Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gardening

This weekend, I got my vegetable garden planted. We included many tomatoes even though we'll only be able to eat large quantities on our carb-up days (every other weekend). Many will get pickled before ripening. These will have far fewer carbs as the sugar count is quite low. According to my carb-counter guide book, the yellow tomatoes are supposed to have half of the carbs. But since there are so many varities of red and yellow, I don't really know if this applies to the flavorful "lemon boys" that I planted. And I have no idea how many carbs are in the striped and ripe green ones. I am hoping that someone reading this can tell me the carb counts for different varieties of tomatoes.

I am also expecting a huge crop of zucchini which is excellent for low-carb cooking. And, we are trying tomatillos this year. I've never planted these and have only used them to make one thing, PJ's Divine low-carb chili verde, which is awesome. I am hoping the tomatillos do well so that I can do some experimenting in the kitchen.

I always plant basil next to my tomatoes. Basil, when blooming keeps away most of the insects that would normally attack my tomatoes and asparagus. It's a wonderful companion crop as well as an excellent edible herb.

The following is what we've planted so far:

  • 2 better boy tomato
  • 1 lemon boy tomato
  • 1 outhouse cherry tomato, red heirloom, 1/2 inch
  • 1 mister stripey tomato, red & yellow stripes
  • 1 druzba tomato, Bulgarian heirloom
  • 1 (forgot the name) tomato, ripens green heirloom
  • 1 red ox-heart tomato, heirloom
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 9 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapano pepper
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tabasco peppers
  • 1 mound pickling cucumbers
  • 1 mound normal cucumbers
  • 1 large mound zucchini
  • small patch of yellow wax beans
  • asparagus (comes up every year)
  • basil (to keep bugs off other plants)

I'd like to plant a few more varieties of peppers. I will also be planting some parsley (last years didn't come back this spring). If any of you have ideas of low carb veggies to plant, please speak up. I am primarily interested only in growing items that either taste much better than store bought or that are quite expensive at the store.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Health Food Myths

This link will take you to an article on "MarthaStewart.com" about "Health Food Myths". Myths addressed are:

  1. A calorie is a calorie... Not all calories are created equal.
  2. The less fat I eat, the better... Explains good fats and not-so-good fats.
  3. If it says "organic", it must be nutritious... Organic junk food is still junk food.
  4. Whole-grain products are always beneficial... Read the labels!
  5. If a label says "zero trans fats," then it contains no trans fats... 0 means <0.5.
  6. If some soy is good, all-soy-all-the-time is better... Too much of a good thing is a bad thing; avoid over processed soy.
  7. Healthy food always costs more... They say not true; but I say good luck finding something as satisfying as a 99 cent box of Little Debbies snack cakes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BBQ Flavored Worms and Low-Carb Insects

This morning, I ran across an interesting topic on SenseList.com. They have a list of 32 edible insects along with links to where you can buy them. With the exception of the candied bugs, most of these are likely low-carb. For example, the BBQ flavored worms are probably low-carb and high-protein. Possibly an ideal snack for us low-carbers. Well, I'm not quite sure that I am ready to take my diet to this extreme. But, I would be kind of interested in learning the nutritional counts for these unusual products.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Determination the Key to Successful Dieting

I am intrigued by the people around me who claim to be dieting. I say "claim" because most don't have their heart into it and rarely follow through. Seldom do these individuals have a solid plan. Rarely have they taken the inititive to do any research or reading.

Often, people at work ask me for tips. Usually I recommend that they read the "Protein Power Life Plan" by the Doctors Eades. This book has helped me form the basis of a plan that resulted in a 75 pound weight loss. Regardless, almost never do these "would-be" dieters take to heart my advice. Only one person of about 50 I've spoken with has actually purchased and read the book.

I have come to the conclusion that most people, regardless of weight, do not want to make any sacrifices. They'd lose the weight if they could pay someone else to lose it for them. But they simply do not want to make an effort to do it for themselves. Most people go on faulty diets because they want to feel that they are "trying to do something about their weight." They'd rather say that they tried and it didn't work than make an effort to do it right. It boils down to pure mental laziness. This is not a matter of intelligence so much as it is a matter of will power and determination.

Quite frequently, people announce to me that they are doing a low-carb diet also. Typically these people are only half-assing it. For example, I'll catch them eating candy bars, potato chips, or still eating other high-carb foods on a regular basis. Some actually think that fruits are low-carb. One lady who told me that they she was doing a low-carb diet was actually just eating a low-carb protein bar (packed with sugar alcohols) in place of breakfast But she was still eating everything she wanted for lunch and dinner. Also, some people only "diet" occasionally when they are thinking about it. A few have a good understanding of the science behind their diet but simply can not resist temptations... why is it that people are so weak?

Before I went on this diet, a co-worker lost about 200 pounds by following the Protein Power Lifeplan book. His doctor had recommended the book. The fact that he was morbidly obese and feared for his life gave him the determination needed to be successful.

The key to my success so far has also been determination. I had gotten so fat, lazy, tired, and unhealthy that I simply couldn't stand it anymore. Furthermore, I wanted to be around to watch my child grow up. If I wasn't fed up with my weight, then I simply would not have had the determination and will power to do anything about it. But, I didn't jump into "diet" mode immediately. I am an analyst by trade and a Virgo by birth... therefore, I took a slow, more deliberate approach, following these steps:

  1. Research weight loss plans.
  2. Develop plan.
  3. Implement plan.
  4. Document and record diet and results.
  5. Re-evaluate and adjust plan.
  6. Research maintenance strategies.
  7. Choose maintenance strategy.

