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Testimony Tuesday with Maggie Lee

In an effort to reach more people and impact more lives with the low carb life and NeoLife we decided to do a series of testimony interviews a couple times a month with people who have been impacted from Shari’s Low Carb Kitchen and/or NeoLife. Originally we were going to do this testimony last Wednesday, however Facebook was having global issues and I wanted to share it as a FB Live video. The rest of the week did not work do to the holiday and then the weekend so we settled on Tuesday evening. After much craziness with technical issues I finally decided I would just have to do the interview via my phone instead of my computer, it still turned out great for a first time ever doing this, and Maggie is simply amazing. Please do excuse my makeup, it had been a long day and I took a couple of my girls to the pool in the heat. I totally forgot to check it before going live. But hey, I have 8 kids, a business and a blog so even having a bad makeup day is a good day for me….just keeping it real!

For our first interview I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing Ms Maggie Lee. Maggie is a former army veteran, and we thank her for her service, as well as a breast cancer survivor. She recently started eating LCHHF in May of 2019 and recently took her carb macros closer to a keto range or less than 20 grams per day. Maggie is a member of our Low Carb Kitchen facebook group and loves the support there. She was one of the members that did the Diet Doctor 2 week challenge with us which really helped her see how easy this way of life can be. I chose Maggie as my first testimony because of the huge transformation I had seen in her in such a short time! She also had recently had a doctor appointment with labs and the whole bit and had such positive results from that as well.

Check out these lab test results!

This was such a fun interview to do and Maggie is candid and holds nothing back. Come enjoy hearing her transformation and seeing the glow and energy that is radiating from her.


If you’d like to know more about being featured in a Testimony Tuesday section please shoot me an email. If you’d like more information on the 2 week challenge visit the Diet Doctor website challenge page.

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Bacon Burger Bowls

Everyone loves a great cheeseburger! What is better than a great burger? A bacon burger bowl with whatever fixings you want in it. A dear friend of mine, Laura, posted in our Facebook group her daughter making burger bowls. This gave me some inspiration to create a recipe and blog about it. It was a hit with my kids and Mr. Low Carb. ‘Lil’ Miss Low Carb came into the kitchen and said, “Mama, this is so filling!” and it is the truth, SO FILLING! Continue reading “Bacon Burger Bowls”

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Labels, Labels, Labels

We read labels on everything we buy. Our bath products, makeup, toothpaste, clothing, and so on. However do we really read the labels on the things that matter the most, on our foods? If so do we really understand what we’re reading? If we are trying to avoid sugars and hidden carbs if can be like walking through a landmine to find products without these hidden sugars.

There are many different types of sugar and in those types of sugars many different names. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc. Here is a list of some of the names sugars can be hidden under, some better than others.

As you’re shopping reading labels is a must. These hidden sugars are in everything including so called low carb products. Maltodextrin and Dextrose are the most frequently hidden sugars in bullion cubes, seasonings, and even low carb items. Reading labels is an absolute must.

So what about sugar substitutes? There is a slew of various sugar subs all boasting zero calorie, doesn’t affect blood sugar, etc. Some are made from the laboratory and some come from plants. Some are ok and some you need to run far away from. What many of these do not tell you is even though they may not affect blood sugar they still increase insulin response as well, cause weight gain and a slew of other health problems. Aspartame is one of these to run away from. Sucralose is a step below Aspartame. So do you never get a sweet treat again? Not necessarily. There are some safe plant based ones such as Stevia, Monk Fruit and Erythritol. These have their pros and cons as well, such as stevia having aftertastes when used in large amounts. Just because the package says Stevia it’s still imperative to read the labels.

Here is a picture of a Stevia from a local grocery store. On the front of the package it just says Stevia, however if you look at the nutrition label you will see it’s Maltodextrin first and Stevia second so more Maltodextrin than stevia. Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide, which is a type of carbohydrate which spikes insulin. It is higher on the glycemic index than table sugar, ranging from 106-136 and table sugar is 65! It may cause blood sugar spikes which is dangerous for people with metabolic disorders such as diabetes, the exact people these types of products are being sold to! Easily absorbed carbohydrates like maltodextrin and sugar get into your bloodstream quickly, and if the carbs aren’t used for energy, they’re stored as fat.  There is also evidence linked with consumption of polysaccharides, such as maltodextrin, and increased incidence of Crohn’s disease. So watch those labels.

