Combining Sense and Soul
St. Patty's Day Feast
The Story of St. Patrick's Day
Low Carb Kitchen Hints & Tips
Change: The Essence of Life
Interview: Jonny Bowden
Quashing the Weather Excuse
St. Paddy's Day Chuckles!
Getting Back to Basics
Make It Low Carb!
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"I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom."
— Anatole France
Picture the scene: local bookstore café. I'm such a regular there that the
entire staff knows me, and my kids, too. I've rattled off the kids' standard
order already, but my autopilot stalls before I can add my usual splurge, a
decaf mocha (XXX grams of carbohydrate).
"Uh…" What do I want? For the first time in weeks I actually look at the menu,
and realize it's completely new. Whoa. Wait a minute — there's actually a new
sugar-free coffee drink.
Judging from the reaction of the barista, it's pretty funny to see a 40-year-old
mother of three doing a (very brief) Snoopy-style happy dance in a bookstore café.
"Yes, yes, I'll get that! Thank you very much!"
It was delicious, all the more so for being unexpected and guilt-free.
Bookstore cafés, following the lead of Starbucks and dozens of other coffee house
chains, have popularized coffee drinks beyond all sanity. It would be one thing if
we were all drinking actual coffee, with a splash of half-and-half and a packet of
sweetener. That comes in around 10 carb grams if you use 2 teaspoons of sugar. If
you use a non-caloric sweetener, you can get it to around 2 or 3 grams.
But that's not what we're drinking. We're drinking "blended coffee" creations that
taste vaguely related to coffee, under all the syrupy flavors and whipped cream.
I'm sure there's coffee in them somewhere, and they do taste good (if your tastes
run towards the very sweet). But a 16 ounce coffee drink can easily cost you 50,
even 60, grams of carbohydrates. For many low-carb dieters, that's an entire day's
That one 16 ounce drink contains easily 400 or more calories, too. What do you think
happens to all those calories when they're delivered in one huge dose of simple
Your metabolism responds to the inrush of sugars by pumping out insulin to regulate
your blood sugar: too little sugar results in hypoglycemia, too much, diabetes. The
insulin pushes the excess sugar out of your bloodstream. Some is used for muscle
energy, but the rest gets stored away as fat.
But the fun doesn't stop there. After a while, maybe an hour or so, the insulin that
has been herding up all that sugar finds itself with nothing to do. The sugar has all
been metabolized, but you've still got all this insulin in your system.
That's when you find yourself starving, even though you've most likely eaten more than
enough calories to get you to that point in the day. It's as if you never ate those
calories, because the insulin in your bloodstream now doesn't have any way of knowing
what you ate earlier. It's circulating freely and hitting your appetite centers, and
it will keep doing so until you eat something else and give it something to do.
You may be able to mitigate the effect of the sugar rush somewhat by eating something
with protein, which is metabolized more slowly, while you're drinking your coffee. The
problem here is that the foods typically eaten with coffee drinks — donuts, or bagels
and cream cheese — just add to the carb burden.
The best bet is simply to avoid the blended drinks. I know, they're yummy, so hold on
a second. I would never personally advocate giving up coffee, even though some low-carb
diets recommend it. I've been decaffeinated for years but I still love coffee. So
here's what I do, and you can do, instead:
Order a regular coffee (hot or iced) with a shot of sugar-free syrup, and use half-and-half
to lighten. Most coffee houses have at the very least sugar-free vanilla and hazelnut syrups,
and some have many other options.
Ask if the barista can blend a sugar-free iced coffee drink for you. They've got blenders,
usually, and they know how to use them. It may take a little longer than just grabbing the
pre-made blend, but it will probably taste better because it's fresh.
If you like to make coffee drinks at home, look for sugar-free syrups in your grocery or
specialty store, in the coffee aisle. DaVinci
and Torani are two popular brands that sweeten
their syrups with Splenda, the brand name for sucralose. Splenda is heat-stable and has
little to no detectable aftertaste, and it's the sugar substitute of choice for many
Both DaVinci and Torani have an unbelievable selection of flavors (gingerbread is a favorite
of mine), which can also be ordered online.
If you're a fan of the powdered instant flavored coffee drinks you can buy at the supermarket,
check out Keto's line of flavored coffees online at Keto.com,
or you can make your own:
Instant Vanilla Coffee Mix
For 1 cup
Add 6-8 ounces boiling water to the combined ingredients. Now, the fun begins. You may
like this combination just as is, but you could add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg for a twist,
or a sprinkle of cocoa . The possibilities are endless if you branch out and use sugar free
syrups: vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, or even raspberry.
- 1 tsp instant coffee grounds
- 2 T low-carb vanilla meal replacement shake mix
Nutrition information will vary depending on the shake mix you use; coffee itself has about
1 gram of carbohydrates for each 8 ounces.
Copyright © March 2004 Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury
Title and inset photos Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury
Rudi's Organic Low Carb Bread|
There have been a lot of low carb breads that have come to market in the last few months (and we'll be
spotlighting more of them here soon), but the new
Rudi's Organic Low Carb Bread is definitely one of the best.
It's a soft, natural tasting bread without
an odd, "off", or soy taste. It looks, feels, and tastes like a deli-style bread loaf.
It comes in at 4 net carbs per slice, so for 8 grams of carbohydrate, you can make a killer sandwich.
And it comes in two varieties.
There's the regular Organic Low Carb Bread, and their unique tasting
Organic Low Carb Herb Bread enhanced with the flavors of rosemary, olive oil and whole wheat flour.
The herb bread is wonderful for grilled Swiss Cheese and Pastrami, or any other spicy type sandwich. And the
regular makes a superb french toast dipped in a Splenda-sweetened egg batter.
Rudi’s breads use no hydrogenated oils. They use instead organic high oleic expeller-pressed sunflower
oil which is cold pressed without the use of chemical solvents.
Each one-pound loaf nets about 20 uniform slices. Fresh and delicious, you definitely want to try
Rudi's Organic Low Carb Breads!
They are available at most health food stores and in the organic aisles of some groceries. (We've found them
at Meijer and at our local health food store chains.) Go to their website to see where they're available in your area.