February 13, 2005

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Hey Gang!

It's spring! It's spring! At least here in Southern Indiana. Mid-fifties out there, and as sunny as can be! So with no further ado, I'm going to turn this ezine over to you, and go for a walk!

Read on!


Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:07 PM

Low Carb and Antioxidants

I'm finding the pronouncements from the dieticians and the medical industry more and more amusing every day. I recently read a column by a dietician who admitted that all of the research demonstrates that a low carbohydrate diet works for weight loss, and contrary to the dire predictions, actually results in better blood work than a low fat/high carb diet. She also admitted that there have been no indications of a problem with low carb diets long term. Still, she said, people shouldn't go on low carb diets because, after all, antioxidants are terribly important, and to get them we need to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

No argument about needing antioxidants; none at all. But how long are these people going to keep lining up the strawman arguments? How long are they going to criticize a low carb diet by making stuff up? How long will they ignore how people on low carbohydrate diets actually eat, and what low carb books actually say? How long will it take for them to figure out that LOW CARB DIETS INCLUDE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?


But what about whole grains? Do we really need them? Guys, I've been obsessed with nutrition for twenty five years, and never have I found whole grains to be a teeming hotbed of antioxidants. But let's take a closer look, shall we?

Which are the antioxidant nutrients? The most important are vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals zinc, copper, and selenium, but there are a bunch more. Here's a nifty list I poached direct from Medline Plus of antioxidants and their sources.

* Allium sulphur compounds - leeks, onions and garlic.

* Anthocyanins - eggplant, grapes and berries.

* Beta-carotene (turns into vitamin A) - pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach and parsley.

* Catechins - red wine and tea.

* Copper - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.

* Cryptoxanthins - red capsicum, pumpkin and mangoes.

* Flavonoids - tea, green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples.

* Indoles - cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

* Isoflavonoids - soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas and milk.

* Lignans - sesame seeds, bran, whole grains and vegetables.

* Lutein - leafy greens like spinach, and corn.

* Lycopene - tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.

* Manganese - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.

* Polyphenols - thyme and oregano.

* Selenium - seafood, offal (organ meats), lean meat and whole grains.

* Vitamin C - oranges, black currants, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum and strawberries.

* Vitamin E - vegetable oils (such as wheat germ oil), avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

* Zinc - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.

* Zoochemicals - red meat, offal and fish. Also derived from the plants animals eat.

Are you noticing something? The vast majority of these foods are fine for us. Add to this the fact that animal foods like eggs, butter, cream, and liver are the only sources of pre-formed vitamin A (plant foods contain carotenes, which must be converted to vitamin A by the body, a process some bodies perform more efficiently than others) and it begins to look as though a diet based on animal foods, non-starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, and nuts and seeds will supply more antioxidants than a diet in which some or all of the animal proteins or vegetables are replaced with whole grains, and animal fats like cream and butter are replaced with vegetable oils.

(Interesting historical side note: When the whole discussion of the "dangers" of animal fats started decades ago, and the government started pushing vegetable oils instead of butter and skim milk instead of whole, more than a few doctors came forward with concerns that this would cause vitamin A deficiencies.)

Vitamins A, C, and E, plus copper, zinc, and selenium are, as I mentioned, the most important antioxidants. Are whole grains a great source? Whole grains are not a source at all of vitamin A, nor of vitamin C. They're a modestly good source of vitamin E, but E is found in plenty of low carb foods, including nuts, brussels sprouts, avocados, leafy greens, and the much-maligned egg.

How about anti-oxidant minerals? Whole wheat is a pretty good source of copper, but so are seafood, nuts, liver, and dark leafy greens, all great low carb foods. Grains are listed as a primary source of selenium, but so are fish, red meat, chicken, liver and kidney. Sounds like our diet has plenty of selenium. And zinc? Medline states straight out, "High-protein foods contain high amounts of zinc. Beef, pork, and lamb contain more zinc than fish. The dark meat of a chicken has more zinc than the light meat."

