Clean Ingredients or Carb Count: What Matters Most…

This made for such FUN discussion on Facebook, so I wanted to share it with you here too – and get your take, or hear YOUR preferences.

There is no right or wrong, just interesting differences. 🙂

I’ll share a super easy (delicious!) low carb meal ideal with you too, since we’re talking groceries. I’m all for FAST easy meals!

Kroger - Keto Groceries

I’ve been ordering my groceries online for pickup or delivery since I first started my 14-day quarantine in early March, and through my continued self-isolation as we get through this unexpected life shift due to the coronavirus.

I think this is week 7 I’ve been home now. 🤔

I’m doing fine with that, but I’m having to get a little creative in the kitchen given I’m used to traveling and dining out and eating on the go so much. 😉

I don’t mind to admit, I miss beautiful restaurant meals like this:

Keto Dinner at Cascades in Opryland Hotel

Ordering groceries online was a bit of a learning curve, but it’s SO convenient. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to any other way!

I live in a small rural town, but three grocery stores here offer curbside pickup, and I can get delivery from Kroger through an app called Instacart.

I did figure out that it’s best to go ahead and select ideal replacements for foods that may be out of stock, and to add notes/preferences to your selections just in case – to make sure you get exactly what you want.

This Apple Chicken Sausage 🐔🍎 is a great (?) example…

It was a replacement for another chicken sausage I ordered.

I couldn’t see the ingredients or nutrition facts from that page, and to be honest: I didn’t bother opening a new tab to look it up. 🤷‍♀️⁣

It looked good, going by the front of the package (interesting, potentially delicious, I mean). So I pulled it out of the freezer to make the other day..

Keto Talk - Do Ingredients Matter or Just Carb Count

What you see above is pretty much all I could see when I accepted it as a replacement, so I was a little surprised to turn it over and see that the links were FIVE carbs each.

Although I didn’t expect it to be super low or anything, given they were “made with real apples.”

Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage Nutrition Facts

It had a few more ingredients than I expected too, some that I personally think were totally unnecessary – but they were obviously in VERY small amounts, listed under the “less than 2% of” bit.

I did one of those head-tilt “Hmmm…” looks: 🤔😏

Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage Ingredients

But I decided to make it and eat it anyway, which is what prompted this great discussion. 🙂 I’ll tell you why, and also what I thought of them!

* * * * *

➡️ Do Ingredients Matter… or Just Carb Count?
(for you personally)

No judgment, just curious!

What matters most to you about the foods you eat:⁣⁣

1. carb count only⁣⁣
2. ingredients only⁣⁣
3. both carbs & ingredients⁣⁣
4. neither as long as it doesn’t knock me out of ketosis⁣
5. other: _____⁣

And would YOU have eaten the Apple Chicken Sausage?


I think it’s a very individual thing with a combination of personal preferences, health issues, carb tolerance, bio-individuality, your reactions to certain ingredients, etc.

Here’s my stance…

For the most part I eat pretty simple, very plain actually: raw pecans, eggs & cheese, meat & greens 🥩🥦 etc – very few ingredients.⁣

That works best for my body, plus it’s just less mess & less fuss. 😉⁣

Simple Keto Breakfast - Low Carb Food Diaries

Personally I don’t get worked up over a couple of extra carbs or even “sketchy” ingredients (in very small amounts like this case) or when it’s something I’m going to have once, or rarely.

– with a few exceptions of course. 😉

I do make it a priority to stay in nutritional ketosis though so I test foods on myself and see what I can or can’t enjoy – like certain low carb bars or keto sweets, Starbucks orders or even a sweet potato, etc…⁣

🙋‍♀️ I’m all for having the widest range of foods for both nutrition AND enjoyment. ✔⁣

That said I don’t make it a habit to constantly push the limits, and I do otherwise eat ridiculously simple.⁣

But I’m not so restrictive with my diet (food choices) that I won’t enjoy something that sounds good (like this!) and at least test it for myself.⁣

Being too strict or rigid just makes me nutty 🤪 and want to binge.⁣

BUT, Ingredients DO Matter

There are some ingredients and some foods I personally can NOT eat, either because they knock me out of ketosis or I have a negative reaction to them.

