Culture

Here Are 22 Keto Recipes That Will Feed Your Latino Soul

So you’re trying out a ketosis diet? Welcome to your Latinx elevated palette salvation. Given that everyone and their mother (including mine) are swearing by this diet, we asked for their favorite recipes. You can stop scrolling through searching keto recipes for the versions of pandemono, arroz con pollo y tortilla española.

We’ve got you.

1. Chorizo Cauliflower

“Paleo Chorizo Cauliflower by Worthy Pause.” Digital Image. Worthy Pause. 19 April 2018.

Basic rules of keto are:

  1. High protein
  2. High fat
  3. Low carbs

So, instead of using regular arroz, try pan-frying cauliflower rice instead. Sure, you can buy this at almost any grocery store these days, but you can also just blend a head of cauliflower for ~8 seconds and it’s cheaper. 😉

2. Instant Pot Chicken Paella

“rice with chicken and asparagus in a skillet” Digital Image. The Castaway Kitchen. 19 April 2018.

The fam swears by cauliflower rice, what can I say? Here’s the instant pot way to make this, broken down into different waves. Just cook each wave until tender and add the next in:

  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3 slices bacon (sugar free, nightshade free)
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk rhubarb (about a cup diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (scant) celery salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried herb blend (compliant Italian seasoning: oregano, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Now just cook 2 bags frozen cauliflower rice on low for 3 minutes and TADA!

Adapted from The Castaway Kitchen

3. Fathead Nachos

“Fathead Nachos.” Digital Image. Ditch the Carbs. 19 April 2018

You’re making these nachos yourself:

  1. Mix 3/4 cup of shredded/grated cheese and 1/3 cup almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add 2 tbsp cream cheese. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  2. Stir then microwave on high for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir again. Add an egg, salt, and 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander and pinch of chili powder. Mix.
  3. Place the pastry between 2 pieces of baking parchment/paper and roll into a thin, rectangle. Remove the top baking paper/parchment.
  4. Slide the baking paper/parchment with the Fat Head pastry, on a baking tray (cookie tray) or pizza stone, and bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes, or until browned on the top. Flip the pastry over (onto baking paper/parchment) and brown the other side.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cut into tortilla chip triangle shapes. Bake again at 425F for 3 – 5 minutes.

While cooking, make some meat sauce using ground beef, a can of diced tomatos, chili powder and tomato paste. You got this.

Adapted from Ditch the Carbs.

4. Low Carb Tacos with Cheese Taco Shells

“Have a low carb taco night with these cheese taco shells made from baked cheddar cheese formed into the shape of a taco! Stuff your low carb taco with ground chorizo and ground beef cooked in Rotel and topped with diced avocado and sour cream.” Digital Image. Homemade Interest. 19 April 2018.

This is the best hack of all time.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat place 1/4 cup piles of shredded cheese 2 inches apart (in a circle shape). Press the cheese down lightly so it makes one layer.
  3. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the edges of the cheese are brown.
  4. Let the cheese cool for 2-3 minutes then lift it up and place it over the handle of a spoon or other utensil that is balanced on two cups to make a rigid upright taco shell shape.
  5. Let cheese cool completely then remove.
  6. While you continue to bake your cheese taco shells place the ground beef and ground chorizo in a skillet over medium high heat cooking until it is completely cooked through.
  7. Drain the grease from the meat and then add a can of RO*TEL , cumin, and chili powder.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes then salt to taste.
  9. Add meat to taco shells and top with your favorite taco toppings.

Adapted from HomemadeInterest.com

5. Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

“Spaghetti-Squash-Burrito-Bowls” Digital Image. I Breathe I’m Hungry. 19 April 2018.

Meet nature’s spaghetti if you haven’t already. The fam swears by this one.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with foil OR fill a 9 x 13” glass baking dish with about an inch of water.
  2. Wash the spaghetti squash and then slice off the stem at the top. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and the darker yellow strands that the seeds are attached to.
  3. Rub a little bit of high heat oil on the inner edges of the squash and then place each half face down on the baking sheet/dish. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes. You can test to see if it’s done by scraping the inside with a fork. Strands should come loose as you scrape all the way down to the flesh.
  4. While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling by warming one tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté a sliced red onion for a few minutes and then add a chopped red pepper and 2 chopped jalepeños. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cumin and cook to desired softness (6-7 minutes)
  5. When the squash is done cooking, allow it to cool for a few minutes before handling. Turn the oven to broil and then transfer the squash to a surface where you can scrape the inside and begin stuffing.
  6. Scrape about 3/4 of the inside out onto a dish and then layer the filling inside (1/2 can black beans, 1 cup corn, peppers and onion, salsa and cilantro). Top with the spaghetti squash and press down then add another layer of filling. Sprinkle green onion on top and then finish with shredded cheese.
  7. Broil in the oven for about 5 minutes so that the cheese is bubble and golden brown then serve!