I ran a quick analysis of two meals through my MasterCook program. Meal One, the conventional "healthy" meal, consists of 6 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast (low fat, don't you know?), 1 cup of green beans, and 1 cup of cooked brown rice. Since we're avoiding those dangerous animal fats [smirk!] we'll leave the butter off the rice and veggies.

Meal Two consists of 6 ounces of dark meat chicken, which is higher in fat (and nutrients!) than white meat, 1 cup of green beans, 2 cups of cauliflower (which will turn into roughly 1 cup of our favorite, Fauxtatoes), and since we're not afraid of fat, 2 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon on the beans, one on the Fauxtatoes.

How do the meals stack up? Well, MasterCook doesn't analyze for everything, but Meal One contains 18% of your RDA of vitamin A, and 39% of your zinc. It also contains 1057 calories - quite a lot for one meal.

Meal Two, on the other hand, contains 37% of your vitamin A, and 35% of your zinc, for a better antioxidant profile overall. And surprise, surprise, even with that generous slathering of butter, we're looking at only 682 calories.

(By the way, I happened to look up it up in the USDA Nutrient Data Base - our low carb meal will also beat the conventional meal for vitamin E content.)

In short, the dietician who is worried about us not getting enough antioxidants needs to get herself some real-world facts in place of her prejudice and conjecture. The medical and dietary establishments need to start paying attention to what low carb diets really consist of, rather than making up strawman arguments based on the notion that we eat nothing but meat and eggs.

A low-carb diet is not low in antioxidants.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:06 PM

Reader Review: 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes

This time, the review isn't from Amazon - it's an email I got the other day from Katherine McCreery:

I have been using your slow cooker book, and I can't say enough good things. I know that to you -- having time to cook -- slow cooker food will not be your favorite, and it usually doesn`t measure up to the fresher taste that conventionally prepared food has. I totally agree with that, too. But for those of us who are really time-challenged (in my case, working and raising children), the slow cooker has the potential to provide the best food we get to eat. Accordinly, I have purchased a fair number of slow cooker cookbooks over the years, and I have been more or less disappointed in all of them. I kept thinking slow cooker food could surely be better! And now it is! Your trademark attention to problem-solving, new approaches, and recpie testing has not only produced the best low-carb slow cocker book in print, but the best slow-cooker cookbook of any kind -- period. Anyone trying to get a tasty meal on the table under time pressure will be thrilled with these recipes. Family members who scorn eating low carb will never know the difference, or care, because they will be too happy with what's on their plate. And this is way more recipes than I got in any other slow-cooker cookbook I tried.

This stuff just makes my day. Heck, it makes my life. If any of you have similarly nice things to say about 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes, I'd love it if you go to Amazon.com and post them! Or, of course, you could go there and buy it.

200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes is available in bookstores everywhere!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:02 PM

So Much For "Low Carb Is Dead"

Surveys done in January turned up an interesting factoid: 15% of the US population was low carbing in January 2005, more than at any time previously. This was up from a low of 6% in December. You'd think the media folks would remember that remarkably few people diet in December...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:59 PM

Low Carb Smoothies is Now Pre-Listed at Amazon!

Low Carb Smoothies, due out April 1, is now listed at Amazon. Order now, and you can spend your summer sipping things like Chocolate Rum Balls in a Glass, Peaches and Cream Smoothie, Cantaloupe Cooler, Jungle Juice, and more!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:57 PM

What Are Good Carbs?

We're hearing a lot these days about "good carbs," and there's no question that some carbohydrate foods are better than others. But what is a "good carb," really?

To me, there are two factors that determine whether a carb is good or bad. One is the blood sugar impact - does the food have a high or a low glycemic index? Will it spike your blood sugar, leading to a big insulin release, with its subsequent blood sugar crash with its familiar symptoms - irritability, fatigue, and gnawing hunger? Or will it be absorbed fairly slowly?

