Saturday, December 30, 2006

Country Cooking: Meatloaf, Mashed Taters, Cornbread - Total 12.6 Net Carbs

My wife and I had a great low-carb meal tonight. It's a low-carb version of typical Southern comfort food. This post can serve as an example of a good low-carb meal.


Meatloaf. 3.6 net grams per serving.

The main dish is meatloaf. This recipe makes 8 servings. I ate two servings. We could have made the meatloaf with lower carbs by leaving out the bread crumbs and onion soup mix, but it wouldn't be quite as good.

Ingredients:
Spray on Pam
1 slice low carb/low calorie bread (7 net carbs)
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix (16 net carbs)
2 eggs
6 T. Heinz "1 carb" Ketchup (6 net carbs)


Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bread with Pam then toast. Crumble bread and tear into tiny pieces. In large bowl, mix all ingredients, reserving 2 T. Heinz low-carb ketchup. Shape into loaf in casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes. Add 2 T. ketchup to top of meatloaf. Bake another 15 minutes.


Cornbread. 5 net grams per serving.

Yes, that's right, low-carb cornbread! Our cornbread was an experiment that turned out exceptionally well. This recipe makes 12 servings. We always cook cornbread in a cast iron skillet. The trick to making the outside crispy is to put the oil in the pan and pre-heat in the oven while mixing the batter. Once again, we used the "hood" diet beverage instead of cream. This can be found at most grocery stores next to the milk. This recipe also uses Carbquik which is like low-carb bisquik. This recipe doesn't have the typical Carbquik/Bisquik funky flavor. Carbquik can be purchased online. We buy it at netrition.com (Please let me know if you know of anywhere cheaper to buy Carbquik). Another not typical ingredient is crude wheat bran which is also called "unprocessed wheat bran". I had to hunt all over town before finally finding this at a local Kroger on the nutrition isle. Don't skip the crude wheat bran as I feel it is what makes this recipe so good. Crude wheat bran makes for a good, gritty cornmeal-like texture.

Ingredients:
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. self-rising cornmeal
1 c. carbquik
1/4 c. Crude Wheat Bran
1/8 c. soy protein powder (optional)
1/4 c. hood calorie countdown dairy beverage
water

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put oil in skillet and place in oven. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add Hood. While stirring, add water gradually until moist with a consistency of thick pancake batter (sorry, we didn't measure it). Remove pan from oven, pour batter into pan with hot oil. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


Mashed Taters. 4 net carbs per serving.

The potatoes are by Dixie Carb Counters and called "Instant Mashers". We buy our "Instant Mashers" from netrition.com. These potatoes have 4 net grams of carbs per serving and are not half bad. The preparations are pretty much the same as regular instant mashed potatoes.

The Timing Stinks

It seems that every time I get over a plateau and start losing weight, a holiday comes. I keep taking my "days off" just as the weight begins coming off. My wife and I took 3 days at Christmas to eat whatever we wanted. I've just about lost what I gained from 3 days of gluttony. Tomorrow is New Years Eve. We've decided to take it off and possibly the 1st. The result is that this month, I have very little to show in the way of diet results. But, next month will be back to the diet full-time.

FYI - I weigh and measure every Sunday. I post the results every four weeks.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies - 1.6 net grams each

Wow! Low carb chocolate chip cookies and boy are they good. Unfortunately, I can't post the recipe because I pulled it from a book. But, I can share the book name with you... The Low-Carb Comfort Food Cookbook by Mary Dan M.D. Eades, Michael R. M.D. Eades, and Ursula Solom. These are the same people who brought us the book Protein Power Life Plan which is what I have loosely based my diet on.

I think I can use this recipe as a springboard to all kinds of variations. For example, I'm thinking of replacing the walnuts with peanuts, dropping the chips, and adding cocoa powder (might adjust other dry ingredients). This would then become a low-carb version of a family favorite called "chocolate drop cookies". I'll let you know how it works out if I try it one of these days.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Human Gut Microbes

A new study shows that bacteria in your digestive track affect how many calories your body can "harvest" from the foods you eat. Certain bacteria will allow the body to absorb and utilize more or less calories. An experiment was done where they took bacteria from an obese mouse and put it into a thin mouse's stomach. The result was that within two weeks, the thin mouse had put on extra weight. This means that it may be possible to regulate body weight by adjusting the levels of certain bacteria. It also helps to explain why two people may have the same body type but one can eat much more than the other without gaining weight.

To avoid copyright infringement, I am posting the links, not the actual article and video.

Academic Video: http://www.nature.com/nature/videoarchive/gutmicrobes/index.html

AP Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061220/ap_on_he_me/diet_obesity_microbes_1

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Double Chin Goes Away



This picture was taken Sept. 30th, almost 3 months ago. Notice the double chin. It's gone now!

Over the Plateau

The last few days, I've been getting that icky taste in mouth that I have come to associate with rapid weight loss. It's the result of too many ketones floating around in my blood. Ketones are produced when the body burns fat. If you are losing weight quickly and not drinking enough water, they come out in your breath.

This morning, I weighed only 280. I've lost the 4 pounds that I was hoping to lose before year-end. So, I guess I'll stick with the diet. I'm not sure why the weight is coming off again. The changes that I have made this week are as follows:

  1. Remember to take vitamins. I take a handful of vitamins which will be the subject of a future post. I think the Chromium is key.
  2. Eat bigger breakfast. I'd gotten in the habit of just eating low-carb yogurt or sugar-free tapioca pudding. I think that going without breakfast may put the body into starvation mode.
  3. Lay off the sugar alcohols. While I've been counting half the carbs from sugar alcohols, I wonder if my body is more efficient at digesting them than the average person? This one's been tough as I really love the Breyer's carb-smart rocky road ice cream.

