Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice (Paleo, Vegan, Keto)

Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!

Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!

You guys think I’m crazy right? Posting things like cauliflower rice on the blog when we can just binge eat brownies and ice cream. But before you go away, hear me out one sec. I’m serious about this healthy eating thing even if you are still on the fence.
And cauliflower rice is not the funky, hippie thing it’s made out to be. It can actually taste good! Like really really good, even to all of you who hate cauliflower. We are not talking bland, weird cauliflower taste here. This mexican cauliflower rice is bursting with all things we love about mexican food – the spice for one! I’m a big spicy food person and garlic – there has to be garlic in everything! And when you add cumin and jalapenos and tomatoes and onions and bell peppers and lots of coriander, you have a winner!
Plus it tastes like a good rice side dish. I’m not even going to pretend like it’s the real thing. But that’s how it is when you are substituting good for bad. It’s never going to be the real thing. But it can be a new different real thing. Like mexican cauliflower rice can be our new real. Our new healthy real and nobodys going to judge you for it in these parts. Because we are in this together folks. And I get you. Wanting to cut back a little on the unhealthy stuff and make space for more veggies and real food.

Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!
Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!

Let’s be honest with each other for a minute. I’m not going to stop gorging on desserts once in a while. I really can’t because it’s hopeless to even think like that. I mean, desserts are important in life. Real important and if you are thinking of quitting this food blog, I have some muffins coming up, with bananas and real chocolate. There, have I made you stay a while longer?
All I’m saying is that we need to make place for those desserts and find a little more balance in life so that we can enjoy everything guilt-free. And this mexican cauliflower rice is us making place. But not really giving up on the good things. Because this tastes delicious! And I know because I finished the bowl all by myself. In one sitting while watching Netflix for lunch. Not too bad eh?
I love making this mexican cauliflower rice into a bowl with a large-ish dollop of sour cream, sliced avocados for that buttery avocado flavour, jalapenos and lots of coriander and lime. Toppings are everything. And next time, I’m thinking blistered corn, tomatoes, maybe some guacamole and salsa too? Go crazy guys.

Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!

If you are really not into this kind of thing, tell me. We can still talk about this. but I love how adventurous we are together. xoxo.

Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is a healthy, paleo friendly, keto friendly, vegan side dish recipe that is bursting with mexican flavours and ready in 30 minutes!
Course: Main Dish, side dish
Cuisine: american, mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people
  • 3 cups Cauliflower Florets stems removed and washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped
  • 2 medium Tomatoes finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup diced Bell Peppers
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika Powder or red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Coriander or Cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • More cilantro, sliced avocados, jalapenos, lime juice etc for topping
  1. Add cauliflower florets to a food processor or chopper and pulse till the cauliflower resembles small bits (like rice). Make sure not to go all the way or it can turn mushy. See picture for reference.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, garlic and jalapenos. Stir fry for a few minutes till the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add tomatoes, cumin powder, paprika powder and salt to the pan. Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes till they soften. Add the diced bell peppers and cauliflower rice to the pan and mix well. Stir fry the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes till it’s tender.
  4. Top with your favourite topping and serve hot.
  1. We like our food spicy, but if you don’t, feel free to de-seed the jalapeno
  2. Cauliflower rice is best served immediately. Stored cauliflower rice can taste a bit weird and can turn smelly. And it only takes 15 minutes to put together anyway!
  3. Our favourite toppings are sour cream, cilantro, avocados and sometimes fried tortilla chips

Five Minute Magic Cookies – Low Carb, Sugar Free, THM S

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. My opinions are always my own. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, I make a small commission – at no cost to you – which helps keep this blog running, my recipes free, and supports my growing family. 

These Five Minute Magic Cookies take all the flavors of my popular Magic Cookie Bars and turn them into a cookie that mixes up in only 5 minutes. With chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and walnuts these are my new favorite easy recipe.

I love simplifying recipes. As a mom of four with number five arriving within the next month simple is key. I love my Magic Cookie Bars and I consider them a fairly easy recipe but the prep for those is about 25 minutes when you consider having to cook the sweetened condensed milk. And then that’s an additional pot to wash. I wanted a simpler version for when I don’t already have a batch of condensed milk ready to go in the fridge.
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
These are so easy and flavorful. The taste exactly like Magic Cookie Bars without the crust. They are going to be my new go to dessert to hide in the back of my fridge where my kids can’t find them.
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
Feel free to customize these to your tastes. Don’t like walnuts? Use pecans. Don’t like coconut? Use extra nuts. The main thing is to have 1.5 cups of mix-ins. I’m planning on trying these with white chocolate and dried cranberries this fall.
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
Five Minute Magic Cookies – Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S

You Might Also Enjoy:  Coconut Waffle with Strawberry Sauce – THM S

2 tbsp coconut cream ***
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet (or my sweetener blend)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (or other nuts of your choice)
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
*** You can buy small cans of coconut cream or refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk until it separates. For this recipe, you need the solid part of the coconut milk.
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
Preheat oven to 350.
Stir together the butter and coconut cream until smooth. Add the sweetener and egg yolks. Mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients. Scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet to form 12 cookies. Press down to flatten the tops.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Note: Don’t be disturbed when they look like this coming out of the oven. Just trim off the excess and enjoy your cookies. And go ahead and eat what you trimmed. It tastes like vanilla custard. You can also bake these in greased aluminum cupcake papers to avoid this step.
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S
Five Minute Magic Cookies - Low Carb, Grain Gluten Sugar Free, THM S

Yields 12 cookies


5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 tbsp coconut cream ***
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet (or my sweetener blend)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Stir together the butter and coconut cream until smooth. Add the sweetener and egg yolks. Mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients. Scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet to form 12 cookies. Press down to flatten the tops.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Type: dessert, snack


You Might Also Enjoy:  Easy Low Carb Pie Crust – Grain Free, THM S

*** You can buy small cans of coconut cream or refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk until it separates. For this recipe, you need the solid part of the coconut milk.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Cookie, 12 cookies per recipe
Calories 127
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 36mg
Sodium 18mg
Total Carbohydrates 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1%
Iron 4%

Hamburger, Sausage, Broccoli Alfredo – Low Carb


1 lbground beef
1 lbbulk sausage
1 tsporegano, dried
1 smallonion, chopped
1 clovegarlic, minced
10 to 12 ozfresh broccoli
1(8-oz) block cream cheese
1/2 cheavy cream
1/2 cParmesan cheese, grated
8 ozmozzarella cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
Hamburger, Sausage, Broccoli Alfredo - Low Carb Recipe

How to Make Hamburger, Sausage, Broccoli Alfredo – Low Carb

  • 1In a large skillet, brown hamburger, sausage, onion and garlic over a medium heat. Season to taste with oregano, salt and pepper; drain excess fat.
  • 2Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until tender yet still a little crisp; season with salt and pepper.
  • 3Place cream cheese in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on HIGH for about 45 seconds, until soft; whisk until creamy and smooth. Gradually whisk in the cream until smooth; stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  • 4Combine hamburger, broccoli and cream sauce in a large greased casserole dish (2 ½ quart or larger). Taste test and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Top with shredded cheese.
  • 5Bake at 350º for about 35-45 minutes, until bubbly around edges.

About Hamburger, Sausage, Broccoli Alfredo – Low Carb

Course/Dish: Casseroles
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Low Carb
Collection: Winter Recipes
Other Tag: Quick & Easy
Hashtag: #low-carb

The Advantages Of A Low Carb Diet And Health Benefits.

A reminder of all the benefits of low carb and how to start. Perfect for this time of year.
To ditch the carbs for good, you need to understand the advantages of a low-carb diet, how to start, what to eat and how to avoid the common mistakes.

The advantages of a low carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

This is a guest post by Michael Joseph who is a passionate nutrition educator with a master’s degree in Nutrition Education. He is the founder of Nutrition Advancewhere he frequently writes nutrition and health-related articles. He believes that nutrition advice has become overly complicated and that we need to get back to the basics and value our traditional food. Photo credits go to Nutrition Advance.


The advantages of a low-carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

Low-carb diets have been attracting more media attention as of late. As for the reason, it’s simple: they just work. Added to that, many people still believe that fat clogs arteries, so the diet creates controversy. In truth, fat is essential for your health, carbohydrates are not.
This article will also explain the how to start a low-carb diet, what to eat and there is a sample meal plan at the end. But let’s begin by taking a look at a few of the main advantages of a low carb diet.


Eating carbohydrates has the biggest impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels. Restricting carbohydrates in our diet has a direct result in lowering our sugar levels and insulin needs. High sugar levels play a part in almost all chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
By lowering carbohydrate intake, blood sugars are controlled and insulin levels are minimised. This is incredibly beneficial for those with diabetes (type one or two) and those with insulin resistance.


Low-carb diets increase satiety due to the balanced blood sugar levels they promote.
Unlike diets high in carbohydrate, blood sugar and insulin spikes throughout the day are kept to a minimum.
In a comprehensive study analyzing food cravings and appetite, participants on a low-carb diet were directly compared to participants on a  typical low-fat diet. The results showed that the low-carb group suffered much lower cravings and were a lot less bothered by hunger.
Due to the satiety-promoting effects of dietary fat, anyone who has adopted a low-carb diet will know this for themselves. A diet high in healthy fats definitely keeps cravings away.


Low-carb diets have a beneficial impact on a whole host of heart disease risk factors. Specifically, they reduce triglycerides (a major risk factor fro cardiovascular disease) and increase the concentrations of HDL (known as the “good” cholesterol).
Additionally, they lead to reduced blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation in the body; all of these things can be damaging to the heart. As well as this, another big advantage is weight loss, since heavier weights and obesity increase cardiovascular risk.

