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What’s All The Fuss About Resistant Starch?

There’s been a whole lot of talk lately, especially from our friends in the Paleo community, about a concept you may or may not have heard about before called “resistant starch.” There’s a really fantastic column by Ryan Andrews that gives you lots of basic information about this fascinating topic at Precision Nutrition. On the past two Low-Carb Cruise events, there have been questions submitted during the Q&A Session by attendees about resistant starches. So this is obviously something people are thinking about and wondering whether they should be adding them to their diet or not.

Here’s the basic gist of resistant starches: they are consumed by the bacteria in the gut and not fully digested with all the typical post-prandial carbohydrate impact on your blood sugar, for example. Instead, resistant starches ferment in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids and to provide fuel for the bacteria in your colon. You can find resistant starches in foods such as beans, legumes, starchy fruits like bananas, grains, starchy vegetables, and (most interestingly!) cool potatoes and rice (apparently cooking these for too long or at high temperatures make them a lot less resistant). If you’re interested in finding out more about resistant starches, then you can glean from the wisdom and knowledge shared by Mark Sisson, Laura Dolson, Monica Reinagel, Norm Robillard, Dr. Oz, Adel Moussa, Dave Asprey, Steve Cooksey, Kevin Geary, and even at a web site called (oddly enough!) ResistantStarch.com.

In 2011, a book extolling the virtues of resistant starches was released called The Carb Lovers Diet: Eat What You Love, Get Slim for Life! by Health magazine editors Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth. I attempted to have these authors on “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast at the time and they responded that they weren’t interested. Too bad. I was sincerely curious about hearing their thoughts about how starch and grains can be a part of a healthy diet. The most vocal proponent of resistant starches in the Paleo community in 2013 has been hands down Richard Nikoley from the “Free The Animal” blog and you can catch up on all of his posts about this subject here. Richard asked to be on my podcast recently, but I was already booked up for the rest of the year when he asked (and now I’m away researching and writing my next book and will not be returning to do new interviews until April 2014). I told Richard in a Twitter exchange this week that I’m definitely keen on doing a panel on one of my podcasts about resistant starch when I return:

When I finish writing Keto Clarity and get back into the groove of podcasting regularly again, I will DEFINITELY do a show about resistant starches. A panel discussion with people who are both for and against resistant starches will be an important debate for the low-carb community to be exposed to. Closing our minds about something that may seem to be the antithesis of everything we believe to be true is the fastest way to fall into the same trap that the vegan proponents have cornered themselves into–what they believe is the final word and nothing is going to change that. That’s so shortsighted and we must continue to add to the knowledge we have now with the new information that the science is showing us.

You may recall this controversial blog post I wrote from October 2011 where I discussed whether there is any such thing as “safe starches” on a low-carb diet and this examination of resistant starches certainly adds another wrinkle to consider in our nutritional thinking. There are a few skeptics of this concept, though–namely Dr. Mike Eades, Mr. Heisenbug, Dr. Anastasia Boulais, members of the Active Low-Carber Forum, and this June 2010 Los Angeles Times column. I’m happy to see this being openly discussed and investigated. This is a net positive in the greater discussion of healthy living.

I know you’re probably wondering what my position on resistant starches is, right? Long-time followers will be abundantly aware of my general motto regarding diet and health: find the plan that will work for you, follow that plan exactly as prescribed and keep doing that plan as long as it is still working for you. Despite the fact that the name of my brand is “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb,” I have ALWAYS held the position that people should stick with what’s working for them to keep them happy and healthy. Whether that’s vegan, Paleo, ketogenic, or whatever floats your boat, if you’re doing well on your preferred way of eating then who am I to say you should do anything differently? The answer is I wouldn’t. Right now I am doing exceedingly well staying in a constant state of nutritional ketosis (listen or watch my lecture about the results of my one-year experiment of testing blood ketones and other health markers from the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise here). Because of that, I have no first-hand experience with resistant starches. But if someone wants to try it, test it out for themselves to see how they do, and report their findings, I think that’s totally AWESOME!!!

