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Author: Karen Rysavy
I like to say "You tell me which is easier: exercising and prepping food for an average of an hour a day, or feeling like CRAP 24 hrs per day?"
This started out with me reading a recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup yesterday morning during a snowstorm, followed by me realizing I had a couple of sweet potatoes on hand.
Bacon Cheese Soup
IN THE POT:
1 pound bacon, cut into chunks with kitchen shears
1 medium onion, roughly diced (I used yellow) *Do Not cut too small! Nickel-sized is great.
6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs. from a jar is fine too, but I had fresh on hand this time)
4 cups chicken broth – I like using whole containers!
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (fluid)
2 small sweet potatoes, in chunks (again, do not chop them too small or they will disappear under pressure) I prefer “white” Jerseys over the orange yams, and carbs are lower too, but I calculated this using the easier to find ‘yams’, and figured 2 cups cubed.
1 Tbs black pepper or more to taste (We like a lot of pepper here. Makes the beer go down better.)
AFTER THE FIRST COOK:
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs organic cornstarch – or any lower-carb thickener you prefer
1 cup shredded Cheddar or other hard cheese
ADD WHEN SERVING:
1/2 cup chopped fresh onion (I used red)
1 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese
Add the cut-up bacon to the Pot (I use kitchen shears and cut through several pieces at once because easy is always best.) Cook on the sauté setting while stirring frequently. Remove browned bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain. Remove and discard (who are we kidding? Save it for later!) some of the bacon fat if it looks like you have more than 2-3 Tbs. in the bottom of the InstantPot.
Add the diced onion to the pot and cook until translucent. This should deglaze the pan nicely and fill the house with mouth-watering aromas. Shoo out inquiring family members as needed, assuring them it will only be about 30 minutes until they can eat.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly.
Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, potatoes (if using) and pepper to the pot. Seal the lid (not venting, make sure the top knob is on ‘seal’). Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes, then quick release the pressure. *If you do not have an InstantPot, just simmer it on the stove for half an hour, instead of the pressure cooking.
Mix the water and cornstarch or other thickener.
Once the pin has dropped on the lid and you can open it, remove the lid and set the pot to sauté. Cook the soup until it is boiling, stirring gently so as to not break up the potatoes. Add the thickener and cheddar cheese and stir until melted and thick.
Divide the reserved chopped bacon, additional onions, and additional cheese over the tops of the bowls, or allow people to add it themselves. I prefer the second option, because there is more of a chance that there will be some leftover bacon for ME.
AS WRITTEN 20 Net Carbs & 615 calories Per Serving: 48.8g fat; 22.9g carbohydrates(2.9g fiber, 3.2g sugar); 23.1g protein
IF YOU SUBSTITUTE 1 pound raw cauliflower for the potatoes 10.3 Net Carbs & 575 calories Per Serving: 48.9g fat; 12.7g carbohydrates (2.4g fiber, 4.4g sugar); 23.8g protein.
IF YOU OMIT THE POTATOES altogether – 9 Carbs & 556 calories Per Serving: 48.7g fat; 9g carbohydrates (<1g fiber, 3g sugar); 22.3g protein
Note – I modified this from the recipe posted at http://belleofthekitchen.com/2018/01/11/instant-pot-loaded-potato-soup/. Many thanks to the originator!
I created an Easy-Print PDF that is linked at the top. If you prefer a jag, it can be found below, along with more nutritional details to help you modify the recipe further and still know the numbers.
Quiche is easy to assemble, economical, delicious, and extremely versatile. It is “fair game” for any meal, at any time of day. It should be a part of every low-carber’s cooking repertoire!
Quiche is basically just a savory custard which is baked in the shape of a pie, with various added ingredients, usually (but not always) including cheese, cooked meat, and vegetables. This makes it an ideal dish in which to use up leftovers! In fact, I often make twice as much as I need for a meat-and-veggie meal, on purpose, knowing full well that the leftovers can be efficiently transformed the next night in a quiche which will seem like an entirely different meal. “Real Women” (and men) just don’t have time to reinvent the wheel every night; anytime that I can cook two meals at once, I consider myself blessed.
2 cups cream – any style works – nutritional counts based on half-and-half
Salt and Pepper
1 to 2 cups cooked chopped meat and/or vegetables
1 to 2 cups shredded cheese – typical “classic” quiches almost always specify swiss cheese, but you can use anything you like. I usually prefer to use 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (the real stuff please, grated freshly off a block and not simply poured out a green can) and 1 cup mixed, shredded other cheeses. Occasionally, I use some cream cheese or even feta, goat, cottage, bleu, or ricotta.
PREPARATION: Scatter the chopped filling ingredients and cheeses into a well-greased pan, no need for any crust, and pour the well-beaten egg and cream mixture over the top.
Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake another 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to set out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
*Reduce the cream a little when using moist filling ingredients, such as canned or frozen vegetables.
I figure 8 servings per quiche – assuming (for example) you used 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar, 1 cup chopped cooked broccoli, and 1 cup (5 oz) chopped cooked chicken while following the above guide, each serving would then equal: 240 calories, 18 g fat (9 sat), 4 g carb, 16 g protein.
Here are some of my favorite variations on this theme; follow the same basic assembly and cooking instructions and customize to your heart’s content!
3/4 cup diced unpeeled zucchini (1 small)
3/4 cup minced red bell pepper (1 medium)
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tb. grated white onion
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded extra-sharp white cheddar
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1-1/2 cups cream
8 servings: 211 calories, 17 g fat (9 sat), 5 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, each.
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, drained thoroughly (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup diced Swiss cheese
1 cup chopped cooked ham or 1/3 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 Tb. minced onion, sautéed in 1 Tb. oil or butter (or cooked along with the bacon)
1-1/2 cups cream
8 servings: 210 calories, 15 g fat (7 sat), 4 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber), 14 g protein, each.
1/2 cup pitted, sliced olives
3/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan or Provolone cheese
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 small Roma tomato, seeded, chopped and drained well
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped and well-drained
1 cup chopped cooked meat (optional but I like to use chicken breasts)
1-1/2 cups cream
8 servings: 228 calories, 15.5 g fat (8 sat), 5 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, each
2 cans drained lump crabmeat or tiny shrimp
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tb. chopped fresh dill weed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tb. pimento 2 cups cream
8 servings: 236 calories, 17 g fat (9 sat), 4 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, each.
Originally shared back in 2001 and published in Cooking TLC Volume II in 2004.
While thinking and planning ahead to making old-fashioned sugar cookies with my grandkids, I am also thinking about providing for myself. I can’t be around high-carb goodies all season and not indulge myself with a good workaround. Better a legal indulgence than any all-out cheat, I always say. In the Spirit of the Season, I’d like to share one of my favorite cookies creations with you – I call them “Classic Cutouts” since I can’t bring myself to call them Sugar Cookies.
Guilt-free, Gluten-Free, and Sugar-Free with just 3 carbs each and a delicate texture and taste that caused my teenage son and his friends to scarf down all of MY cookies last year – in addition to their regular ones! We had some “words” about that, trust me! But I couldn’t help feeling flattered.
These need no icing to be delicious, but a little warmed cream cheese with some vanilla and sweetener and a teaspoon of cream makes a lovely drizzle. I have also used a lemon glaze instead of vanilla, then sprinkled with poppy seeds… MMMMM! Click the link below for the recipe.
This conversion was based on a classic Cherry Clafoutis recipe that I found here. My version has Rainier cherries instead of red cherries, because that is what grows on my wonderful tree. We were inundated with cherries this year, 20 pounds at least, and I wanted to try something new with some of them.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Lightly grease a 10″ tart/quiche pan or deep dish pie plate with coconut oil.
3. Dust with the additional oat flour.
4. Fill the prepared baking pan with the pitted cherries (a single layer is fine, you are not looking to fill the pan.)
5. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix completely, but DO NOT OVERMIX. (Best to add the flour last, after the other ingredients have been mixed.)
6. Pour blended mixture into baking dish over cherries.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and the top is lightly browned. Center should still be soft (jiggly) when removed from oven – do not overbake. Excellent warm OR cold!
12 servings – per serving: 99.6 calories; 5.7g fat; 8.9g carbohydrates (1.7g fiber; 3.8g sugar); 3.4g protein
*If you substitute granular Splenda for Fiberfit, it adds 2 carbs PER SERVING while reducing the dietary fiber.
This recipe features some of my favorite healthy ingredients in a terrific ratio of fat to protein to carbohydrate. I plan to make some later today using a mixture of dried (re-hydrated) blueberries and cranberries. I will get a better picture, then, and also update the nutritional data here with the variation. Meanwhile though, I wanted to share it with you while I was thinking about it, because things that I put off have a tendency to never happen at all…
Blueberry Crunch Cake
from More Truly Low Carb Cooking, Volume 2 – 2004
1/4 cup coconut oil or softened butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup granular Splenda™ – Save 1 net carb per serving by using Fiberfit
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons dry whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (or raspberries)
1 cup walnuts, chopped finely
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9×9 or 8×8 baking pan well. Cream oil or butter with mayonnaise, Splenda, and egg. Stop mixer and sprinkle protein powder, oat flour, and dry milk powder over creamed mixture. Pour buttermilk and vanilla extract over dry ingredients. Turn mixer to low and blend just till mixed (may be lumpy). Scrape batter out into prepared pan and smooth top.
Sprinkle blueberries evenly over batter. Mix melted butter with nuts, flax meal, and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over berries.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until cake is cooked through and topping is a deep golden brown.
12 servings – per each: 221 calories, 18 g fat (6 sat), 7 g carb (1 g fiber), 7 g protein.
If you have posts there that you care to preserve…
The database for the forum is scaring me. The number of errors and resultant page fails is getting pretty high. Most of those “users” are only search bots at this point as far as I can tell, but you need to be aware that the forum could literally disappear at any moment, at this rate!
I will do what I can to try to import the posts somewhere else, to safeguard our wealth of recipes and knowledge for the future, but I probably won’t do anything at all with it, as long as it manages to stay running. 😛
Members who have been active recently were all pretty much supporters and all should still have access to the recipe archive. Do a search and your results will include that area. Same goes for the old personal journals, they are off the official forum listings but still accessible by their owners. Anyone who “contributed to” the recipe archive over the years and shows up trying to get in is currently being advised to contact me to request access. That seems fair to me. No one is being charged at renewal anymore but I just honestly “don’t have time to deal with it” until it actually breaks, lol.
I make my almond flour in a miniature food processor or a large high quality food processor (Cuisinart). Coffee grinders work, too.
I have successfully used both “whole raw” almonds with the skins still on, and “blanched almonds”, which do not have the skins and therefore have less fiber and a slightly higher carb count.
Just fill the bowl of the machine you are using to the halfway point – no more than that – and pulse the machine on and off until you have a fine consistency. If you must, you can fish out any few stubborn nuts from each batch, rather than over-process the rest.
When using those two types of almonds, I found that I could let the machine run for a long time without ending up with almond butter. Now, I don’t have a burr grinder to test with, but I suspect that it would work fine. I tested the grinder attachment on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it was a total flop – so don’t bother trying that.
Don’t expect a fine powdery flour – your end result will be closer to a “meal” than a true flour, and the two terms are often used interchangeably.
My end results worked satisfactorily in recipes, and it was definitely both cheaper and fresher to do it this way, but my final take on the matter is this: if time is a big deal, and if you can find what you want, just buy the pre-ground stuff and enjoy it! I myself found this task to be unnecessarily time consuming, given my schedule. It definitely works, though.
If you want to make almond butter, or any other nut butter, I recommend toasting the nuts first at 325 F for about half an hour. Adding a little sugar-free Davinci syrup in the same flavor as the nuts you are using makes it even better. I recently made Toasted Hazelnut Butter in this manner and, well… I may never buy peanut butter again!
I buy my own almond flour most often from Netrition or The Low Carb Connoissuer when I don’t want to make it with whole almonds.Per the USDA:
4 ounces blanched almonds (which should yield about 1 cup almond flour once ground):
669 calories; 60g fat; 21.2g carb (11.2g fiber); 24.3g protein. (10 net carbs per cup)
1 cup ground whole raw almonds:
546 calories, 20.1 carbs (11.6g fiber); 47g fat; 20g protein (8.5 net carbs per cup)
Just 3 ingredients and 3 minutes active prep time!
Dried unsweetened apricots are readily available in grocery stores nationwide, making it easy to enjoy this delicious fruity treat anytime you get the urge. Try this delicious spread or syrup (you decide how thick to make it!) over yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheesecakes, in sauces and marinades, on low-carb toast, pancakes, waffles, etc.
Fiberfit Instant Fruit Spread
3/4 cup dried unsweetened apricot halves (about 12 individual pieces)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons Fiberfit sweetened dietary fiber
Place apricots and Fiberfit in a full-size blender. Add boiling water very slowly, then cover tightly. Allow to sit for a few minutes to soften, then process until smooth.
Refrigerate until thick and use as desired.
Yield: about 1-1/4 cup – Active Prep Time: 3 minutes
7.9 Net Carbs Per 2-Tb. serving: 33 calories; 8.5 g carbohydrates (0.6 g fiber; 5.4 g sugar)
These “truly low-carb” cookies are gluten-free and chock-full of both fiber and protein, but still taste sinful! I created these way back in 2004 for my Online Recipe Club. Ingredient and Nutrition data updated for 2015.
