Day 8 food log

Still going strong on the slow-carb train. I don’t have any photos to show for today’s food log, but the dinner recipe can be found here.

Breakfast: same old, same old – 1 egg and 1.5 slices of bacon

Snack: 1/2 an apple and 2 babybel minis

Lunch: 1 leftover Personal Portabello Pizza (recipe here) – I was too rushed to make the salad with it.

Dinner: Apple, Bacon, BBQ Crockpot Chicken (wonderful!) + Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

I’ve made the chicken many times before, but this time I used bone-in with skin chicken breasts and I found it to be very tender and falling off the bone. Also, those chicken parts are much more reasonably priced at whole foods.

Looking back over my food log, I realize I didn’t really eat as much as I normally do, nor did I take photos – just too busy! But, I wasn’t hungry at all.

Day 7 food log

Enjoyed some of my standard meals today. And, I really enjoyed eating up my homemade ranch dressing and leftovers from last night’s scrumptious dinner. (see recipes here and here)

Breakfast: 1 egg, 1.5 slices of bacon

Snack: 1/2 an apple, 2 Babybel Original Minis

Lunch: Finished off the Taco Salad

Snack: Carrots and Homemade Ranch dressing

Dinner: Bibb salad with ranch + personal portabello mushroom pizza

I have to say that I feel pretty satisfied throughout the day, and while certain cravings have crept up in my mind, they haven’t dominated my thoughts at all. Now, I wish I would have weighed myself before going low carb because I know I’ve lost at least 3-4 pounds just this week.

Recipe: Personal Portabello Pizzas

Personal Portabello Pizzas Topped with Pepperoni, Olives, and Red Onions

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Portabello Mushrooms
  • 1 small jar of low-carb spaghetti or pizza sauce (I used Delallo’s Tomato Basil Sauce because there was no added sugar, just carrots, in the ingredients.)
  • 4 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T. shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 package of uncured organic pepperoni slices (I used Applegate Naturals)
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onions
  • 1/2 T. of olive oil

Really, use any toppings that you like or normally would have on pizza. The sky’s the limit!

Preparation:

I found a lot of advice on how to make portabello pizzas in order for them not to be soggy, mushy messes. The prebaking of the mushrooms, and the temperature are the most important factors in making sure this turns out well. Also, it’s important to remove the ribs from inside the mushroom.

  • Preheat your oven to 425.
  • Prep the mushrooms. Wash the outside of the mushroom with a damp paper towel. Remove all the dark brown ribs with a spoon. Be careful doing this so as not to puncture to the other side.
  • Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  • Take them out. Remove the water with paper towels, flip them over and put back in the oven for 8 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are in the oven, slice the red onions and saute them in the olive oil to caramelize (about 10-15 min.).
  • Slice the kalamata olives.
  • Before topping the mushrooms, dry them off again with a paper towel. I took them off of the pan and changed the parchment paper to minimize liquid.
  • Place them back on the pan with the underside facing up in order to top them.
  • While you are topping the pizzas, crank your oven up to 475.
  • Here’s how I topped my pizzas layer-by-layer: tomato sauce, a pinch of mozzarella, slice of pepperoni (they were the same size as the mushrooms), pinch of mozzarella, slice of pepperoni, pinch of mozzarella, caramalized onions, olives, pinch of mozzarella, sprinkle of parmesan.
  • Put back in the oven for 5-10 min. Watch carefully.

Here are my raw mushrooms without the ribs…

And, here’s the finished product. They were delicious!

Day 6 food log

Day 6, almost a week, and I’m pretty much eating the same things over and over again. Except for dinners. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s portabello pizzas. If you’ve read any of my other food logs, you may get déjà vu while reading today’s.

Breakfast: full fat yogurt + thawed organic frozen blueberries

Snack: 1/2 an apple + 2 babybel original minis + some carrots + some sliced turkey

Lunch: taco salad (find recipe here)

Dinner: personal portabello pizzas topped with pepperoni, caramelized red onions, and black olives  + wedge salad with homemade ranch dressing (find recipes here)

This turned out really well! The homemade ranch dressing from Barefoot Contessa was amazing! And, the pizzas really hit the spot. Can’t wait for my leftovers tomorrow.

