In general, men lose weight quicker and more easily than women. This doesn’t mean women aren’t trying as hard as men. In fact, the opposite is often true. Women work out regularly, diligently count calories and restrict carbs, yet their weight loss can be a frustratingly slow process. Men, on the other hand, seemingly just cut down on the beer or get back into the gym and the fat melts off them. Why this injustice? It has much to do with the differences in hormones, size and body composition, food preferences and the relationship each of the sexes has with food. But ladies, don’t give up hope just yet. There are dietary and exercise tips and tricks to help close the gap a little.
The humble egg, vilified for far too long, is in fact an incredible super food. Contrary to the previously held belief that eggs raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, eggs are actually heart protective. They raise your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and change ‘bad’ LDL particles to the large fluffy kind, which are completely benign. Eggs are packed with so much goodness that it’s a crying shame so many people have lost out for so long. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient the body needs for good health. Read more
Are low carb diets good or bad for your thyroid? It’s certainly a controversial issue with many well respected practitioners and nutritionists not always agreeing. Some claim that low carb is the holy graille of weight loss and the path to optimal health, while others condemn the diet for wrecking their thyroid and causing hormonal chaos. Who is right? The issue is a nuanced one with a few factors at play.
What does the scientific data tell us?
Very low carb diets like the ketogenic diet (usually under 50 grams of carbs per day), has been shown to slow thyroid function in both children and adults. The findings indicated that the lower the diet was in carbs, the more T3 hormone levels were lowered. T3 is the active thyroid hormone that the body can use. When levels are too low (as in the case of classic hypothyroidism or “sluggish thyroid”) one can feel tired, depressed, cold and more easily gain weight.
All carbohydrates, from bread, pasta and chocolate to the more healthy ones like fruit and butternut, convert to glucose in the bloodstream. Since the body doesn’t like having too much glucose floating around, the pancreas releases a surge of insulin to deal with it. The more carbs one eats, the more insulin that is released. The downside of too much insulin is fat storage. So, if you want to lose weight, the key is to keep the amount of insulin in your body as low as possible. The only way to do this is to be careful with carbs. But, what does “be careful” with carbs really mean?
Baked Chocolate Custard
This is a creamy, smooth and decadent dessert similar to a chocolate crème brulee or pannacotta. Perfect for the very occasional dessert treat when wanting to impress guests, yet still keeping things reasonably healthy.
You can use unsweetened or 90% dark chocolate instead of regular dark chocolate and sweeten the dish to taste with stevia or xylitol to reduce the sugar content should you wish. For a dairy free version, use coconut oil instead of butter and whipped coconut cream for topping instead of dairy cream.
Makes 6 portions (it can be stretched to 8 if ramekins are very small or you want smaller portions).
· 180 grams dark chocolate (chopped)
· 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
· 300 ml coconut milk
· 2 large eggs
- Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
- Grease 6 ramekins with butter or coconut oil.
- In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate, coconut oil and butter and whisk until dissolved and blended. If using xylitol or stevia add now.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and coconut milk.
- Add eggs one at a time and whisk.
- Pour mixture into the ramekins and place in a metal or glass pan.
- Pour boiling water into the pan to create a bain-marie. Careful you don’t pour water into the ramekins.
- Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack.
- Remove from the oven, cool and chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
Serve with fresh whipped cream and a plump ripe strawberry.
Recipe courtesy of Primal Perks. Click here for a printable PDF of the recipe.
Many people experience a really significant weight loss in the first week of a low carb diet, and then feel disappointed when their weight loss doesn’t continue at the same pace.
Why does this happen?
The moment you drastically cut down on the carbs you are eating, all the water that you have been retaining gets flushed out of your body. Therefore, those first few kilos that seemed to just melt off you in a short space of time, is mainly water that has been lost. Your bloated look will go away, and your body will then be perfectly primed to start losing fat weight. Read more
Your guests will be asking you for the recipe for this delicious low carb version – guaranteed!
