Monday, January 30, 2017

LCHF Sriracha Sauce

Pronounced 'C-Rha-Cha', Huy Fong's Sriracha hot sauce (aka Rooster Sauce) is one of the most popular hot sauces produced in the United States. While Huy Fong's sriracha sauce is not really that high in carbohydrates (1 carb per teaspoon, 3 carbs per tablespoon), you can reduce the carbohydrates significantly and create a superior flavor by making this simple sauce yourself.

So will the recipe(s) in this article taste exactly like Huy Fong's sriracha? Well no, but it is pretty darn close and I assure you, you will be pleased with the results. Now there are a lot of sriracha recipes out there on the internet, but the goal of this article is to make a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) or Ketogenic (Keto) version to help you stay keto strong. Let's face it, if you eat a lot of sriracha then making your own sriracha sauce will definitely make a difference in the number of carbohydrates that you consume. This article contains several variations on a theme when it comes to making your own sriracha, but my favorite is the 'original' style. So I encourage you to play around with the various recipes in this article to see which best meet you and your families needs. In addition, I have included a recipe to make your own sriracha mayonnaise if you are so inclined.

Sriracha Original Style Chile Sauce (Yield: 24 tablespoons)

25 – 30 fresh red jalapeño peppers (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
¼ cup of water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 – 3 drops liquid sucralose or 3 tablespoons of zero calorie sweetener

Nutritional Value (28 jalapeños)
Total Recipe – Calories 169, protein 5.11 grams, fat 3.07 grams, carbohydrates 30.3 grams
Per Tablespoon – Calories 7, protein 0.21, far 0.12, carbohydrates 1.2 grams

Huy Fong Original Sriracha Chile Sauce (Yield: 32 tablespoons)
Total Recipe – Calories 480, protein 0 grams , fat 0 grams, carbohydrates 96 grams
Per Tablespoon – Calories 15, protein 0 grams, fat 0 grams, carbohydrates 3 grams

Cut the stem end off of the peppers and roughly chop (if you have sensitive skin you may want to wear gloves). Combine the peppers, garlic, salt and water in your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Then transfer the pepper puree (mash) to a glass container and cover with plastic wrap and place in a dark place and to allow the pulp to ferment for 3 to 5 days. Make sure you remove the plastic and stir the sauce at least once a day while it is fermenting making sure to scrap down the side of the container. You should see small air bubbles in the sauce as the fermentation process gets underway.

Chef's Note: You can omit the fermentation process, and still have a great tasting sauce, but the fermentation process adds an additional depth of flavor that cannot be beat. Make sure you do not add the vinegar until after the sauce has fermented as the acid in the vinegar can prevent fermentation.

Once the sauce has fermented for 3 to 5 days, place it back into your blender and add the vinegar and puree again until smooth. Then place a fine mesh strainer over your sauce pan and strain the pulp through the strainer using a wood or plastic spoon to push as much of the mash (pulp) as possible through the strainer. When done, discard the pulp.

Heat the sauce over medium high heat just until it begins to boil (make sure you have on the vent hood as you are making pepper sauce). Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary adding additional sweetener, or vinegar. Once you have the flavor the way you like it, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool then place into jars or a plastic squeeze bottle. The sauce should slightly thicken as it cools.

Chef's Note: While the original 'Huy Fong' sriracha sauce is smooth, if you like your sauce to have more body, then do not strain it. Unstrained the consistency is more like 'Huy Fong's' chili garlic sauce. Just remember if you do not strain it, it will have more heat from the seeds and you will not be able to place it in a squeeze bottle.

Sriracha Style 'Hot' Chile Sauce

25 fresh red jalapeño peppers (about ¾ pound)
6 red Serrano peppers (about ¼ pound)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
¼ cup of water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 – 3 drops liquid sucralose or 3 tablespoons of zero calorie sweetener

Mature red Serrano peppers are about eight times hotter than red jalapeño peppers, so substituting about ¼ pound of Serrano for the jalapeños makes for a hotter chile sauce. Follow the same directions as if you are making the original recipe.

Nutritional Value
Total Recipe – Calories 157, protein 4.81 grams, fat 2.77 grams, carbohydrates 27.6 grams
Per Tablespoon – Calories 6.54, protein 0.2, far 0.11, carbohydrates 1.15 grams

Sriracha Style 'Mild' Chile Sauce (Yield: 26 Tablespoons)

20 fresh red jalapeño peppers (about ¾ pound)
2 red bell peppers (about ½ pound)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
¼ cup of water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 – 3 drops liquid sucralose or 3 tablespoons of zero calorie sweetener

Substituting red bell peppers for ¼ pound of the jalapeños makes for a milder sauce. Follow the same directions as if you are making the original recipe.

Nutritional Value
Total Recipe – Calories 173, protein 6.25 grams, fat 2.67 grams, carbohydrates 29.9 grams
Per Tablespoon – Calories 6.65, protein 0.24, far 0.10, carbohydrates 1.15 grams

Red Versus Green Jalapeños

So what happens if you can only find green jalapeños in your local supermarket? Can you really make your own 'rooster' sauce with green jalapeños? The simple answer is yes. Green jalapeños tend to have a milder flavor whereas red jalapeños have a slightly sweeter, hotter bite. Although they are the same pepper, red jalapeños are left on the plant longer so that they can mature. This maturing process allows the pepper to develop more capsaicin which makes the pepper hotter. All peppers are rated on the Scoville scale for heat; jalapeños have a Scoville scale rating of 2,500 - 8,000 Scoville heat units. So green jalapeños tend to be lower on the scale somewhere around the 2,500 – 5,000 range, while maturing red jalapeños are closer to the 8,000 Scoville heat range. So while the color of the pepper definitely makes a difference in the heat of the pepper, my experience is that they essentially taste the same.

