In spite of low carb diets that are growing in popularity, carbohydrates are still an important part of weight loss and overall health. It is possible to still enjoy carbohydrates and meet your weight loss goals.
This Roasted Cauliflower Soup is the perfect example of a healthy low carb meal that may help shrink your waistline and boost your brainpower! I highly recommend that for this recipe you don’t skip roasting cauliflower!
Why? Well, cauliflower develops caramelized notes with a greater depth of flavor as it roasts in the oven.
So let’s address the elephant in the room…. many people are on the keto bandwagon.
I’ve kept silent about this because well, I’m not convinced that the keto diet is right for everyone.
Last year I interviewed Dr. Josh Axe for my Feed a Healthy Brain course – it was such a fascinating interview! Dr. Axe is a rockstar in the wellness world. He is the founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, and a certified doctor of natural medicine (DNM) with a passion to help people get healthy by empowering them to use nutrition to fuel their health. He is also the bestselling author of Eat Dirt and Keto Diet
I highly recommend that you check out his website and his book.
I could not agree more with what he had to say about the keto diet. In my interview with him, Dr. Axe talked about who he recommends the keto diet for, the right way to do keto, the benefits of keto on your brain. You can check out the course for the full interview but here is what he had so said in a nutshell.
Keto Diet Explained
He mentioned that he’s a huge fan of the keto diet for certain people and certain lengths of time.
The keto diet was rediscovered in the 1920s by John Hopkins University researchers when they were trying to discover a diet to treat children with epileptic seizures. They found when children fasted the symptoms went away. That’s when they created a diet that mimicked fasting since you can’t fast forever so they removed carbs, increased the fat and did moderate to low protein so that your body gets into a state of ketosis and it mimics fasting.
The way he recommends people think about keto is like you’re doing a long term fast. It’s not meant to be done for years at a time. You do it for 30 days resetting your body and then return to a correct ratio of macronutrients. He also explained that keto is really effective for fast weight loss, diabetes, Alzheimers and dementia.
‘Your body getting into ketosis can be so good for your brain and neurological system.’ ~ Dr. Josh Axe
I personally love the brain-protective benefits that the keto diet offers as I explored in my course with Clean eating Magazine Feed a Healthy Brain.
Ketone bodies are the only back-up energy source for your brain. When your body burns fat, it produces molecules called ketone bodies. This is sometimes referred to as being a fat burner. A ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20–50 grams per day.
Ketosis may provide relief from symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as early research is showing that the diet may have neuroprotective results, reduce inflammation and improve the brain’s ability to resist metabolic changes.
The ketogenic diet has also been found to improve memory function in Alzheimer’s patients with mild cognitive impairment. Dr. David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist and bestselling author of Grain Brain and his new book Brain Wash, believes that ketones protect the brain by enhancing the brain’s antioxidant defenses while also suppressing inflammation.
Okay so let’s get into which carbs you can eat if you decided you want to follow a lower-carb diet.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t follow a low carb diet and am not a fan of dieting in general but I personally eat most of these foods daily.
For me it’s a no-carb vs. carbs type of situation – I just look at these foods as foods that are healthy to get into the habit of adding to your diet daily. Whether on keto or not these low carb foods are effective options to help you to lose weight and/or eat healthier.
Low Carb Diet Foods
#1 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | LOW CARB VEGETABLES
Low carb vegetables are the healthiest way to add carbs to your diet.
One of the top sources is cauliflower which you can use to replace potatoes, roast them, pulse to use in place of rice or enjoy in these crispy cauliflower tacos.
What makes cauliflower a rock star weight-loss food is that it’s a great source of fiber that will help to eliminate toxins from your body which may be keeping you overweight.
Cauliflower is also an anti-inflammatory food which is important because inflammation in the body may lead to you being overweight.
Other low carb vegetables include zucchini, broccoli, red bell peppers, and brussels sprouts to name a few.
Above ground, vegetables are generally lower-carb and therefore the best keto options.
Below ground vegetables, a.k.a. root vegetables, potatoes, and sweet potatoes contain more carbs and should be consumed with care if you’re trying to follow a low carb diet.
