Category Archives: Low Carb Living

Ordering a Low-Sugar Frappuccino: The Impossible Dream?


Starbucks:  You are leaving money on the table.  Luckily, I’m here to help.  I’m talking about the steadfast way you ignore your many customers who are trying to reduce the sugar in their diets.  I’m one of them.  I absolutely love me a Venti Mocha Frappuccino, but ordered as is, the sugar content in it would probably render me unconscious.  I want to order the lowest-sugar version of this lovely treat that I can.  But, because your baristas collectively have zero clue about sugar as an ingredient, every time I try to do this, it’s a frustrating ordeal.


The first problem is that your lovely employees don’t know how to distinguish between low sugar and low fat.  Just today while I was waiting for my custom-ordered frappe (“Light syrup.  Light base.”), the manager turned to me and said, “So, for that skinny mocha frappe, what kind of milk did you want?”


Uh, no.  Even I know that in Starbucksland, “Skinny” means low fat.  I never said low fat.  In fact, I asked for whole milk and whipped cream.  I’m not afraid of the fat.  I’m trying to reduce the sugar.


I’m never confident that I’m getting the lowest-sugar version of the Mocha Frappuccino, no matter how many times I order it.  Sometimes the manager tells me to ask for “light base.”  Sometimes the manager tells me to ask for “light syrup.”  Which is it, my dudes?


The answer is so simple.  PUT A LOW SUGAR FRAPPUCCINO ON THE MENU.  There.  Done.  Add it to the list of drinks your employees learn to make.  Then my low-sugar caffeine addict friends and I will know how to order it.  And, hopefully, your baristas will get clear on how to make it.  We’ll all waste less time talking about it; you’ll move the line along more quickly, sell more drinks and everybody wins.


Starbucks, you are in the business of selling complicated overpriced caffeine drinks to urban people willing to pay for them.  Understanding and owning what the ingredients of these drinks are is sort of your job.  Do it better.  You’re welcome.frap


Low Carb Goodness: Nancy’s Forgotten Cookies


My fourth experiment in low carb treat making was my most successful so far.  To date, I’ve made two different recipes for peanut butter cookies and one brownie recipe.  They were all okay, but not great.

Much better results with Nancy’s Forgotten Cookies.  These are essentially meringues.  They are ridiculously easy to make. 

They are made with egg whites, artificial sweetner, sugar-free chocolate chips, vanilla and lots of chopped pecans.  I added a bit of instant espresso for richness. 

Out of the oven they are sweet, chewy and chocolaty.  I really recommend them.  I plan on doing some variations on them soon.

I plan on taking a bunch of them on my trip.  We’ll see how they freeze.


Low-Carb Living / Low Carb Baking: THE BROWNIES


Second experiment in Low Carb Baking this week.  I made a big batch of ridiculously not-bad-for me brownies.  But how do they taste?

Well, to be honest, they’re not bad.  But not, it must be said, particularly good.  They’re very very dark brown (I used Scharffen Berger unsweetened dark chocolate and high-quality cocoa powder); almost browner than you think brownies should be.  I mean, they’re really devil’s-food black.  But that’s okay.  And they’re kind of dry and crumbly.  And they’re not especially sweet.

BUT.   I’ll probably make them again.  Sounds crazy?  Read on.

Well, it turns out that’s not the only consideration when it comes to satisfying my rampaging sweet tooth.  The more I thought about it (as I munched on my third guilt-free brownie), the more complicated the issue of Home Baked Low Carb Brownies became.  I eventually realized I had no choice but to put properly analyze the issues with a table.  Here’s the data:

Real Brownies Low Carb Brownies
Delicious +1 Just okay -1
Expensive -1 Less Expensive +1
Convenient +1 Have to make them myself -1
Make me feel bad -1 Make me feel fine! +1
Are actually really bad for me -1 Are actually good for me +1
Thwart my weight goals -1 Help me reach my weight goals! +1
Total Score -2 Total Score +2

So you see, even though my home-baked low carb brownies aren’t as decadently yummy as their full-sugar counterparts, they still win big!

Here’s a link to the recipe:

Note:  I substituted almond flour for the flaxseed meal.

CONCLUSION:  Low carb sweets, especially the ones you make yourself, don’t HAVE to be spectacularly good.  They just have to be good enough to slake your desire for something sweet.  And these brownies do the job just fine.


Low Carb Living One Year In


Well it’s been a year.  I’ve lost eighty pounds.  Yay!  Forty or so more to go.

After doing the low-carb thing for so long, I’m looking at it as a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary diet.  One of the ways I’ve kept myself sane these last twelve months is having plenty of low-carb fake sweets on hand to calm my legendary sweet tooth.  There are lots of good options in this area, but they are mostly quite overpriced.

To that end, and to introduce some very needed variety into my diet, I’ve recently ordered a whole slew of exotic ingredients with which to bake my own damn fake sweets.  Stuff like xanthan gum, soy protein isolate, almond flower, glycerin, liquid lecithin.  Yay! 

Last night I had my first expermental low-carb baking attempt.  Peanut Butter Cookies. 

Made with natural (unsweetened) peanut butter, almond flour, Splenda, pecans, cream, and coconut, they are surprisingly good!

Here’s the recipe: