All posts by Jeff Fidler

Taking a break from the workout at the gym

Keto Diets & Building Muscle Mass

Can You Build Muscle on a Keto Diet?

Here are the best practices in building muscle on a keto diet. 

You might think that muscles are only important for aesthetics, but there are actually health benefits to having more muscle tissue in your body! In this article, we explain why muscle tissue is more beneficial than other types of tissues in the body, and we provide tips for how you can build more muscles with low-carb and keto food products, along with the right types of exercise.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace personalized medical advice. A keto diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use this information at your own risk.

Why is Muscle Tissue so Important? 

The plain and simple answer is that our bodies need muscle to survive. Did you remember that your heart is a muscle? The heart, of course, is one of the strongest muscles in our body. It ensures that our whole body receives all of its necessary blood and oxygen. And our other muscles enable us to move and exercise, which are crucial parts of our lives. They also play a large role in our metabolism, weight management, bone strength, and resistance to stress and disease.

Metabolism and Body Weight 

Muscle tissues burn up to three times more calories than fat tissue, even at rest. Many people try to achieve a caloric deficit when they want to lose weight, which is when you consume less calories than your body burns. If you want to determine how many calories a day you should be consuming, it is important to take into account the amount of exercise you get in a day as well as your body’s resting metabolic rate – and this is where muscle tissue comes in. You will naturally have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR) if you have more muscle tissue in your body. This can place you at a more comfortable target caloric intake without feeling restricted.

Muscle mass can also help protect against metabolic syndrome and diabetes. A lack of muscle mass or inadequate muscle quality has been strongly linked to diabetes. This is because muscles play a role in insulin sensitivity by protecting against insulin resistance. When we consume carbohydrates, glucose molecules are stored in our muscles and are readily available to use for energy any time we need to move. This promotes healthy metabolism of carbohydrates. On the other hand, glucose that gets stored in fat tissue isn’t as easily converted into energy, which can result in insulin resistance (a type of metabolic syndrome) and diabetes. Therefore, the less muscle mass and more fat tissue you have, the more likely you are to develop insulin resistance, and thus diabetes.

To make matters worse, obesity (which can sometimes go hand in hand with diabetes) triggers inflammation in the body, which causes our muscles to break down. Muscle loss can make it harder to move, promoting a more sedentary lifestyle. A lack of exercise then further accelerates weight gain and more muscle loss. As you can see, this is a vicious cycle that must be paid attention to. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss program that can work for you. And, prioritize building muscle to help stop this dangerous loop.

Bone Strength

This correlation between muscle mass and bone strength may not seem obvious. However, our bones are basically encased in muscles and other tissues. In order to move, the bones must bear the weight of these tissues. It takes considerable strength to lift, carry, drag or move something under a heavy load. So, the best way to build strong bones (apart from eating the right nutrients) is by placing them under substantial weight. The exercises you perform to build your muscles will also play a role in strengthening your bones. This can become especially important in old age, as our bones tend to lose density and become more prone to breaking.

Stress and Disease Prevention

Muscles create additional stores of protein that the body can draw on in times of increased need, such as when we are stressed or sick. Protein is the main structural component of your body, making up everything from your bones, muscles, organs, blood cells, enzymes and hormones. When we become stressed or sick, this can cause deterioration or damage to these components of our bodies. Muscle mass allows the body to more easily replenish and repair these cells. Think of them like health insurance; an emergency store of nutrients that can keep you and your body healthy and recover more quickly from unexpected stressors! Diet alone can rarely deliver the required level of protein that your body needs during these times, so it is really important to have an adequate reserve of muscle mass. 

How to Build More Muscle

Diet

To build muscles – which are made of protein – you must consume an adequate amount of protein (20-25% of your daily calories). You also need to consume the right amount of calories in a day; an extreme caloric deficit can actually destroy muscle mass. If you are also trying to lose weight, a slight deficit might be okay because the body can still use energy from stores of fat in your body to make muscles. That said, if you do not have a lot of excess weight, make sure you are eating enough every day (check your BMR here and factor in how many calories your burn from exercise in a typical day, as well) . A slight caloric surplus is recommended in order to gain muscle mass – but make sure you are eating healthy foods to provide the right kind of extra fuel for your body!

Here are some substances that help you build muscle tissue:

  1. Whey Protein

Milk contains two types of proteins; casein and whey. Whey protein is often separated and used for improving strength because of its unique properties. It contains a range of essential amino acids (which are required for building proteins) and is absorbed quickly by the body. For those who have a lactose sensitivity or intolerance, whey may still be a safe option as it contains small amounts of lactose (especially whey protein isolate).

Check out The Low Carb Grocery’s selection of whey protein powders and snacks!

  1. Collagen

Collagen is found in your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, hair, nails and skin. It is the main structural protein of connective tissue, making it the most abundant type of protein in your body. We all lose collagen as we age, which is why some people may take collagen supplements to improve the appearance of their skin, hair and nails as they get older. But aside from its beauty-promoting benefits, it is also a key protein for healthy maintenance of bones and other important structures in the body. That said, it is not a perfect replacement for other types of protein, rather a great supplement to take to promote anti-aging along with other protein sources in the diet.

Collagen peptides are the easiest form of collagen to digest, so you will often find these in the supplement aisle at your local store. The most common forms are sourced from animals or fish. However, if you are vegan or vegetarian there are plant-based options, too! Check out Sunwarrior Plant-Based Collagen Peptides!

  1. Fish Oil

This one might seem a little strange, but fish oil is recommended for building muscle because it contains powerful omega-3 fatty acids that can help strengthen muscles. Specifically, the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are responsible for these effects. EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce muscle soreness after workouts, improve endurance, help you burn fat, and aid in range of motion. The point here is that omega-3s are incredibly important for overall strength and vitality to support healthy muscles! You can either take a fish oil supplement, or regularly include fatty fish (i.e. wild caught salmon, mackerel and sardines) in your diet.

Grass-fed beef also contains high amounts of omega-3s as well as pasture/farm-raised poultry, eggs and other meats. Note that plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (such as nuts, seeds, and algae) only provide ALA omega-3s, which are compositionally different and not as beneficial for the body.

  1. Magnesium

Magnesium won’t build muscle in the short term, but it is an important nutrient for long-term muscle growth and strength. This is because it plays a role in blood glucose control, which can prevent metabolic syndromes like insulin resistance that block muscle growth. It also helps balance and control stress hormones, which, as we mentioned previously, can break down muscles if released in excess. Magnesium may also provide more energy to support your workouts and help prevent muscle soreness afterwards for a speedy recovery. The type of magnesium that is best absorbed by the body is magnesium chloride. Magnesium citrate is also used for relaxation and recovery purposes. However, it is good to get dietary sources of magnesium as well, which can be found in things like pumpkin seeds, nuts, soy, raw cacao (found in 70%+ dark chocolate), leafy green vegetables, seaweed, and whole grains.

