Nutrition Facts Seen through a Peanut Butter Lens 01/16/2014

Welcome new members!

Due to new year's resolutions, my little website has been SLAMMED with new people. In the past 2 weeks, my traffic has increased by about 5 times the norm and several thousand new people have signed up. WELCOME! I'll do my best to give you quality information and tasty recipes!

Let's begin!

Nutrition Facts Seen through a Peanut Butter Lens

With all these new signups, one pattern is becoming abundantly clear ... the presentation of my recipes confuses some people. In fact, it downright angers some of them! Once I'm given the opportunity to explain myself, unanimously, everyone is blown away by what I'm offering. However, until they see the light, I'm out there ruining the world through my lies and deception.

I understand the initial confusion. I do. Please allow me to clarify ...

I'm going to focus on this delicious new recipe "Frozen Peanut Butter Balls"

Also, here is a "screen shot" of the way my ingredients list and nutrition is presented.

Notice how every ingredient has its nutrition facts listed on one line? If you read the nutrition facts panel on any product, you'll NEVER see anything like this. This is true transparency. That information gives you the ability know exactly what each recipe contains and in which amounts.

Let's imagine that we're laser focused on the far-right column "net carbs". If we're trying to eat less than 10 net carbs a day, because we feel like being extreme, that column is incredibly valuable! It's clear that most of the net carbs come from the peanut butter. By cutting the peanut butter in half, skipping the rolled peanuts and chocolate, the information is still available to quickly figure out the net carb content for what are likely to be still very delicious, slightly smaller peanut butter balls. We'll have gone from 3.15 net carbs to 1.6 net carbs! It may seem like a small change, but for someone who is fanatically counting every carb, it's incredibly important!

For people following a Ketogenic diet, paying close attention to their fats, protein and carb ratios, knowing the macronutrient value of each ingredient is invaluable! If someone needed to up the fat in this recipe, they have the information. They may look at the ingredients and ... double the peanut butter! The end result is still going to be a delicious peanut butter ball, but with a fat content that is more appropriate to their plan.

This, to me, is incredibly important. I believe it makes me incredibly unique. I have near 400 recipes broken out in this manner, and this is precisely why. It allows transparency and flexibility for those that need it.

As an added piece of only mildly relevant trivia: presenting recipes in this manner actually hurts me. Search engines have a specific format for recipe display that they prefer. Meaning, a "well formatted" recipe will get better visibility in search engine results, which translates to more traffic! Believe it or not, my recipes are considered "poorly formatted", because they don't match the standard.

I'm taking a stand. I display EXTRA informative recipes ... in total defiance of Google!

* Looks upwards and shakes fist at the Google Gods! *

My point is this: it's THAT important to me to display this information to people. I do it, even though Google doesn't want me to.

The Freak Out Moment

Many experience a "freak out moment" when they see the "carb" column, scroll down, fall out of their chair, bump their elbow and then ... send me a scathing email about how, "You're sharing low-carb recipes that are anything but! How could you?! You are what is wrong with the internet! You're why it's impossible for me to trust anything I read! I hope you die!!!"

GADZOOKS!!! Clearly, I'm a horrible person!

Oddly, I've gotten used to these. See, a lot of people just "go low-carb" or they "go paleo" or ... they "go somewhere" ... often without a map! They just haphazardly decide to eat less than 20 carbs a day, see my "low-carb" recipe for tantalizing frozen peanut butter balls, scroll down and see that each one has almost 40 carbs!! They react. BOOM!!!!

MANY people aren't arming themselves with information when they "go somewhere". It would be like entering a great city, without a map, and trying to find the best local bacon smokehouse. I'm here to say ... maps help. As do books and rules and guidelines. Counting 20 "carbs" without knowing why you're doing so, or even which carbs to count ... will only get you lost. There are reasons for all of this ...

The idea behind reducing carbs is actually to reduce only the carbohydrates that elevate blood sugar. Not all carbs do this. As a result, we can deduct some carbs from the total. In my case, I've already done the math for you! If you look at the right-most column, the total number of "net" carbs or "impact" carbs or ... the "dark evil bad" carbs ... are on the right. The "Fiber" and "Sugar Alcohols" have been subtracted from the totals. This is how Frozen Peanut Butter Balls go from almost 40 total carbs to just over 3 "impact" carbs. The 2.25 grams of fiber do not raise blood sugars, nor do the 33.75 grams of erythritol, from the super replacement that I've suggested.

There does stand a chance that I could improve the way I've presented my grid, but I've asked for input in the past and most that "get it" were unable to offer any better ideas. (Except for one, which is to move the number of servings closer to the grid. It's on my "to do" list.)

The only big nutrient that I didn't include was "sodium" and this was done for a few reasons. 1. I didn't have room. 2. I VERY rarely specify how much salt to include. As a result, it would never be very accurate. 3. Finally, salt is not so bad!


Ah, one last major comment I get ... endlessly ... on my recipes. "GASP!?! 220 CALORIES FOR A LITTLE PEANUT BALL?!?!"

