Thursday, September 30, 2010

MIM's Pizza Dough

Well, I thought I'd better comment here, since I don't want anyone disappointed if they try the MIM's pizza recipe. I got an email from a friend last night (I had previously given her the recipe.) She informed me that the dough was in no way like a real pizza dough, and she was disappointed!

I don't think I conveyed that the dough was the same as the yeast risen dough you would get in a pizza. If I did, I'm sorry. I only said that this pizza solved my craving. When I used to eat the "real" pizza, I was one of those who was mostly interested in the toppings in the first place- the more the better. The dough basically kept the toppings from falling on the floor! That being said, flax meal used in this dough isn't flour- will never taste like flour. But, those of us on low carb (at least the first stages) have given up wheat flour. 

Sometime in the future, I will toy with doing a yeast-risen dough with the flax., and report back- I still don't think it will taste like yeast risen flour! Meanwhile, I'm not really trying to make foods I eat now exactly like foods I've given up- I'm only trying to make recipes that are tasty and satisfying!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Belly Fat and Carb Cravings as Related to Cortisol and Stress

As usual, I try to do something constructive during "off" hours, rather than just stare mindlessly at another cooking show. So, I've really been wondering why my size is descreasing, but it seems that my waist is lagging FAR BEHIND! 

So, I went to the mighty guru Google and just typed in belly fat, and lo and behold, I found some amazing stuff, after wading through miracle pill twenty-four hour solutions! I'm still researching and am trying to get more organized, but I think I have found my answer- or at least part of it. Seems our body has a hormone called cortisol, which is very necessary and useful in normal amounts. But people with stress secrete more of the hormone, also known as the "flight or fight" hormone. We are supposed to become calm and let our cortisol level return to normal when the stress is over. But, if we don't, we retain excess amount of cortisol and it seems it plays a dirty trick on us- settles around our middle and tells us to eat more carbs!

There are those of us who are in a state of "chronic stress," that is nothing horrible, but some stress all the time and that seems to do the same thing as having a period of horrible stress that we don't relax after. According to what I'm reading, chronic stress can be something as simple as not sleeping well, just daily obligations that you never get relief from, constant pain from some nagging thing, not enough emotional support, etc. 

So, now, I'm investigating more, especially how to relieve some of this stress in simple, non-expensive ways. And, of course a little more of the science involved. As soon as some of this is more organized in a coherent way, I'll post it. Meanwhile, this is just a brief look at this situation:

MIM's "Pizza"

I think I've watched too much TV lately, and the proof is that I found myself really wanting a Pizza Hut greasy pizza last night. I never did buy that stuff! It always gave me indigestion. I guess I've seen too many commercials for pizza that the food stylists have really worked over! Anyway, last night, I decided to solve that craving- so here it is:

Mim's Pizza

Batter for two MIM's minus cinnamon or sweeteners
1 Tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano cheese
about 5 ounces ground chuck, or any other ground meat your prefer- or none; pepperoni, etc.ohh
1 large tomato cut into large dice
1/2 red onion cut into fine slices- or any other onion you have
1/2 green or red bell pepper diced (not too fine)
6 to 8 white mushrooms sliced
6 to 8 baby portabellas sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano  and Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese grated

Make the batter for two MIM's without the cinnamon and sweeteners, stirring in the Pecorino Romano cheese This is the cheese you get like the dried parmesan in the can, although I think the fresh would work as well. You can omit entirely if you don't have it.

Use cooking spray in the bottom of a 9 x 14 baking pan (or whatever you have). Spread the MIM mixture on it, making it a little thinner in the center- bake at 350 degrees till just done- my psychotic oven only took about twelve minutes- but I never know what temp it is at any given time! I made mine a little crusty at the edges. Set aside in the pan to dry and rest.

In a non-stick pan, crumble and saute the meat until brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add all veggies except the tomatoes and saute' till just tender. Add tomatoes and herbs, along with salt and pepper to taste and simmer gently till a little of the tomato juice is cooked out. You don't want it watery to put on your pizza. I set the sauce aside in the pan then to cool a bit before putting on the MIM crust, the object here being that a cooler sauce will not seep down in the crust and make it soggy. Spread this onto the MIM crust, and then crumble the ground chuck on the top. Cover with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Return to the 350 oven and just bake till the cheese is beginning to get bubbly and brown. Cool slightly and cut into squares and serve. Serves at least two hearty eaters. For me 1/4 is enough with a salad.

As usual, this recipe lends itself to endless variations, depending on what you like. I just used what I had in the house. The crust was near enough to pizza crust and ridiculously easy to make! God bless whoever created the MIM! It made a nice meal with a salad and ended that ridiculous Pizza Hut craving!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meatza Pizza Courtesy of Doreen

Wow, all the OFL's are active today! I'm barely keeping up with posts for everyone on here. Anyway, this is the recipe that Doreen uses for meatza pizza. Like the last recipe, this looks so versatile that you could put just about anything on it- as much or as little. But, it would be an excellent way to get those veggies carbs up!

 Meatza Pizza

Here is the meatza recipe (of sorts, I kind of improvise alot)

Meatza Pizza
•About 1¼ to 2 lbs. hamburger - (up to half can be Italian sausage)
•1 teaspoon salt
•½ teaspoon pepper
•1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
•2 teaspoons oregano and Italian spice
•Sugar free spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
•Cheese,mozza, grated
•Pizza toppings such as mushrooms, green or red pepper, onions, pepperoni, salami, etc.
Mix the meat, salt and spices together(save some of the Italian spice for later), and spread the meat out on a baking sheet with sides (such as a jelly roll pan). I cover my pan with tinfoil to make clean up easier. You want the meat spread thin, but without holes. Sometimes I make it in a sort of oblong with rounded corners. I sprinkle more spice on top before baking. Bake in a 375° F. oven for about 10 minutes or until done. Pour off the grease regularly. When done cover the meat with sugar-free pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce (in most places the spaghetti sauce is much easier to find, and works great). Cover with your choice of pizza toppings - we like the hot pepperoni and lots of veggies and the grated cheese. Bake again until cheese is melted and browned. Before serving I slice fresh tomatoes and put them on top then sprinkle with a little parmessan cheese.

