Author: Vibrant Life

Low Carb Bacon Wrapped Burrito

Low Carb Bacon Wrapped Burrito Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

This is a delicious recipe using Fathead dough. For you who follow a ketogenic protocol, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s one of the best bread/roll/pizza crust alternatives and is loved by keto and non-keto people alike! I will caution you, though; if you are a non-dairy consumer then perhaps skip the fathead wrap and make a bacon burrito bowl instead! OR you could substitute with a Siete tortilla/wrap (Whole Foods carries these or you can order them online).


Ingredients

Scale

Fathead Dough

  • 6 oz Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 oz Cream Cheese, full fat
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Almond Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ⅛ tsp Pink Himalayan Salt

Bacon Layer and Filling

  • 24 Slices Bacon (pasture raised)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (grass fed and finished)
  • 1 Yellow Onion, medium
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, medium
  • 4 oz Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  1. Make the fathead dough and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (it’s much easier to work with when chilled!).
  2. Partially cook the bacon in the oven. Be very careful with this step because if you cook it too much it will get overcooked in the next steps! Make sure it’s not at all crispy during this step!
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  4. Brown the ground beef on the stove.
  5. Saute the onion and bell pepper until soft and set aside.
  6. Line a 13×18″ baking pan or 2, 9×13″ pans with parchment paper.
  7. On a separate piece of parchment paper, roll the fathead dough out to about 1/4″ thickness in a rectangle.
  8. Bake the fathead dough just slightly, about 10 minutes. Let cool a little.
  9. On the pan lined with parchment paper, lay out the strips of bacon so they are slightly overlapping.
  10. Add the fathead dough crust on top of the bacon.
  11. Layer the ground beef and onion/green pepper mixture over the fathead crust.
  12. Gently roll the crust and filling until it’s closed like a burrito and then wrap the bacon around the whole thing, crossing the ends to seal the burrito.
  13. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Add whatever toppings you desire (sour cream, salsa, cheese, olives, chives, etc)!

Tried Everything But Feeling Stuck? Weight Gain, Low Energy, Sleep Issues… Important Labs to Consider!

Tried Everything But Feeling Stuck? Weight Gain, Low Energy, Sleep Issues… Important Labs to Consider!

I see it time and time again with women:

She’s trying a new diet or protocol, maybe she loses a little bit of weight but then gets stuck. She’s tired, sometimes downright exhausted. She is exercising her buns off (except for that her buns don’t seem to be responding very well) OR she’s too tired to exercise. She has little sex drive. She has brain fog and just feels like she’s “not herself”. Sleep might be an issue as well; either having difficulty falling asleep or falling asleep only to wake later and stare at the ceiling. Maybe she thinks she’s getting enough sleep but then relying on caffeine to push her through her day…

Stop right there, sister. Let me give you permission to just breathe, perhaps cry if you need to.

Understand that trying to beat your body into submission with “diet” and tons of exercise or getting down on yourself because of lack of energy and motivation is just not going to help. In fact, I can assure you these tactics will make things worse.

The problem is that a lot of our mainstream/cookie cutter approaches to health and weight loss target surface level “stuff” rather than getting to the root of the issue.

What does this mean?

If my car is not running right because of an issue with the engine, filling it with more gas will not help. Driving my car more and hoping the issue will resolve itself will cause a faster breakdown. Changing the oil or using a different kind of gas won’t even help if what is going on is internal.

Why do we think stressing our bodies out will equal long term health? It never works.

Rather than climbing back on that frantic hamster wheel that leads to nowhere, let’s step off for a minute and tune into what your body is telling you.

If you are exhausted, not sleeping well, feeling like your head is in the clouds and you can’t focus, your body seems to do the opposite of what you want it to, you think you might just not be able to function at all without caffeine, your moods suck… THERE IS A REASON FOR ALL OF THIS…and, sorry friends, as much as I love KETO, it won’t solve the problem either.

There are THREE major players in our health and wellbeing that us women really need to be familiar with because they run the show!!

