Give Into Your Cravings and Watch What Happens

 

Think about it this way.

If you are a little kid and you see a plate of cookies on the counter..

What do you do?

You try and grab one!

When your Mom scolds you and tells you to wait until dessert, you immediately get frustrated and upset. All of your energy goes into wanting that one cookie and it’s all you can think about at dinner.

You don’t want any of the other food. All you want is that one chocolatey, delicious cookie.

When you finally get to have it, it’s the most amazing moment and you’re satisfied with just one or two. Then you go on your way and the cookies become a distant memory (at least, this is how my childhood played out).

But fast forward to today and here is what happens…

We try to diet based on our ingrained belief that we must look a certain way (see my post: Stop Trying To Be Perfect) so we restrict our foods in ways that we think will match how this thin, socially acceptable version of ourselves should eat.

We follow guidelines we find online, rules set by magazines, books, advice from friends and family, things we see on T.V, nutrition coaches etc.

But the problem with this is that we are using EXTERNAL forces to guide what we eat.

This means YOU, the number one person that can tell your body what it needs, when, how much and where to get it better than anyone else on the planet is being ignored and told to shove-off.

Of course, we’ve all seen that EXTERNAL forces can work for some people, but for the majority of us, it can only work for so long.

Personally being in the dieting industry from a young age and participating in the sport of bodybuilding, I’ve seen many girls (and guys!) go from extreme-lean, insanely fit to gaining 30 pounds in a matter of weeks post-show, all because they’d denied their body’s natural instincts and hunger for so long.

I’ve even seen long-running competitors that didn’t binge post-show, later quit the sport  due to the rigidity and mental affects it had on them, admitting to feeling extremely restricted and unhealthy.

This same effect can be seen across dieters from every niche; keto, vegan, atkins, paleo, intermittent fasting etc. They are all forms of restriction in their own way and unless it’s a lifestyle you feel GREAT living and can carry on with for life without feeling restricted, you may want to reconsider what you are doing (nothing against it if you can, that is fantastic!)

(Ex. if eating a certain way is causing you to put food up on a pedestal and think about your next meal all day long, then that may be a sign to change what you’re doing!).

When we diet, we deny our body the innate ability to tell us what we REALLY need, nutritionally, physically and mentally.

In simpler terms,

The number one reason we binge or eat excessively is because we DENY OUR CRAVINGS.

Cravings.

This word has been given such a bad wrap.

When I used to get cravings, I went to war with myself. I would do everything imaginable to fight off these evil, self-sabotaging thoughts.

I would chew gum all day long, drink a huge glass of water before meals, stuff myself with low-calorie vegetables or protein shakes, drink tea, coffee, diet coke, eat all of my meals at once then fast for the rest of the day, pass-up social outings with friends or family, eat in a separate room than anyone eating a food I strongly desired..etc.

But none of it EVER worked long-term.

(If this sounds like you then you might want to hear what I have to say next!)

I struggled for years trying to figure out why I couldn’t control these monstrous craving that were occurring more and more often. As I said in a previous post, I tried diet after diet, thinking “THIS IS IT!” But again, the cravings would soon return and I’d be back to my old ways.

So after much frustration and resentment towards myself and my lack of willpower…I decided to do something totally crazy.

I gave into my cravings.

Let me tell you, when you give into your cravings and hand-over the reins to your body, things get a bit crazy (at first).

You might eat brownies for the whole day, you might binge and eat your entire pantry, you might order 5 pizzas just for yourself or eat a gallon of ice cream.

This could go on for days, weeks or maybe even months.

BUT if you stick it out and put weight-loss aside during this period (YES it’s hard but you MUST do it)

…Something magical happens.

  • The foods you were once OBSESSED with become more ordinary, they are no longer as exciting as they once were because you can eat them everyday.
  • Cravings for unhealthy foods will slowly diminish (maybe not completely but to a way more manageable level).
  • True cravings start to come through. This means you’ll start to hear what your body ACTUALLY wants and needs at that time. It will be combination of both seemingly “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods( although I hate labelling, but I’ll get into that in another post!) Cravings become your guide and you eat based off INTERNAL forces.
  • You eat a balanced diet. You may begin to eat less or more based off where your body is currently at and your weight will begin to balance at a healthy point.
  • Weight itself becomes less important because it isn’t fluctuating all the time and it’s not difficult to remain at a healthy weight for your body.
  • You will enjoy foods more and be more satisfied after meals because you are eating EXACTLY what your mind wants and meeting the nutrient needs your body desires.
  • Cravings become your friend.

When you get to this point in your journey, it’s an amazing feeling.

To be able to go out with friends and enjoy a meal without counting and stressing over each calorie is a win in itself. With all of the food thoughts and stress gone from your mind, it opens up HUGE space to be able to work on other goals and ambitions.

