Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

A little Thanksgiving meatspiration this week:

Even though this photo comes from Worth1000, a sharing forum for creative uses of Photoshop, we can all dream of Thanksgiving turkeys that actually come in this size.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Low-Carbing When Life Hands You Lemons

I read somewhere once that the key to maintaining a low-carb lifestyle is taking advantage of the heightened energy you get from having a stable blood sugar in order keep up the hard work of planning and preparing more healthy food so that you continue the process. It made total sense to me, since sugar and carbs make me feel way too sluggish and lazy to even think about spending time in the kitchen.

For the last week, though, I've been under the weather with a nasty cold, and until yesterday, I've been all too happy to use my lack of energy as an excuse to go back to eating fast food, sugary treats, and instant boxed meals. Part of me knew that eating better would probably make me feel better faster, but the thought of toiling in the kitchen while in my drowsy, congested, cold-medicine-induced state was so unappealing that I just gave in to the temptation to get food in the easiest way possible.

So how do you stay on track when you're thrown for a loop? Are there any strategies you use when you find yourself in a position where you have little time or energy to plan for healthy eating? Or if you allow yourself to slip a little when life gets tough, how do you get yourself back on track?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Healthy Weight Does Not a Healthy Person Make

You might have seen the CNN article yesterday about the human nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds in two months while subsisting on a diet mostly made up of Twinkies, Little Debbies, Doritos, Oreos, and the like.

He wanted to prove that what matters most in losing weight is calorie-counting, not nutrition. And when it comes to the markers society traditionally uses to measure health, this "convenience store diet" was a real winner: his body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent, his "bad" cholesterol dropped 20 percent, his "good" cholesterol increased 20 percent, and triglycerides level decreased by 39 percent.

The professor questions, "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?", and I'd tend to agree, especially after these past few years of reading low-carb research. I know I can lose weight on a low-fat, high-carb diet, but I don't think the constant sugar high is good for my long-term health. And I'm positive I could never sustain a low-calorie diet, especially one centered entirely on sugar.

At least the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet, as counter-intuitive as it seems, has a couple of lower-carb options; the creator of the Belly Fat Cure recommends 3 crunchy tacos (at 39 carbs total) for an easy meal option.

And those tacos will keep you full for hours, unlike the blood-sugar-spiking Twinkies, which must have left the professor starving half the time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Enjoy this weekly list of great low-carb recipes. Leave your own links and recipes in the comments!

Sugar-Free Low Carb Recipes: Low Carb Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

GoodLife Eats: Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Walnuts

Elana's Pantry: Creamy Cranberry Dressing

Jennifer Eloff: Tuna or Salmon Burgers and Red Pepper Soup

24/7 Low Carb Diner: Pizza Supreme Casserole

Kalyn's Kitchen: Pan-Fried and Roasted Pork Chops with Apricot-Dijon Sauce and Five Recipes for Roasted Winter Squash

Nutty Kitchen: Crock Pot Spiced Whole Chicken

A Doctor's Kitchen: Curried Mango Chicken Thighs

Before the Cookie Eats You: Savory Chuck Roast with Rosemary, Onions, & Dried Mushrooms

Kelly the Kitchen Kop: Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

The GFCF Lady: Migas (This "Tex-Mex Omelette" sounds delicious, and it's totally BFC friendly if you count the tortilla chips carefully.)

Heart of a Country Home: Sausage Cream Gravy on a Low Carb Biscuit

The Food Lovers' Primal Palate: Slow Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Roasted Pumpkin Seed Spread

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: Almost Pumpkin Pie

Big Daddy D: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Comfy Belly: Portobello Pizza

Mrs. Ed's Research and Recipes: Grain Free Butter Cookies (Replace the honey with sugar-free maple syrup or another sweetener to cut carbs.)

