Who the heck are you?

Why, I’m Kimber, thank you. I have a very sweet daughter who keeps me entertained and on my toes. If I could bottle up her energy and share just a little with y’all, there would be no need for sleep…ever. We are always on the go and always hungry, so I am forever cooking!  And I like bacon. Because hellooooo, it’s bacon. Your Lighter Side’s award-winning work has garnered notice from the likes of Ladies’ Home Journal, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, Glamour.com, Paula Deen, HuffPo, Babble, and Buzzfeed.

What is this place?

Launched in July of 2007, this place started out as a personal journal with one reader. Now, Your Lighter Side has grown to almost 200,000 unique viewers (and 800,000 pageviews) per month, over 500 recipes, and almost daily content. We have over 1100 posts talking about just about everything pertaining to what has been happening the last 5 years. We’ve gotten some pretty cool accolades and honors, too.

Do you sell food?

YLS might push food porn of the highest order, but we don’t sell physical foods so much as the idea that you have so many options, even if you’re fighting food intolerance, dieting, and eating for wellness.

Do calories matter?

Dr. Atkins once said, “I never said calories don’t count; I said don’t count calories.”

Studies we’ve read suggest that ketogenic dieters typically share a slight advantage over standard, high carbohydrate diets, but not enough to roll about naked in pork rinds. In short,  eat when hungry and stop when not hungry; and although we do have an idea of how many calories we are consuming through experience and using MyFitnessPal, we count carbohydrates, fiber and protein more than anything else.

Should I eat high-fat or low-fat?

That depends on you. There’s a Mister Rodger’s song about how special you are, but I can’t carry a tune in a forklift, so I’ll spare you. Everyone is so different to even have an answer for that. We have some friends who feel positively horrific when they consume any appreciable amount of dietary fat.  The only right answer is the one that has you feeling your best, medically and physically (and when you have questions, speak to a medical professional you trust).

If you enjoy a low-fat diet, you can easily tweak and change many of my recipes to cut caloric content through fat consumption. And if you have a question, just ask in comments below recipes. We see all comments and do our best to respond to as many as possible.

How many carbohydrates per day should I eat?

We can’t tell you that. The Standard American Diet can consist of up to 300 carbohydrates per day, so any cut in that number is going to net some results, whether you’re trying to stabilize your hunger patterns or lose weight.

Do you have a cookbook for sale?

Not yet, no. What would you like to see?

How can I help support your site?

Nothing makes us happier (well, except for finding my bra we thought the dog ate) than seeing you subscribe for updates (through Feedburner or the email subscription box in the sidebar), leaving comments, emailing, and/or sharing links on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other sharing sites. And when you share us with friends, family, your medical care team, and your other favorite sites, that is pretty special, too.

Your continued support through regular visits to this site and through your participation means more than donations (even though so many of you are seriously sweet to offer them).

Oh! And it seriously snazz finding out when you’ve nominated Your Lighter Side for a food/healthy blog award–and thanks to your support, we’ve won a few, too. Thank you for those nominations and for sharing my links with your favorite websites, too. It is always pretty sweet to have others contact me because you’ve liked us enough to make the effort.

Can I use honey/sugar/stevia instead of artificial sweeteners in your recipes?

Absolutely. In fact, most of the recipes use a sweetener that measures cup-for-cup like sugar. Simply swap in your favorites, re-run the nutritional values, and call it a day. We are not so prissy that we’re going to bust a girdle just because some recipes need a bit of tweaking to suit your needs/restrictions/tastes/ingredients on hand. Do what works for you. Always.

One caveat: honey is a ‘viscous’ liquid (a fancy word meaning thick), so make sure you keep that in mind when replacing a solid with a liquid. Use this substitution informationto note the differences.

When it comes to stevia, note that it’s super-concentrated state means you use appreciably less sweetener than the ones that measure cup-for-cup for sugar. Consider this conversion chart for stevia and be sure to consider the possibility of adding more solids to certain recipes where bulking is important.

I can’t have eggs. What now?

Thankfully, you don’t need eggs for binding. Check out these easy substitutes!

How do you know the foods you’re allergic to?

Largely through trial and error, journaling and being aware of how we’re responding to foods. Following the lead of Dr. Julia Ross in her book The Diet Cure, we typically remove the food we’re testing for a week to ten days. Then we introduce that food into one, two, or even all three meals for a day, noting how we feel overall. For many, the elimination method isn’t an option, either because it’s not feasible, or because many can’t risk the danger of anaphylactic shock. In this case, see a doctor for proper allergy testing.

I am allergic to dairy. Help!

If you can’t go the dairy route, there are other options available. Using soya cheese instead of cream cheese, as an example, in oopsie rolls, desserts, or dishes, is a great way to enjoy a cheesecake sans the issues the lactose-intolerant among us deal with regularly. Ghee is said to cause fewer issues than butter for others. And almond (unsweetened, unflavored) or coconut milk (unsweetened) are terrific options for soups,  and anywhere you typically use milk.

Are all of your recipes gluten-free?

99% of them are, yes, save for the very few where we used FlatOut wraps or a low-carb bread. Those recipes are typically listed under “other” for each category. All recipes which are gluten-free are marked GF in the recipe indexes, or you can see the latest here! Gluten-free Recipes 

Any advice for a gluten-free family?

Yes! In fact, we ran an elimination experiment, including how to substitute foods, ways to prepare lunches, and plenty of good ideas. We hope this helps.