I’m not even kidding, when I was obsessed with my weight and food 24/7, there wasn’t any room in my brain to focus on any other tasks. I’d always put everything on the back burner and say “I’ll do it later, one I’ve achieved my fitness goals.. and I feel happy with where I’m at.”

BUT THAT DAY NEVER CAME AND NEVER WILL.

You need to give-up on the idea that achieving your fitness goals will make everything better.

It’s like running on a treadmill and expecting to get somewhere outside the treadmill.

IT JUST DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.

If you keep doing what you’re doing then you’ll keep getting the same results you’ve always got.

I am currently writing this post before work, as I did not have to wake-up and worry about my breakfast or what I’m going to pack for lunch and snacks today.  I am able to share this information with you BECAUSE I let go of my hold on food and body perfection. I feel confident writing this although I’m not shredded and lean as I’d once believed I had to be to share nutritional advice.

I am at a healthy weight, eating healthy, loving myself and that is all that matters.

Giving into my cravings as crazy as it sounds, changed my life.

It gave me back my life. You can do the same. All you have to do is start.

Eat a cookie, or a slice of pizza, or cake, or a muffin, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, whatever you’re craving right now in this moment and go from there.

That’s all it takes to start your journey to a less food-focused self .

Now get ready to start REALLY LIVING.

~Sam~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins

 

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins
Recipe Type: Dessert, Snack, Breakfast
Author: Sam
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 11
Gluten-Free, filling, high-fibre muffins, perfect for a snack or a quick breakfast grab.
Described as:
-“The best muffin I ever ate”.
-“So moist, much better than the store-bought ones!.”
Ingredients

 

Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oat flour(or ground oats), almond flour, spices, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together sugar, Truvia and coconut oil.
  4. Next, whisk in the eggs and applesauce.
  5. Gradually add your dry mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking well to combine.
  6. Fold in the apple and almonds then spoon into a lined muffin tray.
  7. Optional. top with additional apple/almond pieces for presentation.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven for 21-25min or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is no longer wet to the touch.
  9. *Careful not to under-bake*
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Optional: Brush the tops with butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar OR mix together the ingredients for the simple glaze and drizzle on top.
  12. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 Muffin
Calories: 184, 21 Carbs, 4g protein

Stop Binge Eating..Forever. (How I did it)

 

If only I could count the number of times I researched this question..the endless amount of videos I watched, people I followed, books I read, techniques I tried..

But still to no avail.

I’m sure some of you are in the same boat. (I’m assuming that’s why you’re here).

Hopefully, this will not be “just another article” that you pass by.

This is probably a take on binge eating that you haven’t yet come across (at least, not quite as commonly).

Binge eating is something you do, not a disease you have. You don’t need a magical cure, you just need to change what you’re doing.

Binge eating is something I have struggled with since my post-competition days.

This was after competing in a figure (bodybuilding) competition and following my diet plan to a T (LITERALLY, I wouldn’t even take a bite of a food that was not on my plan, I measured everything to the gram and suffered watching others devour pizza while I ate my sad, dry piece of chicken breast and spinach with 5 calorie dressing).

I never binged on foods before my competition or during the prep. I got lean and felt great!

But post-show when I tried a second contest preparation (cutting calories, eating “clean” again), I just couldn’t do it. My cravings were INSANE. I wanted anything and everything. All I could think about was food, when my next meal was, how many calories I could eat, “if I eat 2 of my meals now maybe I could just fast for the rest of the day..”, maybe if I chew enough gum I can delay the hunger a bit…etc.

Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and the binging began.

Cookies, pizza, dry cereal, raisins, almonds, left over spaghetti, cold kraft dinner, stale chips, YOU NAME IT. I ate it.

And all at once, until I felt like I was on the verge of exploding..and then I’d eat some more.

All while wondering what had happened to my perfect disciplined self who used to be able to diet so well.

How did I get to this point? Where is my self-control??

This went on for months and then years. I slowly gained back about 20 pounds (most of it healthy weight but probably a little more than necessary).

I would go through phases of different diets such as vegan, paleo, keto, intermittent fasting..etc.

With each new-found diet and a short-lived burst of motivation, I would think “YES, I FINALLY FOUND THE CURE”

But alas, each time I would find myself slowly falling back into old habits and binging once again.

 

One day, as I was scouring the internet for my next diet-cure, I came across the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole.

(Intuitive eating is basically where you mindfully, eat whatever you want when your body craves it and stop when full).

I found the concept interesting and set-out on on my own intuitive eating journey after purchasing additional books on “mindful eating”.

But again, after 2 weeks, I was still binging.

Now I was really concerned.

“I am allowing myself to eat whatever I want! Why, still, can I not stop binge eating???”

I was utterly confused and ready to throw in the towel for the last time, officially classifying myself as a “binge eater” for life.

That is, until I came across the website “The Fuckitdiet“, created by Caroline Dooner. (Definitely check this site out if you haven’t already!)

After reading several of her posts and listening to her podcasts, I suddenly had the most insane epiphany, moment of clarity, break through, fantastic realization EVER.

