Of all the possibilities of what there is to miss when adopting a low-carb diet, three tend to come up more than anything else. Patients stare into the distance, as though embarking on a journey into an unknown desert, invariably whispering, “But… what about bread?”
“There are plenty of alternatives out there, and most of them are completely delicious.”
But there is one lingering food item that just never quite cuts it.
People love pizza. Vegan. Slathered in greek salad. It doesn’t matter. It’s a hot slice of cheesy, doughy goodness. What’s not to love? That said, finding low-carb options on the outside is basically like trying to find a cat that enjoys baths. It’s not that they don’t exist, but they’re usually kind of weird and off-putting.
Thanks to geniuses on the internet, however, I now have an answer for this one too:
“Cauliflower?” they say.
Don’t knock it till you try it. The cauliflower crust is bizarre at first glance, but it’s actually among the more convincing pseudo-crusts out there these days. It crisps on the bottom nicely, it has a great texture, and it’s a fantastic canvas for all things pizza. It’s also surprisingly easy to get it thin, which is my personal preference when it comes to a good slice. Seriously, what’s not to love?
“Eat your salad,” sits on the tip of your tongue as the single obstacle between you and the rest of the evening. It’s not that it’s not delicious, but it’s no steak and potatoes.
I’m human. Occasionally lettuce bores me. Given, it’s not often, but it happens, and when it happens, I scoot through the greenery of the produce aisles in search of other options.
String beans are a great way to vary your greens up. They are high in vitamin K, manganese, and fiber, and they offer a unique texture to any dish they’re included in, be it a classic nicoise or the almighty casserole. They’re also more filling than standard leafy greens, standing up to liquids when kept in the fridge, making them very useful when trying to keep healthy options around on the go that maintain freshness and nutritive value.
This recipe is a wholesome (and vegan!) re-imagining of a steak salad. It is cleanse friendly, filling, and one of my favs.
In the past, my pursuits have been coated in reservation, re: putting health on the back-burner. Besides being a healthcare professional who emphasizes diet above all else in my treatment regimens, I grew up, like many women, with an intense awareness of what types of food make people fat, and even though I’ve never been especially prone to weight gain, the guilt and shame in eating sweets is something that I’ve contended with all the same. And it’s something that I see a lot of in my patients of all ages — the desire to strive for an image instead of simply feeling good. It never ceases to amaze me how deeply that paradigm persists.
Social rituals of fat concern aside, I have concluded that above all else, food should be as enjoyable as it is nutritious. Even if you’re embarking on a cleanse diet to kickstart You 2.0, sweets shouldn’t be something to be out-and-out avoided. This is the thinking that leads to failure, the type that leaves you in a pit of self-loathing after inevitably falling off the wagon. That is, after the sugar cloud dissipates and you’re left cowering on the ground in a puddle of tears.
Here’s the thing: sweets don’t have to be made with added sugar to be completely delicious. The key is keeping those cravings sated while cutting down. I know, I know — you’re probably thinking of all the times people have told you that raw vegan mound at the party was a cake and not the creature of the black lagoon — but that’s not what I’m saying. It’s all about learning the balance. Adapting recipes made with granulated sugar can be challenging because sugar provides structure in baked goods, not just sweetness. Plus, most of us haven’t cultivated the thick skin necessary to use stevia alone, and honestly, I hope I never do. Part of what makes food great is how it brings people together, and complete stevia tolerance sounds like one very lonely, bitter island to me.
By keeping the sweets you have at home on the healthier side, you’ll be able to maximize the nutritional possibilities and keep your cravings at bay. Using wheat flour alternatives really helps with this too, given the excellent fat and fiber contents of them. I can’t say as much for standard baked goods, which tend to leave people wanting more sooner and have all sorts of unnecessary additives along the way. Most of all, though? The greatest thing about having fresh muffins around is that once they’re made, all anyone has to do is grab one when on the go. And you will, as will your family and friends, often far more quickly than you would expect.
I don’t know about you, but for me, kale is often a dastardly, pleasure-sacrificing affair. While many have gone to great lengths to make it more palatable for the sake of its known health benefits, the reality stands that its bitter, dense quality can leave a lot to be desired. Certainly, there are those that have converted their taste buds, and to them I say, “I salute you, o’ ye kale converts,” but alas, they are not the majority. Not even in Southern California, where kale runs rampant from every Cafe Gratitude storefront, overflowing the drought-ridden gutters, bleating out its harsh textures with wild abandon. What’s a health-nut to do but begrudgingly swallow it down in anticipation of the day when, after radiating health, he or she may return to her older, more delicious habits and indulgences?
I am here to tell you, one kale dodger to another, that there is another way.