  1. Lean Meat

Of course, we can’t talk about consuming protein and not mention lean meats! Lean meat is one of the densest sources of protein and heme iron necessary for muscle growth, so it is always a good choice if you are looking to build muscle. That said, be sure to choose the right kinds of meat, as many processed meats and poorly raised animals can contribute to inflammation in the body, which breaks down muscles. Choose grass-fed and farm or pasture raised meat for the best quality and highest amount of nutrients. As mentioned previously, these meats also tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for overall health and muscle performance.

  1. Pastured Eggs

Finally, eggs from pasture-raised chickens are another great source of protein and essential amino acids (as well as many other nutrients). You can also look for omega-3 enriched eggs for an extra boost of muscle-building nutrients. Additionally, eggs are naturally rich in healthy fats which can promote weight management and help reduce fat tissue in the body that detracts from muscle ability.

Exercise

Unfortunately, muscle is a use-it-or-lose-it kind of tissue. So, it is important to do regular strength training, especially as we get older. As we age, many people tend to stop exercising, yet this is the worst time to stop being active as this is when we are at the highest risk for muscle loss! Starting around age 50, the amount and quality of our muscles start to decline. As the body’s metabolism changes, it begins to sacrifice things like muscle proteins in order to keep the heart and other vital organs functioning optimally. We must show our bodies that our muscles are worth having by using them regularly. And by eating right as we age, we provide our bodies with the necessary energy to keep our muscles strong.

Weightlifting is probably the first type of exercise to come to mind when you think of building muscle. That is because it is the most effective exercise for increasing muscle mass! Basically, when you lift weights, it creates tiny tears in the muscle fibres. Your muscles then repair these micro tears, which causes them to grow and get stronger. Weightlifting might feel intimidating if you have never done any kind of strength training, but many studies have shown that it is both safe and effective, even in older adults. It is especially beneficial when practiced consistently for at least one year. You don’t have to do dead lifts off the bat – even something as simple as purchasing a couple of dumbbells and doing a few reps of bicep curls every day or every other day is a great exercise (remember to allow your muscles time to repair!). You can gradually increase the weight as you feel comfortable to do so. Ideally, by the end of your reps you should feel like you can’t do one more, but you are not exhausted or in intolerable pain.

You can also do bodyweight exercises – these are easy, fun and require no equipment at all! This might include things like push ups, sit ups, planks, lunges and pull ups. There are plenty of videos and courses online that involve these kinds of workouts. Aim for at least 15-20 minutes of day of these kinds of exercises. This is another safe and effective way to work out all parts of the body, especially the core.

Aerobic exercise is another way to build muscle, although it is not as effective as the other exercise methods we mentioned. The word aerobic means “with oxygen.” So, aerobic exercise refers to things like walking, running, swimming and cycling that get the heart rate up to distribute more oxygen to the body. These involve repetitive motions of the large muscles, which can keep these muscles healthy and strong over the long-term. The key here is doing these exercises for long periods of time, as this promotes muscle strength and endurance. Aerobic exercise may be more comfortable for those just starting out their muscle building journey and those older in age. It is also a great way to achieve both fat loss and muscle strength.

Get Started Today

We hope this article helped you picked up some key takeaways for building muscle on a low-carb or keto diet. As you can see, there’s still no way around building muscle besides great quality foods and proteins and exercise. But, we hope some of our recommendation can at least make it easier – or better yet, more fun!

If you want to continue this conversation with us or our thousands of followers, please consider joining our communities on Facebook or Instagram. We also love to hear your personal feedback with a Google Review. Also, if you’re looking for the most up to date low-carb and keto news, plus sales on your favorite low-carb and sugar-free products, please consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Indian inspired health drinks to manage or treat illnesses.

Explore Guruji’s Pure Ayurvedic Juices

Discover the Health Benefits of Guruji Juices

Guruji’s Pure Ayurvedic Juices provide a range of natural solutions, that help maintain good health and manage chronic diseases. Discover the natural healing and detoxifying wonders bottled in these drinks, today!

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a wholistic, lifestyle-focused approach to health that has been practiced in India and its surrounding regions for more than 5,000 years. In Ayurveda, herbal medicines and remedies are often used to treat or prevent illnesses and to maintain good health. The rest of this balanced approach involves an individualized diet plan and practicing mindfulness through meditation and yoga. The goal of Ayurvedic practices is to balance the needs of physical, mental and spiritual health so followers can attain longevity, well-being and manage or prevent any debilitating illnesses.

Tips to Apply Ayurvedic Practices to Your Lifestyle

Although the intricacy and depth of a complete Ayurvedic lifestyle is a lot to study, there are some simple ways to achieve the principles of Ayurveda in your daily life. Here are some tips to increase a sense of balance, harmony, and well-being in your life and physical health:

  1. Eat minimally processed foods. Avoid packaged foods and avoid anything with added sugars, preservatives and fillers.
  1. Practice mindful eating. Chew your food, minimize distractions and set aside scheduled times to eat if you tend to rush or skip meals.
  2. Create a morning and evening routine to calm your mind before and after sleep. A morning routine could include drinking a cup of lemon water, stretching or doing a quick yoga routine, or even something as simple as writing down an agenda for the day to organize your thoughts. Before bed, be sure to take time to turn off electronics and do something relaxing such as reading, listening to a guided meditation or drinking herbal tea. These simple routines can help you ease into your day mindfully, and greatly improve your sleep quality.
  1. Spend more time outdoors! Nature has a very calming effect on all of us. Taking walks and spending time outdoors is a great way to calm the mind and relax the soul. 
  1. Understand that not every day will be the same. From time to time, we will experience changes in our bodies, mental states and physical health. Listen to your body by paying attention to things like energy levels, indigestion and the onset of any other concerning health conditions. You may not know what works best for you and your body yet, so it’s also a great idea to consult a physician and begin to try new foods, exercises and daily routines until you find what suits you.

If you are interested in more ways to live according to Ayurvedic principles, consider taking a look at this list of 20 Ayurvedic practices!

About Guruji Juices

Guruji is a brand of all-natural juices made from fruits and herbs that are used in traditional Ayurvedic practices for the maintenance of good health. Available in 8 different flavours, each with its own unique health benefits, Guruji Juices are an easy and convenient way to access the natural healing powers of select plants that have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Each bottle contains 16 servings, meant to be taken in small doses once or twice daily (do not consume an entire bottle in one sitting). Guruji juices contain no added sugars or fillers – as these would not comply with Ayurvedic principles! Keep reading to explore the amazing range of natural health benefits that each Guruji juice has to offer.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera has several bioactive compounds that help soothe the entire body. While you may be familiar with applying aloe vera topically to heal cuts and sunburns, it can also help heal the body from within! Drinking pure aloe vera juice provides a boost of antioxidants, can relieve constipation and soothe the lining of the gut, improve the immune system and hydrate and nourish the skin. It has even been known to reduce dental plaque, which can prevent cavities.

How to Use

Ideally, you should consume 20mL – 30mL of aloe vera juice mixed with water on an empty stomach. You can do this in the morning before eating breakfast. Waiting 30-60 minutes before eating or drinking anything else will allow the aloe vera to detoxify the body and cleanse it of toxins that have built up over night. This is a great way to have a fresh, light start to the morning and boost hydration early in the day when our bodies need it!