Because the green jalapeño is the most popular pepper consumed by Americans, and the red jalapeños take longer to ripen, your local supermarket may not stock red jalapeños in their produce section. So can you make sriracha sauce out of green jalapeños? Well yes, there are a number of manufacturers who make green sriracha sauce, however Huy Fong foods does not currently make one. The recipe to make green sriracha sauce is the same, only you use the milder, more popular green jalapeños in place of the red in the original recipe.

Sriracha Green Style Chile Sauce (Yield: 24 tablespoons)

25 – 30 fresh green jalapeño peppers (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
¼ cup of water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 – 3 drops liquid sucralose or 3 tablespoons of zero calorie sweetener

Nutritional Value (28 jalapeños)
Total Recipe – Calories 169, protein 5.11 grams, fat 3.07 grams, carbohydrates 30.3 grams
Per Tablespoon – Calories 7, protein 0.21, far 0.12, carbohydrates 1.2 grams

Chef's Note: For an even milder green sauce, substitute two green bell peppers for eight of the jalapeños.

The Fresno Chile Pepper

Often confused with the red jalapeño, red Fresno peppers are a close cousin to the jalapeño. They have a slightly thinner wall which makes it more conducive to drying. Similar in heat to the jalapeño, it has a Scoville heat rating of 2,500 – 10,000 heat units. When matured, it is said that the Fresno has a slightly smokier, fruiter taste than the jalapeño, but the taste is very similar in my opinion. When I wrote this article, my local Walmart did not have any red jalapeños, however they did have red Fresno peppers.

The problem was that the Fresno peppers were $3.48 per pound, and I was able to get green jalapeños on sale for $0.88 for two pounds using my 'Flipp' app on my smart phone. As they were on sale at one of the Hispanic markets in the Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) area. Having said that, the red Fresno pepper is a good substitution for the red jalapeño when making your own sriracha sauce, it's just kind of pricey.


So why make your own sriracha chile sauce? Well, it's easy to do, and making your own sriracha style chile sauce can reduce the number of carbs of Huy Fong's original sriracha sauce by 58%. This reduction in calories is primary done by using liquid sucralose or another zero calorie sweetener in place of the granulated white sugar used by Huy Fong's original recipe. My version of sriracha used in this article was inspired by a recipe posted by Chef John on (see his original recipe and video by following the link in the references section).

As I have stated many times in my previous articles on making your own condiments, that commercially made condiments and sauces contain a number of hidden carbohydrates that many of us do not think about, and often times forget to count. Failure to count for these hidden carbs can blow you right out of ketosis leaving you wondering what you are doing wrong when you suffer a stall in your weight loss and or fitness goals. In addition, making your own sriracha sauce allows you to control exactly what goes into the sauce so that you know it is safe for you and your family. As always, I hope that you have found this article informative and beneficial for you and your family, if so please take the time to share it with your friends so that they can benefit as well. Don't forget to follow our blog, or check us out on our Facebook page 'CulinaryYouLCHF' or add us to your circle on 'Google+' to continue to receive our latest LCHF and Keto recipes.

Sriracha Mayonnaise (Bonus Recipe)

1 cup LCHF Mayonnaise or Regular Mayonnaise
3 to 4 tablespoons LCHF sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix throughly.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bulletproof (LCHF/Keto) Coffee On A Budget

If you have been looking for a way to get your fat intake up, but have not really been successful, then adding 'Bullet Proof Coffee' (BPC) to your dietary regimen may just be the thing you are looking for. So you may have read about BPC on some of the LCHF and Keto forums and many keto enthusiasts swear by it, but what exactly is BPC. Well technically, 'Bulletproof' (BP) is a company owned and operated by Dave Asprey that sells a brand of purified coconut oil labeled 'Brain Octane Oil'. This liquid is a form of refined coconut oil is said to have 10 times the caprylic acid (C8) per tablespoon (14 grams) than ordinary coconut oil (1.4 grams). This has not been verified by the FDA, but I have no reason to doubt this statement at this time. Having said all of that, the term 'BPC' has come to mean a variety of coffee based drinks that include either or both unsalted butter and coconut oil. The original BPC recipe listed in this article comes form the 'Bulletproof' website.

So what is so special about BPC that has made it the golden child of LCHF and Keto community? First, it is an easy way to get in a large amount of fat in a small amount of liquid (52 grams of fat) if you make it with 2 tablespoons each of butter and coconut oil. Second, many claim that the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in coconut oil help provide mental and physical energy, giving your clarity of thought and supporting cognitive function keeping you full and focused for hours. The fact is, coconut oil is an excellent supply of MCT's, specifically C8, and C10. These MCT's are easily and rapidly broken down and absorbed into ketones providing instant energy for your brain. So obviously a concentrated liquid form of MCT like Brain Octane Oil would be better right? Maybe, maybe not. That is what we will be looking at in this article, and maybe, just maybe, I can convince you that there is a cheaper way to have your bulletproof coffee without breaking the bank.

The Original Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Many people in the keto community use BPC as a liquid meal replacement for their breakfast. The idea is that it is a good source of energy and fat that your body can quickly convert into energy making you feel great, and curbing your morning hunger pangs. So the first recipe in this article is the one directly from the 'Bulletproof' blog.

8 ounces of black coffee (Bulletproof's certified clean Coffee beans)
1 – 2 tablespoons Brain Octane Oil (coconut oil)
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold organic butter

Start by pouring 8 ounces of your favorite coffee into a blender. Then add 1 - 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Process for 20 – 30 seconds until is creamy and frothy.

Bullet Proof Coffee (1 Tbsp each butter and coconut oil)
Calories – 222, protein 0.1 grams. Fat 26 grams, carbohydrates 0 grams

Bullet Proof Coffee (2 Tbsps each butter and coconut oil)
Calories – 444, protein 0.2 grams. Fat 52 grams, carbohydrates 0 grams

The Costs Associated with BPC

First, I'm a coffee guy, and I understand the science behind BPC, but to be honest Brain Octane Oil and Kerrygold butter are just to damn expensive, not to mention their certified clean coffee. A 16 fluid ounce bottle of Brain Octane Oil sells about $24.00 ($1.50 per ounce), and it takes two tablespoons to make 1 ounce, so the cost of Brain Octane Oil is $1.50 per cup of coffee. Then there is the Kerrygold butter which $4.99 for 8 ounces ($0.31 per tablespoon). So far that puts us at $1.81 and we haven't even factored in the coffee that sells for $20.00 far a small 12 ounce bag ($1.66 per ounce) of ground coffee.