In fact, there’s a guy named Allan Folz who has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $850 for his family of four in Portland, Oregon to test resistant starch and to see the impact on their gut microbiota (using the test kits from the American Gut Project) over a 6-week period. Very creative Allan! You can follow along with their experiment at this special blog set up just for this “Family Science Project of Resistant Starch on Gut Biome.” It’ll be great to see the results they get from this intriguing experiment. Definitely help fund their Indiegogo campaign here. Even beyond that, if you’re interested in testing resistant starch, go for it. My bud Tom Naughton said in a Twitter post this week that he’ll be trying it after the holidays–with a funnyman bent to his purpose in doing so:

If you listen to the proponents of resistant starch, then you’d think it MIGHT cure baldness. Just kidding. As for me, I think with my past struggles that have been resolved by nutritional ketosis, it wouldn’t be wise for me to try this at this time. Could it help me even more? Perhaps. Am I interested in learning more about it? Absolutely. Do I think I MUST try resistant starch right now? No. I’ll play “wait and see” to watch it all play out in others and continue to follow the research that is sure to continue pouring in about this in the years to come. Let me know if you decide to give this a test for yourself or why you wouldn’t try this. Share your thoughts about it in the comments section below.

12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity – Day 9 Winner

We’ve reached Day 9 of my BIG Christmas giveaway contest called The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. The winners get their very own autographed copy of my latest book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers and it’s been fun going to the post office every morning with a Priority Mail package wrapped up snugly just for the special winners! Whether you decide to keep the book for yourself or give it away as a Christmas present to a friend or loved one, I hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t done it already, it’d be my honor to have you ENTER THIS CONTEST so you can still have a chance to win in the final few days. DON’T DELAY, ENTER TODAY! Send me an e-mail to livinlowcarbman@charter.net (only one entry per household please) with the subject line “12 DAYS OF CHOLESTEROL CLARITY” and share your mailing address (DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE THIS!) along with a question or personal story about cholesterol that you wouldn’t mind me putting on my blog. I’m randomly choosing a winner every single day for 12 days and the contest is open to both U.S. and international readers. My winner today in Day 9 today is Leeann E. from Omaha, Nebraska! Check out Leeann’s incredibly inspiring story about what happened to her sick, elderly parents in the past few months shifting over to a Paleo-styled low-carb, high-fat diet:

In August 2013, my 75-year old mother was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and admitted to the hospital. She was on blood thinners after having a heart attack one year ago and she needed a transfusion. The exact same night my mother was admitted to the hospital, my 76-year old pediatrician father woke me up at 3AM telling me he felt like he was having a heart attack. The ambulance took him to a different hospital than the one my mother was in and he was diagnosed with a completely blocked right coronary artery and 50% blockage in the left. They put stents in him and within four days he was out of the hospital. Dad has his follow-up with his physician and ALL his cholesterol numbers were described as “perfect.” He said to me, “My doctor doesn’t know why this (the blocked arteries) happened to me! My cholesterol numbers all look great!” My blunt response back to him was, “Well, maybe you’re looking at the wrong numbers…”

My mom was released from the hospital the day before my dad came home. Because of her condition, she is still very weak. I have been doing most of the cooking and laundry for them. Of course, I am cooking for them the low-carb, high-fat foods that *I* eat–foods cooked in coconut oil and butter, grass-fed beef, farm-raised pork/chicken/lamb, and no sugar (I use stevia for sweet). In other words, it’s just real, whole, nourishing food. I do lean more Paleo, so I add in a few carbs from sweet potatoes and tomatoes, but never ever give them PROCESSED foods.

While my personal eating is VERY low-carb, VERY high-fat (ketogenic) they can tolerate carbohydrates a lot better than I can. Wanna hear the exciting results so far? Dad has lost another 7 pounds and feels fantastic. He actively plays with my 9-year old son like he’s an energetic young father. My father eats until he’s full at dinner and has completely given up his nightly ice cream vice because he’s so satisfied with what he is eating. In fact, he’s even taken to bringing the leftovers to work with him for lunch–he so loves this Paleo food.