Now what about something like Stevia in the raw, that should be ok, right? Well look at the label. Here are 3 different types of Stevia in the Raw and each one has hidden sugars in it. I would stay far away from Stevia in the Raw.

So what then can we use for sweeteners if we choose to occasionally have some? I haven’t found a Stevia in bulk that doesn’t have a bulking agent such as a maltodextrin. For baking I choose to use Lakanto Monk Fruit which is an Erythritol Monk Fruit Blend and doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin as it’s mostly sugar alcohol that isn’t metabolized or digested. I will also use Swerve products which are primarily Erythritol and sometimes just straight Erythritol. A note on Erythritol, while it is not metabolized or digested it does primarily come from corn fiber so be sure to get one that is labeled either not from corn or from non-gmo corn. This is the only product I will ever use that comes from corn.

These are the only sweeteners we will use in Shari’s Low Carb Kitchen.

The liquid stevia is primarily used for beverages, though sometimes used in recipes in very small quantities to avoid an aftertaste. Sweetleaf Drops are the only ones we have found to be potent so you only need a little, organic, and doesn’t seem to leave a nasty aftertaste. The plastic bottle ones unfortunately switched the formulation to include vegetable glycerin which is disappointing to me. I did speak to the CEO of Sweet Leaf shortly after they changed the formula and she said no one seemed to mind the change and it didn’t affect the taste. Unfortunately we feel it did affect the taste and so use it very sparingly and typically only the Lemon Lime. We primarily use the glass bottle ones as they do not contain the VG, though they don’t have as many fruit flavors. The plastic bottle is still a better choice than others out there so we make do. Perhaps if enough people complained they would change it back. The Monk Fruit comes in plain as well as some flavors, not as many as Sweet Leaf but a few different ones. The french vanilla is really good with coffee. The bagged sweeteners are used in baking. The Whole Earth packets are a blend of stevia and monk fruit and are super easy to carry in my purse for that iced tea when I go out. I prefer water, however most water around here is chlorinated and I can’t stomach the taste so I end up with unsweetened iced tea for which I bring my own sweetener.

Now the real question is should you use sweeteners at all? I think that is a personal choice for every person. You will hear conflicting information out there if you search it out. Some will say even these plant based sweeteners illicit insulin response, some will say it doesn’t, some say they can use them and stay in ketosis and some will say it kicks them out of ketosis. I cannot confirm the validity of any of those claims. I do not test for ketones, though I can tell when I am in ketosis and haven’t found these to affect me one way or the other. Here’s what I do know, we are too conditioned to need sweet things. Our taste buds love sweets and we need to train them otherwise. That’s the nice thing about these sweeteners is you can slowly back down the amounts you use until you’re just using a little bit. I use the liquid almost daily in my tea and sparkling water, however it’s only a little bit. It hasn’t slowed my progress at all. If it does end up doing so I will cut it out completely to see if it makes a difference. I don’t do many keto treats, we make a dessert for special occasions and that’s perfect for us. My kids would rather have an apple and peanut butter for dessert. If you have a sugar addiction and sweeteners are a trigger then you may not want to use any, at least not for a long while, but if you don’t then a little here and there will not cause issues…in my opinion. Just make sure you read those labels.

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Is this for you?

I am going to be honest, when I first heard about “keto” from friends it kind of freaked me out. The reason is because they were just using it as a quick weight loss fix, avoiding protein, drinking weird oils and just over all doing really weird things. I heard the word ketones and being married to a long time type 1 diabetic we had always been told ketones were a bad thing. Keeping carbs under 20 grams a day and what the heck with the low to no fruit! How in the world could that even be remotely healthy? I am the first to say I found it down right dangerous! That is before I really started researching science and information from reputable doctors and scientists, ones that are experts in this field and have no conflict of interests in trying to sell me keto products. I am a firm believer in food, and food derived supplements, for taking care of our bodies. The first book I read, at the prompting of a dear friend that had great success, is The Obesity Code from Dr. Jason Fung and my mind was blown! I highly recommend reading it.