Recipe: Low Carb Taco Salad

Growing up in Texas has created a serious love affair between me and Mexican food. So, this low-carb taco salad totally satisfies that craving without all the chips and other carbs that usually go along with a tex-mex splurge.

This is not so much a recipe, as it is an idea to break out of a low-carb rut. It’s super easy, and I always look forward to lunch when this is on the menu!

Serves 3 – 4 (This makes at least 3 lunches for me during the week.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef (you could always sub chicken or turkey)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (I use Nueva Cocina because it’s all natural, low carb, and gluten free. You can also mix your own.)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • salad greens (I like Romaine, Heritage Greens, Spinach, or a mix of all three.)
  • other veggies to include: plain broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, red or yellow bell peppers, or zucchini
  • shredded cheese (I use a colby/jack mix, but cheddar, or other cheeses you like would be good too.)
  • full-fat sour cream (Organic Valley is my absolute favorite sour cream! I think I could eat that stuff right out of the tub.)
  • salsa (I use Green Mountain Gringo because it has minimal carbs.)

Preparation:

  • I prepare the taco meat in accordance with the taco seasoning instructions.  For Nueva Cocina, that means browning the meat, adding the seasoning, then water, then the tomato sauce, covering, and letting simmer for 10 minutes. It’s pretty easy. If you are being super strict with carbs, you can leave out the tomato sauce, use a bit more water, and maybe just half of the seasoning packet.
  • I pile up my greens and other veggies on a plate.
  • Add the taco meat.
  • Top with cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
  • Also, black olives and avocado could be added, if you like.

Day 5 food log

Still feeling pretty good on the (s)low carb diet. I’ve found so many great recipes and ideas for meals that I can’t wait to try.

Here is today’s fare…

Breakfast: 1.5 slices of bacon and 1 egg (my standard) – no pic

Snack: Plain, full-fat Fage Yogurt + blueberries

Lunch: Low-Carb Taco Salad (see recipe here)

Dinner: Leftovers from last night – Low-Carb Meatloaf and Cheesy Pureed Cauliflower (see recipes here)

Day 4 food log

Feeling good today! The weather has turned cooler, and I fit into some jeans I haven’t worn in a long time! These aren’t my “skinny jeans,” per se, but I have different levels of jeans, and this milestone is good enough for me.

Breakfast: 1 egg, 1.5 slices of bacon (carbs: 0) – no pic. I was too hungry, tired, and distracted to find my phone.

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Snack: 2 Babybel Original Minis, 1/2 an apple, some carrots, and some sliced turkey. Oh, and an espresso.

20121007-122438.jpgLunch: I finally finished off the Dijon Chicken by putting it over some greens and broccoli slaw and topping it off with Annie’s Balsamic salad dressing (only 4 carbs in the dressing!)

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Dinner was fabulous!! This was low-carb meatloaf and pureed cheesy cauliflower. It was so scrumptious. Just as I was mixing the raw ingredients together, my husband came in the kitchen wondering what smelled so yummy. And, that was before I even put it in the oven. You can find the recipes here. I changed the meatloaf a bit. I added a quarter of a yellow onion (minced) into the loaf, then I put some thinly sliced onions on top. I also drizzled a little (really tiny) bit of Organicville Ketchup (only 4 carbs per serving!) over the top. It was seriously delicious, and probably the best meatloaf I’ve ever had.  Thank you Luscious and Low Carb! Also, I didn’t add any salt because there was already tamari sauce, parmesan cheese, and pecorino romano cheese in it. Oh, and did I mention that there is bacon IN the meatloaf (not on top)!? It didn’t need a touch of salt after it baked. The cauliflower, however, did need salt. Oh, but it was good!

