Oven-Baked Rutabaga Fries

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I confess I'd never tried a rutabaga before last year, when we got some in our weekly "farm box". They are really good! They are a root vegetable with a bit of a "bite" - just a bit spicy. And they have less than a third of the carbs and less than half the calories of potatoes, plus a bigger hit of vitamins and minerals. This technique can be used with any root vegetable. See: Carb Counts in Root Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Rutabagas
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, garlic powder, and paprika

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 F. 1) Peel rutabagas with a paring knife and slice in 1/4" rounds. If you like, you can do them in strips - they will cook a little faster, but you have to watch them carefully or they'll burn.

2) Smear with oil and a little salt and put them on a nonstick baking sheet.

3) Cook about 12 minutes, turning twice. Take out when golden brown and tender. Immediately sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika. I like to add kosher salt at the end as well.

Nutritional Information:1 cup raw sliced rutabaga has about 7 grams effective carbohydrateplus 3.5 grams of fiber and 50 calories (plus oil).


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Fat-Free Strawberry Jam

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is an easy recipe for strawberry freezer jam. It's naturally fat free, though the sugar content is relatively high. Even so, a tablespoon of jam is all you need to make your morning toast extra special.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed strawberries (I mashed them with a potato masher)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 box powdered pectin* (I use Sure Jell)

Preparation:

Sanitize 5 1-cup containers and lids in the dishwasher

Add sugar to crushed strawberries and mix well.

In a small pan, combine pectin and water, and bring to a rapid boil, stirring continuously.

Allow to boil for 1 minutes while continuing to stir.

Remove from heat and mix into strawberries and sugar.

Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Fill containers to within 1/2 inch of the top. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or freeze for up to one year.

Makes 5 cups.

Serving size 1 tbsp

Per Serving: Calories 43, Calories from Fat 0, Carbohydrate 10.6g, Fiber 0.2g, Protein 0g

Other pectins may require different measurements of fruit and sugar. Also, if you need a no-sugar jam or want to use less sugar, be sure to buy the pectin that allows you to modify the amount of sugar you use.


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Quick Tips on Fruits and Vegetables

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
fruitsCan't remember which vegetables and fruits are lowest and highest in carbs? I have complete lists of fruits and vegetables for this purpose, with each linked to more information. But you don't have to memorize the whole list -- I now have some "quick tips" sheets to tell you the categories of vegetables and fruits to remember. So check out my Quick Vegetable Tips and Quick Fruit Tips.

Photo c Vinko Murko

Related Resources:

Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter & RSS

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Carrot and Zucchini Soup

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why settle for canned soup when you make your own heartier fresh-tasting soup without all those additives? This carrot and zucchini soup is pureed to make a deliciously filling soup to warm you on cool Autumn days. Enjoy with a slice of crusty whole-grain bread.

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1lb zucchini, unpeeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

Preparation:

Saute onions in a soup pot for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots and zucchini, followed by curry powder. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add chopped parsley.

Transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth, working in two batches.

Makes 6 servings.

Per Serving: Calories 81, Calories from Fat 16, Total Fat 1.8g (sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 65mg, Carbohydrate 13.4g, Fiber 4g, Protein 2.8g


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How-To Raisin Bread

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Select a large mixing bowl in which to add the 1 cup of warm water, 1 Tablespoon of sugar, and the yeast.

The water should be 105-115oF in order for the yeast to activate. You may heat the water over medium heat on the stove, and check it with an instant-read thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, simply heat the water until it is warm to the touch, but of course, not hot enough to scald.

Pour the water into the bowl, sprinkle the sugar into the water, and then sprinkle the yeast over the water as well. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes foamy.


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Plum Crisp

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My older daughter prefers her plums raw; my younger one won't eat them at all. I only like them when they're cooked, as in this delicious low fat crisp. Enjoy with a scoop of low fat frozen vanilla yogurt.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red plums, stoned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place plums in an 8-inch by 8-inch glass baking dish. Combine cornstarch and sugar and sprinkle over the plums. In a medium bowl, stir oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and oil. Scoop mixture on top of fruit. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until brown on top and fruit is bubbling.

Serves 6.

