Green veg noodles

noodles6
I whipped this up on a weeknight with just a few things I had in the pantry – and I was impressed how well the flavours worked together, and how easy it is to make. You can of course cut out the brown basmati rice noodles if you want to go low carb, and just add another zucchini in its place. Miso, tamari, chilli, onion, garlic, ginger, with a little sweetness from coconut sugar or honey and a touch of sesame oil – is friggin’ delish! Tamari is a wheat free soy sauce for those gluten free buddies, but if you’re not concerned about gluten you can go normal soy sauce. Try to use a good quality miso paste that is preferably organic and made with brown rice. Add in more green veg if you want – brussels sprouts, cabbage, sugar snap peas, snow peas, kale – whatever you fancy. I trust you will like this one. 

vegetarian, gluten free, low GI, can be made low carb

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon red miso paste
3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli paste, sauce, dried or fresh (to your taste)
1 teaspoon coconut sugar, honey or other sweetener
2 zucchini (courgettes)
100 grams brown basmati rice noodles
Head of a broccoli
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons coconut oil
Wedge of lime to serve
Handful of cashews per person to serve

TOAST, PEEL, SLICE, CHOP, GRATE, SPIRALISE, BOIL, HEAT, ADD, STIR FRY, DRAIN, ADD, MIX, TASTE, SERVE…
In a hot pan, toast the cashews for a couple of minutes, tossing often until fragrant and brown. Set aside.

Peel and finely slice the onion, peel and chop the garlic, and peel and chop or grate the ginger. Wash and spiralise (or julienne peel) the zucchini (courgettes) and finely chop the leftover core.

Get a pot of water boiling and add the washed and chopped broccoli and rice noodles. I also finely chop the stalk of the broccoli and throw it in the pot instead of throwing it away. Boil for no more than 5 minutes until just cooked while you get the stir fry going.

Heat up a pan or wok with the sesame and coconut oils. Add in the onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and stir fry for another couple of minutes. Add the zucchini (courgettes) including the chopped core and cook for a few minutes until softened.

Drain the water from the broccoli and noodles and add to the stir fry. Mix through with the miso paste, tamari sauce, chilli, and coconut sugar or honey. Taste for flavour and add in any more of anything it needs.

Serve with the roasted cashews and a wedge of lime.

noodles1

Low carb shopping list (and what to avoid)

Eating low carb most of the time really helps me manage my blood sugar levels. Here’s a little list to give you a basis of what foods to eat and which ones to avoid when you’re focusing on reducing your carbs.

FRUITS
Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) are all low in sugar and high in antioxidants and other goodies and are my favourite low carb fruits. Berries and Greek yoghurt is a common breakfast of mine when I’m eating low carb.
Lemons and limes are great and add lots of flavour to dishes such as stir fries or salads with avocado, and to low carb desserts such as key lime pie and lemon slice.
Avocado is my go-to in most salads. This wonderful fruit is high in fat, low in carbs, full of good things, and fill you right up. You can even make chocolate mousse with avocado, giving it a beautifully smooth texture.
Coconut, melon, plums, peaches, cherries and kiwi fruit are all medium in sugar so you can still enjoy but in moderation. Oranges, mandarins, watermelon, apples, pears, mangoes and pineapple are getting to the higher level of sugar but you can eat small amounts of these in moderation. Just try not to eat too much in one sitting. A few cherries with some yoghurt or a kiwifruit in your low carb granola is perfectly fine.
Grapes and bananas are high in sugar and I tend to avoid when I’m trying to eat low carb unless I need a sugar hit when by BGLs are low.
Avoid all dried fruits, including dates and raisins.

VEGETABLES
All non-starchy vegetables that grow above ground are great and should be eaten in abundance.
Some of my favourites are zucchini (courgette), eggplant (aubergine), capsicums (peppers), tomatoes (still confused about whether this is a fruit or vegetable), spinach, kale, all salad leaves, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, green beansChinese greens, artichokescelery, and asparagus.
Enjoy deli foods such as olives, grilled artichokes, roasted capsicum, and grilled eggplant.
Add lots of herbs to your dishes.
Pumpkin and carrots are fine in moderation but contain some carbs.
Even though below ground vegetables such as sweet potato, parsnip, potato, and beetroot are nutritious, be aware that they are also high in carbs.
Eat lots of hearty salads bulked up with protein and good fats. Enjoy courgetti with lots of different sauces such as pesto, tomato, creamy bacon and mushroom, or add to a ramen broth (without the noodles). Enjoy lots of healthy soups and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. Make roasted veggies and pasta-free lasagne made with zucchini slices. Puree cauliflower or grate to make into cauliflower rice to serve alongside stews.

