All posts by Jeff Fidler

Low Carb Potato Substitutes

Pitching the Potatoes – Low Carb Alternatives

That’s mashed cauliflower – who would have thought!?

For centuries, meat and potatoes have been a way of life; a mantra of meal planning so deeply engrained in our collective psyche, that it’s almost a religion. But potatoes are a high glycemic side dish and could bring you out of ketosis very quickly. The answer? We have seven below.

  1. Cauliflower (2g net carbs per cup)

Cauliflower is quickly becoming the superstar of the low carb world, with many people praising it for its similarity to mashed potatoes, rice and even pizza crust when prepared certain ways.

This cruciferous vegetable can imitate more starchy, high carb vegetables due to its similar texture and bland (versatile!) flavour. Other great transformations could include cauliflower breakfast hash, cauliflower grilled cheese, cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower fried rice, buffalo cauliflower bites, cauliflower chowder, or even cauliflower eggs benedict. We support getting creative and coming up with your own recipes incorporating cauliflower. The possibilities are endless!

Check out these two innovative products made from cauliflower: Hippie Snacks Cauliflower Crisps and Keto And Co Dry Riced Cauliflower. Available at the Low Carb Grocery in stores and online!

Or, try out this recipe for cauliflower tater tots—you’re welcome!

  1. Cut a head of cauliflower into small chunks
  2. Steam the chunks over boiling water on the stove
  3. Remove from heat and strain the cauliflower, then place it in a bowl and mash.
  4. Mix in 2 beaten eggs, half a cup of parmesan (or dairy-free alternative), and onion or garlic to taste.
  5. Form the mixture into bite size balls and bake at 400° for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Other Benefits of Cauliflower

  • High in fibre for good digestive health
  • High in B vitamins
  • High in antioxidants that can protect against cancer
  • Can improve learning and memory
  • Helps the liver produce detoxifying enzymes (try some cauliflower in the morning, after an “eventful” night)
  • Contains almost as much Vitamin C as oranges
  1. Turnips (4g net carbs per cup) 

A turnip looks similar to a radish that is mostly white with a purple top. Bright colours like this in vegetables and fruits are always a good indicator of a rich nutrient profile! Turnips are related to other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale, but their texture can resemble that of potatoes and other root vegetables.

When buying turnips, make sure to choose ones that are small but heavy for their size. This will ensure they are sweeter and milder in flavour and have a higher water content (drinking water is not the only way to hydrate your body!). Make sure to store them in a cool, low-light area to mimic their natural subterranean environment and maintain their freshness.

Challenge yourself to making classic potato dishes with turnips instead! Some ideas include: oven roasted turnips, turnip gratin, turnip latkes, slow cooker turnips, turnip soup, or mashed turnips with bacon bits.

Other Benefits of Turnips

  • High in fibre which can help relieve intestinal problems
  • Promotes bowel health
  • High in antioxidants that can protect against cancer
  • Contains important minerals such as iron, zinc and folate
  • Promotes healthy bones
  • Can prevent eyesight problems 
  1. Daikon (2g net carbs per cup) 

Daikon is a type of radish that looks like a large white carrot. However, unlike the more common small red radishes that have a characteristic peppery and potent taste, the daikon radish is milder, sweeter and crispier.

Due to its high-water content (85%-95% depending on preparation), daikon is a perfectly crunchy low-carb addition to salads, which will make them feel a lot more satisfying. It can also be added to soups, stews and curries. Warm and comforting dishes like these are especially great because daikon tends to be in season in the wintertime. But unlike a lot of high-carb starchy vegetables we’re used to eating around the holidays – like squash, potatoes, and pumpkin – daikon will not raise your net carb intake drastically.

Other Benefits of Daikon

  • High in B vitamins and Vitamin C
  • High in fibre (helps digestion)
  • Has fat burning properties
  • Boosts immunity (another reason to consume in the wintertime)
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps detoxify the body
  • Nourishes skin due to high mineral and water content
  1. Kohlrabi (2 g carbs/27 calories per 100 g)

Here’s a riddle for you…

Q:  Which vegetable looks like a large green or purple turnip, grows above the ground like a cabbage, and tastes similar to broccoli stems?

A: Kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi is not considered a root vegetable, despite its similar appearance to radishes and turnips. It actually falls within the same category as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables that grow above ground. When eaten raw, kohlrabi has a slight crunch and spicy taste similar to a radish or turnip, but it is sweeter and milder. Smaller kohlrabi usually taste sweeter than larger ones, as this vegetable develops a more potent radish-like taste the further it matures. This mysterious vegetable can also be roasted, steamed, baked, stuffed, made into fritters or pureed into a soup. These methods of cooking will bring out more of the sweet, mild flavours of kohlrabi, similar to the beloved potato. But all this talk about sweetness does not mean that it is a high glycemic vegetable – kohlrabi can safely be consumed by those looking to watch their carb intake.

Other Benefits of Kohlrabi

  • Helps to prevents anemia due to its high iron content
  • Improves vision
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Increases the metabolism
  • High in fibre (helps digestion)
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  1. Rutabaga (5g net carbs per cup)

A cross between a cabbage and a turnip, a rutabaga is a sweet and nutritious root vegetable. Similar to the other items on this list, it can be eaten both raw and cooked in a variety of ways.