The advantages of a low-carb diet on cardiovascular risk factors. | ditchthecarbs.com

Here is a study documenting all these positive effects of an LCHF diet.

  • Lower triglycerides
  • Increased HDL levels
  • Lowered glucose and insulin levels
  • Increased weight loss
  • Reduced systemic inflammation


To investigate the impact of a low-carb diet on weight, Harvard School of Public Health analyzed more than 53 different studies featuring more than 68,000 participants.
The results were not surprising: out of all the weight-loss dietary interventions, the individuals using low-carb interventions lost greater weight than participants on low-fat interventions.
Considering how the personal anecdotes and new studies are piling up by the day, it’s clear to see that the advantages a low-carb diet brings are worth pursuing.
Not only do you get to eat amazingly fresh, delicious foods every day, but you also vastly improve your health and decrease the risk of illness striking in the future.
For me, it’s a no-brainer, and I promise that if you get the hang of a low-carb diet, you won’t even want to go back to your prior way of eating.
Once you have a taste for real food, all the ultra-processed foods taste terrible.


The advantages of a low-carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

At its most basic, the low carb diet (or LCHF: low-carb high-fat) means eating plenty of healthy animal foods as well as nutrient-dense plant foods. We should encourage and emphasise the most nutritious types of these plant foods.
Look at spinach or an avocado; they are full of nutrients yet extremely low in digestible carbohydrates (which turn to sugar in the body). By the same token, if we examine bread or rice then sure, they do have a few nutrients, but not so many. Added to that, they also contain a significant amount of digestible carbohydrate which raises your blood sugars incredibly.
Looking at the picture above, we can see that the three most nutrient-dense food groups are encouraged.


If you are just starting a low-carb diet, this can be confusing. In brief, one man’s low-carb diet is another man’s high-carb diet. By that, I just mean that there is no one-size-fits-all amount of carbohydrate you need to eat.
However, to get the best advantages of a low-carb diet, it’s better to aim at the lower end of the scale.


Typically, diets extremely low in carbohydrate contain 25g per day or less of carbs. This way of eating is otherwise known as a ketogenic diet. For most people, following an extremely low-carb diet is optional rather than necessary.
Some people enjoy the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle just for overall healthier eating and the benefits on body composition. For others, though, keeping the carbohydrate low is a more critical pursuit.


Due to what many see as the failure of dietary guidelines to manage the rising tide of type 2 diabetes, many diabetics have been turning to the low-carb diet. This decision makes complete sense. In a healthy person, insulin is released by the body to shuttle excess sugar out of the blood and into our cells. The diagram below illustrates this:

The advantages of a low-carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

To make a complicated story simple; in Type two diabetics, the pancreas is now producing an inadequate amount of insulin which the body’s cells have become resistant to. The result is unchecked, rapidly rising blood sugar levels when eating foods that convert to glucose. Therefore, you could say that these people are intolerant to carbohydrate.
That brings us to the question: why would we feed a plate full of carbohydrate to someone with an intolerance to it? As well as this, protein and fat do not have a significant impact on blood sugar levels. As a result, ditching the carbs takes away the one dietary macronutrient that causes blood sugar spikes in diabetics.
While it’s generally accepted that there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, a low-carb diet may permanently reverse the disease. And it has for many.


A carbohydrate intake of anywhere between 25g and 150g digestible carbs qualifies as a more relaxed low-carb diet. While 150g of carbohydrate is far from a small amount, it’s still a vast improvement to the standard carb-heavy diet most westernized nations follow.
Opting for a carb intake on the higher side of the scale may also be a choice for athletes who feel it helps their performance. However, elite sports performance is still definitely possible on lower amounts of carbs.
All things considered, the true advantages of a low-carb diet quickly become apparent on the lower side of the scale.
As a result of going very low carb, many people experience effortless weight loss, more energy (after the initial adaptation period), and an altogether healthier relationship with food.
Personally, I usually stick to somewhere between 50g and 80g per day. However, more than half of the total tends to come from fibrous plant foods such as avocado, nuts, dark chocolate and leafy greens.


The advantages of a low carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

It’s also worth remembering a typical mistake many people make when they ditch the carbs. By this, I’m referring to the error of not replacing the reduced carbs with enough healthy sources of fat. As a result, people quite understandably feel terrible and struggle through the day with a lack of energy combined with food cravings. The result is getting stressed and ultimately giving up on their new diet before giving it a chance.
Hence low carb diets should emphasize larger amounts of fat, but the source of this dietary fat is critical as there are plenty of bad fats out there. A good rule of thumb is to stick to naturally-occurring fats from nature, rather than chemically processed ones created in a factory. As an example, organic grass-fed butter and margarine are poles apart regarding their respective health merits. And hopefully, you know that butter is the healthy one!
Another thing to (not) consider is the GI index of carbohydrate. Regarding this, you should be aware that the glycemic index of foods has no relation to low-carb eating. Although many people associate ‘high GI’ with bad and ‘low GI’ with good, all this means is that the body digests some carbs slower than others. No matter the speed, they are still all digested and contribute to the carbohydrate total.
Select the right amount of carbs for you and don’t be afraid of adding more healthy fat.


Generally speaking, low-carb diets should include lots of fresh, single-ingredient foods. However, this isn’t always the case, and it is possible to ‘do’ a low-carb diet wrong.
In short; to experience the advantages of a low carb diet you have to formulate your diet correctly. To sum up, the food choices you make will determine whether your low-carb diet is healthy or unhealthy.
Hence here is an infographic that I created to show an overview of the best foods to include:

The advantages of a low-carb diet. Read what is a low carb diet, what you can eat and how to start low carb living. Read all the amazing health benefits from eating low carb. | ditchthecarbs.com

This graphic provides a good overview of how a low-carb diet should look. Also, let’s take a look at the individual food groups in a bit more detail. Take a look at the next page to see what to eat, what to avoid and a meal plan.

5 Things That Happened When I Went on a Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Diet with My Boyfriend

During the first few days, it was pretty much like we were withdrawing from drugs


Yeah, I eat pretty damn healthy. But I’m only human. Every once in a while when there’s a birthday at work, I eat a cookie. Sometimes two if I’m stressed. Then that cookie reminds me, wow, refined sugar is delicious! And, also, that I love apple fritters. Then the next morning, I might buy an apple fritter. And so on, down the rabbit hole.
Earlier this month, in particular, I was feeling a little meh about my eating habits—my fritter count was higher than usual, and I’d done this experiment where I ate like my boyfriend for a week. He doesn’t always have the most stellar dietary habits, guys. So I was in need of a little nudge in the opposite direction.
But I wasn’t about to go it alone. So I enlisted my BF to be my partner in a two-week sugar detox. Now, rest assured, this wasn’t a detox in the annoying sense of the term—no juice cleansingno fasting, no weird lemon-cayenne water sh*t. After consulting several seemingly sane diet books, we ended up taking this approach: no grains; no packaged food products with added sweeteners; no table sugar, natural sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners; no alcohol; no beans. We could only eat one piece of low-sugar fruit per day (e.g. a green apple), and were somewhat limited in our choice of uber-starchy veggies (e.g. no white potatoes). But we could eat loads of most veggies, along with eggs, fish, meat, nuts, nut butters, seeds, plain yogurt, and cheese.
The goal was to reset our palates and be able to come out of this thing with the ability to be satisfied with healthy, whole foods, and to truly only eat treats in moderation—and without jumping on the first fast train to fritter town. Here’s how we fared.
5 Things That Happened When I Did A Sugar Detox With My Boyfriend
After a surprisingly easy first day, we were both surprised how bad we felt for the next five. Coffee was still allowed, so we weren’t totally dead to the world. But because I no longer could have my 3 p.m. hit of chocolate, a fruit-packed smoothie, or one of my go-to RxBars (which contain dates), I definitely noticed significant fatigue due to this lower-carb, low-sugar approach to eating. My body wanted a source of fuel it could burn through quickly, but I was feeding it baby carrots and almond butter. We were told that things would recalibrate and our bodies would adjust. But be warned: The adjustment period sucks.
Evan’s biggest complaints: minor headaches, fatigue, and no beer. He works hard, so normally, he’ll have one or two a night for “dessert.” So he started drinking plain or naturally flavored seltzer like a madman. Which wasn’t the same, but hit the fizzy spot. He was, however, very excited about the prospect of losing his beer gut.
5 Things That Happened When I Did A Sugar Detox With My Boyfriend
Oh, you want to eat a doughnut in my presence? Hope you enjoy your future sugar cravings! That (or usually something a tad more sinister) is basically what went on in my head when I saw someone eating something I couldn’t have. Evan and I also frequently found ourselves muttering about how everyone was going to get diabetes and alternated between feeling all high and mighty about our choices and wanting to cry while watching our friends eat ice cream.