FATS
Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil and macadamia nut oil are all good, healthy choices.
Fat from avocado and nuts are good. Throw in some nuts into a salad and cut up an avocado to go with your shaksuka.
You can eat cheese in any form if you can take dairy. Full fat Greek yoghurt is also good. Make a creamy salad dressing by mixing a few tablespoons of full fat Greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon juice and 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard. Choose full fat milk as skim milk is higher in lactose sugars, and cream is fine. Cream cheese and cottage cheese are good.
Some dips are good but not all – guacamole, tzatziki and babaganoush and all good but avoid hummus as chickpeas are high in carbs. Watch out for dips that have sunflower oil or canola (rapeseed oil) – these should be avoided. Try to find dips made with olive oil, or make your own.
All nuts are good in moderation, but we aware that cashews and pistachios are higher in carbs so should be eaten in smaller quantities. Nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter are all good and can be eaten on their own or added to baking as well as dishes such as low carb satay.

PROTEIN
Eggs, eggs, eggs. Make frittata, omelettes many ways, simple boiled eggs, fried eggs with bacon, tomato, mushrooms, spinach and avocado, bake an avocado half with an egg, or crack an egg into some leftover mince or veg chilli to make shakshuka.
All meats (try to eat organs as well) and fish.
Nuts also contain protein as does nut milk.
Avoid too many beans, legumes and peas as they are higher in carbs.

DRINKS
Tea, quality coffee (preferably black or with just a dash of cream or milk) and herbal tea are all good.
Lots of water.
Nut milks (unsweetened) and full fat milk.
For something fizzy go for soda water or sparkling mineral water with some slices of fresh lemon, lime, mint or cucumber. Or go for a glass of kombucha.
For alcoholic drinks, stick to spirits such as vodka or gin with soda and fresh lime, or wine (red or dry white), or prosecco/champagne. Tonic is high in sugar and should be avoided as is rum.
Avoid sugary drinks, including juices. It’s not often you can find even a low sugar green juice, unless it doesn’t contain any fruits such as apples (and most of them do).
Try to limit the amount of diets sodas you have. Even though they are low in carbs they are still not a healthy option. One every now and then won’t hurt but don’t make it a daily habit.

TREATS
If you are craving a little something while you’re on low carb, try some of these options:
Low carb bread or low carb seed crackers with some avocado, butter, sliced tomatoes, nut butter, or cheese…
70% or higher dark chocolate or good quality sugar free chocolate preferably sweetened with stevia.
Low carb and sugar free cookies, cakes, slices made with sweetener (erythritol, stevia, xylitol) and no flour.
Low carb ice cream.
Low carb pancakes or waffles.
Berries with cream or Greek yoghurt is a good go-to that’s quick and easy to whip up.
Beware of ‘no sugar added’ or ‘natural sweeteners only’ on health food labels as these usually have honey, maple syrup, agave, fruit sugars and usually flours added.

A NOTE ON BEANS, PEAS, LENTILS, GRAINS
Peas, beans, legumes, lentils are all still fairly high in carbs, even though they are healthy foods. Quinoa, oats, corn (maize) are still all fairly high in carbs. If I’m not being too strict I might still eat small amounts, such as some oats or quinoa or peas, but definitely not large bowls of it.