Chicken and Zucchini Stir Fry Courtesy of Pat

Pat, one of our newest members of the OFL's is going great guns on Phase I of Atkins, and has already developed a new recipe! This is totally Atkins friendly and suitable for all phases.

When I was a chef in an Italian restaurant I used a lot of zucchini, and the amazing thing about this particular vegetable is just how versatile it is, depending on the ingredients combined with it! Those of you who think you don't like veggies, try this one- the tomatoes turn the zucchini into something delectable! Also, if you like more herbs or peppers or anything else with this, it is easily turned into your own favorite. Thanks Pat! 

Chicken and Zucchini Stir-Fry

Here is my new recipe - I don't usually measure anything. The ingredients are for one person, but last night, I made it for seven and it came out just as well. For those who haven't tried or aren't wild about zuchini, this recipe seems to do wonders for the stuff. We used up 4 zuchinis from our garden last night - they are bigger than store bought, but not the big hunkers you get if you miss picking one!

1-2 slices of bacon
1/2 large chicken breast - cut into bite-sized pieces
1 heaping cup zuchini pieces (peeled)
1 green onion - cut into 1/4 in pieces (green and white parts)
1/4 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese (1 oz)
8-10 cherry tomatoes-cut in half
garlic salt
poultry seasoning (about 1/4 tsp)
Salt and Pepper to taste- late in cooking time

For just myself, I use a non-stick fry pan. For the whole family, I used a large deep stir fry pan.

Cut the bacon into 1/4 inch slices. Stir fry until done. Remove to paper towels to drain. Pour off fat. In whatever fat remains in the pan, cook the chicken. I usually cook the chicken first then cut it into bite-sized pieces but you could cut it up then cook it. When the chicken is almost done, add the zuchini pieces (peel the zuchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, then slice into about 1/4 pieces). Continue to stir fry until zuchini has softened (about 2 minutes for a single serving).
Sprinkle with garlic salt and poultry seasoning, stirring to mix well. I use very little salt - probably 1/4 tsp. Add the bacon pieces, tomato, and green onions, cooking only enough to heat the tomatoes thoroughly.

Serve - covering each portion with cheese.

It looks pretty until everyone mixes in their cheese! :)

I hope everyone who tries it enjoys it! I'm off to the store to try Gabby's recipe for Beef Stock. Have a great day!

Dr. Ornish- "Let's Not Eat Anything That Had a Mother!" HUH??

Have a listen to this CNN video with Dr. Ornish, the medical director of the Huffington Post about Bill Clinton's weight loss. These docs will have much to answer for one day!

And when we all finish watching this, in unison, let's clap our hands over our ears and shout loudly, "WE CAN'T HEAR YOU!!"

Dr. Micahel Eades- "Mad as Hell"

Good morning- as you all know, I'm pretty reactionary, but after reading and reading, I feel I have the right! Just read this article by Dr. Michael Eades re: low carb life and the total ignorance of the greatest majority of the medical community. He is an excellent, intelligent writer and also well worth the read.

I have basically tired of talking to my doc and others of the benefits of low carb lifestyle. It's like they all clap their hands over their ears and say loudly, "I can't HEAR you!" This makes me mad as hell too, Mike! Even though I am living proof of what low carb has done for me, and what the pharmaceutical companies via my doctor were doing to me with statins. Soooo. I continue to do research, and my next doc visit I will go armed with a paper portfolio of articles about the low carb and also about statins, and how horrible they truly are! Will she read it? I don't know, but if she continues to tell me to consider statins and the ADA diet, maybe I should clap my hands over MY ears and say, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Take a little time and have a read:

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Mad" Article in the Huffington Post- from Dana Carpender's Blog

I don't know how many of you read Dana Carpender's blog, but she is a low carb guru and author. She is well worth the read! The other day I discovered one of her posts and she was indignant because the Huffington Post had promoted a doctor to medical director, who seemingly lives his life to prove Dr. Atkins a killer.

Well, today I came across this post of hers with a link to an article in the Huffington Post. She said they had almost redeemed themselves. Those of you who know me also know I can get quite angry about the criminality of the pharmaceutical industry and the seeming ignorance of the medical community. This article is worth your time. Good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks this way!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Attention- Type II Diabetics!!

If you are smong the thousands of people who have type two diabetes and are being treated by oral medication, this is for you! If you are not, this is just one more example of the irresponsible drug companies in our country- they lie, they cover up testing results- all for the almighty dollar! Anyway, this is from the New York Times and should be read! You just cannot believe the hype you see from drug companies about their various drugs!!

Beef Stock versus Beef Broth

Good morning everyone. Yesterday, I made a big pot of beef stock. From the start I should say you can certainly make less at one time by cutting the recipe down, but if I'm going to the trouble I make a lot at once and freeze it in smaller batches of either cups or pints, depending on what containers I have not in use.

In case anyone here doesn't know the difference, let me clear up one thing- the difference between beef broth and beef stock. My neighbor came by yesterday and said something smelled good. I told her I was making beef stock. She asked why I didn't just buy the canned broth in the grocery store- it's the same thing. I beg to differ. I'm not saying that beef broth can't be good in and of itself, but beef stock just has more depth of flavor and richness to it. The difference is that the bones are roasted along with the vegetables before being simmered in stock. Broth is made by just simmering beef and bones in water with the seasonings. Once you try it, you'll see what I mean. So here's how it's done at my house.