This Week’s Low-Carb Dinner Menu and Shopping List

I started meal planning months ago, but now I’m having to revamp my dinner menu binder with low-carb recipes. It truly helps me to plan ahead and have all the ingredients I need for the week in order to keep things fresh and not resort to the same old dinners over and over. (And, consequently, end up cheating because I’m so bored with what I’m eating!) Most of these are not my recipes, so I’ll link to all of the recipes I’m using. I’ll publish the Personal Portabella Pizza recipe later this week (once I write it all out).  Please leave a comment if you tried something yourself and what you thought of the dish. I’d love to hear some adaptations!

FYI – I only cook on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. We eat leftovers the next night.

Downloads:

Meal Planning Worksheet - blank (doc)

This Week’s Dinner Menu and Shopping List with links to recipes (pdf)

Custom Grocery List by Category (to include breakfast, lunches, and other household stuff) (xls)

Book Review – Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets by Jenny Ruhl

The Gist:

This book is a research-based summary and analysis of many popular low-carb diets (from ketogenic diets to simply low GI) that shows the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Ruhl highlights the myths, facts, pitfalls, and successes of these diets and of different research studies. Very detailed and technical at times, but essential to those wanting to truly understand the science behind low-carb diets and how to stick to one for life. This book is especially helpful to diabetics and prediabetics, as Ruhl details everything you’d ever want to know about blood sugar.  Each chapter has a helpful “Points to Remember” section that summarizes the information nicely.

Interesting Points:

  • Why people lose weight quickly on low-carb diets, and regain it just as quickly if they return to high carb eating.
  • Eating too much protein can lead to negative physiological effects.
  • Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ve already likely sustained damage from consistently high blood sugar levels. This happens because most routine blood sugar tests are done while fasting, and they don’t really tell you how your body reacts to eating sugary or carb-heavy meals.
  • “Keeping carbohydrates under 115 grams a day should prevent weight regain, but even eating at a lower carbohydrate intake does not ensure the kind of speedy ongoing weight loss most dieters hope to achieve in return for stringently controlling their eating.” (Ruhl, location 1047)
  • “Though the weight losses on a strict ketogenic diet will be better than those on a laxer one, strict diets may be tougher to stick to.” (Ruhl, location 1054)
  • “If you are going to succeed, long-term, on a low carb diet of any type, you must bear in mind that as you raise your carbs, you must cut back on fat.” (Ruhl, location 1183)
  • How MSG affects hunger, blood sugar, and insulin.
  • “…there are several blood sugar tests that reliably and reproducibly predict cardiac events far better than do any cholesterol tests.” (Ruhl, location1647)
  • “Many foods rank low on the glycemic index because they digest slowly, but as this study points out, all this means is that the rise in blood sugar it causes is postponed, not eliminated.” (Ruhl, location 1798)
  • “It’s a good idea to design your diet so that, even if it produces a slower weight loss, it prevents you from building up the kind of deferred cravings that can make maintenance difficult.” (Ruhl, location 3824)

My Personal Takeaways:

  • Now I’m really curious to know what my blood sugar levels are after I eat certain amounts of carbs. I may just break down and buy a machine at the drugstore. Ruhl explains in detail what you need to test your blood sugar and how to do it accurately.
  • For me, the value of this book is that it can show me how to personalize a low-carb diet with the exact number of carbohydrate grams I need, without taking more in than my body can tolerate.
  • Ruhl’s findings have me questioning exactly how I should go about eating on my cheat days once a month, or if I should have them at all.
  • I might start doing ketone strip tests as well to figure out if I’m in a fat-burning state with different levels of carbs.
  • I’m going to use an app to track my carb intake and monitor my hunger level, mood, and possibly blood sugar.
  • I really need to make my low-carb goals more specific – in terms of how much weight I want to lose, blood sugar numbers, and carbohydrate intake. Also, once I reach my goal I need to have a maintenance plan.

The book can be found here on amazon. I read the Kindle version, but there’s also a paperback.  The author, Jenny Ruhl, also has a website , a blog, and is even featured on a podcast about these findings. And, FYI, I was not solicited to do this review. I just thought it would be nice to write up reviews of books about low/slow carb diets as I read them.

Stay tuned for my next book review on “The 4-hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss.