QuestBar — Finally a True Low-Carb Protein Bar!

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Someone on the Livin-LaVida Low-Carb Forum recently posted a link to receive 2 free QuestBars, a new low-carb protein bar.  I went to the QuestBar website and signed up for their trial bars and received them in a few days.  I’m always on the lookout for top-notch low-carb products.  I’ve always liked the idea of a really true low-carb protein bar which would be suitable for on-the-go snack and meal substitutes.  Sometimes I need something that packs easily and that I won’t have to worry about spoiling.  Problem is that most so-called protein bars are loaded with sugar and carbs and are just as unhealthy as eating a candy bar.  I have used the Atkins bars on occasion but was never a huge fan of them.

Fact:  There is no healthy protein bar, low-carb or otherwise, that tastes as good as a Snickers, PayDay, KitKat or whatever your favorite candy bar might be!  That is an unrealistic expectation.  So does that mean you’re trying to prepare me for another poor tasting protein bar?  No, not at all, matter of fact both myself and my wife really liked the taste of the QuestBars.  I’m just wanting you to know they don’t taste like a candy bar, they taste like a healthy, natural protein bar should taste.

We halved both the Vanilla Almond Crunch and the Peanut Butter Supreme and ate them on the same day so we could compare notes.  They both had a very pleasant flavor and a nice firm, chewy texture.  My wife liked the Peanut Butter Supreme the best.  She expected that I would like the Vanilla Almond Crunch the best since I’m a vanilla fan-boy and not a huge fan of peanut butter.  Surprise:  I actually gave the Peanut Butter Supreme a slight edge in taste over the Vanilla Almond Crunch.  They both have a very good flavor and I would not turn down either one!  Right now these are the only two flavors available but I have heard that other flavors are being developed.

The other thing I really like about these bars is what they DON’T contain!  Their ingredient list is probably 1/3 of conventional protein bars and I can actually pronounce all the ingredients.  Wow!  They are sweetened with Sucralose, which I don’t have a problem with, while some folks may not particularly like this sweetener.  What really excites me is there are NO sugar alcohols!  So that means no worry of digestive distress!

The bars have a great protein/fat/fiber balance and I felt like they kept me satiated for quite a long time.   I wouldn’t use these on a daily basis, but for a quick out-the-door breakfast or a lunch-on-the-go, I think they’d fit the bill nicely.

The cost is about $1.99 each and they are only sold online.  That may sound like a lot for a protein bar, but keep in mind these are true high quality, low-carb, protein bars with natural ingredients.  So, in my opinion, the extra cost is worth it…just for what you aren’t getting….chemical conglomerations full of sugar!

Now, just so you know, I don’t work for QuestBar, nor am I in any way financially benefited by reviewing their products.  The two bars were free but that in no way effected the opinions I have expressed about QuestBars.

There Really is Life Without Donuts

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

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Yogurt….It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

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Count me in as a yogurt fan-boy!  I’ve always loved the stuff but after starting the low-carb nutritional lifestyle I saw that most of it contained too many carbs to eat very often.  And out there in the low-carb community there’s as many opinions as there are low-carbers as to whether yogurt is a permitted food.  The disagreement comes about because the label on most whole fat unsweetened yogurts shows 11 carbs per cup, but some say that’s not really the ECC (Effective Carb Count) because the active bacteria cultures in yogurt convert the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid and therefore should not be taken into account in the nutritional analysis.

Well, much to my pleasure award winning cookbook author Jennifer Eloff posted an article entitled ‘Include Yogurt on Your Low-Carb Diet’ this morning on her excellent Low-Carbing and General Health News blog.  She does a fantastic job of debunking the yogurt myth and giving us the facts from the scientific studies.  I’m not going to requote it all here, so be sure to click on the link and check it out for yourself.  It’s a very informative and worthwhile read!

Dairy is one of those things I love and wanted to somehow make it a part of my low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  Now of course milk can’t be a part of it since it has so much lactose but that’s OK, there are other dairy products which fit in very well.  Jennifer even talks about hard cheese being a healthy product…and I love me some seriously sharp cheddar.  I also occasionally eat some cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, cream cheese and kefir.  Lots of choices out there.  My dairy milk substitutes are almond milk or coconut milk.

