Saturday, January 5, 2008

Product review: Sweetzfree

According to its website: "Sweetzfree is a clear liquid syrup base, highly concentrated, and made solely from 100% pure sucralose in a purified water concentrate. It dissolves fully and instantly in any food or beverage. It is so highly concentrated that you use very little. Sweetzfree can be used in cooking, baking, desserts, beverages, or anywhere else you use sugar or other sweet flavouring substances. Sweetzfree, no matter how much you use, or how sweet you make things, adds absolutely NO calories, NO carbs, and NO Maltodextrin fillers, or anything else to your sweet creations other than a totally naturally sweet taste!" (Spelling errors corrected by me.)

I bought myself a 4-oz bottle of Sweetzfree and absolutely love it! With zero carbs and super concentrated, it goes a long way in making your favourite low-carb goodies.

Despite the atrocious (!!) spelling on the website, this really is a good product and I will continue to order it. One of its downsides was that it was only available at certain times because of a shortage of sucralose, but that apparently has been corrected because it's now available 24/7 via online as of December 31, 2007.

One 4-oz bottle is equal to 96 cups of sugar and costs $64 US, while a 2-oz bottle costs $34 US and a 1-oz bottle is $18 US. Click on the photo for a larger version.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Recipe: Brandi's low-carb breading mix


This is a recipe courtesy of Big Daddy D, a fellow low-carb blogger.

Deep-fried foods are allowed on a low-carb lifestyle. I tend to eat deep-fried stuff once per week - usually fried chicken from a local take-out. This Christmas, though, Santa brought me a really nice deep fryer so that I could do up my own fried chicken without having to get that dreaded flour as part of the breading. (The take-out I was getting it from was really light on the breading.... just a dusting, really... but still...)

So I went in search of a good breading that was low-carb, would fry well and would be nice and crispy. I bought myself some chicken wings, got the deep fryer out of the box, cleaned up and assembled and was ready to cook!

It didn't take me long to find my favourite. In fact, I hit the jackpot on the first try, thanks to Big Daddy D. Using this recipe, the chicken wings turned out absolutely beautiful! They were crispy and delicious. You'd never guess they were low-carb!! I'm not even going to bother experimenting with others... this breading was THAT good! A++ from me!

- 1/4 cup almond meal ("ground almonds" - same thing)
- 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese (powdered variety, not grated)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg

Mix dry ingredients. In a shallow dish, beat egg. Dip meat in eggs then in dry ingredients. (Do this with tongs. I didn't and it was very messy.) Fry in oil.

And voilĂ ! These are nice and crispy. Just perfect. Enjoy!

And oh yeah... no excuses!

(Photo credit: Big Daddy D. Mine looked too delicious and I scarfed them down before I could take a photo of my own!)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb On YouTube (Episode 20)

Today's episode by low-carb guru Jimmy Moore and his lovely wife Christine is all about water. Water consumption is essential when losing weight! I know from personal experience that cutting back on water intake usually negatively impacts my weight loss during any given week.

So drink your water every day. All of it!



For more information on Jimmy's low-carb journey, visit his excellent low-carb blog: Livin' La Vida Low-Carb.

No excuses!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Recipe: Low-carb coconut oil fudge


This is a very nice fudge treat made using coconut oil, which you find in health-food stores or in the organic section of most supermarkets. Get the extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil. It's more expensive, but it's also healthier. Coconut oil is a very healthy fat.

Here's the recipe for basic coconut oil vanilla fudge:

- 4 tbsp melted coconut oil (I melt it in a large glass bowl for one minute in the microwave and then use the bowl to make the rest of the recipe)
- 3 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 2 tbsp of shredded unsweetened coconut (heaping)
- 1 scoop of protein powder (low-carb vanilla is nice, although unflavoured is OK, too)
- 1 tsp vanilla (this can easily be doubled for more flavour)
- 2 packets Splenda
- 1 tbsp sugar-free vanilla syrup
- handful chopped walnuts

Pour into an 8" X 8" pan lined with foil (for easier clean-up). Put it in the refrigerator to set for about an hour.

There are many variations to this recipe. It's very flexible. I've used chocolate extract, vanilla protein powder, different flavours of sugar-free syrup, etc. In my next batch, I'm using orange extract. Yum! Can't wait to try that one!