1 cup garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour – you could sub oat flour for higher carbs
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 Tb. Fiberfit or the equivalent of 1 cup other sweetener
1 cup sugar free maple syrup (0-carb, such as Davinci – NOT like Log Cabin)
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I use avocado or grapeseed)
1 -3/4 cups canned pure pumpkin (1 small can, 15 oz.)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a flat baking pan very well (or better yet, use a non-stick silicone baking pad, or parchment paper.) Place nut flour, flax meal, coconut, garbanzo bean flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in mixer bowl. Blend on low until well-mixed. Stop mixer, and make a deep well in the center of the dry ingredients. In the well, crack the eggs. Add the sweetener next, then pour in the syrup, and then the oil. Lastly, scrape the pumpkin into the well. Mix on low until smooth. Stop mixer and fold in nuts and cranberries by hand. Drop out by the rounded tablespoon onto prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges and bottoms are golden brown.
Yield: 48 cookies — 92 calories; 7.9g fat; 4.4g carbohydrates (2.0g fiber; 1.0g sugar); 2.4g protein each
RECIPE NOTES: If you have spice-flavored syrup, you can omit the cinnamon and substitute that for the maple syrup with excellent results. You can also vary the type of nut used, and if you’re not a fan of coconut, you should just double the almond flour and leave that out. You can also substitute vanilla protein powder or oat flour for the garbanzo bean flour with good results. Protein powder will usually lower the carb count, while oat or other flours will raise it.
You can use any kind of fish here, of course, and dress it up or down, make it sweet or savory depending on the relish used… next time I am cooking for adults, I think I will try hot pepper relish instead of dill.
I served this with a butternut squash soup that was almost as easy to prepare, and the perfect fall side dish. I will share that easy yet decadent recipe next.
Found these yesterday while making a run for organic dairy and produce, and was intrigued by the clean ingredient list. I am pleased to report that they taste at least as good as I had hoped! The lemon flavor is bright and clean, better than any processed lemon product I have ever purchased. At just over 50 cents each, they aren’t cheap, but then …. neither are health issues! At 5 carbs each, I can’t eat them often anyway, but one with a cup of coffee, or more if on maintenance, would make a nice breakfast for anyone who has trouble choking down food first thing in the morning (like ME, I have a hard time with that STILL.)
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4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (2 small, or 1 medium)
2 stick packs Sugar Free Water flavoring, Apple (I used Walmart brand but due to the aspartame, a far healthier option would be 1-2 tsp. pure apple extract or flavoring, like those from Nature’s Flavors)
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into about 8 pieces
PROCEDURE: Place crust ingredients in food processor and pulse on and off until mixture forms clumps. TIP: TAKE CARE with this step! Not enough processing and it will seem too dry – too much processing and you’ll start to actually melt the butter, failing to achieve the nice flaky texture we’re looking for.
Press in bottom of large spring-form or deep-dish pie pan. Bake crust for 10- 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges.
Meanwhile, prepare zucchini: slice lengthwise, remove any large seeds if using monster-sized garden zukes; slice thinly to resemble half-moons. Toss zucchini slices with remaining filling ingredients until well mixed. Spread out over hot crust, taking care not to burn yourself.
Put topping ingredients in food processor (please don’t tell me you already washed it in between? NOT necessary!) Pulse on and off until butter breaks down into small pieces. Scatter topping over filling. Bake 35-40 minutes.
SERVES: 12 PER SERVING:4.5 Net Carbs ~ 198 calories; 16.2g total fat; 7.4g carbohydrates (2.9g fiber; 1.4g sugar); 8.0g protein
*Substituting Splenda granular forFIBERFITresults in 2 additional carbs per serving, with less beneficial fiber.
PEACH VARIATION: Just 7.9g net carbs ~ 208 calories; 16.2g total fat; 11.2g carbohydrates (3.3g fiber; 5.4g sugar); 6.9g protein
Crust: No Change — Filling: Substitute sliced fresh peaches for zucchini. Omit apple flavoring, protein powder, and spices. Reduce lemon juice to 1 Tb. — Topping: No Change
Origins of original recipe lost to time – Google it and you’ll see what I mean. I really need to thank all of my brothers for making and raving about the full-sugar version so many times that I finally broke down over Christmas and converted it so that I could try it, too. They were RIGHT, people…. this stuff is DELICIOUS. I can’t help but think that it is far “safer” to drink it without all the sugar, too – morning-after “sweet” hangovers are really terrible, as I recall!
750 ml 190-proof Everclear (Use Vodka if you can’t find Everclear, or want your final product to be weaker. May also reduce Everclear amount by 1/3)
3 cups of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
3 Liter Jug of Apple Cider or Juice – Use a brand like Langers with 100% juice and no added sugar if you can’t find fresh-pressed organic cider
8 cups water
4 fl. oz. FIBERFIT sweetened soluble fiber (or another sweetener of choice equal to 4 cups sugar)
1/4 cup molasses *
1/4 cup Grade B real maple syrup * (Grade A is OK too, of course. I am just spoiled from growing up in Maine and insist on Grade B.)
6 Cinnamon Sticks (or equivalent, mine were 5-6″ in length, each)
Mason jars or decorative bottles – enough for a 6 quart yield
Combine everything EXCEPT the alcohol in a large stock pot. Bring it to a mild simmer and continue to heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, to allow the syrups to melt completely and the flavors to meld. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before adding the alcohol. Pick out cinnamon sticks and set aside. Divide the moonshine between the mason jars. Put a reserved cinnamon stick in each jar before sealing, if you wish. Enjoy over ice, but with caution! It is much stronger than it tastes.
* The molasses and maple syrup can be omitted for even lower sugar and carbs, but as the original recipe calls for a mix of brown and white sugars, adding them really helps to balance the flavors. If you choose to omit them, the nutritional data changes to 88 calories and 3.9 carbs per 2 fluid ounces.
We prefer to drink this served “on the rock”. I bought my molds at Bed Bath & Beyond. DON’T DROP THEM WHEN FROZEN – the silicone tops can take it, but the plastic bottoms will shatter just like glass. I killed one already doing that (while taking the picture for this recipe, in fact.) “They” say you can make crystal clear ice rocks by using distilled water, but I enjoy seeing the patterns, personally.
Another recipe loved by EVERYONE, not just dieters or low-carbers!
1 cup finely chopped, fresh tomatoes (240 ml)
14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, with juices (400 gm)
2 Tb. minced green onions (30 ml)
2 Tb. minced fresh cilantro (30 ml – may add more or less, to taste, I use 4-6 Tb.)
1/2 Haas avocado, diced (optional – about 150 gm)
1 Tb. fresh lime juice (15 ml)
1 Tb. Splenda™ Granular (15 ml – optional, I never use it)
1/4 tsp. salt (1.25 ml)
2 tsp. black pepper (10 ml)
1 tsp. ground cumin (5 ml)
1/2 tsp. chili powder (2.5 ml)
1 oz. chopped black olives (optional – 30 gm)
roasted minced hot jalapeno or habanera pepper OR 1 Tb. hot pepper sauce (15 ml)
1 tsp. Carb Counters™ Thick It Up (5ml – optional – or use 1/4-1/2 tsp. guar gum)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and allow flavors to combine for a while before serving.
Keeps in refrigerator for 4-7 days.
VARIATIONS: If not using thickener, I recommend straining off most of the juices (save them to use when seasoning ground beef for taco salads or wraps?) You can use all canned tomatoes (2 cans total) with excellent results, or use 2 cans Mexican-style canned tomatoes (I prefer Rotel™) and skip the lime juice and green chilies.
12 servings, each about 1/2 cup: 33 cal, 2 g fat (0 g sat.), 4 g carb (1 g fiber)
My Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake is gluten-free with just 7 Net Carbs and a whopping 5 grams dietary fiber per slice, thanks to Fiberfit!
2 cups unsalted peanuts, finely chopped (may use other nuts)
4 Tb. sugar-free vanilla shake mix
2 Tb. melted butter
2 Tb. vanilla flavor sugar-free syrup (french vanilla is even better)
6 Tb. butter
6 Tb. cocoa powder
6 Tb. vanilla flavor sugar-free syrup (french vanilla is even better)
6 Tb. Fiberfit
2 Tb. heavy whipping cream
32 oz. cream cheese (4) 8-oz. pkg.s
1/2 cup vanilla flavor sugar-free syrup (french vanilla is even better)
4 large eggs
Place peanuts in food processor and pulse on and off until finely ground. (Dry-roasted or roasted nuts work equally well but DO NOT use salted nuts.) Remove 1-2 Tb. of ground nuts and set aside.
Add shake mix to remaining nuts and blend well.
Melt butter and add vanilla syrup. Drizzle over nut mixture, tossing until sticky.
Press firmly in the bottom and slightly up sides of a large spring-form pan, and place pan in freezer (keep level).
Preheat oven to 400 F.
TIP: This recipe completely fills a full-size (10″ across, minimum of 3″ deep) spring-form pan. Do not use anything smaller. If necessary, divide between smaller pans (but reduce cooking time).
PREPARE FUDGE LAYER
Melt butter for fudge layer in a nonstick pan. Add cocoa powder, SF syrup, and Fiberfit. Cook and stir over medium heat until very smooth.
After it simmers for a couple minutes, it will begin to separate and may even look oily. At that point, remove it from the heat, then stir in the heavy cream until once again smooth.
Pour into prepared crust and tilt pan as needed to even out the layer.
Return pan to freezer.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed until completely smooth.
Add peanut butter. Scrape beaters and sides of pan as needed to remove ALL lumps before proceeding.
Add eggs, one at a time, on slow power, then add syrup last.
Pour batter slowly and evenly over chocolate in crust, and smooth top gently. Sprinkle reserved chopped nuts evenly over top.
Place pan in preheated oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 F. Bake for 50 minutes, then cool to room temperature on a rack.
Place in refrigerator and remove pan sides only when thoroughly cooled and ready to serve.
TIP: To minimize surface cracks and improve texture, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter as much and for as long as you want, but once you start adding the eggs, reduce speed and beat only as long as needed to mix well.
12 servings, each: 576 calories; 52.5g total fat (25g saturated); 12g carbohydrates (5g fiber; 0.8g sugar) 20g protein
So, I am thinking ahead to Superbowl Sunday and my Ground Hog’s Day birthday that follows it the next day. I have a hankering for the fruit salad my Mom used to serve at Thanksgiving, which only I seem to recall and which I can’t find a recipe for. I ran across the following recipe today, and made some notes to convert it. Do you have a better idea for the marshmallows?
(My planned changes shown in italics)
3 cans mandarin oranges – OK, SF variety
2 bags mini marshmallows – NO WAY. Change to 4 containers SF Kozy Shack tapioca pudding?? Better ideas out there?
1/2 medium container sour cream – 8 oz
1 jar un-stemmed maraschino cherries – 1 cup each, fresh regular cherries and grapes
1 small can crushed pineapple – OK, No Sugar Added
2 containers cool whip – Swap for 1 quart whipping cream, whipped stiff with 3 Tb. Fiberfit and 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 bag coconut (optional) – 1-1/2 cups unsweetened ………………………………….. – ADD 2 cups AllBran – I know I remember this being in Mom’s 70’s salad!
A slightly lighter, fruity version of the Chocolate Dream Cake with the same low-carb, no-added-sugar, no-grain, no-gluten, high-fiber goodness. This is one “diet food” that your body and even your doctor may thank you for eating.
• 16 oz. unsalted blanched almonds, ground fine (4 cups almond “flour” aka almond meal – unblanched OK but will affect appearance)
• 3 Tb. powdered dry milk (full fat preferred and analyzed)
• 1/2 cup unflavored whey protein powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda – Reduce to 3/4 tsp. at altitudes over 7000′
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 6 Tb. softened butter
• 8 oz. softened cream cheese
• 6 large eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 4 Tb. FIBERFIT
• 1/2 cup very warm water (optional – omit for a pound cake texture, or include for a lighter more traditional cake texture)
Grease a tube-style pan well, dust the sides with some of the almond flour, and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Process the raspberries: Push them against a wire mesh to remove seeds and liquefy. Set resulting sauce aside (process in two separate batches if needed.)
Blend ground almonds with whey powder, dry milk, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and cream cheese well, scraping sides of bowl and beaters as needed. Add eggs slowly, one at a time, and incorporate each one well before adding the next. (Continue to scrape sides as needed.) Add vanilla extract and Fiberfit. Add dry ingredients slowly, and beat until well incorporated, but do not over-mix. Stir in the warm water last, if using.
Spoon about half of the batter out evenly in the prepared pan. Set the rest aside. Cream filling ingredients together in a separate bowl. Spoon the filling out carefully in a circle over the batter already in the pan to form the tunnel, and then use the remaining batter to cover the filling; smooth top gently.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan briefly, as needed; un-mold. Excellent either warm or cold! (Store refrigerated.)
Serves: 16 – Net Carbs per serving: 5.3
370 calories; 31.0g total fat (11 g saturated); 12.6g carbohydrates 7.3g fiber; 2.3g sugar); 13g protein
I created this to celebrate my birthday way back in 2006, and it quickly became a family favorite. This recipe also works as muffins or quick bread, and is delicious with or without frosting. Just5.4 net carbs per slice!
1 cup oil (I like grapeseed – it’s healthier than many liquid oils, more economical/easier to use than coconut, and tastes better in desserts than olive oil.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
In large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, sweetener, oil, molasses and vanilla to the well. *If using a powdered sweetener, add it to the dry ingredients instead.
Beat by hand, starting with wet ingredients in center and gradually incorporating dry ingredients from outer edges, until batter is smooth. Do not over-mix. Blend in the grated carrots and pecans last.
Scrape batter out into a well-greased tube pan. Bake in 325 F oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until it tests done.
