All posts by Jeff Fidler

Boost Your Energy – Choose Healthy Foods

How To Boost Energy Levels by Eating the Right Foods

Believe it or not, we actually get most of our energy from the food we eat – not our mid-day coffees. The amount of energy we get from food depends not only on the quantity of food we eat, but also the type. Certain foods will leave us feeling energized, light and alert, while others can leave us feeling sluggish and hungry after a couple of hours.

Here are some tips to optimize your diet for high, sustained energy levels.

Understanding Foods Nutritional Components

There are two major nutritional components in food that delivery energy to your body. These are macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients

There are three main types of macronutrients that you obtain from your diet: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. If you follow a low-carb diet, or any diet from a professional or doctor, then you are probably accustomed to counting your intake of macronutrients on a daily basis.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates get converted into glucose, which is a source of energy for your body. If you are not following a low carb diet, this is probably your main source of energy.

An important type of carbohydrate that you should be consuming – whether you are on a low carb diet or not – is fibre. Fibre helps regulate blood sugar levels, meaning your energy will be sustained throughout the day, rather than experiencing spikes and crashes. It does not count towards net carbs, so you are free to consume a lot of this important nutrient.

Fats

If you are on a low carb diet, your main source of energy will come from fats. Fats are metabolized slower by the body, so you will naturally feel more sustained energy levels if you are consuming a fat-based diet. That said, some people report feeling sluggish or foggy when they first transition into a ketogenic or fat-based diet. This is usually due to the brain adapting to its new fuel source, ketones rather than glucose. A good way to increase energy on a high-fat diet is to consume MCT oils – as they help drive positive energy to the brain.

Protein

Consuming protein will keep you feeling full for a long time and will not cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients include the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to carry out and assist many important functions. A lot of micronutrients are involved in the metabolism of macronutrients; they help convert them into energy for the body. Look for the following micronutrients in your diet to help reduce fatigue and boost energy.

Potassium

Potassium is a type of electrolyte that’s important for many bodily processes that affect our energy levels. It is involved in the body’s fluid balance (preventing dehydration), nerve signals that regulate vital functions of the body; and muscle contractions, such as your heartbeats, that carry oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Oh My Okra, a crunchy vegetable snack made with okra, contains about 4x as much potassium as bananas. Other great sources of potassium are avocados, sweet potatoes and legumes.

B Vitamins

You have probably heard that B vitamins, such as B12 and B6, can help boost energy levels. This is because they help convert dietary energy (i.e. calories) into forms of energy that your body can use to carry out important functions. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a group of vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress in the body. When there are too many foreign/toxic particles – “free radicals” – in the body coming from natural bodily processes, air pollution and chemicals in the foods we consume, the body enters a state called oxidative stress. The body’s immune response to this is inflammation – a defense mechanism that repairs cells and fights off foreign invaders (and uses a lot of energy in the process).

Antioxidants include Vitamins A, C, E; a host of minerals including zinc, copper, selenium, manganese; and other pigment chemicals such as flavonoids. The best way to look for antioxidant-rich foods is by colour! Most fruits and vegetables that are either dark red or green will have a rich antioxidant profile, although they can also be found in meats and seafood.

Omega-3s

This type of fatty acid can reduce inflammation and feelings of fatigue.

Manganese

Manganese helps enzymes in the body metabolize carbohydrates and protein into energy.

Iron

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency. This is because iron aids in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to other cells in the body. Oxygen is very important for processes such as food metabolism and other vital functions.

Which Foods Provide A Boost of Energy?

A lot of unprocessed whole foods contain all the necessary nutrients needed to convert them into energy your body can use. The reason we can feel fatigued from our diets is because all of the chemicals, processing, refining that goes into food manufacturing processes. On top of that, adding excess caffeine, alcohol or tobacco to our diets can cause fatigue because it requires more energy from our bodies to process these substances and we gain very little nutritional value from them.

The key is to look for foods that provide you with sustained energy, rather than spikes and crashes. Coffee and sugar-y foods will throw your blood sugar levels out of whack, which can be exhausting and counter-productive. To feel your best, opt for foods that are rich in the micronutrients listed above, fibre, and complex carbs and/or protein. Here are some suggestions:

  • Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates, potassium and vitamin B6.
  • Fatty fish contain omega-3s, vitamin B12 and folate. Folate works with vitamin B12 to enhance iron function’s in the body. Try eating fatty fish with a side of fibre- and iron-rich leafy greens for the ultimate energy boost.
  • Brown rice is less processed than white rice meaning it retains more of its original fibre content. This allows it to be digested more slowly for sustained energy release. Brown rice also contains manganese and vitamin B6.
  • Eggs are low-carb and packed with protein, meaning that they won’t cause insulin and blood sugar level spikes when digested. Eggs also contain an amino acid called leucine, which has been shown to stimulate energy production and promote protein synthesis for muscle growth. Eggs are also rich in B vitamins.
  • Apples can provide a better source of energy than a cup of coffee! This is because apples contain a good amount of fibre, as well as natural sugars which provide your body with sustained energy. Apples also contain high levels of antioxidants, which can slow the digestion of carbohydrates, resulting in sustained energy release.
  • Hummus made from chickpeas is a great source of complex carbs and fibre. There are also healthy fats in hummus, which can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, meaning that you won’t experience blood sugar level spikes.
  • Edamame – Edamame, or soybeans, are a great low-carb source of protein, vitamins and minerals. They can be added to any dish, or even eaten as a midday snack. They contain 8g of fibre per cup, as well as very high amounts of manganese and folic acid – important for metabolic processes and preventing fatigue. Lentils are another good source of sustained energy with a similar nutrient profile to edamame.

