Author Archive | dorothy stainbrook

Shishito Peppers: a perfect low carb appetizer

Never one to ignore the food trends, I thought I’d try my hand at growing and cooking the trendy “perfect appetizer” that the chefs and foodies are raving about.  The cooking of these sweet, crunchy peppers couldn’t be easier.  And I’ve yet to have that one-in-ten of the peppers that turns out surprisingly spicy.  Red or green, these shishito peppers are a delight at home, at the bar, or served up as tapas.


Shishito peppers

Shishito peppers

Why are Shishito Peppers so Popular?

Well…Sautéed shishitos are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks, making them popular with the bar crowd or as tapas.  Shishito peppers have really thin walls, so they’re also easy to grill at home or use in a stir-fry, adding robust flavor to a quick week-night dinner.

The Shishito pepper is a bright, flavorful sweet chili, and although it looks like a hot pepper in appearance, you rarely bite into one with any significant heat.  The fun part is that one in twenty peppers pack a fiery punch and you never know which bite that is going to be.  They have grown immensely popular as a quick-to-cook appetizer or side.

Does it matter if Shishito peppers are cooked in their red or green stage?

The slender, finger-sized peppers are bright green in color, and like most bell peppers they will turn red when mature.  Most photos you see on the internet show Shishito peppers cooked in their green stage.  I tried both and they are both wonderful, but the sweetness is a bit more intense with the red, mature peppers.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and  can be treated exactly the same way.

Are Shishito Peppers spicy or sweet?

Although they resemble many hot chile peppers, the typical Shishito pepper is much milder than a Jalapeno (13 to 160 times milder) and a bit spicier than the zero-heat bell pepper.  Even if you were to get the one out of every ten to twenty that is hot, it will still be milder than a jalapeno.  It’s just a bit surprising, and fun, when you’re munching on sweet peppers and all of a sudden there is a spicy one in the bunch.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and Padrón peppers have a similar “Russian roulette” tendency, which adds to the fun when serving s an appetizer.

 Easy Recipe for Cooking Shishito Peppers

The skin on Shishito peppers is usually quite tender so a quick sear is all that’s needed for cooking.

I use a cast iron skillet to sear the peppers. Most recipes call for adding oil to the pan before adding the peppers, but they are a bit too oily for me that way.  Searing in a dry pan works just as well.

Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the skillet adds a really nice flavor boost to the peppers (alternatively squeeze the citrus on the peppers after cooking).


  • 6-10 shisito peppers
  • ½ lemon or lime
  • refined olive oil
  • Kosher or flavored salts
  1.  Heat a large cast iron skillet (or a wide sauté pan) over high heat until the pan is hot but not smoking (with or without a couple Tbsp olive oil)  If you are using olive oil, use a refined olive oil because extra virgin olive oils do not have a very high smoke point.
  2. Add the peppers to the hot skillet, turn the heat down a bit and cook the peppers, turning occasionally as they blister.  They shouldn’t char except in places. Don’t rush. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers.
  3. When they’re done, toss them with sea salt and add a few squeezes of fresh lemons or limes.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil (if you didn’t use it in the skillet).
  5. Place them in a bowl with extra salt and lemon or lime wedges for anyone that wants more.  You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, (minus the stem).

**Leftovers are great stirred into scrambled eggs, hummus or any soup or stew.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.



Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

While we still have a few red, pink and yellow heirlooms on the vine, the season is rapidly winding down.  Now is the perfect time to go for that iconic classic, fried green tomatoes.  Typically made with cornmeal or breadcrumbs, this recipe for low carb fried green tomatoes will meet the requirements of a low carb or ketogenic diet without losing a bit of flavor.

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

How to Pack in the Most Flavor to Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

  1. First of all, start with firm, bright green tomatoes.  The variety does make a difference in terms of sweetness but the main thing is to pick them before they are ripe.  I’ve tried using varieties like Aunt Ruby’s Green, Green Zebra and a few other green varieties, but they en up being too soft (yes they are green, but they are ripe green instead of firm and unripe).
  2. After you have the right tomato selected, add in a little spice.  I like a bit of smoky but moderate heat…not too hot, just a little kick.  Any of the chile spices work for this.  My favorite is the chipotle spice for more intense heat and the smoky blend for mild to medium heat.  You can find pure organic chipotle spice with no additives here, or a milder blend of smoked peppers (chipotle, ancho and pasilla)  here.  Any spicy addition will work…just use your favorite or what you have on hand.
  3. And finally is the coating.  Classic versions of Fried Green Tomatoes use a mix of cornmeal and flour, but those are both out on a low carb or keto diet.  For the recipe I used almond flour, salt & pepper, and some chipotle spice for the coating.  You could also mix in some crushed chicharonnes, which I often add to breading mixtures.  Some people will add a tsp of onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder also if you like adding even more robust flavor.