Per Serving: Calories 288, Calories from Fat 54, Total Fat 6.1g (sat 1.6g), Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 6mg, Carbohydrate 54.1g, Fiber 4.5g, Protein 4.3g


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Low Carb Chocolate

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Since the first use by the ancient Central and South Americans thousands of years ago, chocolate has captured the human palate and heart. Now it has graduated from merely being one of the most cherished foods on the planet to one of the most studied. You have undoubtedly heard of the health benefits of chocolate by now, as well as the many chemicals that act in a pleasant way on the moods of its consumers.

Unfortunately, the joys of chocolate tend to come bundled with lots of sugar (or maltitol, which is almost as bad). It takes some ingenuity to make it yummy and yet low in carbohydrates. But it can be done!

A Quick Summary of the Health Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate is often spoken of as being good for the heart, in more ways than one. Not only does it have a chemical said to mimic being in love, but studies indicate that chocolate can improve blood vessel responsiveness (important for the prevention of heart disease), blood pressure, and cholesterol. Other studies have shown it has potential for improving glucose tolerance, which is important to those of us who are using low-carb diets to minimize blood glucose spikes.

Flavanoids, which are one group of phytonutrients, are thought to be at least partially responsible for the positive health potential of chocolate. These chemicals have an antioxidant effect that may also be helpful in cancer prevention.

It’s important to realize that these potential effects are usually tested on more chocolate than a person would want to eat. It's also probable that often the chocolate used in medical studies is from a purer blend of cacao than is usually found in stores. Still, chocolate can contribute to the "phytonutrient cocktail" that we all should be getting every day –- in other words, getting eating a wide variety of plant foods, including foods such as chocolate and tea, is almost certainly a positive thing for our health, with each different food making its contribution.

You may have also heard about chemical in chocolate that affect mood. Again, the amounts of these chemicals are very small, and probably don’t have a big effect in most people. On the other hand, some people seem to be more susceptible to these chemicals than others. More About “Mood Altering Chemicals” in Chocolate

Chocolate Nutrition

One ounce of unsweetened chocolate has about 145 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrate, a little over half of which is fiber. Chocolate is also rich in many minerals -- for example, one ounce of unsweetened chocolate contains about a quarter of the iron and magnesium we need in a day, and about half of the copper and manganese. Most of the fat in chocolate is healthy fat –- either monounsaturated fat or stearic acid, a “good saturated fat” by any measure. Three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, for about 36 calories, has the same amount of carbohydrate and fiber, but lower amounts of vitamins and minerals (and much less fat).

Sugar-Free Cooking with Chocolate

First, remember that chocolate originally was eaten unsweetened, either in a drink similar to coffee or in savory dishes such as Mexican mole sauces, or Cincinnati Chili. It can add a subtle background flavor that no one can identify, but everyone likes!

In sweets, we run into some difficulties. Although artificial sweeteners do well adding sweetness to cocoa powder, it’s a little more difficult to work with pure chocolate -– and yet, we all want that wonderful mouthfeel and depth of flavor. You will notice that almost always sugar-free sweets have maltitol in them, or other sugar alcohols. This is because sugar contributes properties to sweets other than just sweetness, and sugar alcohols can provide some of the same characteristics. Also, I find that artificial sweeteners don’t fully counteract the bitterness of chocolate as well as sugar alcohols.

The problem is that sugar alcohols are not all alike (see chart at bottom of page for comparison). Maltitol in particular has pretty much the same as sugar in terms of blood sugar impact. When purchasing sugar-free chocolates, it is important to understand sugar alcohols and choose accordingly.

In cooking, I like to use erythritol as it has the least impact on blood sugar. However, because erythritol has a “cooling” effect that can be distracting in large amounts, I like to combine it with artificial sweeteners, particularly liquid forms of sucralose (Splenda). Sweetzfree is my preference, as it is the most concentrated. Chocolate must also be handled with some care -– it must never be placed over direct heat on the stove, for example. One safe way of melting chocolate is by pouring boiling water over it, and then pouring the water off when the chocolate is fully melted.

Complete List of Low-Carb Recipes Using Chocolate and Reviews of Sugar-Free Chocolate Products


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What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good and Bad Fats:

Limiting our intake of fat is prudent, especially saturated fats and trans fats, which raise cholesterol, putting us at greater risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. But some fat is needed for the proper absorption of certain vitamins, and for optimal health. What we ought to be doing is limiting our overall intake of fat to around 30 percent of calories, and within that limit, choosing good fats—the unsaturated fats comprising monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats actually help counter the harmful effects of saturated fats and trans fats.