Try these roasted rutabaga fries to see for yourself:

  1. Peel a rutabaga and cut into long thin strips like fries.
  2. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and whichever other seasonings you like.
  3. Lay the pieces flat on a baking pan with parchment paper.
  4. Place in the oven for 25–35 minutes at 400° or until your desired crispiness is achieved.

You can try adding some flavour with the following Hot Mamas Spice Mixes and Rubs that are zero sodium and sugar free. Adding spice mixes to recipes can transform the same basic, healthy ingredients into a number of different dishes.

Other Benefits of Rutabaga

  • High in vitamins B, C and E
  • High in iron
  • High in antioxidants that may prevent premature aging
  • Can improve eyesight
  • Promotes good bone health
  • Stimulates healthy regeneration of cells throughout the body
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • High in fibre to promote digestive and bowel health
  1. Celery Root (7g net carbs per cup)

Did you know you can eat the roots of celery, too? Also called celeriac, the celery root grows beneath the ground and is packed with nutrients from the soil. It has a comparable earthy texture and taste similar to a turnip, but also slightly reminiscent of the celery that grows from it.

Try it in a slow cooker to add some hearty nutrients to big-flavour dishes. Or, it could be used in a side dish by cutting or grating it into fine pieces to form a fresh tasting coleslaw or light salad. For something similar but a bit more culinarily challenging, you can search recipes for its classic use in French remoulades.

Other Benefits of Celery Root

  • Boosts the immune system
  • High levels of Vitamin C help heal wounds
  • Vitamin B5 helps keep skin healthy and smooth
  • Other B vitamins can reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Reduces arthritis and inflammation
  • Promotes good bone health
  • High in fibre to promote digestive and bowel health
  1. Zucchini (2g net carbs per cup)

Zucchini is technically a fruit, but it can still be a great replacement for starchy vegetables in various kinds of recipes. Its mild sweetness and floral taste is great in herby recipes. Its earthier flavours come out when its oven roasted, pan fried or grilled.

Zucchini noodles have become increasingly popular in recent years. While this isn’t exactly a potato substitute – it’s a great carb substitute in general and can be paired with delicious meat sauces to make your own homemade zucchini Bolognese or zucchini lasagne!

Other Benefits of Zucchini

  • Can help cure asthma
  • Helps balance thyroid function
  • High levels of important minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium
  • Good for eyesight
  • High in antioxidants (especially in the skin of the zucchini) that can slow down aging and prevent certain cancers
  • High fibre content contributes to healthy digestion
  • High in soluble fibres can promote gut health

Goodbye, Spuds. Hello, Low Carb Goodness!

It may be surprising to learn about the different superfoods that exist out there, especially when you are used to your routine of meat with potatoes. But there are so many other nutritious and tasty veggies out there that won’t leave you missing anything about the high carb vegetables of your past.

Stay Connected 

If you try out any new recipes with these potato substitutes, we’d love to know! Share your photos and recipes with us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram. We also love to stay connected with our Weekly Newsletters for updates on the latest products and special sales. And please leave us a Google Review with any and all of your feedback!


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Mental Benefits To A Low Carb Diet

What Are the Mental Benefits of a Low Carb Diet? 

Ketogenic and low carb diets have not only been shown to result in weight loss, but they can also provide mental health benefits. Read on to learn how our brains may function better on a low-carb high-fat diet.

Did you know that your mental health is largely influenced by the nutrients you obtain from food? While diet is not the only factor that influences mental health, it is certainly one that deserves a lot of attention. A high carb diet can have very different effects on mental function when compared to a diet based around fats. A lot of recent research has shown the benefits of eating a ketogenic or low carb diet for certain mental disorders such as depression, epilepsy, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Many mental illnesses stem from the same things that cause physical health problems, such as inflammation, oxidative stress and hormonal imbalances. These conditions can be a result of consuming foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, industrial-use oils, artificial preservatives and added hormones. The higher quality your diet is, the better your mental function will be. Feeding your brain the right nutrients has the potential to prevent and even reverse some of the symptoms of mental illnesses.


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What Causes Mental Health Disorders?

There are two common causes of mental illness when looked at from a biological standpoint: an imbalance of important brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, or low brain cell energy production. Both of these causes can be controlled or alleviated with proper dietary nutrition.

Neurotransmitter Imbalances

One cause of mental health disorders is an imbalance in the types and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released by nerve cells in the brain that send signals to other nerves, organs, muscles or tissues to perform some kind of function. Depending on the type of neurotransmitter, these signals can have different effects on the mind and body that range from inhibitory to stimulating responses. The brain requires a balance of different neurotransmitters to function normally, and if these levels get thrown out of balance for long periods of time, mental illness can result.

Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are said to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are 4 main neurotransmitters that regulate moods: serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA; each producing different effects on our moods and behaviour. The food we eat affects the levels of these chemicals because dietary nutrients are needed to manufacture neurotransmitters. Dietary nutrients come from proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Proteins are the essential building blocks of neurotransmitters, as well as muscle tissue, organs, blood, enzymes and antibodies. Carbohydrates and fat are primarily used as fuel sources, but they can also have an effect on levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Low Brain Cell Energy Levels

Another cause of mental disorders is low energy production in brain cells. Without enough energy, brain cells may slow down or cease to function, which can result in a number of mental illnesses such as depression and Alzheimer’s.

There is a common belief that your brain needs glucose (produced when we eat carbohydrates) to function. While this may be true, glucose is not the only fuel source that the brain can use, and your liver can produce all of the glucose it requires on its own without you having to consume any carbs. When you consume fats, the liver produces ketones, and your brain can use these as a primary fuel source instead. Some research has shown that ketones may be a more efficient fuel for the brain than glucose. This is because ketones can increase the number of mitochondria – the part of the cell responsible for converting nutrients into energy – in brain cells and therefore boost the overall amount of energy produced by these cells.

Reducing Your Carb Intake Could Improve Mental Function

High Carb Diets and Mental Function

If you are not in ketosis, then your brain is using glucose as its main fuel source. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, if you have any mental health concerns, you may consider switching to a low carb high fat diet instead.

Two neurotransmitters that are produced when we consume carbohydrates are serotonin and dopamine, both pleasure-causing chemicals. While this may seem like a good thing, any imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain can have very negative consequences. Having excessive levels of serotonin in the brain can result in anxiety from over-stimulus and depression due to withdrawal. Having too much dopamine has also been known to result in various degrees of psychosis and mania, including binge eating, gambling, bipolar disorders, aggression and schizophrenia.

Low Carb Diets and Mental Function

Being in ketosis – that is, consuming a ketogenic diet that is about 75% healthy fats, 20% high-quality proteins and 5% carbs – can increase the production of the GABA neurotransmitter due to the different nutrients provided by this kind of diet. Having a good balance of GABA in the brain has been shown to increase mental focus and reduce stress, while low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, depression, poor memory and insomnia.

Other Mental Benefits of a Low Carb Diet

Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

The ketogenic diet has also been shown to reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress in the brain. This is why the keto diet is often recommended to those suffering from brain seizures and epilepsy, because of the anti-inflammatory effects of a diet that is rich in omega-3s and essential vitamins and minerals from high quality fats, proteins and vegetables.

The keto diet is naturally anti-inflammatory because it also requires you to cut out inflammation-producing foods such as refined sugars and carbohydrates. But you still need to be sure that you are consuming antioxidant-rich foods daily. Keto-friendly anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • Aronia berry – higher in antioxidants compared to cranberries, blueberries and most other fruits, and low carb.
  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Healthy oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil
  • Avocados
  • Camu camu – a rainforest berry that contains powerful antioxidants and is loaded with Vitamin C which can help fight inflammation.

Can Reverse Hormonal Imbalances and Adrenal Fatigue

Hormonal imbalances or adrenal fatigue can result in a number of physical conditions that may lead to more serious mental disorders. For example, they can show up as symptoms of tiredness, body aches, problems sleeping and digestive issues but can escalate to anxiety or depression.

Hormonal imbalances may be due to certain developmental changes such as puberty and menopause, but our diets also largely effect our hormonal levels. Some of the foods we eat may cause us to be ingesting inappropriate levels of hormones that can throw our hormonal levels out of balance. This is especially true for low quality animal products because hormones can be added, and when consumed, can seriously disrupt our bodies’ hormonal balance. It is important to eat high-quality protein from both animal and plant sources, even if you are on a fat-based diet. Look for non-GMO grass-fed beef, free range chickens, and sustainably caught wild fish. Tempeh, tofu, edamame, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and nuts and seeds are great low carb plant-based sources of protein as well.

Foods that cause inflammation can also disrupt our hormonal balances. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands in the kidneys can no longer function properly. The adrenal glands are responsible for the production of vital hormones such as our sex hormones and cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol, if produced in moderation, can help us perform in certain areas of life. However, adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol, resulting in inflammation and not producing enough of the other important hormones. Stress and inflammation can have a number of damaging effects on the body. If you suspect that you may be exposed to high levels of cortisol, you can modify your diet to reduce these effects.

Some foods recommended to reduce hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue include high protein foods, dark green and red vegetables and fruits, and unrefined or gluten-free carbohydrates (consuming gluten can cause inflammation in people with mild to severe gluten intolerances). Again, foods you should avoid are refined white sugar and flour, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and highly processed or fast food.

Let’s Make This Easy

The Low Carb Grocery carries a number of low carb, anti-inflammatory, adrenal fatigue-reducing foods that can help you manage your diet for improved mental health:

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Seasonal Fruits – The Low Carb Way

Your Guide to Seasonal Low Carb Fruits

Using seasonal fruits in your smoothies means better prices and better taste. Learn which fruits are in season and how you can use them in low carb and keto-friendly recipes!

When you browse the fruit section of your local supermarket or grocery store, you’ll likely see many of the same options year-round, thanks to global sourcing. But, if you pay close attention, you’ll also see many fruits come and go from the aisles as the months change through the year as local suppliers conduct their harvests over the different growing seasons. Prices may also change, giving you an idea of what is in season (lower prices) vs out of season.

When shopping for fruit, it is helpful to know what times of year are best to find certain types of fruits so you can get the most bang for your buck; fruits that are in season will not only have better prices, but they will also taste better! Knowing the best time of year to buy certain fruits will also help you reduce waste as in-season fruits tend to spoil less quickly.

The following guide will help you break down the best fruits to buy during each season of the year. We’ve kept our focus on the types of fruits that can be found in Canada. We’ve also included the net carb count per cup for each fruit. If you are following a low carb diet, look for the fruits listed in bold for your best low carb options!