WHAT NOT TO HAVE
Chips/crisps
Chocolate (unless it is sugar free or 70% cocoa or more)
Confectionery
Soft drinks
Juice
Beer
Cocktails (usually quite high in sugar and fruit juices)
Bread in all varieties (unless it’s low carb bread you’ve made yourself)
Pastries, including pies, sausage rolls, croissants
Sugar – this includes honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar
Pasta
Rice
Honey, maple syrup, agave, and other ‘natural’ sweeteners

LOW CARB SUBSTITUTES
When you really, really feel like some toast or pizza or a stack of pancakes…
…you can generally always find a low carb alternative.
You can still eat low carb pizza (try fat head pizza, cauliflower pizza, or zucchini pizza).
Low carb tortillas and breads.
Low carb granola.
Coconut flour or almond flour pancakes. Keto waffles.
Burger without the bun. Or use a portobello mushroom or lettuce leaf instead.
Cakes, biscuits, slices, cheesecake, ice cream… you name it, you can find a low carb version.
Google is your friend. There is a whole low carb community out there and plenty of amazing food bloggers sharing some pretty damn good recipes. Go searching and make yourself an amazing low carb, sugar free carrot cake with lashings of cream cheese frosting before you sink your teeth into that ungratifying, sugar laden, disgusting donut.

 

Low carb zucchini fritters

zucchini2
These are versatile little bites to have on their own as an entree or as a light meal with a salad. I’ve served mine here with creamy guacamole. They also work well paired with a creamy tzatziki or a herby cream cheese with smoked salmon.

zucchini5low carb, gluten free, vegetarian

MAKES ABOUT 10

INGREDIENTS
2 zucchini (courgettes)
1/2 cup almond meal
1 egg
Good pinch of salt
Dash of pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs
Olive oil or coconut oil for frying

GRATE, SPRINKLE, SQUEEZE, ADD, MIX, HEAT, SCOOP, FLATTEN, FRY…
Grate the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as you can to avoid the mix from being too wet. Add the egg, almond meal, chopped herbs and a pinch of pepper. Mix well to combine.

Heat a pan with a little oil. Scoop a tablespoon of mixture and flatten out with your hands. Fry for a few minutes until golden, then flip and fry the other side. If they don’t stick together well, try to squeeze out more moisture and add in a little more almond meal.

Pesto courgetti

pesto7
There are so many recipes out there for pesto, and I admit that this one is from Jamie Oliver. It is foolproof and uses only fresh ingredients. I love the freshness of pesto with healthy courgetti. Use your own judgement with the olive oil. I pour it in until it reaches the consistency I like, which can be anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup. You can either use a mini food processor or pound everything up in a mortar and pestle. You can store the pesto in the fridge for up to a week if you don’t use it all up in one go. 

low carb, gluten free, vegetarian, keto

INGREDIENTS
3 handfuls of fresh basil
1 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/2 clove of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 zucchini (courgette) per person

BLEND, ADD, GRATE, STIR, SPIRALISE…
Peel and mince or dice up the garlic. Blend the basil leaves and the garlic together. Add the pine nuts and blend. Grate the parmesan in, add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice (optional), and stir in the olive oil.

Spiralise the courgetti. Heat a large pan with a splash of olive oil and cook in the pan for about 7 minutes until softened.

Stir the pesto through the courgetti and serve.

pesto2

Low carb chocolate brownies

brownie1
These are very delicious and easy to make. They are moist and moorish and pair very well with some cream or low carb ice cream and fresh berries. Ideally serve this warmed so the chocolate bits melt. 

sugar free, gluten free, low carb

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of almond meal
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Black’s)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup xylitol or other sweetener of your choice such as stevia* (see note below)
2 eggs
6 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of butter
A few squares of dark chocolate, chopped (I used 4 squares of Lindt 70% cocoa)

MIX, MELT, STIR, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a sheet pan or lamington tin with baking paper.

Mix the almond meal, cocoa powder, sweetener and baking powder together. Melt the butter. Stir the eggs into the dry mix, then stir in the butter and mix well. Stir in the chopped chocolate bits.

Pour into the baking tin and spread out with a knife. Bake for 20 minutes until just set.

Allow to cool slightly, then serve with some cream or low carb ice cream and berries. You can warm it up again later, or enjoy it as it is at room temperature.

*NOTE ABOUT SWEETENERS: Always taste the raw mix for sweetness and adjust according to your taste. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol derived from the birch tree that has close to zero carbs and doesn’t spike sugar levels. It has the same sweetness as sugar so you can use the quantity like for like. Stevia is a natural sweetener from the stevia leaf that has no impact on blood sugar. It has a high concentration of sweetness so you don’t need to use as much as other sweeteners. These are my sweeteners of choice because they are natural and have no impact on blood sugar levels for me.