So What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?:

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found naturally in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to protect against heart disease, inflammation, certain types of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss). Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for proper brain development and neurological function in developing babies, too.

Are They Essential?:

Omega-3 fatty acids are often classed as "essential fatty acids," meaning that they are necessary for our health and that our bodies are unable to produce them. In fact, the body is unable to manufacture one kind of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha linolenic acid (LNA or ALA), but it can make the other types, eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA) and docoshexaeonic acid (DHA), by converting LNA, though only a small percentage of LNA is able to be converted. That’s why it’s important for us to include foods containing omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, even if we’re trying to eat low fat.

Where are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Found?:

LNA is found in plants, nuts and seeds, and most of us get sufficient amounts of LNA in our diet. But most LNA is burned for energy rather than utilized by the body—about 5 percent is converted to either DHA or EPA. EPA and DHA are the most potent forms of omega 3s, offering the greatest potential health benefits. These two omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, especially cold-water fish such as salmon.

Fortified Foods and a Caveat:

Certain foods are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, including eggs, bread, yogurt and pasta. These fortified foods tend to contain the less potent LNA, so are not as helpful to the body as food sources containing EPA and DHA.

The FDA allows products to carry a qualified health claim for EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids reducing risk of heart disease. But the Center for Science in the Public Interest complained to the FDA about the use of the claim on eggs, arguing that consumers might believe that eating eggs, which are fortified with LNA, could reduce their risk of heart disease. The CSPI also notes that the claim isn’t meant to be used on foods that are high in saturated fat or cholesterol (eggs are high in cholesterol).

Best Foods for Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Sources of EPA and DHA:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and tuna; seaweed and algae
Sources of LNA:
  • Walnuts
  • Canola Oil
  • Hempseed Oil
  • Flaxseeds and oil
  • Soybeans/tofu
  • Grass-fed Beef

Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends regarding omega-3 fatty acids.


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How to Cook Quinoa

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Next, you will want to rinse the quinoa to remove any residue from the seed that could cause a bitter taste to your cooked quinoa. This task has already been performed in some boxed quinoas, but you may want to repeat the process if you are unsure.

Pour the uncooked quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with running water for two to three minutes, agitating the seeds with your hands to remove any residue.

If you don't have a mesh strainer, you can place the quinoa in a large bowl or water for several minutes, and then change the water and repeat to assure that the quinoa is well-rinsed. Be sure to agitate with your hands during this process to remove any residue.


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Low Carb Peanut Butter Cups

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
These sugar free, low carb peanut butter cups are better than any "diet candy" you can buy in a store. You need a mini-muffin pan, preferably non-stick. I find) that in working with chocolate without sugar, erythritol (the sugar alcohol with almost no impact on blood sugar) is really helpful. Xylitol might work just as well (but I haven't tried it)
Notes on Methods and Ingredients: It is important not to overheat the chocolate. Chocolate melts at a little below body temperature - you don't need a lot of heat. There are many methods for melting chocolate - you can pour boiling water over it and then pour it off, you can heat the cream and then turn off the heat, or use your own method. But if you heat it too much it will separate. If this happens, pour off the cocoa butter, put nuts in it along with the other ingredients (except the stuff for the filling), and it will be pretty good fudge. You'll have to start over for the peanut butter cups, though. (More About Chocolate)

The chocolate and the artificial sweetener you use will make a difference. I used Hershey unsweetened chocolate because I figured it was readily available. I also used Sweetzfree liquid Splenda, but I think Fiberfit would also work, and packets would probably work. Sources of "Liquid Splenda"

You can use natural peanut butter - it's the healthiest, but it starts to separate at room temperature. I used "Simply Jif" because it doesn't separate, and only has a trace of trans fat and no added sugar.

1. Heat cream and the rest of ingredients. Turn off heat and add chocolate. If you're melting it in the cream, let stand until chocolate is melted - stir once in awhile. When it is all melted, the mixture will be fairly thick. Adjust sweetener to taste.

2. While the cream is heating and chocolate melting, mix up the filling. If it's too sticky, put a little more almond flour or erythritol into it. You want to be able to form it easily without getting it all over your hands. Adjust sweetness (and possibly salt level) to taste.

3. Put heaping tablespoons or globs of the chocolate the size of a walnut into the mini muffin tin. If it is thick enough you can sort of push out a place in the center and make the chocolate even around the sides. If it isn't yet thick enough for this, don't worry, the peanut butter will push it up the sides.