Don't get me wrong, if you are one of those people that spends $5.00 or more every morning at Starbucks for your morning cup of coffee, then making your own BPC would definitely be cheaper and faster than running through your local Starbucks drive-through. In addition, if you factor in the cost of the breakfast that you will not eat if you choose to make this your morning boost of fat and energy, then $1.50 is probably a good investment. Having said all of that, we have to go back and look at Mr. Asprey's original statement on his blog. “When I first tried Yak butter tea in Tibet I felt like a million bucks.” So by this statement alone, we know that the local farmers there used only butter in their morning tea, not refined coconut oil. So the question is do you need to purchase Brain Octane Oil to get the same energy boost as Mr. Asprey describes? I will leave that question up to you to answer for yourself, but my suspicion is that if you simply use butter in your coffee like the Tibetan mountain guides, then you will definitely benefit from the natural energy boost without the added cost.

My Morning Keto Coffee

That brings us to my version of BPC. There are two things you need to know about my keto coffee. First, I do not use it as a meal replacement, but as a delivery device for adding fat to my diet. I eat three scrambled eggs with two tablespoons of butter and three pieces of bacon after I get to work (yes, I make several batches the day before my work rotation starts, and heat them in the microwave at work). Second, I have an hour drive to work and I am lazy. What I mean by that is, when I am working I do not have time to pour coconut oil, butter, and coffee in a blender and make a frappé and then clean up the mess. Rather I pop a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth (14 grams of fat) and head to the treadmill to exercise while drinking my first cup of coffee. I grab my second cup for the hour long drive.

8 ounces of black coffee (Folger's, Maxwell House, whatever is on sale)
3 drops liquid sucralose
2 tablespoons home made heavy whipping cream flavored creamer
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Great Value Brand (optional)

Start by pouring 8 ounces of your favorite coffee into a blender. Then add 1 - 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Process for 20 – 30 seconds until is creamy and frothy.

Per Cup (2 Tablespoons Creamer)
Calories – 102, protein 0.62, fat 11 grams, carbohydrates 0.84

Per Cup (2 Tablespoons Creamer, 1 tablespoon butter)
Calories – 204, protein 0.63, fat 33 grams, carbohydrates 0.84

Per Cup (2 Tablespoons Creamer, 2 tablespoons butter)
Calories – 306, protein 0.64, fat 45 grams, carbohydrates 0.84

By the time I get to work, I have had two cups of coffee with just heavy cream (calories 204, protein 1.24 grams, fat 22 grams, carbohydrates 1.68 grams), plus one tablespoon coconut oil (calories – 120, protein 0 grams, fat 14 grams, carbohydrates 0 grams). For a grand total of 324 calories, 1.24 grams of protein, 36 grams of fat, and 1.68 grams of carbohydrates.


First, I am no hater of BPC, however I do not believe that BPC should be used as a meal replacement, rather it should be a dietary enhancement (a way to add fat to your keto meal plan), especially for those days in which you may choose to do intermittent fasting. As a morning meal I have my concerns that it will not meet all of your dietary needs on a daily basis. As for the many claims about mental clarity, I have not experienced that 'morning fog' or sluggishness that Mr. Asprey claims we all have in the morning. I attribute that to my keto diet (the removal of carbage), along with a good exercise and weight lifting program which allows me to get 6 to 8 hours of good restful sleep. All of which I experienced before starting to drink my own version of keto coffee. My point is I believe that many of the claims made by Mr. Asprey attributed to BPC are simply false, or at least exaggerated.

If you have read any of my articles, you know that IMHO, organic free range butter, and certified clean coffee does not help you lose any additional weight as opposed to using Folger's coffee and Great Value unsalted butter. No matter how much you like free range or organic products, there is simply no proof to suggest otherwise. Second, because our primary concern here at CulinaryYouLCHF is to show you how to stay keto strong on a budget, we try and help you to purchase the best possible ingredients at the lowest prices.

If you can afford to purchase the more expensive ingredients and wish to do so because you believe that they are healthier for you then so be it. The point is you do not have to spend a fortune to make your own delicious BPC style coffee. When I work, I cut corners slightly with my BPC as I get extra butter in my morning meal. On my off days, I go full BPC and throw everything in the blender, or get out my trusty old immersion blender and blend away. The best part is I can make own delicious and nutritious version of BPC for less than a quarter of the price of the ingredients that Mr. Asprey sells on his website and or on Amazon, and so can you! As always, I hope that you have found this article informative and beneficial for you and your family, if so please take the time to share it with your friends so that they can benefit as well. Don't forget to follow our blog, or check us out on our Facebook page 'CulinaryYouLCHF' or add us to your circle on 'Google+' to continue to receive our latest LCHF and Keto recipes.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Our LCHF Journey: The First 4 months

On September 13th, two days before my 54th birthday, I came to the realization that I needed to do something about my health and welfare. Diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic back in 2013, I quickly went on the oral diabetic metformin and slowly over time the dosage was increased in an attempt to get my blood sugars and my hemoglobin A1C under control. While I did not engage in any consistent exercise routines, I attempted to follow the recommended diabetic diet as proposed by the American Diabetic Association (ADA). At the time, for a guy my size 5'9” 248 pounds that was an 1800 calorie diet. The ADA interactive 'Create A Plate' tool on their website suggested that I eat a diet that consisted of 25% protein, 25% grains and starchy foods, and 50% non-starchy vegetables, plus a serving of diary and fruit or both as your meal plan allowed.

