Tuesday, August 19, 2008



Or just sweeten it naturally and calorie-free, while still managing to taste delicious.

My free box of Truvía arrived last week, thanks to the fabulous Amy Dungan (who is now the new low-carb colunmist for the St. Louis Examiner), and I'm excited to confirm the opinion she gave in her review of the stuff. It tastes great, even right out of the package. Now it just needs to come to supermarkets so I won't have to order it online all the time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On "Extreme" Dieting

US Magazine has a slide show up of their named "Weight Winners", a group of female celebrities who have lost pounds over the past year.

None of the weight changes were extreme (or in any way necessary), unless you count the three women who were pregnant in their before pictures (Gee. Wonder why they got slimmer!) The only one in the group who is not overtly praised for weight loss is actress Hillary Duff:

At the age of 15, press criticism drove the actress to drop an estimated 30 pounds on an extreme no-bread, no-sugar diet. After learning to be healthy, Duff, 20, is back to 109 pounds. "I'm happy with my body," says Duff.

I agree with the sentiment here that it's sad when criticism of someone's weight drives them to diet, especially when that someone is a teenager, but there is absolutely nothing "extreme" about a "no-bread, no-sugar diet". Statements like this imply that sugar is something our bodies require to function, when this is entirely not true. Our bodies have requirements for protein, fat, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, but there is NO bodily requirement for sugar, or even carbohydrates in general. Just because the typical American diet has become completely saturated with refined carbohydrates does not mean that this is what is best for us. Healthy diets should not be called "extreme" just because they differ from the norm.

Granted, I don't know all the details of Hillary Duff's "extreme" diet -- she could have also been severely limiting fat and calories and starving herself for all I know -- but if all it entailed was giving up sugar and bread, there's really no cause for alarm. Whatever "learning to be healthy" meant for Hillary, we don't get to find out. It could mean eating more whole foods, adding protein, or simply not starving herself, but this short statement implies that she got healthier by adding sugar and bread back into her diet. And that's a bunch of crap, if you ask me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

NITRATES! Booga booga!


(I really just wanted an excuse to post this rad picture.)

Don't you love it when you find out that something you thought was unhealthy is actually not nearly that bad for you after all? Sandy Szwarc at the blog Junkfood Science has a super-long and detailed post debunking the myth that the nitrates and nitrites found in most processed meats are the cause for alarm they've been made out to be. Especially since there are tons more nitrates in leafy green vegetables than in meats, anyway, and even our own bodies produce far more nitrates than we would ever be able to consume from eating cured meats.

The article is long, but totally interesting, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever wasted precious time picking up every package of bacon in the supermarket to check the ingredient list for nitrates or wasted precious money buying a more pricey (and sometimes less tasty!) brand just because it said "nitrate-free". Low-carbers have it hard enough without facing limits when it comes to meat, so I propose we drop nitrates from the list of things to worry about.

Bring on the hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, salami, sausage, and beef jerky! Whee!

I'm a Winner!

I just found out that I'm one of the winners of low-carb blogger Amy Dungan's drawing for a FREE box of the brand new natural no-calorie sweetener Truvía.


This is especially awesome, since the sweetener is not yet available in stores (it can only be ordered from their website), and I'm so finicky about non-sugar sweeteners that I was reluctant to spend money on an order with shipping costs. In her review of Truvía, Amy called it "I-could-eat-it-straight-out-of-the-package-good," so I'm totally excited to try it.

Check out Amy's blog Healthy Low-Carb Living for more info on Truvía and for a great resource for low-carbing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wendy's FAIL


(Via FAIL Blog)

KItchen Adventures: The Jicama, Pt. 2

I did some poking around, and it seems that jicama is normally consumed raw and chilled -- sliced or julienned and eaten in salads, slaws, and salsas. The most common recipe I found is to just enjoy slices drizzled with lime juice and chili powder. Easy enough. I might dedicate about a fourth or fifth of the monstrous jicama I bought to this to give it a try. I'm also pumped to see if raw jicama slices please me as something to dip in guacamole in place of tortilla chips.

I also saw in a couple of places that the jicama's apple-like texture lends itself well to recipes that would normally call for apples. Just sweeten it a little more with some Splenda and use it in a nice low-carb "apple" dumpling or something.

While all of this sounds promising, what I've really been craving is something hot, crispy, and salty. Something all-American that can be the ultimate low-carb side dish to the easy bunless hamburgers and hot dogs I eat a few times a week out of convenience. What I really want is something to fill the void left in the absence of french fries, potato wedges, and baked potatoes. And (for me, anyway) cauliflower does NOT fill this void. Am I expecting too much of the jicama?

I remembered that Jamie had posted this jicama hash brown recipe at the Low-Carb Examiner, and I'll probably try it, but I'm skeptical, because I tried something similar with zucchhini once and found it totally repulsive.

And then there's THIS, which looks completely, amazingly, mouth-wateringly delicious, but with 48 grams of sugar per serving, is not quite practical for my purposes. Anyone know of a no-carb substitute for honey?

Kitchen Adventures: The Jicama


I bought my first ever jicama at the gocery store last night. It was even uglier than I imagined it would be.

Time to figure out what the heck to do with it. I'm fantasizing about low-carb french fry substitutes, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. I'm sure I'll be reporting back what I find out.

Update: See Kitchen Adventures: The Jicama, Part 2 for more.