Saturday, October 27, 2007

Healthy Halloween treats

UPDATE - Oct. 28/07: Ha! So much for that noble idea. I went to Costco and bought 48 full-size boxes of Smarties. *sigh* There were some organic items, but I would have had to take out a second mortgage on my house. Wow. Maybe next year...

I've decided that I'm giving out pseudo-healthy Halloween treats this year. Although it's virtually impossible to find anything without gobs of sugar in it, I'm going to try and at least find the "best of the worst" stuff to hand out. I could put a reasonably healthy mixture of dried fruit and nuts together (too high in carbs for me, but most of the rugrats can likely handle it), but parents usually chuck the treats that haven't been professionally packaged - and I don't blame them.

So I'm going to have to find the "best of the worst" stuff to hand out. I don't even mind buying full-sized items. I just need to figure out what to get. I only get 30-40 kids at my door on Halloween night, so I don't mind handing out something full-sized and pseudo-good for you - even health bars or something.

Any suggestions? Preferably on the low end of the sugar scale, natural and packaged so I don't waste my money and have everything thrown out by parents when the kids get home?

Another recipe later today!

I've currently got "rhubarb flummery" in the crockpot. After I test it out, I'll post my review and the recipe here online later today - with a photo, of course!

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb On YouTube (Episode 10)

Today's episode is all about supplements!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Low-carb slow cooker recipe: Lamb stew proven├žal

I ate this for lunch most of the week. Very good! I felt guilty about eating that cute little lamb, but man he/she was delicious. :)

- 3 lb lamb stew meat
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise (also called "anise")
- 1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 15-oz can of black soybeans, drained (these are MUCH lower in carbs than regular black beans. Can be found in health food stores, usually, or organic section at supermarkets.)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon concentrate
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp dried savory ("summer savory")
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- guar or xanthan gum as thickener (I used a roux of Carbquik and water + the xanthan gum)

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil and brown the lamb on all sides over medium high heat. (Yes, use a LARGE skillet. It's a lot of meat!)

Place the fennel, onion, and garlic in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the bay leaf and rosemary. Dump the (drained) soybeans on top of that. When the lamb is done, put it on top of the beans.

In a bowl, stir together the broth, bouillon, basil, marjoram, savory and thyme. Pour the mixture over the lamb. Cover the slow cooker, set it to low and let it cook for 8-9 hours. (I shut mine off at eight hours on the button and it was just perfect.) When it is done, thicken the liquid with the guar or xanthan gum (optional). (I used the roux of Carbquik and water, too. You can get xanthan gum in the organic section of the supermarket where the organic flour, grains, etc. are.)

8 servings each with 348 calories, 17 g fat, 41 g protein (assuming soybeans), 8 g carbs, 4 g fiber, for 4 g of net carbs!

The only thing I would perhaps change next time is the soybeans. Not sure if I want to eat a lot of soy. They could probably be dropped without changing much. Would lower the carb count a bit.

The above photo is from the batch I made. Click on the photo for a larger version.

Source: Dana Carpender

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Some words of wisdom

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires... courage."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I have disabled anonymous comments on this blog because of a couple of incidents of people hiding behind their anonymity to send in vicious comments about my weight. Yes, in this day and age, people still have nothing better to do than to send in abuse. Rare and far between, mind you, but even that was too much.

I apologize to all those perfectly reasonable "anonymous" commenters who will not be able to comment from now on because of this, however I absolutely 100% refuse to open myself up to such negativity. I'm sure you all understand. Someone who is significantly changing their weight doesn't need that garbage. And although those comments never reached you, dear readers, because I deleted them, they did reach me. Sure, I got over it an hour later - but that was one hour too long.

No excuses!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anonymous comments no longer accepted

Please be advised that, effective immediately, anonymous comments to this blog are no longer accepted.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gary Taubes' appearance on Larry King: Are the cracks starting to widen in the low-fat diet myth?

The venerable Dr. Andrew Weil is a fan of Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories book. Even Oprah's diet guru, Dr. Mehmet Oz, admitted he eats a relatively low-carb diet. Here they are on Larry King on Friday night with guest host Joy Behar. (I missed this! I can't believe it!)

Here's an excellent rebuttal to Dr. Oz from "FoodDudeTV" after his appearance on Larry King:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Low-carb recipe: Phoebe's pumpkin and sausage soup

I made this tonight and it was awesome! The photo is from the actual soup that I made. Click on the photo for a larger version.


- 1 pound pork sausage (I used hot Italian sausage.)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped, about 5 medium (I'll definitely increase this next time - even double or triple it - sliced very thinly. The soup needed more "stuff" in it, I found.)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 15-oz. can pumpkin (I used a 14-oz. can of organic pumpkin and threw in a couple of tablespoons of other pumpkin I had in the fridge. Even without that extra pumpkin, I'm sure the 14-oz. can would have been fine.)
- 4 cups chicken broth (I used organic.)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (i.e. whipping cream)
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt and pepper, to taste (I used two big pinches of kosher salt and a healthy dose of freshly ground pepper.)

In a large pot, brown the sausage along with the onion, mushrooms and garlic; drain fat. (There was no fat to drain in mine. I actually added a bit of water to avoid burning.) Add the pumpkin and broth. Add Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes. (I simmered on "low" on a small burner and stirred reasonably often.) Add the cream and water; simmer 10-15 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning.

Makes 8 cups or 8 servings. Can be frozen. Per serving: 277 Calories; 21g Fat; 15g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs.

This soup was delicious! I will definitely be making it again. By using hot Italian sausage, I definitely gave it a major kick. If you don't like spicy food, you should use a mild sausage, but I really liked the bite mine has.

This recipe is courtesy of the excellent Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes website.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Read this excellent interview with Gary Taubes re: his new book: Good Calories, Bad Calories

Gary Taubes' new book - Good Calories, Bad Calories - is shaking up the medical community with its well thought-out arguments for the benefits of a low-carb diet. I've lost 60 lb on low-carb since June 17 and swear by it! It's a fast, healthy and effective way to lose weight. I no longer eat sugar, junk food, potatoes, pasta, etc. And yes - there is life after potatoes, pasta and junk.

I'm not diabetic, but it pains me to see diabetics continue to eat potatoes, pasta and bread with the blessing of their doctors. Moderation, shmoderation! People don't need to eat this garbage. There are indeed alternatives for these foods - alternatives that will keep your blood sugar stable. And it's not just diabetics who should seek to avoid spikes in their blood sugar levels. Everyone should do it!

Click here to read an interview with the author that will appear in tomorrow's edition of the Los Angeles Times.

(Taubes mentions at the end of the interview that he'll likely avoid pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. He doesn't have to, though. There are many excellent low-carb pumpkin pie recipes out there. I guess even he needs some good low-carb recipe books, eh?)

Week #18: Down 2 lb for total of -60 lb

Another good week! Finally put the 50s decade behind me and am on my way to the 70s! :) The water was good this week. I think I overdid it on salty food, though. Not sure if that affected things. I need to increase the veggies and salads. I was weak on that this week. I'm testing out some new recipes from my new low-carb slow cooker cookbook, so am looking forward to that! Onwards and upwards! Oops... I mean downwards!

No excuses!

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb On YouTube (Episode 9)

Low-carb guru Jimmy Moore and his wife Christine's latest video blog is all about "reading the instructions" - i.e. making sure you're doing the right thing! Doing "Atkins" has become a synonym for low-carb. Just make sure you're really doing Atkins.