For about a decade, from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, we were told that "simple carbs are bad, complex carbs are good." There was, however, a lot of confusion as to what "simple" and "complex" carbs were. I've often seen these terms misused; a lot of writers use "simple carbs" to mean refined, process carbs, and "complex carbs" to mean unrefined, unprocessed carbs. That's actually incorrect. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, whether found in a can of Coke or in an apple. Complex carbohydrates are starches, whether found in a slice of squishy white bread, or in a bowl of homemade bean soup.

The reason for the push toward complex carbohydrates was the belief that starches were digested and absorbed more slowly than sugars, and therefore would have a more modest impact on blood sugar levels. This turns out to be simplistic. There are simple carb foods - most fruit, for example - that have a modest blood sugar impact, while there are starchy foods like potatoes that have a whopping high blood sugar impact.

Many things affect glycemic index. Fiber lowers glycemic index by physically slowing the absorption of the digestible carbohydrate. It sits like a sponge in your gut, time-releasing the carbohydrate into your system. For this reason, most fruit has a low glycemic index, while the index for juices is higher. Texture makes a difference - an apple will have a lower glycemic index than unsweetened applesauce, and dense, flat pita bread has a lower glycemic index than loaf bread. Coarsely ground flour has a higher glycemic index than unground grains, but a lower glycemic index than finely milled flour.

Cooking methods can make a difference - potatoes always have a very high glycemic index, but boiling them lowers it a bit, while baking them raises it. Processing makes a difference - simple steamed brown rice has a moderate glycemic index, while those styrofoam-y rice cakes, made from puffed brown rice, might as well be pure glucose. And eating low glycemic index foods like proteins and fats along with higher glycemic index foods will result in a blood sugar impact between the two. (This means that, contrary to popular food-combining diets, carbohydrate-rich foods will be easier on your blood sugar if eaten with a meal that includes protein and fat.)

The second factor we need to concern ourselves with is the nutrient density of the carbohydrate food - how many vitamins and minerals will it add to your day? How many antioxidants? Does it come with a substantial whack of protein, too? Maybe some healthy fats? Good carbohydrates offer plenty of nutritional value along with a modest blood sugar impact.

The very best carbohydrate foods are vegetables. I trust this doesn't come as a big surprise! For many of us, there would be no problem with eating 50 - 60 grams of carbohydrate per day, or even more - so long as we ate it all in the form of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage, sprouts, etc, etc, etc. I eat unlimited quantities of these foods, and most of you should be able to as well - it's hard to overeat on leaves!

Most fruit has a low glycemic index, and of course it contributes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to our diet. Happily, many of the fruits highest in antioxidants are among those lowest in sugar - berries are little antioxidant powerhouses, and cantaloupe is wonderful as well. But there's no question that an apple or an orange, while higher in carbohydrate than, say, strawberries, falls into the "good carbs" category.

We don't tend to think of milk as a carb food, but it actually has 50% more carbohydrate than protein - 12 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein in a cup. That carbohydrate is in the form of lactose, aka milk sugar. If you're lactose intolerant, milk won't be a good carb for you, of course. But if you can consume lactose without problems, milk has a low glycemic index, and certainly makes a strong nutritional contribution to your diet - among other things, getting enough calcium seems to encourage healthy body weight, and of course we know about protein. Depending on the milk you get, the fat in it may also be a good source of conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, a very healthy fat thought to prevent cancer and help burn fat.

(If you are lactose intolerant, I'm afraid the "Lactaid" milk has a considerably higher glycemic index than regular milk. You might try Carb Countdown carb-reduced milk instead, but then, of course, it won't be a carbohydrate food.)