Now back to the yogurt story.  Just be sure you eat the whole-fat plain yogurt if you’re low-carbing.  Sounds uninteresting and blah, you say.  Use some Splenda, stevia or one of the other many natural sweetener blends out there today to sweeten it to your taste.  Flavors….you can use one of the myriad of wonderful flavors of sugar-free syrups made by DaVinci or Torani.  Or add some berries, fresh or frozen, another great low-carb value.  Or some flax-meal or slivered almonds.  Or a little no-sugar-added coconut.  Lots of choices out there.

And one of my favorite yogurts is Greek yogurt.  It’s much thicker, richer and creamier….heavenly it is!  Try it sometime and you’ll see what I mean.  And yogurt is a great addition to low-carb protein shakes too.  Well, that’s enough of my raves about the wonders of yogurt.  Let me know what your favorite way to eat yogurt is.  I look forward to hearing from y’all!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Diet Etiquette — Part 2 — I’m Hearing Voices, and I Think It’s My Food!

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I recently started to blog about what I call “Diet Etiquette”, a subject very rarely ever discussed.  I got derailed with my work load and just now got back to blogging so here’s my second part to this interesting subject.  And yeah, this could easily be subtitled, “How To Do Low-Carb Without Becoming a Social Outcast.”  Because that’s what ‘diet etiquette’ is all about.

No matter what the occsion for getting people together, you can bet food is nearly always going to be a big part of the event.  However, when you think about it, it’s not really about celebrating the food…it’s about celebrating friends and family.  So don’t make such a big deal out of the food in the future, because when you do the people you’re around will make a big deal out of you!  Whining and complaining about the food, for any reason, will not only draw attention to you, it will automatically get you labeled a party-pooper, a kill-joy, a fanatic or even worse.  Focus on having fun with your friends and family and I guarantee you’ll have tons more fun than if you focus on the food alone.

Remember, having our focus on food is what caused us to gain our excess pounds to begin with.  Just think about all the times you were hard pressed to attentively listen to someone’s conversation with you simply because you could not break your focus and fascination with the food long enough to really and truly hear what they were saying to you.  Food cannot be the centerpiece of any serious, lasting relationship, be it friends, family or even co-workers.

It’s amazing what we can discover about others, as well as the heights a relationship can reach when we learn to look straight into the eyes of the person we are talking to instead of listening to the food that is talking to us.  And you thought low-carb was only a weight loss diet?  Hardly!  Low-carb done right will also improve your relationships and social life.

Diet Etiquette — Part 1 — Introduction

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

The Incredible Edible Egg…More Than It’s Cracked Up to Be!

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Eggs are one of nature’s perfect foods so far as I’m concerned.  I have two of them for breakfast almost every morning and occasionally have a couple with my dinner as well.  Boiled eggs also make a great low-carb convenience snack since they can be prepared ahead of time and they keep well in the fridge.  Both the One-Minute Muffin and the Mock Danish which are quick, tasty and satisfying low-carb breakfast recipes use eggs.  Eggs are an incredibly versatile food as they can be used in so many other low-carb dishes as well.

Jonny Bowden, in his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, calls the egg “nature’s most perfect food.”

“I cant say enough good things about eggs.  They’re nature’s most perfect food.  Eggs are plentiful, inexpensive, easy to prepare in a zillion ways, and loaded with vitamins.  They’re also one of the best sources of protein on the planet.”  ~~Jonny Bowden

But as you know eggs have gotten a lot of bad press over the years due to ‘junk science’ studies which had erroneous hypotheses and conclusions.  Eggs were wrongly blamed for causing high cholesterol blood levels and like so many other foods, misguided doctors and nutritionists unwittingly elevated the egg to the top of the cholesterol scare list of forbidden foods.

Dr. Michael R. Eades, best selling author of Protein Power, recently wrote a post on his blog that points to a study by the International Journal of Obesity that shows the weight loss value of adding a couple of eggs to any diet, not just low-carb.  I highly encourage you to read Eade’s article entitled Two Eggs Per Day Keeps the Belly Fat Away.  As always Dr. Eades does a superb job of breaking down these scientific articles into language that the rest of us can understand.  He also has a link to the full text of the original study if you’re interested.

The satiety factor of eggs is especially interesting, a fact that low-carbers have known for years.  And once again we’re shown from this study that eating a couple of eggs every day did NOT raise cholesterol blood levels.  So eat a nice egg breakfast and you won’t feel that nagging hunger like you do with bagels and other carb-loaded fare.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie