Save Time by Microwaving Your Spaghetti Squash

The pale yellow half-squash is cooked. The meaty red sauce is low-carb.

Both of these weighed about 4 pounds (1.8 kg). The pale yellow half-squash is cooked. The meaty red sauce is low-carb.

My wife found this new spaghetti squash cooking method—new to us at least—on a sticker attached to a squash. We tried it and the finished product is the same as if done in the traditional oven baking way. The whole process just takes 15 minutes. Here it is:

Hope you can read it

Hope you can read it

A different squash had a different stuck-on cooking method that involved both microwaving AND oven baking. Why make it so complicated?

It takes no skill at all to make it look like spaghetti pasta

It takes no skill at all to make it look like spaghetti pasta

 

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In the northern hemisphere, the spaghetti squash season is autumn and winter. Purchasing in spring and summer may be iffy. We tried one out of season and it was inedible.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Low-Carb Spaghetti Sauce

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IMG_1437

 

 

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Don’t Settle for Store-Bought Salad Dressing; Try Home-Made AMD Vinaigrette

Salmon tends to dry out when baked; a vinaigrette marinade helps keep it moist

Salmon tends to dry out when baked; a vinaigrette marinade helps keep it moist

Classic vinaigrettes are very low in carbohydrate content. On the other hand, many commercial salad dressings are “enhanced” with added sugar, which you don’t need if you have diabetes.

Try AMD vinaigrette on salads, fresh vegetables, or as a marinade for chicken, fish, or beef. If using as a marinade, keep the entree/marinade combo in the refrigerator for 4–24 hours. Seasoned vinaigrettes taste even better if you let them sit for several hours after preparation.

I’ll warn you, this is pretty spicy. If you prefer less tang, either use less of the vinaigrette, or reduce these particular ingredients by half: lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard.

This recipe was in my first book, The Advanced Mediterranean Diet from 2007; hence, “AMD vinaigrette.” BTW, there’s a second edition of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet from 2012.

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves (6 g), minced

juice from 1 lemon (40–50 ml)

2/3 cup (160 ml) extra virgin oil olive

4 tbsp (16 g or 60 ml) fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

1 tsp (5 ml) yellow mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) paprika

4 tbsp (60 ml) red wine or apple cider vinegar

Preparation:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together. Alternatively, you can put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously—my preferred method. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, for flavors to meld. Then refrigerate. It should “keep” for at least 5 days in refrigerator. The olive oil will solidify, so take it out and set at room temperature for an hour before using. Shake before using.

Number of Servings: 6 servings of 2 tbsp (30 ml). (In Australia and NZ, you guys say “serves” instead of servings, right mate?)

Nutritional Analysis:

98 % fat

2 % carbohydrate

0 % protein

220 calories

1.4 g carbohydrate

0.3 g fiber

1 g digestible carbohydrate

400 mg sodium

41 mg potassium

(You may see a slightly different nutritional analysis—2 g of digestible carb versus 1 g here—at one of my other blogs. That’s the difference between Fitday.com (here) and NutritionData, and rounding.)

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

 

paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, low-carb diet, spaghetti squash, spaghetti

Meaty low-carb spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash

Making a wholesale switch from the Standard American Diet or most diabetic diets to a very low-carbohydrate diet can be difficult for some under the best of circumstances. For those used to eating carb-heavy pasta, I thought it might be comforting to offer something similar to pasta but with a lower carb count. Hence, spaghetti pasta. The tomatoes in the sauce are an additional source of blood glucose-elevating carbohydrates. So I’ve tried to minimize them by creating a meat-heavy sauce. Nevertheless, a reasonable portion size—two cups 0f squash—tipped me over my usual “20 grams of carbohydrate per meal” limit. In contrast, a single cup of cooked spaghetti pasta by itself—no sauce—has 40 grams of digestible carbohydrate and 220 calories. Add some sauce and the combo could wreck your blood sugar control for a few hours. 

 

paleobetic diet, spaghetti, squash, low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleo diet

Cooked spaghetti squash partially teased apart with a fork

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (240 ml) low-carb spaghetti sauce

2 cups (480 ml) cooked spaghetti squash

Instructions:

Prepare the ingredients after clicking on links above. Assemble as in the photo. Enjoy.

Number of Servings: 1

Nutritional Analysis: 

52% fat

33% carbohydrate

15% protein

408 calories

36 g carbohydrate

7 g fiber

29 g digestible carbohydrate

1,398 mg sodium

1,201 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in B12, copper, iron, niacin, thiamin, B6

I think you’ll find the two cups of spaghetti squash filling and satisfying. If that’s not enough calories for you, munch on some leftover high-protein food such as chicken or steak.