Vegetables, fruits, and milk all have something else in common: They're high in water. This means that they're less concentrated than whole grains and beans. A six-and-a-half inch whole wheat pita has about 31 grams of usable carb. A half a cup of hummus (chick pea dip) has about 20 grams of usable carb. A whole head of romaine lettuce has only about 17 grams of usable carb, 1 cup of milk, as mentioned, has 12 grams, and a navel orange has about 14 grams of usable carb. Clearly, the more concentrated your sources of carbohydrate, the smaller your portions will need to be. Personally, I'd usually rather have a great big huge pile of salad than one slice of bread, but there are moments when one slice of 100% whole grain rye toast is just exactly what I want. So let's move on to the more concentrated carb foods.

Legumes - dried beans, split peas, lentils, chick peas, and the like - all have a low glycemic index and substantial nutritional value. If you like them, a cup of split pea, lentil, or bean soup would be a good carb - just watch your portions.

While potatoes have a high glycemic index, sweet potatoes are somewhat lower, and offer far more nutritional value. Better yet, true yams have an even lower impact. Yes, these are two different foods, though the terms have often been used interchangeably. Please, no sweet potatoes or yams with Karo Syrup or marshmallows! But a small baked sweet potato or yam with a little butter, salt, and pepper would fall into the "good carbs" catagory.

How about whole grains? They're better than refined grains, there's no question about it; they have more fiber (some is more than none!) and a wider variety of vitamins and minerals. Still, to my mind, they're the least valuable and most problematic of the bunch. They are very dense in carbohydrate, so it's easy to overshoot your limit. They're also the source of a lot of allergies and food sensitivities.

I remain convinced that grains are completely inessential for human nutrition. They, along with legumes, have only been a significant part of the human diet for the roughly 10,000 years since humankind invented farming, and were virtually non-existent in hunter-gatherer diets people ate for 2 million years. Doesn't sound terribly essential to me.

However, I'm well-aware that grains are the carbohydrate that many people miss the most. I'm not entirely immune to their allure myself - at this moment I have low carb tortillas, low carb bread, and Finn Crisp rye crackers in the house. And I've been known to indulge in a slice of whole grain rye toast from time to time. So it's vitally important that we sort out the better from the worse, where whole grains are concerned.

Since processing increases blood sugar impact, virtually all cold cereals have a high glycemic index, even whole grain, unsweetened varieties like Cheerios. They're a poor choice. (The exception is the spaghetti-shaped bran cereals like All-Bran, which have a low blood sugar impact - all that fiber!) As mentioned, whole wheat pita will have a lower glycemic index than whole wheat loaf bread. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice have moderate glycemic indices, but they're both higher than barley, which is the lowest-impact whole grain there is. Dense, coarse-grained bread has a lower impact than softer breads. Whole grain rye bread - a favorite of mine - has a lower impact that whole wheat bread.

Many people think of oatmeal as the best of all possible grains. It's true that old fashioned rolled oats have a moderate glycemic index, but "steel cut" oats, traditional in Scotland, have a lower impact. They also take longer to cook! If you want to try them, but are in a hurry in the morning, try this: Scald a Thermos with boiling water, to pre-heat it. Then combine steel cut oats and boiling water in the Thermos, using the proportions listed on the label. Cover, and let sit overnight. You'll have cooked oatmeal when you get up. Eat some protein with it, will you? You don't want to be hungry by 10:00.

Quick cooking oats have a higher glycemic index than rolled oats - more processing, remember? - and instant oatmeal is the worst of all. Further, it nearly always has sugar added, and sometimes hydrogenated vegetable oil. These cannot be considered "good carbs."

Another grain I give in to at least once or twice every summer is sweet corn. It has a moderate impact, and comes in conveniently limited portions!

There are low glycemic index foods that don't have much nutritional value - for instance, Snickers bars have a fairly low impact for a candy bar; so do Peanut M&Ms. Both fall short in the vitamins-and-minerals department. Conversely, those highly advertised "diet shakes" have a bunch of vitamins added, but the carbs in them are of the cheapest and most damaging kind.