My mother was trying to cook for him this past week to give me a bit of a break and my dad actually asked me when I was going to start back cooking for them again! Too funny. I’m so hoping that eating this way will help reverse the plaque build-up in his left coronary artery (aka “the widow maker”) so he’ll continue to be with us for a while longer. As for my mom…well, she still eats bread and brie during the day. But at least I got her some local grass-fed beef liver to increase the iron content in her blood. She adores the liver and says it’s the best she’s ever tasted. Duh!

My parents don’t believe that the food they eat has any impact at all on their respective medical conditions. That’s fine, they’re so old school. But I know in my heart of hearts that they will be around longer now thanks to what I’ve learned from some amazing health bloggers like you. So thank you for everything you do and Merry Christmas!!!

– Leeann E. from Omaha, NE

I don’t think there’s much more that I can add to this stunning story–AWESOME STUFF! Kudos to you Leeann for being the example to your mom and dad showing them the way that they’ll NEVER hear from the medical professionals put in charge of making them better. It’s sad that people like us have to offer up the words of wisdom and advice that actually helps people get their health back in order. Maybe one of these days we’ll have some sanity restored to the health conversation. It can’t come soon enough!

CONGRATULATIONS once again to Leeann E. from Omaha, Nebraska for being my winner in Day 9 of The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. Just three more days to go, so let me hear your cholesterol story or question and ENTER TODAY!

12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity – Day 8 Winner

It’s the final few days of my special Christmas giveaway contest I’m calling The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. So far I’ve given away 7 brand spankin’ new autographed copies of my 2013 hardback book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers from Florida to British Columbia–and I’ve got 5 more winners to go before the final winner is chosen on Friday, December 20, 2013. Still haven’t entered? You still have time and here’s how you do it: send me an e-mail to livinlowcarbman@charter.net (only one entry per household please) with the subject line “12 DAYS OF CHOLESTEROL CLARITY” and share your mailing address (DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE THIS!) along with a question or personal story about cholesterol that you wouldn’t mind me putting on my blog. I’m randomly choosing a winner every single day for 12 days and the contest is open to both U.S. and international readers. Get full details about The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity contest in THIS BLOG POST. My winner in Day 8 today is Denise Z. from Mechanicsville, Virginia! She shares a great story about how very odd her doctor reacted after she found success eating a low-carb Paleo plan a couple of years back:

Jimmy, here is a funny story for you. In 2011-2012, I lost 40 pounds on a Paleo/low-carb diet. In early 2012, I went to see my doctor and had an annual check up with her. I had my cholesterol panel run and my total cholesterol was 208. By July 2012, I went back to see my doctor for a check-up and she FINALLY noticed I had lost some weight (despite the fact she had seen me every four months for over a year).

When she asked me what I had done, I tried my best to explain it to her. Inquiring about what I eat, I responded, “Meat, vegetables and some fruit.” She then asked me what meats I eat. I responded, “Beef, pork, chicken, fish, bacon…” The look on her face said it all! She stopped me right there and said in a matter-of-fact manner, “You eat BACON! Oh no, we need to test your cholesterol levels!” Needless to say, I haven’t been back to see that doctor ever since. But I sure would love to win a copy of Cholesterol Clarity.

– Denise Z. from Mechanicsville, VA

Denise, that’s a great story my friend! And now you have your very own copy of my new book on the way to you so you can continue to learn why fatty meats are the least of your worries when it comes to your cholesterol. What those animal-based fats are doing for you is raising your HDL “good” cholesterol alongside the restriction of carbohydrates being an effective means for lowering your triglycerides. Way to go with your weight loss and improving your health naturally thanks to low-carb, high-fat living. I’m so proud of you for representing this way of eating well. Here’s to many more years of optimized health and vitality with your meat, veggies and fruit.

