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Monday, May 16, 2011

My New Whole Food Favorites (Low Carb/Gluten Free/Vegan/Raw

I've been using Navitas Naturals products for a while now, but I only recently discovered 3 of their products, which I am now using on a daily basis. They are whole food/raw food/vegan items that are incredibly versatile. They are acai powder, hulled hemp seeds, and chia seeds. They are marketed as "super foods," and while I'm not sure if that's an accurate description (or if there are such things as "super foods"),  they all have definite health benefits.

The other item I'm promoting is coconut manna made by Nutiva. Unlike the others, it is not a free trade certified product, but it still falls under the category of raw, whole food and vegan.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a good source of iron, omega fatty acids, protein, fiber, and essential amino acids.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are loaded with omega fatty acids, dietary fiber and protein.

Acai Powder

There's quite a bit of controversy about acai berries - it's been touted by many as being a weight loss miracle, a claim that has been debunked by many others. So, who knows if it helps you lose weight. But let's not dismiss it out of hand - they are rich in anti-oxidants, essential amino acids, and omega fatty acids. It has a very distinct flavor and can be added to all kinds of recipes.

Coconut Manna

Coconut manna is a paste made from dried coconut flesh. When heated, it has a very creamy consistency and can be a delicious addition to many different dishes. Personally, I love this stuff - and I'll be looking for more ways to incorporate it into my recipes. Coconut is a good source of fiber, healthy saturated fat, and is rich in nutrients.

Acai Protein Smoothie


15 g (2 T) chocolate or vanilla whey protein powder
15 g (2 T) hemp protein powder
1 tsp freeze dried acai powder
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk


*Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

Makes 1 serving and has 170.5 cal, 2.5 net carbs, g fat, 5.5 g fiber and 21.5 g protein.

There are two variations that I've enjoyed as well:

Vanilla Whey Acai Smoothie

This one is good when you want something lighter with less protein.

1 tsp freeze dried acai powder
2 T vanilla whey protein powder
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Makes 1 serving and has 105 cal, 2 net carbs, 3.5 g fat, 1 g fiber and 15 g protein.

Acai Hemp Smoothie

1 tsp freeze dried acai powder
1/4 C hemp protein powder ( you can also substitute a raw food protein powder as well)
1 T erythritol

Serves 1 and has 185 cal, 3 net carbs, 5 g fat, 10 g fiber, and 14 g protein.

I adore smoothies, and I have one every morning no matter what the weather is like. They're quick to make and are perfect for breakfast because that seems to be the time when we're in the biggest hurry and in most need of energy. Mornings are hard for a lot of people - most of us don't wake up everyday thinking, "I feel great! I can't wait to get out of bed!" If you're like me , waking up involves bargaining with yourself for more time in bed (can I sleep another 15 minutes and still take a shower, get dressed, not forget my bag...?). So, time is short and here is one very healthy way to brave the challenges of starting your day. But by mid-morning, I need a little something more. I don't subscribe to the whole "three meals a day" thing - I think it's much healthier to have several smaller meals throughout the day. 

Vegan Hot Cereal

This can be made very quickly and is delicious and filling. Hot cereal is a comfort food of mine (I used to love Quaker Instant Oatmeal - cinnamon, of course.)  I know it's getting warmer and many people associate hot cereal with cold weather, but this cools off quickly (you certainly don't need to worry about burning off the roof of your mouth) and I just love the taste. It incorporates the  remaining three ingredients on the list - chia seeds, hemp seeds and coconut manna.


1/4 C boiling water
1 T chia seeds
1 1/2 T shelled hemp seeds
1/2 T coconut manna
1/2 T erythritol or 1 packet sweetener of choice
pinch of sea salt


*Mix hemp seeds and chia seeds together in a small bowl. Add water and stir. Add coconut manna, salt,  and sweetener and continue to stir until you get the desired consistency.

Makes 1 serving and has 165 cal, 3 net carbs, 13.75 g fat, 5 g fiber and 8 g protein.

Add 28 g (1 oz) of fresh strawberries: 9 cal, 1 net carb, 0 fat, 1 g fiber and 1 g protein.

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

I love chocolate.  

I'm not sure I could live in a world without chocolate. 

I don't think I could survive. 

The best thing about chocolate is that it's actually good for you. Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants, iron and magnesium.  Plus, it releases endorphins. No wonder it's considered to be the number one food craved by American women - it makes you happy. Until you get on the scale. But it doesn't need to be that way; there are hundreds of wonderful low carb/gluten free (and soy free) recipes that, when eaten in appropriate portions, will not vex you or your scale.

These truffles are wonderfully decadent and rich and at the same time, very healthy, low in carbs, vegan, and gluten free.


1 T coconut manna
1/2 T coconut oil
1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 T erythritol 
3 drops liquid stevia
7 g cacao nibs
(32.5 cal .25 net carbs, 3 g fat, 2.25 g fiber, 1 g protein)


*In a glass or ceramic bowl, melt coconut manna and coconut oil in a microwave, on high for about 60 seconds. Beat with a whisk until well blended. In a non-stick pan, melt the erythritol on a high heat. Add the vanilla, stevia and cocoa powder to the coconut mixture and blend thoroughly. When the erythritol is completely liquified, add to mixture and whisk vigorously. By this time, the mixture should have a paste-like consistency. If you don't have a candy mold, you can use a teaspoon and press the paste into the measuring spoon to mold it. Place on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper and put into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

Makes 5  - 1 tsp truffles and each has 42.94 cal, .68 net carbs, 4.3 g fat, 1.05 g fiber and 1.2 g protein.


  1. Great to see another low carb foodblogger on the scene! Those truffles look phenomenal, i am bookmarking to try asap!

  2. Thanks! I recommend following the instructions on the the jar of coconut manna (you'll see what I mean) instead of softening it in the microwave. And you can use powdered erythritol instead of liquifying it with heat. It may turn out to be more liquid than paste - it this turns out to be the case, and you don't have a candy mold, just drop spoon-fulls on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper and allow to set in the freezer.

    Good luck and enjoy!