Other Reasons You Could Be Feeling Sluggish 

If you often feel tired throughout the day, you could also be dehydrated. Water is necessary for almost every cellular function in your body, including energy production, so it is important to be drinking enough every day. Drink water even if you do not feel thirsty in order to avoid dehydration. Water also helps with smooth digestion, which can reduce feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. It can keep your bowel movements healthy, leaving you feeling light and energized. Try Innate Superfood Infused Water – rich in antioxidants that can give you an added boost of energy during the day. We also recommend liquid stevia drops to enhance your water at home!

  

You can also try swapping your coffee out for green tea or matcha. Although they contain less caffeine than coffee, the energy release from these sources is slower paced, meaning that they can provide you with lasting energy throughout the entire morning. You are also less likely to need another “pick-me-up” in the middle of the day because your body does not become dependent on surges of caffeine to keep running. Green tea can also decrease fatigue by helping to convert fats into energy and by causing the release of a hormone called norepinephrine, which stimulates the mind and body. Try to swap at least one cup a day of coffee for green tea or matcha and observe the results!

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We hope this article helped you understand how to fuel your body for sustained energy throughout the day, which can help you accomplish more and feel better overall!


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saute cooking

Saute Cooking – The Low Carb Way

Super Sautés – The Ultimate Guide to Low Carb Sautés

Sautéing is a common cooking technique. By understanding how to properly sauté, you can enjoy proteins and vegetables and make delicious meals that don’t rely on carbs. Additionally, recognizing which sauces can elevate your meal without impacting its nutrition can go a long way toward achieving your health and weight loss goals.

Let’s start by reviewing the basics of sautéing and introduce you to some delicious low carb sauces that you can use in a variety of meals. Furthermore, we’ll offer some tips on how to execute this method and share some delectable recipes.


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What is Sautéing?

Sautéing involves quickly frying food in a pan with a little bit of fat (typically oil or butter) on high heat. It’s a proven way to cook everything from a filet mignon to a chicken breast or even broccoli rabe. The term is derived from the French word “sauter”, which means “to jump”, referring to how some ingredients seemingly jump in the pan while cooking.

Because only a little bit of fat is used, sautéing is a relatively healthy technique. If you do it right, it browns proteins and helps them quickly reach the right temperature without overcooking. You can achieve meats and vegetables that are both crispy and tender.

Some of the best low carb foods to sauté are:

  • Beef tenderloin
  • Asparagus
  • Fish fillets
  • Chicken breasts
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers

Look for meats that aren’t too dense like pork shoulder and vegetables that aren’t too tough. These can still be sautéed but they will take longer and are easy to overcook. Remember that certain vegetables might have to be blanched before hitting the sauté pan.

Cooking Tips

Follow these tips to improve your skills and to get closer to becoming a sauté master:

  • Use the right skillet or sauté pan. You want something with a spacious surface area and thick bottom that can evenly distribute heat. It’s recommended to invest in a set that is non-stick and stainless steel.
  • Cut all your ingredients into the same shape and size to ensure that everything cooks at the same rate.
  • It’s usually a good idea to heat the pan over medium-high heat before cooking. This can take a few minutes but is worth the wait.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan or skillet. You want to cook everything in a single layer with roughly a half-inch between them. If you overcrowd, food will steam instead of brown.

Be sure to practice this technique to refine your skills and to create meals that are simple, easy to make and delicious.

Sauces for Sautéing

If a recipe calls for a sauce, make sure you choose the right one. Here are a few low carb options that are delicious when paired with the right ingredients.

Hoisin Sauce is like a Korean barbecue sauce. It’s a nice way to elevate Asian dishes and can add a punch of umami to vegetarian meals.

You can use this Alfredo Sauce to sauté chicken and/or vegetables to then add to low carb pasta. It adds richness and a creamy texture.

Mr. Spice Ginger Stir Fry Sauce is a gourmet sauce that turns generic stir-fry recipes into something hearty and delicious. If ginger isn’t your thing, Mr. Spice offers a variety of flavours including Indian curry, honey mustard and Thai peanut.

Making a memorable stir-fry teriyaki is easy with the right sauce. Seal Sama’s Sugar-Free Teriyaki Sauce is thick, flavourful and great for low carb dieters and diabetics. A perfect accent for when you sauté chicken with either broccoli, kale or asparagus.

