Smoothies Without Carb Countdown

Sharon Zimberoff writes:

Hi Dana, I found a copy of your Low Carb Smoothies. I am so anxious to get started on the lower carb smoothies first. I found the "Designer Whey." However, Keto products are no longer available (Keto Milk, Keto Milk Powder) in stores or on-line. I looked for Calorie Countdown but found that it is not available anywhere in Michigan (I live in Kalamazoo). I detest the taste of soy milk (also not low in carbs). I found a product called Lactalose (not low in carbs). Powdered milk is high in carbs. I found unsweetened Almond Milk (1 gram carb per 8 ounces). I looked at everything available in my 3 health food stores including GNC) and all my grocery stores and megamarts. Half and Half is high in carbs as is everything but the unsweetened Almond Milk but I don't know how this will taste. I know cream would taste good but it is high in fat. What would you suggest?

Thanks for your help. Sharon Zimberoff

PS I have "How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds" and most of your cookbooks. I did lose some weight using your techniques but fell off the wagon, so to speak.

Hey, Sharon --

First of all, thanks for buying my books! And remember, you can always get back on the wagon. Every day is a great day to decide to be healthy.

I'm really sorry about the smoothies book, and this problem is the exact reason why I rarely write about it or link to it: The most-used ingredient is now hard or impossible for most people to get. I know I can't buy it around here. If my publisher were willing, I'd love to rewrite the entire thing, to use available ingredients. But that ambition doesn't help you now.

I can't recommend soy milk, and I'm glad you don't like it. I've never heard of Lactalose, and google seems to think it's a sugar that acts as a laxative. Doesn't sound like a great breakfast to me.

Unsweetened almond milk seems like an okay choice from the nutrition label I found (for the Silk version of the stuff), but with this caveat: I couldn't find the ingredient list. Still, with only 1 gram of carbohydrate per cup, even if it has added sugar, it's not enough that I'd panic about it. I was a little worried about the omega-6 fatty acid content, but it's only 0.5 grams of polyunsaturates per cup, so that's not awful, either. Only way to know if you'll like it is to try it, of course. Both the Silk almond milk and the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze get rave reviews online, however.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the fat in cream; I deliberately aim for 70% or more of my calories from fat. I think too many people try to weight their low carb diets toward protein, when really a low carb diet should be adequate protein/high fat. If you can get -- and afford -- raw cream from grass-fed cows, you'd be getting a huge nutritional bonus of vitamin A and other antioxidants, plus some seriously healthful fats. You'd need to water the cream, though -- perhaps half cream, half water -- to avoid getting butter if you ran the blender a second too long!

Believe it or not, my favorite choice for smoothies is now cottage cheese. 1 cup of creamed cottage cheese has 6 grams of carb -- that's according to MasterCook, but read labels, as brands may vary. I find that about 3/4 cup of cottage cheese with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar-free syrup (whatever goes with the flavor I'm aiming for) makes a creamy and satisfying smoothie. I had a comment a while back from someone who -- not having tried this -- was concerned about the smoothies coming out salty; all I can say is I have not had this problem. Again, probably depends some on your brand of cottage cheese; I've generally used my grocery store's house brand.

Back last summer, I published the recipe for the best cottage cheese smoothie I've come up with yet. Another favorite is made with 1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate syrup and a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee crystals, for a mocha latte smoothie.

As the weather warms up, I'll make a point of adapting some of the recipes from the smoothies book to cottage cheese, and posting the recipes here.

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low carb "milk"

I've never bought any of the reduced carb dairy milks. Nor do I buy the milk alternatives that increasing take up space in the chill cases adjacent to the dairy section. Too processed, too many food lab ingredients, too expensive for what they are. I've never had a problem making low carb smoothies without alternative low carb milk products, but then again, I rarely follow recipes exactly anyway, esp for something like smoothies. If I look at a smoothie recipe at all, it is mainly for inspiration.

I completely agree that the fat content in cream is nothing to worry about, in fact, it's a plus. I use heavy cream (often (raw, naturally probiotic, sometimes pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized with preservatives and stabilizers) all the time in smoothies for myself and my family. The fat doesn't raise insulin levels, is satiating, and creates a rich, creamy texture. Butterfat is a great source of energy in the absence of insulin-spiking carbs. And as you mention, cream from grassfed cows (not CAFO herds, that much, if not most cream is from), is an excellent source of fat-soluble Vitamin A (and some D, as well as other fat-soluble nutrients) that is so important for bone/dental health, night vision, immune function, as well as other health benefits. Americans haven't been getting enough preformed Vitamin A as plant oils increasingly replaced animal fats throughout the 20th century. Many people are inefficient convertors of plant beta-carotenes (Vit A precursors) so we musn't rely on plant-derived beta-carotenes alone for our Vitamin A needs.

