Low-Carb Survival Kit

ELCSK

Low-carb works for me.  It’s not for everyone.  And it’s not what some people think it is.  It is not scarfing down eggs, cheese, sausage, and bacon every day (although, yes, I am allowed to eat all those things).  For me, it’s about eating a healthy variety of food, keeping myself fueled for energy and exercise – while avoiding sugar, wheat, potatoes, etc. – foods that are high in carbohydrates.

The plan I’m on is not exactly Atkins, but it’s not far off.  I found that for me, it works better if I count carbs and calories.  It’s actually pretty easy, if I’m limiting carb intake, to keep the calories low – without ever going hungry.

After months of eating low-carb, I’ve found some things that have made this road easier (and more pleasant!), so I thought I’d put them together into a list and share.  I imagine that will be adding to it from time to time, so if you have any survival tips to share, please leave a comment (at the bottom of this page).  Thanks!

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netrition1.) www.netrition.com What a diamond-mine-find this was!  Most of the items in my survival kit can be purchased through this website and shipped within 4-5 days for only about five bucks per order.  I spend about $70 a month at this online store – money that I would have spent at the grocery store anyway – but everything that I buy at this grocery store supports my low-carb lifestyle.

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ketosis strips

2.)  Ketone Test Strips. Where does your body get its energy everyday?  The human body’s “default setting” is to draw energy first from incoming carbohydrates.  If there are no (or few) incoming carbohydrates, after a day or so, the brain will secrete enzymes that tell the body to draw energy from fat instead.  This state is called ketosis – and low-carbers know just how awesome it is!  Even bodies with “slow” metabolisms turn into fat-burning machines!  When the body burns fat, by-products of that process (called ketones) show up in urine.  These strips will turn pink or purple if ketones are detected.  Available in 100-strip package for $6.95 at netrition.com.  There’s no need to test every day, so this package could easily last a year or more.

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chocolite bars

3.)  Chocolite Candy Bars. OMG I can’t believe that these are not on sale in every grocery store in America!!!  They are AMAZING, they are so good!  My favorites are the Chocolate Crispy Caramel and the Peanut Butter Cups.  AND GET THIS:  The Crispy Caramel ones are only 30 CALORIES and 2g NET CARBS!  The peanut butter cups are ONLY 40 CALORIES AND 1g NET CARB!

AND NO – THOSE NET CARB FIGURES ARE NOT RELIANT ON “SUGAR ALCOHOLS!”

I did originally find these at a local low-carb store – but they were cheaper to buy online at netrition.com!  Seriously, these are the best, lowest-calorie, lowest-carb treats I’ve ever tasted! Both of these choices are available in a box of 16 pkgs for $16.99 ($1.06 each).

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pancakes

4.) Dixie Carb Counters Pancake Mix. At only 1g net carb per normal-sized pancake, this is a treat for low-carbers who miss “normal” breakfast foods!  (Ya can’t eat eggs every day!)  At $4.69 a package (at netrition.com) it’s a bit expensive as far as pancakes go, but one batch makes 16 pancakes (too many for my 18-year-old son and me to eat at one sitting) so I think it’s totally worth it.  BTW, these pancakes are made with soy so they don’t have any carbquick-like aftertaste at all.

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syrups

5.)  Walden Farms Syrups. If you’re gonna have pancakes, then ya gotta have syrup.  There are other low-carb maple syrups out there that claim to be “thick like the real stuff,” but I haven’t found any that can boast zero carbs & calories like Walden Farms.  Okay, it’s a bit on the thin side, but it’s pretty good.

As for the chocolate syrup, when I first bought it I found myself a bit disappointed because … well … what the heck am I gonna pour it on?!?  I can’t have ice cream!  But once it was in my fridge, I found stuff to pour it on!  After all, it’s carb free, calorie free, and it’s chocolate!!!  My favorite low-carb dessert item to drench in chocolate sauce (Yes, drench!  After all, it’s ZERO everything!) is fresh strawberries with whipped cream – YUM!  I recently had to order again (two bottles this time) because I tried it in my decaf coffee and it turned it into an amazing mocha treat!  Now that it’s getting cold outside, I’m finding I want this all the time!

Both syrups sell at netrition.com for $3.59 for a 12-oz. bottle.  They also sell strawberry and blueberry syrups but I’ve never tried those.

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fiberfit

6.  Fiberfit. There are several products out there that are the liquid equivalent of Splenda, and this is one of them.  It’s expensive, but a little bit goes a long way.  Why buy this instead of Splenda?  Because a cup of sugar has 774 calories and 200g carbs, a cup of granulated Splenda has only 96 calories and 24g carbs, but the equivalent amount of Fiberfit (2 tbsp) has just 24 calories and 6g net carbs.  It can make a huge difference when baking and opens up a world of recipes!  It’s available at netrition.com in a 4 oz. bottle for $5.29 or in a 16 oz. bottle for $17.99.

