Monday, 6 June 2016

Review of the new Carbs and Cals books

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Carbs and Cals contacted me to see if I wanted to provide feedback on their new books; Carb and Calorie Counter, Smoothies and Salads. Of course I said yes straight away, these would be the perfect tools to aid my new diet/exercise and overhaul of my diabetes/gastroparesis management, all rolled into three delicious looking books! (cont)

I've been a fan of the Carbs and Cals book and app for years now and I still have the original book that I was given 4 years ago by my dietitian before starting my carb counting/structured education course. It sits in my kitchen next to my scales but is in desperate need of replacing due to being used so often by my sticky food covered fingers! 

Cue the delivery of the three most delicious looking books I have ever seen!

For those of you who haven't heard about Carbs and Cals before, they provide books and an app to assist people with diabetes to count the amount of carbohydrate in their food or, for weight loss/maintenance, the amount of calories. They also include loads of other nutritional information so you know exactly what is in your food in order to help you to make the healthiest choices. To make things super easy, each page contains picture of food/meals and a number of portion sizes with nutritional information included depending on the portion. Great huh!

As I mentioned, and as some of you may have seen from my instagram and twitter accounts, for the past few months I have been on the biggest health kick my body has ever embarked upon. Seriously, almost everything has changed for me diet wise and I am absolutely loving my new healthy eating regime. This is the first time in about 14 years that I have felt confident and happy about eating and drinking (but more of that in another blog).

In the past, one aspect of healthy eating that I have struggled with is staying motivated and focused, and not straying back to temptation when times get a little tough. For me, the best way to stay motivated is by looking at pictures of healthy food and this also really helps to inspire me to try new foods and different ways of cooking. 

I'm not even kidding when I say that the Carbs and Cals books have some of the best food porn pictures out there. Seriously, they leave me drooling every time and each idea pops out of the page as something that I want to try next. 

"...the Carbs and Cals books have some of the best food porn pictures out there."

Other than the delicious recipes and beautiful sexy pictures, I also love that the salad book contains ideas that don't exceed 500 calories. On my healthy eating plan I am doing my very best to stick to a certain amount of calories a day. I've recently lost 1 stone and this book has been so helpful in keeping me on track with my calorie counting as well as full to the brim with delicious healthy food. It's a very satisfying feeling.

Also, each book contains tips on healthy eating, how to increase fibre intake, boost calcium levels, choose good fats etc and they also discuss ingredient health benefits, talking you through what each ingredient contains and what it how it benefits your body. I found that there is a lot of information within the books that I hadn't been told before during my diabetes/gastroparesis appointments and I've found it really useful and encouraging to understand exactly what I'm putting into my body and the effects that it will have. 


Obviously, a huge positive to all of these books is that the carbohydrate count is already calculated, which saves time in getting your calculator out and doing the sums yourself. Something that I've always found a little difficult is eating out and although some restaurants and cafes provide nutritional information online, many of them still don't. This is when having a Carbs and Cals book in my handbag or the app on my phone really comes in handy. I can quickly whip them out and find a meal and size that matches what I'm about to order or eat, then I can use the carbohydrate information to take the correct dose of insulin. For weight loss it's also very handy to use the books to see how many calories some meals have as quite often there are lots of hidden calories in sauce or sides dishes that we don't think about. 

Moving on to smoothies, I was so damn excited to hear that Carbs and Cals had embraced the smoothie and juicing lifestyle, as blended goodness is fast becoming a huge part of my gastroparesis and diabetes management. A quick overview - Having gastroparesis means that my stomach will intermittently, and without warning, decide that it doesn't want to digest my food, causing the food to remian in my stomach for up to 10 hours. This results in vomiting, crazy high and low blood sugars and feeling rather unwell which can really affect my day to day activities and sleep. By juicing and blending my food I have found that it will go down with much less effort, meaning that taking insulin is a hell of a lot easier (and safer) and also that I don't require as many medications to assist in "getting things moving". 

I've noticed over the months that the mornings are when I need to juice/blend, as such I have been making much more of an effort to use the smoothie book to assist me in getting my 5 a day in a way that will keep my stomach and my blood sugars happy. Previously I had only been able to digest very small amounts of fruit, but now I can got nuts and drink it in my little hipster jar. This makes my insides smile :)


"I have been making much more of an effort to use the smoothie book to assist me in getting my 5 a day in a way that will keep my stomach and my blood sugars happy..."

In a world of numbers, curve balls and constantly needing to be one step ahead at all times when it comes to managing blood sugars, I think it's really nice to have a little helping hand to make diabetes that little bit easier to live with. I think these books provide that for me. Would I recommend them? Absolutely. I love having a visual aid to motivate and inspire me and these books definitely tick those boxes. I also love the updated advice and information that Carbs and Cals provide about the benefits that food brings, which in turn makes me feel really good about what I'm eating and drinking. And, obviously, I love how easy carb counting is with the visual guides on both the app and the books.

Even if I wasn't using these for diabetes management, I think they would be incredibly helpful for weight loss/maintenance purposes, or just for helping to make those positive food and lifestyle changes. 

I hope you've found this review helpful. Do leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts. Please find links to the Carbs and Cals website and social media accounts listed below for more information on their fantastic products. And please do follow me on twitter and instagram to help keep me motivated in my new healthy eating life! 

Laura/Ninjabetic x 

Disclaimer - I was not asked to write a blog about these products. I was provided the three Carbs and Cals books (Carnbs and Cals Counter, Smoothies and Salads) for product feedback. All views and opinions on these products are mine and not those of any companies or organisations that I work with. 
© Ninjabetic

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