Along with blood sugar impact and nutrient density, it's important to keep an eye on the actual number of grams of carbohydrate in a portion. Your total carb intake still matters. For example, the South Beach Diet allows 1/2 cup of oatmeal one day, then two days later you get 1 slice of whole grain toast - hardly an orgy of whole grains. I worry that all this talk about "good carbohydrates" will lead people to believe that all they need to do is switch from white bread to whole wheat, and white rice to brown, and everything will be fine. If you're carbohydrate intolerant, this is unlikely to work. Before I went low carb, I hadn't bought white bread or white rice in almost twenty years - it was a steady diet of whole grains that got me up to 190 pounds at 5'2", and drove my nagging, constant hunger.

I can't tell you how many grams of carbohydrate you can eat each day and still lose weight. That's something you'll have to work out for yourself, through trial and error. I know that I have to stay under 60 grams of non-fiber carbs per day, regardless of how good the source, or my weight starts to creep up - but that's me. It's entirely possible that your limit is 100 grams per day - or that it's 20. Only experimentation can tell you that. Pay attention to your body, and remember that if you're hungry again within 90 minutes of eating any particular carb food, it's probably not for you.

For reference purposes, here's a link to the most extensive list of glycemic indices on the 'net: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm Also includes glycemic load, which is wonderful. Keep in mind if a particular food you're interested in isn't here, a quick google on "glycemic index" will turn up other lists.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:55 PM

Reader Review: 500 More Low-Carb Recipes

Dana keeps me on track!

Out of all the low-carb cookbooks saturating the market for the last year or so, Ms. Carpender's books are by far the most valuable and user friendly. I cut out sugar and starches almost two years ago, and if it weren't for these cookbooks, I'd have fallen off the wagon long ago. 500 More Low-Carb Recipes is chock-full of delicious concoctions that are easy to make and even better to eat! Many of the recipes make use of simple, fresh, REAL FOOD ingredients and require a minimal amount of prep and cook time. Dana always explains a recipe perfectly, so you're never caught off-guard with a recipe that takes longer than you thought to prepare. I have no patience for those low-carb naysayers who say that you have to eat the same food all the time with this way of life. If you bought this cookbook, you'd be given an amazing array of incredible, healthy food choices for you and your family to eat for a very long time!

trixiekat, December 21, 2004

Thanks, trixiekat! To read this and other reviews of 500 More Low-Carb Recipes visit Amazon.com - and if you have it, we'd love for you to review it!

500 More Low-Carb Recipes is available wherever books are sold.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:52 PM

Heads Up, Canadians!

Hi Dana,

I am a big fan and reader, like many Canadian low-carbers. We need your help to get the word out that "Health Canada" are taking action that will effectively remove our (few) low carb products from the shelves by Dec.2005. I would so appreciate it if you could include this info and the petition site to fight back in one of your newsletters...after we have a certain number of signatures, we will be contacting low carb companies as well, and taking it to court. Many Canadian low carbers are not even aware of this danger. Anyway, part of the article follows: (from http://www.tlcfightsback.com )

"Just recently, Health Canada announced that, as of December 2005, low-carb claims on food packaging will not be allowed. This decision will severely limit the already small number of low-carb foods that we can receive into Canada. US-based companies producing low-carb foods are not going to want to redesign their packages just to please the Canadian government and, as such, these products will not be allowed into the country to be sold in any store. "

A company's marketing a product as low-carb, or claiming the 'net carb' count on the package, is, in our opinion, no different than the current marketing that specifies foods as 'light' or 'low in fat' or any other such claims. In the coming months, we will disprove the CFIA's claims that there are no scientific evidence that a low-carb lifestyle is healthy.

Read through this article and then help fight this uneducated decision of the Federal Government by signing our petition (at http://www.tlcfightsback.com and also at http://www.lowcarb.ca , "Support forums" then "Canada".)"

Dana, I would be in your debt if you could include this in a newsletter. I would hate to see the government put through this ridiculous, uninformed, and medieval action (they claim the basis is that low-carb diets don't work!!! But what does changing the packaging labels have to do with that?). Very weird.

