LCHF Snickerdoodles for the Win

So I’m not gonna lie–sticking to my ketogenic diet has been no small exercise in willpower. I have a pretty intense sweet tooth and a love of all baked goods, so not eating bread, pastries, and cookies has been the biggest challenge. 

That being said, this weekend the sugar cravings hit me so hard that my choice was to throw my body out of ketosis with a “cheat”–granted, this is not the end of the world as it only takes two days or so to get back into ketosis–or simply come up with a recipe for a cookie that will satisfy my carb cravings without all the carbs.

Thus my Low Carb High Fat Snickerdoodle was born!

This little cookie is vegan, gluten free, and packed full of healthy fats making it a totally satisfying “fat bomb” for when sugar cravings hit.

Stay posted, because I’m working on a slightly lower carb version that is not vegan…

**Important note: These cookies are much lower in carbs than a regular snickerdoodle; however, according to the My Fitness Pal app, each cookie (approximately 1 tbsp)  has approximately 6.5 g of carbs–so think of it like the special treat it is! 

LCHF Snickerdoodles 

36 cookies

Recipe:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup arrowroot powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt 

1/2 cup Swerve confectioners sugar (or erythritol)

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp vanilla extract

4-6 tbsp water

1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (reserve 1 tsp for coating)

1-2 tsp Swerve granulated sugar (for coating)

Preheat oven to 350° F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. I like to use silicone baking mats.

Combine almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. 

Add in confectioners sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

In another bowl, combine vanilla and coconut oil and 3 to 4 tbsp water. Coconut oil should be liquid.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. If you notice your dough is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining cinnamon and Swerve granulated sugar.

Using your hands, shape the dough into small balls, approximately 1 tablespoon of dough per ball. Roll each ball in the cinnamon and Swerve mixture, then press flat and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 8-11 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Recipe makes 36 cookies.

Stuffed Cabbage: Low Carb High Fat and 2017

I haven’t been writing a whole lot for myself lately, but in 2017 that is going to change. I’ve resolved to not only eat healthier, move more, but to also chronicle the whole process through photos and recipes.

 To kick off the year, here is my recipe for a very low carb, high fat version of stuffed cabbage that not only tastes incredible, but you can feel good eating it!

These stuffed cabbage rolls take about an hour to prepare–from prep to cook, but all that work will be well worth it, trust me.

Stuffed Cabbage Serves 6

Sauce:

1 15oz can of organic diced tomatoes 

1 15oz can of organic tomato sauce

2 tbsp organic tomato paste

1 cup (homemade) bone broth or stock

1/2 cup red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tsp taragon

1/4 tsp celery seed 

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium non-reactive saucepan, heat olive oil and sautee onions and garlic until aromatic.

2. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, stock  and seasonings and let simmer while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 large head of cabbage

1 lb (not so lean) ground beef

1/2 lb spicy Italian chicken sausage 

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced

2 stalks celery, diced 

1/4 cup chopped parsley 

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp marjoram

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream (optional)  

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the cabbage by removing the stalk. In a large pot, steam the entire head of cabbage until the leaves peel off easily.

2.Brown the ground beef and sausage, in a large skillet. 

3. When the meat is cooked through, add in the mushrooms, celery, cinnamon, marjoram, and salt and pepper. 

4. Prepare your large casserole dish or baking dish by spreading out a layer of the steamed outer cabbage leaves and then coat with sauce.

5. Peel apart the cabbage leaves and stack them up, ready to roll up. 

6. Scoop about a 1/2 cup of meat filling onto each cabbage leaf and roll tightly into a little burrito-like package. Transfer each roll into the baking dish, squeezing them in there.

7. Cover the rolls with the remaining sauce and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes (to finish cooking the cabbage and meld the flavors).

8. Serve with sour cream, and voila!

Writing About Working Out

One of the more fantastic aspects of my job as the writer and editor of the DOGPOUND blog is that I have the opportunity to learn and write about fitness techniques and trends. I get to use my experience as a researcher to mine the internet, scholarly journals, and assorted literature for information about the human body and how strength training and fitness can improve quality of life, and then I get to apply my newfound knowledge to my own life.