Cortisol, Thyroid and Sex Hormones (Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone)

These 3 have a very tight relationship. You cannot mess with one without another being impacted. But, the truth is that it really all stems from Cortisol. That’s where it starts and cascades down from there.

CORTISOL is good, until it’s not.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands. Most cells within the body have cortisol receptors. It is known for helping fuel your body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct in a crisis, but cortisol plays an important role in a number of things your body does, such as:

  • Managing how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Controlling inflammation
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Increasing blood sugar (glucose)
  • Controlling your sleep/wake cycle
  • Boosts energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterward

This is how cortisol works when things are going well. However, in our modern-day culture, most of us deal with a boatload of stress on a normal basis. STRESS comes in the form of mental/emotional, chemical or physical. This is critical to understand. Stress is not just being overworked, fighting traffic, dealing with financial issues or a boss you hate… stress comes from the toxins we put into our body constantly (from food, body products, makeup, detergents, etc), infections, over or under exercising, being “plugged in” all the time with all the technology we rely on, etc.

According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, “high cortisol levels wreak havoc over time, and make you store fat—especially in your belly, deplete your happy brain chemicals like serotonin, and rob your sleep. High cortisol is also linked to depression, food addiction, and sugar cravings”.

Notice above that one of the things cortisol is responsible for is increasing blood sugar. So, when my body is stressed for whatever reason, it releases cortisol in order to help me with added energy so I can deal with that stress. What then happens is that my blood sugar stays elevated, and insulin comes into play as well. This is a very hard battle to fight because what people typically do at this point is exercise harder and reduce calories. Guess what your body thinks with this?? STRESS. Up goes the cortisol and the crazy cycle continues.

TESTING CORTISOL

You can for sure go to your doc and ask for a blood cortisol test. This is fine and will help give you a little idea of some imbalance. HOWEVER, when you go to have a cortisol test run first thing in the morning, you are A) getting up, out of bed, getting ready and driving to have your test run so it’s not a true representation of waking cortisol. B) if you are anything like me just the thought of having a needle poked into my arm STRESSES ME OUT! So, you could have low cortisol but that might not show from the test if your cortisol spiked! C) our cortisol has a natural rhythm throughout the day. It goes up and down and there are optimal levels morning, noon and night. Therefore, testing once doesn’t give you a very full picture of what’s happening.

What I recommend: a four-point cortisol test with saliva. This one is a much better indicator of what is happening with your cortisol as it pinpoints patterns throughout a 24-hour period.

THYROID regulates pretty much every cell in the body. It is the boss of the metabolism! If you have a slow thyroid you might experience brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, low sex drive, depression, etc.

It is critical to understand that thyroid symptoms present differently in each person and occur in stages. It is quite obviously best to catch an issue early on when symptoms are few and low rather than wait until things are worse and hard to turn around. It is up to YOU to get clear on this and advocate for yourself because, sadly, most mainstream medical doctors will not consider thyroid an issue until your numbers are dramatically out of range (for which they have a pill). This is 100% not necessary! You can absolutely detect when a problem is starting and make efforts to support your thyroid and reverse your condition!

TESTING THYROID

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone): secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain when your brain detects you need more thyroid hormone. THIS IS NOT YOUR ACTIVE THYROID HORMONE! This is simply where your thyroid hormone is initiated from. At this point, when your TSH is released, you feel nothing; energy and metabolism are not impacted by TSH.

Free T4: triggered by TSH, T4 is really just a messenger. The release of T4 still does not impact your energy and metabolism! It must be converted into T3 which is where the magic happens. FREE simply means you are measuring the part of the hormone that is being used in your body. You can have more T4 swimming around but if it isn’t available to convert to T3, it doesn’t matter.

Free T3: this is our ACTIVE thyroid hormone! Sadly, doctors RARELY test this one. You MUST ASK to have this tested. If you are told no, ask again. You will likely hear all sorts of excuses as to why they won’t test it (such as it is not an important number) but stick to your guns with this. Your TSH and T4 can be “normal” but if your Free T3 is low, you’ll know it because you’ll feel like crap! However, without testing this your doctor will say “you’re fine” and send you on your way.