There is a Splenda equivalency chart at:
http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/splenda_conversion_chart.html

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liquid sweetnlow sm sweetener

7.)  Liquid SweetnLow or Smoky Mountain Sweetener. Splenda is okay for some things but for me – coffee and tea need SweetnLow!!!  What I’ve always used are the little pink packets – but each one has 0.9g carbs (the SnL boxes say “less than 1g,” but I dug deep online and found that it’s 0.9!).  Liquid SweetnLow has zero everything, but my local grocery store doesn’t sell it, however they do sell the Smoky Mountain Sweetener.  Both taste exactly like the SweetnLow in the pink packets.

If your grocery store doesn’t sell a liquid saccharine-based sweetener, you can buy SnL online at www.sweetnlow.com or the Smoky Mountain sweetener (but only by the gallon!) at www.smsweetener.com.

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cocoa

8.) Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa. Wooohoooo only 25 calories and just 3g net carbs per serving!  Our local grocery store carries this and it is awesome awesome awesome!

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tortillas

9.  Mama Lupe’s Tortilla Wraps. My son and I are in this diet thing together, and our favorite favorite food-we-can-have is chicken soft tacos.  The local grocery store sells low-carb tortillas and they’re pretty good – but they are 5g net carbs.  Mama Lupe’s are just 3g each and they ROCK!  They taste (to us, anyway) just like “normal” wraps/soft-taco-shells/tortillas and my son eats them just about every day.  He uses them to make peanut-butter-and-jelly wraps as a treat – and as a replacement for hot dog buns.  (He swears it makes a huge difference, rather than eating just a plain bunless hot dog.)

My new favorite meal using these tortilla wraps is… drumroll… PIZZA!!  Add a little Hunts Basil-Garlic-Oregano tomato sauce (only 1g net carb for an eighth-cup), some mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and parmesan cheese and it makes an amazing flat-bread kinda pizza for only 184 calories / 5.8g net carbs!  I make two of them with a salad for an amazing dinner totaling just 426 calories and 14g net carbs.

These wraps are available at netrition.com in a package of 10 seven-inch tortillas for $3.19.  They freeze nicely so I buy 10 pkgs. at a time.  (After freezing and thawing they seem a little moist but pop one into the microwave for about 10 seconds or so and it seems normal again.)

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one carb ketchup

10.)  Heinz One-Carb Ketchup (aka Reduced Sugar Ketchup). I confess, I’m a ketchup junkie.  There are certain things that I just cannot eat without ketchup (like hamburgers or hot dogs) and some things that I really really prefer with ketchup (like scrambled eggs).  So it was a relief to find this in my grocery store!  What’s the difference?  Regular Heinz ketchup (or catsup, if you prefer) has, per tablespoon, 4g net carbs and 60 calories.  This One-Carb ketchup has, ummm, 1g net carb (ya think? lol) and just 5 – count ’em FIVE little calories.  It tastes EXACTLY like real ketchup, I would recommend this to anyone on ANY diet, not just low-carb.

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muffins

11.) Dixie Diner Carb Counters Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins. I think it’s pretty apparent by now that even though I committed to the dieting thing, I wasn’t willing to give up chocolate.  And I’m still not.  And these are amazing.  Each muffin has only 70 calories and 4.3g net carbs.  They are available from netrition.com at $5.69 per pkg/mix (12 muffins).  It’s maybe a bit high, but I figure I’d never find low-carb muffins even at a grocery store for less than 50 cents each.  I’d never find low-carb muffins at a grocery store, period.  At any price!

A couple notes about these:  The nutritional information which shows the calories and net carbs does not include the stuff you have to add to make ’em (egg, sour cream, and butter).  The carbs aren’t affected much but the calories are almost doubled (42 for mix only).  Also – do not attempt to breathe while enjoying this yummy treat!  My son and I both choked on muffin crumbs (even though they’re moist) and so now we’re careful – but we still order them every month because they’re so good!

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hot dogs

12.) Oscar Mayer Light Weiners. Okay, hot dogs are low-carb anyway.  But.  At 130 calories per (regular)weiner, they aren’t very filling, not for just one anyway.  OM’s light weiner is 90 calories (for my son who usually eats 2 or 3, that’s an 80-120 calorie savings).  By the way, OM’s turkey franks have 100 calories.  Their fat-free weiners have only 40 calories – but – they’re yucky.  At least that’s what my son says.

