Tag Archives: low-carb

Recipe: Chicken Avocado Soup

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Avocados in soup? Yeah, I was skeptical, too. But it works amazingly well. Since I provide the nutritional analysis below, you can easily work this into the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, or Paleobetic Diet.

Ingredients

1.5 lb (680 g) boneless skinless chicken breast

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

1 cup (240 ml) chopped green onions

1/2 jalapeno pepper (or 1 or 2 peppers if you wish), seeded and minced (use the seeds, too, if you want it very spicy hot)

2 roma tomatoes (5 oz or 140 g), seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

60 oz (1,700 g) low-sodium chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste (nutritional analysis below assumes no salt added)

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground cumin

1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped cilantro

3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh lime juice (2 limes should be enough)

3 medium California avocados, peeled, seeded, and cubed

Instructions

Heat up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the green onions and jalapeño; sauté until tender (1–2 minutes) then add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so. Next into the pot goes the chicken broth, cumin, tomatoes, chicken breasts, and optional salt and pepper. If adding salt, I’d wait until just before serving: taste it and then decide if it needs salt. Bring to a boil with high heat, then reduce heat but keep it  boiling, covered with a lid while the chicken cooks through-out. Cooking time depends on thickness of the breasts and may be 15 to 45 minutes. When done, it should be easy to shred with a fork. Reduce heat to low or warm then remove the chicken breasts and allow them to cool for 5–10 minutes. When cool enough, shred the chicken with your fingers and return it to the pot. Add the cilantro. Ladle 1.5 cups (355 ml) into a bowl, add one fifth or sixth of the avocado cubes (half of an avocado) and the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 lime. Enjoy!

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Serving size: 1.5 cup of soup plus 1/2 of an avocado

Servings per Batch: 5

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1 fat, 1 protein

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

43 % fat

13 % carbohydrate

44 % protein

350 calories

12 g carbohydrate

8 g fiber

4 g digestible carb

638 mg sodium

1,180 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, selenium; plus a fair amount of fiber

PS: You can fancy this up just before serving by adding a couple large triangular corn tortilla chips (broken into a few bits) or half of a 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortilla (first, microwave for 20 seconds, then break into a bits). Both items each add 5 g of digestible carbohydrate; the tortilla chip option adds 60 calories and the corn tortilla adds 25 calories. Shredded cheese might be a nice topper, too.

 

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Recipe: Roasted Asparagus, Beef Stoup, and Blackberries

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

Dinner time!

Since I give you the nutritional analysis below, you can fit this meal into the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, or Paleobetic Diet.

The entree is a cross between stew and soup; stoup, if you will.

Ingredients:

2 lb (0.9 kg) stew meat, lean, bite-sized chunks (tenderized by the butcher if able)

1 garlic clove, finely minced

6 sprigs cilantro, de-stemmed, whole leaves

2 oz (58 g) sweet onion, diced (1/2 of a small onion)

1/4 of a medium-size green bell pepper, de-seeded, diced (medium bell pepper weighs about 5.5 oz or 155 g)

8 oz (227 g) canned tomato sauce

2.5 cups (590 ml) water

1.25 tsp (6.2 ml) table salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste (1/4 tsp or 1.2 ml?)

16 oz (454 g) fresh raw asparagus, no larger in diameter than your little finger, with any dry or woody stalk cut off and discarded

1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

7.5 oz (213 g) raw blackberries

Instructions:

Stoup first. In a frying pan or electric skillet, place the stew meat, cilantro, garlic, bell pepper, onion, and cook over medium heat (350º F or 177º C) until the meat is done. Then add the tomato sauce, two cups of the water, one tsp of the salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for two hours, then add a half cup water to replace evaporation loss.

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Cooking stew meat. NOTE: this is double the amount the recipe calls for.

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Meat is done and the “gravy” has magically appeared

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Appearance after addition of the tomato sauce and 2 cups (480 ml) water

Now the asparagus. Preheat oven to 400º F or 204º C. Place asparagus on a cooking sheet covered with foil, brush the asparagus with the olive oil, then lightly salt (1/4 tsp?) and pepper to taste. (If you don’t mind cleaning up, just use a baking dish without the foil.) Roast in oven for 8–15 minutes; thicker asparagus takes longer. It’s hard to tell when it’s done just by looking; if it’s still hard, it’s not done. Click for another post I wrote on cooking asparagus and brussels sprouts.

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Asparagus roasted at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes

Enjoy the berries for desert.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleobetic diet

2.5 oz or 1/2 cup of blackberries

Servings: 3 [one serving is 1.5 cups (355 ml) of soup, a third of the asparagus (5 oz (140 g), and 2.5 oz (70 g) berries]

Nutritional Analysis:

40 % fat

12 % carbohydrate

48 % protein

590 calories

19 g carbohydrate

8.5 g fiber

10.5 g digestible carb

1,557 mg sodium

1,778 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, B6, B12, copper, iron, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

The fresh cilantro is a nice touch

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How to Make a Super Salad Into a Whole Meal

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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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Low-Carb Spaghetti Sauce

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Spaghetti squash in the background

We eat a lot of spaghetti sauce at the Parker Compound. We make enough for leftovers at subsequent meals. Many folks with diabetes get unacceptable blood sugar spikes when they eat typical wheat-based spaghetti or other pastas. Avoid that with a spaghetti substitute called spaghetti squash (click for the recipe and nutritional analysis).