Spring Fruits: April – June

Although spring is still too early to harvest most fruits, especially in Canada, there are still several fruits that grow quickly as the weather starts to warm up. We also see many of the fruits in the springtime from global suppliers. Here’s a list of fruits that are in season during the spring:

  • Apples – 12 net carbs per cup
  • Avocados – 3g net carbs per cup
  • Bananas (year-round) – 20 net carbs per cup
  • Coconut (year-round) – 5g net carbs per cup
  • Mangos – 25g net carbs per cup
  • Rhubarb – 4g net carbs per cup 

Here’s a great recipe we found for low carb rhubarb crisp. If you don’t already have them at home, The Low Carb Grocery carries many of the ingredients you will need for this recipe, including almond flour, ground flaxseed meal, cinnamon, liquid stevia, chia seeds and erythritol.

Summer Fruits: July – September

Summer, of course, is prime season for growing a wide variety of fruits. Here are some of the delicious fresh fruits that you can expect to be in season during the summer months:

  • Apricots – 14g net carbs per cup
  • Avocados – 3g net carbs per cup
  • Bananas (year-round) – 20g net carbs per cup
  • Blackberries – 6g net carbs per cup
  • Blueberries – 12g net carbs per cup
  • Cantaloupe – 7g net carbs per cup
  • Cherries – 10g net carbs per cup
  • Coconut (year-round) – 5g net carbs per cup
  • Honeydew Melon – 15g net carbs per cup
  • Nectarines – 13g net carbs per cup
  • Peaches – 10g net carbs per cup
  • Plums – 10g net carbs per cup
  • Raspberries – 5g net carbs per cup
  • Strawberries – 6g net carbs per cup
  • Watermelon – 7g net carbs per cup 

Try this fun summer recipe for low carb frozen yogurt popsicles!

Autumn Fruits: October – December

Many of the fruits that come into season in the late months of the summer continue their growing season into the fall as well. Here are some of the most common fruits you’ll find in season during the fall.

  • Apples – 12g net carbs per cup
  • Bananas (year-round) – 20g net carbs per cup
  • Cranberries (raw) – 8g net carbs per cup
  • Coconut (year-round) – 5g net carbs per cup
  • Grapes – 16g net carbs per cup
  • Kiwi – 12g net carbs per cup
  • Limes – 5g net carbs per fruit
  • Mandarins – 10g net carbs per cup
  • Pears – 12g net carbs per cup

Try this recipe for low carb cranberry walnut bars. For this recipe, you will need low carb powdered sugar. We recommend using Swerve Icing Sugar for its similar consistency and taste to traditional powdered sugar – its “the ultimate sugar replacement”!

Around the holidays, you can also try out this recipe for keto cranberry sauce, flavoured with monk fruit sweetener and cinnamon and orange zest.

Winter Fruits: January – March

While it may seem odd to consider some fruits as “in-season” during the winter months in Canada, you can still find a number of fruits at their best during this time of year:

  • Apples – 12g net carbs per cup
  • Bananas (year-round) – 20g net carbs per cup
  • Coconut (year-round) – 5g net carbs per cup
  • Grapefruit – 11g net carbs per cup
  • Kiwi – 12g net carbs per cup
  • Lemons – 6g net carbs per cup
  • Oranges – 9g net carbs per cup
  • Pineapple – 12g net carbs per cup

We found a great recipe for Keto-Friendly Hummingbird Cake here. If you’ve never heard of hummingbird cake before – well, you’re missing out! It is a layered (optional rum-soaked) cake with a cream cheese frosting that originates from the Caribbean, so it traditionally features lots of fresh fruits including bananas and pineapples. However, these fruits can be tricky to incorporate if you are on a low carb diet. Don’t worry – this recipe takes into account the amount of net carbs in these fruits and uses just a small portion of fresh pineapple and banana extract instead. If you still find that it isn’t fruity enough, try adding a few drops each of Flavorall Liquid Stevia in Banana, Pineapple, Coconut + more than 20 other flavours. Customize this recipe to make it your own!

Note that this recipe requires a good quality, extra-fine blanched almond flour. Anthony’s Goods carries this type of almond flour that can help you perfect this recipe and many more! Bring this Keto Hummingbird Cake to your family gatherings around the holidays – but don’t expect to bring home any leftovers!

When in Doubt, Buy Frozen!

If shopping according to the seasons proves too difficult for you, another way to always ensure you have fresh fruit is to buy it in frozen packages. Frozen fruits are always packaged when they reach their peak ripeness and, of course, they will have much longer shelf lives than fresh produce.

Here’s a recipe for low carb ice cream using frozen fruits.

Low Carb Fruit Smoothies

So, you might be wondering. What else can you do with all of these great low carb fruit options on a daily basis? Well, for starters, don’t get too carried away. As you can see from the net carb counts above, it can be very easy to go above your daily recommended carb intake if you are following a ketogenic or low carb diet. But, small amounts of low carb fruits can still be incorporated into delicious keto-friendly smoothies that taste great!

