Setting the Macros on Carb Manager

Confused about your macros? You are SO not alone! If you’ve just started out on Carb Manager and have found your macros are just not right, resetting them is easy. In this walk through, I’ll show you how to re-set your macros. This is a follow-on for an earlier Carb Manager walkthrough for setting up a brand new account.

Confused about Macros? You’re Not Alone

I think the Dirty, Lazy Keto group has fielded about 100 requests for help with setting Macros, and about a dozen of them have been related to Carb Manager — at least! The confusion is about the formula for figuring out how much you should eat each day.

The confusion has to do with protein.

Most keto doctors advice that we eat enough protein to sustain your body mass. This means you take your weight in pounds, you multiply that by .36 and that’s your ABSOLUTE minimum for protein for the day. You can go beyond that, but don’t go below. At the high end, multiply your weight by .7 for the most protein you should have (the upper limit). Carb Manager should calculate this for you, but you can check that number to see if it’s right.

At the very least, you should know what that number is so that you meet your minimum grams of protein.

If you weigh, say, 225 lbs, that number would be: 81 grams
If you weigh 194 lbs, that number would be a little over 70 grams.

The maximum amount of protein is your body weight in pounds, multipled by .7:

So if you weigh 225 lbs, that number would be 157.7
If you weigh 194, that would be 135.8

Let’s say we (cough) weigh 225 pounds like someone-very-close-to me (ahem). But for some reason, my carb manager is giving me too much protein.

Re-Setting the Carb Manager Settings

I had my macros set for Low Carb. We’re going to fix them. First in Carb Manager you’ll see a sidebar with choices for what to access. We want to access Settings– at the bottom

The screen changes to something like this — with lots more below it but what interests us is the TOP of the screen. We are interested in two settings: the “My Profile” setting and the Macros setting.   These are found in the two “tabs” at the top of the screen, as shown below:

Changing Your Weight

Because ahem, SOMEONE didn’t put in their current weight, the macros calculated by Carb Manager are off. We first have to correct this. We click on the first tab, My Profile.

The current weight SHOULD be 225 in this case.

We simply edit the wrong number (Start Weight) and also (Current Weight). Then after we’ve entered this, we click on the next tab over, the Macros setting. Here I find my settings are not on Ketogenic, but on Low Carb High Fat. And all my macros are wrong. Sigh.

So first we fix the Carbs: Protein : Fat Ratio

But that’s a bit LOW. On everything. I can adjust the sliders from here to where I want it to be —JUST by changing the PROTEIN slider. But then we’ll see everything else change.

While I was at it, I also set the calculator to have me lose one pound a week. Now it gives me a calorie budget. However, I note that the protein is way too low.

I know that I need at least 81 grams of protein daily. A little more than that wouldn’t be a bad idea. So I just change the protein slider so that I get exactly what I want. Because we are set on ketogenic, the other sliders will move as I move the protein slider up or down to maintain those constant ratios.

I could leave that there and JUST ACCEPT that and go with it. But MOTHER OF MERCY, I am not ready for a ketogenic 20 grams a day MAX. At least not in my head.

Instead I want to set a CUSTOM setting. Instead of choosing Ketogenic, I choose Custom: Grams

Note that I entered 83 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs (to give me a little room), and the same grams of fat (122) from the ketogenic settings. Because this is how I roll. Mentally, I will be able to work for to keep my carbs between 20 and 30 — which is what I can currently manage with some care. It’s not the perfect formula –but it’s what works FOR ME.

Hit the APPLY button and you’re ready to go.

More soon–Hope this is helpful.

~ Lola

Keto Tuna Muffins!

When I was a girl, my mom would make that 1970s ladies’ magazine classic, “salmon croquettes.” Kind of like a poor man’s crab cake, this dish used the newly available ingredient, canned salmon. This tuna muffin recipe made me think of it. I snatched it out of my Facebook group.

Super-easy and it was getting rave reviews! Of course, I cannot leave a recipe like this ALONE.

First I substituted half a small avocado, mashed, for the mayo.