Cool cake on a rack in pan for 20-30 minutes or as long as manufacturer suggests. Remove cake from pan and cool completely before frosting.
1 tsp. vanilla extract (you can substitute other flavors or even lemon juice to taste)
Blend softened cream cheese with sweetener and vanilla. Whip cream until thickened. Fold thickened cream into cream cheese mixture. Do your best to save enough of it to actually frost the cake!
SERVES: 12 – PER SERVING:5.4 net carbs – 534 calories; 51.9g total fat (just 13g saturated); 10.8g carb (5.3g fiber; 2.5g sugar) 10.5g protein.
IF YOU OMIT THE FROSTING, per serving: 4.3 net carbs – 398 calories; 38.3g total fat (just 4.5g saturated); 9.2g carb (4.8g fiber; 2.4g sugar) 8.1g protein
* Fiberfit has just 1 (beneficial fiber) carb per teaspoon with zero sugar. Using granular Splenda instead of Fiberfit adds FIFTY FOUR carbs to this total recipe – that is an additional 4.5 carbs PER SERVING! ORDER FIBERFIT TODAY
This recipe comes from my first labor of love, COOKING TLC: Truly Low Carb Cooking, Volume 1, ISBN 0971492913, Copyright 2000.
Popular for years before I ever heard of them, these are hardly original, but I consider them a MUST in every low carber’s repertoire. There are lots of ways to prepare these, but a skillet works for me every time, something I can’t say for the microwave method.
1/3 cup semi-hard to hard sliced or finely shredded cheese, such as Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, etc. Don’t try to use very soft cheeses such as Feta, Mozzarella, Brie, etc.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Sprinkle cheese in a thin layer over the bottom of the entire pan. Okay, are you ready? Here’s the biggest secret: Leave it alone for several minutes! I mean it, don’t even TOUCH it until you see the following – unless the pan is too high and it is burning. First it will bubble up all over, then it will start to look almost lacey (with lots of holes in it); finally you will see clear grease start to run off. When it is lightly golden brown, start carefully teasing up the edges until you can eventually pick it up and turn it over. I just use a fork and take care not to scratch my pans.
The second side will cook very quickly in comparison to the first. When it is golden on the bottom side, remove it and drain any excess grease. Shape it into forms or cut into shapes before it cools too much. To form a bowl, simply lay over an overturned bowl and gently push the sides down to shape them. Don’t burn yourself!
Per each, made with Mild Cheddar: 120 calories, 10 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 1 gram carbohydrate, 7 grams protein
Mmmmm …………. CHEESE CRISPS! (always said by me in the exact same dreamy, drooly tone Homer uses for donuts.)
You really can easily form a warm cheese crisp into almost any desired shape.
Cheese crisps make terrific wraps, taco shells, salad bowls, chips for dipping, the list goes on and on!
This one is chicken salad with fresh cut garden red lettuce and cherry tomatoes added.
Oh, yeah – a CC BLT! Mmmmmm. DO NOT feed one of these to your non-low-carbing friends or they’ll never leave you alone (to eat) again. Just let them go on thinking you’re a poor, deprived dieter… WE ALL KNOW BETTER! 🙂
TRY A CHEESE CRISP PIZZA! Just add pizza spice and toppings.
While making a cheesecake yesterday, I realized I had no sour cream and would have to improvise a little from my “usual”.
I also had 2 cups of leftover homemade cranberry sauce on hand that I needed to use up, and then I spied Orange Crush water flavoring sitting there near the sink, and realized it had enough food coloring in it to do “double duty”.
I revised my classic Volume 1 recipe just a bit, ending up with this three layer seasonal treat. You could do this with any cheesecake recipe of course, and vary the flavors in infinite ways. Just spoon the “jelly” layer out carefully, as well as the top layer.
I’ll be back to post the finished product pic after I cut into this later today. What do you think? Will you try this technique soon?
I have six large, slightly over-ripe peaches on my counter, and most of a half-gallon of heavy cream in the fridge begging to be made into whipped deliciousness (Costco…. about the same price for a half-gallon there as it is for a quart at the regular grocery store, so I end up over buying all the time!). What to do? Easy! PEACH CRISP…. yum!!!
Best of all, my recipe has:
No Added Sugar!
This is a variation on a mock apple crisp – that one, made with zucchini, has under 5 net carbs per serving (1/12th of a springform pan). This one has under 8 – 208 calories; 16.2g total fat; 11.2g carbohydrates (3.3g fiber; 5.4g sugar); 6.9g protein.
What’s the most useful low-carb book you’ve ever read? For me, it is one that I read and reviewed way back in 2000. While I must give credit to Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution for getting me started, it was Life Without Bread that convinced me this was the lifestyle I must embrace and stick to if I wished to be healthy, and it is that conviction that still drives me today. This may be an old book, but it is one worth reading, even today.
Here is a flashback to my review from the Truly Low Carb Newsletter, Summer 2000.
Life Without Bread: How A Low Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life by Christian B Allan, Ph.D. and Wolfgang Lutz, M.D.
This book absolutely floored me. I wish I had read it sooner – and I wish I could force feed its contents to every anti-low carb naysayer I’ve ever met! 😛
I don’t necessarily consider this book to be a “weight loss” book per se, as there is just one chapter in it regarding weight loss. What this book mostly is, is a ringing endorsement of low-carb eating which is backed up by more than 4 decades of clinical experience on more than 10,000 of Dr. Lutz’ own patients in Austria and Germany, as well as a larger and more impressive compilation of clinical study results than any other I have found. The authors explain the biological processes of normal cells, bacteria, viruses, enzymes, hormones, and cancer cells very well, and they draw a clear and detailed picture of the connection between our typical high carb Western diet, and the many modern diseases of man, particularly, but certainly not limited to, cancer.
Originally published some years ago in German, I am very happy that this groundbreaking compilation of research has been updated and made available in English. I bought a new set of highlighters and a set of those little marking flags specifically for this one book, because I know that I will be quoting from it for the rest of my life.
Life Without Bread does not simply regurgitate or reword the low-carb principles which Dr. Atkins made popular. It draws its own conclusions, and in a very powerful and convincing way. When the authors are presenting evidence, they make that clear. And when they are at all venturing away from the evidence and into the realm of speculation, they make that very clear, too.
This book says a few surprising things – like the fact that saturated fat is actually very good for you! That your heart cannot even beat without it. And that high cholesterol levels in the blood have never been proven to correlate with death rates. To the contrary, they say most patients who die of severe heart disease have relatively normal cholesterol levels… Would you be as shocked as I was to learn that a coroner’s study from 1990 found that in deceased people with the most severe heart disease, the average cholesterol level was just 186! Guidelines for blood cholesterol levels were established based on the same faulty reasoning that led to the current food pyramid. I now view both sets of guidelines with the same level of contempt.
The authors of Life Without Bread tell us that higher levels of LDL cholesterol are NOT unhealthy – high homocysteine levels in the blood are what make LDL protein adhere to arterial walls and become unhealthy. And that high homocysteine levels occur because of a deficiency in three vitamins: B6, B12, and folic acid, all of which can be found in abundant quantity in … Drum roll, please … saturated fat, animal foods, and leafy veggies – the backbone of low carb eating.
Their plan for staying healthy for life is summed up in just two sentences, which I will quote directly: “Restrict all carbohydrates to 72 utilizable grams per day. Eat as much of any other foods as you wish.”
They do say in the chapter on weight loss that further carb restriction may be necessary to achieve weight loss, and that some people, particularly women, simply cannot lose weight on a low carb diet, for as yet unknown reasons, but they are adamant about the universal need for such a diet and they talk a lot about which is more important, aesthetic beauty, or good health.
They say that they have brought hundreds of low-carb babies into this world and that pregnant women who stay at the 72 grams of carbs per day level bear children that are much healthier and that keeping those children at the same carb level should ensure that they never need to worry about excess weight gain.
Life Without Bread is very thought provoking, and I encourage everyone to read it.
Used copies are available on Amazon now for less than $3, and new paperbacks are available with Prime shipping for around $15. Half.com is another good place to find older books for a steal. Happy Reading!
If you don’t know about hidden carbs and want to make the most of your low-carb lifestyle, you really MUST learn how to find and avoid common hidden carbs in the foods you thought were “free” . (Not much in this life is *really* free – is it?) I compiled this list originally way back in the year 2000 and still find it useful.
Sometimes a label states 0 carbs per serving when there are actually quite a few carbs in a “real” size serving of the food! As a dedicated low carb eater, make it your business to KNOW whether a label is correct as written, or not. You won’t believe how often the answer is NOT.
Heavy Whipping Cream per the Manufacturer’s Label:
Serving = 1 Tablespoon
6 grams of fat
0 grams of protein
0 gram of carbohydrate
Now, Fat is 9 calories per gram, protein is 4 calories per gram and carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram. Therefore your numbers would look like this:
6 x 9 = 54 calories
0 x 4 = 0 calories
0 x 4 = 0 calories
Total: 54 calories
As you can see, there are 6 calories unaccounted for. It’s unknown what they are from, but it’s a good chance those extra calories are from hidden carbs. Therefore the carb count could be up to 1.5 instead of 0. It can really add up when you eat 1 cup of this stuff in a recipe! Actual carb count for 1 cup heavy whipping cream at 38% butterfat is 6.6 carbs, or .41 per Tb. Because it is less than .5 carbs per serving, the manufacturers are allowed to round it down to 0 when it is obviously NOT 0.
So, for ANYTHING that says it has 0 carbs, check the calories and add up the fat and protein. If there are calories left over and there is sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose or any other ose (except for sucralose or cellulose gum) in the ingredients, it is in all likelihood a hidden carb. It is safest to assume that it is a carb, anyway, if you are resistant to loss and must be scrupulous about your every carb, as I must be.
*** THE SUGAR ALCOHOL EXCEPTION – Sugar alcohols are not counted like other carbohydrates. The individual manufacturer’s are permitted under current FDA rulings to determine nutritional information for these sweeteners. Most do NOT have 4 calories per gram, some have only 2. Most low carb diet plans permit you to subtract these carbs from your daily count and manufacturers used to routinely omit them from the labels (that is changing now, thanks to the new label guidelines). A word of warning: In my experience, sugar alcohol carbs seem to cause people the most problems with stalls and gaining – I suggest you use these products with caution during active weight loss and omit them entirely during induction. They are a great occasional treat, and used in moderation, can make maintenance a real pleasure. But they play havoc with the formula above and they can play havoc with weight loss as well!
Some Common Hidden Carbs:
Eggs: 0.6 grams per egg
Spices: for example, onion and garlic powders = 2 carbs PER TEASPOON, according to Lifeform. Label states one serving = .5 tsp, for 0 carbs. According to the USDA, garlic powder has 2.036 carbs per tsp less .277 gms. fiber and onion powder has 1.694 carbs per tsp. less .12 gms. fiber. (Lifeform rounds things off, too, and so counts both of these at 2 carbs.)
Artificial sweeteners: Packets say zero, but they are actually 0.9 grams (almost 1 *each*). This applies to Splenda too, which has 24 carbs per cup of the granular. For a truly net-carb-free sweetener, try my secret weapon,Fiberfit.
Mayonnaise: go for the one that lists sugar as far down the list of ingredients as possible. Better yet, make your own – it’s surprisingly easy.
Flavorings/Extracts: your guess is as good as mine as far as these go since they report them all as zero, but many of them are mostly alcohol, so beware if you use a lot and are stalled.
Coffee: 0.8 grams per 6 ounce cup. Note that an average coffee mug HOLDS 9-12 oz. and I personally thrive with caffeine.
Crystal Light, SF Kool-Aid and SF Tang (dry mixes): 5 calories per 8 ounces equals 1.25 grams of carbohydrates (the label says zero!). 2 quarts = 10 grams! *Pre-mixed Crystal Light is made with acefulsame-K and sucralose, and as far as I know, there are no hidden carbs in it. However, the citric acid may be of concern for other reasons (see above).
Serving shrimp taco filling in a cheese crisp means I can make it gluten-free and induction friendly, but if you prefer fewer calories and can tolerate more carbs, or grains, you could always use some sort of wrap or a real taco shell instead. This was dinner on Monday – it took just 30 minutes to prepare and cook, and it was DELICIOUS. Not just because hubby and I went to the grocery store together on our motorcycles to buy the shrimp, either… but that very well may have improved my mood and creativity and thus the final results.
Serves 2 decadently. No more than 30 minutes prep/cook time, total
1 fresh lime – juice and zest – about 2- 3 Tb. juice, and scant 1 Tb. zest
3 Tb. sour cream
equivalent of 1/2 tsp. sugar (I used 3 drops fiberfit)
salt and black pepper
1-1/2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped (mostly just well-bruised) fresh cilantro leaf
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 pound pre-cooked shrimp
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice and zest with the sour cream, sweetener, and 1/2 teaspoon salt plus 1/4 – 1 teaspoon black pepper, depending on your taste.
Add the cabbage, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño, and toss to combine. Chop the shrimp roughly and toss in a hot skillet just until warm. Add to the slaw mixture and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Prepare two individual cheese crisps, form into taco shapes, and divide the shrimp mixture between the two crisps, or simply roll them into soft taco shapes for less mess while eating.
PER SERVING – 7.2 net carbs with 573 calories: 38g total fat (23.6g saturated, 10.6g monosaturated); 9.6g carbohydrates (2.4g fiber; 3.1g sugar); 48.8g protein
In case you’d like to prepare this with a different sort of wrap: FILLING ONLY, per serving: 5.8g net carbs with 173 calories: 5.1g fat; 7.7g carbohydrates (1.9g fiber; 2.4g sugar); 24.2g protein
I am always making seasoning blends, not just for cooking, but also for table use.