The reason “Intuitive eating” was not working for me is that I WAS MAKING IT ANOTHER DIET.

While the intuitive eating book was very insightful (and I still recommend reading it for a great intro to intuitive eating!), there are some flaws or at least red flags if you are someone who comes from a very rigid dieting past.

For one, they use a hunger scale to measure your hunger.

For me this meant “I REALLY want this donut my coworker is offering me but I know I just ate not long ago..and I’m only like a 6 on the hunger scale right now, it says you should eat around 3 or 4..so maybe I should skip the donut and eat something later on.”

Second, you are told to eat mindfully. Eat slow, small bites, chew each bite thoroughly, eat with no distractions like the T.V or

 

computer, stop half-way, wait 5 minutes then ask yourself if you really want more, leave food on your plate, etc.

 

All of these suggestions had me and my “diet brain” going crazy.

I would eat without watching my favourite show, try to leave food on my plate and only eat until “satisfied” then I’d be hungry again an hour later, I’d try to chew my food a ton and gross myself out with the texture rather than actually enjoying it. I would not eat unless I felt it acceptable on the hunger scale, I’d feel disappointed if I finished all the food on my plate..ETC. It wasn’t fun and I spent just as much time thinking about food as I did on any other diet.

SO. With the guidance of Caroline’s site (fuckitdiet.com), I decided to do just that.

 

F*ck it.

I started eating while watching T.V again.

I ate the donut if I REALLY wanted the donut EVEN if I wasn’t extremely hungry.

I ate fast, slow, medium-paced, whatever.

I chewed as much as felt normal.

I ate ALL of my food if I wanted it and didn’t feel guilty.

And guess what?

I started eating less and slower because I’d get distracted by my really good T.V show.

I wouldn’t be craving loads of sweets late at night because I already ate the donut I wanted earlier that day.

I enjoyed my meals SO much more.

I started leaving food on my plate because it felt natural.

and finally, after all these years of thinking I was diseased and destined to forever eat my entire pantry each night,

I STOPPED BINGE EATING.

The cure to binge eating,

is

to

just eat.

This means, erasing physical restrictions and rules just as much as the mental ones.

If you allow yourself to eat the donut but still feel guilty doing it, then you are still restricting.

If you say you can eat whatever you want but still try to eat low-fat or low-carb then you are still restricting.

Your body knows.

You need to give yourself permission to eat as much as you need AND want without guilt.

Weight-gain or loss should be on the back-burner during this time (trust me, I KNOW how hard this is to do but you will thank yourself later). You need to give your mind and body time to heal.

IT IS SO WORTH IT,

This will take time, it will feel weird and uncomfortable at first but slowly it will become natural, food will no-longer be the center of your whole universe.

If you do happen to binge or eat more than you think you should during this process, keep going.

If you binge for 5 days straight on all the foods you used to restrict, keep going.

If you only want to eat egg salad for a week straight and wonder what’s wrong with you, KEEP GOING (true story, still can’t explain it but I don’t question what my body wants! Haha).

Binge eating is a habit you’ve formed and it will take a bit to break it but the more you allow yourself total freedom with food, and stop putting it up on a pedestal, the faster you will find yourself free from its grasp.

So go ahead, start today.

Go eat something you REALLY WANT.

and thoroughly, completely, whole-heartedly enjoy it.

Then do it again,

and again,

each day until eating is just another part of your day.

You eat, enjoy it, feel satisfied.

Then you move on to the more important things in your day.

That is how life is supposed to be lived.

That is how you STOP binge eating.

~Sam~

Stop Trying To Be Perfect.

This post is coming from someone who’s been thin to the point of resembling a skeleton more than a healthy human being, to later becoming a strong figure athlete and feeling on top of the world, to then slowly gaining back 25 pounds post-show and wondering how to deal, to now finding balance in the in-between.

When it comes to self-love and forgiveness, being on each end of the spectrum (both physically and mentally) has given me a great deal of insight into how it affects our actions towards ourselves.

Even if your dislike towards yourself stems from other insecurities or faults you assume yourself to have, whether it be, your hair, your large nose, your ability to always make a fool of yourself, your laziness, your lack of self-discipline etc. This article can still help to conquer any impeding resentments you have, if you are open and listen to the concepts presented.

Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give to not only you, but also the universe that sits still, calmly awaiting the arrival of the vast greatness you have yet to tap into.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Give-up the concept of perfection (OR at least change it’s meaning). 

“Perfectionism is shallow, unreal and fatally uninteresting” -Anne Lamott

You’ve probably heard it a million-and-one times, “nobody’s perfect!” and that’s true, but what’s more accurate to say is that we are actually ALL PERFECT in our own ways.

OK, OK, I get it, majorly cheesy. But hear me out..

Do you know anyone that talks like you? Has the same hair as you? Has the same name as you?

Maybe.

