 2 minutes, making sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix with an electric mixer on low until a dough has formed. Place the dough in the greased pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Now, mix all the crumble ingredients together with a spoon. Remove the pan from the oven and once it has cooled, add the topping and you’re done! 

Try Monk Fruit Sweetener Today!

Monk fruit is a great addition to any nutritious diet especially low carb ones. It allows food and drinks to maintain their sweetness without harming your health in the same way that sugar products often do.

Browse our aisles to find a variety of monk fruit sweeteners and products to discover just how amazing it is. It’s the perfect remedy for people with an insatiable sweet tooth.


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fit as family this summer

Fun Activities For The Family This Summer

Fit as a Family – Summer Activity Ideas to Get the Whole Family Moving

This summer, get the whole family moving and sweating outdoors by finding some activities that are fun, challenging and offer the right mix of fitness and excitement. Plus, it’s always great to inspire your kids to unplug from technology and to enjoy some sunshine. It’s healthy, rewarding and can foster an interest in something new and physical.

Getting fit is the perfect complement to low carb diets like Keto and Atkins. It’s all about getting your family to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart disease or obesity. To start, we’ll look at the health and personal benefits of being active as a family. Then, we’ll look at some outdoor activities that we think your family will love. The last step will be choosing the one you think is the best fit and getting your family out the door in a hurry!

What are you waiting for? Get your workout gear on and get physical – old man winter will be back before you know it!

A Ton of Benefits

Most people recognize the physical and health benefits of outdoor activities. Did you know that they also have a ton of emotional benefits? It’s a widely-held belief among the scientific community and mental health professionals that simply enjoying nature in some capacity can be nourishing and rejuvenating.

Harvard Health reports that physical activity can reduce stress and prevent the onset of depression and anxiety while promoting better self-esteem. Regular exercise makes us feel better and allows us to get more in-touch with our surroundings, creating healthy feelings of escape and serenity. It’s sometimes hard to put into words but, for many, physical outdoor activities can be uplifting to our mood and spirits.

There is a neurochemical basis to these theories. Exercise can lower cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies and increase the production of endorphins, which have the capacity to elevate our moods. This is why so many people talk about a “runner’s high” or feel more optimistic after playing a sport.

Additionally, remember that our kids model our behaviour so the more we embed positivity around exercise, nutrition and spending time together as a family the more it can shape their attitudes on these subjects. You can’t feed your kids fast food for dinner every night and then expect them to naturally want to eat more vegetables.

Outdoor Activities

An outdoor activity should be something that each member of your family can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be easy but you don’t want anyone to get hurt or to push themselves too hard.

Here are some of our favourite physical activities. We’re sure there are a few that your family will love and want to do regularly.

Boot Camp

A boot camp is a fitness program that combines multiple workouts or exercises and are generally intense.

You can turn a boot camp into a family event by getting everyone to choose their five favourite activities. You can then incorporate all of them into a routine that can be performed in your backyard or a nearby park. Some examples of exercises you can include are jumping jacks, burpees, running on the spot and push-ups.

As a fun bonus, ask your kids to create a music playlist to match the workout.

Hiking

Hiking might not feel like an activity that will get the heart pumping but a long walk through a natural terrain like a trail or the woods can burn calories while not putting too much stress on joints.

It’s also a great activity if you want to inject some lively conversation into your family workout—something that cycling and running doesn’t always allow.

Dragon Boat Racing

A dragon boat is a long row boat that consists of twenty paddlers positioned two-by-two and one person who steers the boat. The paddlers must work in concert to push the boat forward and, like any race, the goal is to cross the finish line first.

This isn’t for every family but if you are looking for something more intense and teamwork-focused, then give dragon boat racing a try. It takes 12-20 rowers so unless you have a family that would make a great TLC show, this is an activity for multiple families.

In addition to being a great workout, this is a perfect way to foster some friendly competition and to teach your kids about sportsmanship.

Cycling

Cycling is an awesome exercise. You can tour your city or town while getting fit and can also stop for a nutritious lunch or indulge in some ice cream or gelato to cap off a fun ride.