CONGRATULATIONS again to Denise Z. from Mechanicsville, Virginia for being my winner in Day 8 of The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. Get in on the giveaway action HERE and I look forward to hearing from you.

A Tale Of Two Worlds: The Cognitive Disconnect About Ketogenic Living

Does it ever seem to you that those of us who choose to take an active role in living a healthy low-carb, high-fat ketogenic lifestyle are made to feel like we are somehow from some kind of strange, parallel universe compared with our sugar, grain and other processed carbohydrate-eating, fat-fearing friends and family? This idea has really hit home with me in the past few weeks with several prominent examples from my own life that shines a bright light on the complete cognitive disconnect there is between those who continue to blindly consume foods (more like “food”-like products) that can potentially cause real harm to their bodies and the obvious solution that could possibly play a role in optimizing their health. Let me share with you a few examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

- EXAMPLE #1: My wife Christine and I did some traveling to visit my mom in Florida for Thanksgiving and we stopped for a bite to eat at a Hardee’s along the way to get their Low-Carb Breakfast bowl. When I ordered this low-carb meal, the cashier asked, “Do you want to make that a combo?” I inquired about what came in the Low-Carb Breakfast bowl combo and she didn’t miss a beat when she said, “You get a side of hashbrowns and an orange juice.” I kinda stared at her dumbfounded for a few seconds before uttering, “Those foods aren’t very low in carbs.” Interestingly, the bewildered fast food employee retorted, “Oh really?” Yes, really.

- EXAMPLE #2: A group of church choir friends stopped at a Zaxby’s restaurant (a local chicken-based fast food chain in South Carolina) to eat after a Christmas event we sang at and one of the people noticed me and Christine weren’t eating. “Why aren’t you eating?” she asked. I explained we weren’t hungry and she said, “But can’t you eat something?” It was almost as if we were somehow disrupting her enjoyment of eating by not eating anything. I explained that there probably wasn’t much we could have there since it’s chicken that is mostly breaded and fried in oils we don’t like to consume in our diet. She quickly fired back, “But you could have a salad.” Ummmm, ewwww! That iceberg lettuce concoction reminds me way too much of my low-fat days and is definitely not nearly enough fat for me in a meal nowadays. Like I said, though, I wasn’t hungry at the time. So why do I need to eat to hang out and enjoy the company of others?

- EXAMPLE #3: In preparation for our Christmas concert at the church this past weekend, the minister of music asked the choir to do a marathon rehearsal that lasted nearly four hours last Wednesday. Because of this, he decided to “treat” the singers and orchestra at the halfway point with a “make-your-own-Christmas-cookie” fellowship time. As you can see from that photo above, this included the joy of taking your own sugary, wheat-based cookies, adding decorative green food coloring icing, sticking various colored M&M’s to it, and so much more. They also had (GET THIS!) waffle ice cream cones to turn upside down, paint with the green icing and then decorate the Christmas “tree” with M&M’s like little ornaments. All I can say about that is WOW, WOW, WOW! Then at the end of the long rehearsal that night, each of us were personally given a “thank you” present of a Twix bar. While I certainly appreciate the gratitude shown, that cookie, caramel, chocolate bar will never touch these lips (despite the fact back in the day before I was on my healthy low-carb lifestyle, I was a HUGE Twix bar fan).

- EXAMPLE #4: Since we had two performances of the Christmas concert at church this weekend, the minister of music said he would feed us dinner between the two concerts. When I went over to the Family Life Center to see what kind of food was being served, I was not at all surprised to see that it was dominated by submarine sandwiches, potato chips and brownies. Hmmmm, I’ll have some carbs with a very tiny bit of protein, a big side of carbs, and finish it off with (you guessed it) more sugary carbs! Someone suggested to me that I could remove those thin slices of meat off the sub rolls, but that’s much too lean and processed factory meats for my liking anymore. And so I did without until I got home. Such is the life of a low-carb, high-fat dieter.

