Recipe: Chicken Fafita Wraps

paleobetic diet

It looks more appealing if you use green and red bell peppers

My earliest recollection of fajitas is from Austin, Texas, in 1981. I had just moved there from Oklahoma City to start my internship and residency in Internal Medicine. Back then fajitas were made with skirt steak, the diaphragm of a cow or steer. It was considered a cheap low-quality cut of meat. It’s not so cheap these days. You can also make fajitas with chicken. The contents of a traditional fajita are wrapped in a tortilla usually made with flour. To avoid blood sugar toxic blood sugar spikes, we’ll skip the tortilla. Use lettuce as a wrapper if you wish.

I wonder if the El Azteca Restaurant in Austin is still in business. Best Mexican food I ever had. I think it was on 6th Street or so, about 3/4 mile east of I-35. Good times.

By the way, the j in fajita is pronounced “h.” Accent on second syllable. “Fuh-HEET-uh.”

Today we’re using chicken and making four servings

paleobetic diet, paleo diet for diabetics

Pre-cut chicken breasts and sweet mini-peppers

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 kg) chicken breast, raw, boneless and skinless, cut in strips about 1/4-inch wide (you can often buy it this way)

7 oz onion, raw, cut in long crescent shapes about a 1/4-inch wide (0.6 cm)

6 oz (170 g) bell pepper, raw, cut in long strips roughly a 1/4-inch wide (these are also called sweet peppers; a combination of the red and green ones is eye-pleasing)

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

5 or 6 oz (155 g) tomato, raw, cut in long strips

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) chili powder

1 tsp (5 ml) parsley flakes

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) oregano leaves

1 pinch of cumin

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) paprika

(Optional: You could replace all these spices with a 1-oz (28 g) pack of Lawry’s Chicken Fajitas Spices & Seasoning. The sodium and potassium values below would be different.)

1/3 cup (80 ml) water

16 oz (454 g) lettuce (e.g., iceberg, romaine, or bibb)

4 oz (113 g) walnuts

4 pears, small (about 1/3 lb or 150 g each))

Instructions:

Add the onions, peppers, and 1 tbsp (15 ml)  olive oil to a 12-inch (30 cm) skillet and cook at medium-high heat until tender, stirring occasionally. This’ll take about 10 minutes. Set the skillet contents aside.

paleobetic diet, paleo diet for diabetes

This is double the recipe amount since there are six humanoids in my household

paleobetic diet, paleo diet for diabetics

The vegetables reduce volume by half while cooking

In the same pan, add 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and the chicken and cook at medium to medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. For me, this cooked quicker than the vegetables. But don’t overcook or the chicken will get tough. Then add the water and all the spices. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally, then simmer on low heat a few minutes. This is your fajita filling.

My original plan was to make “fajita wraps,” wrapping the cooked fajitas into a large leaf of iceberg lettuce. This was pretty messy, especially since I love the sauce in the bottom of the pan. I tried two leafs as a base: still messy. Finally I just made a bed of lettuce (4 oz) and loaded the fajita concoction right on top. Mess gone. Try a different lettuce? Skip the lettuce entirely and you can reduce digestible carb count in each serving by 2 grams.

Enjoy the walnuts and pear with your meal.

Leftovers taste just as good as fresh-cooked, perhaps even better.

I have another fajita recipe using skirt steak marinated in commercial Zesty Italian Dressing in the refrigerator overnight or for at least four hours. Grill it over coals outside. Yum! I don’t recall whether I added lemon juice to the marinade or squirted it on the meat just before serving. You would just cook the onions and peppers on a pan on the stove as above, with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a margarita and I’ll make you an honorary Texan.

Number of servings: 4

Serving size: A cup (240 ml) of the fajita mixture, 4 oz (113 g) lettuce, 1 oz (28 g) walnuts, 1 small pear. One cup makes two lettuce wraps.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

48% fat

26% carbohydrate

26% protein

Calories: 514

37 g carbohydrate

10 g fiber grams

27 g digestible carbohydrate (25 g if you skip the lettuce)

928 mg sodium

904 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C,copper, iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, and selenium.

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Another view, prior to rolling it up (wrapping)

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Study Finds Shortened Lifespan From Obesity Even If “Metabolically Healthy”

I'll eat my hat if this dude doesn't have metabolic syndrome

I’ll eat my hat if this dude doesn’t have metabolic syndrome

See details at MedPageToday.

Some studies suggest you can be healthy and long-lived while obese as long as you are “metabolically healthy.” That is, if you have normal blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and waist circumference. A new meta-analysis finds that isn’t the case: you’re still at higher risk for death or cardiovascular events if you’re obese and free of metabolic syndrome features.