This is my current favorite. I’d estimate it at 4-5 parts black pepper and 1 part each of the others.
For a lemon pepper blend, I sub out the jalapeno powder with dried lemon peel and True Lemon powder. Sometimes I add dill when serving fish. I use this basic blend with more onion, plus garlic at the same rate as the pepper when making a meat rub…. do have favorite mixes or do you rely more on store-bought mixes?
This is a great low-carb, gluten-free substitute for an old favorite and it has become a frequent side dish at my house. If you only knew how many people have said to me “If you had told me there was tofu in it, I would not have even tasted it – but I LOVE IT!” Many people who don’t like tofu OR cauliflower like both in this dish – so do at least give it a try, as written.
From Truly Low Carb Cooking Volume I
Mockaroni and Cheese
16 ounces firm tofu
1 head of cauliflower, about 3 cups
4 cups of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup crushed pork rinds (You may substitute bacon bits or turkey bacon bits. or just omit this.)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Grease one large or two small casserole dishes, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Press and drain any excess water from the tofu in a paper-towel lined colander. Chop drained tofu and scatter in the casserole dish. Top with cooked bite size pieces of cauliflower, and grated cheese.
Beat eggs and cream with seasonings and pour over contents of casserole dish.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and crushed pork rind crumbs over the top.
Bake 45-60 minutes, until top is well browned. If necessary or desired, place under broiler briefly to crisp top.
This is easy, fast to prepare, and decadently delicious. Does this LOOK like “diet food”, I ask you?! Of course not! Chilies are in season right NOW. If you’re lucky, you can find a vendor who will not only roast them, but peel and vacuum seal them as well. Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmm. Give this one a try!
Easy Cheesey Chili Rellano Bake
27 oz. canned green chilies, seeds removed, flattened
1 pound pork sausage, cooked, cooled and crumbled (substitute any leftovers on hand, or use beef, chicken, whatever!)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub some of the sausage grease over the inside of a square 9×9 baking pan. Use half of the chilies to line the bottom of the pan. Scatter the cooked sausage over the chilies. Add 1-1/2 cups of the shredded cheese. Layer the rest of the green chilies in an even layer over that. Beat eggs lightly with cream (use any kind, but heavy is delicious) and pour over contents of pan. Scatter remaining cheese over all. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until most of the liquid is set. Cool in pan for five minutes for easier serving.
5.5 net carbs per serving: 377 calories; 30g fat; 8.4g carb (2.9g fiber; 0.3g sugar); 18.1g protein.
This relish is GOOD, full of flavor but has almost no heat, despite the fact that these peppers are plenty hot both when raw and after pickling. I am a WIMP when it comes to real spice, but I can pile this stuff on burgers, eggs, etc., and while chewing I get a nice taste of jalapeno, (no sweat or heat above black pepper level, I swear!), then after swallowing I get the loveliest burst of lemon.
Three weeks later, it looks like my 30 day fridge life estimate will hold. The quart may even last long enough to prove or disprove the theory for sure, hard to say at this point, but I told the boys “Hands Off!”…. so maybe! 🙂 I’m sure that’s the only reason there is any left at all.
I pickle hot jalapeno peppers regularly for my “boys” but wanted something a little mellower for me. I also didn’t want to have to seed and dice the peppers each time I wanted to use them, so I created this, and ended up with exactly one quart of deliciousness.
1/3 – 1/2 cup oil
12 jumbo jalapenos (or 18 average, 24 small) – seeded and coarsely chopped in 1/2″ pieces
1 large onion, also 1/2″ dice
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cumin
zest from 4 lemons – larger pieces are better
3 Tb white vinegar
few drops Fiberfit or sweetener equivalent to 1 Tb. sugar
Cook the peppers in the oil, spices, and zest over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until well softened but NOT BROWNED or limp.
Remove from heat, and stir in the vinegar, the juices from all 4 lemons, and your preferred smidgen of sweetener. You can skip this, but it helps accentuate the lemon flavor without making it taste in any way “sweet”.
Cover when cool, and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
Made exactly a quart – “love it when a plan comes together!”
COPYRIGHT 2012, LearnLowCarb.com, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature’s Answer to Drugs
by Robert C. Atkins, M.D.
With a title like this, I can’t believe it took me this long to read this book! I really wish I had bought it sooner. And I wish I’d had more time to study it before actually writing this review, because it’s almost 400 pages long and it is just plain jam-packed with useful information.
This isn’t a diet book at all. It is definitely not just another repackaging of Dr. A’s rightly-famous New Diet Revolution – what it actually is, is a complete handbook for obtaining or regaining optimum health through the application of “complementary medicine”.
In the good doctor’s own words…
“I’ve always felt that doctors today should be congratulated for the illnesses they prevent, rather than the ones they cure. The beauty of complementary medicine is that it focuses equally on preventing and curing disease. It works, in essence, by capitalizing on our bodies’ own in-house pharmacy, which is designed to replenish what is depleted and create what is missing. Using vita-nutrients in the proper dosages will bolster our bodies’ pharmacy by helping to obtain optimum results without uncomfortable and unnecessary side effects….
…. in the past two decades, however, we’ve discovered a host of nonessential (by the official definition) nourishing substances that play roles in the body so vital that, for all intents and purposes, we would all suffer without them. They are the nutritional equivalents of the automobile or electricity. We would not die without them, but without them, we cannot regain good health once it is lost. These vita-nutrients are, for the proficient user, indeed the tools of healing….
… Drugs, by their inherent nature, can play no role in health care – only in sickness care….
…I would match a vita-nutrient solution against a combination of pharmaceuticals any day. Take the need to fight water retention, something many women would like to do every month and, more seriously, a major goal when treating high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. My treatment of choice would be taurine, an amino acid that promotes fluid excretion by restoring a natural balance between potassium and sodium, the minerals that govern how much fluid our tissues retain. As a bonus, it contributes to maintaining a regular heart rhythm, and the heart’s ability to contract, among many other physiological functions. In its required therapeutic dosage, taurine has absolutely no undesirable side effects.
By contrast, mainstream medicine’s treatment of choice for fluid retention is the diuretic, a drug that also encourages excretion –not by allowing our cells to function more healthfully, but by impairing the kidneys’ ability to reabsorb and hold onto vitally necessary minerals. In the process, diuretics elevate blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides; disrupt heart rhythm; increase uric acid levels; and drain the body of trace minerals and other nutrients. All things considered, which treatment would you prefer?
To give another example, heart disease, our nation’s number one killer, arises in large part from artherosclerosis, the condition that results when our bodies deposit plaque within the walls of our vital arteries. Conventional medicine identified cholesterol as the enemy and has been waging a public health campaign to reduce the national cholesterol count by all means possible, including the widespread dispensation of cholesterol-lowering drugs. These medications may reduce the proportion of fats in the bloodstream, but should we accept a victory at any price? Drug treatments have proved successful only two times out of eighty trials. Most of these studies have shown that more people die sooner from causes other than heart disease if they take these medications than if they aren’t treated at all.”
The bold emphasis in the above paragraph is mine. I will continue to try to spread the word that “statin” drugs kill more people than they help, for as long as I live. I believe that *I* would have eventually become just another one of these sad statistics if I had not taken myself off Lipitor and low-fat eating myself, instead of simply adding another killer drug to my already miserable low-fat plus Lipitor regimen, as my then-doctor wished. Thank Goodness I ultimately found and embraced Dr. Atkins’ low carb eating plan instead. I want nothing more in this life than to help spread the important message that most health problems can be cured, or at least improved, through something as simple as what you eat and don’t eat, plus a good supplement regimen. (Thanks for indulging my hop up onto the proverbial soapbox – back to the review at hand, now…)
I marked lots of other passages in the book that I considered sharing here, but I feel that doing so might prove to be a disservice to both the author and you, my reader. There is a reason this book is 400 pages long, and taking bits and pieces of it out of context could cause someone to miss a crucial piece of the puzzle, so I am going to resist the urge to tell you (exactly) why and how the doctor thinks folic acid could single-handedly “stop 10 percent of all heart attacks … and prevent some 75 percent of a common, crippling birth defect.” Or why and which one of the B vitamins is referred to as “Nature’s Sleeping Pills”. Or which form of difficult to obtain (in this country) injectable calcium can really help people with MS. He says it can allow “for real neurological improvements. And it doesn’t just work for a handful of people; it works for a majority.” Neither will I give here the dosages and type of niacin that he recommends for safely and comfortably lowering cholesterol, for the same reasons. If you have any specific health condition you wish to treat, please spend less than $11 for this book and do a thorough research job before embarking on a new supplement regimen.
I am going to excerpt just a little more of the book, from the section on dietary fiber, mostly because lots of low carb dieters are confused about this issue (and, because no one can possibly hurt themselves with this information).
“For decades, I have been urging my patients to restrict carbohydrates (if they are overweight) and to consume more fiber. For many of them, this poses a dilemma and requires a personalized strategy. They need fiber sources that contain small to moderate amounts of carbohydrates, so I recommend green, leafy vegetables, freshly ground flaxmeal, nuts, and seeds. For people who need not restrict carbohydrates whole grains, fruits, and legumes are excellent sources. Just don’t think the benefits of fiber mean that you can eat all the whole-grain, high carbohydrate foods that you want. Even though they are far better for you than refined grains like white flours and pastas, many people are stuck with the fact that too many carbohydrates will make them fat. For those of you facing this dilemma, my strategy for solving it is this: The best way to increase your fiber intake is to use fiber supplements.
Getting fiber in supplement form means that you can avoid the increased intake of carbohydrates and still get all of the nutrient’s benefits. Wheat bran, oat bran, guar gum, apple pectin, and all of the pure fiber supplements contain very little digestible carbohydrates and therefore do not count as calories or toward your total carbohydrate intake.”
Again, the bold emphasis above is mine. This passage begs the question as to what “exactly” he means. One cup of raw oat bran has 62.24 grams of carbohydrate according to the USDA, and only 14.48 grams of dietary fiber. It would be tempting to say, okay, Dr. A said this is a free food, so in all my recipe counts from here on out, I’ll just count it as zero…. but I won’t, of course. I think that would be irresponsible. Now that I am on maintenance and I have this information, however, I will not be quite so sparing with oat bran in future recipes intended for my own consumption.
“Fiber comes in two basic forms: soluble (meaning it dissolves in water) and insoluble (it doesn’t). Foods high in soluble fiber include oats and oat bran, barley, psyllium husks, flaxmeal, beans, peas, carrots, citrus fruits, and apples. This form has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and stabilize blood sugar by slowing the digestion of sugar from the intestinal tract. This makes soluble fiber useful for diabetics, especially since it has been shown to help lower insulin and triglyceride levels. Soluble fiber also has the advantage of being free of the phytates, found in insoluble fibers, which tend to block mineral absorption.
Insoluble fiber is found in such foods as wheat bran, corn bran, celery, and the skins of fruits and root vegetables. its impressive list of benefits include reducing the risk of intestinal cancers, helping prevent constipation and diverticulitis, absorbing toxins from food, and reducing the production of bacterial toxins in the GI tract. Ideally one should balance both soluble and insoluble fiber to get the different benefits they confer.”
This book is literally a treasure trove of information. It goes from A to Z covering all the vitamins, nutrients, minerals, enzymes, and even herbs! Their function, treatment, dosage, levels of potential toxicity and whether it is okay to take them without medical supervision, or not. Whether they interact with other things, when to take them, in what combinations, what to look out for when taking them, etc. I learned a lot in my first go-through, and I know I am going to be referring to this book for years to come. I strongly urge everyone to go through this book once themselves, and anyone with a specific health concern should run, not walk, to the library or bookstore (better yet, just click here) and grab their own copy.
Bravo, once again, Dr. Atkins!
From the bottom of my heart, and I am sure I speak for millions of others, a resounding “thank you for changing my world for the better, through your unending dedication, brilliance, and hard work.”
Delicious, fast, and low-carb, my Buffalo Bites can be made with chicken, pork, beef, tofu, even fish! They are a family favorite, and induction friendly.
Makes 4 servings – each: 246 calories, 15 g fat (6 g sat), 0 g carb, 24 g protein
2 tsp. oil
1 lb. boneless chicken pieces
1/2 cup Frank’s Redhot™ or similar wing sauce
3 Tb. butter
Heat a nonstick pan with oil over medium-high heat. Chop meat into bite-size pieces (you can use any meat you desire, even fish or tofu.) Cook and stir until almost done, and crispy. Add butter to pan, followed by hot sauce. Reduce heat and continue to cook and stir until sauce has reduce
As originally Posted in the Free newsletter 02-28-2002. An edited and slightly shorter version appears in Volume 2.
“Yogurt? you say…. What’s this about yogurt? I thought we couldn’t eat yogurt anymore!”
So began my quest, a year or more ago…. some people on an internet message board where I participated were talking about a “yogurt exception”.
Eventually I found myself reading “GO-Diet” by Jack Goldberg, Ph.D. and Karen O’Mara, D.O., where I found credible, scientific testimony detailing the discrepancy between the carbs listed on the label for plain yogurt and its actual carb count… Here is some of what the authors have to say about fermented milk products:
“There has been a lot of press in the recent years about yeast overgrowth and its effects on your health and well being. There is some reason to believe that high carbohydrate diets and the overuse of some drugs, like antibiotics, may promote abnormal yeast overgrowth in and on the body. One natural way to combat this problem is to use an ancient remedy that is natural and well tolerated by anyone. This remedy is to restore healthy bacteria to your body in the form of cultured milk products such as kefir, yogurt, and buttermilk.”