This is important.

I don’t really want to get into my own story here–maybe another time–but suffice it to say that since I started working with the DOGPOUND, I’ve lost 50 lbs. I’ve gained a huge understanding of body mechanics, nutrition, and fitness, and I believe my mindset is healthier.

The DOGPOUND is more than just a gym. It’s more than boxing classes, more than working out with a trainer, more than a destination to get your sweat on. What I’ve learned as a part of this incredible team is that the DOGPOUND is a lifestyle rooted in healthy attitudes and positivity.

The actual gym location is in New York City, so as a resident of the greater Los Angeles area, I don’t have many opportunities to visit the brick-and-mortar hot spot popularized by Victoria’s Secret Models, pop-music superstars, Olympic athletes, famous actors and photographers. But I do get to work with the founders, trainers, and clients to pick their brains about what the DOGPOUND is all about–what fitness means to them. I get to talk to these hard-working, friendly, and oh-so-supportive  team members about all the ways fitness can change your life.

Going to the gym is a tiny part of living well. In all honesty, it’s almost non-essential. Gym memberships are expensive. They require commuting. They lack privacy. Sometimes they are crowded. Or noisy. Or smelly. Sometimes working out in your own living room or garage is less stressful.

That being said, finding a gym that is more of a community than just a place to  pump iron is so rewarding. A gym where everyone there has the same goal: to be the best version of them self they possibly can. The fact that every employee is ready and willing to get you there is something special.

The DOGPOUND is about living well, working hard, and reaching your goals.

But not alone.

It takes a community to lose weight and keep it off. It takes a support network to feel safe, comfortable, and powerful. It takes motivation to be your best, and then work even harder to be better than even that.

The DOGPOUND is about being fierce. Strong. Smashing it.

But it also is about feeling comfortable in your own skin and not being judged. It’s about building skills, learning new techniques, new routines, and exceeding expectations.

So, while I live on the other side of the country, and I don’t work out a lot in the DOGPOUND gym, I am working my butt off to live the lifestyle.

This month on the DOGPOUND blog I wrote about why proper form is crucial to working out safely, especially when lifting weights. Check it out.

Photos Courtesy of the DOGPOUND/Nigel Barker

 

 

Importance of BMR for Weight Management

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Image: Huntington Post 

My latest post for the Dogpound Blog was all about BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. I wanted to address some of the ways BMR affects our overall metabolism and what we can do to increase that number. Read the orginal article below (or go straight to the Dogpound Blog to read it there):

HERE AT THE DOGPOUND WE CARRY HEAVY THINGS. WE HIT THE GIANT TIRE WITH HAMMERS. WE SMASH. WE SWEAT. WE PRESS. WE DEADLIFT. STRENGTH TRAINING IS A HUGE PART OF WHAT WE DO.

SURE, WE LIFT BECAUSE WE LOVE TO SEE OUR MUSCLES RIPPLE IN THE MIRROR. AND WE LOVE THE FEELING OF BEING SO STRONG THERE ISN’T A JAR ON EARTH WE STRUGGLE TO OPEN.

BUT THERE IS ANOTHER BENEFIT TO STRENGTH TRAINING: RAISING BMR.

WHAT IS BMR?

BMR STANDS FOR “BASAL METABOLIC RATE” AND IS THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY YOU EXPEND WHEN YOU AREN’T DOING ANYTHING AT ALL. BASICALLY, THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY YOU USE WHEN YOU SPEND THE ENTIRE DAY SIMPLY LYING IN BED, NOT EATING, NOT MOVING, AND NOT USING YOUR BODY IN ANY CONSCIOUS WAY.

THIS ENERGY, IN THE FORM OF CALORIES, IS WHAT YOUR BODY USES TO BREATHE, PUMP BLOOD, BLINK, CONTROL BODY TEMPERATURE, MAKE NEW CELLS, AND SUPPORT THE BRAIN, NERVES, AND MUSCLES. IN FACT,BMR CONSTITUTES THE MAJORITY OF YOUR DAILY CALORIC BURN, MAKING UP ABOUT 70% OF YOUR TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE, OR TDEE. THE HIGHER THE BMR, THE MORE ENERGY YOUR BODY BURNS.