4. Form the peanut butter into smaller globs/balls. Push them into the chocolate, including pushing the top so it's flat.

5. Chill the whole thing in the refrigerator for half an hour or so.

6. Remove from fridge and run hot water over the bottom of the pan for just a few seconds.

7. Take a thin knife (I use plastic) and insert it at the edge of a cup. You should be able to turn the whole thing a bit - then you know you can easily pop it out. If it doesn't work right away, give it a few seconds so that the heat can penetrate, or it may need another shot of heat.

Nutritional Information: Each of 18 pieces has 2.5 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams of fiber and 125 calories.

Learn More About Chocolate in a Low Carb Diet


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Alli and Low-Carb Diets

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
You've probably seen the ads in print for the weight loss medication, called Alli. Can this medication be a good adjunct to a low-carb diet such as the Atkins or South Beach diets? Bottom line: probably not. Read on to find out the details.

What Is Alli?

The Alli diet pill (pronounced AL-lye) is an over-the-counter version of a medication called Orlistat or Xenical, previously available only by prescription. It is the first over-the-counter weight-loss medication to be approved by the FDA. It costs about $1.50 to $2 per day (3 pills per day).

How Does Alli Work?

Alli blocks part of the fat in the food eaten in a meal. That fat is eliminated in the feces instead of being absorbed to be used by the body. The literature says it blocks about 25% of the fat eaten in a meal. However, the real secret to how it works is that people get uncomfortable effects if they eat more fat than recommended.

How Much Weight Is Lost on Alli?

Alli was tested on a group of mildly to moderately overweight people as part of a diet and exercise plan. Those taking Alli lost an average of 10 1/2 pounds over the 16 weeks of the study, as opposed to an average of little less than 7 pounds for the placebo group. The advertising literature says that you can lose 50% more with Alli than you would by diet alone -- they get this figure from that research. But remember that that number is an average, and the study only lasted 16 weeks.

What Are Some of the Problems With Alli?

"Treatment Effects" - Note that these are not called "side effects," because they are more or less the intended effects of taking Alli. Basically, if you eat too much fat at a meal, you will be pretty uncomfortable. The exact amount of fat that will trigger these effects varies per person, but it is recommended to eat no more than 15 grams of fat per meal. Treatment effects include:

  • gas with oily spotting (it is advised not to "pass gas" unless you are on the toilet)
  • loose stools
  • more frequent stools that may be hard to control ("Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.")
Read about real people talking about treatment effects

Lack of absorption of vitamins - Fat-soluble vitamins can be flushed out along with the fat, so it is advised to take supplements of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and beta-carotene. What is not addressed is that many phytonutrients also need fat to be absorbed, so people taking Alli may be getting less of these valuable substances as well.

What Doesn't Alli Do?

It doesn't control appetite, increase metabolism, or block any calories other than fat. It doesn't change blood glucose or blood insulin.

What Diet is Recommended with Alli?

It's a little hard to tell, beyond it being low in fat and calories. They are pretty cagey about not revealing the recommended diet before buying the product. Certainly they don't advise more than about 15 grams of fat per meal. Snacks should be low in fat. Calories are in the range of 1200 to 1800, depending on the person. The web site doesn't tell how much carbohydrate or protein is advised.

How Much Fat Is 15 Grams?

It is difficult to get any nutrient-rich diet to be lower than 10% fat -- this is with no "extra" fat or "fatty" foods (such as the dark meat of chicken) at all. For a 1,500-calorie diet, that's about 17 grams of fat. This means that any added fat would need to be limited to 10 grams per meal. This is the amount of fat in 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 oz of cheese, or 2 tablespoons raw almonds. Or you could have a 3 oz hamburger (15 grams fat) and some almost fat-free vegetables or other truly fat-free food.

Why Should Alli Not Be Used With a Low-Carb Diet?

The weight loss effect of Alli operates in a totally different way than that of low-carb diets. There are several reasons why those following a low-carb way of eating should not take Alli, including:

1) Low-carb diets should not be low in fat - You have to get your calories from somewhere, and if it's not from carbs, some of it is going to be from fat.

2) Low-carb diets work partly because protein and fat are more satisfying than carbohydrate. Therefore, people on low-carb diets naturally eat fewer calories. Alli limits calories by limiting fat.

3) Low-carb diets also work because they lower blood glucose and insulin. Alli does not help with this. In fact, it could conceivably raise blood glucose, to the extent that people replace fat with carbohydrates.