I'm not sure which of these factors was key in my weight starting to come off again. My wife had also plataued. She has not yet started losing again. She's not been eating the sugar alcohols either. Her vitamin usage is spotty and I think she's not been eating enough for breakfast. So perhaps #1 was not the cause. This leaves 2 & 3.

BTW, today for breakfast, I ate 2 eggs, 4 bacon, and low-carb toast with melted pepper jack cheese. Now that I work from home, it is much easier to take the time to cook.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Better Carbquik Pot Pie - 5 1/2 net carbs per serving

There's a recipe on the Carbquik box for pot pie that has a total of 50 grams of net carbs. My version has only 35 total net carbs and tastes much better. It requires very little preparation but cooks for 30 minutes. My recipe calls for "Hood calorie countdown". Locally, it is carried in most grocery stores, next to the milk. If you don't have any Hood, you can substitute a mixture of half heavy cream & half water (roughly the same number of net carbs as Hood but not as good).

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 13 oz. can of chicken
2 c. Frozen Broccoli (thawed)
1 c. Cheddar Cheese
1 can Campbells mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Carbquik
1/2 c. Hood Calorie Countdown dairy beverage
1 egg.

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In casserole dish, mix chicken (including the can's liquids), broccoli, cheese, soup, salt, and pepper. In large bowl, stir Carbquik, Hood (or cream/water mix), and egg. Spread Carbquik batter on top of chicken-broccoli mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Plateaus and Rocky Road

I have lost the weight from Thanksgiving but seem to not be losing anything else for now. I peed on a ketostix yesterday and it showed a Ketone level of only 15 which is barely burning fat. I've been keeping my net carbs under 40 but have been indulging in Carbsmart rocky road ice cream. This is high in sugar alcohols of which I have been counting 1/2 the carbs of. I wonder if I'm burning more than 1/2 the carbs from sugar alcohols? I may need to back off of the deserts... I've also been forgetting to take my vitamins.

Yesterday, I ate 36 net carbs and remembered to take my vitamins. This morning, my ketostix read a whopping 50! I may be back on track. I wonder if the difference is the missing sugar alcohols or the vitamins? One of the vitamins I take is chromium. I've read that chromium is necessary for your body to break down fats... hmmmm... Maybe I can keep eating my Rocky Road?

I've also been slacking on my journal. I was writing down everything I ate so that when I plateau, I am able to determine the cause. So, I will once again begin making daily entries to track my foods and associated carbs. I'm hoping to lose at least 4 more pounds by year-end. If I do, I'll stick with the current low-carb diet. If not, I'll have to make some serious adjustments in order to lost the remaining 40 or so pounds.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

End of Week 16

My weight has gone up slightly this month. But, considering the amount of binge eating I did over Thanksgiving holidays, I guess I can't complain.

Detailed stats* (end of week 16):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 289 (was 286.6 week 12)
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 86.7
Lean Body Wt. .... From 201.6 to 202.3
Est. Body Fat: ..... From 40.2% to 30.7%
Waist: ................ From 56.5 to 49.5 inches (was 50.5 week 12)
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 50.5 inches* (was 51 week 12)
Forearm..............From 14.5 to 14

*Health Central's website, http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html, uses the Covert Bailey formula and came up with the value above, part way between the Navy and YMCA calculation. I know that none of these are accurate, but I don't have access to accurate measuring devices.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Working on Undoing Thanksgiving

I gained about 10 pounds over Thanksgiving. It took a whole week to burn it off. It feels that my weight loss is still slowing. I don't think the 9 day break has reset my body's defense to the low-carb diet. I'm going to give low-carb to the end of the year... after that I might have to try a low-calorie diet or serious exercise.

Monday, November 27, 2006

9 Day Thanksgiving Diet Vacation

I have just returned from our road trip. My wife and I departed from our diet for 9 days. She gained only about 5 pounds and I gained 10. I'm not sure how much is water. The key lesson that I have learned from this is that when I officially leave the diet, I should ease off of it rather than going cold-turkey back to my old lifestyle. Also, I am hoping that this break has reset my body's resistance to low-carbing so that I will realize the initial rapid weight loss often associated with the first few months of low-carbing. Only the next few weeks will tell.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pumpkin Cheesecake* - 5 net carbs per serving

If you like pumpkin pie and you like cheesecake, you'll love my pumpkin cheesecake! And, it's just in time for the holidays! The recipe is my own invention and I am extremely pleased with the result. The cheesecake turned out light and fluffy with no cracking. Because it is so light, I don't' think you would want to exclude the crust. The entire 10 inch cheesecake has 95.4 net carbs. For guilt free gluttony, split this into 12 generous portions for 8 net carbs per serving. Or, if you have a lot of other food for Thanksgiving, it can easily be cut into 20 pieces of 5 net carbs each. The best way to slice a cheesecake, by the way, is to use dental floss. Cheesecakes also freeze well. So, you can make this weeks in advance then thaw when you will have company.

Servings 20.

Crust Ingredients: (Total 15 net carbs)
1 cup Almond Meal
1 cup Soy Protein Powder
2 T. Splenda
1 stick of butter (slightly chilled)
1 egg white

Crust Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place almond meal, protein powder, Splenda, and butter in mixing bowl. Mix with pastry cutter until crumbly. If you don't have a pastry cutter, put it in a foodprocessor and barely process until crumbly. Press into bottom and sides of 10 inch springform pan. Brush with eggwhites. The eggwhites create a barrier that will keep the crust from getting soggy. Pre-bake for six minutes.

Filling Ingredients: (Total 80.4 net carbs)
2 1/2 pounds Philadelphia cream cheese at room temp.
1 c. Sugar Equivalent (I suggest 1 splenda quick pack)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks
3 T. vital wheat gluten
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground allspice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T. vanilla extract
1 can (1 pound) mashed pumpkin

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Splenda, eggs, and yokes. Mix until smooth then add vital wheat gluten, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Beat in cream and vanilla.Add mashed pumpkin. Beat on medium until mixed thoroughly. You will likely have to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Place pan full of water on bottom rack and cheesecake on middle rack. The water will increase the oven's humidity and help reduce the chance of cracking. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 275 then bake for another hour. Turn oven off and leave in oven to cool overnight. Do not open the oven door. Peaking could make the cheesecake cool too quickly and cause cracking. You can serve warm or chilled, with or without whipped cream. Enjoy!