These are just four recent examples that highlight and underscore the genuine difficulty of trying to live out LCHF in the real world when it seems our culture is constantly pulling us in a high-carb, low-fat direction. And while I realize it’s a traditional thing to do this time of year, why does everything with the Christmas holiday season have to be centered around sugary, highly-processed foods at every turn? What’s it going to take to shift these societal norms to much better choices? Nothing will ever change if we just keep going through automatic mode accepting this as normal without question year and year. What can we do?

Lest you think I am expecting a low-carb utopia, that’s not what I am going for. I’m not so idealistic to think that everyone makes choices about what they put in their mouths based on the health implications of it. When I weighed 410 pounds ten years ago, I sure didn’t. My motto was if it tasted good to me, I ate it! There was no concern about the quality of the food, the impact on my blood sugar, the effect on my metabolism and blood work, or any of the things that have been on my radar screen for most of the last decade since I lost triple digit weight and got my life back. What can we as health-conscious and super-engaged people do to attempt to merge these two very divergent worldviews when it comes to nutrition? That is the million dollar question.

I believe there are 4 actionable things we can all do right now to help bring together these radically different worlds in a way where they can learn a little more about why we choose to forgo consuming sugar, grains, and processed carbage in favor of real foods that come from mostly fat and protein and very few health-damaging carbohydrates:

1. Be the example. There’s nothing more powerful than a life that’s been changed. I overheard a conversation last night between a woman who has lost over 100 pounds in the past couple of years and someone she just met. The weight loss success story (who is a friend of mine I’d LOVE to get on my podcast sometime in 2014) stated that she has to avoid virtually all sugar in her diet to continue to see the positive impact on her weight and health. The woman she was talking to was genuinely intrigued and will now look to my friend as an example of someone who has been there, done that. For all of us who have seen success, this is our mission in life. Remember, people are watching you and when the time is right they will look to you for guidance about their own situation.

2. Educate when possible. If someone asks me for my input on their weight and health struggles, I’m all too happy to share the ups, downs and in betweens that have been a part of my continuing journey. But I never force the issue. The last thing I think we need to do when we become super-passionate about this message is to think we should ram it down the throats of everyone we come into contact with. That’s a recipe for disaster just waiting to happen. It goes back to #1 of being that example and when the time comes, be ready to share the knowledge and experience that you have gained from living the low-carb life with whoever may want to ask you about it. Are you ready?

3. Refuse to compromise. This is kinda related to being an example, too, but never allow social situations to force you into a compromising position on your personal health goals. Especially around the holidays, it’s easy to allow yourself to partake in the various cookies, pies, cakes and other such foods that are seemingly everywhere this time of year. And when a relative like your mom or grandma makes up a homemade dessert to show you love, it’s easy to convince yourself to just eat the whole thing since it was made by a living, breathing person who chooses to express herself with food. I think it’s okay to smell it, maybe take a small bite, and then leave the rest. You’ll be glad you did and, again, people are watching you to see how you respond in these situations.

4. Stay encouraged that change is coming. Yes, it can be discouraging to hear relatives mock you for consuming something like real butter (I was informed by one of my relatives that another relative was shocked by how much butter I was consuming and that I should be ashamed of myself for putting my heart health at risk from eating it–interestingly, this same relative has a copy of my new book that debunked the myths about saturated fats, cholesterol and heart disease). Meanwhile, they don’t bat an eye at all the processed sugar, flour and vegetable oils they are consuming in virtually everything they eat. With this as the backdrop of our lives, it can be quite discouraging to think that real change will ever come. But remain hopeful and encouraged because I believe the winds of change are blowing and it’s only a matter of time before people start to “get it” like you and I have. We’ve all been on the other side and it’s our job to stay optimistic and principled in our stand for the diet we know is right for us.

What about YOU? Got any words of wisdom on this topic of being a part of a society where the food is dominated by processed carbs and devoid of healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats? Please share your tips for attempting to bring about change in friends and family members who think your low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet is crazy. This will encourage so many newbies who are likely struggling right about now and deciding whether it’s worth continuing on this journey. From someone who has been there, let me tell you–IT IS! Enjoy the holiday season and keep on livin’ la vida low-carb.