Recipes Featuring Sautéing

Enjoy these low carb recipes that use sautéing as its main cooking method. Please note that some adjustments have been made to ensure each recipe is as low in carbs as possible.

Sautéing gives you a ton of opportunities to make healthy substitutions like using daikon radishes instead of carrots or scallions instead of onions. We recommend adjusting the ingredients or the measurements to fit your dietary needs.

Steak Stir-fry

Every meal plan should include a hearty steak stir-fry. It’s great to create a big batch on Sunday or Monday so you can enjoy the leftovers all week.

To make, you will need 1 lb. of sirloin steak cubed, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 2 cups of broccoli florets, two bell peppers cut into strips, ¼ cup of low carb soy sauce, ¼ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of honey substitute, 1 tsp. of garlic minced, 1 tsp. of ginger minced and 1 tsp. of chili paste.

Heat your sauté pan over high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, toss in the steak and cook for 3 minutes, stirring every so often. Next, add the vegetables and let everything cook for 5 minutes. Make sure you keep everything stirring.

Make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, vinegar, honey substitute, garlic, ginger and chili paste in a bowl. Pour into the pan and cook for another 3 minutes, ensuring that everything gets coated.

Garlic Ginger Vegetable Stir-Fry

This tasty veggie stir fry dish pops with strong notes of garlic and ginger and lets you use your favourite low carb vegetables.

Gather these ingredients: 1 tbsp. of sesame oil, 1 cup of broccoli chopped, ½ of a green pepper chopped, ½ of a red pepper chopped, a bunch of asparagus, two garlic cloves minced, 1 tbsp. of ginger and 1/8 cup of low-sodium soy sauce or low carb hoisin sauce.

Making this dish is super simple. Add the oil to a skillet and heat on medium-high. Next, add the vegetables, garlic and ginger and stir vigorously. They should take 4-5 minutes to soften. Pour in the sauce and stir so that everything mixes. Let it cool before serving.

Lemon Fish

This fish dish is low carb and features a golden crust and a bold lemon flavour.

This recipe requires the following ingredients: 7 oz. of fresh gurnard fish fillets, 3 tbsp. of butter, 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, ¼ cup of fine almond flour, 1 tsp. of dried dill, 1 tsp. of dried chives, 1 tsp. of onion powder, ½ tsp. of garlic powder and salt and pepper.

Mix the almond flour, dill, chives, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper on a large plate and then spread it out so that it’s a thin layer.

One at a time, add a fillet to the flour mix and coat both sides. Once a fillet is coated, place it on a different plate. Next, take a large pan and melt half the butter with the lemon juice over medium-high heat. Temperature is key for this stage as you need the pan hot enough to crust the flour onto the fish without burning it. Additionally, if the pan is too hot, the lemon juice could turn bitter.

Let the fillets cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan every so often so the lemon butter makes contact with the fish. You don’t want the pan to dry out so add more lemon juice or a little more butter as needed but careful not to go overboard.

Flip the fish and cook for another 3 minutes. You should notice that the coating has browned and the fish is starting to cook through. Use a fork to see if the fish is done cooking. You want to remove it from the pan before it is completely done as it will continue to cook away from the heat, and leaving it in the pan can result in overcooking.

Pair with a side of steamed broccoli or kale and enjoy!

Get Cooking Today!

Before you can start sautéing, you need to find the right ingredients. Shop our store to find some of the best low carb products that will help you lose weight, improve your health and feel more energetic.


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Boost Your Immune System – Eat The Right Foods

Boost Your Immune System through Diet

With the global COVID-19 outbreak and increased awareness for disease prevention, you may be wondering how to protect yourself from getting sick. The truth is that sometimes getting sick is out of our control, but one thing is for sure, we have some control over our bodies’ susceptibility to illness by doing whatever we can to help strengthen our immune systems. Having a healthy immune system can also reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.

Your diet has a great effect on your immune system, and thus, your body’s response to illnesses. It is important to be conscious of the types of foods you are putting into your body so that you are feeding it immune-boosting foods rather than weakening your body’s response to illnesses. We will explore both types of effects below, so you can distinguish between foods that are immune-boosting versus foods that are immune-weakening.

When we get sick, something foreign has entered our body. So, the immune system – our body’s internal system of defense – must work extra hard to fight them off and protect the vital functions of the body. Besides getting enough oxygen, water and sleep, our bodies rely on the food we consume to provide everything else it needs to grow and stay healthy. Good foods provide nutrients, important substances that have a supportive effect on our overall health, like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients give our bodies the strength to do more. This is why we need to consume enough nutrients, especially during times of increased vulnerability and susceptibility, to stay healthy and fight unwanted threats.