*This recipe is the intellectual property of Big Daddy D, copyright 2006, 2007.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Plateau? Plus discovering new ingredients.

Today is the end of week 13.... I've actually gained 3 pounds this week. I have not cheated on the diet. I fear that my body has grown accustomed to the low-carb diet. However, my ketostix today showed a score of 30 which means that my body is still in ketosis, burning fat. So, I must assume that instead of gaining fat, I'm retaining water. Regardless, it is quite depressing.

I went shopping this weekend and bought lots of new ingredients to experiment with. I bought some soy protein powder, vital wheat gluten, and almond meal. This evening, I prepared a low-carb pumpkin cheesecake utilizing all three of these new ingredients. The recipe is completely of my own making. I just turned the oven off and am about to head to bed. The cheesecake will remain in the oven to cool overnight. It smells fantastic. If it is as good as I think it will be, this will be my low-carb masterpiece. I'll provide an update and recipe tomorrow, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Compliments and Upcoming Holidays

Yesterday, the lady who cuts my hair commented on how much weight I'd lost. She said I was looking very good. It's this sort of feedback that keeps me going.

During the week of Thanksgiving, my wife and I are taking our 6 month old son, Skylar, on a roadtrip. We will drive to Kansas so that he can meet his great-grandparents. Thanksgiving at home would not be much of a challenge. But, eating at relatives houses could be quite difficult as nobody would understand our dietary requirements. We are contemplating dropping the deit for the entire 9 days (from Saturday before to Sunday after). I'm a bit worried about how much weight I might gain back. But, at the same time, I wonder if returning to the diet after such a long break might result in the rapid weight loss usually experienced during the diet's first month. It might be just what I need to leave my plateau. Regardless, it'll be an interesting experiment to see how quick I might regain the weight and how quick I can re-lose it.

Monday, November 6, 2006

The Mrs.

The first 2 months that I was on this diet, my wife lost 10 pounds. She ate her normal breakfast and lunch but was eating my low-carb dinners. This along with my successful weight loss inspired her to officially join me. She has now been on the diet one month and has lost an additional 20 pounds. I've tried my best not to pressure her into dieting. But now that she's joined me, I'm doing my best to encourage her. Her mother has diabetes and this puts her at risk. I'm hoping the diet may avoid future medical problems. She now complains about her paints slipping down... I can't convince her to wear a belt. She's also re-discovering old favorite clothing that now fits again. She's already looking much thinner and healthier. I'm hoping we will celebrate in the spring with a beach vacation... her in a bikini and me in a speedo. Haha... my stretchmarks will be my badge of honor, telling the world about my successful weight loss!

Divine Low Carb Chili Verde - 4 net carbs per serving

Wow, this stuff is awesome! Chili verde is a thick stew with a South Western influence. It consists of pork, peppers, onion, and tomatillos. It's spiced with garlic, sage, oregano, and cumin. I got this recipe from another blog. The blogger's family history regarding this dish is a great read. There's no way I could do it justice here. So, rather than posting the recipe, I'm providing a link: http://thedivinelowcarb.blogspot.com/2006/10/chili-verde-meat-supreme.html.

The net carbs will vary depending on the type of peppers and beer you choose. I used some small sweet red peppers, green bells, and 6 Jalapenos. It was spicy but didn't burn. Also, for the beer, I used Micholob Ultra (2.6 carbs per bottle). In my carb calculation, I estimated 4 grams per cup. The author calculated about 1 1/2 per 1/2 cup.

I fixed this dish Saturday night and let it simmer in the crock pot overnight. My father, who has recently begun a low-carb diet came over for lunch. He liked it so much that he helped himself to a second big bowl.

Until this, I had never cooked nor eaten tomatillos. Tomatillos are small green tomato-like fruits wrapped in a leafy husk. I remember them growing wild in the wheat fields where I grew up. A friend used to pick them and bring them home to his mother to cook. Occasionally, I see them in stores. I've not purchased any because, until now, I didn't know what to do with them! Their flavor, to my surprise was not as much like green tomatoes as I had suspected. Instead, they have a fuity but not sweet flavor somewhat resembling a mild kiwi.

I strongly recommend this recipe and the blog from which it came.

Divine Low Carb Zucchini Cobbler - 9 net carbs per serving. (revised)

I borrowed this recipe from http://www.thedivinelowcarb.blogspot.com/. First of all, I consider this an excellent blog. I have tried two of her recipes, both of which turned out fabulous!

I like zucchini, but found this not to taste much like zucchini. Instead, it tastes exactly like apple pie. Lemon juice is cooked with the squash and gives it a slight tart flavor, not all that much different than a granny smith apple. I was able to utilize the last of my garden's fall zucchini. Cooking with home-grown veggies always pleases me. Unlike most zucchini recipes, I think this one would work best with larger overgrown squash. The recipe has one ingredient that you might have a hard time finding -- carbquik. I'm quickly becoming a big fan of carbquik and learning what it can do well and what it can't. I'm not great at following directions, so the recipe below is my version, with slightly different measurements and ingredients than that on "The Divine Low Carb" blog. My package of splenda says it has less than 1 carb per serving. I looked Splenda up online and found that it contains a whopping 24 grams per cup. So, I calculated the dish to have 72 net carbs total with 9 net carbs per serving.

Servings 8.