And then, I added a tablespoon of dijon mustard to give it all a little kick.

Finally I ditched the salt and instead incorporated pre-cooked BACON to provide the salty element, and a tablespoon of chopped in onion for a bit of extra acidity.

I used Trader Joe’s “Fiesta” cheese, a three cheese blend. And it was lovely.

I used cupcake liners in the muffin tin to make them a bit easier to handle.

The next level of this would be to substitute canned salmon for the tuna. Since everyone is looking for some easy meals to whip up for lunches and super-quick dinners, this one fills the bill nicely. The whole recipe has 8 net carbs! Divided into five muffins as I did, that’s about 3 carbs per muffin. I only used 1 egg in this and it held together fairly well, but I think it needs a bit more tweaking to get the flavor up and the carbs down. This would be good with a fresh green salad.

Once again. I ate the evidence. 🙂 When I move to the salmon version, I’ll post pics.

Cheers, Lola

Keto Tricks to Good Mashed Cauliflower

Potatoes are my kryptonite. Finding a good substitute for mashed potatoes is not enough! I need an excellent one. Like keto baking, getting riced cauliflower right requires some experience–and some tricks. After scanning many recipes, I experimented in making a single serving of mashed cauliflower to try out these techniques.

The Olden Days Before You Could Buy Riced Cauliflower

I remember having my first serving of “cauliflower puree” at a local, upscale restaurant. It was smooth, buttery and craveable. Not exactly potatoes in terms of flavor, but it completely delivered on a starchy, near-potato flavor and texture. This was back in 2012, when I first went LCHF. Back then, you had to buy a whole cauliflower and either chop like a mad thing or invest in a food processor to get mashed cauliflower.

Food processors have learning curves. Making this dish in 2012 was an involved process involving chopping up whole cauliflowers into florets, boiling or steaming them, mashing and squeezing all the excess moisture out of them –and then figuring out how to get the food processor to produce a nice, even “rice” from the florets.

Today as low-carb eating styles have become popular, you can get riced cauliflower in most supermarkets. This is a huge timesaver, but it’s only the first of the challenges. The real issue is creating YOUR WAY of making this “fauxtato” dish with the equipment you have at hand.

The Keto Tricks to Mashed Cauli

Trick #1. Steam or microwave or boil?

Reading over a half a dozen mashed cauliflower recipes, the first problem is getting the riced cauliflower to be sufficiently soft. You don’t want the cauliflower to be even slightly hard (or “al dente”). Some folks say the best thing to do is steam the riced cauliflower, others say you can microwave-steam rice cauliflower.

I’ve found with all of these methods, the #1 danger is getting your fingers or hands burned. The cauliflower gets dangerously, burningly hot. The steam can really hurt you, as in “visit the hospital” kind of hurt. Be sure you have oven mitts or gloves and are very careful with the escaping steam in these techniques!

Keto Old School: Boiling the Cauliflower

In the days before we could buy riced cauliflower, people boiled cauliflower florets and then put them through a food processor. The biggest problem in getting a good cauliflower mash was removing moisture from the boiled florets.

Boiling caulflower florets ADDS alot of moisture, which means we’d have to squeeze the moisture out of them. This process involved putting them into a cheesecloth (after they had cooled) and squeezing them the way one would squeeze moisture out of, say, cheese. I don’t make cheese. I couldn’t do this either.

Unless you’re an experienced cheesemaker or cook, this process is godawful. Or maybe it’s just me. You will risk severe burns if you don’t wait long enough for the florets to cool. It’s terribly messy.

Conceivably, you can simply boil the riced cauliflower. Reportedly, this does not result in as fluffy a result as steaming the cauliflower. At best, you’re going to have bland, wet granules of cauliflower. Not recommended.

Experiment 1: Microwave steaming

Some recipes recommended putting the riced cauliflower in a bowl, covering it in cling film, and microwaving it for 5 to 8 minutes. I found that the steam can burn right through the cling film. The steaming cauliflower gets VERY hot.