Reverse T3: this is another that is rarely tested. This one is important because it is a trickster. It is essentially an inactive form of T3 that gets released when high stress occurs (low calorie diets and over exercising are a huge cause of this!!). RT3 will take the place of Free T3 in thyroid receptors, not allowing the active hormone to do its job.

Thyroid Antibodies (Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb): these antibodies will be elevated when your immune system is attacking your thyroid. They are indicative of Hashimoto’s Disease (hypothyroid) and Graves Disease (hyperthyroid). These are so important to test because it will dictate your approach to supporting your thyroid!

SEX HORMONES are the third piece of this puzzle and are directed by cortisol and thyroid. If you have an imbalance here, it is quite likely due to an upstream issue.

For women estrogen is typically what we relate to. However, our progesterone and testosterone are both just as important and impactful. In fact, the relationship between progesterone and estrogen matters more than the individual levels of either of them.

For example:
If your estrogen is low, but your progesterone is lower, you will experience symptoms of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE. This can even happen if your progesterone is at a more optimal level. If your estrogen is dominating the situation, that is what you will experience.

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup here are symptoms of estrogen dominance:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
  • Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • PMS

Progesterone is a calming, protecting hormone. It gives us our sense of well-being and balance by helping us deal with stress better and feel more grounded.

Testosterone is one that is often neglected because we think of it more as a male hormone. However, us girls need it too! The tricky thing is that we need enough, but not too much. Too much and we run into things like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and other issues.

Although I mention testosterone here, it’s really about ANDROGENS in general (DHEA, a precursor to testosterone; androstenedione, related to both testosterone and estrogen; DHT, converted from testosterone). One of the biggest issues with androgens is that when they are in excess then will cause insulin resistance.

With too little testosterone we can experience these symptoms according to Dr. Becky Campbell:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor memory
  • Dry skin
  • Gaining weight around the midsection
  • Osteoporosis
  • Having a hard time keeping muscle on
  • Low libido
  • Depression and or anxiety

Do you see how all of these things have so many cross overs?? One thing can look like 10 other hormonal imbalances. That is why it is so important to TEST, NOT GUESS! Sometimes things are obvious, but a lot of the time it’s just not and you don’t want to be taking shots in the dark when it comes to your health! What can happen is that a bigger imbalance or more symptoms can occur on top of what you are already dealing with.

What test results mean!

Another important thing to note is that even if you get your doctor to order ALL of the necessary labs, they are most often compared to “standard ranges”. Please LISTEN UP! Standard really means “an average of all the labs from people who feel like a big pile of CRAP”. Most people who go in to the doctor to have their labs drawn are doing so because they don’t feel good, are gaining weight, have no energy, are at their wits end, RIGHT?! YES! The “standard ranges” are an average of all of these labs!!

STOP. Think about what you just read. I am a 42 year old female. I want to know where my numbers should be compared to a 42 year old female at her OPTIMAL HEALTH. I do not want to be compared to a pile of 42 year old females who are feeling like they’ve been run over by a truck and hoping someone will come along with a spatula and scrape them up off the road!

If I go into my doctor’s office, she runs my labs and they comeback “within range” according to those standard numbers, she will pat me on the back, tell me I’m “normal” and send me home STILL FEELING LIKE CRAP!

IGNORE THE STANDARD RANGES!

Here are some more optimal ranges to compare your labs to:

CORITSOL:

Optimal blood ranges

(morning) 10-15 μg/dL
(afternoon) 6-10 μg/dL

Optimal saliva ranges

(morning) 3.7-9.5
(noon) 1.2-3.0
(evening) 0.6-1.9
(night) 0.4-1.0

THYROID:

TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
TPO – TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative SEX HORMONES: Estradiol (serum) Day 3: < 80 pg/mL; Day 14: 150-350 pg/mL; Postmenopause, approx. 50 pg/mL for bone strength Progesterone (serum): Luteal phase (day 21-23) 15-33 ng/ml Free Testosterone (1.1-2.2 pg/ml Ok. You have your results, you have some imbalances as suspected. Now what? The “now what” is an extremely individualized situation! There is absolutely no ONE SIZE FITS ALL remedy for all of this because our bodies are remarkably different, the cause of imbalances will vary wildly, labs themselves will be completely different from one person to the next. Also, our situations are going to be all over the place depending on age, level of stress, any gut issues or infections, current medications, etc. If you are interested in getting some one-on-one help with this stuff, taking a deeper dive and unraveling YOUR story and creating a NEW STORY, please connect with me! I would love to extend an offer for a complimentary consultation to see where and how I might be able to join forces with you and help you reach a place of more optimal health! Simply schedule a consultation with me here! Or email me at jess@healthwithjess.com

Lemon Bars (Keto/Low Carb)

Lemon Bars Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

This has just taken the spot in my household for FAVORITE Keto dessert! I absolutely love lemon and it’s such a delicious treat for Springtime! This was far easier to make than I had anticipated.

For sweeteners, I try to stick with non GMO, organic if possible. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol from fermented fruit or veggies. I personally prefer it to the taste of stevia (stevia has a bitter aftertaste in my opinion). You can absolutely switch up the sweetener in any of these recipes to use something you prefer, just adjust the amount for taste.

I love to share Keto desserts on my page but also will caution you to not have them ALL the time! If you have goals for weight loss I would especially warn not to overdue the sweets as it will very easily keep you in that mode of craving sweet stuff!! Plus, too much of things like almond flour can boost carbs more than you would think.


Ingredients

Scale

Crust

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • ¼ cup Confectioners Erythritol
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter, melted

Filling

  • 3 Lemons, juiced
  • 1 zest from one lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs, room temp (you can place them in warm water for a few minutes to warm!)
  • ¾ cup Confectioner’s Erythritol
  • ¾ cup Almond Flour

Topping

  • 1 tsp Confectioner’s Erythritol

Instructions

Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350F & line an 8×8 casserole dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place the almond flour, confectioner’s erythritol, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the melted butter and stir until everything clumps together.
  3. Add the dough to the baking dish. Spread and flatten with a spatula making sure to get some along the sides of the dish.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the crust and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before adding the filling.

Lemon Filling

  1. Combine the lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and eggs in a mixing bowl and blend well.
  2. Add the almond flour and Confectioner’s erythritol. Mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. Gently pour the filling over the crust, smoothing with a spatula until evenly distributed.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until set.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove the bars by pulling on the edges of the parchment paper and lifting them from the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the convectioner’s erythritol for the topping evenly over the bars.
  7. Cut and serve! These are even more delicious chilled!

Hashimoto’s. What is it and why everyone should care (and NO, it is NOT the same as hypothyroidism)

Hashimoto’s. What is it and why everyone should care (and NO, it is NOT the same as hypothyroidism)

Hashimoto’s might sound like a very exotic name for a scary condition; but truth be told, it’s FAR more common than you might think. In fact, it has been reported that over 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s!

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease which is what happens when your immune system goes rogue and attacks tissues in your body in some form or fashion: joints, skin, intestines, brain, etc. Hashimoto’s is when your immune system specifically attacks your thyroid.

Why does this happen?

Some of the biggest culprits leading to Hashimoto’s are gluten intolerance, toxins (from food, daily products used in our households or things like mercury from fish or amalgams), blood sugar imbalances, adrenal stress and a leaky gut and infection (just to name a few).
How do you know if you have Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s is largely determined by measuring thyroid antibodies through blood tests. (I will go further into this in another post, but there are many nuances to this, but this is the first place to check, symptoms are super important to pay attention to as well). Antibody tests consist of:

1) Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) which attack an enzyme used to synthesize thyroid hormones and are commonly elevated in both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease patients.

2) Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb), attack thyroglobulin, which your thyroid uses to produce its hormones. These are typically elevated in Hashimoto’s patients.

