All fats found in fresh whole foods are good, healthy and sometimes vital. It is wise to include a full spectrum of fats in your diet, which will work hard to keep you healthy and young-looking. This, of course, is not the message we have been getting in the popular media, and because of this we have built up an unhealthy guilt complex and fear of fat.
Certain fats are indeed bad for us, but luckily it is easy to spot them. Trans fatty acids have been linked to raising “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lowering “good” cholesterol (HDL); they are also suspected of being behind that “stubborn fat” that won’t leave no matter what we do. They are the result of processing oils through hydrogenation.
You can spot the presence of trans fats in a product because hydrogenated fats have to be listed in the ingredient panel of food. By adding up all the fats listed in the panel and then subtracting that number from the total listed, you will come up with the amount of trans fats in the product. However, the easiest thing to do is just avoid anything that has any hydrogenated oil in it.
Rancid fat is the other bad fat — fat that has been mutated by oxygen, heat, moisture, and light. This fat is full of free radicals and can contribute to all the health and aging problems associated with them. At first you might think that it would be easy to avoid this one. Just reading the word “rancid” tends to make our noses wrinkle in disgust; however, we have been conditioned to accept rancid fats. The reason that dollop of butter is salty is to help preserve it and to cover up the rancid taste.
Yes, butter is good for us, but rancid butter is not. That flax oil in the refrigerator is liquid gold to some, but if it is rancid, it is worse than useless. We have to retrain our noses and taste buds to discern fresh good fats from rancid bad ones. This is one reason for using unsalted rather than salted butter.
This retraining can be done by finding stores that sell their stock quickly, store their products properly, and rotate their stock on the shelf so that no old products linger there. Also check the expiration dates on products to help you find the freshest product.
Remember that the best fats come from fresh whole foods, so try making your own butter from some fresh, pure whipping cream. Add a bit of salt to taste, if you prefer it salty, and memorize the taste to compare with commercially prepared butter. If that is a bit too much work, just find the freshest frozen unsalted butter you can, and taste that. When dealing with vegetable oils, try grinding the seeds up and then smelling the fresh aroma. Again, if this is too much of a bother, just get a good smell of the oil when you first open the bottle or tin and memorize that fresh scent. As soon as you notice that the smell is off, get rid of it.
Escarole Soup with Turkey Meatballs
I think escarole, chicory, kale, and Swiss chard make delicious soups. The meatballs turn this soup into a meal.
Note: You can use spinach, zucchini or a combination of both in place of the escarole.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (120 ml) finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) dried rosemary, crumbled
1 1/2 lb.(680 g) escarole, washed, dried, and chopped into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
6 cups (1.4 L) chicken stock
1 lb. (454 g) ground turkey
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced green onion
1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon slices (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the escarole and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the escarole is tender.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the turkey, egg, green onion, parsley, and cheese. Form into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls. Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the meatballs in a single layer. Add the meatballs. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with lemon slices (if using).
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: Effective carbohydrates: 4.3g; Carbohydrates: 10g; Fiber: 5.7g; Protein: 34g; Fat: 18.4g; Calories: 346
Thai BBQ Chicken Bundles
Here’s one of my favorite recipes, reworked for fine low-carb dining — the original had noodles, rice papers and sugar. If you like pork rinds, they are great to eat with the dipping sauce or to put in the lettuce bundles.
Warning! Don’t make your bundles too big or they will fall all over the place when you bite into them.
I just love the way the dinner table comes alive when a group is sharing from a communal dish. If you have eaten mu shu pork or chicken or dined in Vietnamese restaurants, you will be familiar with the eating technique. You can make this dish with boneless chicken thighs in place of the breasts. This is wonderful cooked on the grill, too.
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fish sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
6 8-oz.(227-g) boneless chicken breast halves with skin
1 large head leaf lettuce or butter lettuce, washed and dried
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
1 small bunch fresh mint
Thai Sweet-and-Sour Chile Dipping Sauce (see below)
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Coarsely chop half of the cilantro and place in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, fish sauce, and pepper. Process to a paste.
2. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the paste and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
3. Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
4. Place the chicken on the sheet, skin side down. Broil about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and broil until the skin is crisp and the chicken is cooked all the way through (the juices should run clear when the thickest area is pricked with a fork).
5. Arrange the lettuce, cucumber, and mint on a large platter. Remove the stems from the remaining cilantro and add to the platter. Cut the chicken into 3/4-inch (1.9-cm) slices and place on the platter.
6. Divide the dipping sauce among individual dipping bowls and sprinkle with the peanuts.
7. To eat, take a lettuce leaf and tear it in half. Place a few cucumber slices, a few mint and cilantro leaves, and a slice or two of chicken on the leaf. Roll up into a snug bundle, dip into the sauce, and eat.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving (without sauce): Effective carbohydrates: 4.6g; Carbohydrates: 7.2g; Fiber: 2.6g; Protein: 40.4g; Fat: 20.2g; Calories: 372
Per 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sauce with peanuts: Effective carbohydrates: 1.6g; Carbohydrates: 1.8g; Fiber: 0.2 ; Protein: 0.5g; Fat: 0 g; Calories: 8
Thai Sweet-and-Sour Chile Dipping Sauce
The fans of this sauce are legion. It turns any plain meat into a Thai New Year celebration and is the very special guest of the Thai BBQ Chicken Bundles. It’s traditionally served with chopped roasted peanuts on top.
Note: Look for xanthan gum in natural food or bulk stores.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) each Splenda and Canadian Sugar Twin or 1/4 cup (60 ml) Splenda
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/2 red bell pepper, stem removed but seeds and core left in
1 to 3 fresh Chile peppers
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fish sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) xanthan gum
1. In a cup, mix the sweetener and water.
2. Roughly chop the bell pepper and chiles. Place in a food processor or blender and add the garlic, salt, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the sweetened water. Blend until smooth. (The pepper seeds will remain whole.)
3. Add the lemon or lime juice, fish sauce, and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Pulse a few times to combine. Sprinkle the xanthan gum evenly over the surface of the liquid and blend until thickened. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).
Per 2 tablespoons (30 ml): Effective carbohydrates: 1.6g; Carbohydrates: 1.8g; Fiber: 0.2g; Protein: 0.5g; Fat: 0g; Calories: 8
Grilled Flank Steak with Cumin Aioli
You can use a sirloin steak in place of the flank steak. In fact, any steak is good with the cumin aioli. Flank steak is best served medium-rare or less, and leftovers are wonderful.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) cumin seeds
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
4 teaspoons (20 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 2 1/2-lb.(1.1 kg) flank steak
1. To make the cumin aioli: Place the cumin seeds in a small frying pan and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until they darken a shade. Remove from the heat. Finely grind half of the cumin seeds in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the egg, mustard, salt, garlic and the ground cumin seeds. Process briefly to blend. With the motor running, add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream. Pour in the lemon juice and then slowly add the olive oil until the aioli is emulsified. If the mixture seems too thick, add a spoonful or two of water. Scrape the aioli into a bowl and stir in the whole cumin seeds. Cover and refrigerate.
3. To make the steak: In a small bowl, mix the oil, salt, garlic, and pepper. Spread on both sides of the steak. Cover and refrigerate up to overnight.
4. Preheat the grill or broiler. Grill or broil the steak for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove the steak from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Slice very thinly across the grain and serve with the aioli on the side.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: Effective carbohydrates: 1.2g; Carbohydrates: 1.5g; Fiber: 0.3g; Protein: 42.7g; Fat: 58g; Calories: 701
These are decadently dense, rich, and moist.
10 oz.(285 g)cream cheese, at room temperature
16 tablespoons (240 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
4 oz.(112 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (60 ml) each Splenda and Canadian Sugar Twin or 1 cup (240 ml) Splenda
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons (10 ml) instant coffee granules
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml)pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure chocolate extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) almond meal (finely ground almonds)
6 tablespoons (90 ml)Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon (1.2 ml) sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 13 x 9-inch (32.5 x 22.5-cm) baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the chocolate and sweetener. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl well after each addition. Add the coffee and extracts. Beat until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Add to the chocolate mixture and beat well. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is firm. Cool on a wire rack before cutting. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Makes 48 brownies.