“Recent research has also shown that among its many good qualities, these bacteria also stimulate the body to produce important immune response chemicals called “cytokines”. These molecules include interferons and tumor necrosis factor and therefore might improve our resistance to disease. They also form a great deal of bulk for well-formed, non-constipating stools. Even lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate kefir, yogurt, and buttermilk. That is because the lactose in the milk used to make these products has been digested by the “good” lactobacillus. For example, the actual lactose left in the kefir made by a national manufacturer is 1% or less. IN THIS CASE ONLY,,,, AND WITH THESE FOODS ONLY, don’t count the carbohydrate on the package labels”.
The next paragraphs go on to explain why they are so sure that the actual carb content of (plain, unsweetened) yogurt, buttermilk, and kefir is just 4 carbs per cup, which is also the amount that they recommend that you try to consume daily. (They actually performed their own tests under laboratory conditions to confirm these effective carb counts.)
Armed with this persuasive data, I set out in search of some plain yogurt with which to enliven my breakfasts, but found only non-fat unsweetened yogurt in any of my local stores. I have never liked non-fat yogurt and adding DaVinci syrup to this stuff only resulted in a seriously runny cup of still-too-sour goop. Ack! So much for that bright idea.
Then a few weeks later at the local thrift store, I came across this treasure – for just FOUR BUCKS, whoo hooo!! I had never made yogurt before, but the instructions were there, and they looked simple enough. This, I knew, was the only way I would ever obtain the kind of yogurt that I might want to actually eat, so I snatched it up – and as it turns out, it was the best four dollars I’ve spent in a long, long time…
Since that time I have “upgraded” my yogurt maker (I am the “Gadget Queen”, remember, after all! and I had this upcoming article as an excuse too) but I also practiced and experimented until I could make yogurt without using any kind of “maker” at all, and I’m here to tell you “guess what – it’s really not all that hard!”
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, riboflavin (B2) and protein. Thanks to its naturally acidic nature, it can help baked goods to rise – used in place of some or all of the specified liquid in cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc., you can actually reduce the amount of baking powder you need. If you find some of the low carb homemade ice cream recipes a tad on the heavy side (sometimes they leave an actual coating on the roof of your mouth ), try using yogurt for half the cream called for, the next time. Homemade yogurt “cheese” (strain it in a fine sieve/coffee filter placed over a catch bowl for a day to remove the whey, and you’ll be left with yogurt cheese) makes an excellent substitution for cream cheese in recipes. Yogurt is a delicious addition to protein shakes (more like smoothies then) and egg dishes, it’s great by the spoonful once you add some Splenda, and some fruit and/or extracts as flavoring, or you can add sugar free syrups (tends to thin it down, adding some protein powder, pectin, or gelatin can help to mitigate that). I like to add small amounts of Uncle Sam™ or Kashi Go Lean™ whole grain cereals too. Yogurt is also a great medium for ground flax seeds, nuts, coconut, etc…. get creative! Freeze doctored up yogurt in Popsicle molds for a cool and tasty treat on a hot afternoon…. make luscious cucumber dips, creamy dressings… you get the picture!
I found lots of different methods for making yogurt when I started researching this article, and quite a bit of conflicting information, but one thing that everyone seemed to agree on was this: the first step is to heat whatever milk mixture you decide to use, to the boiling point. Heating the milk to boiling kills any undesirable bacteria that might be present, which is always a good thing, even in this age of ultra pasteurized store-bought products, because hey, you just never know who’s going to screw up on any given day – and safe always beats sorry. Scalding temperatures also change the properties of the milk proteins in such a way that the yogurt attains a denser, firmer texture than it could otherwise. This heating process also helps the whey to not separate easily from the finished product, giving your yogurt a longer shelf life in your refrigerator. I have kept both yogurt and yogurt cheese in my refrigerator for weeks without any apparent sign of spoilage (but it only lasted that long because of this experiment and this article – I eventually got paranoid and threw it out because it looked totally fine still, but I KNEW just how old it really was and knew I didn’t want anyone to accidentally eat it at that point….)
After heating the milk to boiling, it should be allowed to cool until it reaches the optimum incubation temperature of 110 F (43.3 C), at which time you add yogurt “starter” consisting of live bacteria, usually Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Yogurt starter can be purchased as dry granules (check health food stores) or you can just use plain yogurt from the grocery store, any kind that isn’t sweetened or flavored and also says “contains live cultures” (plain Yoplait™ or Dannon™ both work well.) You can use your own yogurt from a preceding batch as starter, once you get this process going, but bacteria do become less active with age, so the older the yogurt is that you use for starter, the more of it you will need to use. It’s never a problem to add more, since you can’t add too much, so I am always generous with the amount when using homemade yogurt as my starter.
You’ll need a good thermometer to make good yogurt, since adding the starter at the proper temperature is crucial to your success. Ignore any instructions you find that are at all vague in this area – this is the step that will “make or break” your yogurt!! Temperatures above 115 degrees F (46.1 C) cause separation and curdling and can destroy the active yogurt culture, while temperatures below 100 degrees F (37.8 C) stop their growth. The longer yogurt is allowed to incubate, the tangier – but also thicker – it will become. It takes at least 4 hours for a good “set”, but I like mine best after ten to fourteen hours of incubation.
You can incubate yogurt in a commercial yogurt maker like the Salton shown and mentioned previously, or this Donvier model that I use now, shown below, or any of the other many types out there. Using one of these machines makes the whole process completely foolproof and worry-free. Anyone can make yogurt in one of these machines, really!
Now, if you have any issues with an impaired immune system or you could be pregnant, then you won’t want to take any chances, and you should only use a controlled system. But… if you don’t have any issues like that, you can employ a number of different methods for the actual incubation, ranging from an old heating pad lined with towels to a styrofoam cooler filled with packing peanuts to an electric fry-pan filled with warm water to a sunny windowsill to an oven with a lit pilot light to …. a good ole’ fashioned Stanley thermos, which is what I recommend.
Don’t use a plastic or otherwise cheap thermos – you really need a good metal or glass thermos that holds heat for a long time. Trust me on this, I know – because I tried this with two different thermoses that I already owned, and it didn’t work with either of them, even with preheating. I eventually pitched both of those (what a waste of cupboard space!), and bought a metal, 1 qt. Stanley thermos from the camping section at Wal-Mart ($22) and that particular thermos works great for this process.
Fill a wide-mouth thermos with BOILING water, screw on the lid, and allow it to preheat while your scalded milk mixture is cooling down to 110 F. Once the scalded milk has cooled to 110 F, stir in the starter. Dump out the water from the thermos, put the milk/starter mix in the thermos, screw on the lid, and leave it alone for 4 hours and 30 minutes. Don’t open or check or even MOVE it meanwhile, because you don’t want to reduce the temperature too much, and too much jostling can actually disturb the bacterial action and affect the final product. After 4-1/2 hours, open it up and you should have yogurt.
Take it out, put it in something else (single serving sized plastic dishes are great for this) stick it in the fridge, then once it’s chilled, enjoy it! If you find it’s not thick enough for you with this short of an incubation period, which was the case with me, you can dissolve 1 tsp. plain gelatin or 1 Tb. of fruit pectin in the milk while scalding it. (The thermos will only hold the yogurt at an incubation temperature for a few hours, after which the thickening action is also halted no matter how long you leave it out, so this is the only way I could think of to make yogurt as thick with the thermos method as with my machine. You can also use this method to make yogurt which is incubated in a machine thicker than it would be otherwise, as well.)
To use any of the incubators, just do this: (if you find one used and cheap, without directions, don’t hesitate to BUY IT, because they all work the same way.)
scald the milk mixture you’ve decide to use (the quantity will depend on the size of your machine, and the recipe is up to you – more on that in a moment)
cool it down to precisely 110 Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius)
skim off or stir in the skin that will have formed while it cooled
add starter medium of your choice
place it in the machine in containers, and close covers (hint – if needed, you can use baby food, canning or condiment jars in place of the jars that come standard with most incubators, whatever fits.)
turn on the machine and “let it rip” for the desired number of hours (I like ten. I start a batch, go to bed, then when I get up the next day, it’s ready. Easy! Anywhere from 3 to 14 hrs. is considered ‘normal’ – you’re going to have to experiment and see what you prefer.)
Now we just need to discuss the milk mixture…
Almost all the directions you find for yogurt call for adding non-fat dry milk to regular milk of any type – skim, reduced fat, or whole. This is to increase the percentage of the milk solids. The process of fermenting milk into yogurt will work with plain old milk, of course, it just works BETTER when the milk solid percentage is greater. Well, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there are more ways to accomplish that than to add carby non-fat dry milk to already carby milk….
My personal preference, when all is said and done, after lots of experimenting, is to use whole milk plus some heavy cream plus some yogurt or one envelope of commercial freeze-dried starter. I like the dry starter because I can add it to organic milk. I can’t find any organic yogurt with active cultures in my area, and I do think that dairy products are one area where organic is unquestionably preferable! From each packet of starter I can make at least six batches of yogurt, by starting subsequent batches with my own yogurt, so one box lasts a long time. I like the whole milk because I can’t find organic cream in my area either, but I can get organic whole milk and besides, the good doctor’s tests indicate that the carbs from the milk are not a problem in the end result anyway. When I made yogurt in the Salton with the 5 containers that hold a total of 4 cups, I used 3 cups milk plus 2/3 cup heavy cream plus 1/2 cup yogurt or 1 envelope starter. Basically, you use extra rich milk which you’ve enriched by whatever method you prefer, plus yogurt as starter, at the rate of about 1/2 cup for each quart of yogurt. When I used the thermos, I could simplify things, I just poured cream in the thermos, estimating the amount by eye, then added milk until it was an inch or so below the lid, (leaving room for the yogurt starter), then poured that mixture into a saucepan for scalding. I do the same basic routine with my new Donvier, but I like this machine better because I can use an entire quart of milk, plus a hefty dollop of cream, plus a half cup of yogurt, and the cups I make it in all hold a perfect size serving and STILL have enough room in them to add cereal, fruit, etc. without dirtying any extra dishes. As resident reluctant dishwasher, I’m all for anything that results in less dishes. They also sell sets of extra cups for the Donvier machine, meaning that I can start a new batch anytime without worrying if every single cup has been accounted for and cleaned, or not…
This was one of my first really good creations, and when I shared the recipe with my new online buddies, they started telling me I should write a cookbook. One of them actually dubbed this OIAB (“O” In A Bowl…. if you still don’t get it… never mind!).
(Somewhat to everyone’s surprise, I actually DID publish that cookbook, just 6 months later.)
From Truly Low Carb Cooking Volume I
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tb. unsweetened peanut butter
1 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granular Splenda™
Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature before beginning. This is easiest to make in a stand mixer.
Beat heavy whipping cream until peaks form, and set aside. Be careful – If you over do this step, you’ll make butter!
Beat cream cheese by itself for several minutes until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowl and beaters as needed. Add Splenda™, peanut butter and cocoa powder. Mix very well, scraping down beaters and sides again.
Incorporate one scoop of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture first, to lighten it. Then, by hand, using a wide rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream. Do not over mix, it is okay if you can still see veins of white streaking the mix.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Try to eat just ONE, okay. (That’s one serving, not one batch.)
6 servings, each: 303 cal, 29 g fat (17 g sat.), 7 g carb , 4 g protein
Carbs can be reduced by using only half as much cream, or substituting sugar free syrup or Fiberfit for some or all of the Splenda™. By omitting the chocolate and peanut butter and substituting extracts or sugar free syrup, the flavor combinations are practically endless! Experiment and find your favorite. I often use 3-4 Tb. of Sugar Free syrup in place of half the Splenda. I like to make raspberry mousse (with raspberry syrup) and add ripe berries (see photo), or peach, with fresh diced peaches added. You could also add nuts, unsweetened coconut, etc.
Make this recipe with Fiberfit and cut the net carbs in HALF!
Made with 2 Tb. Fiberfit in place of 1 cup Splenda, each serving has just 3 net carbs! (5 g carb, 2 g fiber).
Copyright 2000, Truly Low Carb Inc. – All Rights Reserved
Sauté onions and peppers with meat until veggies are tender-crisp and meat is cooked through/crisp.
Add several tablespoons (to taste) of hot pepper sauce to the pan. WARNING – Do not inhale or lean over the pan at this time! …. ooh-chi-mama, the fumes….. My favorite sauce is made with Scotch Bonnet peppers and 2-3 Tb. over 2 pounds of meat is plenty spicy for me.
Shake the pan gently, to burn the sauce onto the outside of the meat.
Melt cheese over the top and then slide the hot mixture right onto a bed of lettuce.
Top with vegetables and up to a a 1/2 cup of my Picante Sauce or 1/4 cup commercial salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and occasionally splurge with a sprinkling of toasted tortilla strips. YUM. Fast, easy, filling, and never boring. I eat this probably once a week.
Carbs and calories CAN vary wildly, depending on quantities and ingredients used – but: A very large meal-size salad (as in, enough to satisfy even my husband) made with 2 cups Romaine, 4 ounces chicken, 1 teaspoon pepper sauce, 1/4 of a small onion, 1/3 of an average bell pepper, 3 ounces cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Truly Low Carb Picante Sauce, and 2 tablespoons sour cream has: 9 net carbs – 628 calories, 39 grams fat (22 grams saturated), 13.4 grams carbohydrate (4.4 grams fiber), 58 grams protein.