I put a plate on top of the bowl instead. In this test flight, I put the a cup of cauliflower in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. I microwaved it for 5 minutes, then checked it. The cauliflower was not yet soft and had begun to be a bit dry. I put in another tablespoon of water.

This was a simple method but the cauliflower can begin to burn. You don’t want to have to stop and start checking it, because you will get burns from the steam. You’ll also release the steam, when you check on it. This is exactly what I had to do. I checked it at five minutes, then added another 3 minutes. Microwave ovens vary from brand to brand in how quickly they cook food.

Notice the browned bits? That’s burnt cauliflower.
You want to keep this to a minimum or not go there at all!

And as microwaves vary, expect to to have to do an experimental batch–or two–before you find the right formula for HOW LONG you microwave HOW MUCH cauliflower. I was working on a formula for a large, personal serving. If you’re going to make this “family sized” (or for several days), I recommend regular steaming (see below).

Note: I recently found some “vegetable steaming bags” which may be a nice shortcut. I plan a future post on making a whole batch of mashed cauliflower, suitable for four to six servings. I will be using this product for that, as well as scaling up the “regular steaming” technique for that future recipe. But for now, I’m doing test batches, to get the technique down.

Option #3: Regular Steaming

This method involves putting a strainer above a pot of boiling water. The boiling water should not touch the bottom of the strainer. I used a tea strainer for this experiment that used just one cup of cauliflower. You can get a cheap strainer at the dollar store, if you don’t have one. This method is easy. It takes a little longer than the microwave, but it scales up for larger batches.

After the water got to boiling, I tented the pot with aluminum foil. It took about fifteen minutes on just one cup of riced cauliflower.

Trick #2. Let the cooked cauliflower sit for about 10 minutes.

Untent the cauliflower and poke it with a fork to make sure it’s soft. Take the tent off carefully so you don’t get burned by the steam! Letting the riced cauliflower sit for awhile allows the release of excess moisture as well as cooling the cauliflower down to where it can be more easily handled.

Trick #3. Use an electric hand mixer or an immersion blender.

Just whip the heck out of them. It took a good five or six minutes of serious whipping, adding the butter and the heavy whipping cream and salt. Some people recommend an immersion blender — and that’s another good option. But I grew up making mashed potatoes with the old reliable hand mixer –and it works very well.

The Results

Once again, I ate the results before photographing. :* I took both the steamed AND the microwaved cauliflower, which started out at two cups, and put them together in the same bowl. They were pretty much indistinguishable from one another. I added a tablespoon of butter, or so, and a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and used the hand mixer. I got maybe a cup and quarter, pretty much one serving, out of the two cupped of riced, raw cauliflower. I plan another go at this in a couple of days — to make a much larger serving suitable for photographing.

Here’s a handy recipe I plan to use for my next try at cauli-mash.

Bon Appetit! ~Lola

Starting out with Carb Manager

Over on the Dirty, Lazy Keto Facebook Group, I’m seeing folks having trouble with dealing with my favorite tracking app, Carb Manager. Here’s a walk through for getting started.

What is Carb Manager?

Carb Manager is a food tracking app that is tuned for keto and low-carb diets, though you CAN track almost any way you want. You can get started with it here and follow along. It’s free, but there is a great premium version with meal plans and recipes. I love it. I use it every day.

Set Up is Quick and Easy

Then comes setting your profile. The first screen is pretty much fine as is for most US folks doing any kind of keto diet.

You won’t need to change anything here, unless you want to go “metric.”

Next, the dreaded Profile.

Next, enter profile. The weight is going to impact your “calorie” recommendations. Most keto followers pretty much ignore calories, but if you want to track calories too, then make sure you put in your current weight.

Next, they try to be “helpful.” I pretty much ignore calories as this is going to cause me too much stress. I’m on dirty, lazy keto, after all. But you can set it for a desired weight change. Will that help? Honestly, your mileage will vary on that. The only real concern is setting the macronutrient goals.

Then the Goal Setting thing.

However, if you DO want to count calories, then you need to set the Weight Change Goals.

Set the Weight Change goals by clicking on the down-ward pointing triangle to get these options. This will then set your calorie goal.