WHILE YOUR BMR DOES DEPEND ON YOUR GENETICS, SEX AND AGE, AND THERE ISN’T A WHOLE LOT YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE THOSE THINGS, THERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT CAN INCREASE YOUR NUMBER.

WHY KNOWING YOUR BMR IS IMPORTANT:

WHETHER YOUR GOALS ARE TO LOSE WEIGHT (DECREASE BODY FAT), GAIN WEIGHT (GAIN LEAN MUSCLE MASS), OR SIMPLY STAY THE SAME (MAINTAIN WEIGHT), KNOWING YOUR BMR CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE THEM. IF YOU FIND THAT DESPITE EXERCISING, EATING WELL, AND HAVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE YOU HAVE PLATEAUED IN YOUR WEIGHT GOALS, BMR MIGHT PROVIDE YOU (AND YOUR TRAINERS) A CLUE TOWARD FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU CAN DO DIFFERENTLY.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF WEBSITES THAT OFFER INFORMATION ON HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BMR SUCH ASTHIS ONEFROM OUR FRIENDS AT DAILY BURN. ONCE YOU KNOW YOUR NUMBER, WORK ON MAKING IT BIGGER!

WAYS TO INCREASE BMR:

  1. STRENGTH TRAINING: BUILD MORE MUSCLE MASS

STRENGTH TRAINING IS A GREAT WAY TO INCREASE BMR.MUSCLE CELLS BURN ENERGY MORE EFFICIENTLYTHAN FAT CELLS, EVEN WHEN AT REST, SO HAVING HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF MUSCLE TO FAT WILL MAKE YOUR BODY BURN CALORIES MORE EFFICIENTLY. EVEN WHEN RESTING MUSCLES DON’T SEEM LIKE THEY ARE DOING ANYTHING, THEY ARE HELPING TO BURN CALORIES.

STRENGTH TRAINING BECOMES ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT AS YOU AGE.A STUDY PUBLISHED IN 1998 BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR NUTRITIONAL SERVICESFOUND THAT THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE NEW MUSCLE PROTEIN STARTS TO DIMINISH AT AS EARLY AS 50 YEARS. COMBAT THIS BY CREATING A REGULAR FITNESS ROUTINE THAT INCLUDES WEIGHTS AND STRENGTH TRAINING. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SET THE CLOCK BACK, BUT YOU CAN DEFINITELY SLOW IT DOWN.

  1. CALORIE CONSUMPTION: SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT SEEM TO HAVE A VERY SLOW METABOLISM, WHERE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A MUFFIN SIDEWAYS YOU GAIN 15 POUNDS, YOU’RE IN LUCK! YOUR METABOLISM ISEXTREMELY EFFICIENT. YOUR BODY USES LESS ENERGY TO FUNCTION.

IF YOUR BODY USES LESS ENERGY, IT NEEDS LESS ENERGY MAKING MATERIALS. NAMELY, FOOD.

WAY BACK IN THE DAY, WHEN HUMANS WERE A PREDOMINATELY HUNTER/GATHERER SPECIES, FOOD WAS SCARCE. FOR THE FOLKS WHO HAD SLOWER METABOLISMS, FOOD TOOK MUCH LONGER TO DIGEST. THEIR BODIES SPENT LESS ENERGY TO PERFORM REQUIRED FUNCTIONS (LIKE CHASING MAMMOTHS OR RUNNING FROM LIONS, PROBABLY). THIS WAS A GREAT ADVANTAGE SINCE THEY NEEDED LESS FOOD AND THERE WASN’T A WHOLE LOT OF FOOD TO GO AROUND. HUMANS WITH FASTER METABOLISMS DIGESTED QUICKLY. THEY NEEDED MORE ENERGY TO MAINTAIN THEIR REGULAR BODILY FUNCTIONS. THEY WERE HUNGRY ALL THE TIME.