5 Things That Happened When I Did A Sugar Detox With My Boyfriend
Once we discovered the wonder and the glory that is the sweet potato, things started to get better. I mean, I’ve always loved sweet potatoes, but we hadn’t been using them to their full potential. Their subtly sweet flavor and higher carb count (compared to everything else we were eating) made them a daily must-eat. Did you know you can spiralize sweet potatoes, then toss them in oil and bake them into sweet potato fries? Did you know you can make sweet potato baked eggs?! Our love for this root veggie bordered on obsession.
Other things that made life suck less: Spiralizers (we made zucchini pasta basically every other day), using lettuce as sandwich “wraps,” seltzer water, almond butter, easy-to-munch-on sliced veggies, eggs, and nuts. In fact, roasted and salted cashews became another obsession.
5 Things That Happened When I Did A Sugar Detox With My Boyfriend
Guys, the mood swings were real. Not exaggerating when I tell you we experienced a new level of cranky. During the first few days, it was pretty much like we were withdrawing from drugs—which sort of makes sense since sugar has been found to activate the same areas of the brain as cocaine and heroin. So, when I ate pretty much all of one of our favorite snacks (the delicious cashews), Evan let me know how disappointed he was. To which I replied, “I bought the damn cashews!” To which he replied, “Well, I bought the damn dog food this month!” To which I replied, “I thought you loved Milo!” It was immature and ugly, and also a little hilarious. A word of advice: Pre-portion the freakin’ cashews, and try to remember that maintaining a healthy relationship with your significant other is more important than gorging on your favorite snack—even though I can promise you it won’t feel that way in the moment.
Oh, and a good general rule to avoid biting someone’s head off: Always have healthy snacks at the ready. When your blood sugar drops and none of your allowable foods are close by, “hanger” is inevitable and everyone seems really annoying.
5 Things That Happened When I Did A Sugar Detox With My Boyfriend
So, you probably think this whole experience was pretty miserable, but rest assured, we needed it. The truth is, after a full week of fatigue and mood swings, we both started to feel pretty fantastic. I was way less bloated, more alert, and found that my urge for packaged junk foods and sweets was cut in half. I also felt a whole lot less anxious and stressed. Evan felt pretty great, too, and actually ended up losing like seven pounds (damn men and their speedy metabolisms).
My fixation on what I could and couldn’t eat also started to fade. The truth is, this way of eating doesn’t have to be limiting—it forces you to be far more creative with your meals (cauliflower crust pizza, anyone?), and reveals the nearly endless flavor potential of healthy whole foods. In fact, I started eating so many more veggies that I was probably eating a wider variety of foods than when we started. Evan, too—this guy hadn’t even heard of a frittata before this experience, and now he’s the master of them.
Of course, we’re definitely excited to incorporate some things back into our routine, namely more fruit and the occasional beer and cocktail. And maybe even the occasional fritter. The difference is that we can acknowledge that we like these foods, but we don’t feel like we need them.



10 Worst Foods | ditchthecarbs.com

Yikes. That is a lot of sugar!!!

      1. Sodas, soft drinks – these have absolutely ZERO nutrition. 1 can of coke contains 10 spoons of sugar! Think about that. Would you sit and eat 10 cubes of sugar? Would you give that to your children to eat? All these sugary drinks do, is increase obesity, tooth decay and poor health.  If you do nothing else, please, please, NEVER drink these again. Drink water. It is healthier and free. To save $$$, don’t buy the bottled water, use a refillable bottle. Take a look at my son’s science experiment using soda and juice.
      2. Grains – forget this “whole grain is healthy” message. Grains are incredibly high in carbohydrates (which turn into glucose by the body). Modern grains are not what our ancestors ate. Modern wheat, in particular, has been bred to be knee high (so it is easier and cheaper to harvest) and bred to be disease resistant. It is sprayed with pesticides and fungicides which affect our gut immunity and gut health. Milling grains removes most of the nutrients, can be bleached with various chemicals, then is fortified with artificial nutrients. Wheat contains gluten, gliadins, amylopectins and other proteins which cause leaky gut syndrome. Wheat consumption is associated with memory loss, arthritis, T2 diabetes, depression, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. By going grain free, you will be amazed at your weight loss, reduction of puffiness around the face, heal your gut, absorb more nutrients and feel amazing.
      3. Sweets and confectionery – Sweets are incredibly high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, colourings, flavourings and preservatives. They offer ZERO nutrition and cause tooth decay. For a sweet treat, go for dark chocolate or berries as a healthy alternative.
      4. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – fructose is not metabolised the same way as glucose is. Glucose can be metabolised throughout the body, but fructose is metabolised in the liver. Fructose causes visceral fat (that dangerous tummy fat that surrounds your organs) and raises LDL and triglycerides (potent predictors of heart disease). It is used by the food industry as a cheap ingredient and has a relatively high sweetness 1.7 x glucose. Food manufacturers try to hide High Fructose Corn Syrup, so it may appear on the nutrition panel as corn syrup, HFCS, Glucose-Fructose, Isoglucose, High Fructose Maize Syrup.
      5. Snack foods – read the labels and most snack foods are high in carbs, wheat, sugar, colours, preservatives, trans fats …. Make your own snacks which are cheaper and healthier. Don’t eat pretzels, chips, wheat puff balls, corn chips, or microwave popcorn. Sadly snack foods are rewarding, but they increase our appetite and are addictive.
      6. Seed oils – We have been told for so long to avoid cholesterol and to use seed oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean oil, corn oil and other seed oils instead, but they are high in Omega 6 which causes inflammation throughout the body. Just watch the video at the end of this post, to see how canola oil is made, extracted, bleached, boiled and refined. All the waste products are sadly fed to cattle! Like that’s a good thing!
      7. Sugar in any form – is sugar! No matter where the sugar comes from it will raise your insulin, increase your appetite, stop fat burning and increase fat production and affect your cholesterol profile. So don’t think that honey, dried fruit, maple syrup or agave (90% fructose so is actually just a natural HFCS) is any healthier. The body sees it as sugar. Yes, there may be a small amount of nutrition in these compared to sugar, but many people tend to go overboard on them thinking they are a healthy alternative. A few nutrients they contain is not enough to outweigh the damage sugar does to our bodies.
      8. Processed meats – read the labels of the meat products you buy. Highly processed meats contain nitrites and nitrates which are controversial as the research hasn’t come to a clear conclusion. To be safe, buy meat that is unprocessed and fresh. If you do want processed meats such as bacon or salami, go for the brand which has the fewest ingredients. Buy the products which have the highest meat content, for example, sausages should be at least 80% meat. Many of the studies done on processed meat have not made the distinction between hot dogs and bacon from the bone. They do not also take into account the damaging oxidised french fries served alongside and the high sugar ketchup.
      9. Breakfast cereals– read my entire post on cereals, and why if you understand what is wrong with cereals you will understand what is wrong with modern food production. How companies turn cheap grains into socially acceptable cereals, packed with sugar and fortified.
      10. Low Fat Foods- when fat is removed from products, sugar or HFCS is added as a cheap alternative. So low-fat products are high in sugar and carbs. Look at the carb content of regular cream cheese 4% compared to low-fat cream cheese which is 15% carbs. By removing the fat, you also remove the fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. Fat makes you feel fuller for longer. Good fat improves our cholesterol profile and good fat is nutritious and necessary for good brain health.


LCHF salad ideas | ditchthecarbs.com

LCHF Salad Ideas

Healthy 1 Minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

A super fluffy and moist cinnamon roll inspired mug cake which packs a protein punch and is low carb- It’s also ready in under a minute! This healthy 1 Minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake is also naturally gluten free, vegan, paleo and sugar free! 

1 Minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

Healthy 1 Minute LOW CARB Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake- Light, fluffy and moist in the inside! Single servinf and packed full of protein and NO sugar whatsoever-Even the creamy glaze! {vegan, gluten free, paleo recipe}- thebigmansworld.com
“You like cinnamon rolls?”
“YES. I told you that after my first trip to America. The airport was like a hypnotic scent of dancing cinnamon sticks.”
I don’t understand that.”
“Yes, mother. I love cinnamon rolls.”
“Really? You know, I used to make them all the time when I lived in England. Cream cheese frosting and all”
You guys, I cannot believe I spent over 20 years of my life without homemade cinnamon rolls. 
Healthy 1 Minute LOW CARB Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake- Light, fluffy and moist in the inside! Single servinf and packed full of protein and NO sugar whatsoever-Even the creamy glaze! {vegan, gluten free, paleo recipe}- thebigmansworld.com
While my mum made her fair share of sweet recipes (remember when I healthified her blueberry breakfast cake?), they were usually banana muffins, Persian style tea cakes, slabs of halva and of course, baklava.
“But Niki never liked cinnamon. She said it was spicy!”
Since when was Niki queen of the Nile? I would have made excess cinnamon rolls just to spite her!
Unfortunately, my mum loves both her children, so took my sisters’ taste buds into consideration. Looking back, I think she probably did me a favor. I can only imagine what further similarities to an elephant I would have, should I have consumed them on the regular back then.
After our discussion, my mum promised to make a batch of them and you bet I’m holding her to it. In fact, it’s written here so it’s proof. The next What I Ate Wednesday, you’ll (hopefully) see a cinnamon roll on my plates.
Yes, plates.
I’m greedy, and I have no qualms about it.
As much as I’d like to whip up my own cinnamon rolls, laziness prevails and I’d often buy my own (hello, Cinnabon) or whip up a single serving version. Now that I’ve started hitting up the gym again (aka lying on the bench press and scrolling Instagram), I’ve come to fall back into some nutritional habits, like eating something with some protein post workout. I never drink shakes (I’m not ‘bro’ enough), but something edible? You bet. While the vanilla mug cake and chocolate mug cake are two delicious options, something we want to be a little bit fancy. A few simple tweaks and voila- A mock cinnamon roll, minus the nasties!
Let’s jump into the recipe, hey!
Healthy 1 Minute LOW CARB Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake- Light, fluffy and moist in the inside! Single servinf and packed full of protein and NO sugar whatsoever-Even the creamy glaze! {vegan, gluten free, paleo recipe}- thebigmansworld.com
This quick and easy low carb cinnamon roll mug cake is light, fluffy, and slightly moist on the inside! It’s loaded with protein and fiber, making it the perfect low carb snack or healthy dessert to satisfy the sweet tooth. It also takes less than a minute to whip up! It has the taste and texture of a classic cinnamon roll (a big factor is this Saigon cinnamon– It’s a game changer!) minus the usual suspects- There is NO butter, oil, grains or sugar in the entire recipe, but you’d never be able to tell! Depending on which protein powder option you choose, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, paleo, vegan, dairy free and completely sugar free! Oh, and those without a microwave, there’s a tested oven option!
When it comes to protein, not all  powders are created equal. After trying out many brands and blends in the past few years, I’ve narrowed down my favorites. I have a select few I always stick to because I know they will always yield fantastic results- No hockey pucks or gummy products. If you’ve ever baked with protein powder, you know these two are things you DON’T want happening! As such, I always recommend (depending on which dietary lifestyle you follow) this casein protein powder, this vegan brown rice protein powder, and this paleo protein powder.
Don’t want to use protein powder? This classic vanilla mug cake is still low carb and omits it completely!
HACK! No cinnamon roll is complete without one thing- A frosting! Traditional frostings would usually involve cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar or a combination of all. However, we’ll be using a sneaky trick here- Coconut butter thinned out with liquid and drizzled over.
Healthy 1 Minute LOW CARB Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake- Light, fluffy and moist in the inside! Single servinf and packed full of protein and NO sugar whatsoever-Even the creamy glaze! {vegan, gluten free, paleo recipe}- thebigmansworld.com
Make this healthy 1 minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake and you guys are all invited over next week..
For mum’s cinnamon rolls. Are you reading this, mum? It’s motivation to get busy in the kitchen.