If your family enjoys this activity, then you can graduate to longer bike rides or to some trails that are a little more challenging. While cycling is a relatively safe activity, be sure to carry a first aid kit with you just in case something happens.

Geocaching 

A few years ago, you might have noticed a lot of people running around and staring at their phones while trying to catch fictional characters. We’re referring, of course, to Pokemon Go, a geocaching game that took the world by storm.

Geocaching is a virtual outdoor treasure hunt where you scour an area using a GPS, looking for hidden containers or items. Some geocaching games force the players to solve clues whereas others only use coordinates and require players to navigate to a location. Best of all, it can inspire your family to meet and socialize with new people who are also participating.

This is a great family activity and you can work up a sweat running from one location to another, or you can find games that include cycling or other fun things like swimming or climbing.

Geocaching lets you to work up a sweat, explore and discover your surroundings and have a good time in the real-world.

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is a recreational game like a non-contact version of football played with a Frisbee. Invite some friends or another family to play, head to a field, and divide into two teams. This game lets you run around, jump and even dive to make an amazing catch on a descending Frisbee. It’s also harder than it looks which keeps things interesting.

The rules are simple and it can get the competitive juices flowing in a fun way.

Less Physical Activities

Not everyone can endure long hikes, running or cycling. Just because you or someone in your family can’t go all out doesn’t mean you must stay indoors.

You can try Frisbee golf, whimsically called frolf, or enjoy some leisurely laps in a public pool. You can host a backyard dance party tailored to the abilities of the participants, go on a nice neighbourhood walk or even enjoy a weekend of camping.

Don’t let barriers stop your family from getting fit as a group. Ultimately, it’s about going outdoors and having fun with the people you love. By injecting a small amount of fitness into your daily lives, you and your family will benefit greatly.

Shop for Fuel

Before hitting the trails or the lake, you need to make sure you and your family are properly fuelled and ready to go

Browse the aisles of The Low Carb Grocery to find ingredients for some nutritious meals that are perfect to eat before being active. You will also want to have the right snacks with you so check out our selection.


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canada day bbq ideas

2019 Canada Day Low Carb BBQ Ideas

Celebrate Canada Day 2019 with an Amazing Low Carb BBQ Feast

Start inviting friends and family to your place for a big Canada Day celebration, because we’re going to give you all the tips and advice you need to put on a fantastic barbecue feast that everyone will enjoy. We’ve pulled together a great list of things to consider when planning your Canada Day barbecue that will help things run smoothly and ensure that everyone has something delicious to choose from before, during, and after dinner.

First, Know Your Guests

Planning a great barbecue for family and friends begins with knowing what kinds of things will be a hit and what things you may want to avoid. Food allergies and dietary restrictions should be considered first. Be sure to find out what types of foods and drinks are guaranteed to be safe for all of your guests. In addition, you’ll also want to be aware of any guests who may be vegan or vegetarian and take care not to cook their food on the same surfaces or with the same tools that have been used to cook meats. This includes setting aside a section of your grill for those foods and using a separate flipper and set of tongs. These guests will definitely appreciate your attentiveness and care.

Start with the Snacks

Canada Day parties tend to start earlier in the day when the sun is shining and there’s lots of time to laugh and play before dinner is served. This means that you’ll need to have a selection of snacks for your guests to munch on throughout the day until the big feast begins. Offering a selection of hot and cold appetizers to your guests will help make sure that no one will get too hungry through-out the day. Things like veggie sticks and dips are always a great fit and work for pretty much all kinds of dietary concerns. Chips and crackers are popular, too, and there are plenty of low carb options to choose from. Check out this article on great low carb appetizers for even more ideas for things to  keep your guests snacking on.

Stock up on Frosty Beverages

Keeping your cooler stocked up with ice cold drinks is absolutely essential on Canada Day, which is commonly one of the sunniest long weekends we have all summer, that is if mother nature co-operates. So be sure to have a variety of beverages for the kids to choose from, including sugar-free juice, sodas and kool-aid. For the adults, low carb beers, low sugar coolers and ciders, and a selection of mixed drinks will keep everyone refreshed and smiling throughout the day and long in to the evening. Here’s a great collection of sugar free drinks that are perfect for hot summer days.