Amla Juice

The amla fruit, also known as the Indian gooseberry, has a variety of health benefits that can support general health and well-being when taken daily. Some of these benefits include boosting immunity, stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving blood circulation, aiding in eye, heart and liver functions, improving digestion and helping to absorb calcium, a nutrient that is important for bone and teeth health. All of these benefits are essential to general well-being and functioning of the body. Think of your body as a well-oiled machine when all of these functions are supported!

How to Use 

Take 30mL of amla juice mixed with water twice daily, preferably in the morning and evening. This will support proper functioning throughout the day and effective rest and recovery after a day of activities!

Jamun Juice 

Jamun, also known as the Indian blackberry, is packed with vitamins, iron, magnesium and potassium, making it one rare and powerful berry! All of these nutrients help the body to perform important functions and send messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Jamun berries also contain enzymes that help produce hemoglobin, which is a key protein used to make red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and help cycle out waste products such as carbon dioxide that are produced by our organs and tissues. Without enough hemoglobin, and thus red blood cells, we may experience symptoms of fatigue, faintness, cold hands and feet, pale skin and brittle nails. Taking jamun juice may be especially beneficial for those suffering from anemia or those who may not be getting enough iron from a vegan or vegetarian diet.

How to Use

Consume 30mL of jamun juice twice a day, preferably during the day, with or without water. It can also be added to smoothies for a healthy and tasty breakfast or snack. Those suffering from diabetes should check with their doctors first before taking jamun juice to avoid interferences with any medications.

Karela Juice

Karela, or Indian bitter melon, is a staple in many Asian cuisines and medicinal practices. If you have ever seen one of these spiky cucumber-looking fruits, you may wonder who thought to try it first! Yet, this lucky discovery has provided many wonderful health benefits for those who dare to consume this intriguing plant. Drinking karela juice is a great way to reap the benefits of this fruit if you are not familiar with cooking it.

Karela juice has the ability to aid digestion, promote glowing skin and healthy hair, cleanse the liver (great for hangovers), stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels and can also support weight loss. It has shown great benefits for those suffering from diabetes and can promote healthy menstrual cycles in women. Since karela is a great source of vitamins, potassium, iron and magnesium, it also supports numerous important bodily functions for the maintenance of general health and well-being.

How to Use

As the name suggests, Indian bitter melon tastes bitter and is quite unpalatable for some people. To make it easier to drink, it can be mixed with water, honey, lemon juice, ginger or other natural fruit juices. Try mixing 30mL with any of these ingredients and drink on an empty stomach morning and evening. Karela juice can also be taken with an equal amount of Amla Juice for enhanced effects.

Lauki Juice

Lauki – one of its better monikers (other names in English include Bottle gourd or calabash) – is a natural detoxifier and coolant that is the perfect supplement to take in warmer months! It naturally cools down the body, which can improve sleep quality, help treat infections, relive stress and is a great for post-workout hydration and recovery! It can also cure digestive issues and keep your heart healthy since it regulates blood pressure.

How to Use

Take 30mL of lauki juice mixed with water in the morning and evening, or after a workout. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes before drinking or eating anything else to let this fruit juice work its magic.

Triphala Juice

Triphala juice is an herbal remedy made from a combination of amla juice (33%), harad juice (33%) and baheda extract (33%). This trifecta of ingredients is a powerful detoxifier and has been used to fight infections and support the immune system. It can also alleviate digestive problems, stomach ulcers, UTIs and aid in weight loss.

How to Use 

Take 30mL of triphala juice mixed with water (and honey, which may improve the taste) on an empty stomach in the morning. Wait 30-45 minutes before drinking or eating anything else for maximum effectiveness. Due to its diuretic effects, triphala may cause you to urinate more frequently which can cause sleep disturbances if taken at night.

Be sure to consult with your doctor before taking triphala juice if you are currently on any medications for diabetes or hypertension, as it may reduce their efficacy.

Turmeric Juice

The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are not new to the health community; this root vegetable is often recommended to those wanting to boost their immune system, reduce inflammation, help fight against infections and prevent certain types of cancers. Turmeric has also shown tremendous benefits for preventing heart disease, since it protects against the formation of blood clots and reduces plaque buildup in the arteries. Its anti-inflammatory effects have also been shown to improve brain health; consuming turmeric can reduce symptoms of depression and even Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Use 

Turmeric juice can be best enjoyed in a warm beverage before bed or between meals. Try making a delicious turmeric latte by boiling 30mL of turmeric juice with your choice of milk or milk alternative. You can also add spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric (and the warm-and-coziness of your latte!).

Wheatgrass

You have probably heard of health fanatics downing wheatgrass shots – but do you know why? Wheatgrass, which is the young form of fully matured wheat, contains a high number of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and chlorophyll. All of these nutrients are essential to healthy functioning of the mind and body and can support healthy growth and functioning of the brain, muscles and immune system. Note that those with gluten-intolerance or carb restrictions on their diet can still safely consume wheatgrass juice.

How to Use

Take 30mL of wheatgrass juice on its own or mixed with a glass of water twice daily. When taking it in the morning, do so on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before consuming anything else. In the evening, be sure to leave this same 30-minute time gap between the juice and other food and drinks.

 

If you are interested in any of the above-mentioned products, be sure to check out Guruji’s full line of Pure Ayurvedic Juices.

Stay Connected

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Please also consider subscribing to our Weekly Newsletter, too, for updates on the latest products and special sales!

Healthy, low carb & keto options for charcuterie boards

Charcuterie Boards – Low Carb Options

Guide to Low Carb Charcuterie Boards

Learn how to make crowd-pleasing charcuterie boards with low carb and keto-friendly crackers, bread, fruit spreads, dips and other pairings!

Charcuterie boards are perfect for sharing with friends and family, especially around the holidays. They are simple and easy to throw together, yet one of the most impressive appetizers you can bring to a social gathering to impress and delight others’ taste buds! Plus, they can easily be low carb and keto-friendly with a few of the right ingredients. You can even make a mini charcuterie board for the perfect take-to-work lunch or snack on the go.

In this article, we cover fun and easy ways to transform your charcuterie board to fit the needs of a low carb or ketogenic diet. Discover low carb crackers, dips and spreads and other snack toppings for your board. The possibilities are truly endless!

And just for fun, if there was any doubt as to how to pronounce charcuterie, check out this short video (PS – some of the charcuterie boards shown will make you drool!)

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use at your own risk.

The Basics 

A charcuterie board, by definition, is an array of cured meats and cheeses, usually paired with something briny (like preserved vegetables) and often something sweet (such as grapes, figs or fruit preserves). In addition, small slices of bread or baguette and crackers are usually served to use for dipping, topping and scooping. While most of these ingredients are low carb and keto-friendly, some substitutions are required for a fully compliant charcuterie board.

Below, we’ll make our way around the charcuterie board and provide substitution ideas for those not-so-keto-friendly components.

Meat

Cured meats are generally safe for low carb and keto dieters. Just be sure to avoid anything with sweet glazes as these can sneak in some extra carbs.

Prosciutto, salami, soppressata (dry salami), spicy calabrese, mortadella, sausages, smoky chorizo and pepperoni are some great meat choices to add to your board! You can also use small pieces of beef jerky, which are kid-friendly and provide another option besides pork. Check out Nick’s Sticks 100% Grass-Fed Beef Jerkies or BUFF Bison Jerky for something more unusual (bison meat is also higher protein and has a richer taste)! You might also be able to find plant-based deli slices at your local grocery store if there will be vegetarians or vegans enjoying your board. These are often made from tofu or soy, which are also low carb, keto-friendly and high protein.

Cheeses 

Cheese is another charcuterie board topping that is generally safe for low carb and keto dieters, so feel free to choose any of your favourites. Just be mindful of cheeses that contain added sugars, like cream cheese and processed cheeses. Always check the ingredients and choose full fat cheeses. It is best to avoid anything advertised as “low fat” because these cheeses not only detract from your desired fat intake, but they are also more likely to contain sugars, modified milk ingredients (rather than real milk), have been stripped of many of their original nutrients, and they lack flavour.

Parmesan cheese has the highest protein content of all cheeses, making it a healthy choice. Brie, smoked gouda, aged cheddar, blue cheese, burrata, crumbly goat cheese, and salty gorgonzola are also great choices that will add some more flavour and depth to your board.

You can also add vegan cheeses, which are often made from nuts or tofu to provide some extra healthy plant-based fats to your board and options for different dietary preferences. Alternatively, you can throw on some raw nuts, which are a great addition to charcuterie boards, anyways. Check out Handfuel naturally flavoured nuts – practically made for charcuterie boards. Try Dry Roasted Lemon Marcona Almonds or Pink Himalayan Salt Pistachios. They are SO good!

Crackers

This is where it gets tricky to make a low carb or keto-friendly charcuterie board! Luckily, The Low Carb Grocery has tons of cracker options made with low carb dieters in mind. Check out some of our favourites below!

KZ Clean Eating High Fibre Crackers and Crispbreads

These Swedish-style crackers are low in carbs and perfect for dipping and topping. They are made from a blend of different seeds and psyllium husk fibre, making them high in fibre and protein. They come in 5 delicious varieties, including Cinnamon, Parmesan, Tomato Onion, Organic (plain) and Organic Chia. They are made with only natural, wholesome ingredients to provide clean flavours and just 1-2g net carbs per serving (half cracker). However, they are quite large rounds that can be broken into smaller bite-size pieces or used instead of toast for topping.

Rawnata Flax Crackers and Hemp Snackers

Rawnata products are made with the belief that powerful plant-based foods like flax and hemp seeds should be celebrated in their natural form. Rawnata Flax Crackers are gluten-free and flourless and provide omega-3 fatty acids that support brain and heart health. Rawnata soaks their flax seeds to soften the outer shell, making all of the wonderful nutrients inside readily available when you bite into these crackers! They are available in 4 unique and delicious flavours, including Mexican Fiesta, Italian, Cinnamon Goji and Sunflower Sesame! With just 2g net carbs per package, these are a great addition to any low carb charcuterie board!

Rawnata also makes Hemp Snackers, which are more of a cookie-like snack! But don’t let this fool you, they are still packed with raw nutrition and could be a great sweet addition to a charcuterie board. Made with hemp seeds that provide fibre, protein, omega 3’s and 6’s, and healthy fats. These Snackers are available in Matcha Coconut and Goji Berry flavours.

Liberated Paleo, Keto, Low Carb Crackers

Liberated Specialty Foods Crackers are perfect for paleo, keto and low carb dieters. They are made with high quality ingredients such as almond flour, cheddar cheese and eggs providing only 2g net carbs per serving! These tasty crackers are the perfect complement to other elements of your charcuterie board and are compliant with many diets. They are also gluten-free and peanut-free to accommodate these common food intolerances and allergies.

Cello Whisps

Another cheese-based low carb cracker, Cello Whisps are 100% keto-friendly because they are made with 100% cheese! These crackers fit right in on a charcuterie board between other cheeses and crackers and are available in delicious flavours that will complement the other items on your board. Try Tomato Basil, Asiago & Pepper Jack, Cheddar, Parmesan or Bacon BBQ! They are handcrafted and made from Cello’s award-winning cheeses, making them the perfect artisanal addition to your charcuterie board. 

Bread 

Toasted baguettes are another common feature on charcuterie boards, but this can pose some problems for low carb dieters. The solution is to find a low carb bread and cut it into bite size pieces. You can toast the bread with olive oil in the oven to get that crunchy texture reminiscent of a French baguette or crostini. Or, try Unbun Mini Baguettes, low carb and keto-friendly grain-free mini baguettes, perfect for sandwiches or, well, charcuterie boards!

Try them toasted in the oven with a bit of oil or butter and garlic for some extra flavour. Unbun Mini Baguettes are made with almond flour, egg whites, flax, coconut flour and psyllium husk providing lots of fibre and protein. With just 3g net carbs per serving (1/2 bun) they are a great low carb choice. See our full inventory of low carb bread and buns for more options!

Pickled Vegetables

Pickles, olives, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes are classic features on any charcuterie board. They provide a nice balance of acidity to the other elements on the board. Plus, pickled vegetables are generally low in carbs and keto-friendly! Just be sure to check the ingredients on store-bought pickled foods, as sometimes sugar is used in the pickling liquid. To avoid any potential added sugars, you can also pickle your own vegetables a few days ahead of time! Pickled vegetables are a great item to keep around the house since they last practically forever and provide great flavour to salads, sandwiches and other meals! They are also a good source of sodium, which is important to get lots of on a ketogenic diet since the body tends to expel more electrolytes while in ketosis.

You can also put some fresh vegetables on your board for dipping. These will provide a bright, fresh element to your charcuterie board to give you a break from the heavier meats and cheeses. Plus, it’s always good to get your veggies in when you can!

Fruits and Jams

Fruits and jams provide a nice sweet element on charcuterie boards that can also help balance out the flavours of the meats and cheeses. However, most fruits are not low carb and keto-friendly, especially dried fruits and jams.

Of course, you could include these on your charcuterie board for others to enjoy, but for a sweet treat that you can enjoy too, check out some of these low carb jams and fruit spreads:

  • MJO Solutions Fruit Spreads, made in Vancouver, B.C., contain just 1g of naturally occurring sugars per serving (about 1 tablespoon)! Sweetened with stevia and erythritol for a little extra low carb sweetness. Available in Strawberry and Blueberry.
  • La Nouba Fruit Spreads are sugar-free and made with low carb dieters in mind. With approximately 1g net carbs per serving (1 tablespoon) they are a delightful low carb treat! Try 4 Fruits Spread, Cherry Spread, Strawberry Spread, Blueberry Spread or Raspberry Spread! Made without any artificial preservatives, sugars, colours or additives.
  • Good Good Sweetness Keto-Friendly Fruit Spreads contain real fruit pulp and are sweetened with stevia and erythritol (no sugar added). They are low in calories and contain just 1g net carb per serving (1 tablespoon). Try these spreads in Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry or Apricot!