I attempted to cut almost all sugar intake, we stopped purchasing sodas, and started making all of our tea with Splenda low calorie sweetener, I counted calories to keep my caloric intake below 2000 calories a day, with the occasional cheat day. I will admit, I often strayed because I simply felt hungry all the time, even on 2000 calories a day. As a registered nurse, I have to admit, I trusted all the information that I read from The ADA, after all they are medical professionals right? Surely something must be wrong with me if I cannot seem to make any headway with my blood sugar control and my weight. I kept looking for what I was doing wrong, until I discovered the low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF)lifestyle as proposed by a Swedish physician Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt. In this article I will attempt to explain to you while the dietary guidelines as proposed by the ADA are simply wrong, and why they are simply unhealthy.

Because Results Matter (Our Progress)

Because I want to encourage your to continue to read this article and do your own research, I am going to share with you my results of eating a LCHF or Ketogenic (Keto) eating program up front. I have been following a strict LCHF eating plan (less than 20 carbohydrates per day) for four months, my wife eats about 20 – 30 carbs a day. My wife and I started this new lifestyle as I mentioned previously two days before my 54th birthday on September 13th. As of January 1st, 2017 I have lost 45lbs and my wife 23lbs. Below are our individual results.

My Result's (Diabetic)
Weight: Sept 13th, 2016 (248 lbs), January 1st, 2017 (203lbs).
Waist: Sept 13th, 2016 (46 inches), January 1st, 2017 (38 inches).
Hgb A1C: Sept 13th 2016 (7.3), January 1st, 2017 (5.5)

My Wife's Results (Non-Diabetic)
Weight: Sept 13th, 2016 (197 lbs), January 1st, 2017 (174lbs).
Waist: Sept 13th, Dropped 2 pants sizes.

What is amazing about these results is that while I have lost 48lbs, my wife lost 23lbs without having to do any additional exercise. What I am saying is that she made no other changes to her lifestyle other than choosing to eat LCHF. While I exercise, walk on my treadmill an hour on my off days, and 30 minutes before I go to work, and perform strength training exercises three times a week (lift weights), my wife is unable to do so because of her arthritis. My point is, that eating a LCHF or Keto diet will change your life for the better. If you are a diabetic, it will help you not only improve your Hgb A1C, but help you lose weight, and the best part is you will never be hungry.

Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar

It's funny that the ADA stated in their position statement 'Nutrition, Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes' back in 2008 “The amount of carbohydrate ingested is usually the primary determinant of postprandial response.” In layman's terms eating carbohydrates is the primary factor to increases in your blood sugars, therefore, the more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugars. Yet, they still recommend that a good diabetic meal consist of 25 to 50% carbohydrates (25% grains and starchy foods, 25% non-starchy vegetables and a serving of fruit and or dairy at each meal). I say 50%, because non-starchy vegetables still contain some carbohydrates. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) on their website state: “Experts suggest that carbohydrate intake for most people should be between 45 and 65 percent of total calories”.

In fact, the ADA recommends that a diabetic male should consume somewhere between 45 – 75 carbs per meal, and 15 – 30 carbs per snack each day. For women their recommendation is 30 to 60 grams of carbs with each meal and 15 – 30 carbs with each snack. So even if we use the low end of the spectrum that's 165 carbs per day for a man (45x3 = 135, two snacks per day 15x2 = 30), and 120 carbs per day for a woman (30x3 = 90, two snacks per day 15x2 = 30).

So why are the ADA dietary guideline for consuming these amount of carbohydrates a problem? In order to better understand the problem, we have to look at how carbohydrates increase the insulin response in our bodies. In order to do so we need to examine the following chart that indicates how 1 gram of carbohydrate raises your blood sugar.

Weight In Pounds (Kg)         1 Gram Of Carbohydrate Raises Blood Sugar
< 60 (>28)                                       6-10mg/dL (.33-.55 mmol/L)
60 – 100 (29 - 47)                             5 mg/dL (.28 mmol/L)
101 – 160 (48 – 76)                          4 mg/dL (.22 mmol/L)
161 – 220 (77 – 105)                        3 mg/dL (.17 mmol/L)
> 220 (> 105)                                  1 – 2 (.05 - .11 mmol/L)

A quick examination of this data indicates that 1 gram of carbohydrates increases your post prandal blood sugar anywhere from 1 to 6 points per carbohydrate consumed. The lower your weight, the more of an impact that it has on your blood sugar. For most people who are diabetic and obese (greater than 220lbs) for each carbohydrate you consume your blood sugar increases by 1 to 2 points after a meal. That's 45 to 90 points if you eat the least number of carbohydrates as recommended by the ADA. Unfortunately eating like this will cause you to live a life in which your are dependent on oral diabetic medications and possibly insulin for the rest of your life. So what is the solution? Actually, It's pretty simple. By restricting your carbohydrate intake you can make great strides in controlling not only your diabetes, but your weight as well.

Fueling Your Body (Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins)

The human body is an amazing biological adaptive machine that can run on a variety of fuels. All things being equal, your body will first burn carbohydrates for fuel, when there are not enough carbohydrates available to support your bodies needs, it will adapt or change it's fuel source to burn stored fat, once those fat stores are depleted and there is not enough carbohydrates or fats to support life, then it adapts again to burn protein (muscle mass). Reducing your carbohydrate intake to less than 20 carbohydrates a day, does two things. First, it forces your body to adapt to burn the next widely available energy source which is fat. Second, reducing the number of carbohydrates decreases your overall blood sugar and insulin levels (extremely important for those of us who are diabetic).

Once your body becomes adapted to burning fat, then you will see a significant amount of body fat reduction as well as weight loss. What that means is that if we are not feeding our body carbohydrates for fuel, eventually you will run out of fat stores and your body will begin to burn lean muscle mass, and that is something we want to avoid at all costs. The solution is fueling your body with the necessary fats via a low carbohydrate high fat diet.

Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) Diets

While there are slightly different levels of LCHF diets, when I speak of LCHF I am referring to strict LCHF recommendations of keeping your overall carbohydrate count to less than 20 carbohydrates per day. This restriction in carbohydrates causes your body to eventually change it's fuel source to burn stored fat as opposed to burning carbohydrates. By restricting our carbohydrate intake, we are placing our body in a state of nutritional ketosis, hence the term 'Ketogenic Diet'.

Typically a person on a LCHF or Keto diet regimen should get their calories from the following: 5% from carbohydrates, 25% from proteins, and 70% from fats. Quite a bit different from the ADA recommended guidelines for diabetics. I guarantee you that if you are reading this type of information for the first time you are simply floored by the thought of getting 70% of your carbohydrates from fat. I know I was when I first started looking into the LCHF and Keto lifestyle. After all, both your doctor and the FDA have been telling us for years that fats are bad for you, right?

Some fats are not good for you that is correct, mainly trans-fats. However the fat intake while you are eating a LCHF and Ketogenic diets relies on the healthy saturated and monosaturated fats (for more information on fats see my article 'The Skinny On Fats'). These healthy fats encourage your body to stay in a state of nutritional ketosis which makes your body a fat burning machine which promotes weight loss. In addition to making your body a fat burning machine, LCHF and Keto eating plans will do one thing for you that no other diet can, they will keep you from being hungry, something we will discuss in the next section of this article.

LCHF or Ketogenic Diet
Carbohydrates: 5% (includes non-starchy vegetables)
Protein: 25%
Fats: 70%

ADA Recommend Diet
Carbohydrates: 25%
Protein: 25%
Fats: 0%
Non-Starchy Vegetables: 50%

The Saiety Of Fats

The biggest obstacle that most of us have when we embark on a low fat diet regimen (because your doctor and the FDA says it is the healthiest choice for you) was the constant hunger pangs. It is not that we do not want to eat better or make significant changes to our health, it is simply that a low fat diet leaves you feeling hungry all the time. If you are reading this article, then you know I speak the truth. It is this constant state of hunger that causes many people to give up their health goals to lose weight and better manage their diabetes. So let's look at why a high fat diet works were other's fail.

Despite what many studies have shown in the past, our personal experience as well as many who follow the LCHF or Ketogenic diet have found that a high fat diet helps you to feel more satisfied than a high carbohydrate or high protein diet. Hundreds of thousands of people have changed to a LCHF or Keto lifestyle and the one thing they all mention (us as well) is how they do not feel hungry when eating this way. On the contrary, they all remark about how they always felt hungry when on a low-fat or fat restricted diet.

Here is just one of my personal experiences as an example. Before I started eating a LCHF diet, I would eat a homemade breakfast burrito once I got to work at 0630 in the morning that contained the following: 2 eggs, 1 slice American cheese, 1/8 pound of beef sausage with one tablespoon of green salsa verde (Calories – 471, protein 23.5 grams, fat 21.9 grams, carbs 39 grams). By 0930, I was hungry again, and looking for a snack, which often contained a lot of carbs (cheese crackers or saltines and peanut butter). Now, every morning I eat three scrambled eggs cooked in two tablespoons of butter with one tablespoon of heavy cream, and three pieces of bacon (Calories – 655, protein 31 grams, fat 57 grams, carbohydrates 1 gram). So now I am eating almost three times the fat, as before, and I am never hungry, even 6 hours later. And BTW, that is after walking on the treadmill for 35 minutes before I go to work.

My point is that I am eating three times the fat than I was before, and I am not hungry. Why? Despite what many studies say, good, healthy fats help to satiate you making you feel full, thereby curbing your hunger pangs. Simply put, we have never been hungry eating LCHF foods like we were on previous diets. The great thing is that our results are typical and experienced by almost everyone who engages in a LCHF or Keto lifestyle. The Bottom line, a high fat diet helps to keep you from feeling hungry.

Glucose Control

While weight loss is an added benefit, the primary reason we embarked on a LCHF eating regimen was to help control my blood glucose levels. I am a diabetic, and diabetes runs in my family, my grandmother was a type 1 diabetic (insulin dependent), like many Americans, I am a type 2 diabetic (insulin resistant). When I followed the ADA dietary recommendations for diabetics, I could never get my blood sugars under control. In fact, before I began this LCHF journey my last Hgb A1c was 7.3. The last straw for me was my my endocrinologist put me on 20 unit of lantus insulin. I had tried to avoid this for as long as possible, but two weeks into taking insulin shots, I knew there had to be a better way to control my blood sugars.

That's when I began to research the LCHF as proposed by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt after watching a video on YouTube on low carb fat lifestyles. From there I have researched many different ketogenic and paleo eating plans. Two weeks after embarking on a LCHF eating plan, my fasting blood sugars had decreased by 30 points, and my blood sugar was less than 100 before I went to bed. I was able to stop taking my lantus insulin at this time, although I am still on oral diabetic medication (metformin 1000mg twice a day). My fasting blood sugar this morning was 92, my Hgb A1c was 5.5 only four months after being on a LCHF eating program. According to the ADA, a normal non-diabetic person has a Hgb A1c of around 5. So I am close to normal, but still taking oral medications. I am hoping that within the next 5 months when I go back to see my endocrinologist that I may begin to taper my oral medications.

Better Blood Pressure Control (Reducing Anti-hypertensives)

Since starting on the LCHF lifestyle I have been able to decrease my blood pressure medication to half of the original prescribed amount. I was previously on a dose of lisinopril 40mg once a day, and am currently taking 20mg once a day. This morning my blood pressure was 107/72, with a heart rate of 72. When I started eating LCHF my blood pressure was 126/84, with a heart rate of 84, taking 40mg of lisinopril once a day. All I can say is that eating a LCHF lifestyle works.