If you are still interested in trying Alli after reading this article, be sure to read this patient information first. It will inform you about whether you should consult your health care provider, drug interactions, side effects, and more.

Sources:

Web site for Alli by GlaxoSmithKline

Anderson, JW, Schwartz, SM, Hauptman, J, et al. "Low-dose orlistat effects on body weight of mildly to moderately overweight individuals: a 16 week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 40.10 (2006):1717-23.

Brown, Melody, Ferruzzi, Mario Nguyen, Minhthy et al. "Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 80.2 (2004):396-403


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Tuna and Pasta Salad

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This low fat tuna and pasta salad is an easy-to-assemble lunch or supper dish that the whole family will enjoy.

Prep Time: 10?minutes

Cook Time: 10?minutes

Total Time: 20?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8-ounces fusilli pasta
  • 2 6-ounce cans water-packed tuna, drained
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small mango, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Preparation:

Boil pasta according to instructions on package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place cooled pasta in a large bowl and add tuna, scallions, bell pepper, mango, parsley and basil.

For the dressing, whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

Add dressing to salad and toss well to coat. Garnish with some extra basil and serve chilled on 4 plates.

Per Serving: Calories 444, Calories from Fat 125, Total Fat 13.9g (sat 2.1g), Cholesterol 36mg, Sodium 355mg, Carbohydrate 52.1g, Fiber 3.6g, Protein 27.7g


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Medications and Low-Carb Diets

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
You hear it again and again, "Before you start a new diet or exercise program, check with your doctor." How many people follow this advice? Very few. But there are some situations where getting medical assistance is important when going on a low-carb diet. If you are taking certain medications, it is important for your healthcare providers to be aware of your diet change because dosages of medication might have to be adjusted or eliminated, or a change of medication might be in order. This is particularly true if you are being treated for diabetes or high blood pressure.

Diabetes Medication: Insulin

Anyone taking insulin is aware of the direct relationship between the amount of carbohydrate eaten and the amount of insulin required. Large changes in the amount of carbohydrate in the diet should be made only with close coordination of your physician and/or dietitian. A low-carb diet will require less insulin, pure and simple, and it's vital to match the two. One advantage of low-carb diets for insulin-dependent diabetics is what Dr. Richard Bernstein calls "The Law of Small Numbers." That is that the less carbohydrate a person eats, the less variation in blood glucose, and the easier it is to control. On the other hand, when eating larger amounts of carbohydrate there is more variation. For example, a cup of cauliflower might have 3 grams of effective carbohydrate "by the books," but you can never know exactly how much carb there is, because all the numbers are averages. You might be getting 2 or 4 grams, or even 5 or 6 grams of carbohydrate in your particular serving of cauliflower. Compare that to a medium-sized baked potato. The charts say it will have 32 grams of effective carb, but that potato is going to have a much broader range of possibilities. According to the exact size and variety, it could vary from perhaps 22 to 45 grams. That will make a real difference in the amount of insulin you need, so your blood glucose could go too high or too low more easily.

Diabetes Medications: Hypoglycemic Agents

There are many other medications for diabetes which are intended to help control blood glucose. Glucophage (metformin), Avandia (rosiglitazone), Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) and many others are used for this reason.

If you have been eating a high carb diet and switch to low-carb one, you will likely need to adjust your medications. Many people find that over time they can control their blood glucose with diet and exercise alone and can stop taking the medication. Continuing to take the same dosage could result in hypoglycemic episodes. Even medications such as metformin, which is not supposed to cause hypoglycemia, have been known to have this effect in some people when they change their diets. Again, you must work with your physician to do this safely.

List of Medications from About.com's Diabetes site

Blood Pressure Medication

High blood pressure often at least partly corrects with a low-carb diet. I have now heard of several people whose physicians prescribed low-carb diets specifically to treat high blood pressure. The problem is that if a person is already taking medication to lower blood pressure, it can go too low.

Dr. Mary Vernon tells this story: Someone she knew from work, who she knew had high blood pressure, asked her one day if lowcarb diets are safe. She said, "Yes, but do it with my supervision." Unfortunately, the man did not follow her instructions. Some time later, he called her -- from the floor of his living room. He couldn't stand up without passing out. He was taken to the emergency room, where she met him. His blood pressure was alarmingly low. It turned out he was taking quite a lot of medication to lower his blood pressure, much of which was no longer needed.