Nutrients that Boost our Immune Systems

Vitamins and minerals are essential for fighting off diseases and support healthy vision, skin, bones, and mental function. There are 13 essential vitamins that we need to consume from food because our bodies don’t produce them on our own. Most modern western diets are lacking in these nutrients, which is why it is important to pay attention to the nutrients – or lack thereof – you are getting from your diet. When in doubt, a daily multi vitamin should provide everything you need and fill in any gaps in your diet. That said, our bodies have an easier time absorbing nutrients from foods rather than supplements, so it’s best to go straight to the source!

The vitamins and minerals you need to be sure you are consuming to support your immune system are:

  1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is involved in the protection of the eyes, lungs and gut, and the production of white blood cells. Foods rich in Vitamin A include eggs, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables and most dark leafy greens.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C assists in the production of white blood cells, strengthens the skin’s defense mechanisms, and is involved in many other parts of the immune system. Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus and other fruits, but leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli are some low-carb alternative vitamin C carriers.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps regulate immune responses and has been shown to help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, including cold and flu. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, as well as eggs, mushrooms and some fortified foods.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off free radicals to prevent oxidative stress on the body. When the body is under oxidative stress, the immune system weakens. Adding Vitamin E to the diet has been shown to enhance the immune system, especially in older individuals. Vitamin E is commonly found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils such as sunflower oil and soybean oil as well as green leafy vegetables.

  1. Folate/Folic acid

Folate helps to produce new cells and repair existing cells, which assists immune functions. Folate is found in most leafy green vegetables, eggs, avocados, okra and beans.

  1. Iron

Iron helps immune (healthy) cells proliferate and mature. Foods rich in iron include spinach, beans, beef, dark leafy greens and whole grain or enriched wheat products. Make sure to consume Vitamin C-rich foods along with iron-rich foods to increase absorption of the iron.

  1. Selenium

This antioxidant mineral helps lower oxidative stress and reduce inflammation to enhance immunity. Foods rich in selenium include brazil nuts, seafood, brown rice, lentil, and peas.

  1. Zinc

Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps repair cells and supports the growth of new cells. Beef, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, egg yolks and dark chocolate contain high levels of zinc.

It is important to eat a variety of foods rich in the above-mentioned nutrients daily, as the overall quality of your diet matters. If you are looking for immune-boosting superfoods, try these:

  • Garlic has been recognized for centuries as an immune-boosting and infection-fighting food. When garlic is crushed, sliced or chewed, it produces a sulfur compound called allicin which helps the immune system fight germs (this also gives garlic its distinctive taste and smell). This not only helps white blood cells fight off viruses such as those that cause cold and flu, but it can also reduce your risk of becoming sick in the first place and the severity and longevity of illnesses.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can help regulate the immune system.
  • Camu camu. This berry is one of the most concentrated natural food sources of Vitamin C in the world.
  • Aronia berry. Very high in antioxidants and has been shown to fight against harmful bacteria.
  • Ginger can help reduce inflammation to ease cold and flu symptoms.
  • Almonds have a very high Vitamin E content.

Let’s Make This Easy 

The Low Carb Grocery carries a number of low carb products that can help boost your immune system and reduce your susceptibility to disease:

   

Foods That Can Weaken Your Immune System

During times of increased susceptibility to infection, you want to reduce your intake of foods that are highly processed, refined or have added sugars. These foods can cause inflammation, which is actually an immune response to disease, injury or infection. The body releases chemicals from white blood cells to try to heal and repair damaged cells, while also fending off foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses that like to target weak cells. For example, when you get a cut or a scrape, localized inflammation occurs to quickly heal and protect the area; this is observed as redness, swelling and pain in the affected area.

Some of the foods we eat can also cause inflammation. Consuming these types of foods can result in long periods of sustained inflammation, which can lead to a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and lupus. When your body is on high alert for long periods of time, it can cause damage to the healthy cells as well. On top of that, processed and refined foods are usually low in nutrients, meaning that your cells are not only being damaged, but they are also not getting the required substances to heal and grow. This can leave your body in a very vulnerable state that is highly susceptible to disease and infection.

Inflammatory foods include:

  • Sugar – note that sugar can go by many names, such as fructose and sucrose. Avoid any foods with ingredients ending in “-ose”. Also avoid artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, and opt for natural sweeteners
  • Trans fats – fast food is often fried or cooked in oils high in trans fats, because they are the cheapest and most effective oils for these methods of cooking. Trans fat can also be found in most processed snack foods, cookies, donuts, crackers, chips and margarine. Avoid foods with “hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list.
  • Refined carbohydrates – this includes white breads, crackers, pastries, white potatoes, sweet breakfast cereals, etc.
  • Excess omega-6 fatty acids – can be found in certain nuts, seeds and oils; so be sure to balance them with enough omega-3 fatty acids, found in things like salmon, avocado, and seaweed.
  • Processed meats – often use artificial preservatives and have other added ingredients that can cause inflammation. Try The Low Carb Grocery’s naturally preserved meat snacks

Read our blog post about the difference between good and bad fats to learn more about some of the topics described above.