Healthy 1 Minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake
Serves 1
A super fluffy and moist cinnamon roll inspired mug cake which packs a protein punch and is low carb- It’s also ready in under a minute! This healthy 1 Minute Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake is also naturally gluten free, vegan, paleo and sugar free!
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  1. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (32-34 grams)
  2. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 T coconut flour
  4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1 T granulated sweetener of choice*
  6. 1 large egg OR 1/4 cup liquid egg whites (see notes for Vegan option)
  7. 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  8. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tsp granulated sweetener of choice
  10. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the glaze
  1. 1 T coconut butter, melted
  2. 1/2 tsp milk of choice
  3. pinch cinnamon
For the microwave option
  1. Grease a microwave safe bowl with cooking spray and add the protein powder, baking powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, sweetener of choice and mix well.
  2. Add the egg/whites and mix into the dry mixture. Add the milk of choice and vanilla extract- If batter is too crumbly, continue adding milk of choice until a very thick batter is formed. granulated sweetener of choice and extra cinnamon and swirl over the top. Microwave for 60 seconds, or until just cooked in the centre. Top with glaze and enjoy!
For the oven option
  1. Follow as above, but bake in the oven at 350 Farenheit for 8-15 minutes, depending on consistency desired- Mug cake is cooked once a toothpick comes out ‘just’ clean from the center.
  1. * Adjust according to taste- If protein powder is sweetened, feel free to omit completely.
  2. For the vegan option, you won’t need any flax eggs/egg substitute- Simply omit and slowly add milk of choice until a thick batter is formed. Microwave/bake until ‘just’ cooked in the center.
By Arman @ thebigmansworld

Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low carb – Part 2

In the last post we discussed ramping up the fat intake as the single best way to hurry the low-carb or keto adaptation along.  I didn’t mention it in the previous post, but another little secret is to keep an eye on the protein intake. Too much protein will prevent the shift into ketoses because the liver will convert some of the protein into glucose – this glucose will then be used first and slow down the ketogenic process.  Which, if course, prompts the question, how much protein is too much?  As long as you’re getting your protein from meat, especially fatty cuts of meat, you’re probably okay.  If you go for the extremely lean cuts of meat, say, skinless chicken breasts, or if you are supplementing your diet with low-fat protein shakes, you could have a little more trouble low-carb adapting.  If you’re going the shake route, I would recommend you add some coconut oil to the shakes for a couple of reasons.  First, you’ll hasten the keto-adaptation, and, second, the fat it coconut oil will help remove the fat from your liver (which I’ll discuss more later in this post).

A glass of Tinto de Verano pictured at left. A great way to hydrate. (See note at bottom of post.)
As I said, you need to really crank up the fat intake to push yourself over the adaptation divide as quickly as possible.  If you don’t like fatty cuts of meat, you can add a little medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to your diet.  MCT are absorbed more like carbohydrates and are used quickly by the body.  They are almost never incorporated into the fat cells, so they burn quickly, and any extra that might be hanging around are converted to ketones.  So, MCT will drive the ketone production process.  And so will coconut oil if you prefer that.
You can find MCT oil at most health food or natural grocery stores.  It has never bothered me, but some people can get a little nauseated if they take too much of it, so if you decide to give it a try, start out slowly.  Or go with the coconut oil.
Aside from the occasional carb cravings, which we’ll deal with later, the most common symptoms experienced by those getting started on low-carb diets are fatigue, headaches, light-headedness or dizziness, and cramping.  I would say these four symptoms probably comprise 98 percent of the complaints we get from our patients we put on low-carb diets.  Not everyone experiences these symptoms – especially those who do what we tell them – but of those who do have symptoms, these are almost always the ones they have.  Let’s look at what to do to avoid them or treat them should you already be experiencing on or more.


The most common cause of virtually all the symptoms listed above is an imbalance in electrolytes.  Following a low-carb diet results in a rapid lowering of insulin levels, which – though a good thing – can create problems in the early days.  We’ll address the electrolytes in the order of importance.


When you are overweight and insulin resistant, you have a lot of insulin circulating in your blood most of the time.  This excess insulin does a number of bad things to you.  Gary Taubes wrote an entire book about how excess insulin makes you store fat in your fat cells.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Excess insulin also drives the kidneys to retain fluid, which is why many obese people retain a lot of extraneous fluid and experience pitting edema in their lower legs.
What is pitting edema?
If you push your finger into the tissue in the front (or just to the side of) your shin bone and your finger leaves an indentation – almost a finger print – that takes a while to fill back in, you have pitting edema.  Most overweight people experience this phenomenon late in the afternoon and/or at night after being on their feet all day.  The excess fluid pools around the lower legs and seeps into the soft tissues. In the morning, after the body has been horizontal through the night, the fluid redistributes, and the pitting edema goes away but then reoccurs as the day goes on.  Even people who aren’t all that overweight but who do have elevated insulin levels will have some degree of excess fluid accumulation even if they don’t experience pitting edema as evidence of it.
One of the first things that happens when people go on low-carb diets is a rapid improvement in insulin sensitivity.  Because the low-carb diet starts to quickly banish the insulin resistance, insulin levels fall quickly.  And as insulin falls, the stimulus to the kidneys to retain fluids goes away, and the kidneys begin to rapidly release fluid.  One of the common experiences at the start of low-carb dieting is the incessant running back and forth to the bathroom to urinate this excess fluid away.  Which is both good news and bad news.
The good news is that it’s great to get rid of the excess fluid but it comes at a cost, which is the bad news.  As the excess fluid goes, it takes with it sodium an extremely important electrolyte.  When sodium levels fall below a critical threshold (which can happen within a short time), symptoms often occur, the most common being fatigue, headache, cramps and postural hypotension.
Postural hypotension happens when you stand up too quickly and feel faint.  Or even pass out briefly.  It’s a sign of dehydration.  So if you’ve started your low-carb diet, made your multiple runs to the bathroom, and jump up off the couch to answer the phone and feel like your going to faint (or actually do pass out momentarily) and have to sit back down quickly, you’ve got postural hypotension.  It’s really easy to fix – you simply need to take more sodium and drink more water.  Salt your food more.  Increasing sodium is just another one of the many counter-intuitive things about low-carb dieting.  Just like eating more fat to lower your cholesterol.  You’ve got to start thinking differently.  The low-carb diet is one that absolutely requires more sodium.  A lot more sodium.
If you’ve got the brutal headaches that some people get when starting on a low-carb diet, add sodium.  And drink extra water.
Even if you don’t have pitting edema, postural hypotension or headaches, you still need more sodium if you are starting out on or following a low-carb diet. It’s critically important that you get extra sodium.  I can’t make this case too strongly.
An easy way to get extra sodium along with magnesium and potassium (a couple of other electrolytes we’ll discuss in a bit) is by consuming bone broth.  Unfortunately, you typically have to make the good stuff yourself because it’s difficult to find commercially.  You can get chicken broth and beef broth at most grocery stores, but it’s not nearly as good as the broth you can make yourself.  At the end of this post I‘ll give you a spectacular recipe that we have for a great bone broth we made at our now-defunct restaurant.  It is beyond good.  It requires a little time, but you can make a bunch and freeze it in small containers and keep it forever.
Short of making your own bone broth, you can use commercially available bouillon, which contains plenty of sodium and makes a nice hot drink.  Plop a cube in a cup of hot water and throw it back. Many patients have reported that drinking a cup of hot bouillon helps them get through carb cravings.  It’s easy and convenient, but can’t compare in taste to the real bone broth you make yourself.

In addition to broth, get some Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt or one of the other grayish, pinkish kind of grungy looking salts and replace your normal salt with these.  And don’t use them sparingly.  These salts have been harvested either from ancient sea beds or obtained by evaporation of sea water with high mineral content and contain about 70 percent of the sodium of regular salt (which has been refined, bleached and processed until it is pretty much pure sodium chloride, often with anti-caking agents added).  The other 30 percent of the volume is other minerals and micronutrients (including iodine) found in mineral-rich seas.  Consuming these salts is not just following a Paleolithic diet using modern food, but, depending upon the origin of the salt, it is consuming the same food your Paleolithic ancestors ate.  I much prefer these salts taste-wise to regular salt, and I salt the heck out of all my food with it.


