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Top Tools to Help You Succeed with low carb diets or your cooking skills

This page will help you find the tools and websites I strongly recommend for cooking, diet, health, sleep, fitness and an all-around good life. There is such an overload of information on these topics, and I have curated my recommendations for low carb meal plans, needed kitchen gadgets, & specialized food & supplements.

I have used all of the resources on this page myself, and have seen many clients find success with these tools.  At the very least it makes the journey easier. This page is always evolving and will include more resources as they are tested by myself or my clients.

Disclosure: My referral links are below. If you click through and take action, I’ll be compensated. My full disclosure is here.

DIET AND HEALTH RESOURCES Expand

  • Calm Mg Powder:  This is a powdered Mg Citrate supplement that works great in making Ketorade.  It also helps with sleep and anxiety.  Some don’t like the taste, and it doesn’t have Potassium.  The Now brand is a good one for including K without the Stevia sweetener.
  • Swerve sugar substitute  This sweetener is all natural and is my favorite substitute for processed white sugar.  It is not as bitter as Stevia and not as expensive as Monk fruit.  Be sure and check the different sizes and varieties (brown, granular or confectioners)
  • Keto Mojo: If you are serious about the ketogenic diet and want to understand how your body responds to a wide set of variables, you really need this tool. Keto urine sticks are only good indicators of ketosis for the first couple of weeks of the diet.
  • Cuisinart Digital Kitchen Scale:  While you don’t need to be tied to weighing and measuring all of your food on low carb diets (they are focused more on food choice rather than portion size), a scale can help at the beginning.  This little scale is great and doesn’t take up much room in the kitchen.
  • Quest protein bars:  These are the go-to bars for most low carb folks.  Think Thin and a few others are popular also, but Quest is the all-around favorite for less sugar and good taste. Check the flavors, as they do vary in sugar amounts.
  • Weighted blanket: Quality sleep is so, so important. To fat loss; to mood; to productivity; to health and to energy. I go through periods where I struggle with interrupted sleep and have developed a large array of tools to make sure I deal with it ASAP. This weighted blanket has been my favorite tool this year and I’m never going back. I like this one because it is 100% organic cotton with hypoallergenic glass beads. And it’s white!
  • Protein Powder: Many of the protein powders will work for low carb and keto diets, but this is my favorite. When looking for a protein powder, always opt one that is a concentrated whey protein isolate, which is 90–95% protein by weight. I like Premier because it uses Stevia and Monk fruit as the sweeteners. I also prefer the taste of it to the others.
  • Magnesium Glycinate: It is really common to be deficient in Magnesium, particularly on a low carb diet. Painful leg cramps, constipation and mood swings can be the symptoms. Magnesium comes in several forms and Mg Glycinate is the one you want. Mg Citrate would be next best. Avoid Mg Oxide.
  • Cuisinart Digital Kitchen Scale:  While you don’t need to be tied to weighing and measuring all of your food on low carb diets (they are focused more on food choice rather than portion size), a scale can help at the beginning.  This little scale is great and doesn’t take up much room in the kitchen.
  • Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes: This is the most evidenced-based book out there on low carb lifestyles and is the book that gave the ketogenic movement its traction. This is a must read.
  • Ketotarian, by Dr. Will Cole: This is the way to do keto if you are vegetarian or pescatarian. It’s full of great information and great recipes.
  • my favorite earplugs: Another sleeping tool that I can’t do without. These are not normal earplugs, but rather “silicone putty” that you can mold to your ear. They work better than any I’ve ever tried and they are comfortable to boot!
  • One-handed tape measure:  It is difficult to achieve accuracy when doing measurements for body fat%, as it is not easy to use an old fashioned tape measure that stretches and then moves when you bend down to see the numbers!  This one handed tape measure is perfect.  It’s cheap and effective and gives you the real signs of what is happening with body re-composition.  It’s a must to measure body fat% instead of just weight on the scale if you are interested in fat loss.
  • Link to fasting series by Dr. Jason Fung: This is an in-depth series of 20 articles on all aspects of fasting by the expert in the clinical field of fasting, Dr. Fung.
  • Eguide for Permanent Fat Loss: This is my eguide to navigating slow carb, low carb or keto lifestyles
  • coach.me services: I offer coaching on diet and health and would be happy to talk with you further if that is something that interests you.
KITCHEN ESSENTIALS Expand
  • Dutch Oven: This is my go-to pot for soups, stews, anything that requires searing, slow cooking or large capacity dishes. Love it! It’s cast iron so once heated up it stays hot.
  • Large Sheet pan:  Really helpful for one-pan dinners (called sheet pan dinners or traybake dinners)
  • Kuhn peeler; You can’t buy a sharper peeler than Kuhn Rikon brands. We peel a lot of citrus for our marmalades and this is the workhorse that does it.
  • Microplane:  A must for easy zesting of lemons, limes and citrus. Oxo is my favorite brand but they all work great
  • Multi-purpose board scraper & chopper  This is the most useful for scraping up chopped bit to get in the bowl. Many people use the blade of the knife but that will quickly dull your knifes. This is a great tool.
  • Vitamix: Vitamix blenders have been around forever, and for good reason. They are the best. Reliable. Powerful. An essential for protein smoothies.
  • Instapot: First know that “Instapot” is a brand of a multi-cooker and there are many other brands out there. Because I have only tried the Instapot, this is the only one I can honestly recommend at the moment. We use this a lot for beef or pork roasts that need to be slow cooked. My husband makes some great stews and soups with it also. Easy to use, it fills the bill and there are a ton of instapot recipes on the internet now.
  • Titanium knife set:  This knife set is the best for slicing fruits and vegetables.  The knifes are really sharp and are long lasting, easy to clean titanium.  Love them for slicing heirloom tomatoes with those thin skins.
  • Cast Iron skillet: This skillet sits on my stovetop 24/7 and I could probably get by with it being the only piece of cooking equipment needed for just about any meal. You just can’t beat cast iron for being non-stick, holding heat, and never wearing out or getting chipped. It’s also good for building arm strength ?
  • Glass containers for portable lunches: If you are doing any kind of a healthy diet plan and work outside of the home, you are most likely going to need to bring lunch from home. It’s difficult to eat well if your lunches involve a lot of restaurants and fast food. Aim for glass storage containers to pack your lunch in – much better for the environment than plastic and easier to keep clean. This is a great set, but explore the other options if these are not the right size for you.
  • Good burr coffee grinder : I can’t get by without 2 good cups of coffee in the morning, and I am loathe to spend the money at Starbucks for a just OK cup of joe. The key is good beans, a good grinder and your favorite brewing method (mine is the french press). The grinder makes a big, big difference in the taste of the coffee – more than you would think. This Cuisinart burr grinder is a great one for the money. I’m sure some of the more expensive brands are necessary for a true barista, but this one grinds the beans evenly and can deliver the perfect amount for the perfect cup (or pot).
  • Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener: While every kitchen needs a knife (I recommend a Chef’s knife and a serrated knife), I find that knives are very personal.  The weight of the knife and the way it fits your hand is quite individual.  What is the most important aspect of a knife is that it remains sharp.  It is easy to hurt yourself with a dull knife and it is an exercise of frustration to chop or slice with a dull knife.  This is my go-to knife sharpener.  Easy to use and lasts forever.  It is not what a serious chef would use, but rather the best option for a home cook. *note: the link is to the less expensive model which I use.  There are still some left but it has been discontinued.  The newer model is more expensive and most likely improved.  I don’t think you could go wrong.
  • Electric water kettle: If you are a coffee or tea drinker or you boil water for other purposes, this makes life immeasurably easier, safer and cleaner. Love the double wall stainless steel, the safety features and the speed with which it boils water (quicker than your microwave by far).  I’ve tried other brands from Target, but they did not have a long lifespan.  This is a good brand that pays heed to environmental concerns also.  I prefer stainless steel but it is available in glass also.
  • Mini Tart Pan: 12 mold shallow tart pan for making delicious mini tarts for the whole family.