NOW, THOUGH, WE HAVE MORE RESOURCES HERE IN THE US THAN WE KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH. THOSE SLOW METABOLISMS THAT WERE SO BENEFICIAL TO OUR ANCIENT ANCESTORS ARE A GIANT PAIN IN THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT TO US IN THE MODERN AGE. WE HAVE SO MUCH FOOD IN FRONT OF US ON A DAILY BASIS, THAT WHEN WE EAT EVERYTHING, OUR BODIES CAN’T KEEP UP THE BURN.

OUR BODIES NATURALLY HOARD ENERGY.

THE EXTRA CALORIES WE EAT BUT DON’T BURN ARE CONVERTED INTO STORED ENERGY. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY BECOME FAT CELLS. YOU KNOW, FOR JUST IN CASE ALL THE FOOD DISAPPEARS.

WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT, TAKE INTO ACCOUNT YOUR ACTIVITY LEVELS. CALCULATE YOUR ACTIVE METABOLIC RATE, THE TDEE (TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE), BY ADDING THE CALORIES YOU BURN DURING EXERCISE TO YOUR BMR. THEN, SUBTRACT APPROXIMATELY 500 CALORIES. THIS WILL GIVE YOU A PRETTY GOOD ESTIMATE FOR HOW MANY CALORIES YOU SHOULD BE EATING IN ORDER TO LOSE WEIGHT.

  1. INCREASE CALORIE BURN: JUMPSTART YOUR METABOLISM WITH NUTRITION

WHILE IT MAY SEEM LIKE RESTRICTING YOUR DIET AND EATING VERY LITTLE WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO WEIGHT LOSS, IT ACTUALLY IS THE OPPOSITE.

WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT WHEN HUMAN BEINGS ARE PRESENTED WITH TOO FEW CALORIES, OUR BODIES GO INTO STARVATION MODE. (REMEMBER OUR HUNTER GATHERER ANCESTORS.) OUR METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY TO FUNCTION–SOMETIMES SLOWING IT UP TO 30%. WHEN EVEN THAT ISN’T ENOUGH, OUR BODIES START TO BURN THE SECOND BEST ENERGY SOURCE AFTER FOOD: MUSCLES.

BURNING YOUR MUSCLES LOWERS YOUR BMR, WHICH IN TURN LOWERS YOUR TDEE, WHICH MEANS YOU DON’T USE AS MUCH ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE DAY. YOUR METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN. YOU SEE HOW THIS WORKS?

EATING CERTAIN FOODS CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM. PROTEIN, FOR EXAMPLE, TAKES MORE ENERGY TO DIGEST THAN FATS OR CARBOHYDRATES, AND ALSO HELPS YOUR MUSCLES GROW AND RECOVER AFTER A WORKOUT. COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES HIGH IN FIBER, SUCH AS VEGETABLES, BEANS OR BROWN RICE, ALSO TAKE LONGER TO DIGEST, INCREASING YOUR TDEE OR OVERALL CALORIE BURN THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

THE GOAL IS TO GET YOUR BODY TO BURN ITS OWN ENERGY STORES.

EATING ENOUGH CALORIES–NOT TOO FEW AND NOT TOO MANY–AND CHOOSING FOODS THAT TAKE LONGER TO DIGEST WILL GIVE YOUR METABOLISM A LITTLE BOOST, HELPING WITH YOUR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT ROUTINE AND MAKE SURE YOUR BMR DOESN’T SLOW TO A SNAIL’S PACE.”

RESOURCES:

JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF SPORTS NUTRITION: METABOLIC ADAPTATION TO WEIGHTLOSS

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BMR FROM DAILY BURN

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: EFFECT OF STRENGTH TRAINING ON RESTING METABOLIC RATE

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS: BREAKING DOWN YOUR METABOLISM

ESSAYS IN BIOCHEMISTY: IMPROVING MUSCLE MASS

UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO: RESISTANCE TRAINING

UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO: CONTROVERSIES IN METABOLISM

UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO: EXERCISE AFTERBURN

Featured Image: the Dogpound Gym/Nigel Barker

Article Re-published with Permission from The Dogpound

Try Some of These Recipes for Your Memorial Day Barbecue

Having a barbecue this Memorial Day? At a loss for what to cook for your friends and family? Don’t worry, because this unforgettable list for eHow.com has got you covered with some fantastic dishes that will not only taste delicious, but will have everyone you know clamoring for the recipe.

