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.

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)

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 (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.

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

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 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:

AP Article:

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

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.

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,, 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.