Beef Stock


7 or 8 pounds of beef bones sawed into 2 or 3 inch pieces ( I go to one store here in town that cuts all their own meat and they will sell me bones with very little meat very cheaply. Another option is to ask for soup bones. Most meat departments will sell them to you, if they have access to a meat saw)

2 large onions, cut in quarters ( don't bother to peel- the peel adds flavor and color, and gets strained out at the end)
2 stalks of celery with the leaves, cut in thirds
2 large carrots cut into thirds
1 leek, split down the middle, cleaned and then cut into halves
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and chopped in half
8 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme

tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
8 quarts of water

Note: Almost every recipe I see has more pepper than mine and salt. I prefer to keep the pepper lighter and omit the salt until I'm actually going to use the stock in a recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 350

Spread the bones in a roasting pan in one layer. place in the oven and roast for one hour, turning bones over after the first thirty minutes. Take out of the oven and turn over again, and lightly spread tomato paste over the bones. Add the vegetables on top, up the oven to 400 degrees, and roast all till the bones and vegetables are browned, about thirty to forty minutes, depending on your oven. The longer the roasting time without burning anything, the more depth of flavor!

When bones and veggies are brown, place the pan on the stove top of medium heat and use the wine to deglaze the pan and get all the bits of flavor stuck to the bottom. Place all in a large stock pot ( I use a large canner for this.) Add 8 quarts of water. Bring all to a low boil, turn heat down to a simmer, and let simmer lightly for about four hours, or until reduced a bit. I guage the reduction by when the water level in the pot has gone down an inch or a little more. At this point, I remove bones and veggies with a slotted spoon and discard. Simmer for at least another hour to reduce the stock more. Then strain it. When cool enough, place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, the fat will have congealed on top, and is easily removed. Yes, low carbers, I do remove the fat, because I prefer to add fat to the stock when making various recipes. I then freeze it in containers of either one cup or pints, ready for use in many recipes.

I know this sounds like a lot to make beef stock, but when you do you will see it's worth the taste and you deserve it! I save stock making for a day when there isn't a lot of running to do (preferably rainy and/or cold.) And there is absolutely nothing like the beef vegetable soup this will make for a cold day- talk about comfort food!

There are many variations to what veggies to use in the stock. Many people use a parsnip or two cut in big chunks, etc. Some totally omit the tomato paste and/or wine. This doesn not have a tomato flavor when done, but I think it adds flavor to the stock. If you don't want to use wine, deglaze with a cup of water.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Formula for Figuring LDL Courtesy of Dana Carpender

This morning, on our forum of Old Fat Ladies, I mentioned that most doctors have no idea of how LDL  is actually figured and that the lower our triglycerides go, the higher the LDL because of the formula. IF your triglycerides are above 100, the formula works pretty well, but if they go lower, the formula give false results.  Sooo, I went back to Dana's original blog post so you could read it for yourself and here is the quote. Verrry interesting!! You'll notice I copied and pasted the entire thing, just in case you want to read, but put the formula is in a different color for you.