Adapted from Making Thyme for Health.

6. Keto Lime Creamsicles

“Keto Lime Creamsicles” Digital Image. Elena’s Pantry. 19 April 2018

As if there wouldn’t be a sweet tooth recipe!? Here’s how:

  1. Blend a can of full fat coconut milk, 1 avocado, 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/4 tsp vanilla stevia, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze 4 hours.
  4. Slurp away.

Adapted from Elena’s Pantry.

7. Grain Free Tortillas

“There’s a reason I called these http://meatified.com grain free tortillas foolproof: the dough comes together in a flash. This will be your new favorite recipe for tacos & more!” Digital Image. Meatified. 19 April 2018.

If you haven’t heard of cassava flour yet, best stock up. Make these like your usual tortilla but instead use this:

  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 3 tbsp cold pork lard
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Just process it all together, divide the flour into six portions, press and flash fry. Voila!

Adapted from Meatified.com.

8. Chicken Salsa Verde Tacos with Lime Pickled Red Onion

“These Chicken Salsa Verde Tacos from http://meatified.com are totally AIP & allergy friendly, although you’d never guess it. These nightshade free tacos will please a crowd!” Digital Image. Meatified. 19 April 2018.

Alright, got those grain-free tortillas? We’ll make this easy.

  1. First pickle your onions by pressing a 1/2 cup of finely sliced red onion into a jar. Add the juice of 3 limes and let sit while you do the rest (at least 15 minutes).
  2. Then, sizzle up some shredded chicken, green onion salsa verde and chicken broth in a small pot.
  3. Assemble and enjoy.

Adapted from Meatified.com.

9. Beef Tacos

“Paleo Mexican Beef Tacos.” Digital Image. Paleo Flourish. 19 April 2018

This recipe is already in our blood, but here it is anyway:

  1. Saute a diced onion in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add in 1 lb ground beef and sauté until the beef is pretty much cooked. Use a spatula to stir the beef to ensure it doesn’t clump together. Pour out any excess water.
  3. When the beef is pretty much cooked, add in:
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 diced bell pepper
    • 1 diced jalapeño
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
    • 1 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp chili powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
  4. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lettuce wraps or by themselves.

Adapted from Paleo Flourish.

10. Crockpot Paleo Pork Carnitas Recipe

“Crockpot Paleo Pork Carnitas Recipe #paleo https://paleoflourish.com/crockpot-paleo-pork-carnitas-recipe” Digital Image. Paleo Flourish. 19 April 2018.

May lettuce cups always be a part of our lives. Amen.

  1. Mix this together:
    • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
    • 1 Tablespoon of lime juice
    • 1 Tablespoon of cumin powder
    • 1 Tablespoon of chili powder
    • 1 Tablespoon of paprika
    • 1/4 cup orange juice  (optional)
    • 1 medium onion , chopped
    • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  2. Place 2 lbs of boneless pork shoulder into a slow cooker, pour the mixture in and rub.
  3. Set the slow cooker to cook for 8 hours on low heat.
  4. When it’s ready, remove the meat and any onions from the slow cooker.
  5. Shred the meat and season with extra salt to taste.
  6. Enjoy with the lettuce wraps, lime wedges, and chopped cilantro.

Adapted from Paleo Flourish.

11. Cuban Picadillo Quesadillas

“picadillo quesadillas” Digital Image. Skinny Taste. 19 April 2018.

If you’re craving quesadillas, get the low-carb tortillas (or make those grain-free cassava flour tortillas) and make these your only carbs today.

Just brown 1.5lb lean ground beef on high heat and season with salt and pepper. Once cooked through, drain the juice from the pan. Then add all of this and simmer for 20 min:

  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce (I like Goya, check label for Keto)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado (capers or green olives would work too)

Cuban picadillo + Mexican quesadilla= drool city.