Additional tips:

  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Both of these substances can damage the immune system and make you more susceptible to infections.
  • Take a probiotic. Probiotics can promote healthy gut bacteria, which is essential for immune function.
  • A 20-minute session of moderate-intensity exercise can stimulate the immune system, by releasing hormones that produce an anti-inflammatory response.
  • Practice stress management. Stress can cause inflammation. So, you could be doing everything suggested in this article but if you are still feeling worry and stress, you could be throwing all your hard work out the window. Try taking walks, meditating, listening to music, writing down your thoughts, or talking to a close friend or relative if you feel overwhelming stress.

Do you agree with our lists?

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Healthy & Simple Recipes

Minimalist Healthy Cooking – Making Low Carb Meals with Simple Ingredients

If you are social distancing — and we hope you are — it’s important to find ways to maximize your household food supply. Doing so will limit trips to the store and help you maintain a healthy low carb diet that’s rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, it’s also important to make sure that you’re not getting too repetitive with your meals during this difficult time, and to keep an interesting array of flavours and meal types on the table.

One way to successfully use the food you have on hand is to find recipes that focus on simple ingredient lists, but are still big on flavours. There are many healthy meals that can be prepared by utilizing a variety of non-perishables typically found in pantries, as well as meats and vegetables that can be frozen in order to avoid spoilage and extend their shelf life.

Here are some creative and simple low carb recipes that feature minimal lists of ingredients, common non-perishables, and many other types of foods that can easily be frozen. These recipes are delicious, easy-to-make and give you lots of variety in your weekly meal plans.

Simple Low Carb Meal Ideas

Please note that some adjustments have been made to ensure each recipe contains only low carb ingredients and popular pantry items. We’ve included a link to the original recipe if you wish to review or to add your own twist.

Keto Bean Salad

This delicious bean salad can be enjoyed on its own for lunch or it pairs nicely with a lean protein like pork loin.

For the salad, you need one can of cut green beans, ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes, ½ cup of pitted olives (we recommend Kalamata) and one thinly sliced green onion with the tops still attached.

Instead of using 4-5 ingredients to make a vinaigrette, we recommend Walden Farms Italian Dressing. It has the perfect amount of acidity for a dish like this and is made from the world’s finest aged vinegar and fresh herbs and spices (plus it has no calories, fat, sugar, cholesterol, or carbohydrates!).

There are only a couple of steps to make this salad. Place the ingredients in an airtight container. Pour in the amount of dressing you would like but be careful not to overdress. Pop the lid on and give it a good shake for roughly 20-30 seconds.

Refrigerate the container for six hours. This will give the ingredients time to marinate in the dressing. If you have enough ingredients, we recommend making a big batch, so you have leftovers for a few days.

Ground Beef and Broccoli

This hearty meal only requires a small number of ingredients: 2/3 lb. of ground beef, 3 oz. of butter, ½ lbs. of broccoli and salt and pepper to taste.

To make, rinse and trim the broccoli but do not discard the stem. Then, cut the top into small florets. Before moving to the next stage, you must peel the stem and dice into small chunks.

Heat the butter in a frying pan big enough to fit the beef and the broccoli in a single layer.

Brown the beef on high heat and season with salt and pepper. Before the beef has completely cooked, lower the heat and add more butter to the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the broccoli and cook for 3-5 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring the ground beef and don’t forget to season the broccoli as it cooks.

You can serve with a dollop of Walden Farms Amazin Mayo on top. This will add some creaminess and can provide more depth of flavour.


Vegan Rocky Road Mocha Brownies

Make these moist vegan brownies using Dixie Diner Brownie Mix and Crave Sugar Replacements as a sugar substitute.

All you need for the brownies is the right box of mix and 9oz. of hot coffee (whatever kind you use is fine). For the frosting, you will need ½ cup of low carb soy milk, ¾ cup of cold coffee and 3 tbsp. of cocoa.

Prepare the brownie mix per the package directions in an 8 or 9” square pan, substituting the hot coffee for water where applicable. Next, bake as directed.

While the brownies bake, combine all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and mix them so that they blend well. Once the brownies are ready and have cooled, top with the frosting.

 

Extra-Easy Lasagna

Lasagna is the perfect minimalist meal. It’s essentially an Italian casserole that isn’t reliant on a ton of ingredients to provide flavour. This recipe is simple and easily allows for low carb substitutions.

The only ingredients are 1 lbs. of lean ground beef, 4 cups of Rao’s Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce, six uncooked sheets of Dreamfields Lasagna Noodles, 7-8 oz. of cottage cheese, 2 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of hot water.

Start by cooking the beef in a skillet over medium heat, stirring it often. Once it’s no longer pink, drain the juices and then stir in the pasta sauce.

Now you can start assembling the lasagna. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce in a lightly greased 11 x 7” baking dish and spread it out evenly with a spoon. Start building the layers with three noodles, half of the cottage cheese and half of the mozzarella. Repeat this step until you’ve used all the ingredients. Slowly pour water along the edge of the dish and cover it with two layers of aluminum foil.