Dr. Atkins Is Rolling In His Grave

Heck, he's on a freakin' rotisserie! Will the slanders and misuses of my hero's name ever stop? First it was all those people claiming to be "doing Atkins" when they hadn't read word one of the book and were just making it up as they went along. At the same time we had all the "journalists" who criticized the diet without bothering to read it either. (You could tell because they'd always claim that "The Atkins diet only allows 20 grams of carbohydrate a day!" as if Induction were the whole diet. Either that, or they'd call it a "no-carb" diet, or an "all-meat" diet.)
Then came the cries of "Oh, look, Dr. Eggs-and-Bacon had a heart attack!" when Dr. A suffered cardiac arrest because of viral cardiomyopathy. (Even the American Heart Association, no fan of the Atkins Diet, made a public statement that as far as they could determine Dr. Atkins' heart trouble had nothing to do with his diet.) And I've seen many claims online that Dr. Atkins' well-documented slip-and-fall head injury was a sham. Oh, no, they claim, he really died of a heart attack.
After that, the ghouls at the PETA-run "Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine" (an organization only 5% of which is made up of physicians) got a hold of Dr. Atkins' final medical records and claimed he'd been obese when he died, even though those same records showed he'd been a normal weight when admitted to the hospital -- he blew up cruelly with water due to steroids and intravenous fluids.
It was laughable in an ugly sort of a way. Dr. Atkins had been all over television in the last year of his life; had he been obese it would have been impossible to hide it. It's none of my business, and I'm certain that she had enough to cope with just handling the grief of widowhood, but I have cherished the hope ever since that Veronica Atkins sued the ever-loving crap out of the doctor who made her husband's confidential medical records public.
Six years after his death, the indignities continue. Have you heard about "Eco-Atkins?"
It just irritates the life out of the low fat faithful, and especially the moral vegetarians that, despite dire predictions, the Atkins diet, replete with animal fat and cholesterol, not only doesn't cause sky-high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, etc, but actually improves risk factors more than a low fat diet does. Yep, Atkins consistently eats the low fat diet's lunch (after discarding the bread) in tests of cardiovascular risk factors, dramatically lowering triglycerides, raising HDL cholesterol, and improving ratios all the way around. A low fat diet -- especially one based on carby stuff like whole grains and beans -- sometimes lowers total cholesterol a bit, but results in low HDL and high triglycerides.
So Professor David Jenkins of the University of Toronto decided to pick on LDL.
It is true that LDL does not generally drop tremendously on a low carb diet, and even occasionally appears to rise a bit. It is also true that the rise in HDL and the drop in triglycerides means that the all-important ratios improve dramatically; I am completely unconvinced that LDL, in and of itself, means much of anything.
More importantly, the rise in LDL is largely illusory. How is that? I only learned recently.
It turns out that LDL is seldom measured directly, because it is difficult and expensive to do so. Instead, LDL is calcuated. The formula used to calculate it is this: Total cholesterol - (HDL + triglycerides/5) = LDL. Apparently this is fairly accurate if triglycerides are above 100 and under 250.
However, low carb diets drop triglycerides to rock-bottom levels. It is not only common but usual for low carbers to have triglyceride levels well under 100. Last time I had mine tested they were at 39. Try that with a low fat, high carb diet! Our low triglycerides skew the results of this equation, leading to artificially high LDL numbers -- in those of us whose LDL goes up at all.
Indeed, on that same test where my triglycerides showed up at 39, my LDL was just a little high; my doctor expressed concern. I said, "You know and I know that that LDL is calculated by subtracting HDL and triglycerides divided by five from my total cholesterol. I could lower my LDL by raising my triglycerides..." She laughed and said, "Bad idea," and admitted I was right.
But Dr. Jenkins is fixated on LDL. His career has been built around the notion of using plant foods to lower LDL. Maybe it didn't occur to Dr. Jenkins that the LDL equation skews results for those of us with very low triglycerides. Maybe he's so invested in the idea that plant foods are the most important that he just couldn't accept the repeated clinical tests demonstrating not just the safety, but the superiority of the Atkins nutritional program. So he decided to come up with "better" version -- a version that would lower LDL. What did he devise? A "low carb" vegan diet.
I put "low carb" in quotes because this insult to Robert Atkins' memory actually includes a whopping 130 grams per day of carbohydrate. Jenkins did this because it's the minimum "recommended amount." In other words, he didn't really want to test a low carb diet, just a lower carb diet than the usual vegetarian grain-and-bean fest. And of course, it's hellishly hard to get enough food on a vegan diet without eating grains and beans. Anyway, Jenkins knows that whole grains are healthful, so he included some. Dr. Jenkins also lowered protein as compared to Dr. Atkins instructions; again, it's hard to get tons of protein on a vegan diet.
The protein in Jenkins' reduced carb vegan diet was largely derived from soy and gluten products, which were apparently used with abandon, despite being two of the foods most likely to cause sensitivities. Soy has plenty of problems, ranging from interfering with mineral absorption to messing with the thyroid gland to possibly causing cognitive decline. Gluten is implicated not only in gut disorders, but also in many autoimmune diseases. Still, apparently these were deemed safer than animal foods, because they don't have the eeeevul saturated animal fat.
This lower-carb vegan diet was tested against a standard high carb vegetarian diet, rather than against the actual Atkins diet. Unsurprisingly, the diet with fewer carbs did give better results than the diet with more carbs. LDL was lowered a bit. This says exactly nothing about the Atkins diet.
I don't grudge Dr. Jenkins his study. I think a diet based on soy and gluten is potentially dangerous, but clearly he disagrees with me, and he's got the right to explore the various permutations of that. Dr. Atkins thought, and I agree, that animal fats were healthful, and dietary cholesterol a non-issue. Again, Dr. Jenkins clearly disagrees, and he has the right to base his studies on his perceptions, although he does seem to be trying to prove what he already believes, rather than to find out anything new.
I object very much, however, to the appellation "Eco-Atkins." This sort of coat-tail riding is particularly offensive when the diet so called is antithetical to most of Bob Atkins wrote, said, and promoted.
Too, the name suggests a whole different motivation than health, doesn't it? It's not "Healthier Atkins" or "Vegan Atkins" or "LDL-Lowering Atkins." No, they're calling it "Eco-Atkins." The whole thing smacks strongly of ecological guilt-tripping.
I try to be at least moderately ecologically conscious, but I draw the line at eating a diet that makes me fat, sick and tired in the name of living green. Further, I deny that livestock agriculture has to be terribly ecologically damaging. A return to grass-fed and pasture-raised meats would do much to reduce the ecological impact of meat and egg farming, be kinder to the animals, and produce nutritionally superior food, to boot. It is factory farming and feedlot stuffing of animals that causes most of the impact, not the simple existence of livestock.
But I digress. My point is that the diet in this study, touted in the press as a "healthier form of Atkins," has not been demonstrated to be healthier than Atkins, only healthier than the supposedly wonderful, heart-healthy, grain-and-bean diet of your average vegetarian. It pirates Dr. Atkins name, while promoting something antithetical to his work. And it appears to have actually been aimed at something other than improving health in the first place.
If your diet is so great, let it find an audience on its own merits. Don't try to gain an audience by stealing the name of my hero to promote something that would have drawn only derision from the man.

One other note here- Dana Carpender is kind of a hero figure to me. I have found her research to be generally flawless, and if she does discover a small error, she corrects it immediately. So, her info can be trusted!

Shrimp and Scallop Alfredo over Dreamfields Linguine

This is my take on a seafood Alfredo that is to die for! I think any seafood could be used or even chicken just as easily. And for all you doubting Thomases, contrary to what some restaurant chefs do to cut down cooking time, there is no reason on earth to use thickeners such as corn starch in the sauce! It comes out perfectly smooth, thick, rich and decadent!

Note: Cook the Dreamfields Pasta separately in boiling water and add to the dish at the last minute. If this pasta is cooked in a sauce, it loses its low carb properties.


1 1/2 to 2 pounds peeled medium shrimp and bay scallops, equal amounts of each ( or seafood of your choice)
1 stalk of celery
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic finely diced
2 Tablespoons chopped parsely (I use Italian, but French will do as well)
1/2 packet Goya Saxon
1 chicken bouillon cube ( never broth- broth makes a watery sauce)
Olive Oil
1 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 to 1/2 cups grated cheese of your choice -(parmesan is great, but a little pricey, so I buy an Italian grated mix, easily available and infinitely less expensive that plain parmesan you grate yourself!)
Salt and Pepper to taste (please only after your sauce is made and tasted- a little pepper may be all it needs!)

