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Recipes

Grilled Zucchini and Squash – Recipe

Grilled Squash and Zucchini
Grilled Squash and Zucchini

Squash and Zucchini can be fun

Squash and Zucchini are great veggies with lots of vitamins and nutrients. Many avoid these vegetables because of the taste but if seasoned and cooked properly, all can reap the many benefits of squash and zucchini.

I personally enjoy grilling. While I prefer to grill outside with charcoal, grilling inside on a griddle or George Foreman grill can be quite enjoyable when the weather is not so great.

Squash and Zucchini on the Foreman Grill
Squash and Zucchini on the Foreman Grill

Ingredients

  • 2 Zucchini
  • 2 Squash
  • 1 Onion or Onion Salt
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheese
  • 13 to 16 oz Sausage
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cilantro

Directions

Cut up the squash, zucchini, onion, and sausage (if necessary) into slices and mix in a bag or bowl. Add salt, pepper, paprika, onion salt and cilantro seasonings to the mix. Grill the seasoned mix to your liking or the sausage is fully cooked. Add the shredded cheese while still hot and allow it to melt on top.

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Categories
Health

How I went from size 42 to size 36 pants on Keto Diet

Seeing Is Believing: I Didn’t Believe At First

Until a few years ago, I did not realize that not eating a lot of starch was a thing. To be honest, I didn’t think eating so few carbohydrates was healthy. After all these years of believing that fatty meat was the devil and that bread was a savior, the ketogenic diet is quite refreshing for someone like me. I know for a fact that psychologically the keto diet is not for everyone, but if you can get over yourself, the benefits are worth the effort. That is where the keto diet shines.

For the first week, I took a supplement called Real Ketones Prime D+. It is a meal replacement that while not necessary, definitely helps if you don’t know what to eat. You can take it twice a day and eat a normal meal for dinner. I only took it in the morning as I really didn’t know what to expect. I lost 12 pounds in those first 5 days. It is normal to lose that much when you first start as most of it will be water. In my case, I was already in ketosis, so I don’t think I was holding water.

How I Actually Did It

For the most part, I did not experiment with substitutes for my favorite high carbohydrate foods. I definitely didn’t in the beginning. I actually only cut carbs out of my diet. So it was not more expensive like many people try to make dieting out to be. I only ate meat and vegetables for the first month or so. I would cook enough meat on the weekends to eat throughout the week and if I ran out or got bored, I’d just pick up a salad. Sometimes I would grill a bunch of meat or put a roast or shoulder in the pressure cooker. Frozen and canned vegetables, while not the best option was the quickest.

I don’t have a scale, so I did not weigh myself every day. My goal was not to lose weight, it was to live healthier. As I came down in weight, I felt much more energetic. What I really noticed was my waist shrinking. I noticed my stomach flattening out. While I am probably a little heavier than my recommended weight for my height and age, I am happy where I currently am. I am going to try to maintain my current weight at around 205 to 210 pounds. In my opinion, weight doesn’t really matter anymore. Most people want a good healthy look. Getting to a certain weight is only to impress your doctor. Being healthy is about improving your quality of life.

Before I knew it, my pants wouldn’t stay up. Not only were my pants too big, but my belt was also too big. I was lost in most of my shirts. I was so small, I could shop in stores like American Eagle, Cotton On, J. Crew, Express, etc.. You know the stores where they only have one 2X shirt in the entire store and you might have to fight someone for it. Now I can wear size 36 jeans in most brands and fits and 34 others. I also wear XL or L shirts depending on the brand and style of the shirt.

A Few Things To Think About

In order to lose weight all you need is a calorie deficit. Meaning you need to burn more calories than you intake. While it is much more effective to exercise while dieting, you can lose a ton of weight just by incorporating some ketogenic ideals. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to try a few things out:

  • Find and download a free app and track how many calories you burn for about a week.
  • As you shop for food, check out the nutritional fact on the packages you pick up. Check out the correlation between the carbohydrates and calories in the foods you normally eat. The more carbs, the more calories.
  • Slowly cut sugars, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, beans, and other high carbohydrate foods out of your diet. You might not get in ketosis quickly but it’s a start.
  • Do not worry about intermittent fasting, I did not do it and I have had fabulous results.
  • Have fun with, join a group of supportive people and/or do it with your friends, family, co-workers and other social groups.
  • Don’t ride the scale. Being healthy should not be a task, it should be a way of life. If you are in such dire need of confirmation, you may not be mature enough for the ketogenic diet.
  • Stop looking for advice from people promoting what I like to call “Psycho Keto.” Psycho Keto is 5, 10, 20 grams of carbs a day. Most will never get started chasing unrealistic goals or going cold turkey.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I will answer it to the best of my ability. Let’s start a conversation, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing keto for years or you are just slightly interested.