The low-carb diet doesn’t really cause a massive depletion of magnesium like it does with the sodium and potassium (the next electrolyte on the list), but most people who are overweight, insulin resistant and/or hypertensive or diabetic are deficient in magnesium.  Even people with lipid problems are often magnesium deficient.  In fact, even people who don’t seem to have health problems can often be magnesium deficient because most people don’t get enough.   The last I read on the subject, about 70 percent of people don’t even get the minimum recommended daily intake of magnesium (which isn’t all that high).  So, in my opinion, it’s important to supplement this vital mineral.  Good magnesium levels help regulate potassium as well, so keeping your magnesium adequate helps with your potassium as well.
Nature has designed us so that approximately 300 plus of our enzymes require magnesium as a co-factor to make them work properly.  Which tells us that we evolved in a time when magnesium was readily available, otherwise the forces of natural selection wouldn’t have made such wide use of it.
Where did it come from?  I would bet most of it came from the water.  Most natural sources of water have a high magnesium content, so when you drink bottled water and softened and treated water, you get short changed.  Magnesium salts in water are one of the substances that tends to make deposits on your water pipes and makes it difficult to get a good lather with soap.  This problem is solved with water softeners, but the process gets rid of the magnesium.  In the old days when we all drank well water or stream water, we got a lot more magnesium.
Since magnesium is used in 300+ different chemical reactions in the body, a shortage of magnesium can cause problems.  One of the most common ones is an increase in cravings.  Often simply replenishing magnesium gets rid of many of the food cravings people have.
The best way to get magnesium is from supplements.  Get a good chelated magnesium supplement and take 300-400 mg per day.  We’ve found it best to take these supplements in the evening because magnesium is relaxing and taking it in the evening helps you sleep.  About the only problem people ever have with magnesium is loose stools, i.e., the milk of magnesium effect.  If that happens – and it is unwelcome – simply reduce your dosage until your stools normalize.
Purchasing magnesium supplements can be a little tricky because of the way they’re labeled.  First, a chelated magnesium supplement is one that ends with an ‘-ate,’ as in magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate or magnesium citrimate.  The -‘ate’ ending tells you the magnesium is chelated, which means it’s attached to another molecule (the chelating agent..aspartate, citrate, or whatever) that helps with absorption.  Second, with magnesium supplements, the manufacturers sometimes list the dosage of both the magnesium and the chelating agent combined.  Since the chelating agents are a lot heavier than the magnesium, this labeling often ends up saying the dosage of each pill is, say, 1000 mg of magnesium aspartate.  This isn’t the amount of magnesium you’re going to end up getting because the magnesium is only about 15 percent of the weight of the total pill.
About the only way you can really tell how much actual magnesium your getting is to look on the label on the back and see how much of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) the dose is.  The RDI for magnesium is 400 mg per day so if you find the dose of the supplement you are considering contains 50 percent of the RDI, then you know each dose contains 200 mg of magnesium irrespective of what the dosage is on the front of the bottle.  As I say, I recommend 300 to 400 mg of magnesium per day.  The only downside of magnesium is loose stools.  Doesn’t happen to everyone, but does to a few.  For many people the magnesium seems to offset the constipation that some experience when starting a low-carb diet.  If you do experience loose stools, simply back off your dose of magnesium until things unloosen.
Magnesium is natures relaxant.  It makes many people sleepy, so we always recommend taking it at bedtime.


Potassium is linked to sodium.  If you lose a lot of sodium through the diuretic effect of the low-carb diet, you’ll ultimately lose a lot of potassium as well.  Keeping your sodium intake up as mentioned above will help preserve your potassium as well.  And keeping your potassium levels up helps to ensure that you don’t lose a lot of lean muscle mass during your weight loss.  Plus, just as with sodium, adequate potassium prevents cramping and fatigue.
You can replace your potassium by taking potassium supplements.  In our clinical practice, we gave all patients starting the low-carb diet a prescription for potassium.  You can get the same dosage by taking four to five of the over-the-counter 99 mg potassium supplements you can purchase at any health food or natural grocery store.
There are a couple of prescription medicines that you’ve got to be aware of if you markedly increase your potassium intake, so if you’re on blood pressure medicines, ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to take potassium.
Before we move on to other supplements we can use to help with low-carb dieting, I want to address the subject of dehydration.


A few years ago, I learned the lessons of adequate hydration the hard way, so take this as a cautionary tale and benefit from my painful experience.  I had always pooh-poohed the notion of drinking a lot of water in addition to coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages because I always figured (and probably have even written in the pages of this blog somewhere) that coffee, tea, etc. are nothing but water with a little flavoring in them.  I mean, if you start out with a glass of water and put tea bag in it, the water doesn’t go away.  It’s still there; it just becomes tea-flavored water.  Well, turns out that’s not actually the case.
My daily ritual was as follows: Get up, stagger to the refrigerator and take a big gulp or two of sparkling water.  Then make my way to the espresso maker and crank out a cup of Americano.  Followed by four or five more Americanos over the course of the morning and early afternoon, interspersed with a gulp here and there of sparkling water.  A snort of Jameson in the early evening, maybe a glass of red wine with dinner and a decaf Americano after dinner.  If I watch a movie or read a book, I usually nurse another glass of Jameson.  I typically take my supplements at bedtime, so I throw back another half glass or so of sparkling water then.  Plenty of liquids, right?
Well, not exactly, as it turned out.
I began developing severe cramps in my hands and feet that I had a hell of a time massaging out.  That was just the beginning.  I started being awakened at night with brutal leg cramps, requiring my springing from the bed and walking them out.  My potassium is too low, thought I, so I started taking potassium.  No change in the cramping situation.  In fact, if anything, it got worse.  I was complaining to a friend who told me calcium had helped his cramps.  So I downed calcium at bedtime.  No improvement.
Another friend told me that tonic water had helped her with cramps, but I only half believed it, so didn’t really try.  Then MD and I had family visit us in Tahoe for skiing.  I upped my booze intake, kept the coffee intake about the same, and probably decreased my consumption of sparkling water (or water of any kind, for that matter).  The cramps increased dramatically.  And what was worse, they stopped limiting themselves to the night.  When MD and I were driving over to Napa one day, the cramps were so severe I could hardly drive.  I had to keep the seat back as far as I could get it so I could straighten my leg when one hit me.  Then my hands started cramping just holding them on the steering wheel.  I pulled off the freeway and made a beeline for a convenience store and grabbed a one liter bottle of diet tonic water and proceeded to chug the entire thing as I drove down the road.  Miraculously, my cramps subsided.  So, I figured tonic water (quinine) was the solution.
One night – after being out of tonic water for a few days and being failed by my bride in resupplying – I had another brutal night of cramps.  The next day I was scheduled for blood donation.  After going through the long list of questions that must be answered verbally (and fighting down the impulse to tell my interrogator that I had recently paid for sex while imprisoned in Africa – those who have given blood lately will know what I mean), I was sent to actually have the blood taken.  The phlebotomist couldn’t find my vein, which had never happened before because I usually have rope-like veins in my forearms.  She asked if I was dehydrated.  I told her I didn’t think so since I had had my normal four of five cups of coffee that morning along with my gulp of water.  She brought me a couple of 16 ounce bottles of water that I drank, and, bingo, there were my veins.  Big and robust as usual.
It finally occurred to me that my cramping problem might be due to dehydration and that the diet tonic that solved the problem did so not because of the quinine but because I was drinking all the water the quinine was dissolved in.  And it occurred to me that the cramping was worse in the middle of the night because a lot of water is lost through the breath at night. (See my second post on the Anthony Colpo Smackdown to read more about this.)  You can lose a couple of pounds during sleep simply by breathing water vapor away, which was, I’m sure, what was happening to me.  I was barely hydrated enough to prevent cramping while awake, but when I slept and my fluid level fell due to my breathing water away, I hit some critical threshold of fluid that kicked off the cramps.
I started rehydrating first thing in the morning and throughout the day.  Now I get up, drink anywhere from 16 to 32 ounces of remineralized water (more about which later) first thing.  Then I head to the espresso maker and start my daily Americano regimen.  But I consume at least 8 ounces of sparkling water after each cup of coffee.  And I drink water after each shot of Jameson and/or glass of wine (or any other alcoholic libation),* and I’m proud to report that I have been cramp free since upping the water.
My brush with cramping misery inspired me to hit the medical literature to read about hydration.  And I learned many wonderful things. For example, I learned coffee is a diuretic (which I already knew but had chosen to forget), but that some acclimation occurs over time.  Still, due to the diuretic effect, you don’t get the full fluid from a cup of coffee that you would from an equal amount of water.  Same with alcohol.  Once I started calculating how much fluid of that I drank throughout the day I was actually retaining, I was amazed that cramping was the worst that happened to me.
I learned that water has a lipolytic effect (fat burning).  I read this in a number of papers that had studied it, and the data clearly showed that those who took in a lot of water had increased lipolysis.  I didn’t deny the data, but I couldn’t figure out the mechanism (and apparently neither could any of the authors because none described it).  I thought on it a while and finally came up with what I think is a plausible scenario.
When you drink water, especially cold water, you require some increase in caloric burning to bring the water to body temperature, but that increase doesn’t amount to all that much (the authors did describe this phenomenon), but you also dilute your blood for a bit until the water equilibrates with the fluid in all the tissues, and effect that takes some time.  During this time, while the blood is more dilute, the concentration of the various substances carried in the blood decreases.  Which would mean that insulin levels would fall.  The typical blood volume is about 5 liters, so drinking a liter of water would increase the blood volume temporarily by about 20 percent, which would mean the concentration of insulin and other molecules in the blood would fall by about 20 percent.  A 20 percent drop in insulin levels would allow fat to escape the fat cells and would facilitate its transfer into the mitochondria for burning.  At least that’s my explanation for the lipolytic effect seen in numerous studies of subjects increasing water intake.
Those starting a low-carb diet are prone to dehydration because excess ketones are gotten rid of via the kidneys along with a lot of fluid.  So, when you start your diet, consciously increase your fluid intake.  Do like I do now and come up with some sort of regimen that ensures you consume plenty of water throughout the day.  You’ll feel better; you’ll avoid cramping; and you’ll actually burn a little more fat.  And don’t make the mistake I did and assume that drinking a lot of coffee, tea, booze or other diuretic fluid is a replacement for water intake.
Since I drink either bottled water or water that comes through our RO filter, both of which are depleted of minerals, I always remineralize my water by adding a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt or one of the other such salts to each bottle.  I add enough so that the water just barely hints of a salty taste.