So what does this all mean? If you are a diabetic and or are morbidly obese, then you need to seriously look at the LCHF and or Ketogenic lifestyle. I am not going to lie to you, it does take some mental discipline to change your entire way of eating an thinking about nutrition. There will be many people who will want to discourage your from meeting your goals and possibly chastise you for making these changes to your lifestyle, but you have to take control of both your diabetes and your weight before you suffer severe medical complications that you cannot recover from. Uncontrolled blood sugars in diabetic patients increase their likelihood of having a stroke by 2 – 4 times according the the National Stroke Association (NSA). While I can find no specific numbers, all of the medical journals indicate that diabetics are at a greater risk for myocardial infarction (heart attack) and complications after a myocardial infarction than non-diabetic patients.

I am not a doctor, and this article should not be misconstrued as medical advice. I am simply sharing with you the changes that both myself and my wife have made to make us not only healthier, but happier. It should be noted that before you embark on any change in dietary habits you should consult with your physician regarding your current state of health and any medications that you are currently taking. He or she may want to discourage your from this lifestyle, but ultimately you have to decide what is best for you and your body.As always, I hope that you have found this article informative and beneficial for you and your family, if so please take the time to share it with your friends so that they can benefit as well. Don't forget to follow our blog, or check us out on our Facebook page 'CulinaryYouLCHF' or add us to your circle on 'Google+' to continue to receive our latest LCHF and Keto recipes.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Eating LCHF: Dairy And Seafood On A Budget

If you are new to the low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) or Ketogenic (Keto) lifestyle, I am going to encourage you to do one thing for the first three or four months until you have developed good eating habits, and that's follow the 'KISS' principle. Of course 'KISS' is normally an acronym for 'keep it simple stupid', but I also like to think of it as meaning 'keto is simple stupid'. Now, before anyone gets riled up, the point is that following a keto eating program is really easy if you purchase the correct foods and prepare them properly. My advice is that if you are just starting out eating LCHF or Keto, then stay away from the LCHF and Keto dessert recipes as much as possible as overeating of these so called “fat bombs” and other low carb treats can blow you right out of ketosis if you have poor impulse control. Once you have the basics of the Keto lifestyle down and have been doing it for several months, then slowly start adding some “treats” to your eating plan.

In my previous article, 'Eating LCHF and Keto On A Budget: Red Meat, Pork and Poultry' I talked about the best ways to buy meats and poultry on a budget. In this article we are going to be examining what to buy, and why in order to keep you from blowing your LCHF food budget and help you to stay “keto strong”.


When it comes to LCHF and Keto, all milk is a “no go”. Milk simply has too many milk sugars (lactose) which will blow you out of ketosis big time. So what's a guy or gal gonna put in their coffee? Well heavy whipping cream of course, full of fat and with few carbs it is a workhorse of the LCHF and Keto diet. Eggs, butter and cheese (almost all types) are also an important part of your LCHF and Keto eating regimen. So remember, when it comes to dairy, make sure you purchase the full fat varieties of butter, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese, Greek yogurt and hard or soft cheeses. So let's a quick look at some of the best choices you can make to keep your food budget intact.

Butter – You will go through large quantities of butter when you start on your LCHF or Keto journey. While organic butters made from grass fed cows are quaint, do your wallet a favor and buy plan old unsalted butter. Grass fed organic butters do not help you lose weight any faster, however they do make your wallet a little lighter. You can go hormone free, grass fed later, but when you are on a budget, buy the store brand. Personally, we buy Great Value unsalted butter, it tastes great and is easy on the budget.

Chef's Note: If you visit any of the Keto blogs you will have heard about Kerrygold butter. Kerrygold seems to be the golden child when it comes to butter in the LCHF and Keto community. Just in case you do not know what Kerrygold butter is, it is an Irish butter that is made from grass fed hormone free cows. Imported from Ireland, it is simply to expensive (about $16.00 for 8 ounces). While craft butters like Kerrygold taste great, they are a not for anyone on a budget.

Cheese – Not all cheeses are created equal. While most types of cheese have few carbs, some have more than others. When it comes to hard cheeses, per 1 ounce (about 1 slice), Monterey Jack has the least carbs 0.2, cheddar (sharp or mild), 0.4 grams, Gouda, mozzarella and provolone 0.6 grams, Colby and blue cheese 0.7 grams, Parmesan and asiago 0.9 grams, feta 1.2 grams, and swiss 1.5 grams. So while adding cheese to your LCHF and Keto eating program can be acceptable, you need to take care or you can consume too many carbs eating cheese.

When dealing with shredded cheeses, volume measurements are not equal to weight measurements. For example, while a ¼ cup is 2 ounces of volume, a ¼ cup of shredded cheese is approximately only 0.9 ounces in weight. The size of the grated cheese may make some difference, but in general the following measurements will help you to determine the approximate weight when using shredded cheese.
  • ¼ cup is 25 grams, or 0.9 ounces.
  • ½ cup is 50 grams, or 1.8 ounces.
  • ¾ cup is 75 grams, or 2.6 ounces
  • 1 cup is 100 grams or 3.5 ounces

When buying cheese, you generally get the best deals when you buy whole blocks and either slice, grate or cube it yourself to add to your meals. If you buy pre-shredded in bulk (2 to 3lbs) you may be able to get it at about the same price as block cheese if you buy the store brands, but overall it is still more expensive. Because we use such a large amount of cheese in our meal planning, we buy the pre-shredded 2lb bags of mozzarella, cheddar, and cheddar jack cheese at Walmart and try to save elsewhere on our budget. Both the Great Value or American Heritage brands of shredded cheese tend to be pretty good values.

Chef's Note: The so called “American Cheese” in sliced form is really a cheese product and not an actual aged cheese like the other's mentioned in this article. Because it is generally made with whole milk it contains 2 carbohydrates per slice. So do you and your family a favor and choose another real cheese for your LCHF eating program. BTW, Velveeta is not a cheese either, stay away from it.

Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese which is a staple for many people on a low fat diet, really has too many carbohydrates (1.25 carbs per ounce), to be used as a staple for strict LCHF or Keto eaters. It may be used in combination with other ingredients to lower the overall carbohydrate count, but it should be eaten sparingly, if at all. If you have to have cottage cheese, then buy they store brand, my personal recommendation is to use it sparingly if at all in your ketogenic diet.

Cream Cheese (Plain) – Cream cheese is another great fat that is used quite a bit in LCHF and Keto recipes. And while it is our recommendation to purchase the least expensive cream cheese that you can, you need to be sure to check the label as some cream cheeses contain more carbohydrates than others. So try and purchase the least expensive cream cheese with the least amount of carbs. Philadelphia, Challenge and Great Value's plain cream cheese each contain 2 grams of carbs per ounce (16 grams in a 8 ounce block), whereas Hahn's plain cream cheese contains 3 grams of carbs per ounce (24 grams in a 8 ounce block). That's 33% more carbohydrate's in Hahn's, so while Hahn's is cheapest option, it is not necessarily the best buy.

Cream Cheese (Neufchatel) – In order for it to be labeled cream cheese, the USDA regulations state that the product has to contain 33% milk fat. Neufchatel actually has less milk fat, somewhere around 23%. Therefore it is technically not a cream cheese. Having said that, you can use Neufchatel in place of plain cream cheese or in combination with cream cheese. Just make sure you check the label for carbohydrate content. The nutritional label on Kraft Philadelphia brand indicates it is < 1 carb per ounce, the Great Value brand still has 2 carbs the same as their plain cream cheese. Both of these brands contain 6 grams of fat per ounce, while their cream cheese counterparts contain 9 grams each.

Eggs – As with everything, organic free range eggs cost more, they do however taste better. We are lucky we raise chickens and have fresh eggs on our small homestead. There are times however when we have to purchase eggs as we go through about 3 dozen a week. When we have to buy eggs, we only buy what is on sale, and no we do not buy organic or free range, at $3 - $4.00 a dozen, they are simply to expensive. If you are on a budget like we are then the smartest choice is to buy plain old large eggs, preferably on sale. Using the 'Flipp' app on our smart phones, we have never paid more than $0.99 for a dozen of large eggs over the last four months. If we can do it so can you!

Greek Yogurt – A lot of people love flavored Greek yogurt, the problem is they are loaded with sugar making them a high carb food (3.62 grams per ounce for vanilla with no fruit, or 18.1 grams per 5 ounces). However, plain Greek yogurt has only 1.12 carbs per ounce or 5.6 carbs per 5 ounces. So if you like Greek yogurt, purchasing the plain variety and adding your own zero calorie sweetener and flavoring extracts can reduce the total carbohydrate count by 70%. So skip all of the fancy brands and buy the store brand, the Great Value brand of plain yogurt ($3.78 for 32 ounces) tastes the same as Oikos ($4.94 for 32 ounces), or Fage ($5.98 for 35.3 ounces) and is 24 – 37% cheaper. Yogurt should be eaten sparingly when on a LCHF or Keto diet, but if you have to have it, then you need to make your own in order to get the best benefits. You can find out how to make your own flavored Greek yogurt's in our article 'Mixing Your Own Greek Yogurt'.

Heavy Whipping Cream – Another essential fat source for those of us on the LCHF and Keto diets. It lacks the milk sugar (lactose) that all milks have making it great for your morning coffee, no churn ice cream, making your own flavored coffee creamers, and high fat cream sauces, as well as helping your scrambled eggs stay nice and fluffy. As with most of our purchases, you guessed it, we buy the least expensive store brand. Still, heavy whipping cream is not cheap at $4.14 for a quart at our local Walmart. While it is expensive, it is one of those items that you cannot really do without when you are eating LCHF or Keto. Save some money on other items, but do not skip on purchasing heavy cream even when you are one a budget. See how to make your own LCHF flavored coffee creamers in my article 'Make Your Own LCHF Flavored Coffee Creamers' on our blog.

Chef's Note: Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are very similar, but not the same. The carbohydrate count for both products is the same, the only difference between the two is the percentage of fat that each product contains. Heavy cream contains 36 – 39% fat, whereas heavy whipping cream contains 30 – 36% fat. Our local supermarkets only carry heavy whipping cream, so buying heavy cream is not an option for us. If you have the option, most Keto books and advocates recommend that you buy the heavy cream.

Sour Cream – Like many diary products, it contains milk and milk sugar which makes it about 1 - 2 carbohydrates per ounce depending on the brand. Use sparingly in sauces and in combination with other ingredients to lower it's overall carbohydrate count, but it should be eaten sparingly. Like cottage cheese, if you have to have use it, then buy they store brand.

Ricotta Cheese – If you are going to make LCHF or Keto zucchini lasagna you will need ricotta or cottage cheese. Of the two ricotta is a better choice as it only has 2 grams of carbohydrates per ½ cup (4 ounces) or 16 grams per 32 ounce container. Whereas cottage cheese has 5 grams of carbohydrates per ½ cup. Again it is one of those dairy products you need to eat in moderation.

These are your basic recommended dairy products available to you when you start on your LCHF or Keto journey. They will compromise about 95% of the dairy that you will consume. While some should be eaten more sparingly than others, when used in small amounts as part of recipe they are perfectly acceptable. I am sure I may have overlooked a few things, but for the most part this is a good place to start. As always do your research and check the nutritional labels of all the products your purchase.

Fish and Seafood

When it comes to seafood, all fish and shellfish are acceptable, but not optimum options when eating LCHF and Keto. As with diary products, the higher fat options are general better choices. You obviously need to stay away from pre-breaded products as they are high in carbs, so “no” you cannot eat Gorton's battered fish fillets, sorry. While I enjoy fish, my wife does not particularly care for it, and seafood is probably the most expensive type of food on the LCHF and Keto diets, especially if you do not live in a coastal city. If you shop at one of the big box supermarkets (Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc…) you will most likely have have limited fresh seafood choices. The other issue with eating seafood on a budget is that dollar for dollar it costs more to purchase quality seafood than it does beef, pork, or chicken.