Dips, Condiments and Spreads

It’s not uncommon to find other dips and spreads on charcuterie boards, such as basil pesto, olive tapenade, hummus, grainy mustard, tzatziki, or simply olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Here are some recipes we found online for homemade low carb dips, condiments and spreads:

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There you have it – a complete guide to making low carb and keto-friendly charcuterie boards that are sure to wow your friends and family! We hope that you enjoyed reading this article and feel inspired to make your own charcuterie board with these tips! We are excited to see your creations, so don’t forget to share a photo of your low carb charcuterie boards and tag us on Facebook and Instagram!

We also love to hear what you have to say! So, please take a moment to leave us your Google Review. And for more low carb everything, subscribe to our email newsletter!

Replacement sweeteners and low fat milk and creams equal low carb coffee & tea.

Drinking Tea & Coffee – Low Carb

Can You Drink Coffee or Tea on a Low Carb Diet?

Your morning beverage might need a little modifying when you start a low carb or keto diet – find out why and how!

Getting the day started with coffee or tea is necessary for many people, but not always healthy. If you are on a low carb or ketogenic diet, or are thinking of starting one, here’s what you need to know to make your morning beverages low carb and tasty!

On their own, coffee and tea can be good for you. They are both full of antioxidants and can help increase your focus and mental clarity. In addition, the caffeine in coffee and tea can increase your metabolic rate and help promote fat loss. That said, not everyone likes to drink their coffee or tea black, and this is where it can get tricky to make your beverages taste good while still being good for you – until now. The Low Carb Grocery carries a number of low carb and keto-friendly coffee and tea helpers that can help you make your morning beverages low carb without sacrificing taste! Below are a few ways to get started.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use at your own risk. 

  1. Replace Sugar

The worst thing you can do to a cup of coffee or tea is add heaping spoonful’s of sugar – especially when that’s the first thing to hit your stomach in the morning. Starting your day with too much sugar can cause a number of negative side effects that you may not even realize are affecting the rest of your day. Consuming sugar in the morning can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash very rapidly, making you feel groggy and tired for the rest of the morning, and causing you to crave more sugar or carbohydrates to get your blood sugar back up. This can also cause your mood to suffer, which can be burdensome if you have work, exercise or other tasks to get done. In addition, eating sugar every morning can ruin your gut health over time because the “bad” bacteria in your gut feed off of sugar. Too much bad bacteria in the gut can cause digestive problems, food sensitivities and allergies, unintentional weight changes, skin problems, sleep disturbances and autoimmune diseases (where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells).

As you can probably tell, it’s a good idea to replace sugar whether you follow a low carb diet or not. The good news is there are tons of all-natural, zero glycemic sugar replacements that still taste sweet, without the negative side effects (seriously)! Stevia, erythritol, xylitol and monk fruit sweeteners are all great and safe choices. Unlike artificial sweeteners, consuming these won’t cause bloating, gas or other digestive issues (of course, still consume them in moderation). Check out our inventory of natural sweeteners!

And if you’ve never tried any of these natural sweeteners and aren’t sure which one to choose, read through our article all about sweeteners on this topic to help you understand some of the differences (we’re fans of all of them, though!).

  1. Try These Instead of Milk

Although 2% milk is low carb and technically keto-friendly, it may not be your best choice if you are trying to consume 70% of your calories from fat, as you would on a ketogenic diet. Also, you definitely should not be drinking skim milk as this gets you even further away from your ideal fat intake, and skim milk often undergoes extra processing and refining that removes a lot of its original nutrients, too. Instead, swap out your milk for heavy cream or half and half. It will make your morning coffee or tea taste even more delicious and keep you satiated longer!

For some extra flavour and healthier fats, you can also try a plant-based version of a coffee creamer. Here are some of our favourite choices:

Nutpods

Nutpods Unsweetened & Dairy Free Creamers are a great replacement for traditional coffee creamer! Not only do they come in delicious, sugar-free flavours such as French Vanilla, Caramel and Hazelnut, but they are also a great source of heart-healthy plant-based fats. The main ingredients include coconut cream and almonds, giving them the same thick, creamy texture as dairy creamers but more nutritious!

Califia Farms

Califia Farms Better Half Coconut & Almond Coffee Creamer is another great plant-based choice. Similar to Nutpods, it is made with a blend of almond milk (almonds and water) and coconut cream for a rich and creamy taste. It is also unsweetened meaning there are no hidden sugars and still room to add your own sweeteners!

Try making your own specialty coffee beverages at home with the following ingredients:

Mix everything together vigorously or use a milk frother or heavy-duty blender to get a nice foamy layer on top!

Milkadamia

Milkadamia Unsweetened Macadamia Milks are made from raw, never roasted macadamia nuts to preserve the pure flavour and nutrients of these nuts! Macadamia nuts are rich in several vitamins and minerals and are a good source of healthy fats, fibre and protein. Milkadamia is also enriched with added pea protein as well as vitamins A, D2 and B12 to give you more energy and nutrients to last the morning. Try Original or Vanilla.

Milkadamia is also a supporter of sustainable regenerative farming methods. Regenerative farming is extremely important for soil quality, underground ecosystems, reducing carbon emissions and producing more nutrient-dense food. Milkadamia started sourcing its macadamia nuts from a family-owned farm in Australia, the birthplace of the macadamia tree, where low impact farming practices are used. Purchasing Milkadamia helps support farmers protecting ecosystems.

Learn more at www.milkadamia.com (this is not a sponsorship, we just love them!)

Coconut Milk Powder

Coconut milk powder is a great shelf-stable replacement to liquid creamers. It is made from dehydrated coconut milk and mixes well for a delicious, creamy taste in your hot beverages. It is naturally low in carbs, while also providing some fibre, protein and a number of vitamins and minerals! We love Wild Tusker Organic Coconut Milk Powder, made from organic, non-GMO coconuts. Another great thing about coconut milk powder is its versatility; it can be added to sauces, soups, curries and other dishes as a thickener!

Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil & MCT Oil

For those familiar with bulletproof coffee, these milk replacements should come as no surprise. Bulletproof coffee has been praised by keto dieters for its ability to kick start ketosis first thing in the morning! By blending hot coffee (be sure to use a blender suitable for hot liquids) with butter, ghee, coconut oil or MCT oil, you’ll get a foamy, creamy keto-friendly beverage that will keep you satiated all morning or fuel a workout.

Coffee Booster

Coffee Booster is a line of keto-friendly creamers and liquid coffee boosters that provide nutrients for different needs such as Mind, Energy, Vitamins and Collagen. The creamers are made with MCT oil and available in Vanilla and Mocha flavours to turn boring black coffee into something delicious! All Coffee Boosters are packaged in portable dropper bottles so that you can take them anywhere or conveniently store them with your other coffee supplies. They are all sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Mind Coffee Booster is a flavourless liquid that gives you a quick mental boost. It is packed with L-theanine, B Vitamins and glucuronolactone. All of these fancy-sounding nutrients provide benefits such as increased mental energy, mood balance and improved memory function.

Energy adds Taurine and B Vitamins to your beverages to give you a boost of energy. It is also a flavourless liquid that can be added to coffee or other beverages.

Vitamins provides 5 essential vitamins in addition to other nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and biotin in a flavourless dropper that makes it easy to get your daily vitamins.

