Low carb diets and I have a love-hate relationship. I love that it lowers my body fat if I am going for the swim suit abs. I hate when my low carb diet gets pissed and throws my stuff out the window when I look at a Snickers bar.

Luckily enough, there are solutions to maintaining a low carb lifestyle without eating like a bird.

*Take note that most of these do use artificial sweeteners. The article is regarding low carb solutions and not whether Coca-Cola is giving the world cancer one Diet Coke at a time. Also, all Amazon links are referral-free and for reference purposes.

The Shopping List:


 

Sugar Free Jello + Whipped Cream

Trust Bill Cosby on this one – he is wise beyond his years. The Jello has 0g of carbs while the whipped cream has only 2g of carbs per serving. This is, personally, my favorite treat. I probably eat it everyday. It’s cheap, crazy delicious, and easy to prepare.

The best part? Make a batch at the beginning of the week and you’re set. Otherwise you can buy the single Jello packages (or steal them from your neighborhood kids’ lunches).
And remember, there’s always room for… ehh, nevermind.

Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds (Amazon.com)

High protein. Only 3 carbs after removing fiber. 100% pure awesomeness.

These almonds are great if you are having trouble maintaining proper caloric and fat intake. Perfect for on the go travel as well.

The downside? They can be expensive at around $9-$12 for an 11oz container. Get around this by finding the massive 38oz package on sale at Cosco for around $15.

Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate 85%* (Amazon.com)

Fun fact – dark chocolate is quite literally the food of the gods. It contains theobromine, which in Greek, is translated theo (“God”) and brosi (“food”).

Being a chocolate connoisseur (read: junkie), I searched high and low for a low carb solution. I stumbled across this gem. Definitely get the 85% as it is the lowest carb and tasty (although 70% is mouthwatering as well, but comes at the cost of more carbs). I advise away from the 90% as it tastes like a mixture of chalk and rusty pennies.

Only 5g of carbs per serving. Note that a serving is 4 “squares.” The squares are massive.

*Note for European-chocoholics, Lindt’s lowest carb dark chocolate is the 90% mix rather than the 85% mixture here in the U.S. Must be from slight recipe differences.

Organic Almond Butter or Peanut Butter

Do not dip dark chocolate in peanut butter – that is, unless you don’t like having your mind blown.

Peanut or almond butter is perfect for a quick fix that provides good fats and decent caloric intake. I tend to have a scoop or two with my breakfast. Find one with low carb (sometimes a lot of sugar is added depending on brand).

Diamond’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk + Protein Shake (Amazon Links: Milk, Protein)

Low carb means no more milk. No milk means watery, less tasty protein shakes.

…Until now.
Diamond’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk contains a single gram of carbs. Mix in your favorite protein shake. Enjoy a thick, delicious, high protein treat or replacement meal.

I recommend most flavors of ON Gold Standard protein (whey for day, casein before bed) and BSN Syntha-6 for post workout nutrition.

Breyers CarbSmart Ice Cream (Breyers)

I don’t know how they did it, but they did it. Breyers created an amazing tasting line of low carb ice cream products. I assume it was the result of a shady transaction with the devil. They range between 3g-5g of net carbs depending on the product. My personal preference is with the Vanilla Almond bar.

Get it now because let’s face it – sometimes you just need ice cream.

 


 

If you know any other sweet foods that still are within the confines of low carb, let me know.

Enjoy eating like a pig and still maintaining your loving relationship with your LCD.

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Disclaimer!

Let me first state, I highly recommend cutting as many tech ties as possible while traveling or living abroad. Nothing steals the moment of sitting on the Croatian coast faster than the pings of Outlook email – just leave it at home. I advise to not even bring an mp3 player – it’s too easy to sit in the corner with headphones on and miss out on culture and meeting new people.

With that said, here is how I stay connected if absolutely required:
My stay in Galway, Ireland for a month meant I still needed to get work done and keep in touch with the real world outside of common methods like email.

1. iPod Touch

Grab a used or refurbed iTouch (or any smartphone) for cheap. Aside from music, games for long rides, and apps (will discuss next), having the internet in your pocket is incredibly useful in wifi settings. Think along the lines of, “When the hell is the next train?” when no one speaks English.

2. Textfree by Pinger app

This is a free app that allows for unlimited, costless text messaging to any number. You get a number when you sign up, then add your contacts, then send and receive SMS messages to your heart’s desire. Perfect for getting a hold of loved ones immediately.

You can add pictures to contacts, select themes, customize sounds for each – it’s pretty slick. You may even end up using it for messaging when you head home instead of your default phone. The only downside is that it currently only works for US and Canada numbers, but Pinger states international service is soon to be added. Sweet.

3. Skype

Both the computer program and smartphone app are terrific. Free video calls to Skype to Skype accounts, and more importantly, dirt-cheap calls (and SMS) to everywhere else. You can also purchase a number that people can dial, set call forwarding from another phone, and use an answering service if need be.

4. GoToMyPC

This software allows you remotely control any PC or Mac computer from anywhere with an internet connection. In my experience, it trumps other remote networking programs for ease of use and reliability.

The program essentially gives you control of your desktop at home or the office. If you live with roommates, send messages to the printer at home – it’s always good for a laugh… I’m sure you can think of a few inappropriate pages to print.

They offer a free month of trial. After that, the service is $20 a month – but coupons and offers are always about, normally making it around $10. This combined with Skype call forwarding is perfect for being a cubical escape artist.

5. SIM Phone

Take or buy a cheap phone that can swap out SIM cards for different carriers. This allows you to easily communicate with the friends you have (or going to have). 10 euro for the phone and a few euros in credits snagged me more than enough chat time to arrange meetings with friends.

6. Slingbox

Missing the big game at home? That’s alright – just hook up a Slingbox to your television at home. Control and watch all your shows and DVR material from the internet. Definitely luxury and not a need – unless it’s a good game…

Check out my post here in regards to saving over $120 a month with tech tricks like Slingbox.

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Those are some of the more clever ways I use to stay connected. I know there are many tricks out there, so let me know!

Remember – if you can avoid it, don’t worry about spending time off the grid. You will be better for it – trust me. Enjoy being connected across the globe.

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Gym Nazi Defense 101: Unbanning Your Vibram FiveFingers From Your Local Gym

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After wearing Vibrams to your local gym to train, it is near impossible to put anything else on your feet. And no, its not because you’re trying to get the attention of the cutie on the elliptical using Vibrams’peacocking effect – it’s because VFFs make training more efficient, safer, and more fun.

To make a long story short, after several encounters with a GN (Gym Nazi), it ended with the GN banning my shoes and threatening to kick me out of the gym if VFFs were on my feet next time I entered (even though I was very docile and non-argumentative).

Being a bit over-analytical and passionate (read: having too much time on my hands) about training in my Vibrams, I scoured the web for people who discovered redemption from their VFF banning.

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