Recipe for Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

serves 4


  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 1 cup almond flour (I used Nature’s Eats brand)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chile pepper (your choice, here is what I used)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil


  1. With a sharp knife, slice the tomatoes about 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle with a little salt, and let them sit for a few minutes.
  2. In a medium size bowl, use a slotted spoon or fork to mix together the almond flour, the spices and the salt and pepper.  In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the water.
  3. Heat the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Using tongs or your hands, dip the tomato slices in the egg/water mixture, then place them in the flour/spice mixture and cover all parts of the tomato slices using a spoon or your hands.
  5. Using tongs or your hands, place the slices in the hot oil for about 3 minutes.  Use a spatula to gently turn them over so the breading doesn’t fall off, and cook for another 3 minutes on that side (gently lift them to make sure they’re getting the color you want and not burning.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the skillet with the slices.  Work in batches if needed.
  7. Serve alone or for a real treat make some tzatziki sauce to dip them in!

Carb count:  5.5 net carbs/per 2 slice serving

For some more protein and fat, try this recipe for

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes with Poached Eggs


  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups almond flour/crushed-chicharrones mix
  • 1 tsp spicy chile pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil
  • picante sauce for serving, if desired


  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour/chicharrone mix and the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat the oil to medium high but do not let oil boil.
  4. Dip tomato slices into the eggs, then into the flour mixture.  Coat well
  5. Set them into the oil and fry 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oil and set onto paper towels to drain.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Crack eggs into the boiling water and lightly poach them (about 3 min each).  Strain in a colander and serve the eggs over the fried green tomato slices.  Drizzle a bit of picante sauce on top and enjoy!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.


Keto Sushi – aka Cauliflower Rice Sushi

This Cauliflower Rice Sushi recipe (aka Keto Sushi) is a Guest Post by my wonderful daughter, Tesla!

keto sushi

keto sushi (cauliflower rice sushi)

Why Cauliflower instead of Rice?

One major benefit of working in a school district is having the summers off!  For me, that means Grandma’s Annual Fourth of July Party and lots of food- purchased and prepared for me by the parents (I know, rough life, right?).  There is a downside though, when my parents food preferences differ.   

If you’ve read any other posts on this site or if you know my mom at all, you know that we haven’t eaten rice at the HeathGlen homestead for at least five years.  Apparently, the absence of rice doesn’t bother my parents too much, but it’s especially hard for a sushi addict like me!  

Prior to going on a low-carb diet, my dad promised me we would make sushi together– that was 12 years ago and we even bought a mat and instruction book!  So I decided this year that, even though rice is now a four-letter word in our household, he could fulfill his promise to me.

Making Keto Sushi Simple

I attempted to make a low-carb cauliflower rice sushi once a few years ago but it was unsuccessful and frustrating because there were so many hard to find ingredients and I was in the middle of my Master’s program with very little money to spare on these rare ingredients.  

I finally found a much simpler recipe and used that as a guide to make this “keto sushi”.  I doubled the recipe because leftovers are a requirement in our household, especially on Fridays before the weekend farmer’s markets.  The recipe below is not doubled.  Even my mom, the sushi adversary, raved about it!

Recipe for Cauliflower Rice Sushi (aka Keto Sushi)

Serves  4


  • Half or 3/4 head of cauliflower (I used one whole cauliflower but had a little leftover)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5-6 sheets nori
  • Sushi fillings- we used these items but the options are endless:
    • 2 cucumbers (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 3 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 8 oz package of plain cream cheese
    • 2-3 cooked salmon fillets and 2 smoked salmon fillets since mom  doesn’t like raw fish, otherwise I would have definitely gone for the real deal raw stuff!
    • In the original recipe, the blogger uses fruit, and as you may know, according to my mom, “Fruit is just nature’s candy.”  So, needless to say we skipped out on the fruit.