But do you know anyone who talks like you, has the same hair as you, has the same name as you, has the same job as you, has the same number of siblings as you, has the same weight as you, has the same skin and eye colour as you, has the same personality and feelings towards life as you, has the same goals and ambitions and ideas to bring to the world as you do??

Likely not. Actually, definitely not.

Why?

Because YOU ARE THE ONLY YOU. You are the only you that IS and EVER WILL BE. 

You were made unique for a reason.

So ask yourself again, what is perfection?

To most it’s looking like someone they idolize, changing themselves to match an unrealistic standard and/or living the exact same life as someone they are envious of.

What would our world be if everyone looked the same, thought the same, talked the same, had all the same ideas and goals?

We’d be a pretty dang, BORING world if you ask me.

The reason we have things like electricity, bridges, boats, cars, airplanes, art, music, dance, sports, clocks, computers, phones, ovens, blenders,  heck even fidget spinners (did I really just say that?) is BECAUSE these people all thought outside the box, acted different than people around them and SET THEIR SELF APART. 

Sure maybe there were some people who questioned them or thought they were crazy in the beginning (these people often being family members and/or close friends), but in the end, you know what?

Every one of those people wanted to be like them or even more, wanted to be them.

So when you go about your life trying to lose weight to look like a certain celebrity, give-up your dreams and ambitions you once pursued to fit into the norm or be more “realistic”, or change your entire wardrobe just to look like Dolly Parton (ok, maybe that one’s a stretch but you never know?). 

Just remember, you are giving up this wonderful, amazing, one-of-a-kind creature that is YOU to attain the image or life of someone else, WHICH if you haven’t already figured out, is IMPOSSIBLE because they themselves are already the most perfect version of them that will ever be.

Don’t try to be someone else’s perfect because you will always fail.

So. 

Instead.

Be YOU.

Unforgivably, un-apologetically, genuinely YOU everyday from now on.

Whether you want to be a writer, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a chef, a barney impersonator, a teacher, a swimmer, a coach, a lion tamer or a singer on broadway – YOU NAME IT.

You NEED to do and be what you were put here on this planet to do and be. 

You are unique and perfectly YOU for a reason.

Find that reason, find yourself, love your PERFECT self with every part of your being,

-and role with it.

~Samantha Briden~

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Low-Carb Cook

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Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, these baking tools will have a noticeable impact on the outcome of your final product and ease of prep work.

I, myself, am all for old-school baking and cooking with minimal tools ( ie. using one bowl for everything – I’m not a fan of dishes!).

But when it comes to baking or cooking up the best, most delicious and visually appealing desserts and entrees, these tools really do come in handy.

I can’t deny, I did throw in a few “fun items“,  not essential, but a necessity if you’re looking to create some epic, tasty low-carb treats. 😉

Add these items to your own wishlist or gift them to a fellow low-carber, either way, they are bound to bring a smile to someone’s face this holiday season.

  1. Food Scale

Food scales are the key to learning portion size.

They are a great starting point. Once you get familiar with portion and serving sizes, you can slowly decrease your dependence on the scale and focus more on the intuitive aspect of eating (being that, you’ve now trained your eyes and your brain to see foods in a different light).

But don’t go tossing aside your food scale too quickly! Food scales are also ESSENTIAL when it comes to baking with consistency and accuracy. Ever wonder why a dessert doesn’t turn-out, even though you followed the recipe to a T?

Well, for one it might just be a bad recipe..BUT more likely, it was a difference in weight created by the slight packing of flour or sugar. Even amounts like “1 cup of chopped fruit” can vary greatly depending on how the food is cut, sliced or placed in the measuring cup.

As noted above I like baking with minimal bowls and utensils.

You know the best way to achieve this? A FOOD SCALE. You can easily measure all of your ingredients in one bowl without all the fuss of measuring spoons and cups.

If that doesn’t convince you to use a food scale in your baking and cooking then I’m not sure what will!

My scale of 4 years of which I refer to as my “bestfriend” or “side-kick” in  the kitchen, is this beautiful one:

Perfect Portions Digital Scale + Nutrition Facts Display

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It rarely ever needs battery replacements, its extremely accurate with measuring, durable and easy to clean (I can honestly say this after witnessing the many extreme kitchen disasters it has endured). It also measures more than just weight, it has a full nutritional display with the ability to manually input nutrition info for a specific item to recall later. And last but not least, it’s nice to look at and has never failed me once.

        2. Spiralizer

If you are a low-carb eater and you still haven’t heard of a spiralizer, then you’ve been missing out!

I’m here to inform you that this simple tool designed to “spiralize” zucchini and other vegetables into noodles will basically change your life (OK, maybe that’s a little extreme, but if you’re an ex-carb lover looking for a pasta replacement, this thing is pretty dang awesome).

It might not create magical low-carb pasta but it creates a pretty close alternative. And with the right toppings and sauce, you will be AMAZED by how little you miss the typical carb-laden noodles of the past.