The Important Part: Setting Your “Macros”

Macronutrients or “macros” in keto language consist of only three things: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. In ketogenic diets, this is a ratio of 5% Carbs, 25% protein and 70% . This adds up to 100%.

On the little down-pointing triangle, next to the Carbs, Protein, Fat Ratio line, you can click that triangle and get many choices. It will look like this:

Keto way of eating folks choose the 5:25:70 (Carbs to Protein to Fat) option. Low Carb High Fat, a gentler way to lose weight (but often more slowly) is also a good option. The rest are for other ways of eating –or you can create your own with Custom.

There is also this “Ease into this Diet” Option. If you want to work into this slowly, this is a good option.

Click on the downward pointing triangle and you get these options:

This will automatically adjust the carbs to protein to fat and the calorie options over three days, over a week or over TWO weeks. If you’re brand new to keto or LCHF, this can be pretty helpful.

A Note on Protein

It’s widely believed that you should eat enough protein to sustain your body mass. This means you take your weight in pounds, you multiply that by .36 and that’s your ABSOLUTE minimum for protein for the day. You can go beyond that, but don’t go below. At the high end, multiply your weight by .7 for the most protein you should have (the upper limit). Carb Manager should calculate this for you, but you can check that number to see if it’s right.

That’s all there is to setup. If there is interest, I’ll provide walk-throughs on how to track. 🙂

Best, Lola.

Three Types of Intermittent Fasting

Many folks just pass right on by when the topic of IF (intermittent fasting) comes up. It sound hard, even punitive–when you’re already low-carbing for the first time, it sounds scary! Isn’t giving up potatoes enough? IF is a tool in the dietary toolkit. For some people, it is an essential tool. For Type 2 diabetic cancer survivors like me? There’s too much riding on good health to pass up on a potentially life-changing habit!

As I do with anything I want to learn, I write about it. I’m sure it won’t get the kind of traffic that the crispy pork with palmini noodles gets, but if the only person I help is myself, then “keto on.”

From the Hype to the Help

Intermittent fasting is concerned with constraining the time window in which we consume calories. This gives the body a needed break as I explain in the previous post on IF. Researchers (and many keto proponents) suggest that IF helps speed weight loss, breaks weight loss “stalls,” and helps us turn our bodies into “fat-adapted” calorie-burning machines! Booyah! Sounds amazing but we have to get beyond the hype to the health.

My first experience with IF was intermittent indeed! It seems like I would start, then life would get hectic, and I’d miss one of the appointed days, then a week then bam. I wasn’t doing it. It’s hard to remember, I lied to myself. (No, it was hard to give up my midnight snack habit. That’s what was hard). After about three months, I chucked it in. But I hadn’t had cancer and wasn’t diabetic back then (in 2012). I was losing weight regularly and I felt so much better, that I was happy without doing anything further.

There is much more research evidence that IF is good for T2 diabetes and for fighting cancer.

Now, older and having put back on the weight after REALLY falling off the wagon during the cancer surgeries, I know I’m going to need more tools in the tool kit. I am using CarbManager to track. I’m going from simple LCHF eating to full on dirty, lazy keto. I’m adding more exercise. I’m determined to get up to my best health ever.

The question is: What KIND Of IF is right for me?

There are short forms of IF and there are long forms. The longer forms are a 24 period or LONGER of abstaining from food. One would eat dinner and then skip breakfast and lunch the next day. But you’d get to eat dinner that day. I could do that maybe once a week but probably not twice or three times a week that’s often recommended. (This is how I failed my first go-round). Thirty-six hour fasts–where you eat dinner on day 1 and then skip breakfast, lunch AND DINNER on the second day, eating again at breakfast on day 3, seemed like too far a reach!

A second form (popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book, The Fast Diet) allowed you to eat 500 calories a day on the fasting days. You had to fast two days a week. It’s called “5:2” in the hipster discussions of IF. 🙂 I failed at this one too–because 500 calories is simply not much food. I barely gave this one a shot before giving up in frustration. Figuring out satisfying 500 calorie meals was an overwhelming task. LCHF foods tends to be higher in calories. I never developed the knack for this one (though I must admit, I didn’t try real hard.)

