If you have read any of my posts on the subject of low carb dieting and weight loss, you’ll already know what a big fan I am of cutting carbs to lose weight and shed fat. In short, low carb diets work! I’ve written a lot about this subject and you’ll find a lot of information and links in my article What Are Carbs? A Beginner’s Carbs Guide in which I introduce a whole lot of low carb concepts.
I like low carb diets because, quite simply, they work and they work well. By limiting carbs you automatically reduce your calorie intake and also force your body to preferentially use fat for fuel.
Low carb dieting also helps control your blood glucose levels and the extra protein you consume in place of carbs helps boost your metabolism and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Low carb diets are also naturally low in sugar and, as you probably know, I think sugar is very bad for your health and have written about the dangers of too much sugar in the past. Low carb meals are also very good for diabetics.
The hardest part of a low carb diet is deciding what to eat in place of carbs. Most of us are very reliant on high carb foods such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta. Things get much easier when you have lots of tasty recipes to choose from that make replacing carbs with low carbs foods easier.
I’ve provided you with lots of low carb and sugar free recipes elsewhere in Days to Fitness before but, like me, a lot of you would rather have a good cook book in your kitchen. With so many on the market right now, it can be hard to know which one to choose so I have reviewed three of my favorites for you so you can make the right choice for you!
1. The Ketogenic Cookbook
Nutritious Low-Carb, High-Fat Paleo Meals to Heal Your Body
by Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich – Available At Amazon.com
This comprehensive book is more than just a cookbook although it does contain a lot of recipes. Written in simple terms, it explains the benefits of a low carb diet and then goes on to explain low carb diet variations so that you can choose the right one for you. There is a big difference between low carb, ketogenic, and paleo meals but this book makes sure you know what each one is all about. For example, a ketogenic diet limits you to less than 50 grams of carbs a day and is much stricter than a standard low carb diet.
This opening explanatory section is not too long – only 35 pages or so – but then the authors get down to the serious business of providing you with lots of recipes to try.
Recipes are presented in easy to navigate sections such as:
- Beef and lamb
Each recipe is very well presented and most are accompanied by a picture so you know what your meal will end up looking like. Preparation and cooking times are listed so you know how long to allow to make your meal; useful for when you are in a rush. Each recipe is also accompanied by extra information in the form of an easy reference “badge” which states whether the recipe is nut-free, keto-approved, dairy-free, or suitable for vegetarians.
There are also meal plans to follow as well as a comprehensive resources section detailing where you can buy the right cooking tools and ingredients for your chosen meals. Ingredients are listed in US measurements (no grams or millimeters here!) and the instructions are clearly laid out in a step-by-step format.
Each recipe also includes variations e.g. to make it dairy free, and a complete nutritional breakdown per serving so you know exactly how much to eat according to your daily calorie needs. Very useful!
I really like The Ketogenic Cookbook, Available at Amazon.com, as it provides lots of useful information in addition to the great recipes. At 384 pages, it’s very comprehensive and it contains over 200 different recipes to make. With so many to choose from you should have no problem finding meals you enjoy and I know the ones I have tried have been really easy and tasty.
Costing $23.77, this is not the cheapest recipe book but you do get a lot for your money. My only major gripe is that it is so thick that it can be hard to keep the book open at the recipe you are trying to make so make sure you prop it open with a bookmark. I use a clean wooden spoon!
2. The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook
by George Stella – Available at Amazon.com
George Stella is a well-known TV chef, author of five cookery books and a renowned low carb advocate so you can be pretty certain he knows how to write a low carb cook book. In The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook, Available at Amazon.com, Stella offers up 130 of his favorite low carb recipes that he has tried and tested with his family who have been living low carb for over 15 years.
In addition to the easy-to-follow recipes, the author also reveals in detail how he and has family lost 650-pounds between them by using the tips, tricks, recipes and techniques outlined in the book. The Stella family have benefited hugely from eating low carb and so too can you!