Optimal ranges for both are really as low to zero as possible. Practitioners vary in what they feel is the “warning light” going off in terms of once numbers get elevated; some say above 15, some say 30, etc. The important thing is that you understand, zero is the goal and if you are at all elevated AND have symptoms of Hashimoto’s, it is time to act before things get worse!

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s (according to Dr. Amy Meyers) include (please remember you do not have to have ALL symptoms in order for this to be you. A few is too many and could be early warning signs!):

  • Fatigue and feeling exhausted even after sleeping 8-10 hours
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor memory
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • Cold hands or feet, low body temperature
  • Hair loss or thinning, brittle hair
  • Constipation
  • Hormonal imbalances including PMS, irregular periods, and low sex drive, infertility
  • Dry skin or brittle nails
  • Mood imbalances such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Neck swelling, snoring, or hoarse voice

Why is it important to know if you are struggling with Hashimoto’s? Aside from the obvious in terms of symptoms it can cause, let me remind you that over 90% of hypothyroidism is CAUSED BY HASHIMOTO’S!

Something extremely important to understand is about ROOT CAUSE. If your hypothyroid condition is being caused by this underlying condition, treating the thyroid itself will never be enough to help alleviate the problem! You must address this autoimmune condition.
Next time we will chat about WHAT TO DO to turn this around. In the meantime, understand 2 things:

If you go to a mainstream medical practitioner and ask about this you might have these responses:

A) we don’t need to test this for _ reason.

B) if you have Hashimoto’s there’s nothing you can do about it.

This article is meant to empower you. You DO need to test for Hashimoto’s especially if you have symptoms AT ALL and if you already know you have hypothyroidism. Also, there is SO MUCH you can do about this and you can put this in remission, especially if you catch it before it gets too out of hand.

Stay tuned to dive into what we can do to turn this around!

Vanilla Keto Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Keto Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Vanilla Keto Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Jessica Parker

Description

I used to bake ALL. THE. TIME. Then I started eating a more paleo inspired diet which then switched to keto. When I was paleo I did make a lot of paleo treats and found myself frustrated because my body was not responding well. I thought, hey, I cut out gluten, processed flour and sugar…what gives? But then I realized I was eating tons and tons of high sugar fruits and “healthy sugars”. This is actually what led me to dive into the ketogenic diet. After tons of research I thought I would “try it” and here I am, two years later, still keto!

I do not think it’s a good practice to have keto treats every day. It does seem to drive this desire for sweet further when we are always having sweet things even if they don’t spike our blood sugar. However, I do still love to bake and I LOVE to share a keto treat when there is a holiday or special event. These are one of those that even people who are not low carb or keto would love!

Recipe adapted from ketogenicgirl.com


Ingredients

Scale

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup Erythritol (or sweetner of choice; adjust amount as needed)
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

Frosting

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened just a little
  • 4 tbsp Powdered Erythritol
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffing tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream and eggs together until fluffy. Add in the yolks one at a time followed by the erythritol and vanilla extract; combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the almond and coconut flours, baking powder and sea salt. Add this gradually to the heavy whipping cream mixture and combine well.
  4. Distribute evenly into the 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  5. While cupcakes cool (make sure to cool them completely before frosting so the frosting doesn’t melt), mix the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered erythritol together in a bowl with a hand mixer until creamy and fluffy.
  6. Frost your cupcakes however your little heart desires and enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 12

The BEST Keto Brownies

The BEST Keto Brownies Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

These truly are the BEST Keto brownies I have tasted, hands down!! They are easy to make and you aren’t left feeling like “they were good, but not the real thing”. These brownies are rich, fudgy, they don’t have any kind of grainy texture from any of the keto flours (there is some almond flour but minimal). The flavor is amazing!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz Lily’s Chocolate (sweetened with stevia) or use a very dark chocolate 80% or more
  • 6 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Erythritol (or sweetener of choice, adjust amount as needed)
  • 2 tbsp Almond Flour
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 3 tbsp Nuts of choice, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Chocolate Chips (I used Lily’s) or Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8×8″ casserole dish with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Melt butter, coconut oil, and chocolate in the microwave or on the stove in a small pot. Stir well then set aside to cool. Mixture should be nice and smooth.
  3. Use a beater or mixer and combine the eggs, erythritol, vanilla extract, salt almond flour and baking powder.
  4. Carefully combine in the chocolate mixture until just combined.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared casserole dish.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and/or chocolate (optional).
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set.
  8. Let cool for a few minutes then cut and enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 20