12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity – Day 6 & 7 Winners

It’s the weekend and I decided to do a double dose of giveaways in one blog post as part of my Christmas contest called The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. It’s been so much fun giving away autographed hardback copies of my 2013 book release Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers and I’m excited to share two more BIG WINNERS in my contest. There’s 5 more days left and you can enter the contest by sending me an e-mail to livinlowcarbman@charter.net (only one entry per household please) with the subject line “12 DAYS OF CHOLESTEROL CLARITY” and share your mailing address (several people who entered forgot to send me their mailing address and would have won if they had just included it as requested–so don’t forget!) along with a question or personal story about cholesterol that you wouldn’t mind me putting on my blog. I’m randomly choosing a winner every single day for 12 days and the contest is open to both U.S. and international readers. Learn more about all the dirty details on this contest in THIS BLOG POST. My winner in Day 6 is Lynda F. from North Vancouver, British Columbia! My Canadian reader shares her fascinating story about cholesterol and low-carb living:

Hi Jimmy,

I love your website. I’ve been low-carb for almost 3 years now (after hearing about Dr. Jay Wortman‘s “My Big Fat Diet” documentary on CBC News Network in January 2011). I lost the weight I wanted to in the first 6 months by counting calories and macronutrients, but then have been slowly putting a lot of it back on since (no more counting anything anymore). Even though I am very low-carb and often in ketosis, I still feel the need to snack, especially late at night–and that completely does me in. When I’ve got it all figured out for myself, I might just send you a blurb about what works and doesn’t work for me.

Anyway, my story about cholesterol and myself dates back to the early 1990′s when eating low cholesterol foods was all the rage. I hadn’t heard of low-carb then, but I instinctively knew that bacon and eggs suited me a lot better than a bowl of cereal for breakfast. At the time, I worked for a medical device company that was developing various blood processing devices. Being a small company, we often had to volunteer blood samples to test out these devices. One day, two of us donated samples to be tested for our cholesterol levels.

The pathologist on the team came back later to tell us that one of us had fairly high cholesterol while the other had fairly low (I don’t remember what the actual values were, not knowing much about all of it at the time). I had had my usual bacon and eggs that morning and the other woman (who was slimmer than I was and may have possibly been a vegetarian) had had her usual “heart healthy” whole grain cereal or whatever. Guess who had the low reading? Me, of course! That fixed it in my mind that dietary cholesterol was not directly related to blood cholesterol levels. I never bothered to stop eating my delicious eggs or chicken skin or the natural fat found on pork chops, steaks and roasts. Thank goodness I never fell for the low-fat, low-cholesterol craze!

– Lynda F. from North Vancouver, BC

Love it, Lynda! Good for you sticking to real, whole foods that are high in fat and protein with very few carbohydrates. It really is a fantastic way to improve your cholesterol numbers that matter–namely your triglycerides and HDL–and, more importantly, improving your cardiovascular and overall health. I’m so proud of you for making the changes you need to get healthy. If I could help you with the need to snack, might I suggest you consume more fat and perhaps moderate your protein intake a bit while controlling carbohydrate intake. Listen to my lecture about doing this effectively in this podcast of my lecture from the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help–just drop me an e-mail. My second winner this weekend in Day 7 is Shari E. from Davie, Florida! Here’s her quick story about how her physician is trying to push a risky prescription medication on her because of her “high” LDL cholesterol level:

We have spoken before about my LDL cholesterol numbers that my doctor is insisting that I take a statin to bring down. But I am so intolerant of those drugs and refuse to take them. I plan on sharing your book with him if I win it. Thanks.