“Our results do not support this concept of ‘benign obesity’ and demonstrate that there is no ‘healthy’ pattern of obesity,” Kramer and colleagues wrote. “Even within the same category of metabolic status (healthy or unhealthy) we show that certain cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, waist circumference, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, insulin resistance) progressively increase from normal weight to overweight to obese.”

Click for the scientific journal abstract.

This report does not directly address the “fat but fit” concept, whereby you can counteract some of the adverse health effects of obesity by being fit. By fit, I mean regularly exercising and achieving a decent level of capacity and tolerance for physical activity. Fat but fit still holds. In other words, if your choice is between being fat or physically fit, you’ll probably live longer and be healthier if you’re fit.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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T1 and T2 Diabetes Are Both Rising in U.S. Youth

Between 2001 and 2009, the prevalence of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes increased by 21% and 31%, respectively.

Reference: F. Bruder Stapleton, MD Reviewing Dabelea D et al., Journal of the American Medical Association 2014 May 7; 311:1778

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June 18, 2014 · 11:26 AM

Do Pesticides Cause Type 1 Diabetes?

Maybe, according to a study done in Egypt.

“From the present findings, there is an observed strong association between
some types of pesticides (malathion, lindane, p.p.DDE, o.p.DDD, endrin and
p.p.DDA) and the risk of occurrence of childhood diabetes in relation to
the control non-diabetic group. To the best of our knowledge, this the
first study investigating the association between type 1 diabetes in
children and exposure to pesticides.”

Reference: El-Morsi DA, Rahman RHA, Abou-Arab AAK. Pesticides Residues in Egyptian
Diabetic Children: A Preliminary Study. J Clinic Toxicol. 2012;2:138.

Free full text: http://omicsonline.org/pesticides-residues-in-egyptian-diabetic-children-a-preliminary-study-2161-0495.1000138.pdf

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Why Do I Recommend Nuts to All My Patients?

Nuts with more omega-3 fatty acids (compared to omega-6) may be the healthiest

Nuts with the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratios may be the healthiest. In other words, increase your omega-3s and decrease omega-6s.

Conner Middelmann-Whitney explains in her recent post at Psychology Today. In a nutshell, they are linked to longer life and better health. For example:

In the largest study of its kind, Harvard scientists found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20% less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts. The study also found that regular nut-eaters were leaner than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should calm any fears that eating nuts will make you gain weight.

The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death. “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America,” according to Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But we also saw a significant reduction—11% —in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs.

Read the whole enchilada.

Nuts are integral to my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

Walnuts seem to have the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio of all the common nuts. That may make them the healthiest nut. The jury is still out. Macadamia nuts also have a good ratio. Paleo dieters focus on cutting out omega-6s and increasing omega-3s. Julianne Taylor has a great post on how to do that with a variety of foods, not just nuts.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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How to Eat Low-Carb at Fast-Food Joints

Laura Dolson tells you how over at About.com. For example:

Occasionally, you’ll see salads with other protein, but chicken is the mainstay of fast-food meal salads. Tips: 1. Skip the croutons, tortilla strips, and similar additions. 2. Be very careful about sugars in the dressing. 3) For best nutrition, look for salads with a mixture of greens, and a variety of vegetables. 4) Make sure the chicken is grilled, not “crispy fried”, or other chicken with breading.

On the Advanced Mediterranean Diet for non-diabetics, you have the option of:

  1. Traditional portion- and calorie-controlled eating, or
  2. Low-carb eating with the worlds’ first Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet

If you’ve read Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes, you’re already familiar with #2.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Could You Please Help Me With a Diet Testimonial?

A major U.S. women’s magazine (Woman’s World) is doing an article on my Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet. The writer would like to be able to interview folks (by phone) who have done the diet and had success with it. The article is more about successful weight  loss than control of diabetes and prediabetes. Before and after pics would be icing on the cake but are not necessary.

CDPfrontcover Amazon

If you’ve read Control Diabetes and Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterrean Diet, or The Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd edition), or KMD: Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, then you’ve seen the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet. Advanced Mediterranean Diet also has a traditional portion/calorie-controlled diet. Control Diabetes and KMD both start with the Ketogenic Mediterranean diet (30 carb grams/day) and then add more carbohydrates as tolerated by the individual, resulting in the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet. Most folks following the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet will max out carb consumption at 80–100 grams a day.

I’m terrible at marketing myself and my ideas, so I’ve not kept track of individual success stories from the past.

If you’d be willing to share your success story, please email me with a few of the details at steveparkermd AT gmail.com. I’ll not divulge your information to anyone else. If you share with me, I’ll assume I have your permission to send your story and e-mail address to the writer.

Thanks for your consideration.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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