Friday, September 28, 2012

Low Carb Pregnancy

Should you...or shouldn't you?

There is a lot of chit chat on the old world wide web about whether your low carb lifestyle should be abandoned when you get pregnant.  When I was pregnant, I remembered wondering whether my dietary choices would have to change as a result of my growing baby bump.  There was little information out there.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on dietary advice on this exact topic from a long-time low carber and registered dietician, certfied diabetes educator, etc., Valerie Berkowitz, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E.

Not only does Ms. Berkowitz have the credentials and experience to give this kind of advice, she practiced this advice when she was pregnant with twins, with excellent results.  

So, I won't keep you in suspense.  In her 2002 article, A Mother-to-Be does Atkins, Ms. Berkowitz discussed following the Atkins Lifetime Maintenance Plan during her pregnancy.  She describes her daily dietary intake as about 100-150 grams of protein, 70-90 grams of carbs, and approximately 1,800-2,000 calories per day.  Notably, she gave an example of a typical daily menu during pregnancy,  and it appears that she got most of her carbs from fresh, whole fruit and vegetables, not from starchy stuff and refined sugars.  

Are you in the midst of a low carb pregnancy?  Want to add a few healthy carbs to your diet?  Check out this article about the top 25 healthiest fruits for you to eat, along with a description of their nutritional value and benefits.  

photo.JPGWhat about a smoothie?  
Combine 1/2 large banana, 1/2 peach, 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries, 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries, and 1 container of Fage full fat plain yogurt, and blend.  Add water and a little Truvia to sweeten if needed.  

You will end up with about 43 grams of net carbs, good protein, probiotics, a ton of dietary fiber, and more micronutrients than I can possible count...

You know what, make that 2 smoothies, and you've hit your daily carb allowance for pregnancy.  Good on you, Mama!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LCHF Creamy Chocolate Coconut Shakes

LCHF.  It stands for Low Carb High Fat.  Historically, I have focused on the "Low Carb" portion of this WOE, because that is the most challenging part for me (and for most of us on LCHF) to comply with, as we typically start off with a serious carb addiction. "High Fat", however, often gets shunted to the wayside, either because it seems effortless, or because we think that we are already eating an acceptable level of healthy fats, or because some of us still have the "fat is evil" mindset lurking about upstairs, especially when it comes to saturated fat..

Dietary fat is not evil.  Regular consumption of varied, healthy and good quality fat is good for the body, and delicious.  Saturated fat, in particular, is important for your health.

So, don't do yourself a disservice and hyperfocus on "Low Carb".  Make it your goal, this week, to make sure you get a little more "High Fat" in your diet.

One delicious way to achieve this goal is to blend up this week-supply of Creamy Chocolate Coconut Shakes and have one serving everyday.  Savvy readers may notice that I have repurposed and adjusted my Coconut Vanilla Custard Ice Cream recipe to make this shake.

Here's the recipe:

LCHF Creamy Chocolate Coconut Shakes (about 6 servings)

3 cans regular unsweetened coconut milk;    
¼ cup high quality unrefined, organic coconut oil
1/3 cup truvia
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
4 oz chopped unsweetened chocolate (I use Callebaut)
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, truvia, and salt. Bring the mixture just to a boil.
  2. While the coconut mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks until pale and aerated.
  3. Once the coconut mixture has come to a slight boil, whisk about 1/3 of the mixture into the yolks.
  4. Add another 1/3 of the mixture to the yolks, whisking quickly, then return the combined mixture to the saucepan.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Do not boil or the eggs can coagulate.
  6. Place chopped chocolate into a large bowl.  
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl, and let sit for 2 minutes, until chocolate begins to melt.  Stir to combine.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to come to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  9. At this point, I usually put the shake mix into a tupperware container and refrigerate.  It will firm up in the fridge a bit.
  10. Then, when I want to make a shake, I will scoop about 6-8 oz of the shake mix into a blender with a couple of ice cubes and blend until frothy.  
This is a very versatile recipe:

I found that the shake base, straight from the refrigerator, has a delicate mousse consistency that is very nice to eat with a spoon for dessert.  

A dollop would also be well-placed on top of my LCHF chocolate cupcakes.  Just make sure to serve right away, as the shake mix will loosen up at room temperature.

As well, you can heat the shake mix until steamy (don't boil) for a very decadent hot chocolate.  

Last but not least, you can always throw the cooled shake mix into your ice cream machine (per manufacturer's instructions) and let it go for 20 minutes, to turn it into frozen custard.  


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