Canned Tuna – I debated whether or not to include canned tuna in this article, but because it is budget friendly I decided to do so. If you are going to buy canned tuna while eating LCHF or Keto, my recommendations is to buy albacore tuna packed in oil (twice the fat content). Like most seafood options, it is a low fat food (5 grams per 142 grams or 5 ounces of weight) with a decent amount of protein (24 grams per 5 ounce can). It is cheap ($1.00 per 5oz can at Dollar Tree), portable, and shelf stable. However, it needs to made into a good tuna salad with mayonnaise, or added to a cream sauce to make it a good LCHF or Keto meal. Just in case you were wondering, $1.00 for 5 ounces makes canned albacore tuna $3.20 per lb. But because of it's portability and long shelf life, everyone on a LCHF or Keto eating plan should have some in their pantry.

Catfish – If you live in the south, then you know that catfish has been a staple in southern cuisine ever since people settled in the southern part of the United States. Sustainably farm raised catfish can be found in almost every supermarket in my local area and in most major supermarket chains across America. It has a moderate fat content (4.5 grams per 159 grams of weight) and is a good source of protein (26 grams per 159 grams of weight). Sam's sells U.S. farm raised catfish fillets in 3lb bags for $17.63 ($5.87 per lb). You can buy the same 3lb bags of Catfish 'nuggets' for $8.97 ($2.99 per lb) which saves your 50%. The nuggets are smaller pieces or fillets of catfish. No matter which your purchase, just remember, no battering or deep frying as it adds way to may carbohydrates. My favorite way to cook it is seasoned with blackened spice and served with a high fat 'Yvette' cream sauce with spinach.

Cod – Atlantic cod is one of the mildest tasting species of white fish. Like tilapia, it is a low fat variety (1.5 grams per 231 grams of weight). The only place I can find cod locally is in the frozen section of my local Walmart or Sam's where a 2.5lb bag sells for $13.98 ($5.59 per lb). I personally like cod a lot even though it is a low fat food source. However, tilapia is less expensive and it is higher in protein gram per gram of weight than cod. Cod needs to be sautéed in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter to increase the fat if you are not serving it with a high fat cream sauce.

Salmon – When it comes to high fat nutritious seafood, salmon is probably on the top of the list (27 grams of fat per fillet that weighs 198 grams). The problem is that it is expensive and not very budget friendly. Packaged in a variety of different sizes and types. When I purchase salmon I have found that for my personal tastes the wild caught Atlantic salmon is best. High in omega-3 fatty acids, if you can afford it salmon is a great fish to add to your LCHF and Keto eating program. You will find your best value purchasing the individual cryo-sealed portions in your freezer section. Having said that, even when purchased at Sam's 3lb's of Atlantic salmon is $23.98 ($7.99 per lb) making it one of the most expensive seafood options you could purchase.

Shrimp – High in protein (24 grams per 100 grams of weight) like most seafood, it is a low fat food with only 0.3 grams of fat per 100 grams of weight. It is best sautéed in butter or served with a butter or high fat cream sauce to increase the fat content when eating LCHF and Keto. I love shrimp, the problem with shrimp is that it is expensive. Even at Sam's a 2lb bag of jumbo frozen shrimp is $13.98 ($6.99 per lb). For $6.99 a lb, you can buy a whole lot of beef or pork, heck, even New York strip steak is only $4.99 a lb at my local Kroger. My recommendation, spend your money on another source of protein, shrimp is simply to expensive if you are eating LCHF or Keto on a budget.

Tilapia – Is a fresh water fish, and is farmed many places throughout the world. Usually found in the frozen section of your supermarket in 2 to 3 pound bags. It is a low fat fish (about 2.3 grams per fillet that weighs 87 grams), so it is not generally considered a high fat food option. Having said that, I sauté tilapia in butter to increase the fat intake simply because I like it. If you want seafood on a budget, it is not a bad option, as a 3lb bag of frozen fillets is $10.98 ($3.66 per lb) at Sam's. Tilapia is a sustainable fish as it is farm raised, although some people have expressed concerns about the conditions in which they are raised as most tilapia is imported from countries such as Vietnam. If you have concerns look for U.S. farm raised tilapia, just keep in mind that it may cost a little more.

There are a lot of other seafood options that I have not discussed in this section of the article. Mostly because they are not available to most people, and or they simply cost to much if you are eating LCHF or Keto on a budget. The majority of fish that we buy is frozen. When purchasing frozen fish, look for those that are individually cryo-sealed packages as they will stay fresh for a long in your freezer and are not susceptible to freezer burn. While I enjoy fish and seafood, it is not something we eat on a regular basis simply because you can purchase red meat, pork or chicken that has a higher fat and protein content for a whole lot cheaper.


I am sure you have noticed a re-occurring theme in this article and that is we recommend that you buy the store brands when you are on a budget as they can save you a significant amount of money. Of course, if you can find the name brands on sale for the same price, then purchase which ever you like best. When it comes to dairy, there tends to be very little difference it taste and quality if any at all, as most dairy products are strictly regulated by the USDA for fat, water and or salt content.

The regulation of seafood is somewhat different. Many farmed types of fish are imported from countries from in southeastern Asia like Vietnam, Thailand, or China as it is quite a bit cheaper. While many have expressed concerns regarding eating seafood imported from these countries, you will have to do your due diligence and decide for yourself. Remeber, we are advocating that you and your family eat frugally, not recklessly. As always, I hope that you have found this article informative and beneficial for you and your family, if so please take the time to share it with your friends so that they can benefit as well. Don't forget to follow our blog, or check us out on our Facebook page 'CulinaryYouLCHF' or add us to your circle on 'Google+' to continue to receive our latest LCHF and Keto recipes.

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