If you need me to cut down the article, or provide further details, just let me know. I'm hoping, with crossed fingers, that you can help.

Warm regards,

Leigh Manndel

N. Vancouver

Thanks for letting your fellow Canadians know, Leigh. Glad to help. Canadians, tell your low-carbing friends! Sheesh, so it's not just the US government that's nutritionally clueless...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:47 PM

Reader Success Story

I've worked harder in the past couple of years than I've ever worked in my life. Want to know what makes it all worth it? Mail like this:

Well, as we close out 2004, I've been on my carb controlled diet for 46 weeks now, and wanted to pass on a successful update… I have now lost 47 inches (measuring my neck, bust, waist, lower abs, hips, arms and legs)… that's 1 inch away from 4 FEET!! That translates to approximately 75 lbs (may be a bit more) (now that I can actually weigh on a regular scale!!), but not knowing my exact starting weight, I can't be accurate on that data until I request my health records from insurance).

I started this journey with the basic "Atkins For Life" book, and that was my basic starting point and has been a tremendous help, but I can't thank you enough for the inspiration I've received from reading your book (How I Gave up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds)… your sense of humor, your style of writing and non-biased approach to your extensive research has kept me connected to this diet and the effect is immeasurable. This, in addition, your Low Carbezine Archives -- both of these sources of information been my 'textbooks' and constant source of support and all the 'fuel' I have needed to keep me on track. I'm up to around to having made over 60 recipes in your original book (500 Low Carb Recipes) and I also now have the "15 Minute"; "Barbeque" as well as the original 500 Low Carb and also the new 500 More Low Carb recipe books… from which I'm adding many more new items to my cooking repertoire. Now when people ask me what I'm doing to lose weight, I tell them about your cookbook (and, of course your "…40 Pounds…" book) and tell them I cook everything from your cook books and eat (but not over eat) to satiety… simple, simple, simple!!!

Dana - THANK YOU so much - Please keep up your outstanding work!



PS - I've since now bought and given away 8 of your cook books to family and friends, who are enjoying as much as I.

Wow. Thank you, KT.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:43 PM

Losing Low-Carb Steam?

Some of you who started low-carbing at the New Year are thrilled and motivated - but others of you may feel that whatever version of low carb you started with just isn't the right fit for you. That's why I wrote How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds - to give you the information and the options you need to work out the version of low carb that works for your body and your life. You'll find more than half-a-dozen low carb plans, with the pros and cons of each, and a clear, non-technical explanation of all the underlying principles that make them work. Find the version of low carb that's right for you!

Available at Amazon.Com

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:40 PM

Another Reader Success Story!

Okay, I couldn't stop with just one. This stuff just makes me grin like an idiot all day long.

Hi Dana:

I started low-carbing on Jan.1, 2000, so I'm at 5 years. I just got back my lipid-profile - The computer is concerned that my total cholesterol is border-line high at 220 - but my HDL went up again - to 108! My triglycerides are the lowest ever - 53! Blood pressure and blood sugar are normal - and I have a terrible family history of diabetes (you may remember me - father, grandfather, sister) and I am now 52 years old - the age when my father was diagnosed.

So - thanks for all you continue to do. I really appreciate the links to the articles - will share them with my Doctor boyfriend who has been flashing my cholesterol numbers all around his office!


HDL of 108?! That's not just good, that's downright astonishing. I don't think I've ever heard of someone with HDL quite that high. Your triglycerides are like mine, in the "startlingly low" range. I'm betting your doctor boyfriend's colleagues are scratching their heads, muttering, "How'd she do that?!" Think he'll be able to convince them it was that "crazy low carb fad diet" that did it?