About 10 ounces dry Dreamfields linguine

Note: Dry the scallops on paper towels before cooking, so they will not add moisture to the sauce. If using frozen scallops, toss the small amount of liquid in the bag into your sauce- will just add more flavor.


Finely dice celery, onion and garlic. Gently heat 1 Tablespoon Butter and 1 Tablespoon Olive oil in a saute' pan. When it is hot gently saute these ingredients till the onion is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic! Remove from heat and transfer the vegetables to a paper towel to drain with a slotted spoon. Place the same pan back on the heat, add more butter and oil if needed, heat once more and put the seafood and parsely  in and saute' gently just till the shrimp is turning pink on each side. Mussels will be lightly browned and translucent when done. Immediately drain the seafood on paper towels, so it doesn't over cook!

In the same pan, add the half and half, heavy cream and one more Tablespoon of butter. GENTLY simmer for about five minutes till you see slight thickening, then add cheese and stir till melted. If the sauce is not as thick as you want, add more grated cheese in little increments til nice and thick. Add seafood back in and just keep on the heat till it is heated through. Toss in cooked linguine and use tongs to mix it all well. Serve immediately.

That's it folks. To make my life easier, I chop the veggies before hand and have the shrimp peeled. This can be done the day before and stored in baggies in the fridge.

General Sound-off to Rachel Ray and the Food Network!

Good morning all,

It's been a whole week since I worked on this blog. Life seemed to get in the way for a while! But, this morning, I got a pot of beef stock going (recipe later), and turned on the Food Network just in time to catch Rachel Ray's "Thirty Minute Meals."  She was making yet another high carb pasta dish, and started sounding off about how glad she was that the country got off it's low carb kick. She started running three miles a day just so she could eat pasta.

Well, Rachel, I have to tell you- the country is NOT OFF its low carb kick!! Not all of us can run three miles a day, much less three blocks! Those of us nearly double your age exercise as we can, but running is not possible or even good for us! And not all of us in danger of diabetes necessarily want to take more insulin to combat carbs, or even oral medication, when it can be completely avoided by low-carbing it!

I admit I do adapt some of Rachel's recipes to a low carb version and she is certainly talented, But I do hate it when someone makes such a comment to SUCH a devoted audience who obviously believe her word about carbs is gospel! There, I've said my piece.

To a happier note, it is possible to eat pasta- Dream Fields Pasta has discovered a way to make it low carb. I eat it a couple or three times a week now in this stage of the Atkins WOE, and have lost each week I ate it. My portions are moderate and I don't eat seconds, and it doesn't cause cravings. And the great thing is I found it locally at Wal Mart- surely, if you don't live on an ice berg, you have a store reasonably close to you?? And it is much less expensive than buying it online. 

When you get the time, take a gander at my version of shrimp and mussel alfredo over Dream Fields linguine. I definitely think this recipe could be used as well for chicken.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Peanuts- To Eat or Not??

Hi, everyone! I have been reading through a lot of the posts on Dana Carpender's blog today and came across this one on peanuts. Thought it might be an interesting read for those of you who have added a few legumes to your low carb way of life!

We Are Sad Now

You may recall that a few weeks ago I said that if you wanted to make That Nice Boy I Married sad, you would throw away egg yolks. I'm afraid something else has come to my attention that makes him and me sad, both, and will likely sadden you as well: Apparently peanuts are atherogenic. In other words, cause plaques in arteries. It is to weep.
There is some debate on what, exactly, in peanuts causes arterial lesions. Some researchers blame it on the fats in peanut oil. This article starts with the chilling words, The atherogenicity of peanut oil is well established... In an interesting side note, in this study, a comparison of the atherogenic effects of olive oil and peanut oil in rabbits, olive oil-fed rabbits had higher levels of fat in the blood and liver, but less arterial damage, another arrow pointing away from blood cholesterol as the cause of heart disease.
However, the chief suspect is lectins , toxic substances found in many plant foods. Apparently the lectin in peanut oil attacks the arteries. I am reminded, unhappily, of a comment made by Kurt Harris MD, of the wonderful PaleoNu blog, that he preferred to eat animals rather than plants, because animals stopped fighting back once you'd killed them. Plant toxins, on the other hand, while some can to be reduced by various cooking and processing techniques, tend to persist.
Anyway, this is very sad news, especially for That Nice Boy I Married, who is deeply, deeply devoted to peanut butter. I only hope I can get him to shift his affections over to almond butter; we'll see. I doubt we'll stop eating peanuts entirely, but our consumption will definitely drop, and I'll be far less likely to use peanuts or peanut butter in recipes.
And now I need to try making Cocoa-Almond Porkies.

Gelatin for Restoring Joint Pain and Increasing Health

Hi everyone. I have finally made it back to the blog after a few days. Our OFL Doreen has just posted some info we can all use about gelatin- plain old Knox gelatin. I'm so glad for this reminder, as I had experience with it years ago when my father was on chemotherapy. He got gelatin sprinkled on everything I cooked for him and never knew it. But it helped amazingly with restoring his strength and decreasing his pain! 

Doreen has also given us two links to Dana Carpenter's comments on gelatin. I just read them and they have convinced me to buy gelatin today and get on a regimen of it. If you haven't read Dana's blog, it is worth the read! She is a low carb guru and cookbook author. 

So, thanks Doreen for the info!