Again, if you're counting calories, you can use my display method to decrease the most offensive ingredient. Also, don't undermine your own ability to make a choice. If something is too high in calories ... don't eat it. Honestly, my display of nutrition information has actually saved me in many duels, just as much as others are puzzled by it.

My response to this large guffaw is always some version of the following ...

Calories for people eating a low-fat, high carb diet (which is what conventional "wisdom" still seems to perpetuate) still really matter. Imagine a Double Decker Hamburger with Cheese.

If you were to wrap these 700+ calories in a high carb bun, then ... all that extra energy will be stored ... on your buns ... because the carbs in those buns will release insulin, which will run around, willy nilly, and stash that stuff for later use (for times of famine, for example).

However, without the carbs and without that insulin, the calories suddenly become FAR less of an issue as the food and nutrients take different metabolic pathways ... resulting in a stable weight or even weight LOSS ... off of far more nutrient and calorie dense foods!

I don't want to suggest that lowering carbs means you can eat with reckless abandon. It's not a free-for-all. Even for low-carbers, calories become somewhat important as many near their goals. For the most part ... calories aren't much of a factor.

To give an example, a 135 lb. woman eating a low-fat/high carb diet will need to eat about 1700 calories to maintain her weight. However, the same woman can eat somewhere between 2200 and 2400 calories on a low-carb diet and maintain her weight. It's a significant increase in calories, but with less insulin stashing that excess energy for later, it's more readily burned off and used more efficiently.

Calories still matter, but ... nowhere near as much as is commonly believed.

Within the Standard American Diet (SAD), calories do matter, but ... this seems like it's an outdated and flawed system, to me. Since that system has gone into place, people have only gained weight and increased in blood sugar related issues.

Finally, it should be said that my recipes tend to run fairly high calorie, in large part because they're "my" recipes. I have big eyes, a big mouth and a big appetite. The portion sizes are all quite large, as they're created by an over 200 lb man! If the amounts cause you anxiety ... just make the portions a bit smaller and you should do quite well.

So, there you go! That's why my recipe are displayed the way they are. It's also why you should arm yourself with info before any kind of major lifestyle change.

Guest Post!

I've got another guest post. I received comments from a few people suggesting that they didn't understand that this is a recipe that "I" made. Apparently I excel at sending confusion out into the world!

I cooked this recipe. The photographs are of a soup that I made. The descriptions are mine, etc. This recipe is on Martina's website because she needed a soup recipe for a "Clean Eating" meal plan she's developing. It's also a good way for her to introduce me to her audience ... by giving them a slice of what I do. It's a win-win for both of us!


So ... this is my recipe ... but ... it'll live its life on the KetoDiet App Website. Check it out!

Because of the feedback on my previous guest posts, I'm going to post these 3 recipes again, in case these were overlooked previously. Again, these are my recipes ... expect the same tone, photos and writing style as is usual!

Seared Scallops with Almond-Parsnip Mash & Blackberry Buerre Rouge

Nutty Horchata

Lazy Cioppino

I hope everyone's new year has started out with a bang. We'll speak soon!