Crust & Topping Ingredients
1 2/3 c. carbquik.
2/3 c. sugar equiv. I used Splenda.
1 1/4 c. butter, slightly chilled. Not too hard not too soft.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Filling Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups zucchini - peal it, quarter, remove seeds and pulpy part, slice into 1/2 inch pieces, resembling apple slices. Next time, I may try doubling this ingredient.
Juice from 1 large lemon. Next time, I may also add 1/4 tsp. of zest.
1/2 c. sugar equiv.
1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 of the crust mix (see above).

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put zucchini and lemon juice in covered saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, place all crust ingredients in large bowl. With a pastry cutter, mix until crumbly (you could do this in a food processor, just don't over-do it). Return to the zucchini on the stove and while stirring, add cornstarch, splenda, and spices. Then mix in about 1/3 of the crust mix. You should now have a nice thick caramel like filling. Remove from heat. Grease 9 or 10 inch pie pan (I like the butter flavored Pam, but you could use actual butter). Press crust crumbs into dish, reserving enough for the topping. Add filling. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake 30 minutes. or until golden brown.

Aug 16, 2007 corrections are in blue.

Dixie Carb Counters Brownie Mix

About a week ago, I bought a bunch of different mixes made by Dixie Carb Counters. The best prices with lowest shipping rates that I could find was on netrition.com. I bought some more of the country biscuit mix, dinner roles, mashed potatoes, and brownie mix. I tried the brownie mix and it was excellent! I highly recommend it. The package says 1 net carb each. However, I cut mine much larger. For ten larger squares plus added ingredients (bakers chocolate, cream, etc), I calculated it to be 4 grams per piece. If you want to try these yummy low carb treats, jump this link: Dixie Carb Counters Brownie Mix.

Now that my wife and I are learning to cook comfort foods with low-carbs, I'm starting to wonder if we are developing bad habits that we'll have to break if and when we go off this diet.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

End of Week 12 Results

Week 12 has come to a close. I seem to have gotten over my plateau and am losing weight at a pretty good rate. I have lost 49.4 pounds and 6 inches off my waist since beginning the diet in August. However, I am still 46 pounds away from my goal of 240. According to the Covert-Baily formula, my lean body weight has dropped by 3.6 pounds. I am not going to let this bother me yet because I know that the formula is not 100% accurate. But, I will have to watch this closely over the next couple of months.

Detailed stats* (end of week 12):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 286.6
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 89
Lean Body Wt. .... From 201.6 to 198
Est. Body Fat: ..... From 40.2% to 31.7%
Waist: ................ From 56.5 to 50.5 inches
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 51 inches


*Health Central's website, http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html, uses the Covert Bailey formula and came up with the value above, part way between the Navy and YMCA calculation. I know that none of these are accurate, but I don't have access to accurate measuring devices.

Brandi's Salmon Patties - 1 net gram per patty

These salmon patties are my wife's creation. She made them for dinner last night. Typically, she uses flour and cornmeal. This was replaced with, you guessed it, carbquik. The result was a pretty good salmon patty with very low net carbs. The recipe made 10 patties. We ate with microwavable frozen veggies in cheese (an additional 7 carbs for each of us).

Ingredients:
1 14 oz. can of salmon
1 c. carbquik
1 egg
3-4 shakes of Mrs. Dash original blend
garlic salt to taste
dried onion flakes to taste
oil

Instructions:
Pick salmon clean of bones. Mix salmon, carbquik, egg, and spices. On medium-high, heat oil on frying pan (about 1/4 inch deep). Make 10 patties and press out in pan to about 3/8 inch thick. Cook until browned, flipping to brown the other side. Serve hot with tartar sauce, low-carb ketchup, or plain.

More Experiments with Carb Quick - Sausage Cheese Balls

I tried making sausage cheese balls. This is the ubiquitous recipe except with carbquik instead of bisquik. Net carbs is 0.17 per ball. The recipe makes 70 balls. If using bisquik, the net carbs would be about 2 per ball. The experiment result was so-so. The balls were not bad but were a bit dense and didn't quite have the same texture as with bisquik. Also, they left tons of grease in the bottom of the pan. Apparently the carbquik doesn't absorb grease as well. I then, as a test, added quite a bit of feta cheese to the batter for the last 20 or so balls. To my surprise, the feta flavor was quite mild and it improved the texture substantially... but still not as good as the real sausage balls. Next time, I think I'll try half carbquik and half bisquik for balls of 1 net gram each.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can ketosis cause false positives on DUI breathalizers?

I ran across a blog entry claiming that a low-carb diet can cause false positives on breathalizer tests. They include links to a couple of sites making similar claims.

http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/search?q=DUI&x=51&y=3

This gist is that when the body produces ketosis as it burns stored body fat for energy, consumption of carbohydrates during ketosis can cause the body itself to produce a substance called isopropyl alcohol. Most DUI breath testing machines cannot distinguish isopropyl alcohol from ethanol (the alcohol that we drink and that causes impairment).

Has anyone heard this before? Is it for real or just an urban legend?


Follow-up March 23, 2007:

Here's addiitonal information from the International Journal on Obesity...

http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v31/n3/abs/0803444a.html


Follow-up May 24, 2007:

Here's addiitonal information from the blog of Dr. Michael Eades, co-author of Protein Power...

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/?p=713

Monday, October 23, 2006

Satisfying Biscuits and Gravy - 7 net carbs per serving

That's right, low-carb biscuits with sausage gravy!!! 7 net carbs is based on 6 servings of two biscuits each with gravy. The biscuits have only one net carb each. The gravy is where the remaining carbs are. I bought the low carb biscuit mix over the internet. It is called "Dixie Carb Counters Country Biscuits." These were awesome! I'm not posting the recipe as its written on the package. This mix and many more are available on Amazon.com but can probably be found elsewhere for cheaper. Just go to Amazon and search for "Dixie Carb Counters". For the gravy, at first I tried to make the gravy using Carbquik. I didn't like it so, I dumped it and started over. The gravy recipe below tastes great. It uses normal white flour. The carbs are acceptable since they are paired with biscuits that have so few carbs. However, it's still fewer carbs than normal white gravy because I used "Hood calorie countdown dairy beverage" instead of milk.