Take this recipe for example..

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Zucchini Noodle Alfredo by “The Dinner Mom”

The spiralizer I use is this one:

Kuuk-2 in 1 Vegetable Spiralizer

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It has an end for both thicker and thinner noodles and is super easy to clean!

Bonus Tip: The key to perfect “zucchini noodles” is to first press them in paper towel to drain some of the excess liquid. Then heat a pan with oil (can be sprayed lightly with oil) over high heat. Toss the noodles in when the pan is hot and stir-fry them for 2-3min or until the noodles just start to wilt. You want to partially cook them but still leave them with some crunch. This helps to prevent excess water being released and diluting into your sauces. Remove the noodles when done and add to whatever sauce or dish you’d like, or just serve with some butter and parmesan. Alternatively you can add the noodles directly to the same pan at the end of any stir-fry, just before serving.

3. Food Processor

From grinding nuts and seeds to butter or flour, cottage cheese to a smooth puree for use in cheesecakes, sweetener to a fine powder (powdered sugar replacement!), to beautiful silky smooth avocado-chocolate pudding, ..a food processor can do it all.

Blenders are a great option for many recipes like smoothies, “protein ice-cream“, pancakes etc. But if you are looking for the finest texture, the ability to breakdown tougher foods, and an easier clean up, a food processor is likely a more appropriate option.

I use this one:

Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Processor

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..and have become obsessed with creating new and interesting sauce combinations along with grinding my different flours to result in lighter and fluffier baked goods!

Plus,this processor is adorable (I don’t describe many kitchen products this way). But it’s small, compact and pretty to look at.

4. Slow Cooker

 Most of us live a fast-paced life. One where you are either working hard, on the go or busy attending social and life events. When we return home, cooking is the LAST thing on our minds (if it isn’t then props, that’s dedication!) and as such, we reach for the quickest food options available.

*ENTER, Slow Cooker*

Counter to it’s name, it will have a meal prepped and ready for you the moment you sit down.

All you have to do is throw in a piece of meat or a few basic stew/soup ingredients in the morning and you’re good to go! Fresh, hot, steaming, delicious food ready when you are.

The one I recommend is this one:

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe

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5 .Hand-Held Blender

Hand-held blenders are my preference to regular stand blenders. Why?

They offer flexibility and create less mess!

I personally use hand-held blenders more in savoury dishes than I do sweet. Majority of the time it’s soups (okay let’s be honest, I’m obsessed, it’s always soup).

But have you ever tried pouring boiling hot soup into a stand blender, blending it then returning it to the pot?

Messy, messy, messssy is all I can say. (More dishes too! ..and as you are progressively learning, I hate dishes). Not to mention, trying to transfer boiling hot liquid from one container to the other. Especially when you’re me or you’re equally un-coordinated, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

Thus, hand-held blenders are my first choice.

No need to remove your soup from the pot, quick clean up and a much lower risk of clumsily burning yourself.

This one is my favourite!

KitchenAid 2-Speed Hand Blender

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..It makes me the perfect bowl of broccoli and/or cauliflower soup every time, plus in comes in a large range of attractive colours (which is obviously the most important aspect). 😉

6. George Forman Grill

Specifically the..

George Foreman GR20B 4 Serving Classic Plate Grill

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I feel like this grill is legendary..and for good reason.

It’s been around for a long time but that’s because it does what it’s supposed to (grilling, obviously!) and it does it well.

Now, I feel like this is more of an option for those living in colder climates.

As in, going outside means putting on your over-sized , slightly resemblant of the”abominable snow-man” coat, grabbing a hat, grabbing some gloves, putting on your heavy-duty snow boots, then remembering you forgot to put leggings on under-neath your already thick sweatpants and continuing to further wrap yourself in endless layers of clothing. That kind of cold. (Really Sam?..again with the exaggerations?)

I might be slightly ranting about my current weather situation and that probably shouldn’t be the reason you choose to purchase this item or not so let me continue with the actual constructive information.

The grill is meant to enable you to do all of your BBQ-ing indoors. Assuming you don’t have to feed 20 people at once, this grill is probably perfect for you. It’s small, compact and requires little technical skills to use (trust me, if I can figure it out on my own, so can you).

You can grill vegetables, meat, or you can even get REALLY creative and grill a low-carb panini using low-carb bread.

7. Ice Cream Maker  

Cuisinart ICE-30BCC Pure IndulgenceTM Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

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Basically self-explanatory. 

Who doesn’t want homemade, creamy, dreamy full-fat ice cream conveniently prepared and always at their disposal?

Low-carb eaters are known for eating high-fat, so why not indulge? Take full advantage of the ability to eat rich, decadent ice cream. None of that low-fat, icey so-called “healthy ice cream” over here.

But I’ll stop talking. Just look at this recipe by Carolyn over at “All Day I dream About Food” and tell me you don’t want to steal a scoop:

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Death By Chocolate Ice Cream

8. Donut Pan

Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan

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Another one of those “non-essential” but fun items to gift to someone (*cough, cough* me..)