Lots of different kinds of IF diets are referred to by the formula of X:Y with X being the fasting time (in days or hours for short-form IF) and Y being the size of the time window that you can eat.

Newer forms of short-term IF (less than 24 hours) are much more sustainable by most people. They are very popular. Research seems to indicate that all forms of IF can provide weight loss and health benefits. It’s a matter of choosing the right style.

Three Kinds of Short Term IF

The most helpful article on IF is this detailed guide to IF from the Diet Doctor blog. This blog post explains that we need to take a break from the “feasting” state to allow our bodies to fall into a “fasting state” — where our insulin levels are lower and we’re more likely to begin consuming our stored fat. There are three popular methods covered in this article (and I’m sure there are more beyond that!) But these three are certainly interesting!

Leangains or 16: 8

This is the most popular form of IF and is supposed to be done every day.  I am given to understand that people do take a day off of this regimen (probably on Saturday or Sundays, depending on what’s “party nights”). This diet (popularized by a body builder, Martin Berkand) involves skipping breakfast. Coffee, tea, water or other no-calorie beverage can be had for breakfast. The rest of one’s “feeding period” needs to be squeezed into an eight-hour time window. So if I skip breakfast (but have coffee with stevia) and don’t eat lunch til, say, 11.30, then I have 8 hours to eat the rest of my food (til 7.30).

This seems more or less do-able. SIX DAYS of this though? Every week. Hmmm. This would seriously change how I eat (which might be a very good thing).

The Warrior Diet or 20:4

This is an “alternate day” fasting for three days a week. It involves skipping breakfast AND LUNCH and collapsing all of one’s eating into a four hour period at the end of the day. Created by Ori Hofmekler, this schedule is said to result in “a deeper level of fat adaptation” and improvement of insulin sensitivity.

I might be able to manage this twice a week. It’s under consideration–but only if I find some way to deal with Lunch Hour at work –which is a social time at least once a week (and it’s spur of the moment so hard to plan). I also really treasure lunch, often my biggest meal of the day. This one would require more significant changes in my daily routine. But maybe — if only twice a week. 

Eat Stop Eat or, if there were a hipster shorthand, 24:24

This involves going entirely without calories for 24 hours, then eating whatever you want for dinner the next day. This is another fasting schedule from a body builder. (How this is going to work for a ‘mature,’ and pillowy woman like myself? Hmmm.) This is quite difficult and should only be done two (NON-CONSECUTIVE) days of the week. Like the Warrior diet, it’s supposed to provide deeper levels of fat adaptation.

The idea is you eat dinner at 8, then don’t eat again until the following day (at 8pm). This might be good for dealing with a company dinner but it’s hard to plan. Our Christmas dinner was supposed to be at 2pm — it didn’t really get started til nearly 5pm. (And there were all day long appetizers–what I think of as the Cavalcade of Calories!). Not do-able if you’re dealing with MY family! 😀

Some Tips on Fasting

The best advice is from the Diet Doctor blog post by Dr. Tom Naimon, MD. This post REALLY gave me the reassurance that I needed to even consider IF as part of my journey. He writes:

With all of these fasting methods, the goal is to skip breakfast, avoid snacking, and consolidate calories near the end of the day. All of these methods are quite effective, and you can in fact mix and match these as much as you would like. I would highly recommend keeping it flexible. Fast for as long as is convenient on any given day, and break your fast whenever you need to or want to. Anything beyond a 12 hour window is going to be at least somewhat beneficial towards anyone’s goals.

If you planned on fasting 16 hours but only make it 13, that’s ok and you are still much better off than if you had eaten all day long with early and late calories plus lots of snacking. I think a good goal would be 24 hours per week of additional fasting (additional to the standard 12:12 baseline). This could be 2 days of 24 hour fasting (Eat Stop Eat), 3 days of 8 hour fasting (Warrior Diet), or 6 days of 4 hour fasting (Leangains).