It is not easy to cook for a crowd. Knowing how much to make so that you have enough to feed everyone, timing all of the dishes so nothing that is supposed to be hot is served cold, and figuring out if there is enough room on the grill for everything are challenges even the most veteran cooks sometimes struggle with.

The list includes recipes for classic barbecue staples like chicken drumsticks, steak, and ribs, but also has oven baked items like turkey burgers, corn on the cob and even slow cooker pulled pork.

Check it out here, or head over to eHow.com and look for “How to Create an Unforgettable Memorial Day Feast.” Your taste buds will thank you!

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(Image: eHow.com)

Fitness Goes Beyond Weightloss

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(Photo: Courtesy of Dogpound)

As the lead content writer for the Dogpound, an amazing up-and-coming gym in New York City, I have found myself in the unique position of studying and researching subjects about which I previously had only a superficial knowledge.

Fitness, health, and nutrition are so important. I can honestly say that I’ve learned an incredible amount, not only from the hours of research I do for each article, but from working with the incredible team at the Dogpound. These guys are phenomenal trainers, nutritionists, boxers, and all around unbelievable human beings.

On latest article, published in Downtown Magazine NYC, I worked with Dogpound CEO and Founder Kirk Myers to share just a handful of the hundreds of benefits there are to working out that go far beyond what we can see.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Kirk Myers/Downtown Magazine NYC)

Working out not only affects our mood, our happiness, our quality of sleep, but it prevents heart disease, positively impacts cholesterol levels, and even changes our DNA so that we age slower. (Who wouldn’t want to age slower?!)

To learn more ways fitness benefits us, check out the Dogpound Blog or go directly to the article “10 Fitness Benefits That Go Way Beyond Weight Loss.”

 

Why Give In To Peanut Butter Cravings

My first article as a contributor for eHow.com was a collection of reasons to give in to peanut butter cravings–and all of them delicious.

Each recipe listed is vegan, many are gluten free, and all of them are so easy to make you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of them yourself. I wish I had! My personal favorites are the crispy peanut butter bars–if you skip the chocolate topping, they are so easy to make it’s crazy. And really, who doesn’t absolutely need a peanut butter cookie recipe in their baking arsenal? Especially one that has only four ingredients!

I would be very surprised if you mouth isn’t watering by the time you finish reading the article.

Read it HERE

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(Image: eHow)

Chocolate Chia Pudding–for Breakfast!

A new post just hit the Dogpound blog! Chocolate chia pudding. Vegan, packed full of nutrients and healthy goodies and, of course, CHOCOLATE.

The perfect quick and easy breakfast treat. Make the night before and let set in the fridge. Perfect before a workout to provide a boost of energy, or even just because we all deserve something sweet.

Check out the full recipe on the Dogpound Blog!

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Vegetarian Mujadara with a Fried Egg

wp-1453656343828.jpgWho wouldn’t want to fill up on a warm, comforting bowl of rice and lentils? Nothing hits the spot on a cold day like cozy and somewhat spicy food.

This recipe was adapted from several I have seen, although my favorite was posted on The Kitchn (perhaps my favorite website dedicated to all things cooking). I changed a few things to fit my particular comfort food needs, but the ratios are about the same.

Mujadara (serves 4)

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (more if needed)
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup green lentils
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of red pepper flakes
1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 eggs

Boil the broth in a large saucepan and add in lentils and rice. Cover and cook, simmering on low heat for approximately 40 minutes or until both lentils and rice are soft. If you need to, add more broth to prevent the mixture from drying out.

While the rice and lentils are cooking, sauté the onions in 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook them on low for about 20 to 30 minutes to caramelize. I like to turn up the heat at the end to crisp up some of the onions for a sweet and crunchy combo.

When the lentils and rice are cooked, add in about half of the onions, and stir in salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper flakes, garlic and parsley, reserving some parsley for garnish if you wish.

Fry the eggs in the rest of the oil to serve on top of the Mujadara with the remaining grilled onions.

I serve this with a good sized dollop of harissa, but it is awesome as is.