Finally, Collagen Coffee Booster allows you to add a dose of flavourless collagen to your morning beverage (or really any time of day) to provide benefits for the skin, hair and nails.

  1. What To Order From Cafés

Now that we’ve covered how to make your own low carb and keto-friendly versions of coffee and tea at home, let’s talk about how to order from restaurants.

It goes without saying that specialty coffees, Frappuccino’s and other sweetened beverages are off-limits for low carb dieters. That said, there are still many ways to achieve the same great flavours of these indulgent beverages without going over your daily carb allowance. While black teas, black coffees, americanos, and cold brews are your lowest-carb and safest options, there are other ways to enjoy café beverages from time to time.

Many establishments offer sugar-free syrups as an alternative to their normal sweeteners. Be mindful of “skinny” beverages made with these, however, as the “skinny” claim can still be misleading. It’s best to ask the barista to make your own customized drink than order something straight off the menu as the full ingredients are not always shown.

Start with a simple black coffee, espresso shots or tea as the base of your drink. From there, you can ask the barista to add heavy cream or almond milk (make sure that it’s unsweetened) as well as any other flavourings, such as sugar-free syrups. For example, you can try ordering an iced coffee and ask them to add heavy cream and a few pumps of sugar-free caramel syrup. Here are some other ideas:

  • Keto Vanilla Iced Latte – 2 espresso shots over ice with almond milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Keto Chai Tea Latte – steeped chai tea with heavy cream, topped with cinnamon
  • Keto Half & Half Matcha Latte – matcha latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup and leave room to add heavy cream

If you prefer to stick to plain coffee and tea, make sure to choose the right sweeteners at the store. A lot of cafés have a sugar replacement packets, but these are not always clean, healthy choices. Many cafés only offer artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, which can be harmful to your gut. If this is the case, you can purchase your own portion-sized sweetener packets and keep a few in your bag or in your car whenever you go out for coffee. We offer these single serving size packets of sweeteners:

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We hope this article helped answer your questions about coffee and tea, while on a low carb diet! We also hope you feel inspired to transform your morning beverages with our suggestions and recommendations! If you would like to share your thoughts or more ideas, join our social communities on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to share your experience with us, leave a Google Review! And be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the most up-to-date low card and keto news, as well as special announcements and product sales!

Keto & Low Carb Diet FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About the Low Carb Diet

Whether you are just starting a low carb diet or wanting to make sure you are still on track, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions. We break down the top 7 most asked questions about low carb & keto diets! 

Starting a low carb diet can be overwhelming at first. We understand the challenges that come with any major lifestyle change, which is why we want to clear up some of the confusion and misconceptions surrounding the low carb lifestyle. In this article, we answer frequently asked questions about low carb and ketogenic diets to help get you started or to make sure you stay on track.

With a lower carbohydrate intake, our body’s metabolic system switches into a fat-burning mode rather than a carbohydrate-burning mode. As with any diet, there are skeptics and advocates. The truth is, there isn’t one right diet for every person on the planet. The low carb diet has great benefits for some people, including those with diabetes or neurological disorders, and for others, it isn’t the best route. We hope to answer your burning questions to help you determine if the low carb diet is something that works for you and your body. As always, check in with your health care practitioner before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use at your own risk. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What happens in the first few weeks of the diet? What is keto flu?

Before starting a low carb or ketogenic diet, be aware that your body will undergo some serious changes at first. This is what happens when our body gets used to using a completely different source of energy, fat. Although everyone will have a slightly different experience depending on your previous eating habits and natural metabolic rate, there are some commonalities among first-time low carb dieters. These effects have also come to be known as the “keto flu” which may last 1-2 weeks before your body gets used to its new dietary regimen.

When we reduce our carb intake, our body starts burning through extra stores of glucose in the body. Glucose is stored in the body along with water molecules, so many people experience weight loss within the first several days of starting a low carb diet, although this is mainly water weight. The real fat burning begins after we have overcome the keto flu!

Some of the symptoms of keto flu include:

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sugar cravings

To minimize these effects, make sure to increase your water and electrolyte intake during the initial transition, and throughout the rest of a low carb or ketogenic diet. Staying hydrated and providing your body with the right minerals it needs (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc.) can make you feel better overall and specifically relieve symptoms such as headaches, nausea and constipation. We love this naturally flavoured spring water, Innate!

Sugar cravings can be some of the most difficult side effects to deal with, because they can hinder our ability to stay on track of our new low carb diet. Do your best not to give into these, as they are the natural result of the brain withdrawing from its usual source of energy, glucose (which is found in sugar and carbs). If your cravings become too hard to manage, try reducing your carb intake gradually instead of going cold turkey. These may make other keto flu symptoms persist longer, but they will be more manageable. If you are interested in learning more about this, see our complete guide to managing sugar cravings.

  1. Can medications interfere with weight loss?

Certain medications can interfere with a low carb or ketogenic diet, specifically antipsychotic and anticonvulsive drugs. In addition, if you are taking insulin for diabetes, your dose will likely need to be lowered once you start lowering your daily carb intake. If you have any existing medical conditions, please see your doctor before starting a low carb or keto diet as they can advise the best process for you.

  1. Should I use a carb counting app?

Apps that track your macronutrients are especially helpful on a low carb or keto diet and are a great tool to use! In order to successfully achieve your goals, you should avoid guessing how much you are eating. Particularly in the case of a keto diet, it is very important to consume the right amount of carbs in order to stay in ketosis; going slightly over your daily allowance can throw you out of ketosis and delay your weight loss progress or other health goals.

While it’s pretty easy to figure out the amount of carbs, fat and protein in packaged products by looking at the nutrition facts table, things like fruit, vegetables, cuts of meat, and other non-packaged foods may be a bit harder to track. For these foods, we recommend investing in a kitchen scale that can help you measure your food precisely. Also keep a journal (digital or physical) that can help you keep track of your macronutrients instead of trying to keep count mentally.

  1. What are net carbs and how do I calculate them?

Not all carbs are the same! Carbs exist in things like bread, pasta and sweets, but also in fruits and vegetables. These carbs are processed by the body differently, and some will pass through the system completely unnoticed (such as sugar alcohols) and therefore will not count towards your daily carb intake.

Counting net carbs is so easy! It just involves subtracting fibre and sugar alcohols from the total amount of carbohydrates in a given food. Fibre and sugar alcohols will not release glucose into the blood when consumed, and therefore have no effect on ketosis or insulin levels. Fibre can actually help stabilize blood sugar levels to regulate insulin production. The other types of carbohydrates include sugars and starches, which should be avoided on a low carb or ketogenic diet.

Below is an example of a typical nutrition facts table and a formula for how to calculate net carbs.

Net Carbs = Carbohydrates – Fibre – Polyols/Sugar Alcohols
= 12g – 8g – 0g
= 4g

Here, the total net carb count is 12g – 8g = 4g, of which 2g are sugar (the rest are starches).       

  1. Is the low carb diet the same as the keto diet or paleo diet?

Both keto and paleo are low-carb diets, but all three of these diets look very different.