I also use coconut milk quite a bit in smoothies (& cream soups and sauces), though I will usually add a drop of fat soluble Vitamin K2 per serving to the smoothies, as that's a nutrient that is rich in grassfed butterfat and other grassfed animal fats/organs, but not in coconut oil and other plant oils. Again, with coconut milk, I'm using it for the lovely saturated fat- it's satisfying, is a great source of energy that doesn't cause energy slumps or "crashes" like carbs do, and the flavor is quite good with just about any smoothie flavor combination. I have a rotary coconut grater (available inexpensively at Indian, Filipino, and Southeast Asian markets, so sometimes I make fresh coconut milk by soaking freshly grated coconut in warm water, then straining (can be made with unsweetened grated and dried coconut, too), but I also buy Native Forest canned coconut milk (without preservatives) by the case from (cheaper and more convenient than buying from local stores) to keep in my pantry so it's always available. There are lots of good videos on YouTube demonstrating various methods of grating and making fresh coconut milk (which needs to be used even more quickly than opened canned coconut milk).

Since consuming more butterfat and coconut oil, my HDL has climbed from barely 40 to consistently over 70! For women, having enough HDL associated with protection from a number of chronic and degenerative conditions, and dietary saturated fat is about the best way to raise HDL levels. Most doctors won't tell you that, because if HDL goes up, total cholesterol also prob will go up (duh, basic math), and they are too focused on keeping the TC number down (mistakenly, but that's the way it is, thanks to bad science and Big Pharma).

I've not tried the new coconut milk "alternative" milks and yogurts that are increasingly appearing in the dairy case, because to me, they appear to be more highly processed and full of extraneous ingredients than plain coconut milk. They are also much more costly. I easily make coconut milk yogurt at home in a simple yogurt maker, though it comes out a bit runnier than dairy milk yogurt. Excellent taste, though. I add a teaspoon of brown rice syrup per quart for the yogurt cultures to consume during fermentation, as there is no lactose to feed them as in dairy milk.

Simple nut "milks" can be made relatively easily at home, too, with a good blender and strainer (muslin bags are often used). Homemade nut milks don't have all the stabilizers and preservatives that the commercial varieties have, so like homemade coconut milk, they need to be used quickly and made almost as needed. The internet abounds with instruction methods for those interested. I'd be concerned about excess omega 6 in nut milks if used in large quantities or regularly, though, especially if other sources of omega 6 aren't restricted (veg oils, esp).

Love Almond Milk

I only use unsweetened cause its the lowest in carbs. I usually add some heavy cream or olive oil for some hunger satiation.

Someone had a question about protein powders.
The lowest cost one I've found so far is as

My friend turned me onto the cinnamon bun one. You mix it with Peanut putter, almond milk, olive oil and the protein powder. Tastes like a peanut butter cookie, and doesn't irritate the tummy.

New brand of coconut milk

There's a new brand of Coconut milk out (SO Delicious) that has a yummy UNSWEETENED coconut milk available in 1/2 gallon cartons for around $3 in our area. 50 calories per cup, 5 fat, 1 protein, 1 carb. It's not only delicious but thick and creamy as well.

And available in Indiana . see

Almond Milk

I had a chance to taste almond milk at a friend's house. It tastes just like almonds. I'd guess that they combined ground almonds and water in some way.

Smoothies and Almond Milk

I always use unsweetened almond milk for my smoothies. I often add a tablespoon of cream to them which tastes fantastic!

How about extra creamy coconut milk?

Hubby and I use the extra creamy coconut milk in our smoothies. Maybe that would work in your recipes too? The Santa Maria brand has 3% carbs and 18% fat. I like the taste and since coconut oil is good for the immune system, we try to use it in most meals.

Here is a study that supports this:

What about coconut milk beverage?

I wrote to you a while back to ask your opinion about coconut milk as a beverage. I have yet to hear from you. Turtle Mountain makes this product and the unsweetened version has 1gm carb per cup. It tastes pretty bland by itself but may be a nice thing for smoothies. I mix it with unsweetened almond milk and heat it up for a warm drink on a cold night. It's also good with sugar free chocolate syrup. It is widely found in large groceries stores from Oregon to NY. Any opinions?

Silk & Blue Diamond

Hi Dana,
I agree with your comments about fat. People are so confused because of 40 years of lies...well, don't get me started! LOL
Anyway, I never wanted to try the Silk "Almond" milk because they are the soy milk people so I never completely trusted that it wasn't made with some soy. I use cream or almond milk (Blue Diamond Original Unsweetened) or lately I've been using So Delicious Coconut Milk (Unsweetened-green carton) which is in the dairy case in two or three of the stores I shop in now. Both are very good, but I've been using the coconut milk for a few months now. I still keep a couple of pantry friendly cartons of Almond milk in the cupboard in case I need some for a recipe but I keep substituting the coconut milk and everything comes out fine. Both are 1 net carb per cup. By the way, the So Delicious is not like the stuff you get in the can which is usually thick and separates. The SD coconut milk is more like regular milk.

I had been drinking the

I had been drinking the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze with a few drops of Sweetzfree added to the carton. I think it tastes good but the texture is a little thin. I was really missing the chocolate Calorie Countdown milk since Walmart stopped carrying it. Recently I found it is in, at least one, Walmart in OK again so keep looking for it, it may turn up again where you shop. You can always try asking the different grocery stores to get it for you.

Lactalose is milk for the lactose intolerant.