This recipe uses Truvia, a sweetener that’s a combination of stevia and erythritol. If you don’t have any, don’t fret: you have options.

Stevia is supposedly “natural.” I don’t know where erythritol, a sugar alcohol, comes from. The purpose of a sweetener is to counteract the tartness or bitterness of the tomatoes. Honey would probably serve this purpose, but I’ve never tried it in this recipe. If you use the honey or table sugar option below, it will increase the digestible carb count in each cup by three grams. Whatever your favorite non-caloric sweetener, use the equivalent of two tablespoons of table sugar (sucrose).

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 g) sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing

3/4 lb (340 g kg) lean ground beef (lean = up to 10% fat by weight)

1/2 cup (118 ml) onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz or 793 g)

2 cans tomato paste (total of 12 oz or 340 g)

2 cans tomato sauce (total of 16 oz or 454 g)

1/2 cup water (118 ml)

2 tsp (10 ml) Truvia (combo of stevia and erythritol; optional substitutes are table sugar  (2 tbsp or 30 ml) or honey (1.5 tbsp or 22 ml), or leave out sweetener

1.5 tsp (7.4 ml) dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fennel seeds

1 tsp (5 ml) Italian seasoning

1/4 tbsp (3.7 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) ground black pepper

4 tbsp (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

Put the sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a pan and cook over medium heat until well browned. Drain off the excess liquid fat if that’s your preference (not mine). You’ll probably have to transfer that mix to a pot, then add all remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for two or three hours. You may find the flavor even better tomorrow. If it gets too thick, just add water.

To avoid carbohydrate toxicity—high blood sugar—eat this over spaghetti squash rather than pasta. I’ll have a post on cooking spaghetti squash soon. Small or inactive folks may find a half cup of sauce over one cup of cooked squash is a reasonable serving (about 250 calories). I prefer to double those portions, making it a whole meal.

Sometimes I just eat this sauce straight. But I’m weird. A cup of sauce with some veggies or fruit is a meal for me. If you have other uses for spaghetti sauce other than over spaghetti squash or grain products, please share in the Comments.

Number of Servings: 9 (1-cup each)

Nutritional Analysis: (assumes you retained all fat)

55% fat

23% carbohydrate

22% protein

345 calories

21 g carbohydrate

4 g fiber

17 g digestible carbohydrate

985 mg sodium

1,117 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in vitamin B12, iron, copper, niacin, sodium, and selenium

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Recipe: Steak, Avocado, Olives, and Tomato

Paleobetic diet

I ate mine for breakfast. Who needs bagels, cereal, and donuts?

This meal has only 8 grams of digestible carbohydrate so it works in both the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet. It was super-easy to put together because I used leftover steak. But I’ll assume you’re cooking your steak fresh. We bought ours as thinly sliced round steak, about a 1/4-inch thick (0.6 cm). Some places refer to this as a “minute steak” because it cooks so quickly. Minute steak also refers to a piece of beef, usually the round, that’s been pounded flat, about a 1/4-inch thick. Even if you start with raw meat, you can prepare today’s recipe in 10 minutes.

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It tastes as good as it looks

Ingredients:

4 oz (113 g) cooked thin round steak (start with 5 oz raw)

1 California (Hass) avocado, standard size (4.5 oz or 127 g), peeled, pitted, and chunked

14 black olives, pitted, medium size (Purist alert: probably highly processed)

1 tomato, medium-size (medium size or 2.5-inch diameter (6,4 cm), or a large roma tomato), cut into wedges

Salt and pepper to taste, or use commercial steak seasoning such as Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick (a favorite at the Parker Compound)

Instructions:

Sprinkle your steak with seasoning then cook over medium or medium-high heat in a skillet, about a minute on each side. Or heat your leftover steak in the microwave. If you overcook, it will be tough.

Place all ingredients artfully on a plate and enjoy.

Servings: 1

Nutritional Analysis (via Fitday):

60% fat

12% carbohydrate

28% protein

600 calories

20 g carbohydrate

12 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

587 mg sodium

1530 mg potassium

Prominent features: Lots of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, copper, iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc

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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

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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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Dr. Briffa on Low-Carb Diets For PWDs (People With Diabetes)

Diabetes UK is a prominent charity in Britain. It recommends that diabetics eat generous servings of carbohydrates: 5–14 daily servings of lower-glycemic-index items. Dr. Briffa strongly disagrees:

I can categorically state here that when individuals with diabetes cut back on carbohydrates, they almost always see significant improvement in their blood sugar control. They usually lose weight, and see improvements in markers of disease too. I’m most certainly not the only person to have noticed this. Just yesterday I met a most wonderful general practitioner who has come to the low-carb approach quite late in his career, but has used it to utterly transform the health of his patients. He showed me a variety of graphs from several patients pre- and post-adoption of a lower carbohydrate diet. He relayed a few stunning anecdotes too of people who believe eating a lower-carb diet has given them their health and their lives back.

***

I won’t mince my words and state here that I believe these recommendations are utterly mad. My experience tells me they will generally just entrench diabetics in their condition and the need for medical care. Compared to a lower-carbohydrate diet, the regime advocated by Diabetes UK stands to worsen blood sugar control and increase the need for medication and risk of complications. If Diabetes UK is serious about helping diabetics, I suggest it starts by ceasing to recommend a diet that, in my view, is utterly unsuitable for diabetics.

 

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