This lead to more researching and devouring everything reputable thing I could get my hands on. You can check out my blog post, “A Little Light Reading” for more books I recommend. I knew I had found my answer. I had found the answer to why Mr. Low Carb had such trouble losing weight and why after I had lost a lot of weight and clothes sizes in 2017 with a plateau in 2018 it all came back and then some toward the end of 2018. Still I questioned if this was for us, but we decided to give it a try. I am so glad we made that decision. I will share some recent pictures, not to toot my own horn, but to hopefully encourage others that this way of life could be for you too. The major changes are from Dec of 2018 to May 31st 2019.

These changes came from LCHF, not even super strict, Fasting and great nutritional supplementation with the best whole food derived nutrients from NeoLife. I can still have my nutrients from fruit without all the sugar thanks to my NeoLife! If I can make these changes anyone can! Mr. Low Carb is doing really well too, though he doesn’t let me take his picture! For the next 2 1/2 weeks I am being really strict with my eating, eating clean keto, fasting and my supplements as our 22 year wedding anniversary is coming up and I have some more toning I want to do. I have decided to do the Diet Doctor 2 week challenge and if you’re interested in more information about that check out this post: Let’s get our challenge on! I hope this inspires you to take control of your health future and implement your new lifestyle changes today. You don’t have to do everything perfect. Remember, Progress not Perfection!

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Let’s get our Challenge on!

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, I need to make a change in the way I eat but I have no clue where to start!” Have you been researching ketogenic low carb diets and after researching are more confused than when you started? Do you think it’s too elaborate or just a quick fix? You hear all these strange words, like Macronutrient and Micronutrient and your brain fogs and eyes glaze over as you quickly try to google what these terms mean. I totally understand all these questions. What if you could have a meal plan all laid out so you could see just how simple it can be and you could try for 2 weeks and then continue from there?

One of my favorite websites has a 2 week challenge all set up with menus and everything! Shari’s Low Carb Kitchen has a Facebook Group and a few of us have decided to do the challenge together as a group. If you are not a member and would like to become one please ask to join. We are starting this Monday, June 3rd 2019. The best part is it’s free! You don’t have to do it on Monday with us, just do it when you’re ready but it is a great thing to do.

To get started just go to the Diet Doctor website link to sign up.

I highly recommend watching the video that talks about the challenge. You have to scroll down to the video.

After the video scroll down and enter your email. You will receive an email for confirmation that it was indeed you that signed up.

You will receive emails with the menus, shopping lists, etc to help you for the weeks. Once you’re signed up scroll down and get a glimpse of what you will be eating. If you don’t care for one of the meals simply sub it out with another one of the hundreds of recipes on the site, just try to keep the carb amount similar as it’s meant to give you the total daily amounts. These amounts are for keto, which is much lower in carbs, vs LCHF which can be a little more in carbs. If you need a little more in carbs just sub out with the LCHF recipes from the website. If you’re not hungry for a meal, like breakfast then don’t eat it. It’s that simple.

If you continue to scroll down you can watch a video with success stories from others who have done the challenge

Last but not least you can read through the FAQs when you scroll down a little further.

Once you’re all signed up you can see various links including the menu, other recipes, etc by going here.

Some tips of my own would be to take measurements, beginning pictures, a log of any changes you feel during the week. You will shed water weight so be sure to keep your water intake up as well as salt intake. Read through some areas of the site for more information as well, they have loads of great tips. Take a pic and measurements at the end of the 2 weeks. Everyone will have different results as our bodies will all heal at different rates, this will give you a very good start though. I can’t wait to hear your results! Remember, this is not a quick fix diet or a weight loss diet, weight loss is a lovely secondary effect, this is a LIFESTYLE change that you will want to continue with for life. The challenge is a great way to get you started and take the perceived difficulty out of this way of life.

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Low Carb and budgeting

Recently a dear friend of mine mentioned that she was doing low carb meals as the budget allowed for and asked if there was such a thing of budget friendly low carb meals. This got me thinking that if my friend thinks this way of life is not budget friendly then I am sure many other people do as well and it may deter them from this healthier way of life. So to my keyboard I sprung to give a few tips on keeping this budget friendly.