– Shari E. from Davie, FL

Well, Shari, I would love to know what you doctor thinks about Cholesterol Clarity. It will challenge everything he’s ever believed about cholesterol for sure. I’m fascinated that doctors put their faith and trust in a number like LDL-C when it is merely a calculated number using the Friedewald Equation. Can someone tell me again why we are predicating drug treatment on patients based on an estimation of LDL-C? Seems so very odd. If you want to get a better idea of the quality of your LDL cholesterol, then you want to have an NMR Lipoprofile test run to measure your total LDL particles (LDL-P) and the number of small, dense LDL particles (Small LDL-P). Shari may be able to give her own personal doctor some information that could change the future of the way he looks at cholesterol forever. Here’s hoping for some Cholesterol Clarity to sink in.

CONGRATULATIONS again to Lynda F. from North Vancouver, British Columbia for being my winner in Day 6 and Shari E. from Davie, Florida for being my winner in Day 7 of The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. I’d still love to hear from YOU and your cholesterol story and/or question. SEND IT TO ME and good luck in the final five days of the contest!

Low-Carb Almond Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time of the year is a virtual carb-fest in our culture with cakes, pies and cookies everywhere. Some of that has to do with hearkening back to those feelings of nostalgia from our childhood when grandma used to bake up some goodies for the kids and adults in the family to enjoy. For my wife Christine, her dad’s mom used to bake up tons of homemade sweet treats and mail them to the family in canisters every year. It’s how she showed love to them and that’s something deeply embedded in their psyche as a good memory. But when you start making healthier choices in your diet, you realize that you can still have a sweet treats now and again without compromising your commitment to health by making them with quality ingredients that fit your new lifestyle.

People have been asking me to write a cookbook for many years, but I’ve always resisted. Why? Because I’m the kind of cook in the kitchen who doesn’t really measure anything precisely. I like to eyeball what I put in the bowl and don’t like to feel trapped by a recipe. But, when I posted the photo below on social media yesterday of my latest creation just in time for the Christmas season, the demand for a recipe was overwhelming. So I took the time to write down all the ingredients and the approximate amounts of each along with the directions about how to make it. It goes without saying this isn’t something to eat everyday, but it’s definitely a nice alternative for something a little better for you than the high-carb offerings that dominate this time of year. ENJOY these homemade chocolate chips cookies.

LOW-CARB ALMOND MACADAMIA NUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 16-ounce bag of raw (whole natural) almonds
4 ounces macadamia nuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs stevia (or desired sweetener of your choice)
1 8-ounce block of unsalted Kerrygold butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 local, pastured eggs
5 Tbs almond butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet dark chocolate chips (I use the Kirkland brand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

You can buy almond flour, but it’s better and fresher to make your own from raw almonds (sometimes referred to as “whole natural” on the packaging). Dump the bag of almonds into your chopping device (I have and love my Ninja chopper) and pulse until you start to see a powder form. You may need to shake the chopper a few times to get the big pieces to chop well. Empty the almond flour into a big mixing bowl (you may need to use a butter knife to get the flour that may be stuck beneath the blades) and repeat this process with the macadamia nuts. Empty the macadamia nut flour (which will be a little more “wet” than the almond flour because of the fat content) into the same mixing bowl. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and sweetener. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip together with a whisk the butter (microwave for 15-20 seconds if not soft enough), vanilla, eggs and almond butter until a creamy consistency. Fold in this butter mixture with the flour mixture to create the cookie dough. Add the cream and mix into dough to make it more wet. Add the chocolate chips (feel free to use sugar-free chocolate chips like THIS ONE if you desire, but semisweet ones don’t add as many carbs as you might think). Fold the chips into the dough until fully mixed. Refrigerate overnight to help the dough set fully.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and put on a cookie sheet (or if you are concerned about the cookies going flat, put in a muffin pan). Slightly flatten the ball down with your fingers. Keep in mind the balls should be very wet which will help make them get crispy and golden brown as they are cooking. For softer cookies, bake for 12-14 minutes. For crispier cookies, bake for 15-18 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. The cookies should not stick (butter baby!) and can be transferred to a plate. These are so good when they’re still warm, so definitely have one at this point. Put the cookies inside of a sealed container and keep on your counter to enjoy throughout the Christmas season.

Makes 4 dozen cookies. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!