Ground cherries are naturally sweet and fairly low in carbs. 1 cup, fresh, (about 60!) contains a full 20% of the RDA for adults for Vitamin A, and 25% of the RDA for Vitamin C, with just 12 g carbs (-2 g fiber).
A ground cherry berry is always enclosed in a papery calyx that looks a little like a Chinese lantern. Fruits are generally harvested in mid to late summer and ripened in their husks for a few weeks. Because they store well refrigerated, they can be found fresh in the midwest from late July through autumn. Ground-cherries grow from low, spreading perennials. The berry can be green or purple but is most commonly yellow. It gives off a sweet, slightly musky smell that sometimes tastes “plummy” or even slightly “apple-ish”. When not yet ripe, ground-cherries taste bland and look much like tomatillos, to which they are related. The plant grows easily along roads and cultivated land in many parts of North America.
Another recipe loved by EVERYONE, not just dieters or low-carbers! Goes together in minutes and keeps in refrigerator for 4-7 days.
Recipe Notes: If not using thickener, I recommend straining off most of the juices (save them to use when seasoning ground beef for taco salads or wraps?) You may use all canned tomatoes (2 cans total) with excellent results, if fresh tomatoes are not in season or available, or take this shortcut: use 2 cans Mexican-style canned tomatoes (I prefer Rotel™) and skip or adjust the lime juice and green chilies.
12 servings, each about 1/2 cup: 33 cal, 2 g fat (0 g sat.), 4 g carb (1 g fiber)
This is me at age 15… saying “No, I will NOT pose outdoors in this ridiculous outfit, I am WAY TOO FAT!” I didn’t speak to my future sister-in-law for weeks after she snapped that picture. (Thanks, Laura. I am glad to have it – now!)
But in this next picture, taken in Vegas back in January 2000, less than one month before my 35th birthday… yep, now I am fat. “Morbidly obese”, to be precise.
Since I had always considered 70 years to be an average life span, this particular upcoming birthday had caused me to reflect on lots of things.
Like the fact that my life was more than likely at least half over already, since I knew that my cholesterol had been seriously elevated for several years., and that heart disease runs in my family.
Attempts to treat my dangerously high cholesterol in the past (triglycerides over 400) with statin medications (Lipitor, now a swear word in my house) had resulted in triglyceride levels of almost 900. I was informed that they couldn’t even measure cholesterol accurately at levels that high, so it was just their best guess. though. And then my previously sane doctor suggested adding another statin medication, Lopid (since the first one had worked so well??) Huh???
I quit going to that doctor – and I quit taking the medications. I cut calories down to no more than 1000-1200 per day, and exercised regularly, and I shed 25 pounds in five months. Best results ever. But my cholesterol was STILL high, after all that (though slightly improved) and it was just about then that I realized that my quality of life really SUCKED! I began to have an occasional beer or cake/cookie, and BAM! Not only did I gain back all the pounds I lost, I packed on an additional 20 pounds on top of the originals. (Again. This was just the latest repeat of an all-too-familiar pattern. Sound familiar to you, by any chance?)
Four times losing weight and gaining back MORE is what had landed me in the “morbidly obese” category in the first place. So I determined not to EVER do that to myself again. I mean, Geeeez, my ass barely fit in the seat of the Mind Eraser roller coaster at Six Flags (Elitch’s) as it was!!! I couldn’t afford another “diet”. Not ever. So I gave up on trying to lose weight and lower my cholesterol. But I wasn’t happy about it.
And then I realized that I was about to turn 35. Wait a minute. I am not done living! I am not ready to start the downhill slide into old age and infirmity. I can still out-ski my skinny friends! I still cut quite a swath blazing down the highway in black leather on my big bad motorcycle! I don’t look that bad …. Do I?
I really started looking. And I soon realized that Yes, I looked that bad. And all this soul searching did was depress me. Because the basic facts hadn’t changed. I didn’t think I could live on 1200 calories a day for the rest of my life. Not without ending up divorced and friendless. And what good would that do?
One day soon after that low point my husband came home and changed my life. Just because he doesn’t like to read ~ and he had decided he wanted to lose some weight. He had run into a friend who had lost 45 pounds on the Atkins diet. “But that’s not supposed to be safe” I protested. “How do you know?” he asked. I thought about it and realized that I really didn’t know enough about it to have an opinion. So I agreed to purchase and read the book on his behalf. After all, I loved to read, and if he was going on a diet, I, as the cook, would have to be briefed.
By the time I finished the first chapter, I was in tears. Dr. Atkins was describing ME. What’s more, he swore there was an easy, healthy way to regain the old me. I finished the book, and I read it again. A few days later, three days before my 35th birthday, I started a low carb diet combining principles from Atkins and Protein Power.
Eight weeks into this diet I had my cholesterol tested. It was within “norms” already! This is not a diet. This is a life change that this yeast bread baker and worshiper has found incredibly easy to commit to. Once you give up refined carbohydrates, and find a hidden well of energy you NEVER knew existed (even as a child) once you witness your own always-lackluster and weak hair and nails begin to grow out luxuriously strong and healthy, once you begin exercising not out of any sense of obligation or guilt but out of sheer enthusiasm for how good you feel, why, you find that sugar and flour do not tempt you. Not that I will never eat any again. Don’t misunderstand me. It is just that I will never blindly eat either one again. I am now aware of the deadly chain reaction they cause inside my incredibly efficient body. And I am losing weight that I will NEVER gain back. And as God is my witness, I WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN. I have never once been hungry since I went lowcarb. Not once. This is nothing like every other time I tried to do the right thing for myself and my body. This is different. It is unthinkable to me to ever go back to the way I was. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I WILL reach a “normal” weight. It may take a while, but it will happen. It is a side effect of my new way of life, you see. An unavoidable, very pleasant side effect!
Postscript re: cholesterol: I want to be completely honest with you. I have been retesting my lipids regularly and I did go through some variations. But after years of low carb eating, I can confidently say that my ratios are better than ever and the ONLY number that is even borderline is my LDL, which is a little higher than the “ideal”. As I said, however, my RATIOS are very good, and many doctors consider those to be much more important the “just the numbers”.
If you need to lose weight, lower cholesterol, control diabetes, high blood pressure, or acid reflux, quit smoking, rid yourself of migraines, heartburn, or allergies, ease the pain of arthritis or gout, or you just want to feel generally better, then I strongly urge you to investigate the low carb way of eating for yourself!
Read Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution. Read Atkins For Life, IN WHICH **I** AM QUOTED, Read Protein Power. Life Without Bread. Neanderthin, The Schwarzbein Principle, The Hamptons Diet …. or pick another plan – there are plenty out there!
Just look at the difference in me after low fat dieting – compared to while low carb dieting:
Yes, you read it right. I weigh the SAME in both pictures. I swear. Oh, and by the way – my husband is doing very well on this way of eating, too. He lost his 60 pounds in a matter of months, and he still weighs less than when he graduated from high school. He has been able to discontinue one of his blood pressure medications entirely. His average blood pressure is much better than it used to be, even with less medication. He has not suffered from gout or heartburn since he went low carb. And just look at him! I mean, I know how he lost the weight, I was the one cooking and advising ~ but how did he end up looking ten years younger, to boot?
Psssssssst – Don’t Forget To Consult a doctor regularly along the way, and to do your research first!
Comments on the video: I was never interested in the famous part of the phrase “rich and famous”, and like many overweight or even once-overweight people, I tend to avoid cameras like the plague. Nevertheless, I just couldn’t tolerate some of the blatant misinformation that has been blasted over the airwaves recently about low carb eating. In early January 2004 I bit the proverbial bullet and issued a press release which garnered me a fairly big part in a week-long series on low carb diets that aired on KWGN, WB2 Denver, during February Sweeps Week, starting 2/15/04. Note that I did not exactly lose 100 pounds like they say in the video above, and I am not sure how they got that fact wrong. Nor did I ever quite weigh 300 pounds. I did get close though, at 271 pounds, and I did lose 100 pounds of fat while gaining 35 pounds of beautiful metabolism-boo…sting lean muscle mass. I know this because I did body fat measurements on myself through the weight-loss process. Close enough for me! The most important part of the story was not the number of pounds, anyway, but the dramatic health improvements I made. We taped for a couple hours, and you never know what they will actually use, from the many things you say. I was no nervous that I come across as strident, I am afraid. Overall, I am quite pleased with this segment anyway, but they somehow managed to totally omit the very relevant fact that I lost more than SIX HUNDRED cholesterol points in a matter of months! As it turned out, the reporter enjoyed his Fajita Salad with Lecture so much, they invited me to come cook live on their morning show…. where I worked it right in! They re-played the success story segment from the night before while we chatted for a minute, then they cut to us, live. I could feel my face stiffen up when the red light went on, and you can see me swallow hard then rather visibly square up my shoulders and try to force myself to smile. Once I started talking, however, I think I did pretty well.. I even talked right over the interviewer, Natalie Tynsdale, once, which wasn’t so good, but darn-it-all, I just was not done talking about my lab tests yet, and I was determined to get that part of my story in! Be sure to check out the look on my face when she asks me if I am using a non-fat oil! (Non-fat oil? In what universe?) I just sort of ignored that part of the question and talked instead about grapeseed oil being ‘ beneficial” (as in the ratio of its omega fats) and having a high smoke-point. After my segment ended, they caught Natalie on camera several times still eating my salad! The staff there devoured every bite I prepared, between them, even the one I didn’t really finish cooking on-air, and afterwards Natalie sent someone backstage to get the loaf of Vol. II Rustic Pumpernickel bread and Garlic Schmear I had out while I was cooking, and they then talked some more on air about how good everything was. As I was packing up to leave, Natalie made a point of running over to say good-bye and tell me “Thanks! I am making that salad for dinner TONIGHT” which really made my day. So I gave her my very last bottle of “magic sauce” and a printed copy of the recipes, on the spot.
Gluten-free Chips and Wraps on demand, in minutes?
You bet! Unless you have a problem with dairy, my best workaround for that particular situation is that old stand-by you just may have forgotten about – a personal favorite of mine from Cooking TLC Volume 1 and never far from my own mind ………….CHEESE CRISPS! (always said by me in the same dreamy, drooly tone Homer uses for donuts.)
You can easily form a warm cheese crisp into almost any desired shape.
Cheese crisps make terrific wraps, taco shells, salad bowls, chips for dipping, the list goes on and on!
This one is chicken salad with fresh cut lettuce and cherry tomatoes added.
Oh, yeah – CCBLT! Mmmmmm. DO NOT feed one of these to your non-low-carbing friends or they’ll never leave you alone (to eat) again. Just let them go on thinking you’re a poor, deprived dieter. WE KNOW BETTER! 🙂
I had a bad feeling about this fire season when we had our first wildfire back in March, but this is just literally terrifying. Not just the one in Colorado getting all the press at the moment, but ALL OVER the West. Please, if you are a praying person, take a moment and pray for rain, for less wind and heat, for the protection of those brave souls out there on the front lines, for all the displaced people, everywhere, and for the MANY Good Samaritans who have shown up at these sites, restoring my faith in the overall goodness of our species. Amen.
(Sorry to digress from the site theme, but this IS now a blog, and this is overwhelming me right now.)
Don’t just ride the same old wave if you are not losing weight. BUT… don’t cut yourself short, either. To determine if you actually are losing, compare your average weekly weights: Add up your weights for seven days, and then divide that number by seven. That is your average weight for that week. Compare that number to your average weight for the previous week. If you are a woman and like most women, don’t even bother with your weight during the ten days surrounding your menstrual cycle!
Now, if you aren’t losing and aren’t gaining, You absolutely MUST keep in mind that you could be building muscle tissue at the same rate you are losing fat…. Many of us are so protein deficient when we start eating LC, our bodies seize all the suddenly available protein and use it to build new muscle at a ferocious rate. That’s a good thing, because muscle burns calories by virtue of its very existence, insuring future losses, PLUS, muscle may weigh more than fat, but it takes up a whole lot less space and looks a lot better “on”! I’ve lost many inches when the scale wasn’t moving at all. I weigh MUCH more at my current size than I did at the same size when eating low fat, and that’s okay too, because I am so much stronger and look so much better at the same weight.
Look at what you are doing. Anything that might be a problem, you can weed out for a full week or better yet, two weeks, and decide if it could be stalling you. Try lowering your carbs, raising your carbs, upping your fat, upping your fiber, cutting out bars, cutting out artificial sweeteners, cutting out caffeine, dairy, whatever. But don’t try it for just a day. Try each thing for a full week. If you’re a woman in your “childbearing years” your cycle will dictate when you can trust the scale enough to even conduct these experiments (what a bitch that is, huh? Only two and half weeks out of each month when you can feel fairly certain that any sudden change might not just be “bloat”.) Make sure you are taking your measurements and checking your body fat calculations. If you are exercising, or even if you’re not (you should be!) remember that you could be building muscle tissue at the same rate you are losing fat. If you don’t know how to figure your body fat calculations, try one of these sites, as tracking this will help you to determine if you really ARE building muscle tissue, or not:
Here’s one online calculator: You will need your weight and waist measurement: Calculator You should note that there are TONS of calculators out there and they all seem to come up with a different measurement. I myself figure my BF% using the formula in Protein Power, and I find that works pretty well for most people.