Gelatin and Joint Pain

Joint pain is caused by injury or diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Joint pain can make even the simplest tasks difficult and painful. There are just as many treatments as there are cures for joint pain. One such treatment includes gelatin.
Gelatin has a structure similar to collagen that makes up connective tissues in the body, including cartilage. Cartilage helps the muscles and joints move freely and smoothly. When cartilage becomes damaged and rough, pain follows.
Arthritis and wear and tear on the joints and muscles can damage and break down cartilage and cause pain. Gelatin may help prevent the breakdown, and repair the damage in joints.
Gelatin supplements can help alleviate joint pain, muscle soreness and stiffness in athletes. A study done by Ball State University's Human Performance Laboratory showed gelatin reduced pain and helped promote healthy joints.
Protects Bones
Gelatin's high concentration of glycoprotein and proline amino acids make it a great protector for the body's bones. A deficiency in both these amino acids can cause joint pain.

Health Benefits:

•Gelatin appears to be beneficial to athletes for muscle growth and metabolism.
•Gelatin promotes a feeling of fullness.
•Gelatin helps maintain regularity
•Gelatin's high collagen protein content helps keep your skin smooth and firm. Many creams contain collagen to moisturize the skin but it is more effective when taken through food.
•Gelatin strengthens the hair, keeping it looking shiny and healthy.
•Gelatin is also excellent for the nails because it makes them stronger, so they do not break easily.
•Gelatin is excellent for your bones because of its high concentration of glycoprotein and proline amino acids. If you have a deficiency in both amino acids, you can have joint pain. When it is taken orally, it travels directly to your blood and from there; it goes to its destination, the connective tissue. By adding at least 10 grams of gelatin to your regular diet, your joints will quickly regenerate in case you overexert yourself.

Nutrient in Gelatin: Gelatin is rich in the amino acids found in collagen, including L-proline, L-hydroxyproline, and glycine. It contains no fat, cholesterol or carbohydrates, is free of any additives and easy to digest. Gelatin makes a nutritious addition to your everyday diet.

Culinary uses: Gelatin is used mostly as a stabilizer and thickening agent in desserts, ice cream, jellies and yogurt, cream cheese, marshmallows, gummy bears, aspic and margarine. Gelatin is also used now in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals

Important note: Don't pour gelatin directly onto a boiling liquid, as it loses its gelatinous property.

Also read:

and then read

I'll keep you posted on how I do on it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pollo Alla Cacciatora -Chicken cacciatora

My  cousin has just returned from 12 days mostly spent in the Tuscany region of Italy.  He came back totally enthralled with the food there! It seems to be mostly Atkins friendly and very healthy. They do eat pasta, but that region of Italy has one of the lowest rates of heart disease anywhere! He came back armed with luscious premesan and other cheeses bought dirt cheap, and recipes galore! I can hardly wait for the Tuscan cookbook he bought for me to arrive!

Anyway, he has already tried Pollo alla cacciatora since getting home, and said it was really delicious and easy to make. So, here it is:

Pollo alla cacciatora - Chicken cacciatora.
4 or 5 chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk of celery thinly sliced
1 carrot diced
4 or 5 very ripe tomatoes or 7 or 8 Roma tomatoes chopped into medium dice 
Handful of pitted black olives, sliced.
2 or 3 cloves of garlic finely diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil.

Sautee the vegetables all together in a medium skillet (except tomatoes.) When the vegetables begin to soften, add tomatoes and simmer gently until a little thickened. (20 to 30 minutes)until a sauce has been made. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and arrange in a baking dish oiled with more olive oil. Pour the sauce over the chicken to coat it. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about one hour. Makes very tender fall of the bones chicken with a nice sauce for pasta, if you are eating any pasta. You can shave some parmesan over the top at the last if you wish.

Breading Report Courtesy of Becky

Well, I haven't been here for a couple of days, so I'll attempt to catch up today! Seems the ladies on our forum are always coming up with wonderful ideas to keep our eating varied and delicious! Becky made eggplant fried with a flax seed meal breading with parmesan and herbs last night. Also, chicken strips breaded in the flax seed meal. She reports that it turned out really delicious!

So, I've already picked fresh eggplant today and plan to make eggplant parmesan tonight. I like to fry the eggplant slices very crispy with egg and flour breading before layering. This time I'll substitute the flax seed meal for the flour. How bad can that be? 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Comfort Food! Beef Veggie Stew courtesy of Florence

Our Florence just posted this stew on our forum. It sounds scrumptious! I think you could use whatever veggies are plentiful in this and it would work. Sounds like real comfort food!

Beef Veggie Stew

1 lb round steak, cut in thicker strips
2 cups cubed yellow or zucchini squash
1/2 lg onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup diced canned tomatoes, fresh would also work
1 cup beef broth or red wine (I used wine, lovely!)
olive oil
1/2 T Italian Seasoning (I was out of rosemary, or would have used that)
salt, pepper to taste

Brown the beef and garlic in olive oil, add the rest and simmer 1 hr. This was sooo good, the family enjoyed it with garlic mashed potatoes from the garden, I had it with some salad and a low carb zucchini muffin. Serves at least 6, inexpensive and low carb!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carb Krunchers

After Sharon reporting that she had found low carb bagels, my mouth was watering. I immediately looked for Carb Krunchers in stores, only to be disappointed! So, I turned to the ever-dependable internet and there was a site for Carb Krunchers! They also have breads, brownies, hot dog and hamburger rolls. At last, a way to have a bagel or sandwich without blowing your carbs for the day! Here's the site:

Determining Hidden Carbs in Labeled Foods courtesy of Doreen

Good morning. After Doreen's excellent two posts with info about hidden carbs in common foods, she has found a site which will help you determine hidden carbs in foods with a label! I do know in the United States, a food with less than .5 gms of a substance, such as carbs, can be listed as no carbs! So, experiment around with this- you might find a few surprises! I never knew coffee had any carbs, until Doreen set me straight! Here is the site:

Hi Ladies! I just found this on a site, it shows you any hidden carbs. You just need the Nutrition Facts label and enter it in.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

ATTENTION! All Low-Carbing Bagel Lovers!