We all have food budgets each with their own limits. Continue reading “Low Carb and budgeting”

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Surviving Parties, Holidays and other get togethers.

Here we are at another holiday weekend. This weekend is extra special, not only because of remember the fallen soldiers, but also because it was my baby’s, Lil’Miss Low Carb, first Holy Communion!

Lil’Miss Low Carb and our Awesome Priest. 1st Holy Communion and reason for this party!

Holidays and special occasions are typically surrounded by friends, family, food and celebrating…did I mention food? This can also bring with it a set of challenges for those that do not want to be derailed from this Way of Eating(WOE) as not all that food we find at parties is LCHHF friendly, in fact some of it can be down right harmful especially for those trying to reverse insulin resistance or other metabolic issues. So how can we be proactive in these situations? Can we maybe have a non low carb treat and not get too derailed? Possibly, each person is different. Let’s explore things we can do to keep us as close to on the path as possible. Remember, if you do have a cheat please don’t beat yourself up! This is a way of life, not a punishment and if you beat yourself up over choosing to have a treat you will not be happy on this WOL! You fit this into your life, not your life into this WOE. Remember, progress not perfection! Now let’s explore tips that have helped Mr. Low Carb and I through several holidays and get togethers.

Tip #1: I like to have a lot of recipes on hand that are easy to make for larger groups to take with if we are going somewhere. These are also budget friendly, which is very important.

A nice example of an easy dish to put together that everyone will love. The unnamed Cauliflower dish(at this point) that is LCHHF.

Tip #2: If we are going somewhere I know there will not be much else we can eat other than what we bring we will eat a bit of nice fatty things before we go and just eat very light at the party. A good example of this is Thanksgiving. Turkey is the main dish and while it is low carb it does not have the fat to go with it. We can add some butter to it, but to remain satiated we still need more. Granted we have the one or two dishes we bring, but pretty much everything is always potatoes, jellos, buns, gravy with flour in it. So having some things at home before we go really helps.

Tip #3: There may be things there that while not exclusively in our way of eating that we want to have a little of. We eat these things last. If you eat the lower carb items first you will be less likely to binge on something else and will stick to having just a little.

Tip #4: If you do have the treat drink water, water, water to help flush out fluid build up. Carbs are notorious for causing water weight and bloating.

Today Shari’s Low Carb Kitchen was hopping with company for our very special occasion. When we have company over, like in a big party, we try to be mindful that not everyone eats LCHHF or is even interested in it. Any of the main dishes we make will be in accordance with our WOE, but we will provide little extras like buns. It’s not our wish to push this on anyone, we want to set the example and give information when asked but I will not shove on anyone. By getting a pack of buns it gives others the option and not to feel like they are the odd guy out. Here are some pictures from today’s party so you can kind of see how we do this.

Today’s Visitors to Shari’s Low Carb Kitchen. They got to see where all the magic happens! HAHA

Thank you for sharing in our very special weekend and I hope that any of these tips may help you for social gatherings. So far Mr. Low Carb and I have made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Mother’s day, birthday parties and a couple other get togethers and remained pretty much on track! You can do it too. Just remember, PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. Have a Safe rest of your holiday weekend and Thank you again to all our service men and women.

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Happy Memorial Day!!!

While we are celebrating this weekend lets always remember why we have this weekend and remember and pray for all those brave men and women and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can live free with our families. Both Mr. Low Carb and my families have had many members that served in the military for our freedoms and even served in some war we are thankful to not have lost any loved ones to the wars. Our hearts and prayers are with all of those that have lost loved ones for our freedoms. We will never forget.

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Pepperoni basil bites

Being the mom of 8 kiddos my life primarily, or seems as though it does, revolves around schooling them and getting to and from activities. Getting time with other mom’s whose lives also revolve around their children’s schedules is a rare commodity sometimes. We wouldn’t have it any other way and the time with the children goes way too fast. But sometimes we need to connect and renew so the kids hang with daddy and the mom’s get together and chat while drinking wine…er I mean water, yeah, water(after Jesus comes by)that’s what we drink! This past Saturday we had a lovely mommy afternoon out at a dear friend’s house and it was a much needed renewal. Being an introvert I would never leave my house if I did not have to, so it’s important to push myself to go to these things because I do need that renewal from time to time.