Offer a Variety of Meats

When it comes to the main course of the meal, we recommend offering a variety of different meats for your guests to choose from. Your typical barbecue fare of hot dogs, burgers, sausages, and grilled chicken is always a great way to fill up your guests, but why not include a new option this year? Kabobs are fast and easy to make and are always a big hit at a barbecue. You can even do a make-your-own kabob station, where guests can skewer their preferred combo of meats and vegetables for you to grill up fresh and hot for them. Sure, this takes a bit more time and effort to prep, but for smaller groups of guests, it can also be a lot of fun.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want to offer something totally different for your Canada Day menu, check out this fantastic selection of summer barbecue recipes that are guaranteed to have your guests cheering.

Don’t Skimp on the Salads

To go with your freshly grilled meat, you’ve got to have some cool salads to choose from. It’s important to note that not all salads are created equal, and many standard salad recipes can have hidden carbs in them that you may want to avoid. In general, stick with leafy green salads that include plenty of other vegetables, and let your guests dress their salad themselves.

Offer a range of healthy salad dressing so that everyone ends up happy.

Here’s a handy resource you can use for great low carb salads and dressings.

Scrumptious Sweets & Desserts

Once the main meal is over, it’s time to indulge your sweet tooth and enjoy a nice dessert. If the day has been sunny and hot, consider offering a selection of frosty treats like sugar-free freezies, ice pops, ice cream and milkshakes. There are dozens of low carb and low sugar dessert recipes you can choose from to suit any style and any taste, from creamy and chocolatey to fresh and fruity. Here’s an amazing set of low carb dessert ideas that you can use for inspiration.

Finish with a Bang

Everyone loves a great firework show once the sunshine fades and things start to get dark. This year, kick things up a notch and put on a fantastic show for the kids by asking everyone to chip in a bit of money and get some big fireworks to end the evening with a really cool light show!

Forget roadside stands or the multipacks available at convenience stores. Buy your fireworks online as you’ll get more “bang” for your buck. Some of the biggest retailers include Kaboom, K&H Fireworks, and Victory Fireworks.  You can even see videos of what the different named fireworks will look like, so you know what to expect.

From flashy and sparkly to big and loud, you can find something that will make everyone ooh and aah!

Conclusion

Here at The Low Carb Grocery, we are proud to be Canadian! We certainly hope that this collection of ideas and recipes has inspired you to try something new and fun during the Canada Day long weekend this year.

Hosting a big barbecue with family and friends can be easy with the right planning, and with these tips we’re sure that your menu will be getting rave reviews from guests of all ages. Happy Canada Day everyone!

low carb summer grill recipes

Summer Grill Recipes – The Low Carb Way

Exciting New Grill Recipes to Try this Summer

Perfect cross-hatching, the smell of smoke wafting in a backyard, marbled meats—these can mean only one thing…it’s time to fire up the grill because summer has arrived.

Grilling is an art form independent of cooking. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran or developing a newfound love of the barbecue, all you need is the right ingredients and some inspired recipes.

To help kick the summer grilling season into gear, we’ll introduce you to some recipes that feature seasonal produce and tender proteins begging to be kissed by a flame. Of course, each recipe fits perfectly into popular low carb diets like Atkins and Keto.


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The Awesomeness of Grilling

Grilling food on a barbecue is a fun event that often lends itself to backyard get-togethers or big family dinners. The smoky scent can even draw out your reclusive neighbours.

Food prepared on the grill should have a nice char, which means slightly burned or blackened, and rendered fat. Rendered fat intensifies the flavour of meat and makes it leaner. Because a lot of the fat drips off as the food cooks it’s a healthier alternative to frying with less calories in addition to greater depth of flavour.

Whatever protein you choose, you should try pairing it with the perfect low carb barbecue sauce.

Here are a few of our more popular brands:

These perfectly complement just about any grilling recipe.