Keto Taco Cups

Keto Taco Cups Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

This Taco Cup recipe is Keto friendly, but it is for sure one of those crowd pleasers (keto and non-keto alike)! It is quite the keto comfort food! If you miss bread, fat head dough is for sure my favorite way to satisfy that craving. It is so much like regular bread. It is a recipe I use constantly, especially if we have non-keto people over and I want to make something everyone can have. It’s great for rolls, buns, or things like this!


Ingredients

Scale

Fat Head Dough

  • 2 oz Cream Cheese
  • ¾ cup Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder (or Trader Joes’ “Everything But The Bagel” Seasoning)
  • ⅓ cup Almond Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Shredded Cheese (I like to use Pepper Jack)

Filling

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (grass fed and finished)
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ⅛ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • 1.50 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1.50 cups Shredded Cheese (your choice)
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, avocado

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small bowl, add cream cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. Microwave on high for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted (don’t cook too long! It’s so important to stir really well every 20 seconds. It melts really fast!)
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg until beaten. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Combine cheese mixture with egg mixture. Then add in remaining shredded cheese and mix well.
  5. Put dough in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the meat filling.

Filling

  1. Brown the ground beef and then add all of the seasonings and combine well.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it between 2 large piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it’s fairly thin; about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Grease a muffin tin with butter or coconut oil (just 6 of the cups need to be greased)
  4. Use a large mouthed jar or large circle cookie cutter to make cut 6 circles out of your dough. Then carefully press each of the circles into the individual muffin tin cups.
  5. Spoon meat mixture into each cup, dividing evenly then top each cup with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve warm or cold! They are really good either way and a great snack! Top with whatever your little heart desires, they are good with or without added toppings!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

This is perfect if you are following a low carb protocol, but even if you aren’t it is delicious and everyone will love it! The flavor was outstanding and it was a pretty dinner to put together (win!). I also love that you can dress this up however you prefer with toppings to individualize for the fam. I am also not the biggest fan of leftovers, but this one was really good for lunch the next day!

Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 Medium sized Zucchinis
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (grass fed and finished!)
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Dried Oregano
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • 1.50 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 oz Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese *optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the ends off zucchini. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving ½-in. shells. Line up the zucchini in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Chop the pulp up into very small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized skillet add ground beef until no longer pink. Drain the excess grease. Add the reserved zucchini pulp and the chili powder, garlic powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, cumin and salt and pepper to the ground beef. Add the tomato sauce and water and combine.
  3. Fill the zucchini boats evenly with the taco mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from oven and top with favorite toppings.
  4. *The cheese is totally optional. If you are dairy free or just trying to cut down on dairy like myself for hormone reasons, this recipe is super flavorful and really didn’t need the cheese! It’s just that good!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6

My Doctor Says My Thyroid is “Normal” But I Just Don’t Feel Right

My Doctor Says My Thyroid is “Normal” but I Just Don’t Feel Right

The first thing I want to say here is that you always need to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you feel OFF or “not right”, that is far more important than any lab test or what any doctor will try to tell you. YOU know YOUR body and if it doesn’t feel right, there is a reason for that!

Here is a typical scenario: you start gaining weight, or just can’t lose extra weight; you might notice your hair is thinning; energy levels are low; perhaps you notice your eyebrows thinning; you might have some pretty good brain fog…. So you increase your exercise and lower your calories but it only makes the whole thing worse. You then go to the doctor because you know enough about thyroid to think it might be what is at play here. You go into your doctor and are sent home discouraged. Your doctor says you are “fine”. So, what happened?