A low carb diet is any carb-restricted diet, typically allowing for the consumption of 50-150g of carbs per day. The amount of carbs one can consume on a low carb diet may differ depending on individual goals and health conditions. It is common for diabetics to lower their carb intake since their body cannot process carbs properly due to insufficient levels of the hormone, insulin. You may also see people dieting for general weight loss who remove or reduce carbs from their diet. This is because carbohydrates that are not burned (via exercise or our bodies’ natural metabolic rates) get stored as fat. When we cease consumption of carbs, our body is given the opportunity to burn through these stores of fat, thus allowing for weight loss.

A ketogenic diet takes low carb one step further by promoting a specific metabolic state known as ketosis. This is where the body completely relies on fats (ketones) instead of carbs (glucose) for energy. In order to achieve this metabolic state, one must consume less than 50g of carbs a day. In addition, it is recommended to reduce protein consumption to about 20-25% of your daily caloric intake and mainly rely on fats (70% or more of the diet).

Paleo follows an entirely different philosophy, although it also happens to be low in carbs. The paleolithic (paleo for short) diet is based on the belief that we should feed our bodies only foods that our cave-dwelling ancestors consumed, as this was the foundational diet that led to our evolution. While this is somewhat controversial as humans have evolved greatly since then and we have access to many more food resources now, this diet is often praised for its focus on real, whole foods. The diet is mainly composed of lean meat and fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (anything obtained from hunting and gathering). It limits foods that we obtained through farming practices that emerged about 10,000 years ago. These include dairy products, legumes and grains. However, those on a paleo diet may still consume things like potatoes and starchy vegetables, which are high in carbs. There is no room for packaged or processed foods on a paleo diet.

  1. Do I have to watch my calorie count on a low carb diet?

If your goal is weight loss, then the answer to this question is yes. The traditional approach to losing weight is to achieve a caloric deficit, which is a state in which the body has burned more calories than it has consumed. Even if we are completely sedentary, our bodies still naturally burn calories through metabolic processes. You can calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to figure out how many calories your body burns at rest (i.e. not including any physical activity). There are several online BMR tools that can give you an estimate of your BMR, but they should be taken with a grain of salt as it is hard to accurately predict. In addition, you should figure out how many calories a day you burn from exercise (remember that even things like walking or taking the stairs count, you don’t necessarily have to workout every day). This should give you an idea of the threshold at which your body will begin to burn through extra stores of fat, resulting in weight loss.

The low-carb diet simply concerns your carb intake, and this does not necessarily mean that you need to count your calories if your goal is something other than weight loss. While many low carb foods will resultingly be low in calories, be mindful of low carb, high fat foods as these can be very calorically dense. Avoid over-eating these types of foods – although it is generally harder to overeat when you are eating nutritious foods. Overeating is more common with high carb, high sugar foods because they are burned very quickly and provide little nutritional value. Eating enough fibre and protein during the day is key to satiation to prevent overeating.

  1. Can somebody on a vegetarian or vegan diet do a low carb diet?

Yes! One of the main concerns about vegetarian and vegan diets is getting sufficient protein. However, on a low carb or keto diet, protein isn’t a huge focus anyways, comprising only about 20% of the diet. You can certainly obtain this amount of protein from vegetarian and vegan sources such as:

Be mindful that other sources of vegetarian/vegan protein such as legumes and whole grains would not qualify as low carb or keto-friendly. Many of the above-mentioned protein sources are also rich in healthy fats, which are an essential part of a low carb or keto diet. Whether you are a low carb vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise, be sure to include plenty of plant-based sources of fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and plant oils in your diet. Also, it is best to avoid large amounts of animal fat and protein as these can trigger stress in the body (things like bacon, sausages, refined butter and fatty cuts of beef). Opt for organic, grass-fed, farm-raised and wild-caught animal proteins and substitute in a vegan or vegetarian option once a week to get some variety in your diet and reduce bodily stress.

If you are interested in learning more about a vegetarian or vegan approach to a low carb or keto diet, check out our full article on Plant-Based Keto Diets.

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We hope that this article answered some of the most common questions surrounding low carb and ketogenic diets. If you have any other questions, ask us on Facebook or Instagram! We also love to hear about your experience with The Low Carb Grocery, so if you’d like – please leave us a Google Review with your experiences!

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What low carb foods contain the most nutrients?

Healthy, Low Carb, Nutrient Packed Food

Most Nutrient-Dense Low Carb Foods

Top 8 best low carb foods with the most vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Food is often overlooked as a first solution to many problems. But food should be the first thing on your mind if you’re not feeling well. A glass of water is the first thing you should reach for when experience a headache, and not necessary a pill. Some water paired with a nap and/or a relaxed day is what your body is really asking for. And, when we’re experiencing other illnesses or symptoms of a bug, we really should start to think about what nutrient-dense foods we need to battle it. After all, it’s our bodies that give us energy – nothing else – so let’s fuel them with the best vitamins, minerals and nutrients that they need so we can sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s a list of our top 8 recommended low carb foods while on a low carb or ketogenic diet.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use at your own risk. 

Essential Nutrients

Nutrients not only include macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat), but also micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. While macronutrients provide our bodies with energy and molecules that facilitate cellular growth and repair, micronutrients assist in a myriad of important functions and interconnected processes and communication in our bodies. In this article, we focus on micronutrients, since different people may require or prefer to consume different amounts of macronutrients. We dive into why these micronutrients need to be an essential part of your diet and which food sources are best to obtain them, even on a low carb or ketogenic diet (but not required).

The list of essential micronutrients is quite long, which can scare off a lot of people. But, if you are curious, they are as follows:

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A
  • B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Vitamins support the health and functioning of our organs, tissues, teeth and bones. They also support the immune system, cleanse our blood, help metabolize protein and carbohydrates and can prevent against cancerous cells. They also help with the absorption of minerals, such as calcium.

Minerals

  • calcium
  • chloride
  • chromium
  • copper
  • fluoride
  • iodine
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • manganese
  • molybdenum
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • selenium
  • sodium
  • sulfur
  • zinc

These minerals help improve and strengthen our bones, skin, hair, nails and prevent tooth decay. They also help carry oxygen through the body, assist with blood clotting in life-threatening situations and support healthy blood pressure. They act as chemical messengers involved in many processes including brain function and maintaining balanced water levels in the body. Finally, minerals are an important part of a healthy immune system.

Where Do We Get Essential Nutrients From?

Many of these vitamins and minerals are found in foods like fruits, vegetables and certain meats. However, not all vitamins and minerals are bio-available in food sources and are often easier taken in the form of supplements, or a daily multivitamin. Vitamin D is one that we obtain primarily from the sun, with about 20 minutes of direct exposure on uncovered skin a day required to get the daily recommended intake.

It should be mentioned that supplements cannot completely replace proper nutrition from food. Nutrients from food are usually processed more efficiently by our bodies, so it’s still a good idea to opt for natural food sources of these nutrients. That said, it can be hard to get everything we need from 3 meals a day, plus a couple of snacks – and not to mention, the declining quality of our soil and increased food manufacturing means that our food today is not as nutritious as it once was. It’s a good idea to speak to a physician and get tested for any specific nutrient deficiencies you are concerned about so you can up your intake of those certain nutrients accordingly. Each person may require different levels of certain vitamins and minerals depending on genetics, medical history and regular diet and exercise regimens.