Grace2882: Broiled Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese and Cranberry Pecan Muffins

And I don't want to keep my personal distaste for cooked cauliflower to keep you from enjoying these great-looking cauliflower-based recipes from Maria Emmerich:
Carmelized Cauliflower Gratin
Easy Cheesy Scalloped "Potatoes"
Sweet "Potato" Casserole

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Meatspiration

Last year at Christmas, Katie and I decorated a gingerbread house with sugary frosting, gumdrops, and candy pieces. But now that we're back on the low-carb train this year, we may have to consider constructing this Atkins-friendly "gingerbread" log cabin, made from cream cheese, Slim Jims, meat snack sticks, and nuts:

Because nothing says "yuletide cheer" like processed meats. Yum!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back on Track

I went on vacation and never got to individually thank all of you for your comments on my post publicly bemoaning my inability to commit to my diet, but I really think your support finally pushed me to start caring more about what goes into my mouth.

For the past 10 days, I've made conscious food decisions based on the Belly Fat Cure, and I've lost 6 pounds in the process. The weight isn't "falling off of me" like it does some low-carbers who are super-diligent with their counting, but I'm not interested in dropping a dress size if it's going to make me completely miserable in the process.

At my monthly dinner outing with co-workers on Thursday, I ate three corn tortillas with my fajitas but left behind the other three. During my company's lunch on Friday, I ate a slice of pizza but threw away the edge crust, which I didn't care about. On Saturday, I ate a handful of French fries and gave the rest to my boyfriend. On Sunday, instead of pigging out on Halloween candy, I ate a single-serving Haagen Dazs, which has 17g of sugar, instead of eating half a pint like I usually do, which is more like 60g.

I've seen that it's entirely possible to be physically healthy while still being completely happy with the food that's available to me. I gave myself a set list foods that I could easily make or buy and that I found really delicious. I discovered that I didn't even crave dessert when I allowed myself a little bit of bread or some complex carbs like beans in my meal. And when I did need dessert, I went for a can of diet soda, a stick of gum, or some Greek yogurt.

I'm just really scared this feeling will pass as quickly as it arrived, you know? It turns out it's SO EASY to make good choices with what's available to me if I just get into the habit of doing it. But it's just as easy to slip up and make a habit of eating the old way, too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recipe Roundup

Happy Monday! Here are some low-carb recipes that were featured on blogs this past week. Leave your own in the comments!

Saveur: Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo

24/7 Low Carb Diner: Pumpkin Pancakes and Chicken Pizza on a Nutty Crust

Nutty Kitchen: Bacon Mango Butternut Hash

Before the Cookie Eats You: Lingonberry and Mascarpone Waffles and Chicken Paprikas

Kalyn's Kitchen: Spicy Lime Coleslaw and her monthly roundup of South Beach Phase One recipes

Heart of a Country Home: Coconut Flour Pancakes, Cheesy Burger Skillet, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Dana Carpender: Hot Buffalo Wing Dip

Mrs. Ed's Research and Recipes: Chile Rellenos Con Pollo (SCD) Stuffed Chilies with Chicken

Smitten Kitchen: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Maria Emmerich: Lasagna Cupcakes, Chicken Enchiladas, and Extreme Chocolate Birthday Cake

The World According to Eggface: Sugar Free Dirt Cup

The Nourishing Gourmet: Lemon, Horseradish Mustard, and Bacon Deviled Eggs

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (The agave nectar in this one isn't low-carb, but it can be replaced with your sweetener of choice.)

Ginny's Low Carb Kitchen: My Leftover Soup

Jennifer Eloff: Linda's Herb Parmesan Crackers, Minty Chocolate Cheesecake, Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Fudgey Chocolate Chip Brownies

Mark's Daily Apple: A whole post full of Primal Holiday Desserts.

And our BLCBFF (Best Low-Carb Blog Friend Forever!) Grace2882 was, as usual, ON FIRE with the recipes this week:
Pizza Potroast
Chalupa Wraps
Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
Cranberry Pecan Muffins
Macaroons with Blackberry Jelly