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Meat Sauce Shirataki Pasta

This tasty dish utilizes the versatile Shirataki Noodles to make a simple yet satisfying meal.

You will need a 150g of Shirataki Noodles, 50g of bean sprouts, 1 garlic clove chopped, olive oil, 150-170g of homemade low carb meat sauce (prepared prior to cooking this recipe), parmesan cheese grated and salt and pepper to taste.

To start, place the Shirataki Noodles in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles for 30 seconds. Strain them with a mesh strainer, removing as much water as possible. Place the noodles on a cutting board and slice into shorter lengths. Remember not to touch the noodles as they are still hot at this point.

Place the parboiled noodles into a hot skillet and cook to reduce the remaining water. This will ensure that the ingredients will be able to properly absorb the sauce. The noodles are ready once they start making squeaking.

Pour in some olive oil and then add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant. Toss in the bean sprouts along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Give everything a good toss so that the seasoning mixes with the noodles and bean sprouts.

Move the noodles to one side of the skillet and spoon the meat sauce into the open side. Toss the noodles into the sauce so that they are fully coated. Let it cook until the liquid is completely reduced and everything is heated through. Transfer to a bowl and top with as much parmesan cheese as you’d like.

You can top with parsley or other fresh herbs. You can also include broccoli (even just the stems) to add a nice textural contrast. If you do so, make sure you add the broccoli near the end so that it doesn’t overcook.

Stock your Pantry Today!

We hope these recipes provide some reassurance that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make amazing low carb meals. With a little creativity and the right guidance, you can continue to eat healthy without running to the grocery store several times a week.

Browse all the great low carb foods you can buy online at The Low Carb Grocery – find some truly amazing low carb brands and products. Take advantage of our fast, free shipping with minimum orders of $100).


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Online Grocery Shopping Options

Essential Groceries that are Available Online

In response to the current COVID-19 situation in Canada, we are all working together and doing our best to alter our behaviour and combat the spread of the virus to keep ourselves healthy and minimize the risk to our communities. People are working from home as much as possible, we are practicing ‘social distancing’ to give each other more personal space when out in public, and we are all ramping up personal hygiene and disinfection efforts.

The good news is that food distribution warehouses and grocery outlets are still operating during this time, and most people will continue to have access to the products they need. However, one step that we should all be taking as part of these efforts is making the wise decision to conduct more of our essential shopping via online sources instead of heading out in to public to obtain what we need.

Of course, fewer trips to the grocery store doesn’t mean your kitchen and pantry can’t still be stocked with healthy low carb foods, snacks, and the many different ingredients you need. All your favourite low carb products to prepare delicious, nutritious meals for you and your family to stay healthy, energetic and satisfied can be found online here at The Low Carb Grocery.

Think About Shelf Life and Versatility

If you’re thinking about which groceries are essential for the next few weeks, you want to consider shelf life and versatility. Shelf life is important so that you can stock up on products that last awhile to avoid spoilage, as well as reduce the number of times you need to go to the grocery store. Versatility is helpful so that the products can be used in a multitude of different meals to avoid too much repetition in the foods you serve. Some examples of these types of products include noodles, baking mixes, sauces, seasonings, and snack foods, as well as meal replacement bars, drink mixes, and protein shakes.

Online Grocery Shopping

Here are some popular low carb products that you can easily order from our website, and some specific brands to help you decide which to choose if you are not already familiar with them.

 

Protein & Meal Replacement Bars

Low carb bars are a good item to keep on hand if you want a quick snack in the morning or in between meals.

Quest

Quest offers a delicious bar in several fun flavours and packs quite the nutritional punch. They are low in net carbs and are a strong source of fibre. These bars come in over a dozen of different flavours, including birthday cake, blueberry muffin and chocolate cookie dough, to name a few.

Atkins

Atkins is the biggest name in low carb eating and they make a line of popular bars that is chockful of nutrients and have a satisfying taste.

It is recommended to not indulge in more than two of these bars a day so that you can still get your remaining carb intake from vegetables. Each bar offers a different amount of net carbs so be sure to review specific nutritional information before eating.

 

Cheese Snacks

If you enjoy munching on savoury and flavourful cheese snacks, then check out a couple of the more beloved brands we carry. This is the perfect item to replace potato chips during your next movie marathon.

Enercheez

Enercheez are a crunchy and delicious cheese snack that is a great source of protein and calcium. Made with no additives or preservatives, this product has only 120 calories per serving (9-12 pieces).

Available in cheddar, cheddar with onion and chives, cheddar with hot pepper and cheddar with garlic.

Ivanhoe

Each pouch of Ivanhoe is packed with 100% Canadian-made cheese. You can choose between cheddar flavour or Monterey Jack, or even stock up on both so you have a cheesy snack to enjoy while you binge your favourite Netflix series.

 

Breakfast Cereals

Even if you’re not going to work or school for the next little while, it’s a good idea to start each day with a hearty low carb breakfast.  