Every patient whom we started on a low-carb diet left our clinic with six supplements:  lipoic acid, CoQ10, Vitamin E, magnesium, a good multi-vitamin and a prescription for potassium. (Now I would add a substantial dose of vitamin D3 to the list, a dose based on vitamin d levels and sun exposure.) We’ve already dealt with the potassium and magnesium, so let’s consider the others.
First, the good multi.  I’m a believer in getting most of what’s needed vitamin- and mineral-wise from food.  And I’m also a believer that I’m an excellent driver.  Yet I always purchase car insurance.  I see a good multi-vitamin as the same thing – cheap insurance against any kind of deficiency.  I would rather have my patients urinating away fifty cents worth of vitamins a day than risk that they have a deficiency in one.  And I feel the same way about myself.  So, find a good multi-vitamin without iron and take it.  Based on the experiences of my own patients, I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better. Why without iron?  Because most people on low-carb diets get plenty of iron in a very absorbable form.  And too much iron isn’t a good thing, so don’t take it in your multi.

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is, next to magnesium, just about my favorite supplement.  It acts as both a fat-soluble and water-soluble anti-oxidant so it can pretty much weasel its way in anywhere in the body and stamp out inflammation.  It protects fatty membranes and even acts as a cellular nutrient.  It also helps the body deal with blood sugar, which helps the whole low-carb adaptation process along.  Many studies have shown an improvement in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity with ALA supplementation.  ALA can rejuvenate other anti-oxidants, and has so many virtues that entire books have been written about it.  My standard dose is 300 mg per day for patients starting low-carb diets.  There is a newer, more potent version of ALA available now called r-alpha lipoic acid.  The standard stuff is a combination of the r and l varieties, and since the r isomer is the active one, a supplement made entirely of the r variety is going to be more potent.  And more expensive.  If you use the r-ALA you can take 100 mg a day.


Another superstar supplement, especially for those who have been on or are on statins.  Statin drugs interfere with the body’s synthesis of this important nutrient, and those who have been or are taking statins are usually depleted to some degree.  If you’ve been taking a statin, I would take 300 mg per day of CoQ10.  If you haven’t, 100 mg per day should do.

Vitamin D3

I would also add at least 1000 IU per day of this nutrient.  You need to have your levels checked at some point to make sure you don’t overdo it, but at 1000 IU per day, this is unlikely.  If you do test and find you’re deficient, I would take 5,000-10,000 IU per day until 25 (OH) vit D serum levels are up to at least 50 ng/ml.  Along with all the other benefits vitamin D3 provides (which I have written about elsewhere on this blog), there is some evidence that it even boosts weight loss a bit.


The last supplement I’ll mention is one I’ve had much success with in treating people who tend to have carb cravings late in the day.  5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the precursor to serotonin.  Most people who have carb cravings have them because their serotonin levels fall.  Taking 5-HTP will bring them back up.  It also helps with sleep.  Best time to take it seems to be about 4 or 5 PM for those who go to bed at the standard 10-12 PM.  You can move the dose around to find a time that helps the most with your carb cravings yet doesn’t make you sleepy other than when you want to be.  I usually recommend 50-100 mg.  It’s available at most health food stores and natural food grocers.

Fatty liver

The last bit of advice I’ll give is that you need to work to defat your liver as quickly as possible.  The good news is that you can do it quickly on a low-carb diet.  Studies have shown major improvement in just 10 days or so.   It’s important to defat your liver to help you lose weight more quickly because the liver breaks down insulin.  If your blood sugar goes up, the pancreas makes and secretes insulin to drive it down. It does so by driving the glucose into the cells.  At the same time, insulin drives fat into the fat cells and keeps it there.  As long as the insulin is in the circulation, it’s going to be preventing fat from leaving the fat cells.  The liver is the organ that breaks down and gets rid of the insulin.  And a healthy liver does it a lot better than a liver full of fat.
One of the liver’s most important jobs is detoxification of harmful substances.  We all (at least I) consume medications, food and drink that is toxic.  We (I) drink coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages.  The caffeine and alcohol are toxins.  They don’t really hurt us in the quantities that most of us ingest, but they are toxic nevertheless.  The liver detoxifies them.  Same with many drugs – both prescription and over-the-counter.  Tylenol puts a major detoxification burden on the liver.  When you drink coffee, tea, and/or alcohol and take OTC meds, you occupy much of your liver’s detoxification capacity.  Which means it can’t get rid of insulin as well and can’t regulate metabolism in general as well as it does when it isn’t busily detoxing toxins.
So, if you really want to hit it hard in the early phases of your low-carb diet and reach low-carb adaptation at warp speed, I would recommend avoiding – or at least limiting – coffee, tea, alcohol and OTC meds.
I am a huge lover of coffee and alcohol (coffee more so than alcohol despite my constant talk of Jameson) so I know this is a sacrifice.  One way to have it both ways is to switch from caffeinated coffee to decaf espresso.  Decaf coffee to me sucks taste-wise.  But decaf espresso ain’t so bad.  If you don’t want to go completely cold turkey, you can switch from coffee to espresso since espresso has double (or triple) the taste of coffee yet only about half the caffeine.  My favorite way to drink espresso is as Cafe Americano.  I love it so much that I even made a video of how to make it to send to people.  Take a look if you haven’t seen it yet.  It’s the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have. (I have one on the table next to me as I write these words on the patio in Cuenca, Spain.)
That’s about a wrap on my tips and tricks for kicking off a low-carb diet.  I’m sure many of you have tips and tricks of your own.  Please feel free to share them in the comments section.
The bone broth recipe below is from our defunct restaurant I wrote about here.  We had this going on the stove all the time and used it as a base for about half the dishes we served.  It is absolutely spectacular.  I would eat is as a soup (we didn’t serve it that way) and take home bags of it and freeze it.  You can do the same.  I’ll provide the restaurant-sized version so you can either make a large amount in a big stock pot and freeze a bunch of it in individual packages.  Or you can cut it down to a smaller recipe.  If you do, just make sure to cut all the ingredient amounts proportionally.
Terrific Bone Broth
This is the restaurant recipe for massive quantities, so you can reduce accordingly.  Just make sure you reduce all ingredients proportionally.
2 oz roasted garlic (weight)
10 oz roasted red onions (weight)
4.5 gallons water (volume)
22 oz tomato paste (weight)
4 oz cilantro with stems
2 pounds chicken back bones (weight)
16 oz tomato pulp (weight)*
6 oz salt (weight) I would use Celtic Sea Salt or other such salt here
1 oz black pepper (weight)
1 oz olive oil (volume)
Roast onions and garlic in olive oil for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Add all ingredients to water, chicken and tomato paste.
Let simmer over medium fire until cooked.
Approximate yield is 640 ounces or 5 gallons.
*We used a ton of diced Roma tomatoes in the restaurant for just about everything.  We removed the pulp from these tomatoes before dicing them.  We saved the pulp and used it in the stock.
A note of interest: I wrote the first part of this post flying between San Francisco and Dallas.  The middle part during a flight from Dallas to Atlanta.  And the last part (along with the words I’m typing now) over the Atlantic on a flight from Atlanta to Madrid.  I’ll transfer it to WordPress, put in all the links and photos when I get to the hotel in Madrid.  So you’ll end up with a post that was written about halfway around the world.
Another note of interest: I’m finishing this post in Cuenca, Spain (including some of the edits I made above) because the internet connection in our hotel in Madrid sucked.  The hotel was great, the food was pretty good, but the internet was abysmal.  I kept getting kicked off, so I abandoned all but the most necessary internet functions (email, mainly) until I got to more reliable service.  Here we are in Cuenca where the hotel sucks, the food really sucks but the internet connection is great.
One housekeeping note: Since the internet has been so unreliable, I have been unable to deal with the 100 or so comments that have accumulated.  I’ll get to them as soon as this post is up.  I did perform one of my most-hated tasks last night and went through the spam filter to fish out legit comments that had gotten snared before deleting the zillions of spam comments.  So if you’ve been waiting a long time for a comment to appear, it was probably one of the handful that I rescued from the sea of spam.  I’ll get it up as soon as I can. Just bear in mind that I’m headed for my next stop, Zaragoza, as soon as I hit the ‘Publish’ button on this post and will be on a forced march for a bit. So, be patient with me on the comments.
*Here in Spain I have discovered a wonderful way to drink wine and stay hydrated.  They have a drink called Tinto de Verano (see photo at top), which is half fruity Spanish wine and half sparkling water poured over ice with a slice of orange and slice of lemon thrown in.  It’s kind of sangria lite.  Each time you drink a glass of it, you get half wine and half water, so you rehydrate the water lost from the little alcohol in the half glass of wine.  It’s tremendously refreshing, and I’ve drunk my weight of it since arriving.