What if I’m vegetarian/vegan?

We love helping people with specific dietary needs. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), many recipes here are ovo-lacto vegetarian friendly. We have vegetarian and vegan recipes tagged as “V” in the recipes index, or check here for the latest Vegetarian recipes.

Are any of your recipes Atkins Induction Friendly?

Funny you should ask that. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, many are Atkins Induction Friendly are by 2002 standards, which are even more strict than 2010 standards. Check out recipes in the recipe index with the tag “IF” to locate those recipes, or click here for the latest Induction-Friendly Recipes. Many of the recipes are also 5 carbohydrates or less per serving. Check it out. 5 net carbs or less recipes.

What thickeners do you use?

We are so glad you asked. Check out this article to thicken foods naturally. We typically stay away from the gums like xanthan because we hear it’s a lot like snot. Who wants to eat snot unless you’re in the third grade and you forgot your lunch (again)? If you do come across a recipe that calls for ThickenThin/Not Starch, simply replace with one of the other thickening agents (we typically use arrowroot flour).

Which sweetener is your favorite?

Because we’re  super-tasters, we find the combination of xylitol and sucralose to be the absolute favorite for a ‘real sugar’ feel and behavior at this time. Specifically, we make our own sweeteners regularly and use them in baking (unless working with people with very specific needs) Try these, our favorite combinations: regular sugar substitutebrown sugar substitute, and a powdered sugar substitute.

While sucralose isn’t everyone’s favorite, so a ton of options exist depending on your tastes/needs, like EZSweetz (pure, liquid sucralose minus the maltodextrin), stevia, erythritol, chicory root, monkfruit, honey, and maple syrup. We have found thatthrough experience, however, that sweeteners are both very subjective and also tend to perform best when combined with a second sweetener.

Can you swap coconut flour for almond flour (or vice versa)?

Coconut flour is absorbent, and almond flour tends to put out moisture. For that reason, we typically use a combination of the two for more sound results in baking. If a recipe calls for coconut flour and you want to swap for almond, be sure to add a bit of chia seed or ground flax seed meal for absorbency. If the recipe calls for almond flour, and you can’t use nuts, you may want to incorporate some coconut flour, but up the fats/moisture to make up for the moisture you’ll be lacking due to the dry, thirsty coconut flour.

Want a happy medium? Process dessicated, unsweetened coconut for a more moist flour that can more readily be swapped straight across.

Do you have a sweetened, condensed, milk recipe?

Yes, we do. Sugar-free recipe for sweetened, condensed milk.

What is on your list of “must-haves” for cooking and baking?

Here is a list of about 100 ingredients we make sure to keep on hand in the kitchen.  Top 100 ingredients.

What are your must-have gadgets for the kitchen?

We have a pretty short list because most of us have limited kitchen space. Click here to see what we can’t live without!

Why do you write so many product reviews?

We do it for a couple of reasons. One of those is because you like them and have asked for us to provide more options for sometimes-treats, fun, occasional products, and emergency needs. We are typically not a user of specialty food items (largely because we are busy testing recipes or dealing with food allergies that prohibit trying too many things), but it’s fun to try new products and services occasionally and to recognize amazing companies who are working to produce healthy, fun options for you guys. We always disclose whether or not we’re paid or have been given products to test, and we always, always, always give honest assessments of those products. Always. If we hate the product, you’re going to know about it, too. And there have been a few that have received pretty abysmal ratings… KFC Double Down and Just The Cheese are just two of them.

Any books you recommend?

We have personally read and  recommend:

  • Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution (1969-1994) The book that started it all.
  • Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (2002): This guide to eating is pretty quintessential for many low-carbers who are looking for a little more strictness and food allergy/rung information.
  • Ultimate Weight Loss Solution (Phil McGraw): Terrific for the “get real” aspect of weight loss, ignore the diet advice, but work through his exercises for some moments that will help you reclaim responsibility for your health and well-being.
  • The Glycemic Load Diet (Dr. Rob Thompson): A great book for people who don’t mind slower weight losses and simply don’t want to deal with as austere an eating plan as many assume Atkins to be.
  • The Diet Cure (Dr. Julia Ross): This book helps cure many of sugar addiction and binge eating.
  • The Mood Cure (Dr. Julia Ross): this book helps cure many of many of anxiety issues.

Any tips for starting my own site?

A lot of you contact us to let us know that we make everything seem so fun and so easy, you want a part of the action. The most important thing when starting your own blog or website is to have fun and to create your site for the right reasons for you. If you write compelling, fresh, authentic content that is also evergreen in nature, you publish regularly, and you pay attention to your analytics (I use Google analytics), you’re going to be great! Just be patient, tweak, see what works and what doesn’t, and have fun. That’s most important. Oh, and write your own content. If you use others’ work, you’re just a cheaper imitation of the original. Owning a site means putting in extra time and effort experimenting (and some of those experiments will be failures), but even the failures teach us something if we’re willing to learn. So learn, grow, love, and share. And if you make a little cash for all of your hard work, why not, right?

What website software do you recommend?

We are using the latest WordPress software, but began with blogger/blogspot. Blogger is really easy, especially if you like to tinker with HTML. CSS is a little more complicated, but wow– WordPress has so much plug and play and compatibility. It’s a lot of fun, and if we had it to do over again, we would have gone right to WordPress.


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