** Note 1:  The recipe I adapted this from used a food processor and a sushi rolling mat.  We don’t have a rolling mat and I have made sushi rice a multitude of times in my Ninja blender so neither are necessary to make this recipe work, but the tools definitely make it easier!  I’ve also been informed that you can buy pre-“riced” cauliflower at Trader Joe’s or other grocery stores if you want to skip those steps.

**Note 2: To ensure the roll stays together, it was helpful to use a bowl of water to wet the seam of the roll. See step #9.

Directions (or Steps):

  1.  Prepare the cauliflower rice:  I cut the cauliflower in quarters and then cut or break the stem off.  I then used a smaller knife to cut off any parts of the stem that remain.  Break the cauliflower in to florets or small chunks.  
  2.  Place all the florets in the food processor.  Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to split up the cauliflower and process it in smaller portions.  Pulse the cauliflower until the pieces are small and look similar to grains of rice.
  3. Place the cauliflower in large dish and cover.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until the cauliflower is heated all the way through.
  4.  In a small bowl, mix the sugar and rice vinegar until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Combine with the warm cauliflower and set aside to cool.
  5.  Prepare your fillings.  I peeled and cut the veggies as thin as possible and crumbled the cooked/ smoked salmon, and used a cheese slicer for thin slices of cream cheese.
  6. Lay the nori out, either on the rolling mat or a cutting board for a flat surface.  The nori I used had perforated lines, and when the nori was on the board facing me the lines were horizontal.
  7.  Scoop the cauliflower rice on to the nori.  Cover the nori with a thin layer of the cauliflower, leave a space on the top.  I used the perforated lines as a guide and covered the nori up to the line that was closest to the “top” of the nori, farthest from me.
  8. Put your fillings on the side of the nori where the cauliflower reaches the edge of the nori. I put the softest things first- cream cheese, salmon, and then the veggies on top.
  9. Carefully roll the edge with the fillings toward the end with the gap.  Keep slight pressure on the fillings as you roll to make sure it rolls tightly.  Once it’s completely rolled up, dab some water on the edge with no cauliflower so it will stay together.
  10.  Using a really sharp knife, cut the sushi into pieces.  Alternatively- enlist your dad or someone else as a line cook to cut the pieces for you 🙂

This “keto sushi” recipe was much easier than I thought and it’s one sure fire way to impress the parents!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

  • Calories: 266
  • Fat: 19.1
  • Carbs: 10.4
  • Protein: 8.8

Mom’s Required Trailer for Online Coaching:

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.


Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash makes a great foil for pasta and grains and “stuffed” dishes are always appealing and fun.  This low carb stuffed spaghetti squash can be extremely versatile using chicken, pork sausage or ground beef as the protein in the stuffing.  This particular recipe uses chicken, as chicken with enchilada sauce makes a stuffing that is familiar to most tastebuds, inexpensive and easy to cook.  The recipe lends itself easily to adaptation and creativity however.

low carb stuffed spaghetti squash

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Using Spaghetti Squash as a Pasta Foil:

In this particular dish, the spaghetti squash strands have the taste and texture of rice noodles.  I frequently use spaghetti squash as a bed for skillet dinners or stir frys, but they it is also great just as a side dish slathered with butter and some good salt.

Spaghetti squash is pretty simple to cook and can be ready in 10 minutes.  Some people cook winter squash in an oven to get the full richness of a nutty winter squash.  It’s not really necessary with spaghetti squash however, as the taste is so much lighter.  I usually cook them like this:

  • cut them in half lengthwise
  • take a large spoon and scrape out the seeds
  • turn them flesh-side-down onto a plate and microwave for 10 minutes
  • let cool enough to handle them (or use a mitt) and then take a fork and scrape out the strands from the shell.  They come out looking like…….well, like spaghetti!


Easy Adaptations for the Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe:

The chicken in this recipe is easy, but it is fairly bland and needs a spice mix of some sort to liven it up.  I used the harissa spice mix that we sell online, but there is a wide range of spice mixes that would be good.  Choose your favorite and go with it.  If you don’t want to bother with a mix, just add a little mild chile pepper or cayenne pepper.  I’ve included a few spice mixes at the end of this post that you may want to try.