That’s the key: to figure out which ingredients YOU can and cannot eat (and why), not just because someone told you they were “bad” – but because you have a specific reaction or response to those ingredients that you have identified through testing it for and on yourself.

I use a Keto Mojo Blood Glucose & Ketone Testing Meter to see what spikes my blood sugar, what affects my ketone levels (or knocks me out of ketosis), and what does NOT affect me negatively – that I can safely enjoy.

Since we’re all unique, it’s been a GREAT tool to help ME eliminate things that were bothering me, and ENJOY things I might have otherwise been afraid to eat.

We have a 15% off discount coded into my affiliate link here.

They have really good short videos on their website at that link if you want to check it out and see how it works. I love mine! 💕

Keto Mojo Discount

Back to the Apple Chicken Sausage…

I was still around 20 net carbs total for the day when I ate that. I only had one big plump link because I had it with cheesy cauliflower rice medley.⁣

The sausages are already fully cooked, so I just seared them in the skillet a bit to heat them through and brown them up a bit.

Easy Low Carb Meals For Busy People

The cheesy cauliflower rice is a personal favorite. It makes a great base for any low carb meal, or a simple keto side you can whip up super fast.

I really like the Green Giant Cauliflower Rice Medley (but plain cauli rice is fine too) and add 2 TBSP of butter, salt to taste, and 4 TBSP of palmetto pimento cheese.

Easy Low Carb Meal Ideas

That makes for a creamy, cheesy texture with a nice flavor kick!

As for the Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage 🍎🐔 It has less apple than I expected, more spicy than sweet – but a great flavor combo, and very plump & juicy!⁣⁣

The links are a generous size too. 💯

Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage - Low Carb Foods

I did enjoy them but going forward I’ll stick to my usual Spinach Feta Chicken Sausage – which is also delicious, but MUCH lower in carbs. ✔⁣

I wouldn’t buy it again knowing now they’re 5 carbs each and have added sugar.

I would eat them again if you put them in front me though. 😋⁣

What’s your take? 👍👎

I’m curious what’s most important to you: macros, ingredients, ketosis, weight loss, food enjoyment & flavor, a combination of some or all? 🙂⁣

I’m kind of an “all of the above” person. I’m not an ingredient snob or overly restrictive, but I do prefer clean ingredients & plain foods.

I liked that they used real apple, did NOT like the (unnecessary) corn syrup… but I *did* eat them anyway. 😁

I’m also not one for wasting food in lockdown either, though. 😉

Otherwise… Simple is good! 👍

I tend to stick to the same foods a lot, and usually around 3 ingredients max per meal or plate – like my usual cheesy eggs, which is a great meal any time of day!

Simple Keto Living Tips

If you’d like to see what other people had to say, here’s the discussion on Facebook.

I look forward to hearing YOUR thoughts. 🙂

My final word on it is this: I wouldn’t have bought the chicken sausage if I had been standing in the grocery store looking AT the label myself, and won’t order it again.

Mostly because I’m carb stingy, to be totally honest. 🙂

But it was good, delicious actually.

And… I definitely wasn’t going to throw good food (a few questionable ingredients or not) in the trash can in the middle of a global pandemic. ❌

But all that aside, it brought up such a GREAT discussion!

I love hearing everyone’s unique approach and personal preferences, what works for them, and what doesn’t – and why. It’s a great way to learn from each other, and also to understand why different people make different choices.

It almost always inspires me to try something new, or test something on myself, and it also gives me this FEELGOOD experience about how we can all be so unique and so different… yet make up such an amazing community as a whole at the same time. 💖

My only regret? I wish I had tested it! I threw dinner together pretty quick though, and just didn’t think about it. I only ate one link though, and didn’t “feel” any adverse effects that night or the next day, so… 🤷‍♀️

In my next post I’m going to share some DELICIOUS healthy whole foods – with NO sketchy ingredients 🙂 – that will help you strengthen your immune system and feel your BEST…

Stay tuned for that!

I’ll also (finally) share with you a new supplement I started taking from the start of the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus pandemic, which I’ve been hesitant to mention or discuss… but I’ll explain why in the next post. ✅ *cheers*

Lynn Terry,
aka @LowCarbTraveler

Keto Mojo Discount

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