Low carb carrot cake

carrot cake
Carrot cake is one of those cakes that I find really hard to resist when I see it on the counter at a cafe, topped high with cream cheese frosting with crushed walnuts. I often resist ordering a slice because it is absolutely packed with sugar and wheat flour, but I can make this healthier option when I get home. I came across this low carb carrot cake on Ditch the Carbs and I haven’t looked back. It’s a really delicious healthy alternative that’s low carb, gluten free, sugar free, and packed with healthy carrots.

low carb, sugar free, gluten free

MAKES ONE CAKE

INGREDIENTS
200 grams butter or coconut oil, melted
5 eggs
3 cups of grated carrot (approx 6 carrots)
4 tablespoons xylitol (or stevia or other sweetener of your choice)* (see note below)
4 carrots
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, broken in your hands

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1 cup of cream cheese
1 tablespoon xylitol or stevia (to taste)* (see note below)
Juice or zest of 1/2 a lemon, orange or lime
Handful of crushed walnuts for the top

*NOTE: Always taste the raw mix for sweetness and adjust according to your taste. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol derived from the birch tree that has close to zero carbs and doesn’t spike sugar levels, but it still has calories. It has the same sweetness as sugar so you can use the quantity like for like. Stevia is a natural sweetener from the stevia leaf that has no impact on blood sugar. It has a high concentration of sweetness so you don’t need to use as much as other sweeteners.

PEEL, GRATE, MEASURE, BEAT, STIR, MIX, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a sheet pan or lamington tin with baking paper. Peel and grate the carrots, and set aside. Measure out the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter/coconut oil, allow to cool slightly then beat with the eggs, vanilla extract and stevia. Mix in the carrots, almond meal, baking powder, spices and walnuts until well combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, until a fork inserted comes out clean.

To make the cream cheese frosting, mix the cream cheese with the sweetener and citrus juice or zest.

Top the cooled cake with lashings of the cream cheese frosting and with a handful of broken up walnuts.

 

Low carb shirataki noodle stir fry

shiritaki2
So what are shiritaki noodles? They are traditional Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam, and they are naturally completely low carb. They are 97% water and the rest fibre. They make such a great alternative to noodles for a diabetic because they have no impact on blood sugar levels. Shirataki means ‘white waterfall’ which alludes to the translucent appearance of this type of noodle. They are gluten free, have near zero calories, and don’t spike blood sugar levels.

It’s really important to prepare the noodles before you add them to the stir fry. Follow these steps and you won’t be disappointed. First, give them a good rinse under running tap water, then boil them in a saucepan of water for a couple of minutes, then stir fry them for about 10 minutes without any oil or liquid before adding them to your stir fry. This is really essential for two reasons. Firstly, they have a slightly pungent smell when you first open the packet, so the rinsing and boiling helps to remove that. Secondly, you also need to remove as much liquid as possible to improve the texture, which is where the stir fry helps to remove the excess moisture. This little bit of pre-work will make all the difference to how your noodles taste and how nice the texture is.

To prepare the noodles: Rinse well, then place the noodles in a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and stir fry without any liquid or oil for about 10 minutes, tossing them often, making sure to not dry them out completely. They are then ready to add to your stir fry. 

I’ve used a simple soy, ginger, garlic, chilli combination with some fresh coriander, but you can of course get creative with whatever noodle sauce you like. You can make pad thai, Singapore noodles, dan dan noodles, and so much more. 

INGREDIENTS
1 packet of shirataki noodles
2 cups of mixed, chopped vegetables (I used broccoli, carrot, zucchini (courgette), capsicum (pepper) and bok choi)
1 red onion or 3 spring onions
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Black pepper to taste
Chilli to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Bunch of fresh coriander

RINSE, BOIL, STIR FRY, CHOP, PEEL, MINCE, GRATE, SLICE, HEAT, FRY, ADD, STIR…
To prepare the noodles, rinse them well in a sieve under running tap water. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Then rinse well. Stir fry them for about 10 minutes to remove as much water as possible without drying them out. Set aside until you are ready to add them to the stir fry.