12. Slow Cooker Chile Verde

“slow cooker chili verde” Digital Image. A Girl Worth Saving. 19 April 2018.

Guys this is so easy. Just add all this to a slow cooker and cook on high for six hours.

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb Anaheim chilies remove seeds and finely dice
  • 2 jalapenosremove seeds and dice
  • 1 medium oniondiced
  • 6 cloves garlicminced
  • 1 1/2 lbs diced Pork tenderloin

Shop This Keto Friendly T-Shirt For $24.99!

Adapted from AGirlWorthSaving.net.

13. Tortilla Española

“Paleo Spanish Omelette Recipe #paleo https://paleoflourish.com/paleo-spanish-omelette-recipe” Digital Image. Paleo Flourish. 19 April 2018.

To make this keto-friendly, we have to pull out the papas. :'( No te preocupes, there is cauliflower rice, and this satisfies that craving.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sauté two diced bell peppers and 1 diced onion with 3 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Parboil 1/2 head cauliflower florets – boil for 2 minutes and drain immediately.
  3. Mix this in a bowl:
    • sautéd vegetables
    • 8 medium eggs, whisked
    • 1/4 cup coconut cream
    • 4 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch by 9-inch (23-cm by 23-cm) square baking dish.
  5. Make sure the spread the vegetables (especially the cauliflower) out carefully.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until the eggs are soft but set.

Adapted from Paleo Flourish

14. Paleo Tamales

“Paleo Tamales” Digital Image. Paleo Cupboard. 19 April 2018.

Sad news: masa isn’t the most keto-friendly (beware of the carbs). Make your tamales como siempre but instead swap out your masa dough with this:

  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp. cold lard/bacon fat
  • 1/4 cup beef or chicken broth

Just mix it all together in a bowl and set aside for ten minutes before beginning to form your tamales.

Adapted from Paleo Cupboard.

15. Low-Carb Tortilla Chips

“Low Carb Tortilla Chips (Keto, Gluten-free)” Digital Image. Wholesome Yum. 19 April 2018.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together:
    • 2 cups almond flour
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  3. Add an egg and mix using a hand mixer, until a crumbly dough forms.
  4. In a small bowl, microwave 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella until it’s melted and easy to stir. (Alternatively, you can melt it using a double broiler on the stove.) Add to the dough mixture and knead/squeeze with your hands until well incorporated. If it stops incorporating before it’s fully mixed, you can reheat it for 15-20 seconds again before kneading more.
  5. Place the dough between two large pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out very thin, about 1/16″ thick.
  6. Cut the dough into triangles and arranged on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden and firm. The chips may release some sizzling oil on the top – just pat dry with a paper towel. They will crisp up as they cool.

Adapted from Wholesome Yum.

16. Low Carb Lasagna Stuffed Peppers

“Low Carb Lasagna Stuffed Peppers – 7 Ingredients (Gluten-free) – This easy, gluten-free, low carb stuffed peppers recipe is like a cheesy ground beef lasagna packed into sweet bell peppers. The low carb lasagna ever!” Digital Image. Wholesome Yum. 19 April 2018.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet.
  2. Chop off the tops and scoop out the innards of 6 bell peppers. Hack: thinly slice off a bit of the bottom so it stands up straight.
  3. Make a meat suace by heating 1.5lb ground beef & 4 cloves garlic minced on medium-high heat. Stir in marinara sauce and 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  4. Layer 1-2 Tbsp each of meat sauce, ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with a aluminum foil tent over the peppers. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes to brown the cheese.
  6. EAT.

Adapted from Wholesome Yum.

17. Jalapeño Poppers

“Jalepeño Poppers Recipe.” Digital Image. Dr. Axe. 19 April 2018

What’s low-carb, high fat and wrapped in bacon? 😛

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl add and mix:
    • ½-1 cup goat feta
    • ½-1 cup shredded goat cheese
    • ½ teaspoon cumin
    • ½ teaspoon chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste
  3. Using your hands, fill each halved jalapeño with the cheese mixture.
  4. Wrap jalapeño with turkey bacon and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Adapted from Dr. Axe.

18. Crucial step: follow @ketokouplenyc to get their pandebono recipe!

@ketokouplenyc / Instagram

They’re the inspo we all need to know that si se puede.