The book costs $18.54 and contains 224 pages which is pretty good value but it’s a little light on the photos with only 60 in the entire book. I don’t know about you but I like to see what it is I’m making so this is a bit of a drawback for me.
The recipes themselves are very good and the ones I have tried have been easy to follow and delicious. All 130 recipes are made without any wheat or added sugar, making them gluten-free, and great for diabetics as well.
The recipes are presented clearly with step-by-step instructions and all measurements are in US units with nutritional breakdowns for each serving. However, it is worth noting that some recipes are simply normal low carb meals e.g. guacamole and some of the recipes just replace wheat flour with almond flower. These are hardly new recipes but in the majority of cases, the meals are genuinely low carb and unique. No alphabetized index does makes finding meals or ingredients a little tricky though.
I do like this book but it’s not my favorite. If you buy this, you may want to use post-it notes to mark your favorite recipes and make them easy to find again. I do think it would have benefited from more pictures and it doesn’t contain as many recipes as other books I’ve read. That said, I liked the recipes I tried and there were lots of meals I’d never made before.
Available at Amazon.com
3. The Primal Low-Carb Kitchen:
Comfort Food Recipes for the Carb Conscious Cook
by Kyndra Holley – Available at Amazon.com
Many low carb recipes are indeed low in carbs but replace high carb ingredients with highly processed alternatives. For example, artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. While this does cut carbs it’s hardly a healthy approach to nutrition.
In The Primal Low-Carb Kitchen, Kyndra Holley stays clear of this trap and only uses natural ingredients that would have been available to out hunter-gatherer ancestors. This means all the meals are not just low in carbs but very healthy too.
With very little preamble, the book quickly gets into the recipes and each one is presented with clear step-by-step instructions. Each recipe gets its own page which keeps things very uncluttered and makes the book easy to use. Many are accompanied by pictures and the book is split into sections to make finding your next recipe very easy. The sections include:
- Main dishes
- Soups and salads
- Sauces and dressings
All ingredients are listed in imperial and metric which is very useful if you prefer grams over ounces. The resources section at the beginning of the book explains how and why to avoid hidden carbs, some useful information on low carb alternatives and even ways to maximize your spending power when buying healthy food. Very useful for those people who find eating healthily expensive.
A very comprehensive index makes finding meal by course, main ingredient and name much easier so you won’t need to mark your copy with post-it notes.
Many of the recipes are low carb alternatives to the foods you know and love and probably thought you’d have to give up on a low carb diet. The author has found some great ways to lower the carb content of many favorite foods (waffles, pizza, hot dogs to name a few) so you can eat healthy versions of your normal American diet. This is great news if you normally find diet food unappetizing or boring.
A few of the meals are a little on the high side in carbs for some dieters – this certainly isn’t a strict ketogenic diet cookbook. However, if you just want to avoid refined carbs and sugar, this book has a lot to offer.
As $13.88 and 208 pages, Available at Amazon.com, I think this book is awesome value for money. It’s a good-looking book that is well laid out and very easy to use. It’s not the strictest low cab book available but if you only have a little weight to lose or simply want to maintain your current weight while still eating a healthy, varied and enjoyable diet, this book will be very useful.
Which one is best for you?
I own and like all three of these books and use them at least once a week but which one is best for you?
If you want a really comprehensive low carb book that explains a lot about low carb dieting as well as providing lots of awesome recipes, The Ketogenic Cookbook is hard to beat. Yes, it IS a little more expensive but you get a lot for your money including healthy eating plans to follow.
If cost is an issue but you still want a lot of recipes in a great-looking book, I have no problem recommending The Primal Low-Carb Kitchen. The recipes aren’t the lowest in carbs but they are low enough for all but the strictest dieters and the reduced carb alternatives to favorite foods are great.
Combining decent value for money with plenty of tasty recipes, The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook is a good purchase choice but is let down a little by the lack of an easy to navigate index. This is my least favorite book of the three but it’s still very good and well worth the money.