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:38 PM

Unpaid Plugs

Neither of these companies paid me, nor even asked me to put them in the 'zine, but they were nice to me, and provide products you may well find useful, so I thought I'd mention them:

Totally Low Carb (TLC) in North Dallas, Texas is run by Debbie Haas. She sent me photos of the store, and it looks great - has a lot of stuff, and some yummy looking samples. Could be a great resource! So if you're in Dallas, stop by, and tell her Dana sent you. I don't have an address, but the phone number is 214-739-6200.

A number of low carb writers and other nutritionally-minded types are paying more and more attention to the balance of fats in our diet, especially the balance of what are called "omega-6 fats," like those found in most vegetables oils, to "omega-3 fats", like those found in fish and flax seed. Having too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is very bad for your health, contributing to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, maybe even Alzheimers.

Some writers even point out, correctly, that game and grass-fed meat, which our ancestors ate, has much more of the healthy omega-3s than grain-fed meat, which is what you'll find in your grocery store. Yet often grocery stores brag about it - "Grain-Fed Beef!" Grain isn't the natural diet of a cow anymore than it's the natural diet of a human being, and the fatty acid balance of grain-fed meat is not what the human body is used to.

But grass-fed meat can be very hard to find. It's just a whole lot cheaper to fatten cattle quickly on grain than to grow them the slow way, by grazing, so grain-fed meat is what's in the stores. I know I have never seen grass-fed meat in any of my local grocery stores.

I have, however, recently gotten email from Ted Slanker of Slanker's Grass Fed Meats. He and I talked back and forth a little, and I can tell you that the man is passionate about what he does, and cares very much about low carbohydrate diets and nutrition. His meat is not inexpensive, but then, it's a boutique product - and anyway, while I like inexpensive food, I worry about cheap food, if you catch the difference. I'm planning to put in an order with Slanker's, and thought some of you might want to check it out, too. You can find him at http://slankersgrassfedmeats.com/index.htm .

Check out his website, regardless of whether you plan to order - there's a whole lot of good information there!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:35 PM

Cooking Low Carb: Kashmiri Lamb Shanks

Here's a scrumptious exotic lamb recipe from 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes. Lamb shanks are just perfect for slow cooking!

Kashmiri Lamb Shanks

This was originally a recipe for a skillet curry of lamb, but it works wonderfully in the slow cooker. If you like Indian food, you have to try this. And if you've never had Indian food, you need to start!

2 1/2 pounds lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon concentrate
1 teaspoon garam masala (recipe below)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
guar or xanthan

In your big, heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, sear the lamb shanks all over in the oil. Transfer to slow cooker.

Mix together the broth, bouillon concentrate, garam masala, coriander, ginger, and cayenne, and pour over the lamb shanks. Cover, set pot to low, and cook for 8 hours.

Remove shanks to a platter, thicken the sauce a bit with your guar or xanthan shaker, and serve over lamb.

4 Servings, each with: 530 Calories; 38g Fat; 44g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1g Usable Carbs.

Garam Masala

This is an Indian spice blend. You may well be able to buy perfectly lovely garam masala already made at a local Asian market or big grocery store - I can! - but if you can't, you can easily make your own.

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simply combine everything, and keep it in an airtight container.

Roughly 9 tablespoons, each with: 19 Calories; 1g Fat; 1g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 3 grams usable carb.

Got a great suggestion from reader Patricia Trolian, and thought I'd pass it on - this is her variation on the Meatza recipe in 500 Low-Carb Recipes


Try this variation on your Meatza recipe- Substitute chicken for the ground beef, and chili spices for the Italian seasoning.(Diced chorizo sausage is great, too.)

Substitute enchilada sauce for the pizza sauce, and Monterey jack and cheddar for the mozzarella. I like to top it with diced red bell pepper, olives, diced scallion, and cilantro. It's a great substitute for a high carb chicken enchilada recipe I USED TO make.

Wow. This sounds so great! I'll be trying this. Come to think of it, I have ground chicken and chorizo in my freezer, and cheddar and Monterey jack in my fridge. Sounds like a trip to the grocery store for enchilada sauce is in order...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:30 PM