StaySteady

StaySteady high-protein and high-fibre breakfast cereal lets you enjoy a healthy start to your day without having to experience the dreaded mid-morning sugar crash. StaySteady’s ingredients are natural and designed to give you that boost you need in the morning.

Available in original, maple pecan and vanilla almond.

Nuco

Nuco delivers a distinct coconut crunch and flavour with every bite. It’s a great source of fibre in addition to being raw, vegan and paleo-friendly. It consists of only three organic ingredients: coconut meat, coconut water and palm starch.

You can even add it as a unique and crunchy topping to salads.

Cookies

No pantry is complete without a box or two of cookies. Try these two brands if you want options that are low carb, nutritious and taste amazing.

GluteNull

GluteNull makes delicious chocolate chip cookies with diced almonds. This product is gluten-free, paleo-friendly, Canadian-made and contains only non-GMO project certified ingredients. Additionally, they exclusively use dark chocolate to limit the amount of sugar.

Per cookie, there is 7g of total carbs including 1g of fibre, 6g of fat and 2g of protein.

Quest Protein Cookie

In addition to the bars mentioned earlier, Quest can also help you quench that cookie craving! These soft baked cookies are sweet and chewy and make for a great afternoon snack especially if you enjoy chunks of decadent chocolate or rich peanut butter or the naturally sweet and tart combination of oatmeal and raisin.

Sauces and Spreads

Elevate lunch and dinner by including the right low carb sauce or spread. Here are a few that complement a variety of proteins and vegetables.

The Garlic Box

The Garlic Box products can add flavour or even a kick to most chicken recipes, red meat dishes or salads. In addition, it’s a great way to elevate a run-of-the-mill potato side or a piece of fish that’s been hiding in your freezer.

The Garlic box offers Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinegar with Garlic, Garlicky Chili Lime, Horseradish Garlic, Olive Tapenade with Garlic and Ontario Garlic.  All you must do is decide which flavour or flavours excite you the most.

Crazy Mooskies BBQ Sauces

Crazy Mooskies makes BBQ sauce that’s perfect to add to a juicy ribeye or hamburger, regardless of whether you’re grilling or cooking on a stovetop.

Each type has no added sugar and features a unique taste that won’t overpower most chicken, red meat and pork. Fans of heat, should try their Crazy Hot BBQ Sauce.

Also available in Original, Island Spice, Smok’n Garlic and Smokehouse.

 

Sugar-Free Ketchups

We carry two sugar-free ketchup that can elevate your hamburgers, hot dogs or whatever else you like to accompany this beloved condiment.

Hughes Smokehouse offers a healthier ketchup without sacrificing the tangy sweetness that is synonymous with traditional brands. Each serving has zero fat and only 1g of net carbs.

Another option comes from Nature’s Hollow. It uses Xylitol to create the typical sweetness of ketchup, making it a nice option for diabetics or for those looking to control their daily sugar intake. Per serving, there is zero fat and 4g of net carbs.

 

Rudolph’s Veggie Spreads

Meet your new favourite vegetable spread. This organic line can elevate your meals or can be enjoyed with some low carb crackers or vegetable chips. They are gluten-free, vegan-friendly and made from all natural ingredients.

Available in Beet Horseradish, Carrot Herbs, Spinach Parsley and Tomato Basil.


Stock your Pantry Today!

We hope that everyone stays safe and engages in proper social distancing over the coming weeks to help flatten the curve. If you are concerned about groceries, remember to explore our plentiful inventories and to enjoy the convenience of online grocery shopping.

Browse our inventory to find some of the best low carb foods that’ll help you cook memorable meals!

low carb diet must have protein

Low Carb Diets & Protein

The Low Carber’s Guide to Protein

Protein is an essential part of any low carb diet. As you cut the carbs from your meals, you need to focus on foods that are protein-rich so you can lose weight and build muscle mass. Protein also contributes to your overall health and can keep you feeling full and satisfied as you work toward your dietary goals.

To expand your understanding of low carb eating, we’ll offer insights into what protein is and how it works with respect to biology and general health. We’ll look at why it matters, the various protein types and explore the difference between plant and animal based.


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What is Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient, a category that also includes fats and carbs. The role of macronutrients is to provide energy, in the form of calories, to allow us to grow and remain healthy. Unlike fat and carbs, our bodies don’t store protein so we need to consume a specific amount to function.

Protein is used to build and repair tissues and is responsible for the production of hair, skin, cartilage and nails in addition to body chemicals like enzymes and hormones. It is made of amino acids, which are comprised of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and either oxygen or sulfur. When protein is broken down, it provides fuel for muscle mass and contributes to the proper functioning of our metabolism. Furthermore, we rely on protein to aid our immune system and to stay full for longer.

Each gram of protein has four calories and the total amount can make up roughly 15% of a person’s weight. It is recommended that we get 10 to 35% of our calories per day from protein. This range is dependent on one’s sex, age and physical activity.