Caption: “Tonight’s Dinner: Shirataki “Rice”, marinated chicken and keto “pan de bono”! ??? Seasoned the rice with Goya sazon to give it an authentic yellow color and Latino flavor and it was delicious! The “pan de bono” is our own recipe based on traditional Colombian preparation– it includes only keto friendly ingredients! Be sure to keep an eye on our page– we’ll be releasing a recipe video soon ??”

19. Almond Flour Bread Cubano

@ketokouplenyc / Instagram

The bread is crucial. You can do the rest.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Beat in 1/4 tsp cream of tartar with 6 large egg whites until soft peaks are formed.
  3. In a food processer combine:
    • 1/3 of mixture
    • 4 Tbsp melted butter
    • 1.5 cup almond flour
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 1 pinch salt
  4. Add remaining  2/3 of egg mixture and gently process. DON’T OVERMIX.
  5. Pour into a buttered bread pan and bake for 30 minutes

Caption: “First Almond Flour Bread/ Almond Flour Crouton Success!! ?? Used this recipe on KetoConnect ( https://www.ketoconnect.net/recipe/best-keto-bread/ )Forgot the butter for this attempt, but it still turned out pretty good. We’re excited about being able to include a bread substitute into our daily regiment.”

Adapted from KetoConnect.net

20. Low Carb Tortilla Pizzas

@ketokouplenyc / Instagram

Because cauliflower crust is just too extra to make (trust).

Caption: “Woo lawd ? Yesterday we truly finessed two precious lil keto pizzas. The first was Jons— a little sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil and chicken breast. The second was mine— a little sauce, gouda, sausage, basil, and swiss chard. #keto #latinoketo”

And then another comment: “**ALL ON LOW CARB WRAPS OF COURSE**”

21. Chicken & Egg Salad Burritos

@ketokouplenyc / Instagram

This couple is goals. ATTN: Goya Sazon is keto-friendly!

Caption: “#missionwraps new, lower carb wraps are a godsend! They kill our craving for carbs while only being 4 TOTAL NET CARBS!!! They’re perfect for our chicken ‘n’ egg salad lunch wraps– shredded chicken, boiled eggs (chopped), onion, paprika, Goya Sazon, black pepper, brown mustard and a neat little chiffonade of some spring greens ? It’ll make your tummy haaaaappy ??”

We leave you with these amazing platters of food from real live people as your inspo.

@ketokouplenyc / Instagram

If I can eat that much avocado per meal, I’m here for it.

Caption: “Another finessed #latinoketo meal ? #miraclerice “chicken fried rice” seasoned with @goyafoods sazon, chicken seasoned with adobo and cilantro, fresh aguacate AND authentic Chilena pebre made by the mystical hands of Mama Leyton herself ???”

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

Culture

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

At least once a month (the first of every month to be exact), Angelinos wonder why they’re paying $2,000 for a studio or sharing rooms with friends at the age of 28, and we will tell you why. La comida. The food in Los Angeles is abundant in Latinidad, and Salvadoreñas are only second to nearby México in repping Latin America in Los Angeles. 

Sure, you could move to  Denver and make a living wage, but you would be missing out on all these pupusas. Without further ado, here’s your guide to eating pupusas in Los Angeles, as told by the Latino people of Yelp.

1. La Pupusa Urban Eatery

Credit: lapupusadtla / Instagram

“Good Salvi food with a twist,” Carlos M. shared on Yelp. With 4.5 stars and over 200 Yelp reviews, La Pupusa’s Urban Eatery is most famous for their Pupusa Mexicana which is topped with steak and served with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and cotija cheese.  

2. Sarita’s Pupuseria

Credit: saritas_pupuseria / Instagram

Jose Raul’s love for exclamation points is nothing in comparison to his love for Sarita’s: “This is one of those hidden gems! This place is awesome! Being in the central market, you can always find small places that pack a big punch! This is Sarita’s Pupuseria!” For him, it was the revuelta that “takes the win! It was super savory I can’t even explain!”

3. Drive Thru Pupusas

Credit: drivethrupupusas / Instagram

With over one hundred five star reviews, these pupusas are as authentic as it gets this far from El Salvador. You should be warned, Drive Thru Pupusas is a food truck, not a drive-thru eatery. 