This is my clan of hooligans and Mr. Low Carb. They keep me busy.

The one issue with going to these parties is what to bring? It’s a meal made of snacks. Typically snacks consist of crackers and breads for dips, cheese, sausage, etc. There are typically veggie trays as well. Being Low Carb the crackers and breads are a no go for me. I do not expect anyone to revolve around my way of eating and will make do with foods that I can eat, however if I am having a meal I need fat to keep me satiated and not feeling the need to eat my first born when I get home! So of course I had to make some treats to bring. I made some crackers, cheesecake bites and pepperoni bites which is what this post is all about. These are so easy to make, filling, super yummy and budget friendly! All you need is pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and basil.

Preheat your oven to 400F, Lay the pepperoni on a pan lined with parchment paper, and mix your cheese together.

Top with your cheeses, sprinkle with a bit of basil and bake for 9-10 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool. I cool them on a paper toweling to absorb any grease and also to allow me to make more batches! They will finish crisping as they cool. If they’re are any left over it’s best to store in the fridge.

That’s it, that’s all there is to it! They are sturdy enough to hold any low carb dip or just enjoy by themselves the way Mr. Low Carb does. The rest of the treats made you will just have to wait until the next posts come out.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Deliciousness

I have been having a hankering for a nice dessert and cheese cake seemed to fit the bill nicely. Much to my chagrin I have never made a cheesecake, at least not one that didn’t come from a box. I am not much of a dessert person to begin with so it’s pretty typical not to make desserts, though I used to make a mean cookie! I try not to have many sweets low carb or not, but every now and then it is a nice treat. We had a potluck dinner last week so I decided to try my hand at a chocolate cheesecake because like bacon, chocolate also makes everything better! I got my inspiration from Maya at Wholesome Yum and I love that it is no bake and only a few ingredients.

What you will need:

  • 1 3/4 C Almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 3 TbspMonk Fruit Erythritol~ I like the Lakanto
  • 1/3 C Butter melted
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract~ Divided
  • 8oz Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 24oz Cream cheese~ Softened to room temp
  • 1 1/4 C Powdered Monk Fruit or Powdered Swerve Sweetener

In a large bowl combine almond flour, cocoa powder and monk fruit erythritol. In a small bowl combine melted butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Add butter/vanilla mix to the almond flour mixture. Stir until well combined and uniform. It should be crumbly, but sticky enough to press together. Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan with parchment paper. Press the crust mix into the bottom of the pan. Chill while preparing the filling.

Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler on the stove, stirring occasionally. I do not own a microwave but you could melt it in the microwave as well. I find on the double boiler the chocolate does not get too hot. (The 2nd time I made the cheesecake I reduced the amount of chocolate and added a few pieces of cocoa butter bits.) Be careful not to overheat. Set aside to cool.

Missing the cocoa butter bits

While the chocolate is melting use a hand mixer or a stand mixer(my preferred method) at medium-low speed to beat together the cream cheese, powdered sweetener until fluffy and uniform. Beat in the vanilla. If you forget to soften your cream cheese you can do put it in the microwave for about 30 secs or so, also could melt in the oven on warm.

Once the chocolate has cooled to warm but no longer hot, beat into the cream cheese mixture at medium-low speed. Transfer the filling to the crust and use a spatula to smooth it over, chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Once the cake is chilled run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn over onto a plate then flip onto another plate so it’s right side up. I plan on buying a silicone cake pan for ease of removing the cheesecakes. This is optional but makes for a very pretty finished product~ Melt a bit more chocolate in your double boiler and drizzle over the cheesecake for a really great decorative effect. You could even top with a little bit of raspberry, I did not have any on hand.

This is very dense and very filling, a small slice will really hit the spot. Enjoy!

Serving size 1/12 of cake Nutrition: Fat 23g, Protein 6g, Total Carbs 10g, Fiber 5g, Net carbs 5g(this may vary depending on the chocolate used.)