Primal Zucchini Lasagne
Makes 8 to 10 portions.
- 1 kilo minced beef
- 200 grams of well seasoned pork sausage meat
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 2 sticks of celery chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes (drain excess liquid)
- 2 small tins of tomato paste
- Butter or coconut oil for sautéing and browning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A big handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano and basil works well together).
- 2 teaspoons xylitol
- 500 grams ricotta cheese
- 250 grams cream cheese or mascarpone (room temperature)
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 3 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 500 grams mozzarella cheese grated
Zucchini ‘pasta sheets’:
- 800 grams of zucchini thinly sliced lengthway using a mandolin.
- Place thin slices of zucchini between kitchen paper (roller towel) to absorb excess liquid.
- Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Grease your baking dish (28 cm x 35 cm).
- Sauté the onions, carrots, garlic and celery until soft and remove from pot.
- Brown your meat in the pot. Drain excess liquid if necessary.
- Add back the onions, carrots, garlic and celery.
- Add tin of tomato, tomato paste and xylitol.
- Once cooked and liquid has reduced, switch off heat.
- In a bowl, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, eggs and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Create 3 layers of the ingredients as follows:
- Zucchini slices
- Ricotta mixture
- Meat sauce
- Bake for 45 minutes on middle rack.
- Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of the Primal Perks blog.
Click here for an easy to print PDF version of the recipe.
I know you must think I have lost my mind – who sets goals in December. Goals are for the New Year and not for the last month of the year. I am a firm believer that without goals you will only end up feeling guilty and are more likely to give in to all the temptations.
When I say set goals – I mean realistic goals.
No, not to lose 10 kg in this month or to stay below 20 g carbs every day. I mean real and achievable goals. To me the holiday season means we will snack and over-eat often and let’s not even talk about the alcohol. So my goals for this holiday season will be as follows:
- Do not gain more than 2 kg (because I know I will not lose any weight)
- Limit daily carbs to 70 g per day
- Allow myself 2 alcoholic drinks per day
- Allow myself one “cheat” (this will most likely be watermelon or other fruit)
- Get 10 000 steps every day
- Only snack on low -carb approved snacks
- Limit my coffee intake
I am not planning to drink alcohol daily, or “cheat” daily – but I will allow myself a bit more freedom. I am not encouraging any cheating – I will still avoid all sugar, gluten/wheat, grains, soya and processed food, I will only enjoy more orange list items and the occasional fruits.
As this is a lifestyle, a little more freedom should not set you back. Last year I hardly gained any weight and I am hoping that this year will be the same. We have our first (early) Christmas lunch with friends on Sunday, and I am so excited. I will take low carb approved food and dessert so I know I will have no need to indulge. We are truly blessed with amazing friends that accommodate our lifestyle and us.
So go ahead and write down your goals for this holiday season – have fun with them and remember that you are in charge of what you eat and drink.
Post written by Cornia Vosloo (Banting Buddies Coach – Pretoria)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…….or so they say.
If you are new to a low carb lifestyle the holiday season can be very scary to navigate. Even for experienced low carbers, this can be a very challenging time. Therefore, my gift to you for this holiday season will be my tips to survive, have fun and keep you on track.
With all the work parties, family get-togethers and endless cocktails, restaurant meals and desserts – I’m sure you are thinking “How is this possible?”
- 1 whole egg
- 2 eggs yolks
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup (250 ml) extra light olive oil or try a combination of light olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia nut oil. (Note: Regular extra virgin olive oil doesn’t work well and makes the mayo taste slightly bitter)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Put the whole egg and egg yolks into the blender, together with the vinegar and mustard.
- Blend on low-speed until combined.
- Very slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender while on low-speed. The slower the better to allow for emulsification of the oil into the egg mixture.
- Add the garlic powder and salt to your mayo and pulse until mixed.
- Scrape your mayo out of the blender into a glass jar and keep refrigerated and use within a week.
Recipe courtesy of the Primal Perks website of Nicky Perks