Beef Recipes 

Beef lovers should add these recipes to their weekly meal plan immediately. Each is easy-to-make and features a unique twist.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

A flat iron steak is a cut of beef that is extremely flavourful and relatively affordable. Try this recipe which pairs it with a vibrant, fresh chimichurri sauce.

To start, gather these ingredients to make both the steak and the sauce: one flat iron steak (1 ½  – 2 lbs), Montreal Steak Seasoning (optional), ½ cup of finely chopped cilantro, ½ cup of finely chopped flat lead parsley, 2 tbsp. of garlic, 2 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. of Aleppo pepper flakes (or a smaller amount of cayenne), 1 tsp. of ground cumin and ½ cup of olive oil.

To cook the steak, make sure it is at room temperature by removing it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat your barbecue to medium-high heat. Place the steak on the rack at an angle. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then move it 45 degrees and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Flip the steak and continue cooking until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. Medium rare usually takes about 12 minutes. Once you’re happy with your steak, take it off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to reconstitute. Thinly cut into slices across the grain.

To make the sauce, toss the cilantro, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, pepper and cumin into a bowl and give it a good stir. Add the olive oil and blend well so that it emulsifies.

Spoon the chimichurri over the steak and serve to your family or some very happy guests.

Low Carb Steak and Mushroom Kabob

A kabob is usually a combination of meat and vegetables cooked on a skewer. They let you mix different flavours, have fun with seasoning and are easy to grill. Cooking these on a barbecue makes them so tender they’ll practically melt in your mouth.

We recommend using a top sirloin or a New York steak. Create a marinade by mixing together ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. of garlic powder, ½ tsp. of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Place the cubed meat and the marinade in a Ziploc bag, give it a shake and refrigerate for one hour.

Next, wash the mushrooms and let them dry naturally in a colander. Afterwards, add them to the marinating steak and let it all sit for another hour. Crank the grill to high and make sure it is oiled so that the kabobs won’t stick.

Build your skewers by alternating between steak and mushrooms. Grill until the steak reaches the temperature you want. For medium rare, it should take about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill, let it rest for a minute and then remove from the skewer or serve as is.

We recommend enjoying this dish with a side of Hickory Flavoured – G. Hughes Smokehouse Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce.

Chicken Recipe

Chicken is a perfect summer protein and cooking it on the grill keeps it juicy while bringing out its natural flavour. Here is a chicken kabob recipe you will love.

You need four large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and some high smoke-point oil. For the marinade, gather ¼ cup of peanut oil, ¼ cup of soy sauce, 1 tbsp. of garlic puree, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 3 tbsp. of lime juice, 2 tbsp. of Sriracha.

Trim the chicken and cut into chunks. Next, mix oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice and garlic. Add the chicken to the marinade and let it soak for 6-8 hours.

Heat the grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken on skewers and be sure to keep the marinade close by as it is also a glaze you will be using during the cook. Add the skewers to the grill and baste generously with the glaze. Rotate the chicken every four minutes, continuously adding glaze. Total cook time should be 12-13 minutes but it does depend on the heat of the grill and the size of the chicken.

To enhance this dish, splatter some of Guys Bacon BBQ Sauce on top. It mixes wonderfully with Sriracha.

Fish and Seafood Recipes

Mediterranean Swordfish Steaks

Swordfish isn’t the most popular choice for grill fans but it’s always good to try new things. This meaty steak can handle the heat and takes on strong flavours very well. Enjoy this recipe that will have you craving swordfish often.

All you need is ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 fl. oz. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. oregano, ½ tsp. lemon zest, ½ tsp. dried rosemary, ½ tsp. of salt, ½ tsp. of black pepper and a cut of swordfish that weighs about 1 ½ lbs.

It couldn’t be easier to grill this delectable dish. Simply zest and juice the lemon. Mix them with olive oil, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Coat the swordfish with this marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Get your grill up to medium. Cook the swordfish for 5 minutes on each side until it’s at medium.

We love adding a little hot sauce to this dish and find that Hot Mamas – Splash Caribbean Gold takes it up a level.

Find Amazing Ingredients Today!

We hope you give these recipes a try or let your imagination run wild while you’re grilling this summer. Remember, winter is right around the corner.