Serves 6

Gravy Ingredients:
1/2 tube breakfast sausage
3 T. flour
2 T. whipping cream
2 c. Hood calorie countdown dairy beverage (low-carb milk).
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Cook sausage on medium in skillet. Remove browned sausage, reserving 3 or 4 tablespoons of the grease. On Medium, add flour to grease and cook until thick and bubbly. Whisk in cream and Hood dairy beverage. Add cooked sausage. Heat on low until thick. If too thick, add more Hood to thin.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Beef with Mushroom Gravy - 4 net carbs per serving

This is a variation of a dish that I grew up eating. We used to use the normal condensed Cambells cream of mushroom soup. Cambells now has an alternative with much lower carbs. The "soup at hand" (microwavable individual serving) has only 4 net carbs per can. This works almost as well. The recipe is quick and easy. The only problem is figuring out what kind of bread to sop up the gravy with.

Ingredients:
2 hamburger paddies or minute steak
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can Cambells "Soup at Hand" Cream of Mushroom

Instructions:
On medium heat, brown hamburger paddies or minute steak. Remove from pan. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of grease. Saute mushrooms in remaining oil. Once soft, add soup. Cook until gravy darkens. Add cooked paddies or steak. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thickens and/or meat is heated thoroughly. Serve with low-carb bread or biscuits.

More Experiments with Carbquik - Pancakes and Biscuits

The other day, we tried to make pancakes using the Carbquik recipe on the side of the box. The batter made according to the instructions was too thick. The pancakes looked more like biscuits and didn't spread properly. So, I added enough water to thin it to a normal pancake batter consistency. That worked. The pancakes looked normal. The taste was not as good as normal pancakes but not bad.

Last night, we made carbquik biscuits, following the directions on the box. Once again, the box directions were not very clear. It told you to add the water to the dry ingredient and mix. This made very thin batter, too thin. I think they meant to say to add the water gradually until the batter begins to form dough and ball up. Regardless, I added more carbquik to thicken it up and it worked. While they aren't bad, they have an odd flavor that I'm not sure how to describe. It's got a hind of something unusual, almost metallic in flavor.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Experiment - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

The other day, my wife and I tried to make spaghetti. Instead of pasta, we opted to try spaghetti squash. This was a first for me. I'd never seen spaghetti squash before. We poked it, baked it, sliced it open, removed the seeds, and then separated the strands from the meaty portion of the squash walls. Each of us got one cup of "noodles". We topped this with spiced ground beef and spaghetti sauce. The dish looked fabulous. It was the most beautiful plate of spaghetti that you've ever seen. But, the noodles just weren't noodles. They tasted sort of like cabbage. The dish was okay. It was edible but not great tasting. I don't recommend using spaghetti squash as a substitute for spaghetti noodles.

First Experiment with Carbquik (made from Carbalose)

I recently bought some carbquik over the internet. This stuff is supposed to be like bisquik but with 90% fewer carbs. It's made out of something called carbalose which is made from wheat but doesn't contain the non-fiber carbs that flour does. While you've been able to buy carbquik for a while, the main ingredient carbalose was not available directly to the public. But now it is. So, I'm ordering a bag and will post my experiments once it arrives. The following link is to a website full of carbquik recipes, http://www.tovaindustries.com/carbalose/recipe.php. If you try any of these, please post comments or send me an e-mail with your results!

I opened my first box of carbquik today and tested it out. This product was quick and easy to use. My first experiment was a "quik" lunch pizza. I work from home but only had one hour for lunch between conference calls. So, the challenge was to mix the dough, shred the cheese, and bake a pizza while leaving enough time to eat. No problem. The back of the box had a recipe for a white pizza. I didn't have all of the right ingredients so I just took the instructions on preparing the dough then topped it with what I had in the fridge: left over spaghetti sauce, Colby-jack cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, chopped garlic, and Parmesan cheese. It took me about 15 minutes to prepare the pizza and another 15 minutes for it to cook. This left 30 minutes to enjoy my meal.

The result was an okay pizza. I'd say its better than the typical freezer pizza but not as good as most take-out. The important thing is that I had a pizza! This crust was similar to that of a bisquik pizza. You know how bisquik has a unique, indescribable flavor. Well, so did the carbquik, but slightly different. It wasn't bad. It was good but not great. But, it has potential. I plan to continue experimenting. I think that Saturday I may make pancakes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Positive Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

The media is full of half-truth stories about the negative side effects of ketogenic diets such as Atkins and the Protein Power Plan. I'm sure that you've heard many of the skeptical claims. So, I will not go into them here. But did you know that there are numerous potential positive side effects of this diet? Not only does this diet cause you to lose weight and potentially lower your cholesterol, but it also might be useful for the following:

  1. Muscle growth - high protein promotes muscle growth.
  2. Diabetes - ketogenic diets can be used to treat diabetes.
  3. Cancer treatment* - a ketogenic state could decrease glucose availability to certain tumors, thereby impairing tumor metabolism without adversely affecting the patient's overall nutritional status.
  4. Epilepsy and seizure control** - helps to control seizures in some people with epilepsy.
  5. Alzheimer's disease*** - Preliminary studies demonstrated the unexpected result that a brief treatment with a low carbohydrate/high saturated fat diet reduced total Aβ levels in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Sources:

* http://www.newtreatments.org/Cancer%20Treatment/ga/359 and http://rjr10036.typepad.com/askdrvernon/2006/09/low_carb_and_br.html

**http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/treatment_ketogenic_diet.html

***http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1282589

Monday, October 9, 2006

End of Week 8 Results

I sit here this morning, eating homemade cheese cake and reporting on my diet results. Since I began this diet 8 weeks ago, I have lost 39 pounds and 5 inches off of my waist. My shirt size has dropped from 3XL to 2XL (and some XL). Just about all of my paints are baggy. Soon, I will no longer be shopping in the big and fat stores. My current net carb. intake is ranging between 30 and 45 per day. I feel strong, healthy, and more energetic than in a very long time. Long walks that used to take my breath are no longer difficult. Mowing the yard is no longer as tiring.

