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

Eggs Don’t Deserve the Beating They Get!

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That’s right.  Eggs seem to always get a bad rap.  The egg is an integral part of almost every low-carber’s nutritional lifestyle, however contrary to popular belief they’re not the only thing we eat.  There’s bacon of course!  Ha-Ha!  Just couldn’t help myself.  No, really it seems people in general have an egg-phobia, mostly due to the unfounded fear of the small amount of cholesterol found in nature’s own health food.

Anyhow, Dana Carpender just wrote a post entitled In Defense of Egg Yolks over at her Hold The Toast blog.  She goes into great detail with a detailed nutritional breakdown of the egg.  I think you just might come away with a totally different view of eggs and especially the much feared egg yolk.  So, click on over and give it a read.  Then go fix ya’ some eggs n’ bacon!

There Really is Life Without Donuts

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Mama Always Said…

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……“Life is like a box o’ Protein Powders, you never know what you’re gonna’ get!” Ain’t that the truth.  I don’t know about you but I’ve tried several protein powders over the years trying to find a good one.  Maybe you’ve had better luck than I have but I’ve wasted my share of bucks on quite a number.  Protein powder is just one of the important components of my low-carb nutritional lifestyle.  Now maybe you’re a purist and don’t touch the stuff and that’s fine.  But I use it in some low-carb baked goods and of course ya’ gots to have protein powder to make a protein shake!

I was so glad to find a nice thorough review of Nature’s Best Perfect Isopure Protein Powder this morning from St. Louis Low-Carb Examiner, Amy Dungan.  Amy is a long-time successful low-carber that has her own blog, Healthy Low Carb Living.  Amy gives all the details of Nature’s Best Perfect Isopure including flavors, ingredients and nutritional info, so I won’t be repeating that here.

What I need are the trusted opinions and reviews of people like Amy.  The real-world evaluation of taste, texture, flavor, mix-ability and last but not least, the condition it leaves your gut in!  Try and get all those right in a protein powder….nearly impossible.  According to Amy, Nature’s Best Perfect Isopure tastes great, mixes easily with no nasty-gritty lumps, and get this….it don’t leave you feeling like you’ve got a demon in your gut who needs some serious deliverance!  I’ve tried the cheap powders and just like most of you have ended up throwing most of them away.  So, it wasn’t a good buy after all.  Some of them it was the taste that got me…or lack thereof.  Some of them left more lumps it was like trying to take a dose of Metamucil.  And worst of all was the stomach upset…to put it politely.  Bloating, gas, diarrhea…you know the drill!

Let’s all face it, most of the time you’re gonna’ have to pay to ride.  So, for a good quality protein powder you’re gonna’ have to lay out a few bucks.  Now, Nature’s Best Isopure Protein Powder is by no means one of the most expensive protein powders out there, but it’s certainly not in the bargain basement either.  Have I tried it?  No, not yet.  But you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be trying it.  Thing was, I’d seen it in the stores and even read about it online, but didn’t want to drop another fifty bucks on another protein powder to fill up my trash can.  But I’ve just added Nature’s Best Isopure Protein Powder to my shopping list for when I need more protein powder.  So, check out Amy’s review and see what you think.

There Really is Life Without Donuts

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

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

Former Donut Junkie Endorses Krystal 4 Carb Breakfast Scrambler!

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I’ve talked about how I go out for breakfast most mornings at The Krystal. A little fast-food chain similar to White Castle. They have a 4-Carb Scrambler that I eat every morning, which is simply 2 scrambled eggs, a slice of cheese and 2 sausage patties. And of course I have a couple of cups of Krystal coffee.

I blogged a review of the Krystal 4-Carb Scrambler recently and just this week Krystal picked up on it and now has it posted on the Krystalist, their company blog. Former Donut Junkie Endorses Krystal’s 4 Carb Breakfast Scrambler.

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

Krystal, My Low-Carb Breakfast Friend!