Top 10 Tips For Getting Back On Track With Your Low Carb Diet

Okay, so you fell off the wagon with a resounding thud. Maybe it was a one-time indiscretion and you just cheated a little, or maybe you’ve been off the wagon for days or weeks. Or even months. But you’ve picked yourself up and you want to clamber back on as soon as possible. You’re covered in dust from your fall, you ache all over, but that wagon is sitting there waiting for you, ready to welcome you back with open arms. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.
Sounds easy but sometimes it can seem absolutely monumental. I get it. I am writing this because I had a little fall of my own recently. It was only a meal’s worth of cheating but it made me feel absolutely awful the next day. Shaky, bloated, exhausted, tummy issues, the works. In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, I knew I had to get back on track right away. My health is too important to me to let things go any further. But I know I will fall again and so I thought it might be helpful to talk about those little tips and tricks that help you get back to your healthy diet a little more easily.
1. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up! If you read nothing else but this one tip, that’s fine. But please take this advice to heart, because it is far and away the most important tip I am going to share. I am part of a lot of forums for low carb and Keto diets and there is always someone flagellating themselves for cheating, for failing, for not having the willpower to stick it out. Well guess what? We ALL fail at this sometimes. Let’s face it, we live in a sugar and gluten-filled world. Unless we are hermits that don’t ever leave the house, we are faced with temptation daily – at work, at social functions, on television, on the internet. It’s all around us and the wonder of it is that we don’t give in more often!
I find it heartbreaking sometimes, the way people who slip beat themselves up. Just think about it for a second. You wouldn’t talk to a friend or a loved one that way when they’d slipped, would you? Then why on earth do you talk to yourself that way? And let’s be honest, some of that self-loathing might be part of what brought you here in the first place. So take a deep breath and repeat after me. “I am human. I had a moment of failure. And I will probably fail again. That’s okay. What’s important is that I keep on trying”. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, shake it off!
2. Don’t excuse your behaviour. Own it. So I said we all fail sometimes, and we do. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold yourself accountable. It isn’t someone else’s fault that you scarfed down that pizza or dove head first into a plate of Oreos. Be an adult and recognize that you did this to yourself and the consequences suck. And then ask yourself why. Did you forget to eat before you went to the party and arrived so hungry you monopolized the buffet? Were you running errands all day, taking kids to soccer and not stashing a low carb high fat snack for yourself? Or was emotional eating? Or boredom eating (which I am very prone to!)? Or did you do the old “oh one bite won’t hurt. Okay maybe three or four bites won’t hurt. Oh hey…somehow I ate the whole thing!” Then make note of the situations in which you are more likely to succumb to temptation and do your damnedest to avoid them. Preparation is key!
3. Take notes or keep a journal. You feel pretty bad, don’t you? Beyond the guilt and anger at yourself, you probably don’t feel very well physically either. Going off the rails and eating carbs and sugar with abandon might seem pretty fun at the time, but most of us experience some serious discomfort the next day. Tummy aches, head aches, inflammation if we have dietary sensitivities. It isn’t pretty, but it can also be good motivation for getting back on track. Sadly, however, it’s quite easy to forget how awful certain foods make us feel once we are feeling better. Writing it down can help a great deal. Remember how you used to re-copy your notes in high school, in order to better remember them for a test? Same thing here. The simple act of putting it in writing makes it all the more real and vivid. But be sure to write down how much better you feel when you stick to the plan too. A great comparison for future reference!

Low Carb Paleo Greens, Eggs and Ham Salad

4. Eat Salad for Breakfast. Or don’t eat any breakfast at all. For me, eating a whole plate of low carb vegetables is like hitting the reset button. It feels clean, it tastes clean, and I swear it cleans out my head a little too. A large part of that may be mental, like feeling as if I am eating the antidote to a poison I consumed the day before, but it hardly matters. If it helps reset my palate, it’s a good thing.
But it’s okay to skip breakfast too, as long as you don’t see it as a punishment for the prior day’s indiscretions. Intermittent fasting is widely recognized as a healthy practice, and it’s also a great way to hit the reset button. And just giving your body a chance to work through all the junk you ate before you eat anything else is helpful. Wait until you truly feel hunger again before sitting down to another meal is crucial. Then be sure to your next meal is solidly low carb or keto. Be sure to savour it and enjoy it, to remind yourself of why this way of eating is worth sticking to.

no shoes required

5. Get Moving! My husband taught me that the best cure for a hangover is a 5k run. No, I am not kidding, it works. And it works for food hangovers too. You aren’t going to feel great when you get out there. In fact, you will probably feel a little like dog poo. Or a lot like dog poo. It won’t be your best athletic performance ever. It may even hurt a little at the beginning and you will wonder why the heck you are doing it. But afterwards, you will feel so much better and you will be that much further along to ridding your body of the junk you ate. It doesn’t have to be a run or anything super high intensity. But you do want to raise your heart rate a little and it helps to break a sweat. It helps your body digest a little better, it clears your head, and it helps your cells uptake the extra insulin and glucose that might be floating around in your blood stream. And, if I can be frank, it helps get your bowels moving too. Which we all know makes us feel better after a binge!
6. Sip water and other clear, low carb liquids. A bit cliche, perhaps, but I find this to be crucial in flushing out my system. Don’t go overboard and drink gallons upon gallons or you will dilute the critical salts your body requires. But simply sipping at a cool, clear liquid can make you feel a little more on track. If you’re sick of the taste of water, herbal teas (hot or cold, with or without sweetener) can help. And if you’re prone to boredom eating, as I am, sipping something with a little flavour can help ease the urge to stuff your mouth.
Need something a little more satisfying and comforting? Try sipping warm bone broth to fill you up without carbs. Also try adding a little turmeric to your bone broth for both flavour and the anti-inflammatory properties. All the carbs and sugars and such you’ve been eating can aggravate inflammation so anything you can do to mitigate it will make you feel a lot better.

no alcohol

7. Cut out the alcohol. I’m a girl who likes her nightly glass of wine and I am not afraid to admit it. But after succumbing to temptation, I find I am better to skip the wine for a day or two. I am working on flushing the toxins out of my system and there’s no question that alcohol is a toxin. And given its propensity to lower our inhibitions, wine makes me less likely to stick to the plan of getting back on track. So a few days of tee-totalling make me feel more clear-headed and healthy.
8. Find a buddy or a support group. The benefits here are twofold: support and accountability. Sometimes we really suck at making promises to ourselves. They’re only in our head after all, so it’s pretty easy to pretend we never made them in the first place. But when you say it out loud to a friend or a support group, you feel it’s that much harder to break. And in this day and age, there’s simply no excuse for not having someone to make promises to. Even if you don’t have any in-person friends that support this low carb lifestyle, there are numerous groups and forums. And most of the time, people are incredibly supportive and helpful, with amazing ideas to help you stay the course.
9. Don’t deprive or punish yourself. Whatever you do, don’t go nuts and exercise like a fiend while subsisting on salad for days on end. That’s never the way to do it. If you feel deprived, you will almost inevitably succumb to the next round of temptation. I’m the rebellious type myself. When I feel restricted or limited, I tend to lash out in frustration and thumb my nose at the limitations, going overboard in the opposite direction. And a proper low carb diet should be the antithesis of deprivation anyway. So fill up on those good healthy fats to keep your appetite and cravings under control.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Poblano Sauce

10. Search out some new fun recipes. Get excited about cooking and eating this way again! Look here, friends. I’ve got a whole blog filled with hundreds of low carb recipes for your eating pleasure. And there are a number of other wonderful blogs creating amazing recipes to satisfy your hunger. Getting into the kitchen and cooking up some of your favourites, or a few new ones that catch your eye, is the best way to get back on plan. The food is beyond delicious and if you remind yourself of that, you may wonder why you ever fell off the wagon in the first place!
Words of Wisdom from fellow low carb experts!
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Maria Emmerich of Keto Adapted:  Remember how you feel when you cheat. Maybe journal about how your body and mind feels; but however you record that moment just remember that a moment of that indulgence created a whole day or more of feeling awful. Get your cooking inspiration on and start tomorrow as day one. Plan plan plan equals success!
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Lisa MarcAurele of Low Carb Yum: After indulging in off limit foods, it’s important to think about the reasons why you made the change to a low carb lifestyle whether it be weight management or better health. Keeping a record of your progress is often helpful so you can look at how far you’ve come and clearly see why you don’t want to go back. It’s also great to have a low carb support network that you can turn to for encouragement if you need help getting back on track.