You could also mix and match as desired. Keep it flexible and go with whatever best suits your schedule and your lifestyle and your current level of fat adaptation.

Dr. Tom Naimon, MD, “Time-Restricted Eating: A Detailed Intermittent Fasting Guide. In Diet Doctor Blog. Updated 14 September 2018. Accessed 27 Dec 2018.

My Current Plan

I’m planning on starting with the 16:8 plan, FOUR days a week–and try to stretch it out to fit in at least 15-18 hours a week of additional fasting. It’s all about the babysteps for me. If I do this every other day for a whole month, then it will be easier to stretch out until it’s routine. My real problem remains the late-night snack. That is really going to need some adjustment on my part! But I know it’s a needed change.

Happy New Year! Here’s to our (improved) health!

An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting or “IF” has been around for five or so years as a boost to weight loss and an overall improver of health. This is especially true when team up with LCHF (and keto) ways of eating. In a nutshell, intermittent fasting helps us become “fat-adapted” more quickly. It improves our body’s ability to shed excess weight, maintain an even blood sugar level, and makes us feel better in the long run.

Here is a very quick, non-technical explanation of why IF is a “thing” in low-carb ways of eating circles. There’s alot of good research that indicates that IF can speed weight loss and generally deliver excellent health benefits. In the next post, I’ll provide a synopsis on how to get started and choose the style of IF that’s right for you –if you decide this is what you’re looking for to supplement your journey to better health.

Constant Snacking Is Not Good

I like my snacks. I’ve avoided IF for years because of my fear of losing snacking privileges. One of the great advantages of going LCHF (or dirty keto) is the fact that one can just swap high carb snacks for low-carb ones and still lose weight. Lots of people do. Stephanie Nyland Laska of Dirty, Lazy Keto fame has gone on record as to not having done anything like IF — and she lost 140 lbs so she has that as her personal experience.

I tried IF in the “early days” — but couldn’t stick with it, though I knew it had real, scientifically founded benefits–and I lost 20 lbs myself on LCHF. But this go-round, since I’m dealing with a much bigger problem of T2 diabetes, I thought it was high time I looked into it again as a way to get back to greater health.

What is IF (Intermittent Fasting)?

Intermittent fasting is a going without food for a period of 12 hours or more, depending on the various “styles” (or “schemes”) to lose weight and advance our general fitness. This article by Diet Doctor explains what IF is and its benefits. 

This post is based on the Diet Doctor’s advice — which I find easiest to understand. It could probably be a little easier, though. When scientists talk in technical terms, I notice people’s eyes glaze over. They don’t get it. So here’s a very non-technical explanation. It’s a little shorter and not nearly as accurate as the Diet Doctor’s or other highly technical discussions on the Internet, but I find that many people do not want the “deep dive” explanation.

How we get fat

When we eat, the body takes the calories we consumes and converts them in to energy we use (in moving around, sitting in a chair, petting the dog, what have you). Carbohydrates get converted quickly and easily into energy for immediate use. Fat can also get converted into energy after the carbs run out. Energy that is not burnt off (either carb or fats) in daily activity gets stored in the liver.

The liver can only hold so much fat and no more. If the liver “tank” is full up, then excess calories are converted into body fat. Losing weight is about getting our bodies to process the body fat, readily and easily, into energy.

Insulin resistance and Diabetes

Science doesn’t fully understand the process of weight loss because individual health issues can get in the way, hampering our body’s ability to burn off body fat. Insulin levels in our blood rises when we eat. Insulin is kind of like a air traffic control tower. It directs the energy from the food we eat straight into the tissues of the body that need immediate energy. Some people develop insulin resistance so that the body doesn’t easily turn the food we eat straight into energy we use. Instead, more of the calories we eat get stored as body fat. Yes, you can eat the very same foods as someone else —and you’ll get fat and that other person won’t–because you have insulin resistance.

If I had known there was a lifetime limit on junk food, I would’ve paced myself.

(What I often think when I’m looking at a pastry counter’s lovely offerings. Sigh.)