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drink mix

13.) Wal-Mart’s Orange Early Rise Sugar-Free Drink Mix. Cheaper (and better-tasting, imo) than Crystal Light’s orange-flavored drink mix, I keep a supply of these on hand at all times.  For me, there are times when only plain ol’ water will quench my thirst.  And then, there are other times when it won’t.  More often than not, I prefer some flavor in my water.

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peanut butter

14.) Peter Pan No Sugar Added Peanut Butter. First I bought “natural” peanut butters because they seemed healthier and they were lower-carb than regular peanut butters were.  THEN I found this!!  It tastes just like real peanut butter and it’s lower-carb than the natural low-carb stuff!  AND it doesn’t separate like the natural stuff does.  Bought it at my local grocery store.

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tomato sauce

15.)  Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with Basil, Garlic & Oregano. My son and I stood in the tomato sauce aisle of the grocery store for about 20 minutes, comparing all the labels, trying to find the one with the lowest carb count.  This was the can we took home – just 2g net carbs for a quarter cup.  We were both surprised when we opened the can and tried it, it was amazingly sweet and tasty!  We use this for everything and anything that calls for tomato sauce:  individual tortilla-pizzas, meatball subs (on LC tortillas of course), and for making chili (with either ground beef or ground turkey).  The only size can we’ve ever found this particular sauce in is just 8 ounces, so look for the little can!  (Also, Hunts changed the label recently, so just look for the words “basil, garlic & oregano.”)

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9 Comments so far

  1. Joy on November 27th, 2008

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this info. It really is helpful. You are so great doing all of this footwork for us like this.
    THANK YOU!!!!
    Joy

  2. susan on November 27th, 2008

    Wow~ nice site! The secrets to your sucess.

    I like all the pictures 🙂

  3. round on April 20th, 2009

    this is a nice list. For now I’m doing this all whole foods, no bars or special low-carb products (but I live in France where these things aren’t available). But nice to know they are there. Also nice to see what the price of ketone sticks should be – I spent 4x that for 50 sticks this week…

  4. omgzitsmiranda on January 26th, 2011

    Thanks for replying back to me so quickly :)! I’m thinking about doing something like this so maybe I won’t feel so discouraged like I do right now. I don’t want to give up & I need something else to keep me going on this journey.

    What kinds of things are you eating? I log a lot of carbs, but I’m going to try to track down a lot of the things you’ve posted in your survival kit because it seems like we like a lot of the same things 😉

    Thanks so much for the help seriously you’re a life saver <3.

  5. omgzitsmiranda on January 26th, 2011

    Also, I saw where you mentioned kitosis or however it’s spelled. What exactly does that mean? and how long do you stay in that period?

  6. eileen2blean on January 26th, 2011

    Hey Miranda,

    If you severely restrict incoming carbohydrates, after a day or so, your brain will secrete enzymes that tell your body to draw energy from fat instead of incoming carbs. This state is called ketosis – and low-carbers know just how awesome it is! Even bodies with “slow” metabolisms turn into fat-burning machines! When the body burns fat, by-products of that process (called ketones) show up in urine and there are little test strips that you can buy to see if you’re in ketosis or not. These strips will turn pink or purple if ketones are detected.

  7. eileen2blean on January 26th, 2011

    Miranda, I’m really glad for you that you are looking around for other options instead of giving up entirely! Low-carb isn’t for everyone, but it definitely works for me. I do want to mention that a neat side-effect of ketosis is that you detox from the white stuff (sugar and flour) and as a result, the cravings for that stuff disappear!!! It’s awesome because it means I don’t have to rely on my “willpower” because honestly, I don’t have any. 😀

  8. omgzitsmiranda on January 26th, 2011

    Thanks for getting back to me! It definitely sounds interesting, I’m so glad there’s different options instead of just one thing not working & having to just give up or give in lol.

    I think I may definitely have to give this low carb/low cal thing a try; what’s the worst that could happen? I don’t like it/don’t see results? It sounds like something I could definitely work with in terms of keeping with it instead of being so limited if you get what I’m saying.

    Do you have any tips for what I should do first to get started? I’ve been searching around for low carb things to eat and recipes but there’s so much to look through, I guess it just takes time 🙂

  9. eileen2blean on January 26th, 2011

    The best place I’ve found for low-carb recipes is definitely Linda’s Low Carb Menus:
    http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/recipes.html

    The items that have an asterisk (*) are good for induction (while you’re trying to get into ketosis).

    I posted a list of some of my favorite low-carb foods here:
    http://www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/eileen2blean/2011/01/06/day-3-its-all-about-me/

    Good luck!

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