CHECKLIST FOR STALLS
RATIOS: Track your percentages of fat, carbs, and protein. If you’re not losing, go back to 20 carbs per day maximum for a couple weeks. And track it, don’t just “think” you are below 20, even if you are pretty sure. You will be shocked when you see how fast those carbs add up in a program like Lifeform, which adds up all the hidden ones. A salad & a serving of veggies often adds up to 20 carbs alone. And that is before cheese, cream, etc. Make sure your fat percentage is high. Make sure your protein is not too high. Up to 52% of protein ingested CAN be converted to glucose (and fat!), so you don’t want to eat more than you need. But you must eat sufficient quantities, to protect your muscle mass, which is what you need to burn fat. Protein Power includes a good formula to compute your protein needs. Mine happens to be 120 grams per day for my 140 pounds of lean mass. Based on my lean mass, I came up with a goal weight of 185 pounds, much higher than my wedding weight of 160. (And I ultimately got into my first size 14 when I still weighed 210 pounds! and so decided THAT was actually my goal weight.) Muscle weighs more — but looks much better! If you are within 20 pounds of your goal and can’t seem to lose, maybe you don’t need to lose any more…
FRUIT: I ate fruit very rarely until I reached maintenance. Even though it was the one thing from “the old days” that could always make my mouth water. Definitely give it up if you are in a stall!
ARTIFICAL SWEETENERS: I treat myself to a Diet Rite with sucralose about once a week at this point but some people cannot tolerate ANY artificial sweeteners at all, since just the taste of sweet can cause an insulin spike in very sensitive people. I do okay with sucralose, myself, and I like it the best by far, which is why I sell Fiberfit.
STAY AWAY FROM ASPARTAME – the more I learn, the more I think it is VERY VERY BAD stuff. (Hey, I found the best new way to drink pop – with an Isi soda siphon and DaVinci syrups! And while you look at it, check out the Isi whip cream maker too.)
CITRIC ACID: Dr. Pepper is one of the few diet pops on the market that contains none. Citric acid is present in many, many foods. Be aware, because it is reported to stall some people – and in most American products where it is added, it is derived from corn, not oranges!
GUM: I almost never chew gum. It reportedly can cause an insulin spike just because of the sweet taste. When I do indulge, it is in a single piece of Dentyne’s “Ice” or “Eclipse” gum, which has only 1 carb per piece. Wrigley’s Extra is a good substitute with 2 carbs.
SUGAR? One time I ate ONE Sara Lee Cheesecake bite with only 4 carbs in it and I gained 2 pounds that day – and my total carbs – not net carbs but total carbs – counting that little treat were under 20 for that day. Another time I used 5 carbs worth of evaporated milk in my coffee because I was out of cream and that one cost me three pounds. If you are indulging in ANYTHING with the real stuff in it, and you are stalled, give it up.
NUTS: Nuts are a good snack, and I eat a lot of pecans, macadamias, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower and pumpkin kernels, but do try to take it easy on them, no more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day is a good rule of thumb, due to their high calories and/or sodium content. Stay away from peanuts and cashews entirely, which are not really even nuts, but legumes.
SKIPPING BREAKFAST?: It is an absolute necessity that I eat breakfast within one hour of rising or I WILL NOT lose weight that day. Period. Doesn’t matter what else I do or don’t do. Perhaps you are the same. *Exception — if I have a little something (like coffee with cream) then work out hard and don’t eat for an hour after the workout ends, I do just as well. I heard that this helps facilitate fat burning, and it seems to be true. But if I don’t eat a little something and go about a normal day without some major sweat involved early, I am sunk.
RESTRICTING CALORIES?: Fuggetaboutit! At least at the beginning. Count your carbs more strictly instead. Strive for HIGH high fat and LOW low carbs. The exception to this is in the case of someone who already has verified that their carbs are low and their fat high and who still isn’t losing weight OR inches – you could be overdoing it. Try limiting your calories for a few days and see what happens. The closer you are to goal weight, the more you may actually need to count those calories. And if you have been keeping them low for a while and it’s not working – you might not be eating enough! I myself go directly into starvation mode (read that STALL) if I lower calories consistently. Our bodies tend to adjust to the things we throw at it – be sure to keep yours on its toes by changing things up occasionally.
SALT?: Be aware the eating very salty foods may cause a temporary and sudden gain of several pounds. Try not to freak out about it, because it will likely pass just as suddenly.
ATTITUDE IS IMPORTANT: so pick a good one! Some of us just have to work harder, and sacrifice more, and still accomplish our loss at a much slower rate than many others. It’s not fair, but hey – real life seldom is. Fortunately, when I feel as good as I do on low carb, I find that an acceptable trade off. (Most days.) If you are as resistant to loss as I was, I hope you do, too.
NOT TAKING SUPPLEMENTS? Some people need them more than others. Try it!
EXERCISE: Not doing any? I always thought it was a dirty word. I love to do sports but I hate to “just exercise”. If there’s a ball I want to catch, I will run. Getting me fired up about walking or running for its own sake is pretty tough, though. But it is necessary to succeed with your weight loss program. Yes, you can lose 50 or 100 or 200 pounds without exercising. But if you want to look GOOD when you are done losing, you had better make an effort to tone what you’ve got left! Your skin is much more likely to shrink back into shape when you lose weight in combination with exercise. So just DO IT. I mean, let’s be brutally honest here – those of us with lots of weight to lose most likely have addictive personalities anyway. Why not put that trait to work FOR us, this time. Exercise is as addicting as anything else, and much more rewarding! I myself walked my ass off – literally. This diet would NOT have worked for me without exercise, that is painfully obvious. Some people do fine with none. And some people, like myself, do not! Luckily, I have come to enjoy my walking so much that it is no longer just “exercise” but has become “me time”. It is something I get to do, all by myself, three times a week, and I don’t feel guilty for doing it (taking the time for myself). I feel better after doing it (because a happy Mommy is much a better Mommy … and wife!) After the first couple months, I added wrist weights, and some light lifting for my triceps, biceps, and pecs (darn gravity anyway!) and I even did a few crunches yesterday after the 3 miles w/ weights and the lifting. *grimacing*
07-04-00 2 weeks after that – today I did 150 crunches! And I now workout on my metal monster Nordic track instead of walking, which wears me totally out. I couldn’t even use this thing, before walking myself into some kind of shape over the last few months.
07-20-00 It is two weeks later than that and today I did 20 minutes on the NordicTrack followed by 150 crunches (half of them in the advanced position!) followed by 150 arm lifts with dumbbells, followed by a 2 mile powerwalk with wrist weights. Whew!
11-11-00 I now do FOUR HUNDRED crunches at a time and a full weight lifting routine. *And thank God! because I BROKE my BACK on January 5, 2002 and can only imagine how much rougher the whole thing would have been if I hadn’t been in shape when it happened. I am happy to report that I was able to maintain MY FULL LOSS even after such a severe injury, which left me bedridden for six full months (not to mention permanently impaired… but everything does work again, even if it hurts, and I am grateful.)
February 2001: Sold the metal monster and now I power-walk on a new treadmill and do ab crunches. I still enjoy my workouts but I more often settle for 250 crunches and 40 minutes on the treadmill with light hand weights… I am more likely to do this workout regularly when I don’t overdo, and I think consistency is key.
Find SOME kind of exercise that YOU enjoy – then do it. And keep doing it!
Did you know …? (I created a bunch of fun rotating DYKs for my forum and decided I’d start sharing them here, too.)
“Clabber” is unpasteurized milk which is allowed to sour and thicken (curdle) naturally. It was popular in the southern U.S., and usually served with sugar or black pepper and cream, and sometimes with fruit.
Advance food preparation is the one thing that can practically ensure low-carb success.
Regular, advance food preparation is the single most important thing low-carbers must do in order to succeed. It’s really not difficult, even if you don’t know how to cook, except for being time consuming. A lot like exercise, as far as that goes, but I assure you that both activities are worth your effort! I can’t stress this enough — this can’t be just another “diet”. If you want to feel good, have more energy, better health, and/or lose weight (and most importantly, keep the weight off), then you will need to make lifelong, not just temporary, changes.
Fortunately, hunger is one thing you will NOT need to grow accustomed to when living a low-carb lifestyle. It is imperative that you make good choices at all times, however, and you will only do so when you have plenty of wholesome low-carb food available. Most people will need to dedicate one day per week to food preparation. If you work five days per week, spending an entire day in the kitchen can seem like a burden, but it’s worth it because it can make the rest of your week go so much better. After a while it will become second nature to you to plan ahead and you’ll find you can spread the tasks out over the week, but while you are trying to establish good low-carb eating habits, I recommend a regular, once-weekly shopping and prep session.
Decide what you like to eat best from among your allowable food list, and then shop accordingly. Go to your favorite grocery store or member’s warehouse, and stock up.
I suggest choosing somegreen leafy veggies first from the produce section (romaine or leaf lettuce, endive, radicchio, escarole, spinach, kale, etc.) Next, select what you like from the following: asparagus, avocadoes, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupe melon, celery, eggplant, daikon radish, hot and/or bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes, tomatoes, green beans, green onions, regular onions, and chayote, spaghetti, zucchini, or yellow crookneck squash. Avoid all root vegetables and fruits not previously mentioned, as well as any mentioned that might not fit into your particular eating plan.
Next, visit the meat section and select some meats you like to eat – perhaps some good cuts of beef, bacon and sausage, some chicken, some ground beef, some pork, and some fish. If you want some more “convenience” type meats, get some cans of tuna and chicken, some deli meats (ask them for nutritional info if it is not posted, since some deli meats are full of fillers and even sugars) or even hot dogs (Hebrew National™ and International Glatt™ brands don’t add any sugar and are both kosher, if that matters to you) or bratwurst. A favorite of mine for low-carb convenience is pre-cooked bacon. It is packaged in layers and you can grab a few pieces anytime to just heat in the microwave — though not as good as what you cook yourself, and not something you should overdo, because of all the nasty nitrates, when speed is imperative, pre-cooked bacon can’t be beat. Rotisserie chicken is usually acceptable, but it may be worth asking to see the ingredient list of any marinade they inject into the chicken before roasting it. Prepared buffalo wings are usually okay, too – just be sure to read every label, and don’t be afraid to interrogate the employees at the deli counter (or anywhere else) for nutritional information.
Get some good oils for cooking (grapeseed, macadamia, and olive are the healthy oils that I use for cooking) and for things like salad dressings. Walnut and sesame oil are both great for salads, but should never be heated.
Get some salad dressings with full fat but no added sugar (check all labels) or better yet, whip up some home-made dressings. Blue Cheese, Ranch, Caesar, and Italian are usually good choices, as are vinaigrettes. Other allowable condiments include real mayonnaise, seasoned vinegars, mustards without added sugars, hot sauces, and Worcestershire sauce (which has a trace of sugars but in the amount typically used, does not present a problem for most people).
If you can eatnuts, get some macadamias, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts – but pass up peanuts, pistachios and cashews. Get some spicy pork rinds (trust me on this; they make a great substitute for bread crumbs in lots of recipes, even if you don’t care to eat them as a snack). Wasa Fiber Rye™ crackers and LaTortilla™ low carb tortillas are available in most grocery stores now and have a high fiber content, making them good choices.
Be sure to go to the frozen foods section and get some bagged legal veggies for busy nights when the fresh ones are just too much work. Buy canned black soy beans if you can find them. Canned vegetables such as tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, etc., are always good to have on hand in a pinch. Buy some frozen entrees like chicken tenders, pre-pressed burgers and fish fillets — these can all go on a contact grill frozen and still be ready to eat in minutes! TIP: After cooking on a contact grill, simply unplug it, put a wet paper towel on the still-warm surface, and close it again. By the time you’re finished eating, you’ll be able to wipe the grill surface clean easily so it will be ready for your next quick and easy meal.
Don’t leave without a visit to the Dairy section for some sour cream, cream cheese, cream, real butter, buttermilk if you like it, eggs, and cheese.
I’m going to describe one of my own weekly prep sessions – you will need to vary this according to your own tastes, but most low-carbers will need plenty of clean salad greens.
If you’re like me, and dislike the sour taste of pre-washed salad greens, you will want to wash your own. I fill a clean sink with a mixture of water and produce cleanser and let the greens soak for a while. I mix three heads of romaine or red leaf lettuce with one bunch of spinach and one small head of iceberg, for a nice mix of healthy, leafy, and crunchy. Then I wash, peel, and chop the other low carb vegetables we like in our salads and place them all in vacuum seal containers. Well dried lettuce can last for weeks without turning brown when vacuum sealed. It will last up to a week when layered in clean toweling and then sealed in regular plastic bags, because the paper or cloth will absorb extra moisture. TIP: Don’t chop greens with anything metal ahead of time, because it will cause the edges to turn brown prematurely.
While my greens for the week are soaking, I hard-boil a dozen eggs. TIP: For easy peeling, use older eggs and prick a small hole in the end of each one with a pin or thumbtack. Always start them in cold water with a splash of vinegar and a spoonful of salt added. Once they come to a boil, shut them off, put on the lid, and allow them to set in the hot water for twenty minutes. Pour off the hot water and replace it with ice water until the eggs are completely cool, then drain and refrigerate. The shells should slip right off when the time comes.
Poaching chicken or other meat is best done at a very low simmer. Boiling toughens meat proteins and causes that ugly scum to appear on top. I always save the liquid for use in soups or other meals, and either strip up the cooked meat for use in chef salads, or else chop it and add mayonnaise, along with lots of chopped celery and a little bit of red onion, salt, pepper, celery salt, and a teaspoon or so of lemon juice. Delicious chicken salad, ready at a moment’s notice — I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast! Some weeks I make egg or tuna salad instead of, or in addition to, the chicken salad.
Plan breakfasts: make a batch of muffins or crustless mini quiche in muffin tins. Pre-cook breakfast meats to save both time and mess. I like to bake both pre-formed sausage patties and bacon slices in the oven. If you can find a stacking cooling rack, it’s perfect for this use and will really simplify the whole process. I even line the drip pan with disposable foil to save time when cleaning up.