Here’s how to build your own low carb smoothie:

1. Choose a milk base.

This can be dairy or non-dairy, depending on your preferences. Note that regular fat milk can easily kick you out of ketosis, so if you choose the dairy route opt for a higher fat content. Non-dairy options are great sources of fibre and still contain good amounts of healthy proteins and fats. Always opt for unsweetened versions to avoid hidden carbs. Try one of these options with your next smoothie:

2. Add ½ cup – 1 cup of low carb fruits (choose seasonally for the best taste!). 

3. Add some fat and protein to your shake.

4. Add a boost of fibre for smooth digestion.

5. Add some natural zero-carb sweetness (optional).

6. Spice it up or add some low carb flavour (optional).

  • Cocoa Powder (note that this is pure cocoa powder, so it will add a bitter but chocolate-y taste to your smoothie. Best paired with a natural sweetener!).
  • Cinnamon – opt for Ceylon or “True” Cinnamon rather than cassia cinnamon (commonly found in supermarkets) as it contains less coumarin, a toxin that can be harmful if eaten in large quantities.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flavorall Liquid Stevia Drops – available in 25 flavours! A great way to replace the taste of some of those higher carb fruits.
  • Ginger Powder
  • Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties (FYI – it will make your smoothie a vibrant yellow colour! Try it with mangoes, bananas and citrus fruits for a tasty tropical smoothie blend.)
  • Moringa for a boost of essential vitamins and minerals. Try out this Peanut Butter Berry Smoothie Recipe featuring Wild Tusker Moringa Powder.

7. Blend together all the goodness and enjoy!

 

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Sandwich & Wraps – The Low Carb Way

Delicious Low Carb Sandwiches & Wrap Alternatives

Sandwiches and wraps can still be enjoyed no matter what your dietary restrictions are. Learn about the different ways to customize your favourite lunchtime meals whether you are on a low carb, gluten-free, plant-based or other diet/program.

There’s no need to give up sandwiches and wraps at lunchtime, even if you are on a low carb diet. Not only are they fast and easy to make, but they taste great and can be made in any number of combinations according to your circumstances and preferences. And, there are a number of alternative ways to make them to suit different lifestyles and diets. That’s the beauty of the sandwich – its versatility and endless possibilities!

Low Carb Concerns?

Fortunately for low carb dieters, the deli counter is one place where you can definitely count on what you’re buying to fit your diet. Meats and cheeses are great low carb and keto-friendly toppings to add to your sandwiches or wraps. Balance it out with some fibre-rich vegetables and an oil-based sauce to ensure that you stay in ketosis. Oh – and the bread? Read on to learn how to navigate the question of what to put your keto sandwich innards between.

Choosing low carb meats is not hard; high-fat meats will ensure that you to stay in ketosis, such as pork or beef. Or, you can opt for a lighter meat like chicken or turkey and add fats in other elements such as avocado, oil-based dressings, or cheese. Either way, make sure to look for natural, non-GMO and farm-raised meat that is free from artificial preservatives and any other additives. Natural types of preservatives include salt and/or celery. The key is to find good quality meat, because this is what matters. Low quality meat raised with added hormones and chemical preservatives strip the original product of its nutrients and can have very damaging effects on the body including – but not limited to – inflammation, weakening the immune system, lowering fertility, and increasing your risk of chronic diseases. Also be sure to avoid any deli meats with glazes or spice rubs that may have added sugars as these can cause you to unknowingly raise your net carb count.

The main issue with eating sandwiches and wraps while trying to stay in ketosis is the bread or bun replacement. Luckily, there are a number of low carb bread options available that still taste great! Many are made from almond flour, which adds a great boost of Vitamin E and healthy fats to your ‘wich. Alternatively, they can be made with flaxseed meal, coconut flour or other types of nut and seed meals that all provide high amounts of fibre, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals.

Gluten-Free Concerns?

It can also be hard to find the right gluten-free bread or wraps for your sandwiches. Luckily, some of the keto-friendly options mentioned above fit into this category, too. Some other gluten-free brands of breads and wraps that we love are Slice of Life Carb Wise Bread and Live Organic Food Raw Wraps.

The Low Carb Grocery carries a number of gluten-free products. Just look for the purple “Gluten-Free” tag on our product web pages:

Keto diets are naturally low in gluten, as wheat and grains are the main carb culprits! Even if you are not gluten-intolerant, it can be a good idea to try out some of these amazing gluten-free alternatives, or they could naturally fit into your diet. Some people report better digestion and increased energy levels by eliminating gluten from their diet. Being gluten-free can also have other indirect benefits. By not consuming wheat or grains, you are inadvertently forced to consume more fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in their place. These alternatives also usually have higher fibre content, which is why they help with digestion and feelings of fullness for long-lasting energy throughout the day.

Plant-Based Concerns?

There are a lot of plant-based options for sandwiches and wraps. In fact, you can usually find products that are suited for a number of overlapping diets and lifestyles. A lot of keto-friendly, paleo-friendly and gluten-free products can be made from plant-based ingredients.

The good thing about plant-based alternatives is that they usually add other nutritional benefits to your meal, including important vitamins and minerals as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These are often found in different kinds of nuts and seeds, which, when ground into a fine powder, are a great substitution for traditional white or wheat flours.

The main issue when trying to build a plant-based sandwich or wrap is finding replacements for the fillers such as the typical deli meats and cheeses. Not to fear – there are many plant-based options to choose from!

These days it is not hard to find plant-based alternatives for meat. Some good replacements include tofu, tempeh, large mushrooms such as portobello, and quinoa, lentil or bean-based vegan patties. All of these are not only rich in protein (that is just as beneficial for building muscle tissue as animal protein) but also tend to be higher in fibre which can help you feel fuller, longer. If you are following a low carb diet, protein-rich legumes could be high in net carbs – so be sure to double check before you indulge in a veggie burger and accidentally fall out of ketosis.

As far as vegan cheeses, you can usually find nut-based versions at most specialty retailers. These are a more sustainable dairy alternative and there are a number of allergen-friendly options to find. You can also add other creamy elements to your sandwich or wrap that can replicate some of the same sensations as cheese. For example, avocados, tahini (sesame paste), vegan mayonnaise, hummus, very soft tofu or nutritional yeast can add that familiar texture and flavour of cheese, while also being high in other nutritional benefits.