 

Categories
For Home

5 Essentials for the Keto Kitchen

If you are used to grabbing something on the go, eating on keto can be hard.
Generally speaking, most fast food options are smashed between two pieces of bread.
If you have ever been interested in learning to cook, food preparation or you just love kitchen gadgets this is for you.

Kitchen Essentials

1. Pressure Cooker

In my option, the pressure cooker is essential regardless of diet. If you don’t know much about pressure cookers, it is pretty much like a slow cooker and a microwave had a baby. Imagine cooking a roast for an hour and it being so tender you can slice it with a butter knife. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it should be high on your list of kitchen upgrades. If you are “old school” there are stovetop pressure cookers as well.

2. Blender

Blenders are good for much more than making fruit and vegetable smoothies. While recreating your favorite Starbucks and Tropical Smoothie Cafe drinks are in order, throwing items that need mixing in the blender will knock minutes off your favorite new low carb recipes. I personally enjoy mixed drinks fresh out of the blender.

3.Food Processor

While most modern blenders can chop, slice and dice food, a true kitchen gadget guru would want a dedicated food processor.

4. Measuring Cups/Spoons

Once you get knee-deep into the ketogenic diet, you will definitely want to try to recreate your non-keto favorites. Low carb versions of bread, pasta, cakes, pies, cookies and much more will require lots of measuring and a complete measurement set is in order.

5. Mixer

Once you realize that the ketogenic diet is now your life, a brand new mixer might be in order. While a hand mixer will do for most situations, modern stand mixers can really mix up ingredients quickly. With bread, kneading is sometimes necessary and a kneading hook will save your hands a lot of work. This is by far the most expensive item on the list but it also looks the coolest on your countertop.

Below are links to the ABVM picks for the best bang for your buck products.

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Categories
Health Recipes

Low Carb Tacos

 

Tacos Can Be Low Carb

Low Carb Tacos
Low Carb Tacos

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Before I realized the Keto was a thing, I actually thought that Tacos were healthy. A Taco is basically a salad on a tortilla, right. But when I actually started counting macros, I came to the conclusion that corn tortillas have just as many carbohydrates as bread, maybe more. Nowadays there are a few options for low carb tortillas. Some taste great and others, not so much. My favorite, La Banderitas Carb Counters are only 5 net carbs per wrap. The only problem is that they are a bit large for tacos. If you want Taco Tuesday, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Taco Ingredients
Taco Ingredients

The Recipe

  • 2 pounds of ground beef or 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground pork or chorizo sausage
  • 8 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of soul seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 bag of shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 8 carb counter tortillas
Beef, Pork and Cream Cheese Mix
Beef, Pork and Cream Cheese Mix

Mix the ground meat, cream cheese, paprika, pepper, soul seasoning, and garlic salt together and cook to brown. Open the tortilla, add the meat, then lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream on top. That’s it. Very simple and quick. You can fry the meat or pressure cook it as I did for this article. Makes enough for at least 8 tacos. It takes about 30 minutes, great for a quick family meal after work.

Categories
Health Recipes

Low Carb Pecan Pancakes

The Best Pancakes Ever

Unless you’re indulging in a “cheat day,” pancakes and waffles are almost definitely a no-no on a low carb diet. We recently got our hands on a low carb, Keto-friendly alternative called Carbquik. Most of the content creators I’ve seen use Carbquik have created great alternate bread recipes. They have also all failed to create a fluffy bread. None of the recipes on the Carbquik box add an ingredient to make a fluffy bread alternative either. One secret we found was adding a little bit of baking powder.