For all of you low-carb eating bagel lovers, who have given them up, I have wonderful news for you, courtesy of Sharon, our sweet friend from Israel! She has found some with only 5.7 net carbs- can you imagine! Most I see are 40 carbs or above. wow! Here is her take on these:

Now then: your Low Carb Consumer Reporter is here to say -- remember last month I asked if anyone had tried the Carb Krunchers low carb bagels? Well, now I have and they are dynamite!! 5.7 net carbs. I tried the sesame kind yesterday morning with sun dried tomato cream cheese and the pumpernickel this morning with butter, cheddar cheese and veggies, and they are really worth being super-careful about carbs the rest of the day.

Another thing I have tried recently is the ChocoPerfection bars -- 2 net carbs, sweetened with erythritol, which is the sweetener that's in stevia. I tried the Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar, which had a faintly waxy, bubble-gummy taste to it so I won't be buying it again, and the Dark European Chocolate bar, which is almost as good as the real thing, so I'll only buy one a week -- it's almost twice as many calories as an Atkins bar. Neither flavor gave me the bad reaction ("runs" and/or gas) that maltitol chocolate gives me.

Any ladies who have dropped a bra size and are replacing their bras (I just did) would do well to consider -- you buy 5 bras and get a coupon for a free one!

And that will be all for today's Low Carb Consumer Reporter. Stay tuned for another exciting installment whenever I get some more facts to tell you all about ;-)

Hidden Carbs- Part II- Beverages Courtesy of Doreen

(Part 2)
Beverages - many beverages we think of as being "free" in fact have carbs in them

- Coffee, both regular and decaf. - 0.8 gm per 6 fl oz; 1.3 gm per 10 oz mug
- Tea, black and green varieties - zero carbs
- Herbal teas - zero to 0.5 carbs, fruit-based are higher
- Diet soft drinks - in general are zero carbs, but check the label carefully. Some fruit-flavoured varieties do have a small amount of carbs, which could add up if you consume a lot.
- Diet fruit drink mixes, eg. Crystal Light - 0.2 gm per 8 fl.oz serving
Seasonings & Condiments - generally, we know that "sweet" sauces and syrups are high in carbs, but there are a few items which we use as dressings, seasonings and flavourings that are higher in carbs than you might expect.

- Herbs - most green herbs from the leaf (basil, mint, oregano, tarragon, etc....) are less than 1 gm per tsp dried, or 2 Tbsp of the chopped fresh herb
- Spices - from the dried root, seed or bark (cinammon, ginger, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cloves, etc....) are 1 gm per tsp of the ground spice
blended spices, such as curry powder, chili powder, Chinese 5-spice, garam masala, pie spice, etc - have 1 gm per tsp
- Vanilla, and other flavour extracts (almond, orange, etc) - 0.5 gm per tsp
- Garlic, fresh, 1 large clove or 1 tsp minced - 1.0 gm; garlic powder, 1 tsp - 2.3 gm
- Ginger root, fresh - 1 Tbsp grated has 1 gm carb
- Vinegar - most vinegars are zero carb - white, cider and wine; balsamic vinegar is 2.0 gm per Tbsp
- Hot sauces - most hot pepper sauces are zero (Tabasco, Red Hot), but beware some varieties such as Jamaican, Trinidad and Cajun style have sugar added. Read labels carefully.
- Bouillon cubes and powders - most commercially available products contain sugar and/or corn syrup. Check the label. One packet or 1/2 cube = 1 carb gm
- Lemon and lime juice, fresh or bottled, 1 Tbsp = 1.0 gm; dried grated rind, 1 tsp = 1.0 gm
- Soy sauce - 0.5 gm per tsp
- Mustard - most plain and dijon prepared mustards are less than 0.5 carb per tsp; beware "honey" varieties, and Russian sweet mustard at 2.0 gm per tsp
- Mayonnaise - most regular real mayonnaise is less than 0.5 gm per Tbsp. Beware the light mayo - 1.0 gm per Tbsp and ultra-low fat at 3.0 to 4.0 gm per Tbsp

Also remember that if a product is under .45g it is rounded to 0g on some nutrition fact labels.

I am finding most of this info on , so thank you's to them!

Hidden Carbs

Our sweet Doreen has been doing some research along for all us low carbers, and you might be amazed at the subject of hidden carbs! I am a retired executive chef and took all kinds of food science courses, but her information actually taught me some stuff I never knew anything about! Have a read- it's worth it. Here is Part I:

(Part 1)

We all know to avoid sugars and starches, and any foods made with them, such as breads and pasta, candy, baked goodies, ice cream, chips, soda pop, etc. And we know to avoid the obvious natural foods which are sweet and/or starchy - fruit and juice, potatoes, corn, kidney beans, etc. But there are some less obvous sources of carbohydrates, both natural and processed.

Meats, Poultry, Fish & Seafood - most deli-style meats, meat loaves, ham, corned beef, bacon and sausages have sugar and/or starch filler added. Check the carb count on the label. Some are very low, 1 gram or less per serving, but some are much higher. Beware of the "lowFAT" and "ultra lean" processed meat, weiners, etc. They will definitely have starches added. Many canned fish products have sugar and/or starch added sauces. Also, some meats and seafood are high in carbs in their natural state!

- Kidney - per 4 oz cooked: 1.1
- Liver - per 4 oz cooked: beef - 8.9 gm; veal/calf - 3.1 gm; chicken - 1.0
- Seafood - 4 oz cooked: clams - 5.8; crabmeat (natural) - 0 to 1.0; crabmeat (imitation "surimi") - 12.0 to 15.0; lobster - 1.5; mussels - 8.4; oysters - 8.0; scallops - 2.5; shrimp - 1.0
- Eggs - one large chicken egg has 0.6 gm carbs. Cholesterol-reduced egg substitutes have 1.0 gm per 1/4 cup liquid.