Per brownie: Effective carbohydrates: 1.5g; Carbohydrates: 2.1g; Fiber: 0.6g; Protein: 2.1g; Fat: 9.7g; Calories: 99
Made with Splenda only: Add 0.3 g carbohydrates
Donald’s Deep-Dish Pizza Quiche
Donald is a lowcarber.org success story. He’s lost more than 100 pounds. Donald cuts the quiche into pieces and then freezes them to take to work for lunch. Of course, you can use any pizza toppings that you prefer. The mushrooms and sausage are my preference. This is one of the most popular recipes ever from lowcarber.org.
4 oz. (112 g)cream cheese, at room temperature 4 large eggs
1/3 cup(80 ml)whipping cream
1/4 cup(60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) dried oregano
1 cup (240 ml) shredded Asiago cheese
2 cups (480 ml) shredded full-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (120 ml) tomato sauce
2 cups (480 ml) sliced mushrooms, sautï¿½ed
2 Italian sausages, casing removed, crumbled, and cooked
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 13 x 9-inch (32.5 x 22.5-cm) baking dish.
2. In a food processor, blend together the cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add the cream, Parmesan, chives, garlic and oregano. Blend until smooth.
3. Scatter the Asiago and 1 cup of the mozzarella in the prepared baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
4. Spread with the tomato sauce. Scatter the mushrooms and sausage over the top. Cover with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
5. Turn on the broiler and broil about 6 inches from the heat until brown and bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes or so before cutting.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: Effective carbohydrates: 3.5g; Carbohydrates: 4g; Fiber: 0.5g; Protein: 16.3g; Fat: 25g; Calories: 305
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
I grew up with pumpkin chiffon pie that my mother made with Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding and Dream Whip. So for me, a chiffon-style pumpkin pie is the ultimate.
To toast the nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8 minutes.
4 tablespoons (60 ml) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (180 ml) almonds, toasted
3/4 cup (180 ml) hazelnuts, toasted
6 tablespoons (90 ml) plain whey protein isolate
1 teaspoon (5 ml) each Splenda and Canadian Sugar Twin or 4 teaspoons (20 ml) Splenda
Pinch of sea salt
3/4 teaspoon (3.7 ml)ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5 ml) unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons (45 ml) each Splenda and Canadian Sugar Twin or 3/4 cup (180 ml) Splenda
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon (3.7 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (1.2 ml) sea salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon (1.2 ml) cream of tartar
1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch (22.5-cm) pie pan with parchment paper.
2. To make the crust: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-heat and cook until colored a deep brown. Remove from the heat.
3. In a food processor, coarsely grind the almonds and transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely grind the hazelnuts and add to the bowl. Mix in the whey protein, sweetener, salt, ginger, and vanilla. Add the butter and mix well. Press evenly into the prepared pie pan. Chill.
4. To make the filling: Place the water in a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for 2 minutes to soften. Melt the softened gelatin over simmering water or in the microwave.
5. If using Splenda and Sugar Twin, mix them in a cup.
6. In a food processor, combine the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, vanilla, egg yolks, softened gelatin, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the cream and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the mixed sweeteners or 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the Splenda. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until the mixture just starts to splutter.
7. Return the pumpkin mixture to the food processor and blend again until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let stand at room temperature, stirring frequently, until cool.
8. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mixed sweeteners or 1/4 cup (60 ml) Splenda. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the whites into the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Spread in the prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
9. Up to 3 hours before serving, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whipping cream to firm peaks and pile on top of the pie.
Makes 8 generous servings.
Per serving: Effective carbohydrates: 9.7g; Carbohydrates: 14.3g; Fiber: 4.6g; Protein: 11.8g; Fat: 45.3g; Calories: 495
Made with Splenda only: Add 1 g carbohydrates.