Chop the veggies up. Peel and mince the garlic, peel and finely grate the ginger, and peel and slice the onions.

Heat a splash of sesame oil in a wok or pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for a minute until fragrant. Add in the chopped veggies and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the soy sauce, chilli and pepper and stir fry until cooked through. Stir the noodles through. Taste for flavour and adjust as needed. Top with some chopped fresh coriander if you like.

shiritaki

Salmon miso courgetti ramen

salmonmiso
This is so healthy and really satisfying when you feel like some ramen soup. The salmon adds some healthy fats and protein for a full rounded meal.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
A thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in a cup of boiled water (or a cup of liquid stock)
2 tablespoons of miso paste (red or yellow)
1 zucchini (courgette)
A handful of Chinese greens, such as bok choi, gai lan or choy sum (or spinach)
A fillet of salmon
Fresh or dried chilli, to taste (optional)
Fresh coriander, to serve (optional)
Slice of fresh lime (optional)
1 spring onion, slice (optional)

SLICE, MINCE, GRATE, HEAT, SAUTE, ADD, DISSOLVE, JULIENNE, ADD, SIMMER, STIR, ASSEMBLE…
Peel and thinly slice the red onion, peel and finely mince the garlic, and peel and finely grate the ginger. Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan and saute the onion for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the soy sauce, cooking for a further minute or so.

Dissolve the stock cube in a cup of boiled water if you aren’t using liquid stock. Add the cup of stock to the saucepan with another 2 cups of boiled water. Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavours develop.

In the meantime, heat a pan with a little olive oil and cook the salmon on each side, starting with the skin side down. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper. It should cook in about 10 minutes, depending on how rare or well done you like it, as well as how big or small the piece of salmon is.

Using a julienne peeler or spiraliser, make the zucchini noodles. Add to the broth with the greens and simmer for 5 minutes.

Dissolve the miso paste in a cup of boiled water. Stir into the soup and turn the heat off so the miso doesn’t come to a boil.

Assemble the soup in bowls, adding the salmon, fresh coriander, and chilli on top. Add a little extra soy sauce if you want it saltier. Enjoy!

Cauliflower cheese with bacon

cauli 2
This has to be one of the most amazing things in the world when you’re on a low carb diet. Pair it with a medium-rare rib eye and it’s probably the most delicious dinners out. Maybe flick on some greens on the side to make this a more balanced meal. It’s also very easy to whip up, and is low carb and high fat to keep you full and satisfied without blood sugar spikes, as well as gluten free and full of veg. You can leave out the bacon if you’re going veg or just want to cut down on the amount of saturated fats in this; but trust me, the bacon flavour makes all the difference. 

INGREDIENTS
1 cauliflower
1 cup of cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
4 rashers of bacon (optional)

CHOP, BOIL, DICE, PEEL, CRUSH, FRY, ADD, POUR, COAT, TASTE, BAKE, SERVE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Get out a baking dish and set aside.

Wash and chop up the cauliflower into florets and boil/steam in a pot with a little boiling water at the bottom for about 5-10 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, dice up the bacon and peel the garlic. Fry the bacon in its own fat until crispy. Crush and add the garlic when the bacon is nearly done and cook for a minute. Turn down the heat and add in the cream, cheese, mustard and pepper. Stir through and turn off the heat.

Pour over the cauliflower and coat well. Taste for flavour and add salt and pepper as needed. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley if you like, or serve as it is. Can be enjoyed on its own or on the side of some meat or veg.

cauli mac and cheese

Bacon and egg bites

baconeggbite

Very easy to make for breakfast the night before so you’re ready to go in the morning. It’s a simple and easy way to eat bacon and eggs, and a high protein, low carb way to start the day.

MAKES 6

INGREDIENTS
6 rashers of bacon
6 eggs
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh herbs (optional)

WRAP, CRISP, CRACK, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and get a muffin tin out. Very lightly grease the tin with a little butter or coconut oil. Wrap the bacon on the inside of each muffin tin. Place in the oven to crisp up the bacon a bit for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and crack in an egg in each muffin hole. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some chopped herbs of your choice.