Yup, that’s right I don’t own a donut pan. I’m obsessed with donuts, I created delicious low-carb keto donuts, yet I still don’t own a pan. There’s something wrong with this situation.

Thus, I added it to this list, just in-case you know someone else suffering from donut addiction and in-need of an alternative while following this lifestyle. ;P

9. Hand Held Frother or Self-Stirring Mug

This is another one on my personal wish list! (At least the mug still is).

I already have the hand-held frother and it’s really amazing! I use this one:

Aerolatte Deluxe Edition Milk Frother

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It does a wonderful job at blending together the perfect (and ever-famous) bullet-proof coffee. (BPC)

But something it’s not as well known for is blending egg whites! If you need to fluff a few egg whites for some waffles (or my 1 min keto english muffin recipe), use this thing! It will do a crazy-good job!

As for the Self-Stirring Mug, just watch this video and tell me it’s not totally awesome.

I just want it for the sake of showing other people. LOL. But I’m sure it’s also convenient  when you need that perfect BPC on the go.

10. Cakewich Bread Mold

Fred & Friends CAKEWICH Bread-Shaped Cake Mold

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This one was just too fun not to share.

A mold that shapes any ingredients into a “bread slice” shape (dishwasher, oven and microwave safe!)

It’s simple but creates endless opportunities for creativity.

Again, my english muffin recipe doubled would work amazing for this, I’m sure! You could even toast the bread, use it for french toast, make bread pudding out of it, sandwiches, ETC!

Plus, everything tastes better when it looks cool. Right? That’s how it works.

…Andddd with that, this ends my “10 Low-Carb Christmas Gift Ideas for the Low-Carb Baker“.

If I forgot to mention any other cool, neat or useful kitchen gadgets, please leave a comment below! I am interested to see if anyone has anymore creative items I can casually spend all of my money on (kidding!-sort of).

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this post! Please share it if you found it helpful.

I look forward to seeing you all in my next posts! I have many new ideas (including the low-carb baking substitution guide, it’s coming, I promise!)  but I am open to writing suggestions in relation to any of the following; low-carb dieting, keto, macro-counting, fitness or nutrition in general!

Anyways, thanks again and happy Christmas/Holiday shopping!! 🙂

~Sam~

Follow me at: @sammysamgirl for more!

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The Ultimate Low-Carb Baking Guide-Part 1-Grocery List

shopping-list-8uz5oa-clipartAre you looking to start baking low-carb?

Wondering which ingredients you need to purchase to start your low-carb endeavour? 

If you’re answer is “yes” to either of these questions, then you are in the right place. 

If your answer is no, what are you doing here? (kidding 😉 ) 

Going from a high-carb lifestyle where flour and sugar rule the baking world to a low-carb, sugar-free lifestyle is a HUGE transition.

Most of us have lived our whole lives eating carby, grain-filled, delicious foods. It’s hard to imagine how low-carb alternatives could ever come close to being nearly as satisfying and indulgent.

But if you check out my recipe index and many other low-carb foodie blogs, you will clearly see, this is a very real possibility.

Low-carb foods can be rich, decadent, full of flavour and mouthwateringly delicious (see what I did there?).

But there’s a little problem, to start baking, we need a whole new set of ingredients.

Yes, this means ridding the cabinets of that giant bag of white flour, tossing the sugar and doing a little shopping around to find your new baking essentials.

In this post, I won’t go too far into detail about baking substitutions or how to customize and alter high-carb recipes to be your own low-carb creations…this information will be reserved for Part 2 of this series!

For now, I just want to get you started on WHAT YOU NEED to be able to start baking low-carb recipes that are already at your disposal (hint, hint-did I mention you should see my recipe index?).

So without further ado, here’s a check-list of essentials/some of my favourite low-carb ingredients:

*Note* Don’t go out and buy all this at once (LOL), it’s best to gradually build up your supply as you get more comfortable with low-carb baking.

*Please see disclaimer below*

Flours/Flour Substitutes: 

  • Almond Flour-go for almond FLOUR not almond meal if you can, it allows for a better texture in baked goods
  • Coconut Flour– don’t be too scared of the price, a little goes a long way!
  • Whey Protein Powder -there are so many brands! Quest All Purpose Protein, this one and this one are my favourites for baking! (I use both chocolate and vanilla of the Jamie Eason one. Though, it is slightly higher in carbs, so if you are aiming for ketosis then I suggest using a lower-carb brand instead)
  • VitaFiber IMO Powder-high-fibre, flour and sugar substitute, has a light sweetness and adds a nice crispiness to a lot of low-carb baked goods such as cookies that would other-wise be just one texture, soft.
  • Ground Flax Seed-can also be used as an egg replacement, flax is a great way to up your Omega-3 and fibre intake.
  • Peanut Flour-makes baked goods taste like peanut butter! Again there are a ton of brands, this one is my favourite.
  • Cocoa Powder-this one tastes great, though I also buy it at Costco in bulk!
  • Psyllium Husk-such a healthy fibre source! Go for ground psyllium husk powder if you can, if not go with regular psyllium husk and grind it in a food processor for a better texture in your final product product.