#2 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | AVOCADOS
Although avocados are technically a fruit I’m still including them in this round-up. Avocados are low in carbs and are a great source of monounsaturated fats that may help to shrink your waistline as well as helping to alleviate sugar cravings.
#3 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | EGGS
Eggs have been shown to keep blood sugar levels stable which is key when trying to lose weight and one large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs.
Eggs may also increase feelings of fullness which will help you to eat less.
Finally, eggs, as well as cauliflower, are great sources of choline, a type of brain-boosting B Vitamin. Choline helps your brain manufacture the neurotransmitter acetylcholine a neurotransmitter that’s key for memory.
#4 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | RAW CACAO POWDER
Cacao in its raw form is one of the world’s highest sources of antioxidants that help to boost your mood and energy which may be helpful when losing weight makes you feel tired or stressed.
Some studies have shown that raw cocoa may help reduce appetite and inflammation and increases fat oxidation which may help you to burn more fat.
It increases your brain processing speed and helps to reduce mental fatigue. It also has magnesium which will help to smooth out your nerves before that big meeting or exam.
#5 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | BERRIES
Most fruits are high in sugar and carbs but berries are an exception.
Berries like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are low in carbs and high in fiber that will help you to release more fat since fiber helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
Additionally, berries are packed with antioxidants that may enhance brain health, protect against disease, and reduce inflammation.
#6 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil is one of the best oils for your brain and muffin top!
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fats which some studies show may boost metabolism while decreasing the amount of fat you store in response to high-calorie intake.
Some studies suggest that it may also lead to burning that stubborn abdominal fat.
#7 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | OLIVE OIL
Extra-virgin olive oil is a key staple food in the Mediterranean diet, and people in the Mediterranean diet consume it liberally for good reason. It will be hard to lose weight and burn belly fat if you’re not feeling satiated. Olive oil is made up of 75 percent oleic acid, a substance that is both essential for healthy brain function and can help you to feel content for hours longer between meals.
Olive oil has also been proven to affect our cells and hormones in ways that target our abdominal fat stores and cause them to shrink.
Finally, olive oil is what scientists call a monounsaturated fat (MUFA). Some studies show that MUFAs lower levels of insulin, a hormone programmed to turn excess blood sugar to belly fat.
#8 CARBS FOR WEIGHT LOSS | NUTS AND SEEDS
We’ve been brainwashed to think that nuts are fattening but it’s time to kick that thinking to the curb. Yes, nuts have fats and calories, but there is a massive amount of research showing that healthy fats are highly satiating and that nuts eaten in moderation can actually help with weight loss.
Raw is key, not roasted and certainly NOT salted. Nuts contain polyunsaturated fat, a good fat that provides you with energy and helps to burn fat. They also help to reduce fat storage and improve insulin metabolism.
Nuts and seeds aren’t only high in healthy fats they’re also high in fiber and are a good plant-based source of protein. Nuts are also loaded with magnesium, which is a mineral that most people, especially women, don’t get enough of. Some studies have shown that people who eat nuts have a lower risk of various diseases and tend to be healthier. Almond butter is a great source of energy-boosting healthy fats which makes it the perfect addition to your morning smoothie.
Also, make sure you’re adding in nuts like walnuts and chia seeds which are a great source of plant-based omega-3 fats known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega 3 fats boost your brainpower AND shrink your waistline. Adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the brain, resulting in less stress and anxiety and they’re also great for boosting energy and helping you to lose weight. Walnuts help alleviate hunger and are naturally nutrient-dense so you will naturally eat less.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cups cauliflower (chopped into medium florets)
- 1 medium onion (coarsely chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more if needed)
- Scant ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- Chop cauliflower into small florets and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Roast for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is lightly golden.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to medium sized skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt and saute over medium heat, until tender and translucent. Add chopped garlic, cumin and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Now add roasted cauliflower, stirring to coat cauliflower well with the spices, then add vegetable broth and thyme.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to give the flavors time to come together.
- Once the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and add the butter, lemon juice and nutmeg stir to combine. Remove thyme sprig and add coconut milk.
- Let it cool for a few minutes then, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.