Dairy Products - all dairy products contain some carbs.
Milk has 11.0 to 14.0 gm per 8 fl oz. (lower fat content = higher carbs). Cream also has carbs, again lower fat = higher carbs.
All types of cheese have some carbs, as well as cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt. Beware of the "light" and "ultra-low fat" types of dairy products; these definitely have starches used as fillers.
- Cream - per Tbsp (15 ml) : half & half 10% - 0.6gm; table 18% - 0.5 gm; heavy whipping 35% - 0.4 gm
- Non-dairy coffee whitener - per level tsp : regular - 1.0 gm; light - 2.0 gm
- Cheese - per 1 oz : cheddar, swiss, etc - 1.0 gm; process slices - 2.0 gm; "light" process slices - 3.0; grated parmesan, per Tbsp - 0.4 gm
- Cheese spread ("cheezwhiz") per Tbsp : regular - 1.0 gm; light - 1.5 gm
- Cream cheese - per Tbsp : regular - 0.6 gm; light - 1.0 gm; ultra-low fat 2.0
- Sour cream - per Tbsp : regular 14% - 0.6 gm; light 5% - 1.0 gm; ulta-low fat - 2.0 gm
- Cottage cheese - per 1/2 cup : 4% - 4.0; 2% - 5.0 gm; 1% - 6.0 gm; non-fat - 7.0 gm
- Ricotta - per 1/2 cup : regular - 3.8 gm; light - 6.0 gm
- Yogurt, plain - per 1/2 cup : 3.5% - 6.0 gm; 2% - 7.0 gm; fat-free - 8.0 gm

Part 2 to follow

Cheese Crackers Courtesy of Doreen

For quite a while now, I have been looking around for a good recipe for cheese crackers or even any crackers than didn't break the carb bank! Doreen found this one, and was going to try it yesterday and report back. I'm posting it anyway, and will give a followup soon.

Sunflower Cheddar Crackers
(from 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender)
1 1/2 Cups raw, shelled sunflower seeds
1 1/2 Cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 Cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. In a food processor with the S blade attached, grind the sunflower seeds to a fine meal.
3. Add the cheddar and salt, and pulse the processor six to eight times to blend. Add the water, and pulse until a dough ball forms.
4. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Turn the dough out onto the parchment and cover with another sheet of parchment.
5. Through the top parchment, use your hands to press the dough into as thin and even a sheet as you can. Get it quite thin - the thinner, the better, so long as there are no holes in the dough. Peel off the top sheet of parchment. Sprinkle a little salt over the surface and gently press it into place. Use a thin, sharp, straight-bladed knife or a pizza cutter to score the dough into squares or diamonds.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes. Flip on rack and peel off parchment, break along the scored lines, and let the crackers cool. Store them in a container with a tight lid.

Yield: About 6 dozen crackers, each with 1 gram carbs and 0.5 grams fiber, for a total of 0.5 net carbs and 1 gram protein.

Variations - instead of cheddar add sesame seeds, (same as above)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sugar Alcohols courtesy of Doreen

There has been quite a bit of discussion and/or controversy concerning whether or not sugar alcohols should be counted as carbs. Bless you Doreen! You found the info for us and all in one spot!

Maltitol, Sorbitol and Other Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols - also called polyols - are a class of carbohydrate that are neither sugars nor alcohols. This group includes maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, lactitol, and hydrolysed starch hydrolysates (HSH). These popular sugar substitutes provide the bulk and sweetness of sugar and corn syrup, but are incompletely absorbed in the intestine. Thus they provide fewer calories and carbs than sugar, and result in a much slower, and smaller rise in blood sugar and insulin. They are generally recognised as safe for diabetics to consume for this reason, and products sweetened with these products may legally be labelled "sugar-free" in both Canada and the US. Sugar alcohols do not promote oral bacteria, and xylitol in fact inhibits bacterial growth, thus do not cause tooth decay.

There is a great deal of confusion about whether or not these products provide carbohydrates, and how they should be counted toward a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Some authorities say they provide zero carbs because they are not absorbed. Others, such as Diabetic Associations across North America, are taking a more cautious stand. Currently, food labelling regulations in Canada and US do not require (yet) including maltitol et al in the Total Carbohydrate data of the nutrients list. However, the amount must be listed in the ingredients panel.

So how do you count them in your carb budget for the day? Some say 0 carbs, so just go by the label and only count the carbs from any sugar or starch in the food. Others, such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, recommend counting the full amount as carbohydrate grams, especially for patients using carb-counting for insulin dosage and insulin pumps. Still others take a median approach, and suggest counting each gram of maltitol as 0.5 carb grams.

All authorities recommend using caution and definitely moderation is key. Because they are not completely absorbed in the bowel, they have a nasty reputation of holding onto water, and promoting diarrhea, gas and bloating. This is politely termed the "laxative effect". Sorbitol and mannitol are the worst offenders, maltitol and lactitol less so. The label should indicate the serving size. This is the amount considered safe to eat before the laxative effect takes over. So beware that overeating these foods can have serious effects. Especially for children, who of course will experience the effect from an even smaller amount.

Many low carbers enjoy an occasional chocolate bar or candy sweetened with one of the sugar alcohols, and find there is no effect on their weight loss or ketosis. Some do find it will put them in a stall. Others find they definitely experience a blood sugar "rush" from eating even a small amount. For a few, the laxative effect is pronounced, and even a small amount will trigger unpleasant symptoms. This is definitely a case of YMMV (your mileage may vary). For some low carbers, planning for one of these treats now and then helps to stave off cravings for serious carb binges. Indeed, even at full count, a 40 gram chocolate bar sweetened with maltitol has an average of 12 carb grams, as opposed to regular plain chocolate with 25 carbs in a similar sized bar. Just beware that they can also trigger the sweet cravings you hope to avoid.