The type of protein could also be easily and tastefully adapted.  Ground pork sauteed until no longer pink would be a good substitution that I plan to try next time.  Hamburger or ground beef would work fine also.  Any protein of your choice would work as long as it is shredded or fine enough to mix well with the somewhat delicate strands of squash.

Changing up the variety of cheese is another option, as is adding some sauteed onions or other vegetables.  It’s really a great dish to experiment with as it’s tough to destroy it!

Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe:

Serves 3-4


  • 2 8-oz boneless,skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp spice mix (I used harissa, use your favorite spice mix – many would work)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Add the chicken to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken about 15 minutes, or until no longer pink on inside.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool a bit so you can handle it
  3. While the chicken is cooking, microwave the squash by placing the halved, seeded squash on a plate flesh-side down and microwaving for 10 minutes (or until flesh is tender).
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to work with, shred the chicken breasts with two forks and place in a large bowl.
  5. When the squash is cool enough to work with use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl with the chicken.  Set the intact shells aside.  Add 1 cup enchilada sauce, zucchini, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp spice mix to the chicken/squash mixture.  Mix everything together thoroughly.
  6. Place the shells on a broiler-safe pan and divide the mixture between the shells.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes.  If a deeper browned cheese crust is desired, move pan to the upper rack and turn the broiler to high for a couple of minutes (watch carefully)
  8. To serve, cut each shell in half (they are filling, 1/2 shell is usually enough for 1 serving).


  • CAL 408
  • FAT 22 CARBS 20 G
  • SUGARS 7 G
  • PROTEIN 34 G
  • FIBER 4 G

 Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.


Low Carb Diet vs Slow Carb vs Keto vs Carb Cycling

Where is Your Best Fit on the Low Carb Diet Continuum?

low carb diet

choose your direction on the low carb diet continuum

Caveat of Low Carb Diet Approaches:

The premise of each of the low carb diet approaches summarized below is that the lower a diet is in sugar and refined carbs , the more health markers will improve and the more fat loss will occur. None of these diet approaches are designed to incur “rapid” fat loss.

Rather, I chose to highlight these particular approaches because they reflect the experiences I have had coaching a wide variety of people to success by focusing on the match between individual fitness goals, lifestyle realities and likelihood of long term sustainability.

Tracking Methodology:

Studies have shown that doing nothing more than tracking your food intake can increase fat loss by up to 33%. This is primarily due to the mindfulness that tracking stimulates, and to the knowledge base you gain by understanding where sugar is hiding in your food choices.

Getting a coach to troubleshoot and hold you accountable can increase your chances of success much more, but even without a coach, tracking is extremely valuable.

Tracking does not have to involve weighing food, using a heart rate monitor or measuring ketones. It can be as simple as photographing your food, checking in with an accountability partner or a coach, or journaling each morning.

Tracking sugar and carbs on the myfitnesspal app has been the most effective way I have found to troubleshoot and pinpoint problem areas, so it is what I will reference under each approach. Regardless of which tool is used, tracking of some sort is imperative to forming the habits that will remain when the motivation fades.

All-in or Small Steps? (know thyself):

Motivation is fickle, as is witnessed every New Years. It is critical to know your style and be clear on your goals when it comes to self-improvement and habit change. Whipping yourself when you fall off the wagon is painful, unproductive and to be avoided if at all possible!

In this post, I’ve outlined a progression of low carb diet approaches and tried to identify which is the best fit for certain goals and certain lifestyles. I’ve moved in and out of these approaches myself over the past five years and the purpose of this summary is to lay out the approaches in a gradation moving from easier to more ambitious.

Each diet is based on the best science I could find, some information is anecdotal from the internet. Most of the information is observational and based on a diverse range of client experiences I have had as a diet and fitness coach on

I. Entry Level: Decrease Sugar (aka Low Carb Diet)

Who is this for?

· people coming from a Standard American diet of high fat and high sugar together.

· people who are physically addicted to sugar;

· people who want to change their way of eating in small incremental steps.

The basics:

At first glance, this approach to fat loss sounds similar to the “No Sweets” diet, but actually it is much more nuanced. Because we have been so misinformed over the years through both the politics of health and the food industry, we tend to think of sweets as primarily desserts or candy; food that is high in sucrose (table sugar).