Sweeteners:

I use a combination of these 2 in all of my recipes: 

  • Splenda -measures like sugar, similar level of sweetness, powder
  • Truvia -2x as sweet as sugar, you only need to use half as much in any recipe, granular, combo of erythritol and stevia

Others you may prefer:

  • Stevia -comes in liquid or powder form, liquid is highly potent (1 tsp/ 1 cup of sugar), powder form (2 tbsp/1 cup of sugar), considered one of the most natural sweeteners
  • Swerve-measures like sugar, similar level of sweetness, mainly erythritol

Liquid Ingredients:

Best Fruits/Vegetables for baking:

  • Avocado-great with anything chocolate
  • Zucchini-shredded of course!
  • Pumpkin-also great for soups
  • Cauliflower-great thickener, and YES can be used in desserts too!

Toppings, Add-ins:

Thickeners/Leaveners:

  • Xanthan Gum-personally I use this more-so than guar gum. It’s fantastic for baking but it also creates EPIC volume in smoothies and is great for thickening sauces.
  • Guar Gum
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda

And there you have it! These are my baking essentials and the one’s I’d recommend to anyone interested in beginning low-carb baking.

If I forgot to mention an essential, please feel free to leave a comment below, I’d be happy to add it to the list!

Also, leave a comment if you found this post helpful and if you’d like to see a part 2 explaining how to use these ingredients in low-carb baking as well as, how to alter high-carb recipes to fit your life-style!

Disclaimer: this is a LOW-CARB list. If you are on a strict keto diet you may choose to leave out certain ingredients mentioned, although all of them listed ARE keto-friendly, it’s just a matter of how strictly you are restricting carbs and what works for you!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

~Sam~

Follow: @sammysamgirl for more!

Keto Chocolate Protein Donuts w/ Chocolate Glaze (Gluten-Free)

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I can’t even put into words how happy I am with this recipe…

Just please do yourself a favour and make these,

immediately. 

That is all.  

Keto Chocolate Protein Donuts w/ Chocolate Glaze

Serves: 11

Ingredients:

Chocolate Glaze:

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Combine wet with dry ingredients until a thick batter is formed. 
  5. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. 
  6. Using a piping bag (or a plastic ziplock with the corner cut off), pipe thick circles just under the size of a hockey puck, leaving a hole in the middle about 2-3x the size of what you want the final result to look like. (I ended up with 11, you can use a spoon to help smooth out any edges if needed) 
  7. Bake for 6-8min or until the donuts have risen and a tooth pick comes out clean (*NOTE I took all of mine out at 6min and even if they were a little soft they stiffened up on the tray). 
  8. Cool on the tray for at least 5min before placing in the fridge to cool further. 
  9. To make the glaze, simply mix together the coconut oil and chocolate chips and microwave in increments until melted, then stir in the salt and splenda. 
  10. Once the donuts are cooled, Drizzle the chocolate glaze on top of each one.
  11. Optional, sprinkle shredded coconut or chopped nuts on top of the glaze. 
  12. Place back in the fridge (or freezer if impatient!) and cool until the glaze has set. 

Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Store the donuts in the fridge in an air-tight container, I actually prefer them best cold more-so than warm from the oven! 
  • If you want the glaze to entirely cover your donuts then use 1/4 cup(60g) sugar-free chocolate chips rather than 2 tbsp. 

Nutrition per serving: 8.5F/2.5C(NET)/5.5P & 2.5g fibre 

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Follow: @sammysamgirl for more!

Low-Carb Caramel Pecan Protein Muffins w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

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img_4689muffin 3.jpgMUFFIN 2.jpgLow Carb Caramel Pecan Protein Muffins w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 6-8 (see below) 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup(60g) almond flour (I buy this one: NOW Foods Almond Flour)
  • 1 1/2 scoop(62g) vanilla lean body whey protein (or another vanilla whey) 
  • 1/4 cup(60g) VitaFiber Powder
    (OR another 1/4 cup almond flour)
  • 2 tbsp Truvia (or 4 tbsp of another sweetener that measures like sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Splenda (or another sweetener that measures like sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch of xanthan gum
    (optional but recommended) 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp(21g) butter, melted
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/4 cup(60g) unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Cinnamon Carmel Filling:

      • 1/4 cup water
      • 1/4 cup truvia sweetener (or 1/2 cup sweetener that measures like sugar)
      • 1 egg yolk, whisked
      • 2 tbsp(15g) butter
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1/4 tsp molasses (leave out OR replace with yacon syrup for keto) 
      • pinch of salt
      • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
      • 30g pecans, finely chopped (mine were lightly salted) 