Nothing beats fresh, homemade, herb-infused dressings, and when I’m not feeling my usual vinegar and olive oil combination, this is one of a few mainstays that really hits the spot. Creamy and rich in flavor, this mediterranean-inspired concoction creates a depth of flavor to even the most simple of salads, helping to keep me fuller longer, without the usual additives, unhealthy fats, sugars, and calories found in many prepackaged dressings. I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
There are few things as comforting as the fresh oatmeal cookie in its natural habitat. You know what I’m talking about: It’s overcast outside, you’re wearing thick socks deep into a late Saturday morning, and as you put down your tea, you reach out to touch the cookies, checking if they’ve cooled enough to sink your teeth into their soft, inviting textures. When you do, their sweetness swaddles you in a whirlwind of warmth and wholeness. And then, afterward, you’re left thinking, “no, I shouldn’t.” But why not?
As a species, we’ve evolved to want sugar and fat to prepare ourselves for unsparing biospheres. Who are we to completely deny ourselves? Especially when, despite white many would have us think, you can have it both ways.
This is a recipe for chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that I’ve adapted from a classic from Gourmet I found on Epicurious, here. It is gluten-free, low in sugar, and high in fiber and healthy fats. Happy eating!
In my personal quest to cut down on sugar and saturated fats, I have become a huge fan of using homemade applesauce in a lot of my baking recipes. In addition to being absolutely amazing all on its own, the method I’ve grown accustomed to makes use of the skin, which adds a significant amount of fiber to what would otherwise be “empty” calories.
It’s also smoother and creamier than store-bought brands, and when tempered with other types of sweeteners like stevia and a few tablespoons of maple syrup, honey, or sugar if need be, it keeps muffins and other cake-like products more moist for the duration of the good’s natural shelf-life.
Plus, it keeps in the refrigerator for more than a week, which means that adding it into general preparations makes it oh, so easy to whip up a batch of breakfast muffins on the fly. All you need is a few pounds of apples (the cheaper organic varieties at Trader Joe’s work quite nicely), two tablespoons of your oil of choice (I use coconut or olive, depending on my mood or what’s closest), an oven, and a decent blender. I hope you like it.
For the longest time, there was always a heap of leftover quinoa in my refrigerator. No matter how hard I tried to make it for family meals, it always managed to expand beyond my expectations, only to end up in the back behind the lettuce untouched for days until rediscovered and ushered out the door into the compost, noses crinkled in disgust.
Nowadays, though unfortunate when I consider all of the pie crusts that could have been, all of that’s behind me. Phew!
Quinoa is a versatile, nutrient-rich grain that packs a punch when flavored well and crisps up nicely in the oven. For savory crusts, when mixed with the fatty qualities of ground nuts, it’s an excellent alternative to standard pastry doughs. This is a godsend when you’re trying to avoid certain foods, whether long-term or short, without compromising on flavor or your ability to satisfy your cravings, and it gives you options for your leftovers. It’s a total win/win.
Personally, when I crave quiche, what I’m mostly craving is the crust paired with the savory softness of the filling, and if that filling isn’t full of delicious, it’s just not going to do the trick. The truth of the matter is that some days, all you want salt and crunch, and no amount of salad scratch that itch. This is one recipe fills that void for me. I hope it does the same for you.
I began toying with a nut-based batter with less sugar content weeks ago, until finally, by some ridiculous stroke of luck, I somehow managed to get the right consistency. Working with gluten free options can be harrowing work — especially when trying to forego as much sugar as possible. Initially, I ended up with batch after batch of cakey, bitter scones, which then gave way to dozens of depressingly thin, dry, powdery biscuits. Everything in between those extremes, however, led me to the formula I present before you now.
Do not let the color deceive you, fair reader. While almond flour gets lighter in the oven, often appearing dry as a result, these are just crunchy enough along the edges and chewy everywhere else, just as the Chocolate Chip pantheon intended. These are so convincing, I have passed them off as regular chocolate chip cookies to numerous guests who’d have sooner eaten their own hair than a gluten-free, low-carb, low-sugar “sweet.”
This recipe is filling, and while not entirely free of added sugar, it strikes a great balance without compromising taste. Thanks to the combination of stevia and turbinado, each cookie contains under 6g of sugar, and just a hair over 10g of carbohydrates. It also contains a wealth of good fats (the kind that keep you fuller, longer), omega 3s, protein, and fiber.
This morning, while doing some errands, I was listening to Good Food on KCRW, which was kind enough to remind me what season it is at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. It’s bean season! Beans are not only delicious, but according to the farmer interviewed, they are planted in opposition with berries and tomatoes to enrich and replenish the soil. Vegetarians are quick to pick up the bean for the purpose of protein, but in actuality, beans have so much more going for them. They’re high in folate, B1, and manganese, as well as fiber and iron rich. Further, when prepared well, they’re excellent tools for keeping your body full and fueled throughout the day without turning to carbohydrates from grain-based meals.
With that said, here’s a clean recipe that’s both delicious and ties into bean season.