Detailed stats (end of week 8):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 297.0
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 95
Lean Body Wt. ... From 201.6 to 202
Est. Body Fat: .... From 40.2% to 32.2%
Waist: ................ From 56.5 to 51.5 inches
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 52 inches

Today's Ketostix reading is 70. I'd like to keep it between 40 and 80.

The ideal weight range for my body type is between 232 lbs. to 252 lbs. My goal is to weigh less than 240.

My wife has now been on this diet for a week. I doubt that she'd want me to publish her statistics. But, she too is doing extremely well.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Suggestions for Eating Out - Fast food

Send comments to me with ideas on this subject! Fast food is the toughest part of the diet! If you are not in a hurry then avoid fast food restaurants. There is very little available at these places. Many low-carbers say to order a double cheese burger and not eat the bun. This doesn't sound like a pleasant meal and may be rather messy. McDonald's and some others now have salads with grilled chicken. Avoid low-fat dressings as they typically contain more carbs. Arby's used to have a salad or two that would do but they have removed their non-battered/grilled chicken items from the menu. Why don't they at least have a chef salad? Taco Bell and Taco Tico both have a decent taco salad. You can order it with extra meat and no beans. But, do you have the discipline to not eat the shell? I don't understand why these "tex-mex" places don't wake up and offer low-carb tortillas like at Subway. Speaking of which, Subway has an excellent selection of low-carb wraps. They have nutrition guides available that tell you exactly how many carbs and fiber each item contains. While the Subway wraps taste good, I find them to not be filling. I'll eat a wrap and 15 minutes later, I am hungry again. Look for gyros places (Greek fast food) often have decent salads with gyro meat and ziti sauce. I travel to Nashville quite a bit. Nashville is full of gyro shops that I love to eat at. But, at home in Lexington, there are none.

Any comments or tips you, the reader, can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

2nd Hand Dieting

My wife has been eating the same dinners as me but doing whatever for lunch and when I am gone. She's lost 10 pounds since I began the diet! Well, now, I think she's hooked. From yesterday onward, she is officially joining me in my diet.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Chocolate Mousse - 6 net carbs per serving


Chocolate mousse is a quick an easy dessert. You can make different twists on this by adding various liquors.

Serves 4.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
9 packets Splenda
1 t. vanilla extract (Mexican brands preferred)
1 T. Grand Marnier, Kahlua, or Amaretto
1/4 c. Hershey's cocoa (Dutch is preferred)

Instructions:
If you have a whisk attachment on your blender, use it. If not, regular beaters should be okay. Beat on high until cream thickens. Add Splenda one packet at a time. Add vanilla. Once mixture begins to thicken, remove 1 cup and set aside. Begin mixing again. While mixing, add liquor and cocoa. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat until thick. Spoon into 4 dessert dishes, add white whipped cream to top. Refridgerate for one hour. If not on a diet, I might recommend crumbling Oreos in the bottom of each dish, but we can't always get what we want now can we?

A Major Milestone

I returned from out of town and hopped on my scale yesterday. I now weigh 299 pounds. I'm under 300!

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Plateau?

I returned from a trip last night. This morning, I hopped on my scale to find that I've lost almost no weight in almost two weeks. I then proceeded to do measurements. Even though I haven't lost weight, my waste shrunk by one more inch and my hips by two inches. Also, my ketostix test showed ketones in my system which indicates that I am indeed burning fat. It appears that weight alone is a very poor indicator of fat loss. I suppose the lack of weight loss may be due to retaining extra water or perhaps the high protein diet has caused me to put on more muscle? Either way, I'm sticking with the diet and hope to see the weight coming down over the next few months.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Best Motivation

Many people are beginning to ask me if I have lost weight. Several co-workers are finding my success inspirational and following suit. This sort of feedback is the best motivation to stick with the diet. It feels extremely rewarding to hear people comment on changes to my looks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chicken Chimichangas - 6 net carbs per serving

This dish from South of the border is quick and easy. My wife and I had this for dinner tonight. The recipe was made up on the fly but turned out fantastico! Because it is so low in carbs, feel free to eat more than one serving. Recipe can be easily multiplied if you have company. While raw low carb tortillas are usually a bit rubbery, once fried in oil, they come out crispy and flaky. I recommend serving smothered in cheese sauce or red salsa (be sure to count the carbs). A wonderful side item would be guacamole on a small bed of lettuce. Stay away from the traditional Mexican sides of rice and refried beans.

Serves 2.

Ingredients
2 low carb wheat tortillas - about 5 net carbs ea.
1 can of chicken, 15 oz.
1/8 c. diced onion
1/8 c. red bell peppers (optional)
2 T. green salsa or 1/8 c. canned green chili peppers
1/4 c. cheddar cheese
Oil

Instructions
Pour oil into skillet to about 1 inch deep. Heat oil on medium high. Next, drain chicken and mix with onion, peppers, and green salsa. Put half of mixture on center of tortilla each tortilla. Add cheddar cheese. Fold in ends of tortilla and roll tightly. Test temperature of oil by dropping in a small piece of tortilla or cheese. It should immediately bubble. Reduce heat to medium. Place chimichangas in oil, flap down. Cook a few minutes until the bottom is brown then turn over to cook the other side.