Pro tip from Maryem C., “Very nice people and super delicious pupusas. You can even call to place an order and not wait the dinner rush.”

4. Atlacatl Restaurant

Credit: ulyrocks / Instagram

This East Hollywood joint is one of those “nice hole in the wall” types of places, according to its reviewers. Everyone also says that it doesn’t look like a restaurant from the outside. It looks like a home, and when you walk in, it feels like home, too. Be warned, their pupusas are as delicious as they are humongous.

5. Cafe La Praviana

Credit: hungrypandita / Instagram

While they’re not as good as his mom’s pupusas, Orlando M. says, “This place has the best pupusas in the neighborhood, hands down! Well.. they are second place after the ones my mom makes lol.”

6. Los Molcajetes

Credit: joey_anne / Instagram

A Salvadoreña took to Yelp with favor for Los Molcajetes, saying “their pupusas taste great; comparable to the ones you can eat in El Salvador. They especially remind me of a popular pupuseria in Santa Tecla.” Heads up though, with authenticity comes to a leisurely meal. Don’t expect a quick meal.

7. La Numero Uno

Credit: houstondjgabe / Instagram

This Hollywood spot is home to a delicious purple corn pupusa, and a Mexican-Salvadoran fusion. Enjoy both burritos and yucca alike!

8. Mi Bandera Pupusería

Credit: mibanderapupuseria / Instagram

South Central is also home to authentic Salvadoreña food that is easy to pick up and take home, as well. Tiana D. gave us all an inside scoop saying, “the pupusas a so good, not greasy at all, good size, and are full inside. All good for the price. They give you enough curtido and salsa too. They mark the containers so you can know what pupusas are inside.”

9. Gloría’s Cafe

Credit: altapeterson / Instagram

Before you even think anything of this Venice locale, listen up to Alicia: “I don’t normally like blended menus that feature more than one type of cuisine. Gloria’s does this (El Salvador and Mexican) but they’re both done well and authentically, so it’s chill.The most recent time I came here, I had the 7 Seas Soup. YOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Sooooo freakin good.” There you have it.

10. The Pupusa Stand

Credit: Luis D. / Yelp

Listen. This Van Nuys food truck is doing it right and Carolina E. is here with the pep talk: “These pupusas are the best I’ve tasted outside of El Salvador. The wait can be a little long, depending on what time you get there. The location is in a church parking lot; they set up a grill and hand make the pupusas to order. They do not skimp on the fillings. There are a few chairs but they’re usually taken up by regulars or large families, it’s cash only but you can place your order before finding an atm if you forget. The ladies are extremely friendly and helpful. The freshness and deliciousness are worth the wait.”

11. Es Con Sabor West

Credit: overoverunder / Instagram

Located in Palms, Jennifer O. gave it to us straight, “Food: this is the best place to buy pupusas on the west side PERIODT. They run about $3 a pop and are always fresh, bubbling over with cheese and goodness. My go to is pork and cheese which is fire, beans and cheese are a close second. The curtido is on point too.”

12. Jaragua

Credit: aveganandher / Instagram

Jerome W.’s solution to feeling overwhelmed with all the pupusa choices is to “order them ALL and chow down. They’re all good.” Plus, the meal you see above is all vegan!

13. Pupusas

Credit: Mayra F. / Yelp

We’re keeping names simple here in Northridge. You can get a pupusa grande for just $2. Do not expect social media or anything other than knowing they’re on the corner of Reseda Blvd and Rayen street, and that you’ll just have to go and try it for yourself.

14. Las Casitas Grill

Credit: Sofia A. / Yelp

Leticia C. is a regular at Las Casitas and here’s how we know: “I love this spot and all I ever get is that Papusas and rice! It’s so good ! On Mondays and tuesdays, they have a special for 99 cents and I’m in there like swimwear they are quick and fresh every time ! I’m sure I’ll make my way around the menu eventually but those have me coming back every time ! Very authentic and delicious as hell !”

15. Pupusería La Favorita

Credit: Nana M. / Yelp

This South Gate adjacent pupusería really is a fan favorite. Nana M. says the “pupusas are big and delicious. I didn’t know I live near a pretty good Salvadorean restaurant. I give it 5 stars for the good price.” That’s right, each pupusa is $1.50. 

Take that, landlords.