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Breaking News! Obesity Can Cut Years Off Your Life

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

MedPageToday has the details. A quote:

In a computer modeling study, very obese men lost just over 8 years of life compared with normal-weight men, and very obese women lost as many as 6 years, Steven Grover, PhD, of McGill University, and colleagues reported online in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

They also found that very obese men and women (defined as a body mass index [BMI] of 35 and higher) lost about 19 years of healthy life, defined as living free of chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Note that “very obese” in this context has a specific definition: body mass index 35 or higher. Calculate yours.

The number of life years lost to obesity and disease were highest for those who were very obese in young adulthood and presumably stayed obese for years. In other words, becoming very obese at age 60 is not as dangerous as at 25.

I first got interested in weight loss in the 1990s when I had an office-based primary care medical practice. It was obvious that many of the medical problems I was treating were related to years of obesity. Believe me, you’re much better off preventing those problems via diet and exercise.

Click for The Lancet study abstract.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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How to Make a Super Salad Into a Whole Meal

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, diabetes,

You won’t be able to eat this in one sitting if you’re small or sedentary

This huge salad is a full meal. It fills a 10-inch plate (25 cm). Since it contains five vegetables, you should feel virtuous eating it. But don’t use that health halo as an excuse for eating a carton of ice cream for dessert.

Ingredients:

8 oz (230 g) raw chicken breast tenderloin (it cooks down to 5 oz)

1/4 cup (60 ml) canned mandarin orange wedges (6-7 wedges) (if you can only find these packed in syrup or light syrup, add 3 g to the digestible carb count below)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) lemon pepper seasoning

4 oz (110 g) hearts of romaine lettuce

1 oz (30 g) baby spinach

2.5 oz (1/4 cucumber or 70 g) cucumber, peeled and sliced into discs

2 oz (60 g) California avocado, peeled and seeded, cut into wedges (1/2 of standard-sized avocado)

3 oz (85 g) fresh tomato (a typical roma or small tomato)

1 oz (30 g) walnuts

6 tbsp (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) vinegar (we used balsamic)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) crushed dried rosemary

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, low-carb, seasoning

Like Deborah on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” my wife often makes lemon chicken

Instructions:

First cook the chicken breast over medium heat in a skillet. If you think the meat will stick to the pan, add a smidgen (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml) of olive oil to the pan. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. It’ll take five or 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, prepare your vinaigrette. In a jar with a lid, place the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary, then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Not 21 or you’ll ruin it. You’re done.

If you use a commercial vinaigrette instead, use one that has no more than 2 g of carbohydrate per 2 tbsp. You may have trouble finding that since so many of the commercial guys add sugar.

Place the lettuce and spinach on a plate then add the cucumber, avocado, tomato, cooked chicken, walnuts, and mandarin orange wedges on top. Drizzle two or three tbsp of the vinaigrette over it (nutritional analysis assumes three). Enjoy.

Servings: 1

(Actually, you’ll have enough vinaigrette left over for one or two more salads or vegetable servings. Save it in the refrigerator.)

Nutritional Analysis:

57 % fat

12 % carbohydrate

31 % protein

710 calories

25 g carbohydrate

10 g fiber

15 g digestible carb

990 mg sodium

1,570 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin A, B6, C, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, selenium, and phosphorus.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, balsamic vinaigrette,

I like this and use it. The lower left corner says “with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.” In order, the listed ingredients are water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil, sugar….  2 tbsp has 3 grams of carb. Which oil would you guess predominates? BTW, balsamic has the most carbs of all the vinegars.

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Salads, Vinaigrettes, and Cruets

Our new cruet

Our new $8 cruet

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep from getting fat, salads are helpful. I recommend them in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

My favorite salad dressings are vinaigrettes. They can be as simple as olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. The problem with most commercial vinaigrettes is the label says “_____ Vinaigrette with olive oil, “but the first listed ingredient is soybean oil (or some other industrial seed oil) and olive oil is somewhere down the line.

Get around that by making your own. Here’s a recipe and a salad to try it on. Also, if you’re watching your carb consumption, the commercial dressings  may sneak in more than you want. Again, avoid that by making your own.

Cruet label

Cruet label

You can make a vinaigrette in a jar with a lid. Add the ingredients then shake to create an emulsion. Or do it in a bowl with a whisk. My wife found us a cruet at the supermarket that I’m hoping will allow mixing, storing, and pouring all from the same attractive container. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work out; I’m afraid it will leak when I shake it.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: It leaked. This device is for a liquid that you won’t be shaking.

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New Podcast Episode Features Professional Low-Carb Diet Proponents

Jimmy Moore posted an interview with Dr. Troy Stapleton and Franziska Spritzler, R.D. They both advocate carbohydrate-restricted diets for management of blood sugars in diabetes. Dr. Stapleton, by the way, has type 1 diabetes; I’ve written about him before. Franziska is available for consultation either by phone, Skype, or in person.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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