You can find the best ingredients for the most wonderful grilling recipes on the shelves of The Low Carb Grocery. Check out our selection of sauces that will enhance any protein or vegetable you toss on the barbecue.


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pepper heat and flavour guide

Heat & Flavour Profile For Pepper Lovers

The Heat & Flavour Guide to Hot Peppers

Peppers might be the most versatile ingredient around. Not only can it be the centerpiece of a delicious meal but it can also add hints of flavour and heat to run-of-the-mill dishes. Additionally, they have a great texture and are easy to prepare and cook.

With respect to peppers, most people aren’t completely aware of how complex some of their flavours are and how to best deploy them as an ingredient. Just as important, many bite into a pepper thinking it’s a moderately hot jalapeno or even a sweet bell pepper only to discover it’s actually a scotch bonnet. Trust us, it happens.

We’re here to help pepper fans discover new depths to their enjoyment of this timeless food that can be used in a multitude of ways. Let’s start by breaking down the different type of peppers and how their flavour profiles differ. Next, we’ll explore how someone can gauge the heat so that there are no surprises. Lastly, we’re going to share some amazing pepper-forward recipes with ingredients from The Low Carb Grocery.

We’ll help get one step closer to becoming a pepper connoisseur.

The Origins of Hot Peppers 

Peppers have been around since before 7500 BC. Botanists consider them to be the first self-populating plant to ever be cultivated in Mexico, and Christopher Columbus is believed to be one of the first Europeans to encounter a pepper. Today, they are grown in many parts of the world with the largest amount being produced in Asia.

Types of Peppers 

Essentially, there are five varieties of Chile peppers derived from the Capsicum herb:

  • Annum
  • Baccatum
  • Chienense
  • Frutescens
  • Pubescens

Across the different varieties, peppers come in a ton of shapes and sizes and range from sweet to hot. The real way to tell them apart is by how they taste—raw and cooked—and their potency with respect to heat.

The right pepper for your pasta primavera might not be the right one for your sausage dish and you might not want to use De Arbol for the stuffed peppers you plan to serve your children. 

Flavour Profiles

People tend to lump peppers into one of two categories: sweet or hot. This doesn’t acknowledge the depths of flavour exhibited by peppers.

Here are the unique flavour profiles for some of the more popular types:

Ancho, which is a dried poblano, has a subtle fruity flavour with a hint of plum and a touch of bitterness that hits that back of your throat.

De Arbol has an earthy flavour with an undertone of nuttiness. This is a great addition to your favourite salsa recipe.

Habanero are a nice mix of intense heat and fruitiness. Its natural flavour is reminiscent of tropical fruits like papaya but with a more berry-like finish.

Scotch Bonnet, named for its resemblance to a bonnet popularized by Scottish fashions, is like a habanero but with an uptick in sweetness and slightly less heat. Many find it to taste like a mixture of tomatoes, apples and cherries.

We’ll group Tabasco and Thai Chiles together as they are the foundation of two iconic hot sauces, one obviously being Tabasco Sauce and the other is Sriracha. They both have a nice acidic taste which cuts through the heat and mix well with ingredients like sugar, garlic and salt.

Flavour is key but people gravitate to peppers for that intense heat.

In the case of Scotch Bonnets and Ghost Peppers, a little bit can transform a mild-mannered dish into something full of natural heat and spice.

How to Gauge Heat

The best way to determine heat is by consulting the Scoville scale, which measures the heat of peppers by assigning Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This method can also measure the heat of hot sauces that feature peppers.

At the bottom of the scale is the reliable bell pepper. This isn’t surprising as it is a common food for young children and is known more for its unique sweetness. Here is how the rest of the scale breaks down. All units are measured in SHU:

There are a couple higher levels which cover standard pepper spray and Pure Capsaicin but those should never be consumed even on a dare.

It’s only the 0-800 SHU level that are of considered mild to moderately hot. Everything else ranges up to incredibly intense heat and should only be eaten by people who are familiar with this type of heat and know that they can handle it. 