I make some sort of casserole each week like my Volume 1 TacoSagna or Mockaroni & Cheese and freeze it in individual portions, so I can have a hot lunch anytime. Meatloaf is another good make-ahead meal — just replace the bread crumbs with low carb ones or substitute Parmesan cheese, wheat bran, or textured vegetable protein.
Don’t forget to attend to your sweet tooth and make some kind of artificially sweetened treat, unless you are one of the rare ones who can totally forego that occasional pleasure. I am not; I would never have lost ten dress sizes in one year and made it for the long haul without an occasional ‘sweet treat’. And the long haul is what it is all about. Feeling deprived is what always led me to stop low fat diets. I simply did not allow that to happen with low carb – and neither should you! But do remember that most people lose more weight when indulging in homemade treats and staying away from packaged low-carb convenience foods, especially those with high concentrations of sugar alcohols such as maltitol (common in most pre-made sugar free desserts.)
Finally, enjoy! Now that you have stocked your low-carb kitchen, just think of all the great meals you can whip up.
For breakfast, you can choose from any sort of egg dish – hard-boiled eggs, omelets, crustless quiche , or my favorite — scrambled or fried eggs served with steak, ham, sausage or bacon, along with a thin wedge of cantaloupe melon. You can choose to eat cheese, or any other meat, fish, or even vegetables. Leftovers of all kinds make great breakfasts. What about a protein shake along with a handful of fresh berries and some nuts on the side? (DaVinci sugar free syrups can make ANY shake mix taste good!!!) Even a low-carb protein bar is better than no breakfast at all, although this should not become an everyday thing by any means. Fiber crackers spread with cream cheese and low carb fruit spread or smoked salmon on top make for a nice change occasionally. Breakfast burritos are easy to fashion ahead of time out of taco meat or spicy sausage paired with things like onions, peppers, black soy beans, scrambled eggs and cheese inside of a low carb tortilla or homemade egg crepes. Wrap these individually and freeze, then wrap in a damp towel to reheat in the microwave.
For lunch, choose from any protein source paired with a healthy vegetable. I usually try to have an ‘entree salad’ such as steak sautéed with onions and peppers and cheese, served over a bed of greens in place of bread. Enjoy previously forbidden salad ingredients like real bacon and hard boiled eggs and chunks of blue cheese! Enjoy fancy salads with ingredients such as warm goat cheese and pecans. My all-time favorite lunch is my Fajita Salad. You could also roll up sliced deli meat and cheese around celery sticks, pickles, or green onions. Pile fiber crackers high with egg, chicken or tuna salad, any of which could be stuffed into celery sticks or hollowed-out tomatoes or peppers, as well. Wrap up sandwich fillings in a low-carb la tortilla or a large lettuce or Napa cabbage leaf.
For snacks, you can eat cream cheese in celery sticks, hard-boiled eggs, doctored-up unsweetened yogurt (homemade is best!), berries, Heavenly Mousse (yummmmm!), melon, nuts, olives, cheese crisps, raw veggies with ranch dip, and pork rind or vegetable nachos with taco meat, black beans, TLC picante, guacamole or sour cream.
For dinner, the possibilities are truly endless. You can make a low carb version of almost any meal you already like. Craving fried chicken? No problem: bread it with egg & pork rinds, wheat bran, parmesan cheese, or almond flour and then fry it as normal. Cream of mushroom or broccoli soup made with real butter and heavy cream is both heavenly and fast. Sauté chicken in butter and olive oil, pour in a little whipping cream and some Parmesan cheese, and you’ll have delicious Chicken Alfredo with no effort. Eat it over steamed or stir-fried shredded cabbage or zucchini “noodles”, broccoli and cauliflower, or my favorite: fresh steamed green beans. Craving pizza? No problem: get some pepperoni, sauté some mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers and combine them with some no-sugar-added tomato sauce (like Hunts™) and mozzarella cheese over the top of a cheese crisp or low-carb tortilla. Craving Mexican food? No problem: make fajitas with low-carb tortillas or tacos on cheese crisp shells, and you can enjoy real sour cream, guacamole, and cheese on top! Make red chili with black soy beans or green chili with pork or poultry. Enjoy filet mignon or grilled salmon and steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower with cheese or Hollandaise sauce over the top. Enjoy stir fry (without the starch) of beef and broccoli. Enjoy grilled chicken topped with bacon, melted cheese and mushrooms.
The key word here is ‘enjoy’. If you’ll just concentrate on all the wonderful food combinations you can eat, you will find yourself thinking less and less about those few things you are no longer choosing to eat. Low-carb eating is far more versatile than low-fat eating, but it does require a change in mind-set. Become a label reader! When I started this Way of Eating, I literally spent hours in the grocery store going down the aisles and reading labels. I found some surprises, and learned a lot. Eating low-carb is easy, and it should never be repetitive or boring, not when your menu choices are so varied and abundant.
YOU CAN DO THIS! JUST PLAN AND PREPARE TO SUCCEED.
Please don’t try to succeed on a low carb Way of Eating without buying and reading at least one (1) low carb book, in its entirety, so that you will understand the metabolic process you are trying to achieve. Without a basic understanding of ketosis, you will have a much harder time making this work ~ and hey, MAKING IT WORK THIS TIME is the whole point, right? RIGHT!
My personal recommendations for low carb books include: Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution, Atkins for Life – I had better include this one, since I was honored by being quoted in this book by the legendary Dr. Atkins himself! look for me in the index!, Protein Power, Life Without Bread: How a Low Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life, and The Schwarzbein Principle.
The Corinne T. Netzer’s Complete Book of Food Counts or something similar is a great reference to have, too (on ANY diet). Yes, you can look things up online, but a printed reference is a heck of a lot more convenient than running to the computer (or squinting into your phone) every time you want to eat something! Online carb counters are listed here on my main Links page.
FORGET THE KETOSTIX
The idea of using ketostix to make sure you are in ketosis sounds good – until you realize that all they really measure is the burning of fat. Any fat. Whether you are burning adipose tissue (existing stored body fat) OR you are burning dietary fat, you will produce ketones, which will register on the ketostix. And if you are on a low carb diet, you will burn some kind of fat, so whether you register on the stix or not doesn’t necessarily correlate to actual weight loss!
Then there’s this, excerpted from GO Diet: There are two main ketone bodies produced. One is called “acetoacetic acid” and the other is named “beta-hydroxybutyric acid (HBA). Acetoacetic acid can spontaneously break down to form acetone and this is the compound which gives people on this diet a faint, but distinct smell on their breath. Other low carbohydrate diets advocate the use of ketosticks to detect these ketones in the urine, as a sign that you are really burning fats. However, these sticks, which are expensive, only detect the acetoacetic acid and acetone, which are less than one fifth of the ketones produced. The HBA goes totally undetected by this test. Many people never produce enough acetoacetic acid to cause these sticks to turn color, yet testing their blood for HBA shows plenty of ketones.”
Now for some good news: I never really noticed the so-called keto-breath, or the body odors that the books talk about. (Neither did/do my friends or family, who would not HESITATE to tell me – trust me!)
Now, the color of the stix, in my opinion, has a lot to do with how much water you drink. The more concentrated your urine is, the more concentrated the ketones will be. A high ketone reading in the absence of weight loss could be due to a lot of things, but mostly it is due to high fat ingestion, which is what a lowcarb diet really is. It just isn’t politically correct to call it that. Your body doesn’t dump the ketones consistently, either, so it is difficult to know whether an absence of ketones might simply be your own lousy timing. Timing, after all, is everything! And if you don’t drink enough water, excess ketones will necessarily have to be excreted somehow other than through your urine. And my guess is that when they get excreted through your skin and respiration, they stink to high heaven. So, for many, many reasons, drink all the water that your plan recommends. Then drink some more. And don’t put too much stake in the readings of ketostix.
The best indicators of how you are doing on low carb – far better than than the color some expensive little strip of treated paper turns when you (you know) will be:
— how you feel (once you get past the inevitable week 1 slump)
— how you look – I am serious. When I put those two pictures together that you see on the My Story page, I was totally shocked – and so gratified, too – to see how much better I could look at the same weight. Do not let the scale alone, or even your measurements alone, be your indicator of success.
— how your clothes fit – Do yourself a favor and take those painful-to-face measurements right at the beginning, so you really know where you are. The first time I took mine I cried, but I wish I had done it earlier because in the next month after I did take them, I lost four inches just from my waist alone while the scale never moved. Is it a stall if the scale doesn’t change for a month? Doubtful, if you are being true to the plan you are on. Is it possible that you have stalled? You bet! What to do?
If you are having trouble, get a software program that calculates your exact nutritional intake and analyze what is going on. The one that I used first is called Lifeform. Now defunct. In 2004, I switched to DietPro and I still use this one regularly.
If you use a mac, there is one out there called Dietsleuth. Do a search and hunt it down. There are free places to keep track online, too, like FitDay.
During induction, I recommend that you:
Stick to meat, dairy, and veggies only. Try to not use any artificial sweeteners, fruit, or grain based products, high fiber or not. Get the full 20 carbs each day from lettuce, salad vegetables, low carb veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans. I also ate small amounts of tomatoes and bell peppers on my salads – even during induction. If you really really have to have something sweet, you can eat sugar free gelatin. Try to find Jolly rancher brand, which is sweetened without aspartame.
By the time you eat 1 large or two small salads per day, with a 2/3 cup serving of other vegetables, that will usually add up to almost 20 carbs (with cheese, cream, and salad dressing included, they add up much faster than you would expect.) After two weeks of this, you will find that you have to remind yourself to eat, that you no longer really *want* the bready things or the sweet things as much. I did not add the low carb versions of these things back in until I had been eating induction-style for about 6 weeks. I think this gave me the ability to keep these food items in perspective. I still don’t crave them, I crave fruit and veggies and dairy products, if anything. When I start thinking about fake sweets too often, I force myself to go several days without any at all, and then I am back in balance. It is a constant balancing act, and I must remain vigilant to insure that my sweet-tooth/bread cravings do not take over. I expect I will have to be like this forever.
ONE MORE TIME: Eat your veggies, they go a long way towards filling you up with something less calorically dense than meat, and trust me – you NEED the fiber (and nutrients) that they contain.
UPDATE POSTED IN 2003, upon Publication of Volume 2
This is a picture of us on vacation in 2002, and it’s a fair representation of our weights to this day. I am proud to be able to say that we have each maintained a 65 pound loss with ease. I never did lose as many total pounds as I expected to (my thighs are the body part I am least happy with, and in truth, I rarely wear shorts like these since I feel much thinner in pants or skirts). These days I can also be found wearing my more comfortable 16s more often than the snug 14s I can still wear with pride, but I figure – hey, this is the weight and size I can maintain with ease, and this is obviously where my body is comfortable – so get used to it, and just let go of any unrealistic ‘swimsuit model’ goal image!
One thing I have finally learned, and accepted, after more than three years of effort, is that numbers are just that – numbers, and nothing more. Healthy and happy is the ultimate goal, and YES! I am there…
What helped me get there?
Well, in January 2002 I went sledding with my then 10 year old son and my husband, and my life changed… instantly and forever…
On my fifth ride down the hill, I bounced off the inner-tube and landed on the hard ground instead, causing a compression fracture of my L3 vertebrae that would confine me to my bed or a horrible brace for months afterwards. My spine actually continued to collapse for the first few months, but thanks to lots of care, rest, and good nutrition, and the fact that I was in pretty good shape when the accident occurred, I’ve made a good recovery. I still have an 11% curvature of the spine, and I don’t enjoy sitting much, but by May 2002 I was riding my motorcycle again (gingerly of course) and by December of 2002, I was downhill skiing again. I did sell my dirt bike, I won’t ever snowmobile again, and I can’t ski the bumps, but these are things I can happily live with, considering the alternative. Because I was already working at home when this happened, I was more fortunate than most people in the same situation – I ended up with a very sophisticated wireless network that I thoroughly appreciate to this day, and I was able to carry on in my chosen career.
Once I got my spine stabliized, I had to deal with the very large kidney stones that had announced their presence on numerous xrays taken after my accident. The very size of these stones was proof enough to my urologist and myself that these were old stones that had started to form long, long before I started low carb. (I feel the need to point this out because of that old tired myth about low carb eating causing kidney damage. In my case, it was years of low fat and yoyo dieting that preceded the kidney damage.) I had several debilitating lithotripsy procedures to pass those monsters, and then once I got over that, I promptly had a partial hysterectomy. Through all of this, low carb has been the constant, the rock, upon which I have drawn strength. No matter how out of control the rest of my life can be, I am ALWAYS in complete and total control of one thing – what does and does not go into my mouth. Maintenance has been a joy for me, and I will control my carbs, and thus my weight, for life. I still have not eaten any real sugar or fresh corn or white potatoes, and perhaps I never will – they seem like a very small price to pay in return for never again worrying about whether my butt will fit in the restaurant or airplane seat to which I am assigned. I do enjoy a wide range of fruit and vegetables as well as my own wholesome bread and bagels, and I can easily find acceptable ice cream, whole wheat pastas and crackers, etc. in stores across the nation.
I wrote my first cookbook in 2000 while actively losing weight, and all the recipes in that cookbook are indeed “truly low” in carbs. I published my second low carb cookbook in November 2003. Volume II features a wide range of recipes suitable from induction through lifetime maintenance, so that everyone can enjoy bread, bagels, pizza, margaritas, etc. – while still maintaining their health and weight.