The entry level approach is focused on decreasing sugar in the diet from these well-known sugar culprits, but it also addresses the following types of questions:

· Where are the hidden sugars in your particular diet?

· Which types of sugar make the most difference to fat loss?

· How do you overcome the physical cravings that are so prevalent in a sugar addiction?

A few details:

There are basically two types of food that the body doesn’t see as sugar; that would be protein and fat. When people refer to a person as being either a fat-burner or a sugar-burner they are referencing the way the body processes different foods for energy. A diet that is high in sugar (or refined carbs) means you are most likely a sugar burner and receive your energy from burning glucose.

For example, a diet high in fruit on a daily basis, is a diet high in sugar (fructose), and this can stall a fat loss. Limiting fruit is a difficult concept to wrap your head around, primarily because fruit does have beneficial nutrients and it is therefore much more difficult to view it as unhealthy in the same way as a Snickers Bar.

However, most fruit is quite high in sugar. The sugar in fruit is called fructose, it is processed in the liver (like alcohol) and it can be very detrimental to fat loss. That is why many low carb or keto people refer to fruit as “nature’s candy”. Fruit is not in and of itself “unhealthy”, but a diet high in fruit can certainly stall fat loss. (Berries tend to be the exception in the fruit and fat loss equation due to the amount of fiber per sugar ratio)

The sugar in grains is glucose and the sugar in low-fat dairy is lactose. Sucrose is, of course, table sugar and used in most baked goods. Basically the body sees all of these as just plain “sugar” and if you are interested in fat loss or preventing diseases associated with inflammation, decreasing sugar is a good place to start.

Goal metrics to track for a low carb diet:

25 grams or less of sugar a day. If using Myfitnesspal (MFP) to track metrics, look at the daily total of sugar and if it is over 25 grams, scroll back up the sugar column and find out which food source(s) took you over.

In a nutshell: A low carb diet is….

Moderate Carbs — Moderate Protein & Fat- Low Sugar

II. Level Two: Slow Carb Diet

(and some similar versions like Paleo or South Beach)

Who is this for?

· people wanting to make a sustainable lifestyle change that will result in decreasing body fat%

· people that like the flexibility of scheduling cheating and/or having wine

· people that want to keep an active social life, but want to improve health benefits

· I believe this approach works best for people that are “all-in” types

· people that are not averse to tracking

· although many people on slow carb do practice serious exercise routines, it is not a requirement for fat loss

The basics:

Slow carb is focused on encouraging food choices that will not spike blood sugar rather than on a calories-in-calories-out approach. By opting for food that is high in protein and moderate in fat you are limiting an insulin response and it is that insulin response that causes food to be stored in fat cells. Since protein and fat are much more satiating, the amount of calories taken in drops somewhat naturally.

Tim Ferriss, designer of the slow carb diet, acknowledges that humans will cheat on any diet, so a cheat day is scheduled once a week to provide for delayed gratification.

As a diet coach, I have seen the highest success rates for fat loss with Tim Ferriss’s slow carb diet. It is simple to follow and the cheat day allows people more of a guilt-free social life.

A few details:

Ferriss lays out a set of rules but ultimately tells you to experiment with your own body using these rules as guidelines. The rules include: For 6 days in a row, avoid fruit, dairy, grains and try and get around 20–30 grams of protein with each meal. Moderate amounts of fats are allowed. The 7th day is a cheat day where any food or drink is allowed.

There are many more details, of course, all of which are laid out explicitly in a book called “The 4-Hour Body”.

Goal metrics to track:

Aim for a daily total of 100 grams or less of carbs and 25 grams or less of sugar. The protein metric will vary depending on the type and intensity of your exercise routine (or lack thereof). The lower you go in carbs the more fat you can add to keep you satiated, but it is not considered a high fat diet.

Avoid eating a daily meal plan that involves both high fat and high carb. That is the Standard American Diet that has caused the current state of affairs with the obesity epidemic.

In a nutshell: The slow carb diet is….

Low Carb — High Protein — Moderate Fat

III. Level Three: Standard Ketogenic Diet

Who is this for?