Killer Pepper Recipes

Now that you have a better idea of the heat and flavour profiles associated with certain hot pepper, it’s time to put on your apron and start cooking some hearty and satisfying meals featuring hot peppers. These recipes can be enjoyed by everyone including those adhering to a low carb diet.

Ginger Habanero Chicken

This recipe is a favourite of people on Keto and Paleo diets. It has nice heat, intense flavour and is easy to make.

The first step is to gather 2 lbs. of chicken (breast or thigh), 3-5 habanero peppers, 1 tbsp. of ground ginger, 5 garlic cloves, 1 white onion, 10 green onions, 3 tbsp. of ground cumin, 2 tbsp. of cinnamon, 2 tbsp. of coconut sugar, 2 tbsp. of coconut oil.

To make, chop all the vegetables and deseed the habanero peppers. Before continuing, wash your hands and be careful not to touch your mouth or eyes. Next, add the chicken to a slow cooker or crockpot and then top with all other ingredients besides the green onions. Give it a good mix and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four to five hours. During the last hour, add the green onion.

Atkins Ancho Chili Recipe

This is an amazing chili recipe that has great heat and depth of flavour. All you need is 5 lbs of trimmed top sirloin, 2 tsp. of salt, ½ tsp. of black pepper, 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, 1 medium onion, 4 garlic cloves, 3 tbsp. of chili powder, 14 ½ oz. of red tomatoes with green chiles and 6 fl. oz. of red table wine.

Heat 1 ½ of tsp. of oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the beef and sear it on all sides, which takes about one minute per side. Once cooked, transfer beef to a bowl.

Chop the onion and toss into the heated Dutch oven with 1 ½ teaspoons of oil. Finely mince the garlic and then cook with the onion until it’s fragrant and lightly browned. Mix in chili powder, tomatoes with green chiles, wine and bring everything to a simmer. Add the beef (and the juices in the bowl) and then cover the Dutch oven and cover and bake for 2 ½ hours. Give it a good stir about halfway through cooking.

You can even kick it up a notch by adding a small amount of either jalapenos or habanero or by adding some Tabasco Sauce to the finished dish.

Shop The Low Carb Grocery Today!

Peppers are an amazing ingredient that can be added to a ton of low carb dishes, including salads, stews, pastas or an array of sauces. Sweet and hot peppers can add a delicious crunch or touch of heat to any dish. Even a few splashes of a pepper-forward hot sauce can elevate a plate of noodles into something extra savoury.

Be sure to explore the lineup of Hot Sauces available at The Low Carb Grocery. There are some extraordinary flavours, including garlic, Caribbean flair or lime pepper.


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sleep better with low barb foods

Get A Better Sleep With Low Carb Foods

Forget Counting Sheep – Better Sleep With Healthy Low Carb Food

We all know the difference that a goods nights’ sleep can make in how we feel on any given day. Although it’d sure be nice if there was a single secret trick to getting quality sleep, the reality is that our sleep quality is affected by many different factors, and a change to any one of them can have a significant impact on how much sleep we get and how rested we feel.

Some of the many things that can impact our sleep quality are stress in our lives, our level of physical fitness, the surrounding environment, certain medications we take, and alcohol consumption, just to name a few. In addition, our diet and the foods we eat throughout the day can have a big impact on the amount of sleep we get and how effective it is at making us feel rested. Some foods are beneficial to sleep quality, while others have more detrimental effects on our sleep.

For low carb dieters, it’s definitely important to know how the foods we eat can impact our sleep and, in turn, our overall sense of well-being. Let’s start by take a closer look at exactly how food and sleep are connected to each other.

How Food and Sleep Are Connected

Your body is constantly working to maintain an equilibrium, or balance, that keeps everything functioning properly. In order to do this, we need things like nutritious diet, proper hydration, regular exercise, and stress management, among others. If one of these factors falls out of balance, then the body has to compensate in some way, and sleep is one of the first things to suffer as a result. If our diet doesn’t consist of all the essential elements we need, like protein, vitamins, and other nutrients, then our body doesn’t simply function as efficiently, and sleep quality declines.

