Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salsa

Fresh Salsa Ingredients: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Peppers
Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salsa Ingredients

It's been really hot here in Utah for the past few days, over 100-degrees, so I've been experimenting with recipes that don't require a lot of cooking. On the days when hubby has to work out in the heat, I've also been serving food that can be eaten at room temperature.

When you're on a low-carb diet, summer meals can be quite a challenge. Not only does meat speed up your metabolism, making you uncomfortable in the summer heat, but typical low-carb stir fries, roasted vegetables, soups, and stews will also heat up the kitchen.

To solve the problem, you might want to try perking up the flavor of your crockpot chicken, lettuce wraps, and taco salads with a nice batch of fresh homemade salsa. Fresh salsas are made with assorted vegetables, using tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers as the base, but ingredients can vary widely depending on what you already have on hand and what rung of the carbohydrate ladder you're on.

That's how this Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salsa was born.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Atkins 40: the New Flexible Atkins Diet Plan

Bowl of Sausage and Cabbage Stew with Carrots
Atkins 40 Friendly: Sausage and Cabbage Stew with Carrots

Atkins Nutritionals has come up with a brand new Atkins Diet. Unlike the traditional program, this new flexible low-carb diet plan allows you to pick and choose from all food groups. Breads and starchy carbohydrates are no longer off limits.

The idea behind Atkins 40 is to curtail cravings and kick your feelings of deprivation to the curb while still keeping your daily carbohydrate level low enough to shed those unwanted pounds. That means that along with your typical protein sources, vegetables, essential fatty acids, and sugar-free condiments, you can also enjoy bread, pasta, tortillas, and even potatoes during the weight-loss phase.

You no longer have to wait until pre-maintenance to begin enjoying the carbohydrate foods you're missing when you use the new Atkins Diet.

That change in concept has a lot of low-carb dieters worried. However, Atkins 40 isn't a free-for-all. It's not a well-balanced low-fat diet. It's still Atkins. But Atkins Nutritionals has now decided to . . .

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Atkins 20: Understanding the New Atkins Diet Phase 1

Salad with Bacon Rolls Stuffed with Cream Cheese
Confused About Atkins 20?
This Guide Clears Up the Misunderstandings!

I was over at Low Carb Friends yesterday afternoon, and one of the members was seriously upset. She had just learned that Atkins Nutritionals has come out with a brand new set of Atkins diets.

They now have two different low-carb diet plans you can choose from, each with various phases. They have dropped the New Atkins for a New You and, instead, they are offering two different versions of the Atkins diet plan:
  1. Atkins 20, which includes a modified Atkins Diet Phase 1
  2. Atkins 40, which is a more flexible, low-glycemic diet

Atkins 20 is what they are calling the original Atkins diet.

In reality, it is a slight adaption to what most of us in the low-carb community know as Atkins 2002 or DANDR, but there are a lot of people over at Low Carb Friends who are very confused by the way this new diet is being presented on the Atkins Nutritionals website. Because of that, this post is going to clear up any misunderstanding you might have . . .

Monday, May 18, 2015

Best Grain-Free Sources of Vitamin B for a Low-Carb Diet

A Low-Carb Diet is Rich in Vitamin B Grain-Free Sources
A Low-Carb Diet is Rich in Vitamin B Complex Sources

Vitamin B is actually a group of different water-soluble vitamins that must be eaten daily since the body cannot store them. These vitamins are necessary to turn food into energy, create red blood cells, keep the nervous system and brain functioning normally, and even regulate appetite. Processing foods that contain natural B vitamins will destroy some of those nutrients, so grains and cereals are often enriched in order to replace the nutrients lost during processing.

When nutritionists claim that we should eat plenty of grains to be healthy, it is this artificial form of vitamins and minerals that manufacturers add to their stripped bread and over cooked products that they are suggesting we eat. In order to verify or destroy that claim, I recently did a little research on grains and grain-free sources of Vitamin B. Here is what I found out . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Cinco de Mayo: 12 Super-Tasty Cal-Mex Dishes

Fresh Salsa: tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic
Cal-Mex Cuisine Uses Lots of Fresh Vegetables, Herbs, and Whole Foods
(Photo Credit: Armando Maynez, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0)

Mexican food is very popular in the southwestern portion of the United States as well as other areas that have a large Mexican population. For us, Cinco de Mayo was a big deal. Mexican restaurants existed in every major city in Southern California, and they offered a large variety of Cal-Mex and Tex-Mex cuisine. Mexican traditions like flavorful tacos, spicy enchiladas, and wet burritos were found on the menu of even budget-minded folks like us every single week.

It's culture there. It's how I grew up.

In fact, when I was still married to my ex and funds were short, we simply got through the rough spots by eating tacos or enchiladas every single night. Mexican food was cheap, filling, and tasty. It worked much better when raising my sons than Kraft mac-and-cheese or Top Ramen soup. Although, we did eat those things too.

Even when the current hubby and I first moved to Utah and we were struggling to survive financially, that's how we ate. Enchiladas, Spanish rice, and refried beans were a staple. Tacos with various fillings showed up on the plate twice a week. It was a given.

But what do you do when you're on a low-carb diet?

What do you do when traditional forms of tacos, burritos and enchiladas no longer work? How do you satisfy that craving for Mexican cuisine or enjoy a nice Cinco de Mayo celebration once restricting carbohydrates has become a lifestyle?

The answer to that depends on what you want to accomplish, but we can also take a few pointers from what's called Cal-Mex instead of Tex-Mex cuisine.

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