Low Carb Pecan Pancakes

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Recipe makes 5 large pancakes

Mix all ingredients together. Using a non-stick pan or well-oiled pan, cook to a golden brown. Add your favorite sugar-free pancake sweetener or use the Torani Sugar-Free Salted Caramel as I did. If the Torani syrup is not thick enough as is, you can mix it with baking powder or some other thickener.

At less than 5 grams of carbs per serving, you’ll never want to go to a pancake house again.

Categories
Health

Is The Ketogenic Diet Sustainable?

Can the Keto Diet be Sustainable Long Term?

 

The ketogenic diet is the newest dieting craze. Many people, including celebrities, are now promoting the diet, and which is more of a lifestyle than a diet. But the question many people ask, is it sustainable for a long period? Since most critics say that it is not, I will only detail how it is.

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Supplements

Tons of supplements available have low carbs or no carbs at all. Many of these supplements are meal replacements. You will not have to worry about preparing a meal for at least one or two meals out of the day. One of the biggest issues people have with the ketogenic diet is that it’s too time-consuming to prepare the proper meals. My favorite, Real Ketones Prime D+, includes a bunch of other vitamins and minerals that you could become deficient in on the keto diet. While I highly suggest using Real Ketones products, many others work as long as you keep away from consuming high amounts of carbs.

Substitutes

Another big issue people have on the ketogenic diet is just simply not knowing what to eat. At first, it would seem as if you will have to give up all of your favorite foods but I can tell you that could not be further from the truth. For the snackers, one of my favorite substitutes is eating pork rinds instead of potato chips. Nowadays they actually have chips that are made of substances other than potatoes that taste pretty good. For normal meals, there are bread, wraps, and pasta made of almond flour, coconut flour, and zucchini. These versions have 1/3 the carbs of flour made of grain, wheat, and corn. As for sugar, there are more low glycemic options than you could count on your fingers. Two of my personal favorites are monk fruit sweetener and stevia.

I Can’t Find It

Even I have to admit, it is difficult to find low carb options at just any grocery store. Many times, I do find things that I like and the next time I go back, they are no longer selling it. Other times, I’ll see something, pick it up and the next time I go back the grocer has jacked the price up. To this, I suggest you subscribe to ABVM below to keep up with the newest items and best prices online. You can also send me emails or comments about the items you are looking for. I will do my best to find the lowest price available for you.

 

Categories
Consumer Electronics

Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse Review

Is A Mouse Just A Mouse

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So I had a Logitech wireless mouse that I brought about 6 months ago that I lost somewhere. I needed a cheap mouse to use as I travel around with my laptop. While searching on Amazon I found the Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse for less than $10 and thought, why not try it.

It Just Works

I am not really a “spec geek,” while I do know and understand specifications, I normally like things that just work. To my surprise, this mouse just works. There is nothing really fancy about it. The box is very plain, just a brown box with no writing. All you have to do is plug the adapter into an available USB port, put the one battery into the mouse and it works. It feels pretty good in my hands. The response on the screen is great for everyday use. The buttons are clicky and the wheel is scrolly.

After a few months of using the mouse, it still works just as good as the day I received it. I have carried the mouse around in my backpack and it is still going strong.  The mouse is efficient with the batteries as long as you turn it off when not in use.

Recommendation

If you are looking for a gaming mouse, this is not for you. If you are looking for the highest advancement in mouse technology, this is not for you. This mouse is for people who need to get work done. I actually use the mouse in the creation of this blog post, just hours after I received it. While I would not recommend this mouse for photo editing or other fine detail work but for everything else it is great. The mouse also makes a great replacement for those of us who hate laptop trackpads. For less than $10 the Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse is worth a try.

Categories
Travel

Rewards Programs Might Just Suck

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I have been an advocate for joining loyalty rewards programs for a few years now. These programs are designed to allow you to get a little something back every now and then. While the term “free” is thrown around loosely in these programs, nothing you get is truly free. You are really overpaying on the front end and getting it back over time.

The Issues

When I book a hotel room I normally use the Choice, Hilton, Marriot or Wyndham rewards programs if possible. I only use sites like Cheap-O-Air, Hotel Wiz, and One Travel if I am booking a resort not affiliated with one of the major international brands.