List of Blood Pressure Medications from About.com's High Blood Pressure site

Medication for diabetes and high blood pressure are the main ones which may need adjusting if you reduce the carbohydrates in your diet. However, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your diet, especially if you have a chronic disease or condition, or are taking medications.

Talking to Your Doctor about Low-Carb Diets

Alli (over the counter weight loss drug) and Low-Carb Diets

Sources:

Bernstein, Richard. Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. 2nd Ed. 2007. Little, Brown, and Company.

Vernon, Mary, Eberstein, Eberstein. Atkins Diabetes Revolution. 2004. HarperCollins.

Vernon, M.D, Mary. "Carbohydrate Restriction for Type 2 Diabetes in Clinical Practice", Presentation at Nutrition and Metabolism seminar sponsored by the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. May 2007.


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Chinese Chicken Stir Fry

Monday, August 29, 2011

Low Calorie Chinese Chicken Stir FryKimberley K. Eggleston

Using frozen chinese vegetables makes this dish extremely easy and fast to prepare. You may experiment with different types of vegetables, as the recipe lends itself to being very versatile.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 16 oz. package frozen, chinese vegetables
  • For the sauce:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Preparation:

1. Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove the chicken and garlic from the wok, and set aside.

2. Add the vegetables to the wok, and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together (water through ground red pepper) in a seperate dish, and hold aside.

3. Return the chicken to the wok, and pour the sauce mixture into the wok as well. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

Serves 4

Per Serving Calories 162


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Protein Power Phase One

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summary:

In this phase, protein requirements are determined, and sources of carbohydrates are fairly strictly curtailed. Both protein and carb eating are spread over 3 meals, and snacks if desired.

What You Eat:

Each person determines their individual protein needs, either from a formula or chart. For example, a woman who is 5’6” weighing 200 lbs would eat at least 34 grams of protein for each of the three meals (less if some is in a snack). This is about 5 oz of meat or fish. Everyone also eats 7-10 grams of carbohydrate per meal or snack. This could be a cup of broccoli and a green salad with a tomato in it. 25 grams of fiber is recommended as a daily goal.

Fats are unlimited, but there are some guidelines: no trans fats, lots of Omega-3 fatty acids, and limited vegetable oil high in Omega-6 polyunsaturates such as corn oil. If you get into the diet more, you will find that the authors make suggestions such as eating grass-fed cows when eating beef (better fat composition). Length of Phase: Until health objectives are achieved (for example, normal blood pressure, triglycerides, blood glucose), and weight normalizes.

Length of Phase:

Until health objectives are achieved (for example, normal blood pressure, triglycerides, blood glucose), and weight normalizes.

Goals:

See "length of phase".

What's Next?:

After completion of the Intervention Phase, dieters move on to the Transition and Maintenance Phases.

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Watch College Carbs to Avoid the Freshman 15

Monday, August 29, 2011
saladOur daughter will soon be heading off to her junior year in college. She tries to eat a relatively low-carb diet, but finds that it's pretty challenging, as everywhere she looks there are bagels, muffins, pizza, and sweets. To make matters worse, her college, in its efforts to provide "healthy" fare, have a lot of low-fat and fat-free offerings in the cafeteria, and as we all know, low-fat pretty much equals high-carb. There's sugar in the salad dressing instead of oil, more starch and less fat in the cafeteria line, and less satisfying meals so that students are reaching for that bag of chips a couple of hours later.

One way to avoid the "Freshman 15" (which is not limited to freshman!) is to learn some strategies for avoiding the College Carb Trap. Check out my Low Carb College Guide for lots of tips.

Photo of College Salad Bar: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Carb Cravings

Monday, August 29, 2011

Definition: This is a term used by those who follow a low carb way of eating, referring to urges to eat that are related to overeating carbohydrates. The craving itself may or may not be for carbohydrate-rich foods, but are certainly caused by eating too many carbs for that person's body.

Examples:

"When I found myself staring at the inside of the refrigerator for the third time that evening, I realized that maybe I was reacting to the sugar alcohols in that 'low carb' ice cream."

For more information as well as a description of Laura's experience with carb cravings, check out "Can Carb Cravings Be Your Friend?".


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Balsamic Strawberries

Monday, August 29, 2011

What could be simpler? All you need is pack of fresh strawberries, a little sugar and some aged balsamic vinegar. Vinegar? Trust me, you won't taste "vinegar," but you will enjoy delicious, sweet strawberries.

Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

Place strawberries in a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle sugar, then gently stir. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over strawberries. Gently stir one more time. Refrigerate or let stand for at least an hour.

Serves 4.

Per Serving: Calories 54, Calories from Fat 4, Total Fat 0.4g (sat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 1mg, Carbohydrate 11.8g, Fiber 2.6g, Protein 0.7g


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Bean Tostadas

Monday, August 29, 2011

 Low Calorie Bean TostadasKimberley K. Eggleston

These tostadas can be individualized to your family's preferences, topping them with the condiments of your choice. Serve with mexican rice for a delicious supper, or use smaller corn tortillas and serve as an appetizer.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (about 20)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Place the corn tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spray the surface of the tortillas with cooking spray, and sprinkle evenly with the salt. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until crisp. Check on the tortillas periodically to avoid burning.

3. Heat the refried beans in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

4. Top each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of beans, 1/4 cup of lettuce, 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes, 1/2 oz. cheese, 2 tablespoons olives, 2 tablespoons of salsa, and 1 tablespoon of sour cream.

Serves 4

Per Serving Calories 257


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Light Shrimp Salad

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here's a quick and easy appetizer or sandwich filling that's low fat, low calorie, and a snap to put together. Serve atop red lettuce or romaine, or stuff into a whole-grain pita for a tasty sandwich.

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp meat, patted dry
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup fat-free strained Greek yogurt
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Preparation:

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Serve atop lettuce leaves or stuff into a lettuce or spinach lined whole-grain pita.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or sandwich filling.

Per Serving: Calories 71, Calories from Fat 9, Total Fat 1g (sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 107mg, Carbohydrate 2.6g, Fiber 0.2g, Protein 12.8g


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South Beach Phase Three

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summary:

Once dieters have lost all the weight they want to, they proceed to Phase Three, where the variety of foods is liberalized still further and weight is maintained. The change from Phase Two is not very great, however.

What You Eat:

In the original book, Agatston says that the knowledge gained in the first two phases will guide eating and that “there is no food list for Phase Three”. However, the Good Fats Good Carbs Guide has lists of food with codes as to how often they are “allowed” in each phase. Essentially, the recommendations tend to be that a few foods (with either more carbs or saturated fat) can be eaten somewhat more often, but otherwise it’s very similar to Phase Two.

Length of Phase:

Forever. However, it is also expected that people will switch back and forth between phases as needed.

Menus:

Menus are mostly going to consist of protein, vegetables, and fruit, with small portions of whole grains and sources of mono and polyunsaturated fats (e.g. avocado, nuts, olives and olive oil).


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Lemon Curd

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Traditionally, lemon curd is a lusciously thick and rich spread. And no wonder: it's full of eggs and butter. So with fewer eggs and no butter, here's a quick and easy light lemon curd that makes a great filling for mini phyllo tart shells, or a deliciously sweet yet tart spread for whole-grain toast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 2 large lemons, strained
  • 1/2 cup baker's (fine) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest

Preparation:

Place strained lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on low and stir until sugar has dissolved.

Lightly beat egg in a medium bowl.

Remove lemon syrup from heat and pour slowly into beaten egg while stirring the mixture with a whisk. Continue to whisk by hand for one minute.

Return mixture to saucepan; add lemon zest, and heat on low until it thickens -- about two minutes.

Remove from heat. Transfer to a container and cover (to prevent a skin from forming), then refrigerate.

Makes 1 cup of low fat lemon curd.

Per 2 tbsp serving: Calories 82, Calories from Fat 12, Total Fat 1.2g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 52mg, Sodium 16mg, Carbohydrate 15.5g, Fiber 1.2g, Protein 2g


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Potato Salad with Yogurt and Dill

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Potato salad is delicious, but it can be very high in fat and calories. This almost fat-free potato salad is made using tangy nonfat Greek yogurt, flavored with some Dijon mustard, lemon juice and fresh chopped dill.

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 12?minutes

Total Time: 17?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Preparation:

Combine yogurt, mustard, dill and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Steam potatoes for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool

Add potatoes and toss well. Chill until ready to serve.

Serves 6

Per Serving: Calories 113, Calories from Fat 3, Total Fat 0.4g (sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 73mg, Carbohydrate 23.5g, Fiber 1.8g, Protein 4.1g


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