· people who have a lot of weight to lose or are obese

· people with certain health issues, primarily type 2 diabetes, PCOS, or a range of health problems caused by inflammation (joint pain, etc.)

· people that are insulin resistant and need to improve their metabolic health

· some information shows a relationship to improving endurance sports

The Basics:

There are many clinical, long term studies that are showing the benefits of a ketogenic diet for: type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsons, acne and more recently, cancer. The ketogenic diet is also rapidly becoming known as one of the more effective and sustainable ways to lose a lot of weight if one is obese or has a lot to lose.

A ketogenic approach involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat (moderate protein is allowed and is based on your level of exercise). The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens consistently over time, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy and you are considered a “fat-burner” rather than a sugar-burner”.

The initial stages of this diet are quite difficult however, as it requires getting carbs to a very low level, and keeping them there consistently (no cheat days on keto). That is an extremely challenging change for many people, and this way of eating is often more successful when people ease into it through a slow carb or low carb diet first.

Goal Metrics to track:

Typical percentages of macros on a ketogenic diet that includes moderate to intense exercise is often quoted as: 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs. The most important metric to track on MFP would be carbs, aiming for less than 30 grams carbs per day.

In a nutshell: The Standard Ketogenic Diet is…..

Very Low-Carb — Moderate Protein- High Fat

IV. Level Four: Cyclical Ketogenic Diet:

Who is it for?

· people that are willing to be meticulous in meal planning and very disciplined in compliance.

· People who travel a lot and find low-carb eating challenging while on the road;

· People with an active social life that cannot fit continuous low-carb eating into their lifestyle;

· People who experience prolonged negative side effects of a ketogenic diet. A cyclical diet may reduce some of these side effects through limited and scheduled carbohydrate intake;

· people that are bodybuilders or athletes tend to use this approach most effectively

The basics:

This diet involves periods of higher-carb or higher-calorie refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days. A nuanced approach to this cyclical keto diet is to target your higher carb days around intense workouts (aka the Targeted Ketogenic Diet).

A few details:

Like the keto diet and the slow carb diet, the fat loss premise revolves around hormones and the insulin response to sugars and carbohydrates.

Low-carb days keep insulin levels low, which means glucose isn’t taken up by cells and fat stores are used as energy instead of the preferred glucose. High-carb days cause insulin levels to spike which will prevent the body from adjusting to a lower metabolism that would accommodate a low carb or low calorie diet.

The very first thing you must know as you go about designing this type of diet program is that in order to see your best results, you should be doing your highest carb diets on the days you perform your hardest workout sessions (i.e., leg day or full-body workout day)

The second key is to understand FAT/CARB associations:

HIGH-FAT-HIGH-CARB is not part of any weight loss plan. It is bad for your health and your belly both.

LOW-FAT-LOW-CARB doesn’t work for sustainable fat loss or weight loss (you get too hungry);

This approach is all about balance, tracking and tweeking. Balancing a weekly calorie intake, balancing the high carb timing with your intense workouts, and balancing the macros against each other. Definitely the most complex form of a low carb approach, but if done right it can be quite effective and sustainable.

Goal metrics to track:

low carb days need to be under 30 grams carbs (ketogenic). All other metrics will vary based on the schedule of the individual and the intensity of the workouts. Intermittent fasting often fits into this regime following the refeed days.

In a nutshell: This approach needs to be customized. It is most effective for bodybuilders, athletes or people that like to experiment and get geeky with numbers.

Here are a few of the more popular protocols for a cyclic approach:

Weekend cycle: 5 days on a low-carb diet, then a 2-day high-calorie refeed.

Mini cycle: 11 days on a low-carb diet followed by a 3-day high-calorie refeed.

3 on, 1 off: A 3-week low-carb diet followed by a 5–7 day high-calorie refeed.

Monthly cycle: 4–5 weeks on a low-carb diet followed by a longer 10–14 day higher-calorie refeed


The amount of diet information out there is overwhelming. My focus is on low carb diet approaches because it helped me lose 35 pounds 5 years ago, it has been a sustainable lifestyle, and I have witnessed the efforts of 250 clients reach some degree of success.

The first key to success is to evaluate your lifestyle and decide where you might best fit on the continuum. The second key is to be clear on your true goals and tweek the plan as you go without losing sight of the goal.

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