It starts with what lab numbers are actually tested. When you go into your mainstream medical practitioner and have your labs run for thyroid, they will always order TSH and *sometimes* they will throw T4 in there. TSH is the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone that is sent out by the pituitary gland in your brain when it detects you need more thyroid hormone for energy and overall metabolism. What happens then? The pituitary releases TSH and all is well, right? Nope.

Your TSH travels to the thyroid gland and binds to receptors there that signal the T4 to be released. Now you are feeling good and energy levels are where they should be! ….actually….NO. ONE MORE STEP has to occur. Your T4 has to be converted to T3 by an enzymatic process before you will actually feel any benefit as T4 is really only like a messenger (it is INACTIVE). T3 is the active thyroid hormone that gives you what you need (this is the gas that gives you energy)!

Ok let’s pause here and think about this. If T3 is the active hormone, why aren’t doctors concerned about your T3 level?

Without going into any theories as to why this is the case (and it IS the case for most mainstream practitioners), just understand this: you NEED to know what your free T3 level is at (free T3 because that is the “unbound” form of T3 that is actually in action in your body). If your doctor tells you they will NOT order a full thyroid panel that includes free T3 (which is very likely to happen and they might give you any number of reasons why that are NOT VALID) you need to A) be assertive and insist that you have the full panel run, B) find a new doctor or C) order your test yourself. You can order your own test here. (It is very easy [I have done it] and relatively inexpensive. You go to the lab near you that you will be connected with via this website once you order your test and your results are emailed to you.)

Another important part of the full thyroid panel is Reverse T3. Reverse T3 (RT3) is inactive like T4; but it will bind to receptor sites meant for T3 and therefore hijack the system, therefore not allowing you to receive the benefits of the active thyroid hormone, T3.

***PLEASE NOTE: chronic calorie restriction and reducing carbs TOO low will raise RT3 (I love the ketogenic protocol, but you can absolutely be very low carb without causing this problem. You need to listen to your body’s signals and if there is resistance, restricting carbs further is NOT the answer!). Chronic stress will also raise RT3 levels!***

Lastly, it is also imperative that you check your thyroid antibody levels checked. I would argue these might be the MOST important to test. Why?

Thyroid antibodies There are two main types of thyroid antibodies. Here is some great information from Amy Meyers, MD, “Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) attack an enzyme used to synthesize thyroid hormones and are commonly elevated in both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease patients. Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb), attack thyroglobulin, which your thyroid uses to produce its hormones. These are typically elevated in Hashimoto’s patients.”

A little known fact is that over 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is simply inflammation in your body leading to an attack on the thyroid. It is clearly VERY common and yet people do not realize this. The importance of knowing this is that you can then take steps to reduce systemic inflammation in your body and bring your antibody numbers down, therefore protecting the thyroid.

Full thyroid panel to request:
TSH
Free T4
Free T3
Reverse T3
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

Once you have your thyroid panel run, your doctor could look at it (even this full panel) and tell you that you are “within range” and therefore, “fine” and send you home; but you might still feel like there’s a problem. Here’s why:

The thyroid ranges mainstream medicine uses come from an average of actual patient labs run. What does this mean? It means the ranges you are given are based on those with thyroid problems. They are very broad ranges because they consider these numbers “normal”. However, I do not want to be compared to “normal” ranges that represent people with thyroid disorders. I want to know where my labs should be if I am at a healthy, “optimal” level. Here is a general guide from Amy Myers MD:

TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
TPO – TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative Knowing ALL of your thyroid numbers and comparing them to OPTIMAL ranges versus “standard ranges” will change how you approach your thyroid condition and can lead you to the ROOT CAUSE of the issue so that you can treat the actual problem and potentially reverse the issue!

Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

Looking for a delicious, creamy dressing that you can use on salads or for an addition to a meat or fish dish? Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. You can easily make this dairy free by opting for a dairy free plain yogurt.

Recipe adapted from www.gimmedelicious.com


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, fresh, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogut (full fat!)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Lime or Lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cup Water

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend well until mixture is nice and smooth. Use your 1/3 cup water to thin the dressing (add less or more depending on desired consistency).
  3. Store, covered, in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8