Take a Break from Your Diet

I know that I will be on this diet for six to nine months. As such, I thought it would be much easier if I allowed myself two days off each month. Yesterday was my birthday and a designated diet vacation! I indulged in Crispy Cream doughnuts, french fries, Mellow Mushroom pizza, birthday cake, and ice cream. Whatever nutrients I have been missing are hopefully replenished. I didn't "fall off the wagon". This was planned. Planning for days off, I think, is key to sticking with a diet for the long haul.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

End of Week 4 Results

Today was the end of week four. I have lost 27 pounds in under a month! During this time, I have dropped inches off of my hips and waist. Some of my shirts and pants that were tight now fit again. My estimated lean body mass has increased by 1 pound. This means that I have lost no muscle mass at all. My current carbohydrate intake target is between 35 and 45 net carbs per day. The goal is to get down to 240 pounds, my ideal body weight.

Detailed stats (end of week 4):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 308.6 pounds
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 104.4
Waste: ................ From 56.5 to 53 inches
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 53 inches
Est. Body Fat: .... From 40.2% to 34.7%

Sunday, August 27, 2006

End of Week 2 Results

Today was the end of week two. I have lost almost 15 pounds. My waste and hips measurements have both dropped exactly one inch. My daily ketostix reading has ranged between 80 and 120. I'd be more at ease if my ketostix would stay between 50 and 80. I am burning fat at a slightly higher rate than I feel is healthy. Therefore, I plan to boost by carbohydrate intake a little. My target was a minimum of 30 net carbs a day but not more than 45. I think I'm going to up this to between 35 and 45.

Detailed stats (end of week 2):
Weight has dropped from 336 to 321.6 pounds.
Waste measurement has gone from 56.5 to 55.5 inches.
Hip measurement has gone from 54.5 to 53.5 inches.

Buffalo Chicken Dip - 4 net carbs per serving

This is a wonderful appetizer that non-dieters and dieters alike will love. It is my own creation. For dieters, serve with soy protein chips or celery (add about 1 net carb for each celery stock or 1/3 net carb per four inch stick). For non-dieters, serve with tortilla chips. The entire dish's net carbs is 25. I'm going to say that there is about 6 big servings. However, the carbs are low, so feel free to eat more than one serving!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Serves 4 to 12 people (net carb calculation based on splitting into 6 servings).

Ingredients*
8 oz package cream cheese.
3 T. Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing.
1 can of chicken
4 T. Favorite Wing Sauce (we like Justin Wilson's)
1/2 c. Cheddar Cheese

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cream cheese in microwave & oven safe dish. Nuke cream cheese for one and a half minutes to soften. Stir in ranch or blue cheese dressing and level. In separate bowl, mix chicken and wing sauce. Add on top of cream cheese mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with soy protein chips or celery for us and tortilla chips for your non-dieting guests.

*t. = teaspoon, T = tablespoon, c. = cup.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Food on the Road

Today was one of those difficult days to diet. I had to attend a business conference that was in a hotel located about two hours away from my house. The original plan was to leave early and eat a big breakfast omelet on company funds at a sit down diner along the way. However, I was running late. Before leaving home, I grabbed some sugar free tapioca pudding (7 net carbs). But, this wasn't enough to satisfy me. So, near my destination, I popped into McDonalds with only about 15 minutes available to eat. The breakfasts there consist mostly of biscuits, hashbrowns, etc. So, I ordered what wasn't on the menu... 2 eggs and 2 orders of bacon (0 carbs). Later, the conference included a free boxed lunch consisting of meager sandwich, chips, cookies, and a bag of potato chips. I sat there, after eating my piece of lunch meat, staring at all of these things I couldn't eat. Then it dawned on me that the hotel might have a restaurant. So, I popped downstairs and located a bar and grill. Using my company credit card, I purchased a steak dinner and had it delivered to the meeting room. So, I didn't have to go hungry after-all. And, I still got a free meal. This just goes to show you that it is not always easy being on this diet. I should have planned ahead but lucked out regardless.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fried Chicken - 1 net carb per serving!

Tonight's dinner was fried chicken with sides of cheesy cauliflower and sliced home-grown tomatoes. The total carbs was about 10 grams. Believe it or not, my fried chicken has less than 1 carb per serving! The other 9 carbs came from the side items. And, it tastes so great that non-dieters will beg you for the recipe. The secret is using crushed pork rinds as the breading. If you want to turn the heat up a notch, try using hot and spicy pork rinds instead. I know what you are thinking, "pork rinds, cream, deep fried; this is a heart attack waiting to happen." Well, all of the nutrition rules that we grew up with are being turned upside down. This diet is said by many experts to actually lower cholesterol. So, relax and enjoy!

Fried Chicken to Die For
Makes 4-8 servings.

Ingredients*
4-8 Pieces of Chicken
Salt
Pepper
1/4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
2 eggs' whites (no yokes)
1-2 T. Tabasco sauce
1/2 - 1 bag of crushed pork-rinds
Oil or Lard (lard preferred)

Instructions:
Heat oil to about 370 degrees. You can fry this chicken in a pan, but I prefer a deep fryer. Thaw and pat dry chicken with paper towel. Rub salt and pepper into chicken. In bowl, mix or whisk heavy whipping cream, egg whites, and Tabasco sauce. In second dish, finely crush pork rinds. Dip chicken into liquid mixture then into the pork rinds. You may have to pat or press the pork rinds a bit to insure they stick to the chicken. Next, place in oil and cook for 9 or 10 minutes. If pan frying, turn chicken half way through. If you are using a small deap frier, don't overfill, cook 2 or 3 pieces at a time. Enjoy!

*t. = teaspoon, T = tablespoon, c. = cup.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Truth About Sugar Alcohols

Over the last few years, stores have been filled with products claiming low net carbs* due to their containing sugar alcohols. Before trusting that I would not gain weight from eating these sweets, I decided to research sugar alcohols. What I found is that only about half the carbohydrates from sugar alcohols are digested. And, almost none of the fiber is digested. Therefore, the real net carbs should be calculated by taking total carbs minus fiber minus 1/2 sugar alcohols. Do not let the packages flaunting zero or low carbs fool you. Always read the nutrition information and calculate it yourself!