If this goes on, the body will begin to produce less and less insulin, so that in time, we get diabetes Type 2. And we get fat –more easily and more quickly than before — because the body begins storing the energy from food (as fat) rather than making it available to our body tissues for energy. Eat too many calories from protein and the body may also begin changing the protein into “sugar” (glucose) and storing it as well. Yikes. This is why everyone is so obsessed with the “macros.”

It takes energy to convert the food we eat into fat. Protein takes the most energy to get converted into glucose (and then into fat). Carbohydrates take the least energy to convert into fat. A low-carb diet pushes the body to convert fat into energy in a preferred way. This is what we mean by being “fat adapted.” When we’re fat-adapted, we lose more weight.

How IF helps get us back our health

Human bodies need a break from constant processing calories.

We usually get that break at night–while we sleep. During the night, our bodies heal up from the stresses and physical issues of the day. That gives us about 8 hours or thereabouts for our bodies to repair themselves–and to BURN OFF FAT. Since we’re not taking in any food, the body turns to the liver and to our body’s stores of fat for the energy it needs to fight off microbes, repair our muscles, and do all the many maintenance tasks we need to stay alive. Put simply, when we fast, we burn body fat. When we eat, things get complicated for the body as it tries to trade off between burning the incoming calories — and burning the body’s stores of fat.

Intermittent fasting is simply extending that time period of going without calories to longer than 8 hours–stretching it to 12 hours or more. This gives our bodies more time to process and burn off our fat stores without throwing in the complication of “what to do” with incoming calories.

IF helps to reduce inflammation, improves our capability to burn fat, lowers cholesterol and increases mental clarity–to name just a few of its many benefits. It also can help to reverse Type 2 diabetes–for me, a great reason to work this into my weekly plan.

A Great Guide to Beginning IF

The Diet Doctor’s blogpost also provide a link to a detailed guide on IF that explains three different styles.

I’ll write and post a short beginning guide to these styles based on this article tomorrow. But here are some highlights to take away with you.

  1. You don’t have to do IF every day to be successful.

Even a few days a week can help. Even just ONE day a week can get you some of the benefits!

2. You can drink water, coffee with no-calorie sweeteners, tea or diet soda and not “break the fast.”

That simplifies matters and doesn’t leave me too hungry.

More soon. And Happy Holidays

Peanut Butter (PB2) Cloud Bread “Pastry”

Ever hear of PB2 powder? It’s a peanut butter flavored powder that does provide a nice wallop of low-carb peanut butter flavor. I made this to go with a low-carb quick sugar-free jam. This recipe has no flour, but it is a confection that can be eaten with a nice sugar-free jam or flavored cream cheese, creating a tasty low-carb “danish.” Or as a peanutty bread suitable for a chicken salad sandwich. Or break it into soft croutons for a salad!

What is Cloud Bread?

Cloud bread is a kind of keto “cake” or “bread” that uses stiff, whipped egg whites to provide the “rise” and cream cheese to provide the basic structure that makes it more of a pastry–and less of a merengue. They are one of the oldest, most revered bread substitutes on the keto menu.

Most people enjoy this light confection and use the base recipe (here’s a good one with pictures).

Some people are not fond of the “eggy” nature of these breads. Egg yolks and cream cheese provide the base. Some eggs have a more “eggy” flavor than others; some people are more sensitive to that “eggy” taste. I find that the secret is to add strong seasonings like garlic, Italian seasoning, and onion powder if you’re looking for “sandwich material.”

A Slightly Sweet Cloud Bread / Pastry

In this recipe, I was aiming for something that would give me a good peanut butter flavor, using the PB2 powder, a low-carb ingredient you can find at Walmart and other places (I found mine at Giant. I live in the Washington DC area). My goal was to create “peanut butter and jam” flavor for a very small carb pricetag!

Cloud Bread Baking Tips

Tip #1. Start with eggs at room temperature.

Chefs often keep fresh eggs sitting on the counter. Home cooks buy eggs at the store and keep them in the fridge. You can get eggs to room temperature quickly by putting them in a bowl of lukewarm water and letting them sit for ten minutes or so.