Make Your Own at Home!

Still concerned about your low carb bread options? Try making your own! It’s not as hard as it sounds, and you can totally customize it to your personal preferences and dietary needs.

Anthony’s Goods provides a range of products that can be used for making your own bread (and other baked goods!) from the comfort of your own home. All of their products are guaranteed either premium quality or organic, and cover a range of cooking and baking needs.

Baking at home is one of the best ways to ensure that the food you are eating is clean, free from any artificial ingredients and tailored to your specific dietary needs. Plus, it can be really fun! Read on to learn how to make your own homemade low carb bread:

Start with a base of one or all of these:          

+ baking powder and a pinch of salt!

Add the following fibre boosts:

 

Mix the dry ingredients with a healthy oil or fat to make it all stick together:

  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil (melted)
  • Egg whites
  • Grass-fed butter (melted)

Finally, add your own personal touch with any or all of these:

Bake in a glass baking dish or deep baking pan lined with parchment paper at 350˚ for 10-15 minutes, or until you see a golden-brown colour and small cracks on the top of the bread. Test ready-ness with a toothpick by sticking it into the centre of the bread. It should come out clean with very little to no crumbs when the bread is done baking.

If all this sounds too hard, you’re still in luck. KZ Clean Eating offers a grain-free, high protein bread mix that comes ready to bake with its own tin container. All you have to do is add water, bake and enjoy fresh, warm homemade bread (it still counts, right?).

Stay Connected 

If you try making your own low carb bread at home, we’d love to know your recipes and tips! Share photos and recipes of your delicious homemade bread on Facebook or tag us on Instagram! We also love to stay connected with our Weekly Newsletters for updates on the latest products and special sales. And please leave us a Google Review with your feedback!


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salad options for low carbers

Keto-Friendly Salad Tips & Recipes

Low Carb Keto Salad Ingredients  

You might question whether salads are okay to eat on a low carb diet, as some vegetables and salad dressings can be high in carbs. Read this guide to learn how to make your salads keto-friendly!

Salads are the perfect lunchtime meal for any diet, including keto. They are totally customizable to your preferences and needs, and there’s lots of ways you can make them low in carbs, too. Salads are a great way to get enough fibre in your day and break up some of those heavier meals that are known to the keto diet.

One way to turn your salads from boring to boundless is with different salad dressings. These can transform the same simple ingredients into a completely different meal. Here are some of our top picks for keto-friendly salad dressings:

  1. Primal Kitchen Salad Dressings

These keto- and paleo-friendly dressings can also double as marinades. Cook your meat and dress your salad with these sauces for a truly cohesive, restaurant-quality dish! Bonus – they are also free from soy and canola oil.

Choose from a variety of delicious flavours such as Green Goddess, Caesar, Greek, or Ranch! Each serving contains just 0.5g to 2g net carbs, depending on the flavour you choose.

  1. Fresh Dress Homemade Salad Dressings

With 0g net carbs, this is your ultimate choice for a keto-friendly dressing! It also means you have some net carbs to spare in the rest of your salad, if you choose. These dressings are made in Ontario with all-natural ingredients such as first pressed pure olive oil, premium vinegars, and fresh herbs and spices. Have homemade dressing in the convenience of a resealable glass bottle right at your fingertips! Try our favourite flavours: Wicked Caesar and Greek Lightning! (available in store only).

  1. Walden Farms Salad Dressings 

Not only are these dressings zero calories, but they are also 0g net carbs! Walden Farms has created a line of unique and versatile flavours such as Balsamic Vinaigrette, Asian Dressing, Creamy Bacon and Chipotle Ranch! If you can’t decide on just one, try our sampler pack! These single-serve packets are also perfect for on the go and taking your lunch to work.

Home Made Salad Dressings

Making your own keto-friendly dressing at home is another great option, because you can control every aspect of it to fit your dietary needs. It’s easy to skip on the added sugars that you find in most grocery store brands, and you can choose flavours that you enjoy. The Low Carb Grocery carries Canada’s largest selection of low-carb, sugar-free, sodium-free and low-calorie sauces, dressings and ingredients that are perfect for making your own salad dressings at home. Try out a new recipe today!

Here’s how you can make your own dressing at home in just a few simple steps.

1. Start with a base of oil:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Flax oil for an extra boost of omega-3s
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil for an Asian-inspired dressing

2. Add a splash of vinegar: balsamic, apple cider vinaigrette, white or sherry are all great choices. Or, add soy sauce or tamari and some citrus juice (low in carbs!) to make an Asian-style dressing. Coconut aminos, made from the “sap” of coconut trees, are a great low-glycemic and soy-free alternative to soy sauce.

3. Get creative with flavours and seasonings. You can add garlic (fresh or powdered seasoning), red chilli flakes, black or pink peppercorns (crushed), or ginger. Adding fresh herbs such as dill, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage will brighten up your salad and balance out the fat or protein elements. We love The Garlic Box’s Roasted Garlic Sea Salt as a 2-in-1 addition to homemade salad dressings, or even just sprinkled over salads:

If you want a more fruity or sweet-leaning salad dressings, try using Flavorall liquid stevia drops! Mix these drops with a low carb yogurt or light olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings for a well-rounded salad dressing perfect for spring or summer. Check out this keto-friendly raspberry vinaigrette recipe we found, made with Swerve Confectioners natural sweetener. Substitute a portion of the fresh raspberries in this recipe with Flavorall Radiant Raspberry Drops for less carbs and big flavour!