The quantity you get is quite small. I only fill up about a third of the pan. Otherwise, it would be paper-thin.

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WELCOME TO 2008!

Happy New Year to each and every one of you! Make this year your best ever.

Here's one of my favourite songs. Its energy and message perfectly encapsulate my plans for 2008. I'm going to have an amazing year! And you can, too!

Great lyrics!

"And when you feel the heat. The world is at your feet!
No one can hold you down. If you really want it!
Just steal your destiny. Right from the hands of fate.
Reach for the cup of life. 'Cause your name is on it!"


The Cup of Life - Ricky Martin



NO EXCUSES!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Recipe: Low-carb coleslaw


Low-carbers know that commercial and restaurant coleslaw is full of sugar. I guess that's why so many people like it!

This particular coleslaw recipe is so close to restaurant-style that you won't be able to tell the difference.

To make things more convenient, I use a commercially prepared coleslaw salad mix (shredded cabbage, few carrots for colour). 1.5 lb of mix works well for this recipe. I use three 8-oz bags of Belleisle brand, personally. You can also simply shred some cabbage on your own, but I find that this makes the coleslaw really soupy unless you're diligent at draining it really well. It's much easier to buy it already shredded in a bag.

(By the way, if you use a mix with red cabbage in it, your coleslaw will turn pink. Tastes good, but the colour is strange.)

For a finer consistency, I run the cabbage mix through the food processor for five seconds. (One 8-oz bag at a time.) This takes less than a minute to do and the consistency is much closer to restaurant-style coleslaw when you do this. Depending on your preference, you can leave it as is, of course.

So now that you have your cabbage prepared, here's the recipe for the dressing:

- 1/3 cup Splenda (or equivalent low-carb sweetener)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix it all together with a whisk.

Throw in the coleslaw. Mix it all together and let sit for two hours before serving for the best flavour. This is one of my favourite recipes and I have it often.

Click on the photo for a larger version. (This is the batch I made this evening.)

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Week #28: Gained 0.5 lb over Christmas for a grand total of -81.5 lb to finish off 2007

I certainly didn't "cheat" over Christmas, but I definitely over-ate. With food constantly in front of you, it's difficult not to! But I ate completely low-carb and am happy about that - I just ate too much. My mother even made a traditional Christmas meat pie for me using Carbquik - a low-carb baking mix (similar to the high-carb Bisquik). Very close to the original, so I was happy about that, too! Was that the culprit? Perhaps... but it was worth it! Ha!

In the grand scheme of things, gaining 0.5 lb is a victory for a diet over the holidays, and I certainly consider this a "victory." Of course, I would have loved to have stayed the same - and that was my ultimate realistic goal - but 0.5 lb is nothing, really. I will certainly lose again next week as the routine (and regular water consumption!) gets back into gear. And if you consider the entire month of December as the "holidays" - as many do, I did lose 9 lb during December weigh-ins (even counting today's slight gain). So it's all good!

It's funny... I knew I gained this week. I could just tell... I even told some people that. Even 0.5 lb shows up when you're really paying attention.

One thing I overindulged in - even if they're low-carb - was nuts! They're packed with nutrients and good fats, but they're also very high in calories - so you have to watch yourself. I don't count calories at all, but you still have to use some common sense. My strategy was to eat nuts out of the shell, which required me to crack them open. Slows down the consumption, for sure! I wish they were available year-round. I think my nut consumption (as a snack) needs to be curtailed a bit for a few weeks so as to kickstart the losses again. (By nuts, I mean nuts from a tree... not peanuts or cashews, which are legumes.)

Many people have asked me what my weightloss goal is. By the end of 2008, I want to lose another 125 lb. and hit at least the
-210 lb mark a year from now. By June 17, 2009, I want to hit my goal of losing 240 lb. And if I hit my goal way before then... that's great. But the main thing is: I will (!!!!!) hit my goal. Period.

Am I disappointed at this week's gain? My answer: I lost 81.5 lb in 6.5 months and I'm thrilled about that. "But, you didn't answer the question," you say. Yes, I did.

Concentrate on the positive. What you think will become reality. I am already at my goal weight. My body just hasn't caught up yet. :)

No excuses.