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Since I gave up Dunkin’ Donuts better than a year-and-a-half ago, I had to find me another place to hang out for breakfast. I am a breakfast person and I love going out for breakfast. I tried Hardees, but for some strange reason, I’m just not crazy about their Low-Carb bowl. I think it’s the fake tasting bacon bits that I have an aversion for. And their coffee is, well, more accurately described as a ‘coffee-like-substance’. I do like my coffee in the mornings, but I can get coffee better than this at the gas station, and that ain’t sayin’ much.

Enter KRYSTAL! You know, the fast food joint with the little square burgers, little being the keyword. Little on the burger, big on the bread! One little Krystal burger has 17g of carbs! Wow! Well anyhow, I discovered their 4 Carb Scrambler in July 2007 and I’ve been going there at least 3 to 5 days a week ever since. And their coffee is pretty good as well, especially when it’s fresh. It has that unique ‘nutty’ little flavor to it while it’s hot and fresh.  Krystal is one of the best kept secrets for breakfast so far as I’m concerned, especially for low-carbers.

The 4 Carb Scrambler comes in a little bowl, with 2 scrambled eggs, a slice of cheese, then topped with either a couple of sausage patties or a nice little pile of bacon. The 4 Carb Scrambler with coffee is only $3.81 [tax included]. What a deal for a cheap breakfast on the go!

And just look at the nutrition breakdown. What a great way to start the day.

Bacon Scrambler [5.5 oz] — 370 calories, 29g fat, 4g carbs, 1g fiber and 24g protein.
Sausage Scrambler [7.5 oz] — 600 calories, 51g fat, 3g carbs, 2g fiber and 32g protein.

One of these things easily keeps me going strong until after noon. You may not have a Krystal in your area, but if you do, I highly recommend stopping by and giving their 4 Carb Scrambler a whirl. They’re one of the few fast food joints with a low-carb item on their menu.

And, if you don’t like the Scrambler, they’ll cook you a custom breakfast. They will fry or scramble you some eggs, with some bacon or sausage.  Just tell ’em to “Hold the toast!”

Uh, no I don’t work for Krystal, nor am I associated with them in any way, other than to be a fan of their low-carb breakfast scrambler. However, when I find something that helps me to stay on plan, I like to share it with all my low-carb friends.

P.S. — I almost forgot to tell you all how I eat my Scrambler.  I remove the two sausage patties, leaving the cheese covered eggs in the little bowl.  I then sprinkle some black pepper on the cheesy eggs, squirt a little single serving package of yellow mustard on that, then for the real flavor dowse it all with some Tabasco Habanero Sauce.  I then put one sausage patty back on the cheesy eggs and dig in.  When I finish with that I eat the other sausage patty by itself.  Then I normally drink two cups of Krystal coffee.  Breakfast over!!!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

On Wisconsin! Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Some mornings I can feel fall trying to peek around the corner, so I know that winter isn’t far behind.  If there’s one thing I love in the winter time, it’s coming home to a big bowl of hot soup.  I can’t say I’ve got a favorite, but I can truthfully say that Broccoli Cheese Soup is one of my favorites.  However, I had not a clue there was a low-carb version around until Jamie Van Eaton’s Examiner.com post popped up in my Blog Reader.  Just in time for soup season she’s provided us with what sounds like a wonderfully cheesy and easy cold weather treat.  She calls it On Wisconsin! Broccoli Cheese Soup.

I like easy recipes and I like recipes that have easy-to-find common household ingredients as much as possible and this one pretty much fits that description.  ThickenThin, a flour thickener substitute is probably not available at Wally World, but may be available at some of the whole or health food stores.  In addition, there are several alternative ways to thicken soups and sauces including xanthan gum, which I’ve used successfully.

Jamie Van Eaton is the Low-Carb Examiner for Examiner.com and also writes a great blog entitled The Lighter Side of Low Carb where she is affectionately known as Cleochatra.  Check her out and add her to your BlogRoll.  You’ll be glad you did!

There Really is Life Without Donuts!

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

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