With more science-based research conducted on what proper nutrition entails, we now have more knowledge available about how our bodies function and what they need to do so. It is more possible than ever before to optimize and maximize our body’s potential and make working, exercising and living easier through proper nutrition. We can slow the effects of aging, reduce the severity and frequency of illnesses, have better moods and more energy to do the things we love during the day.

Low Carb Diet Nutrition 

Many people pursue low carb lifestyles to improve their health, which is a great step in the right direction, especially for those struggling with medical conditions that can be alleviated with this type of diet. By cutting out “high-carb” foods, we automatically eliminate a lot of unhealthy things from our diet; white bread, chips, baked goods, restaurant foods, and more. That said, when we make drastic changes to our diet, it is important to take a stock check and make sure we are still getting all of the nutrients that our bodies need.

Cutting carbs from the diet can mean that we lose certain nutrients commonly found in things like whole grains, legumes and certain fruits. These foods provide us with important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. That said, there are alternate sources of these nutrients in many low carb foods. These foods are covered later in this article.

Secondly, those who follow a low carb high fat (LCHF) or ketogenic diet base their diet primarily around fatty foods. While fat is essential to these diets (we need to consume fat in place of carbohydrates to provide us with an alternate source of energy), fat sources don’t provide all of the nutrients that our bodies need. It is still important to eat a good amount of fresh vegetables and choose healthy sources of protein and fat in in these diets. Bacon, cheese and butter can’t sustain us for very long, and a high fat diet based on these and other similar foods can do more damage to our bodies than we think.

Most Nutrient-Dense Foods for a Low Carb Diet

Below is a list of some of the most nutrient-dense foods that are compliant with low carb and ketogenic diets. For the best health and weight loss results from either of these diets, or to simply sustain a nutrient, mineral and vitamin dense lifestyle, be sure to include all of these foods in your diet regularly. Consuming the right amounts of essential nutrients each day will leave you feeling more satiated, in a better mood and more energized to take on the tasks of the day. So, grab a pen and paper and start a grocery list including some or all of these nutrient-dense foods:

Eggs

Eggs are sometimes referred to as “nature’s multivitamin” since they provide us with so many essential nutrients. Be sure to eat the yolks, too, as they contain the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well as healthy fat. Egg yolks also contain cholesterol, which has given them somewhat of a bad rap, but this is totally misguided. Eggs raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol and don’t raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in most people.

It should be mentioned that not all eggs are created equal. You can always tell a good egg from a bad one by the colour of the yolks. Healthy chickens, raised humanely and fed a nutritious diet, will produce deep orange-coloured yolks. Pale yellow, watery yolks are a sign of less-than-optimal farming practices (to say the least) and you could be getting more out of your morning scramble. Look for organic, pasture- or farm-raised eggs for the best quality and taste. 

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, arugula, mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, chard – the list goes on! Greens don’t have to be boring; they can be incorporated into pretty much anything, from smoothies, salads, bowls, pastas, soups, or simply sautéed with a little salt and garlic (another superfood, might we mention).

The vitamin and mineral content of dark leafy greens gives no excuse to skip them. Aim to include them in at least one meal a day to get your daily dose of vitamin A, C, and K as well as high amounts of vitamin B6 and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. The fibre will also help your gut and keep you feeling full and energized. Although it may not sound fun, see what a salad can do for you mid-afternoon when you contemplate reaching for another cup of coffee or a sweet snack.

If you’re feeling uninspired, check out some of these recipes that can help you incorporate greens in a tasty way:

Berries

Luckily, berries are one of the fruits you can keep on a low carb or keto diet! They contain less natural sugar than other fruits like melon, bananas, apples and oranges, and they provide tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds! In general, dark red, purple and blue berries indicate the highest nutrient content. The nutrients found in berries have been linked to better brain function, reduced risk of cancer, lowered blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels and even improved insulin sensitivity.

Try adding a handful into your smoothies, salads, yogurt or low carb granola bowls.

Tofu

A versatile and inexpensive alternative to meat, tofu is packed with micronutrients. It is an exceptional source of plant-based protein and even contains all nine essential amino acids, which are used in the synthesis of proteins in our bodies (if you were wondering, our bodies are made up almost entirely of protein apart from water and fat). Tofu is also a great source of iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus and contains other vitamins and minerals as well.

Be sure to look for minimally processed tofu (i.e. check for a short ingredient list) to get the best quality. Firm and extra firm tofu can be baked, grilled or stir-fried, while softer versions are a great replacement for cheese or cream and can be added to things like sauces, desserts, smoothies and salad dressings.

Here are some tofu recipes to help get you started if you’ve never tried this low calorie, low carb, high protein superfood:

Flax, Chia and Hemp Seeds

Small but mighty! Each of these seeds contain several vital nutrients such as fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and several minerals (copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, to name a few). Hemp seeds also provide some dietary vitamins, particularly vitamin E which has great benefits for the skin, eyes, heart and immune system.

Seeds are also super easy to add to just about anything! Sprinkle them on salads, yogurt (or plant-based alternative), granola and add them to smoothies or homemade baked goods. Here are a few simple recipes to help get you started:

Seaweed

Seaweed is a vegetable infused with all of the nutrients from the sea! It is one of the richest natural sources of iodine, which can help maintain or improve thyroid health. It is also high in iron and vitamin C, which aids in the absorption of iron, as well as antioxidants, vitamin K, B12 and several other nutrients! Red seaweed and dulse are also surprisingly high in protein. You can look for dried seaweed and sprinkle it over any savoury meal for added umami flavour! You can buy our Kelp Noodles from Sea Tangle to try a new take on seaweed! They make a great low carb noodle replacement.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish contain the highest levels and most beneficial types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A diet rich in omega-3s has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of diseases such as cancer, arthritis and heart problems. Fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines, also contain a number of other important nutrients such as vitamin D and B2 and a number of minerals (linked to their marine diet) including iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.

Be sure to choose wild caught fish when possible, as they contain the highest amount of nutrients as opposed to farmed fish. Also, to maximize the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, cut down on foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids as much as possible in order to maintain the right ratio of each of these fats. Omega-6s are found in margarine, shortening and many vegetable oils, especially those used in fast food and restaurant preparation. Choose healthy cooking oils in your own food preparation, such as olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil. Flax oil is also extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to its low stability at high temperatures, it is best enjoyed drizzled over salad.

Dark Chocolate and Cacao

Cacao is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. It is also rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. Plus, it contains a compound called theobromine which has been shown to improve focus and brain function without the addictive qualities of caffeine (although chocolate does contain small amounts of caffeine, as well). However, this is not an excuse to load up on candy bars, as the traditional types contain a lot of sugar. To include cacao in your diet, look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. We carry a large inventory of low carb and sugar-free chocolates, you can buy them here! You can also sprinkle cocoa powder or cacao nibs over cereal, yogurt, smoothies or incorporate them in homemade baked goods.

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