In addition, certain foods can have different types of effects on the body when they’re consumed. Some prime examples of this are beverages that contain caffeine, which is a strong stimulant, and spicy foods that contain capsaicin, which has been proven to cause the body to produce endorphins and dopamine at an elevated rate.

Some foods that are more difficult to digest, or perhaps that our bodies are sensitive to, can also produce effects that cause our ability to sleep well to decline. For example, some types of foods are more prone to produce gas as they are digested, resulting in bloating and unpleasant effects in the bowels. Other types of foods, particular those that are extremely spicy, are known to be a cause of heartburn and indigestion in some people.

In many cases, these effects can be managed and mitigated by being attentive to how our bodies react to them and planning accordingly. Some people take steps in their routine to minimize the potential detriments to their sleep such as only having coffee in the mornings or avoiding spicy foods late in the evenings.

There are many types of foods, or ingredients in foods, that are well known to be connected to sleep disruptions. Here’s a list of some of the most common foods that you may want to avoid or simply regulate as part of your diet in your quest for a better nights’ sleep:

Foods That Can Negatively Affect Your Sleep

Coffee, Energy Drinks, and Caffeinated Tea – Any drink that is heavy on caffeine or is designed specifically as a pick-me-up is definitely something that you’ll want to limit to the early part of the day. Caffeine can affect your body for several hours, so sometimes that afternoon coffee can linger well into the evening. Switch to decaf if you really feel the need for a hot cup of coffee or tea and it’s later in the day, and be sure to use a sugar-free coffee creamer.

Hot Peppers & Spicy Seasonings – The body’s natural response to the burning sensation of spicy foods is to release endorphins and dopamine, which can stay present in the body for quite some time. This is why many people report that hot, spicy food makes them feel good when they eat it. Also, as we mentioned earlier, if you suffer from heartburn or indigestion with spicy foods, it definitely won’t help you sleep if you eat them before bed.

Alcohol – Even though alcohol is a depressant by definition, and has sedative effects, sleep is often disrupted when they wear off. This is why many people experience early waking or frequent waking after they’ve had a few drinks. Control your alcohol consumption and plan on stopping early in the evening if you want to achieve better sleep.

Sugars – Fortunately for low carb dieters, cutting sugar out of the diet has probably already been done quite effectively. However, if you find yourself occasionally indulging in sweet treats or like your tea or coffee with sugar, this could be the cause of your tossing and turning. If you need to satisfy these cravings, opt for one of the many sugar-free varieties of candy to avoid this. We’ve got a wide range of sugar-free sweet treats and sweeteners to choose from!

Now that you know the basics of what to avoid in your diet to help aid in getting better sleep, what are the foods you should reach for to boost your sleep quality even more? Here’s a few foods that are ideal for the low carb diet, and have shown to have positive effects on sleep patterns.

Foods That Help in Getting Better Quality Sleep

Tart Cherries – We know that it might sound strange, but studies have shown that tart cherries and juice made from them can have a positive effect on sleep quality thanks to the presence of anti-inflammatories and naturally-occurring melatonin. Of course, low carb dieters should be sure to choose sugar-free varieties of tart cherry juice.

Salmon and Other Fatty Fish – While being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have already proven salmon to be a very healthy source of protein, recent studies have shown an increased emphasis on the importance of Omega-3’s on sleep quality.  This is great news for low carb dieters who are already sold on the health benefits and great taste of salmon!

Pistachios – These tasty little nuts aren’t just a great snack food, but they also contain melatonin and magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient and helps contribute to healthy muscles. In addition, magnesium has been shown to have relaxing effects on our body’s muscles, acting as a natural reliever of muscle tension.

Water – This should go without saying but staying hydrated is one of the absolute best ways to help maintain a healthy body. This isn’t to say that you need to guzzle a pitcher before bed and then have to get up multiple times to pee. Simply staying regularly hydrated throughout the day will help your body function properly and contribute to a good quality sleep at night.

Have a Great Night!

We certainly hope that you’ve found this information helpful in your efforts to get a better nights’ sleep. Along with a healthy low carb diet, regular exercise plan, and sensible approach to stress management, getting better sleep can definitely help improve your overall sense of well-being. Pleasant dreams!


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