READ: These 5 Restaurants Prove Latinos Have Left Their Mark On Washington D.C.

Here’s Why Activists And Parents Are Upset About A New Weight Loss App For Children

Culture

Here’s Why Activists And Parents Are Upset About A New Weight Loss App For Children

This week, WW, the ridiculously rebranded name for weight loss company Weight Watchers, proved that despite its new designation, the global brand is offering more of the same problematic trash to the world — this time, directed at children in particular.

On Tuesday, WW launched Kurbo, a nutrition and weight loss app for kids between the ages of 8 and 17 years old.

Not surprisingly health experts are furious about the danger it could pose to the physical and mental health of our young people.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1HrLEtA2Dc/

“You NEED to Shut. This. Down,” Whitney Fisch, a social worker, school counselor and mom of three, wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “All bodies, especially growing + developing bodies, deserve respect + the ability to grow into whatever shape they’re meant to grow to be.”

The company describes the app, which is free, as a “scientifically-proven behavior change program designed to help kids and teens age 8-17 reach a healthier weight” that was acquired from Stanford University’s Pediatric Weight Control Program. It uses a traffic light system to instruct youth on foods that they should eat and those that they should avoid. Kids are urged to eat plenty of “green light” foods, including fruits and vegetables, to be “mindful” of their portions of “yellow light” foods, like lean protein, whole grains and dairy, and to lessen their intake of “red light” foods, such as sugary drinks and “treats.” The app also encourages users to track their daily physical activity and deep breathing.

With a paid, subscription-based plan, children can also receive through the app one-on-one sessions with coaches that are supposed to be experts in nutrition, exercise, and mental health. However, the Huffington Post reports that these coaches do not need to have any credentials in health or nutrition fields; though they do go through a minimum of six to eight hours of initial training.

Eating disorder treatment experts are concerned about the impact an app like Kurbo could have on a young person’s mental health, self-esteem and eating habits.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByQhLpeAJzD/

“While the intention of the app is to promote health and wellness, there is the risk that it could do more harm than good,” Kathryn Argento, a registered dietician with The Renfrew Center, a national network of eating disorder treatment centers for women and girls, told the Huffington Post. “Targeting kids as young as 8 years old to focus on … their bodies can lead to an intense preoccupation with food, size, shape and weight.”

Aside from the damaging impact apps like this one can have on a children’s relationship with their bodies and food, public health organizations and pediatricians also doubt the efficacy of children’s weight loss programs altogether.

“The evidence suggests that these types of tools may be helpful adjuncts to weight management, but there are few studies in pediatrics to confirm that they lead to a ‘meaningful change in their weight trajectories,’” Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told the news outlet.

As part of WW’s rebranding, the company and app have chosen to start focusing on overall health and wellness in addition to weight loss.

According to Gary Foster, chief scientific officer at WW, Kurbo “isn’t a weight loss app.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1FjjUQAmll/

“This is an app that teaches in a game-ified, fun, engaging way what are the basics of a healthy eating pattern,” he told the Huffington Post.

But parents still worry the app could be spreading an all-too-familiar message that they are unworthy as they are and must change their physical appearance to be accepted. While young people already receive these memos from a diet-obsessed mass media, parents fear that unrealistic beauty ideals are now being pushed on impressionable children in the name of health and wellness.

In response to these apprehensions, Foster said: “I think there could be some misperception that somehow we’re saying, ‘All kids should lose weight, you’re not OK as you are.’ What we’re saying to kids who are trying to achieve a healthier weight — kids and families — is that this is a reasonable, sensible way to do it.”

But despite this alleged kid-friendly wellness mission, Kurbo’s website sends another message.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B03-BhhA4V5/

Its landing page shows young people’s “success stories,” and they’re celebrating weight loss, not how often they meditate or how many ounces of water they drink daily.

“There’s no way that these kids don’t realize that the app is supposed to help them lose weight,” Ginny Jones, an eating disorder recovery activist, said. “No matter how hard it tries to market itself as a wellness company, WW is about weight loss. Kids are way smarter than we think they are, and every ‘big kid’ who [has been] put on a weight loss program knew exactly what their parents were trying to do.”

Read: She Shared Stories Of Being Fat-Shamed At The Doctor And Fear Of Wearing A Two-Piece Then, Jessica Torres Accidentally Built One Of The Biggest Body Positive Communities

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