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Sooze Gibbs of Fluffy Chix Cook: Newsflash! We’ve all hit a roadbump, a snag in the low carb keto river and washed out, landing face down in our favorite “fill-in-your-high-carbage-poison-here.” And reality? We’ve lived to tell about it. What you need to know is that you are a winner as long as you get up one time more than the number of times you fall down. Fall down. Get up. Make the VERY next bite, the best, most true low carb bite you can possibly make it. Get RIGHT back on your gameplan. Don’t wait and don’t use the fall as an excuse to take the day off, the week off, the month off…cuz trust a Fluffy Chix, sometimes Monday never comes. And you do NOT want to become part of the daily news with film of your epic fall-from-low-carb-grace at 11.
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Mellissa Sevigny of I Breathe…I’m Hungry: This goes against convention and your natural impulse to stay in denial, but what helps me is to get on the scale IMMEDIATELY. Even if the damage isn’t apparent yet, it will hold you accountable and you’ll see that number going up even if it’s in your head and it will remind you how far you’ve come (and maybe how far you still have to go.) The tendency is to avoid the scale out of guilt and shame, but then the consequences of going off the rails are easier to ignore because they aren’t staring up at you in plain sight. The damage will show on the scale before it shows in your clothes which might not happen for days or even a week, and by then if you’re still binging you could have already gained 5 pounds or more. Getting on the scale right away for me is more likely to stop my cheating in its tracks and get me back on the wagon before any significant damage is done.
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Elviira Krebber of Low Carb, So Simple: After cheating, listen to your body and wait until you are truly hungry (drink water first to check that you are not thirsty). Then eat a meal that consists of relatively high amount of protein (I prefer chicken or salmon), high amount of fat (like mayonnaise or butter) and almost no carbs (so a real LCHF meal). Eat until you are satisfied — this is important — but don’t overeat. When you are satisfied with protein and fat, you get back on track easier and it’s less likely that you start craving for something unhealthy. Moreover, after a LCHF meal it takes hours before you feel the need to eat something.
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Martina Slajerova of Keto Diet App: What works for me if I eat more carbs than I should is a long walk or some kind of cardio exercise either the same day or the day after. Cardio will help you get rid of excess sugar from your cheat meal. Then for about a week I avoid treats (even healthy low-carb treats) and nuts. I also eat less or no dairy. I just stick with simple foods like eggs, leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, meat, avocados, lots of olive oil and coconut oil.
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Brenda Bennett of Sugar Free Mom: You made a mistake, no one’s perfect, you don’t need to be perfect to make a sustainable sugar free lifestyle that works for you. Intense sweat sessions always make me feel better. Planning ahead and tracking my food for the next meal or next day after a difficult day of poor choices always helps.

Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low carb – Part 1

As anyone who has done it knows, getting started on a low-carb diet can be a little rough.  Not for everyone, but for some.  All too often these little front-end bumps in the road–coupled with the spirit of the times in which the well-intentioned but ignorant friends and relatives of low-carb dieters tell them their diet is going to croak their kidneys, clog their arteries and weaken their bones–can be enough to make many people abandon the most sincere efforts.  Drawing on my almost 30 years of experience treating patients using the low-carb diet, I can give some tips and tricks for dealing with these difficult early days.

Listen to your body?

The surest road to failure in the first few days of low-carb dieting is to listen to your body.  The whole notion of listening to your body is one of my major pet peeves.  In fact, just hearing those words makes me want to puke.  In my experience, they are usually uttered by females with moist, dreamy looks in their eyes, but not always.  I just read a ton of comments in a recent Paleo blog post in which vastly more males than females actually wrote this drivel.
Listening to your body is giving the elephant free rein. If you’re three days into your stop-smoking program, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re in drug rehab, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  If you’re trying to give up booze, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  And if you’re a week into your low-carb diet, and you listen to your body, you’re screwed.  Actually, it’s okay to listen to it, I suppose, just don’t do what it’s telling you to do because if you do, you’re screwed. Okay, end of rant.  I just had to get it out of my system.  You just can’t imagine how many times people who have tried low-carb diets then abandoned them early on have said those words to me.  Wait.  I’m about to get started again. Stop!

Low-carbohydrate adaptation

Probably the best explanation of low-carb adaptation (also called keto adaptation) was written by a Lt. Frederick Schwatka (pictured above left) over a hundred years ago.

When first thrown wholly upon a diet of reindeer meat, it seems inadequate to properly nourish the system and there is an apparent weakness and inability to perform severe exertive, fatiguing journeys. But this soon passes away in the course of two or three weeks.

Lt. Schwatka was a doctor, a lawyer, and an explorer of the Arctic, the Great Plains and northern Mexico.  The above quote comes from his book on the unfruitful search for the Franklin party in 1878.  (For all his experience and gifts, and understanding of low-carb adaptation, the good doctor listened to his own body a little too much and did himself in with an overdose of morphine at age 42.) You can read more about Lt Schwatka, low-carb adaptation, and his time with the Inuit in a post I wrote a few years ago.
The period of low-carb adaptation is that time between starting a low-carb diet and feeling great on a low-carb diet.  It can take anywhere from just a day or so to two or three weeks.  During this adaptation period people tend to fatigue easily, experience a slight lack of mental clarity and be tormented off and on by the unbidden lust for carbs that seems to rise up out of nowhere.
Why does this happen early on with a diet that ultimately works so well to increase exercise capacity, mental clarity, and feelings of satiation? It happens because both your body and brain are going through a profound change in the way they get their energy.  You can’t run your car designed to burn gasoline on biodeisel…unless you install a converter.  Then you can.  We humans have the design for our carb to fat converters coded in our DNA – the low-carb adaptation period is simply the time it takes for the converter to be built and installed.
Our bodies are simply giant piles of chemicals heaped together in a human-shaped form.  Most of the chemicals will react with one another, but only extremely slowly.  If we didn’t have something to help these reactions along, life wouldn’t exist.  The helpers are called enzymes.
These enzymes – which are large folded proteins – catalyze all the chemical reactions that allow us to function.  Mix a couple of body chemicals together and you might have to wait twenty years or more for them to interact or combine in some way to form another body chemical product.  Throw the correct enzyme into the mixture, and you get a reaction in a fraction of a second. When you’ve been on the standard American high-carb diet, you’re loaded with enzymes ready to convert those carbs to energy.  You’ve got some enzymes laying in the weeds waiting to deal with the fat, but mainly dealing with it by storing it, not necessarily burning it.  All the pathways to deal with carbs and their resultant blood glucose are well-oiled and operating smoothly.
Then you start a low-carb diet.  Suddenly, you’ve idled most of the enzyme force you have built to process the carbs in your diet while at the same time you don’t have a ready supply of the enzymes in the quantities needed to deal with your new diet.  It would be like a Ford automobile factory changing in one day into a plant that made iPads.  All the autoworkers would show up and be clueless as how to make an iPad.  It would take a while – not to mention a lot of chaos – to get rid of the autoworkers and replace them with iPad workers.  In a way, that’s kind of what’s happening during the low-carb adaptation period. Over the first few days to few weeks of low-carb adaptation, your body is laying off the carbohydrate worker enzymes and building new fat worker enzymes.  Once the workforce in your body is changed out, you start functioning properly on your new low-carb, higher-fat diet.
The carbs you used to burn for energy are now replaced to a great extent by ketones (which is why this time is also called the keto-adaptation period) and fat.  Your brain begins to use ketones to replace the glucose it used to use pretty much exclusively, so your thinking clears up.  And the fatigue you used to feel at the start of the diet goes away as ketones and fat (and the army of enzymes required to use them efficiently) take over as the primary sources of energy.  Suddenly you seem to go from not being able to walk out to get the morning paper without puffing and panting to having an abundance of energy.
Because of this low-carb adaptation period, we never, ever counsel our patients to start an exercise program when they start their low-carb diets because a) we know they’ll be too fatigued to do it, and b) we know that in a short time they will start exercising spontaneously to burn off the excess fat on their bodies once the skids are greased, so to speak. Anyone with good sense contemplating a low-carb diet would ask the question, How can I make this low-carb adaptation period as short as possible?  Good question.  Why would anyone want to prolong the agony? The secret to making it shorter is in the second part of what Lt. Schwatka wrote about low-carb adaptation.  Immediately after the above quoted sentences, he follows with:

At first the white man takes to the new diet in too homeopathic a manner, especially if it be raw. However, seal meat which is far more disagreeable with its fishy odor, and bear meat with its strong flavor, seems to have no such temporary debilitating effect upon the economy.

In other words, the white man, used to flour, sugar, boiled meat and all the other staples of the mid 19th century American diet, balked at the consumption of raw meat, especially raw and malodorous seal and bear meat.  And so took it in tiny portions (in a  “homeopathic manner”) instead of going face down in it.  Compared to reindeer meat, both seal and bear meat are loaded with fat, which is why the consumption of those fattier meats didn’t produce the “temporary debilitating effect.”  In those who did eat the fattier meats, the low-carb adaptation period was very short or even non-existent.

Eat more fat

If you want to reduce the time you spend in low-carb adaptation, crank up the fat.  If you go on a high-protein, moderate-fat diet (Schwatka’s reindeer diet), your body will convert the protein to glucose via gluconeogenesis, so you’ll still have glucose to keep the glucose worker enzymes busy and will prolong the conversion to fat and ketones as your primary energy source. So Rule Number One to reduce the time spent in low-carb adaptation purgatory is: Don’t be a wuss when you start your low-carb way of eating.  Keep the carbs cut to the minimum and load up on the fat. Eat fatty cuts of meat, cooked in butter or lard if you want, and force your body over to using the fats and ketones for energy as nature intended.
I mean, don’t try to be noble by eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts – instead insert some pats of butter under the skin of a chicken leg and thigh before cooking, and wolf them with your fingers while the fat drips down your arms.  Do not trim the fat from your steaks – eat them from the fat side in.  If you leave anything on your plate, make sure it’s the meat and not the fat.  If you don’t already, learn to love bacon, and don’t cook it ‘til the fat is all gone: eat it wobbly.  Wallow in Mangalitsa lardo.  And whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t listen to your body during this adaptation period or you’ll never cross the chasm between fat and miserable on your high-carb diet and slim, happy, energetic and low-carb adapted on the other side.
In my next post, I’ll give you the rest of the tips and tricks to get through low-carb adaptation that MD and I have learned in our combined 50 plus years of taking care of patients on low-carb diet. And I’ll include a recipe worthy of killing for that you can prepare to help you get through.