A good fact sheet about sugar alcohols can be found on the following web site: http://www.ific.org/publications/factsheets/sugaralcoholfs.cfm. On it, they say:

.................."An American Dietetic Association publication
..................recommends that persons with diabetes managing
..................their blood sugars using the carbohydrate
..................counting method 'count half of the grams of sugar
..................alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar
..................alcohol on average is digested.'"


There is also a good article on http://www.lowcarb.ca/tips/tips010.html about sugar alcohols and their affects on low-carb dieters.

*Net carbs is the same thing as the Protein Power Life Plan's ECC (effective carbohydrate count)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cheesecake - 6 net carbs per serving

I love food. I love cooking it, and I love eating it. One of the great things about this diet is that you do not have to starve yourself. You just have to be creative. My biggest problem on this diet was finding a quick and easy breakfast. I simply did not have time to cook eggs and bacon each morning. I needed something I could eat on the run. And, cheesecake came to the rescue! I cook this on the weekends and eat it most mornings for breakfast.

Excellent Low Carb Cheese Cake
Makes 8 servings

Equipment:
9" Springform Pan
Cake pan or other oven proof dish (for water only, if low humidity)
Electric Beaters

Ingredients*:
Butter
2 lbs of Philadelphia cream cheese (others are too soft and don't cook as well)
4 T. Equal for Recipes
4 Eggs
2 T. Heavy Cream
1 to 3 t. Lemon or Lime Zest (depending on desired intinsity)
1 T. vanilla (preferred Mexican over American brands)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat pan in thin layer of butter by rubbing cold stick of butter all over pan. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. While beating, slowly add sweetener. Then add eggs, one at a time. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Pour into springform pan. That's right, no crust. Don't worry, many cheesecake purists actually prefer no crust. If low humidity, put a pan of water in oven on bottom rack. Place cheese cake on upper rack, vertically in middle of oven. Bake 10 minutes then reduce heat to 275. Bake 1 hour. Do not open oven while backing. When done, turn off oven but do not open. It is important to let the oven cool completely before removing the cheesecake. If the cheesecake cools too quickly, it will crack. Once near room temperature, run knife around edges, cover, and place in refrigerator. The best way to slice a cheese cake is to remove the springform ring then cut using dental floss. Be creative with toppings but be careful of potential extra carbs. Enjoy!

*t. = teaspoon, T = tablespoon, c. = cup.

Stats as of August 14

Age: 32 years.
Weight: 336 lbs.
Waist: 56.5 "
Hips: 54.5 "
Height: 5 ' 10 "
Wrist : 7.75 "
Neck: 19"
Forearm: 14.5"
Estimated Body Fat*: 40.2 %
Estimated Total Fat: 134.4 lbs.
Lean Body Weight**: 201.6 lbs.
Ideal weight range***: 232 lbs. to 252 lbs.

Diet Goal: 240 lbs.

*Body fat - I used to use the Protein Power Life Plan book to calculate body fat. But, the chart only goes up to 300 pounds. I tried several online calculators. The Navy calculation puts me at 31.82 % body fat. The YMCA calculation puts me at 43.7 %. Health Central's website, http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html, uses the Covert Bailey formula and asked for more parameters than either of these and came up with the value above, part way between the Navy and YMCA calculation. I know that none of these are accurate, but I don't have access to equipment such as a huge tank of water.

**Lean body weight is supposed to be your total weight minus fat (i.e. bone, muscle, water, etc.). My lean weight 6 years ago was estimated to be 174 lbs., 31 lbs. less than my lean body weight today. I am not sure if this is due to the use of a different calculation method or if it is due to additional muscle built by carrying around my extra fat weight.

***The ideal percentage of body fat for a white male is 15 to 22 percent according to Bailey, Covert. The Ultimate Fit or Fat. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright 1999,

Previous Diets

Years ago, I tried the low calorie and low fat diets. They made me dizzy, sleepy, and hungry with very little weight loss. In 1999, I began logging what I ate. After a few months, I had enough data to analyze. I then begun studying various diets. I identified the low-carb diet as the one with the greatest potential for weight loss and personal satisfaction. I began the diet on January 1, 2000. This was before low-carb was trendy. Hardly anybody seemed to know anything about this method of weight loss. In restaurants, I found myself constantly explaining to waiters and waitresses that I could not eat bread. They often would ask if there was anything wrong with the food I sat aside and sometimes actually brought me more, thinking that there was something wrong with what I already had. Today, things have changed. Low-carb is hot! Everybody is trying it. There are now low-carb menus in restaurants, low-carb tortillas, low-carb ice cream, low-carb everything! This should make my 2006 diet much easier to follow than my 2000 diet.

It is interesting that this diet has become so popular. I've noticed that as the popularity grew, many people who think that they are on a low-carb diet are not doing it right. Low-carb diets do not work if you just cut back a little. It is not like counting calories. You have to cut back to the point where it affects your insulin levels. But, at the same time, you have to have a little to stay healthy. From past experience and the use of Ketostix (pee test for weight loss), I have found that I lose weight as long as I stay below 45 net grams a day. I usually try at least consume 30 grams.

The last time that I lost a large amount of weight, I did so to make it easier to get dates. It was motivated primarily from selfish, superficial desires. This time is different. I'm beginning to feel very heavy. The weight is making it harder to do physical work. My back is giving me trouble. And, my muscles get sore more easily. Plus, I now have a four month old son. I want to be around to see him grow up. I want to be able to take him hiking and play games with him when he is older. So, I am not only doing it for myself, I am doing it for my child. Six years ago, I lost 45 pounds and kept it off for about two years. This time, I need to lose 100 pounds. This blog is part of my internal means to get psyched up and to form an obsession with weight loss. Wish me luck!