Cream Cheese Frosting (OPTIONAL): 

      • 1/4 cup greek yogurt or cream cheese
      • 1 1/2 tbsp Splenda
        (more or less to taste) 
      • 1 tbsp almond milk (or any milk) (Up to 2 tbsp milk if using cream cheese)
      • 1/16 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions: 

      1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F
      2. In a medium sauce-pan, combine all caramel filling ingredients except nuts.
      3. Turn heat just below high and stir constantly until the mixture starts to boil
      4. Once boiling, keep stirring constantly for about 30s
      5. Remove from heat and check thickness, it should be just a bit thinner than your average caramel sauce
      6. If not, boil a little longer while whisking constantly until desired thickness is reached (*note: it will thicken more as it cools). 
      7. Remove from heat, pour in a bowl and stir in the nuts. Set aside.
      8. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
      9. In another medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk and egg. 
      10. Add the wet to the dry mixture and stir in the melted butter until everything is combined.
      11. Using a prepared muffin tin lined with muffins cups AND sprayed with oil, fill each one with just enough batter to cover the bottom.
      12. Next drop 1 spoonful of the caramel mixture on top. 
      13. Add another scoop of the batter, enough to fill the muffin tin about 1/2-3/4 of the way full. Then repeat with the remaining caramel sauce.***
      14. Swirl the top of each muffin with a toothpick. 
      15. Bake for 18-22min or until the muffins have risen and a toothpick JUST comes out clean, don’t over-bake. (*note some caramel sauce might get on the toothpick but the muffin will be cooked!) 
      16. Mix together all Frosting ingredients if using.
      17. Cool slightly before removing from the pan. Pour frosting on top of muffins just before serving warm!

Enjoy!

***NOTE: I made 6 large muffins but you could easily make 8 regular ones, which i recommend because I believe they would rise better in the center. Nutrition is listed for both options, frosting is not included as this is optional. 

Nutrition for 1/6th of recipe:  16F/4C(NET)/11P & 11g fibre      

Nutrition for 1/8th of recipe: 12F/3C(NET)/8P & 8g fibre

Follow: @sammysamgirl on IG for more!

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No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Cookie

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Soft and chewy, 

takes minutes to make, plus it’s high in protein.

What more could you want from a cookie?

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Cookie

Serves: 1

  • Ingredients:
  • 18g(about 1/2 a scoop) lean body vanilla whey (or another great-tasting vanilla whey!)
  • 1 tbsp(6g) almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp splenda (or another sweetener than measures like sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp truvia  (recommended but can use 1tsp of another sweetener than measures like sugar)
  • tiny pinch of xanthan gum(optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 crushed pecans (optional)
  • 1 tsbp(15g) vitafiber syrup ( can use sugar-free syrup but results may vary)
  • 1/2 tbsp(7g) butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/16 tsp maple extract (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In another microwavable bowl sprayed with oil, add the vitafiber and microwave for 30s.
  3. Stir in the wet ingredients until butter has melted.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients until a crumbly dough has formed
  5. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball and then flatten on a piece of saran wrap into desired cookie shape.
  6. Wrap fully with saran wrap and place on a plate in the freezer for at least 10min before removing to eat.

Enjoy! 

Note: Cookie is best stored in fridge or freezer. If stored in the freezer, remove a few minutes before eating to soften up.

Nutrition per cookie: 11F/5C(NET)/10P & 16g fibre

 

 

The Endless Protein “Ice Cream”

img_4551mofynFor the forever hungry and never-full dieters of the world. 

This one’s for you. 

If you aren’t full after eating this, then I would be extremely shocked. If this fills me up, it will fill you, trust me! 

The Endless Protein “Ice Cream” 

Serves: 1 (or 2 as a snack/dessert)

Ingredients:

  • 85g ice (about 10 mini ice cubes)
  • 140g (about 1 cup) frozen berries (strawberries work best but you can also do any mixture of berries including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and even banana!)
  • 1 cup(240g) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup(60g) raw PASTEURIZED egg whites (comes in a box-Don’t leave these out! You won’t taste them, I promise)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 scoop(28g) Cellucor Molten Chocolate
    or Cellucor Butter Marshmallow Whey
    (or another chocolate or peanut butter protein)
  • 2 tbsp (12g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Splenda
    (or another sweetener, more or less to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    (you can play around with this amount depending on how “fluffy” or volumized you like it) **Key Ingredient**
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend on high for 30s or until smooth and almost tripled in size. (Do not over mix or it will deflate!) *
  3. Pour into a large bowl, add toppings if desired, and eat with a spoon!

Enjoy!

*I sometimes blend mine for less time if I want less volume. It all depends when you are going for, as more blending adds more air into the mixture.

Nutrition for entire recipe (using all strawberries): 6F/20C/31P & 7g fibre (13 Net carbs OR 6.5 Net carbs if serving 2) 8evJ5.jpeg