Thanks, DJ. No email but I followed your creamed spinach recipe and found your reply. It's really nice of you to reply so completely to the many questions you get. Keep it up! We need you!
by Julia on Mar 03, 2014, 06:26 PM EST
Hi Julia, I don’t know whether or not the system emails responses back to people. I’ve always operated under the belief that it doesn’t, but … good question! My hope is that people just check back, but the system could be emailing people. I’m not sure! Yes, this way of eating tends to look more expensive on the surface, but I actually think it’s less expensive, in the long run. It’s a bit of a stretch to look at it this way, but … people tend to spend less on snacks and junk foods, saving money. There are also less medical bills, saving money. People also tend to eat less, saving money. The “size” of the food doesn’t automatically equal nutrient density. So, while 10 boxes of macaroni and cheese may cost $5.00, a meal of chicken, tomatoes and broccoli can also likely be pulled together for about $5.00. Interestingly the chicken and veggie meal likely has roughly the same nutrient value as all 10 boxes of mac and cheese, but without the empty crave inducing starch that comes along with them! A casual glance suggests is more expensive, but … over a long enough span of time, it’s actually far less expensive, but … no one actually looks at it that way. That undermines how tasty and immediately filling that cheap box of mac and cheese just was! In any event … the answer to your question is … I’d spring for both almond flour and coconut flour. I can’t pick one over the other. If you forced my hand, I’ve ever so slightly tilt towards the coconut flour, but … honestly, they’re both great and work very well together. Thanks for the kind words! Let me know if this emailed you!
by DJ on Mar 02, 2014, 02:54 PM EST
Hi DJ. I've been following you on Facebook for several months and love that your recipes don't involve hard-to-find ingredients. That said, I have yet to make anything that uses a non-wheat-based flour. I have found the switch to low carb to be very expensive. Also, I live in a small town 50 miles from an urban center. So here's my question: If I'm going to invest in a bag of 'good' flour, what kind would you recommend? Also, I entered my email w/this comment, will I be notified when you reply? (I'm amazed at your rate of replies!) Thanks for everything.
by Julia on Mar 02, 2014, 02:44 PM EST
Hi Amy. Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you like the print friendly version, as well! Regarding the sugar alcohols … yes! They vary greatly! Usually, I tell people to subtract 50%, rather than the full 100%. This is generally a safer bet in most cases. However, I almost exclusively use erythritol based sweeteners, which is the only “somewhat” commonly available sugar alcohol to have no impact on blood sugars. This is why my recipes calculate 100% of the SA’s. If you’re using a different sweetener, then … the numbers will vary. There is also the possibility that you’re wired to release insulin whenever your body tastes “sweet”, whether there’s anything actually increasing blood sugars, or not. There’s a theory that some people are highly sensitive to the sweet taste and that the body releases insulin, in anticipation of the sugar that’s about to occur. It’s possible that you’re one of these and … it may have less to do with the sugar alcohol and more with the “sweet”. In any event, I encourage you to look for erythritol based sweetening blends. I hope this helps!
by DJ on Jan 21, 2014, 06:30 PM EST
Thanks for your recipes, I think I printed 100 of them today. I like the way you've "shown your work" nutrition-wise - but admit - my OCD "forces" me to do my own math as well (besides some carb counts vary brand-to-brand). I agree the only change I would make is to show the number of servings closer to the recipe - but when I print the recipe - badabing - there it is! Problem solved! I do have a question for you though - I struggle with weight loss when I over do it on sugar alcohols. In fact, I've found - I am best off to not exclude them in my carb counts. Have you experienced this - I noticed you using some sweeteners I can't get locally - do they make a difference? Thanks again!
by Amy on Jan 21, 2014, 05:27 PM EST
Thanks, Laura! I love it, too. I just found another site that also does it ... and I STRONGLY suspect it's because of me. I may have actually started a new trend in recipe nutrition! :)
by DJ on Jan 21, 2014, 03:05 PM EST
I just wanted to say that I wish all recipes were itemized the same way that yours are. I love the grid, so that I can watch and calculate the columns that I'm concerned with. I love that you provide the gram measurements; it makes it so much easier for my kitchen scale and accurate calculations. Please keep it up. If some people don't understand the concept of 'net carbs', they need to do a little more reading to understand the diet that they are trying to live with.
by Laura on Jan 20, 2014, 05:35 PM EST
Terri, it's so funny that you say that. It's always interesting to me how one thing can evolve and turn into a completely different thing, in time. I never really liked my logo, but ... started using it because I couldn't think of anything better. Over time, either my personality has evolved to reflect the logo ... or ... the logo really was that accurate and it's just taken me a while to see it! ;) The rest ... with the way I present the photos ... that was all really just watermarking, so people don't snatch them, but it's turned into my style and "brand". They are recognizable as a DJ Foodie recipe, which, to me, is very cool! I just never really set out to achieve that. Now, it's just fun to draw on pictures! ;) Thank you for your kind words! :)
by DJ on Jan 18, 2014, 01:50 PM EST
Sharon, it really is those 2 things. People see the "carbs" column and don't see the "net carbs" column. Because I do it differently than anyone else, people don't know how to focus in on the correct info. Even someone armed with the right information may zero in on that carbs column and have some kind of knee jerk reaction, which will quickly blind them to the realities of the rest of the math. They'll fire off a few nasty comments, at which point I'll politely explain the math and they ALWAYS respond graciously and apologetically. I get it. I totally understand it. In a lot of ways this post is just so I can give them in a link, rather than typing some abbreviated version of this story once a day. I'm lazy. What can I say?! ;) Thanks for the kind words! :)
by DJ on Jan 18, 2014, 01:47 PM EST
Besides appreciating your humor and the nutritional info, I always appreciate your photos, as they are very easily recognizable and indicate a quality recipe to me (since it's a DJ Foodie recipe). The only thing missing in the above photos is the DJ Foodie logo, which I personally like. Cheers, DJ. You're doing a great job!
by Terri on Jan 17, 2014, 08:03 PM EST
You know, I can't understand how some people get angry at your recipes. You are my FAVORITE recipe poster. I love the way it's laid out, love the nutritional info, love where you tell us where to buy the ingredients and love the way it is so easy to print. So many recipes never have a print feature and I have to do all kinds of steps to get it to print but not yours. And did I say how much I love your recipes? Just keep doing what you are are funny also and I get a kick out of reading your comments. You make me laugh and that's always good. Thanks for all you do and all you are.
by Sharon on Jan 17, 2014, 06:54 PM EST
Thank you for the kind words, Rebekkah! I wouldn't worry ... I think low-carb has a long way to go before it's front and center. Even then ... there will ALWAYS be someone to argue with. There's always a naysayer! ;)
by DJ on Jan 17, 2014, 03:50 PM EST
Awesome post! I follow a LOT of keto/low carb blogs and I have to say I certainly wish everyone laid theirs out like you! I find it incredibly helpful! So glad you're seeing tons of new people- you certainly deserve it and they'll be glad they did, (DJ is great!) but also as someone who's been swimming upstream with the low carb tide for 9 years now it's great to see things changing!! I won't know what to do when it becomes 'mainstream'! Who will we argue with?? Lol
by Rebekkah on Jan 17, 2014, 10:30 AM EST
Check out my new book!

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