Protein is generally comprised of meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, some processed soy products, nuts and seeds. It’s a good idea to include a variety of these foods into your diet but you should always focus on leaner cuts and those with the least number of carbs.

Careful of Going Overboard

For decades, high protein and low carb diets have been a popular weight loss and muscle building method.

You might be thinking that a good idea is to just eat protein all day every day. This isn’t the case, though, as you should consume the recommended amount from good sources. If you think eating steak will help you grow stronger, remember that at some point your body will discard excess protein leaving only the unhealthy properties for your system to process.

Different Kinds of Protein

There are eight types of proteins each with their own purpose and function.

Hormonal protein are protein-based chemicals transported through the blood, acting as chemical messengers transmitting signals. An example of this is insulin.

Enzymatic protein speed up metabolic processes in cells aiding in liver function, digestion and blood clotting.

Structural protein is necessary to form the framework of muscles and bones. Examples include collagen, keratin and elastin and are the structural component for skin, hair, nails and teeth.

Defensive protein are antibodies that contribute greatly to our immune system. They form as white blood cells to counteract harmful bacteria and viruses.

Storage protein stores minerals like potassium and iron, which create structural components and restrict the adverse effects of excess protein. Ferritin is an example of a storage protein.

Transport protein, as their name suggests, deliver vital materials to cells. Hemoglobin is one such protein, and it carries oxygen from the lungs to body tissue.

Receptor protein control the substances that enter and exit the cells. Some are responsible to activate enzymes and others must stimulate endocrine glands.

Contractile protein fulfills the important function of regulating the speed and strength of heart and muscle contractions.

Good Sources of Protein

With respect to low carb diets, you should try to get your protein from good sources. While you won’t be short on intriguing options, try to include items from these three groups as much as possible.

  • Fish – which is generally lean and offers omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Poultry – remove the skin to make it an even healthier meat.
  • Nuts – An ounce of almonds provides 6g of protein more than most other tree nuts.

Before committing to a low carb diet, do your homework and give thought to what you want to achieve health-wise. This will steer you toward what proteins you should eat and how to create a proper weekly meal plan.

Check out our recipes or cooking low carb sections in the Low Carb Lifestyle blog for all sorts of meal ideas.

Plant vs. Animal

Proteins can come from eating plant-based foods or from animals. The difference is that animal protein tends to have all the amino acids whereas most plant-based proteins are incomplete. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case as some grains like quinoa are a complete source of protein.

You want to make sure you are eating the right kinds of protein and pairing them with other low carb ingredients.

Animal meat that is high in protein includes:

  • Top or bottom round steak
  • Pork chops
  • Lean ground beef
  • Yellow fin tuna
  • Sockeye salmon
  • Turkey breast

High-protein dairy includes:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • 2% milk

Vegetarians and vegans should enjoy a variety of protein-rich foods to make sure they get all their amino acids.

In addition to most grains and vegetables, plant protein includes soy, hemp and whey. These are all healthy options so it comes down to personal taste and what you are hoping to achieve.

Whey protein is considered the best with respect to building and healing muscles. If you are active and want to bulk up, then consider including more whey in your diet.

Hemp protein is derived from the hemp plant and does not contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It comes in seed, powder or milk form. if you opt for hemp seeds, you can enjoy them as a hot or cold breakfast cereal or as an ingredient in smoothies.

Soy protein is a by-product of soybeans and is available in the form of milk, tofu, meat substitutes, flour, oil and tempeh.

Foods to Avoid

If you are embarking on a high-protein and low carb diet, you need to steer clear of certain food types and groups:

  • Sugar
    • Soda, fruit juices, most candy and ice cream
  • Trans Fats
    • Anything with hydrogenated oils
  • Low-fat products
    • This is broad but try to avoid certain snacks and cereals that feature reduced fat as they often compensate by adding more sugar.
  • Processed foods
    • Peruse food packaging and do some research to find products that are unprocessed and feature natural ingredients. You should be extra skeptical of products from big brands.
  • Starchy vegetables
    • This includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro and yams.

Excluding these ingredients from your meals takes some sacrifice. A great tip is to find low carb substitutes—like daikon instead of carrots—and proteins that you love and want to eat every week. This will help ensure that you are looking forward to meals and not dreaming about French fries.

Shop Online for Low Carb Foods!

It’s time to start building a weekly meal plan that features protein-rich ingredients that will perfectly complement your low carb diet.

While you’re here, avoid the local grocery store and shop our store to find a variety of products and brands that will help you lose weight, improve your health and feel more energetic.  Fast shipping (free for orders over $100 and under 10kg).


Exclusive Blog Reader Discount! $15 off sub-total $100.00* + Free Shipping!
Just enter the following code during checkout: ALZDTC

  • Minimum purchase of $100.00 required
  • To qualify for free shipping – orders subtotal must be greater than, or equal to $100 (up to 10Kg)
  • This offer may not be combined with other offers, limit 1 per customer