Tip #2. Beat the eggs on high in a stand mixer. For a looooong time. And don’t forget the cream of tartar.

Unless you devote three days a week to “arm day” at the gym, getting the egg whites to form stiff peaks is going wear you out. I’m so so not there. If you’re just using an electric hand mixer, you are going to need to get patient. It’s going to take around 10 minutes on “high” to get those soft but slightly stiff peaks. Make the peaks too stiff and the texture will be a bit like styrofoam. Not stiff enough, there will be fragile.

Cream of tartar stabilizes those stiff so that they stand up well to the “folding” process when you add the base ingredients.

Tip #3. LOW oven setting.

These things need a low oven setting as they are more or less a form of merengue. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Tip #4. Make flattish circles of the “dough” (all of the same size) onto parchment paper.

On the Internet, you will see pictures of cloud bread that looks like fluffy buns. They have the texture of light styrofoam and are not really edible. Food styling is often deceptive. You want flat, round disks.

I use Reynolds Wrap Parchment paper because it is marked out with lines to help me more easily see that my dollops are all roughly the same size. It helps to create an “even bake” so that all the pieces get done at the same time.

The Recipe

This makes for about 12 small, peanut-buttery pastries that can be garnished in many keto-friendly ways. Each piece was about 2 inches in diameter.

The Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (sifted)
  • 4 tablespoons of Swerve (sifted) for the egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon of Swerve for the egg yolks
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of PB2 powder
  • Coconut oil spray (or other oil) to grease the parchment paper.

The Directions

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Put parchment paper on two baking sheets. Spray with coconut oil or otherwise grease the parchment paper.

Step 2. If you have a stand mixer, put the egg whites in the bowl and sift in the cream of tartar. Using the “whisk” attachment, whisk the eggs to high peaks (about speed 4) for from five to ten minutes–until the eggs form soft, slightly stiff peaks and can hold their shape.

If you’re using an electric hand mixer, you’re in for a long haul. Start beating at the highest speed.

Stop every so often to add the 4 tablespoons of Swerve, 1 tablespoon at a time, in the egg whites as they are beaten, until the four tablespoons of Swerve are incorporated.

Step 3.  In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolks, cream cheese, and sifted PB2 powder. Add 1 tablespoon of sifted Swerve. The mixture should taste like a light peanut butter. This is your cream cheese/peanut butter base.

Step 4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cream cheese / peanut butter base. I generally scoop the whites into the cream cheese base, one big spoonful at a time! I use a rubber spatula to scoop the base from the bottom of the bowl into the fluffy egg yolks. Then, I add another dollop of egg whites and repeat! I do this LITTLE BY LITTLE, one dollop of egg whites at a time, being careful to not crush the egg white fluff down too much.

The result should be a very light batter with little to NO white streaks of egg white in that batter.

Step 5. Using a large spoon or a small ladle, dollop the batter onto the parchment paper–making about six circles of the same size on each baking sheet. Flatten out the circles so they aren’t real high.

Step 6. Put this in the oven for 15 minutes (if using a convection oven); 20-25 minutes if using a regular oven.

Step 7. These pastries should release easily off the parchment paper, within a few minutes of getting out of the oven. Set them on a plate to cool.

The Results

I made this with keto quick jam for a peanut-butter “danish” that nicely captures a less-sweet PB&J snack with a low carbohydrate pricetag. Other ideas abound — such as a low-carb chocolate “schmear” — or a peanut butter flavored cream cheese perhaps? Hmmm.

The Carby Facts

Whole Recipe Facts

2 tablespoons of PB2 powder: 4 g carb times 2 (for the four tablespoons) (8)
2 ounces of cream cheese: 3 g carb
4 eggs = 2 carbs
Divided by 12 portions =13 carbs /12 would make this more than 1 carb per pastry. Let’s call it 1 carb and be done with it!

Add to this a heaping teaspoon of keto quick jam, and we’re talking a very nice pb & j snack for a ridiculous 2 carbs.