 

NICE TO HAVE (especially for the adventursome cook):

The items below are things I love and use frequently, but I would not consider them “essentials”.  Check them out and see if they fit with your style of cooking.

Stand Mixer (KitchenAid):  If you like to whip cream for your berry desserts or make fat bombs, a mixer makes short shrift of it.  This is the best value in my opinion.

Food Processor:  A blender is great for smoothies, a mixer is great for whipped cream, but a food processor can coarsely chop those ingredients like onions and peppers. A knife and/or blender can work, but a food processor is usually an essential for the more advanced cook.

Paella Pan

Mortar & Pestle (muddler) I do a lot of Mexican cooking and making of craft cocktails and this is a workhorse for me to crush herbs, garlic etc.  It enhances the flavor from crushing the oils rather than just mincing or chopping

 

 

IN THE PANTRY Expand
  • Bob’s Red Mill Almond flour
  • Chile spices
  • Spice blends for cooking
  • Amore tomato paste in tube
  • Canned beans of all kinds
  • Tinned smoked oysters: You can get smoked oysters easily enough at your local grocery store, but if you are starting to shop for food online, this brand is a good one.  I take a tin of these, along with some hard cheese to market with me every Saturday for lunch.  Just know to open them a bit of a distance from neighbors, as many people don’t like the smell (not something to take on the airplane).  They are great tasting however and packed with nutrition.
  • Quest protein bars: While I don’t advocate protein bars over whole food, if you do need this type of snack to have on hand, this is the one most low carb or keto people prefer.
  • Premier Protein powder:  This is my favorite whey isolate protein powder that I use in my morning smoothies.  It tastes the best and has the best sugar substitutes (erythritol and stevia).  They used to sell it at Sam’s Club but no longer. I can’t find it now except on Amazon.
  • Macs Salt & Pepper Chicharonnes: There are a lot of different chicharonnes (pork skins) out there and they vary quite a bit in texture and taste.  These are my favorites, but Mac’s original is good also.
  • Refined Olive Oil:  Cooking oils are quite an important ingredient as far as health goes.  Extra Virgin olive oil is wonderful and the go-to oil for most cooking.  It does, however, have a low smoke point and is therefore not great when cooking things over high heat.  For high heat cooking you really need a refined olive oil.  Also referred to as “light” olive oil in the grocery stores.  I’m just offering this brand option because you do need a refined olive oil in your pantry if you cook much.  They are easy to find at the store, but here is one if you are an Amazon shopper.
PRODUCTIVITY RESOURCES Expand
  • The best planner: I’m a planner from way back and did a major search for the best planner for Christmas this year. This is it. Check it out.
  • coach.me productivity 1-to-1 coaching: The online coaching platform offers a wide range of personal, customized coaching on everything from productivity to meditation to waking up early to fitness. Check out this link to one of my favorite coaches and then explore the various other coaches from there.
  • coach.me group coaching for productivity:  This is an inexpensive way to learn self-improvement skills from a master (the CEO of coach.me).  He takes the group through 13 modules ranging from sleep to procrastination to meditation.  It is excellent and you have a community to bounce things off of.
  • books (to come soon)
ENTERTAINING AND CELEBRATING Expand
  • Drink syrups for craft cocktails & enhancements to water
  • more to come….
Expand

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