The possibilities are really endless when you’re making your own dressing. Make enough for the week so you always have fresh, homemade dressing in your fridge.

Now let’s get into the salad recipes…

Green Salads 

Most greens are keto-friendly and rich in fibre to keep you feeling full and promote healthy digestion. Start with a base of any or all of the following nutrient-rich greens: spinach, kale, chard, romaine or leaf lettuce. Mixing in fresh herb leaves, such as basil or mint is a great way to add flavour and vibrancy to an otherwise dull salad. Broccoli is also a great low carb base for a hearty, protein-rich salad that will keep you feeling full for hours. Check out this recipe for easy Keto Broccoli Salad.

Next, add some protein – remember, this doesn’t just have to come from meat or cheese. Nuts, seeds and avocados all contain low to moderate amounts of protein and higher amounts of fat, making them perfect for keto. These are also better for heart health as they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs are also a great addition as they contain essential nutrients that are hard to find from other food sources. Try this Keto Cobb Salad recipe with ranch dressing!

Finally, drizzle with your dressing of choice for a final dose of fats and enjoy!

If you feel like you’re missing a “carb-y” element in your salad try some of these suggestions:

  1. Cut your low carb bread into bite-size cubes.
  2. Drizzle melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil over the cubes.
  3. Season with garlic, parsley, oregano (optional), salt, pepper and parmesan cheese (optional).
  4. Toss everything together and place on a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 400˚F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Alternative Salads

Greens don’t have to be your go-to salad base. There are many other salads you can make that are keto-friendly using other foods as your base. Check out our list of unconventional keto-friendly salads that you can try to switch up your salad routine!

Kelp Noodle Salad 

Kelp Noodles are low in calories and carbs, and they are gluten-free. Make a spin on pasta salad with these nutrient-dense noodles. Kelp noodles contain over 70 minerals including iodine, potassium, magnesium and calcium! These minerals can help with metabolism and improve thyroid function. Truly a superfood, you will also find more than 21 amino acids, various vitamins and enzymes that aid with healthy digestion. Try out this visually stunning, vegan, gluten-free and keto-friendly recipe for Crunchy Asian Kelp Noodle Salad. Substitute tempeh for a protein of your choice and add extra oils to increase the fat content to make this fit your macronutrient profile.

You can follow this and similar recipes using Konjac Noodles, in case you can’t find kelp noodles at your local supermarket. They are similar in texture and mild in taste meaning you can create virtually any recipe with them!

Cucumber Avocado Tomato Salad

This chunky salad fits into any diet and is perfect as a side dish or on its own. Check out this recipe we found for this bright and satisfying Mediterranean-style salad, best enjoyed family-style! It is super simple and quick to prepare, and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge. Make your own dressing or pair this salad with one of our low carb Greek dressings!

Variations of this recipe might include other low carb veggies such as zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, artichokes or hearts of palm. Try grilling them for a tasty and comforting warm salad.

Chicken, Tuna or Egg Salad 

Why not eat your protein in salad-form? These classic dishes are an unconventional approach to the traditional green salad and are a great way to ensure you are getting enough protein and fats in your diet. They will keep you full and there are many ways to customize them to your liking! Add vegetables to the mix in small chunks for some balance in textures and flavours and a boost of fibre. Try out any or all of these recipes:

Turn any of these into a delicious sandwich with one of our low carb breads, wraps or pitas!

Connect with the LCG 

If you tried any of the recipes in this article, share it with us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram! We also love to stay connected with our Weekly Newsletters for updates on the latest products and special sales. Also, please leave us a Google Review with your Low Carb Grocery experiences!


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Buying Low Carb Bread – Tips & Ideas

Looking to Cut Carbs but Don’t Want to Give up Your Bread?

Bread is a staple in our day-to-day lives, and often a key component of breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. But it’s tough to say goodbye when we start a low-carb diet. Fear not! There are a number of great low-carb bread options, plus additional options that you can substitute for bread in your diet.


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Here’s the Problem with White Bread…

White bread will throw you out of ketosis, and furthermore, it has gone from a traditionally homemade kitchen staple to an unruly, highly refined grocery commodity. Commercialization has caused bread manufacturers to forego nutritional value in the wake of mass production and cost savings. What we find now in our grocery stores is highly processed bread made from refined flours with added sugars and preservatives. During the refining process, the grains are stripped from naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein – leaving behind starch as the primary ingredient. This makes the body absorb whatever nutrients are left very rapidly during digestion, which can spike blood sugar levels and lead to sudden crashes. Side effects of this may include but are not limited to irritability, digestive issues and inflammation (consult your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms).

Next time you’re at your local supermarket, grab the most popular bread brand and take a look at the ingredients on the back. Chances are, it’ll be the length of half the loaf and contain a number of items you might not even recognize.

What Should You Be Looking For?

Buying the right bread for you isn’t easy. There are a number of things you might consider when shopping for a bread to meet your keto, low carb, gluten-free, diabetic or other needs. Here’s a list of our suggestions for things to look for, good things, regardless of your diet or lifestyle choice:

  • The absence of food additives – AKA, short ingredients lists with things you recognize or have some idea of what they would be.
  • Added fibre sources (oat fibre, wheat fibre, psyllium husk, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.).
  • Added protein, or protein sources, such as almond flour, vital wheat gluten, or other protein sources.
  • Any other vitamin or mineral source that can amp up the nutrition of your bread.