This weekend I decided to go to Virginia Beach and use some of the 60,000+ Wyndham Rewards points that I have amassed over the past few years. I am very disappointed with what I have received in return for my loyalty.

Check in was quick and easy. I just showed up, handed the clerk my ID and I was off to my room. Since I had been to this hotel I knew the layout and when she told me what room I would be in, I knew this was going to be a long night. The room I received, 101, is right near 2 entrance/exit doors and the elevator. I was able to hear every single person who came in or out of the hotel for my entire stay.

When I got to the room, I realized that the staff had not put any wash clothes or a floor mat in the bathroom. The room seemed clean so in my opinion, that is not a big deal.

For some reason or another, people who visit Virginia Beach like to throw their leftover food off the balcony in the morning. This practice causes two issues: 1. Seagulls crowding the balcony rendering it unusable until they get all the food they see and 2. Ants. I have never been on the first floor of any hotel down here and never realized that ants could be an issue.

The Resolution

I have used rewards points before at better places and got a side-eye from the clerk. A feeling of, “How did this guy get all of these points.” But it never affected the rest of my stay. Because Wyndham has so many brands associated with it, this may just be an isolated incident. I can assure you I will not be staying at the Super 8 Virginia Beach Oceanfront ever again.

At checkout stopped by the desk and asked to speak to the manager. I was told that the manager is only available Monday through Friday, 10 to 4. If you work  9 to 5, the manager of this hotel does not care to hear your grievances.

If I receive some sort of resolve from Super 8 or Wyndham I will update this post. Have you had a similar issue in redeeming rewards that you earned? Feel free to share your story in the comments.

 

Categories
Health

Maca: The Superfood You Cannot Live Without

What is Maca?

Maca Root is a vegetable that looks like an onion. It is native to the high plateaus of Peru, only growing at elevations above 2000 feet. Maca is known as Peruvian Ginseng as it is known to help with libido and fertility. Maca Root helps to be a natural assistant in many other common ailments. While there is not much clinical research on the benefits of Maca, the people who use it swear by it. If you become interested in the benefits of Maca, contact your doctor or healthcare professional before extensive use.

There are 3 different types of Maca packages, black, red and white. While anyone can use any of the 3, each has slightly different health benefits. Maca contains many chemicals such as fatty acids and amino acids. It used in defense of conditions such as anemia or tired blood, and chronic fatigue syndrome or (CFS). Women can gain additional use as Maca aids in increasing fertility, easing symptoms of menopause and menstrual cramps. The reason many people are interested in Maca because it increases sexual desire caused by multiple issues.

Maca is generally taken by mouth as a pill or powder. The taste is earthy or butterscotch-like and unpleasant to many. The powder can be added to your favorite recipes for a more enjoyable experience.

Conclusion

In my opinion, the energy boost and increase in clarity are well worth trying Maca. I generally take a teaspoon of Maca powder by mouth every morning to get my day started. I have also tried foods with Maca baked in and some taste great and others not so much. Even if you are not suffering from libido or fertility issues I would strongly suggest trying Maca out. The ways in which it can improve your life can not be put into words, even though I have tried. If you have experienced the benefits of Maca and want to share or have questions, please comment down below.

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Check out Maca products at Walmart here: Walmart.com

Get: Prana Chocolate Bark snack in the feature image

 

Categories
Travel Vacations

Beach Life: After the Summer

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Just because the lifeguards are long gone does not mean the beach has closed down. After the summer season is over many locals still flock to beach resort areas for weekend getaways. The rates are much cheaper than in the summer. Many businesses operate throughout the off-season every weekend, some 7 days a week. While it may not be ideal to jump into frigid ocean water, there is still plenty of fun to be had at the beach in the fall, winter and early spring.

The deals at restaurants and shops that are still open are outstanding. The drastically reduced hotel room prices are noteworthy. Rooms are as much as 75% cheaper than prices for busy weekends like Memorial Day and 4th of July.

If you generally avoid the beach in the summertime because of the ridiculous number of people, now is your chance to enjoy beautiful resorts and hotels minus the crowds. Some days during the fall, winter and spring it is unseasonably warm. Take advantage of global warming and book an out of season beach getaway today.