If I had simply decided one day to do a low-carb diet but didn't take time to do steps 1 and 2, I'd have been totally lost. Omitting step 5 could cause stagnation. Without all of these steps, there would be no structure to my diet. I would have been setting myself up for failure. It is critical to research and plan prior to starting. If you jump in feet first, you will likely be in over your head. Yes, research and planning take effort. But what good comes in life without a sacrifice of some sort?

Friday, April 20, 2007

1 Year Old Photo


Here is a picture of myself and my wife a little over a year ago. She is the one who was pregnant. I only looked it....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - 4.25 net carbs each

Here's a pretty good sweet treat that I am sure you will enjoy. It's also quick and easy to make. The entire recipe has 51 net carbs and makes 12 large servings of 4.25 net carbs each. I use sweetzfree (concentrated sucralose) which has zero carbs. If you use Splenda Quickpacks instead each piece will have 5 net carbs. I used Hood Calorie Countdown in this recipe. Hood can be found at your grocery store next to the milks. You can substitute cream for the Hood.

Bottom Layer Ingredients:


1 stick of butter
1 1/2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/2 cups almond meal
30 drops sweetz free (or 1 Splenda Quickpack)
1/2 cup flax meal (also called milled or ground flax)


Top Layer Ingredients:

2 T. butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup hood calorie countdown
30 drops sweetzfree (or 1 Splenda Quickpack)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use natural)
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Bottom Layer: Put all butter and chocolate in large glass bowl. Microwave 2 minutes. Whisk by hand until smooth. Stir in sweetener, Almond meal, and flax. Spread in 9 x 13 inch pan. Place in freezer while mixing top layer.

Top Layer: Put all ingredients in same large glass bowl. Microwave 3 minutes. Whisk by hand until smooth. Spread over top of bottom layer.

Place in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 12 pieces. Enjoy.

Brandi's Breading - 1 net carb per serving

My wife, Brandi came up with this recipe. I must say that it is absolutely the best low-carb breading that I have ever eaten. In fact, low-carb aside, it's still a pretty darn good breading. I would eat it on or off the diet.

We use this breading mostly on pork chops, but it would also be good on catfish, chicken, or other meats. I think if you put it on veal, you'd have a wonderful weinerschnitzel.

We have only used this breading for frying but I suspect it might work equally well for the oven.

The total recipe has 9 net carbs and makes about 8 servings at just over 1 net gram per serving.

Ingredients:
1/4 c. almond meal
1/4 c. vital wheat gluten
2 T. Parmesan cheese (powder-like)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 egg

Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients. In shallow dish, beat egg. Dip meat in eggs then in dry ingredients. Fry in oil.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

French Toast - 3.5 net carbs per serving

This morning, we took some of our better bread and made French toast. There is only 3.5 net carbs per serving. I'd suggest serving with sugar-free syrup. Be sure to add the carbs for the syrup. The carbs should be counted as total carbs minus fiber minus 1/2 sugar alcohols.

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 c. Hood Calorie Countdown
Dash of cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
butter.
6 pieces of better bread.

Instructions:

In shallow dish, mix eggs, hood, vanilla, and cinnamon. In skillet, on medium heat, melt butter. Dip bread in liquid mixture. Turn to coat both sides. Brown in skillet. Serve with sugar free low calorie syrup. See syrup label for the amount of carbs to add.

Better Bread That's Low Carb - 3 net carbs per serving

Last week, I was trying to make a low carb bread. I had already put some of the ingredients in my bread maker when I realized I didn't have enough of one of the key ingredients, wheat gluten. So, I put in a mixture of other low-carb flour-like ingredients including wheat bran and almond meal. The result was an even better bread. I've baked it three times now to insure that the recipe was consistently good. It has far fewer carbs than typical store bought diet breads. The downside of this recipe is that it uses 5 different flours that most people do not typically have in their kitchen. I love this bread and highly recommend that you hunt down the ingredients.

Servings: 12 pieces at 3 net carbs each.

Ingredients:

2 packets rapid rise yeast
1/2 c. vital wheat gluten
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 c. crude wheat bran
1/2 c. soy flour
2/3 c. flax meal
1/4 c. Splenda (or equivalent)
2 T. butter
2 eggs
1 c. water

Instructions:

Put all ingredients in bread machine. Set "light" browning setting. Turn on according to your bread machines instructions.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Soda Pop Barbeque Chicken - 4 net carbs per serving

Several popular diet websites and diet blogs are carrying on a debate of whether or not you should drink diet soft-drinks while on a low-carb diet. I not only drink diet pop but also have begun cooking with it! Today, I made an outstanding low-carb barbeque chicken using Diet RC. The chicken became so tender while cooking that it easitly broke apart into what is called "pulled" barbeque. The flavor of this dish is superb and tangy! Tomorrow, I will be eating the left-overs on toasted low-carb white bread with melted provolone cheese.

I recommend using any diet cola that does not contain aspartame. Some people claim that heating the sweetener aspartame will cause it to break-down into by-products that are harmful to your health. I don't think that these by-products are really that dangerous, but the resulting barbeque sauce might not taste as sweet. So, play it safe and cook with Splenda sweetened soft drinks such as diet RC. This means that the most common diet soft drinks such as diet Coke, diet Pepsi, and diet Dr. Pepper are out.

Servings: 4 pieces of chicken = 4 servings; 4 net carbs per serving.

Ingredients:

2-4 chicken breasts (or other cuts with or without bones)
1 can diet cola (w/out aspartame)
1 cup low-carb ketchup (Heinz 1 carb or reduced sugar)
1 T. dehydrated minced onion
2 T. yellow mustard
2 T. Worcestershire Sour Sauce

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in skillet. Cook on high until boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook one hour. Remove cover, stir. Turn heat up to medium and cook uncovered until sauce thickens (about 15-20 minutes). Meat should now be tender and can easily be pulled apart if desired.