Low Carb Breads We Love

At The Low Carb Grocery, we are always on the lookout for the latest health food trends in Canada, with a focus on low-carb and sugar-free dieters’ needs in particular. We believe that there is a great low-carb substitute for all of your favourite foods!

Here are some of our favourite low carb breads:

Bakers Deluxe

Bakers Deluxe Dream Bread taste very similar to your previously favourite bread and toasts well. You can enjoy a variety of flavours, including plainpumpernickel and rye with caraway seeds. With only 2g of net carbs per 2 slices, it is the perfect low-carb substitute for your sandwiches, toast, or even repurposed as breadcrumbs.

In addition, 2 slices of Bakers Deluxe Dream bread will give you 14g of protein (from wheat) and 16g of fibre! The addition of oat fibre, wheat fibre, golden flaxseed meal and almond meal gives this bread a well-rounded nutrient profile. Oat fibre is great for preventing blood sugar spikes, keeping you feeling full and energized longer, and it can even support the good gut bacteria for overall health. Oat fibre also allows for the soft and crumb-less texture of this bread.

What the nutrition facts won’t show you is that this bread is also high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E which has anti-aging properties, and manganese, which is necessary for many functions of the body.

Chompies Breads

Chompies Breads has been praised for its miraculous similarity to high-carb bread. Thick slices and a higher moisture content mean that you won’t feel like you’re eating dieters’ bread, often characterized by dryness and unsatisfyingly thin slices. The best part? Chompies Breads has only 1g net carb per slice.

Enhanced with vital wheat gluten, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast, this bread packs a protein punch with 8g of protein per slice. It also has flax seeds, oat bran, rye flakes and millet to give it a well-balanced earthy taste and no added preservatives. Available in sesame or multigrain flavours!

Dimpflmeier

Formerly named Carb Smart Bread, Dimpflmeier PowerSlice Bread is similar to a Scandinavian-style rye bread – but packed with powerful nutrients! It is baked with artesian spring water giving it the best clean, light flavour that nature can provide. With only 1g net carbs per slice, this bread can be enjoyed by low-carb dieters or anyone looking for a more nutritious substitute for their regular bread.

Dimpflmeier PowerSlice Bread also contains 15g of protein per slice due to the additions of wheat, pea, whey and rice protein. It also contains some great sources of fibre including oat fibre, brown and golden flax seeds, wheat fibre, psyllium husk, and chicory root fibre (inulin). All of these will aid in healthy digestion, promote the growth of good gut bacteria and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer. Who knew you could unlock so much power in a slice of bread!

Slice of Life

Slice of Life Carb Wise Bread is not only low-carb, but also gluten-free! With only 3g net carbs per 2 slices, you can enjoy its nutritional benefits as a part of any diet. Made with almond flour and flax meal, this bread is packed with protein (10g per 2 slices) and has an added boost of fibre from psyllium husk. Pumpkin seeds also provide a good source of magnesium, an important mineral that is often lacking in our diets.

Other Low-Carb Bread Substitutes

Don’t limit your options to bread look-alikes – many vegetables can be prepared or used in a way that mimics bread, too! And, vegetables can be just as low-carb as the products listed above. Here are some of our top suggestions:

  • Lettuce, chard or collard green wraps. The larger leaves of either swiss chard or collard greens make these a great substitute for keto and paleo-friendly wraps.
  • Nori (seaweed) sheets. Seaweed is a powerhouse of nutrition, and another great substitute for traditional high carb wraps. Its nutritional benefits including high levels of antioxidants, calcium, folic acid, iron and a host of other vitamins and minerals.
  • Sweet potato toast. Using just a sliver of this nutrient-rich root vegetable, you can bake it with some olive oil and seasoning until it becomes slightly crispy and toast-like. Layer it with avocados, greens, eggs, nut butters, or any other toppings you usually put on a toasted piece of bread and be amazed!
  • Roasted cauliflower slices. Roasting cauliflower is a great way to add a carb-like texture to your plate – minus the net carbs! Packed with fibre and other important nutrients, cauliflower is a great carb substitute in many recipes. Try out slices of roasted cauliflower instead of an English muffin for delicious, keto-friendly eggs benedict!

Check out our blog article about low-carb potato substitutions for more similar recipes and inspiration!

Other Low-Carb Bread & Bakery Products

At the Low-Carb Grocery, we also carry low-carb versions of other products that are traditionally high in carbs, such as low-carb bagels, buns, flatbreads, wraps, and tortillas. See our selection below:

These great products can be transformed into homemade low-carb burgers, tacos, burritos, wraps, flatbreads and more! Note that not all products may be low enough in carbs to be suitable for a keto lifestyle. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts on our product pages!

Shop our Store Today!

Whether you are new to low-carb eating or a seasoned pro, check out some of these low-carb bread alternatives. Low-carb food trends are always evolving and innovating – you might just find your new favourite low-carb bread, wrap, tortilla, pita, bagel, bun or flatbread! The Low-Carb Grocery is the best place to shop for these carb-conscious products but can’t find them at your local big box grocery store.

Stay Connected

If you tried and loved any of these low-carb bread options, please leave us a review on our website or on Google Reviews! We also love to stay connected via Facebook, Instagram, and our Weekly Newsletters to keep you updated with the latest product releases and special sales.


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