Low-Carb Eating in July

Ah, July – what to eat now…

As far as we can (and it’s challenging in Scotland) we like to eat seasonally, and some months are easier than others. Presently, I’m coping with a glut of courgettes (zucchini to our American friends) spring onions, tomatoes and potatoes from the garden, as well as a LOT of herbs.

Spiralised vegetables are super trendy at the moment so I could spiralise those courgettes and serve them as a replacement spaghetti. I did make a giant pot of slow cooker ratatouille with plenty of them, using the spring onions and lots of rosemary, thyme and basil.

House and Garden offers this lovely courgette and baked feta cheese salad, which has minimal carbs per serving and would be great as a side dish.

What else is seasonal in July?

Beetroot, salads, peas and aubergines make up the vegetable quotient, while cherries, peaches, strawberries and raspberries are in the fruit category. When you’re eating a low-carb diet to help your blood sugar management, remember the best time to eat fruit is after meals. Why not serve your fruit with some cream or Greek yoghurt to slow down it’s glucose-spiking qualities too?

For fish and meat, prawns, crab, salmon, mackerel and sea bream are seasonal in July. Mackerel works brilliantly with a beetroot salad. Chop some cooked beetroot, mix with sliced spring onions and dress with a little cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and wholegrain mustard.

Beef and lamb are still seasonal at this time of year. You probably don’t feel like eating a roast, but cold sliced meat in a salad works well. As far as we’re concerned you can serve moussaka whenever you want too.

July recipe ideas

Beef Stroganoff

Steak Au Poivre

Rack of Lamb

Thai Prawn and Chicken Soup

Bon Appetit!

Aubergine Parmigiana – Low-Carb Sides

Purple foods are good for us. According to the US Department of Agriculture, purple foods have nutrients called anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that protect against cell damage from free radicals.

I’m a big fan of the mighty aubergine. Curry it, roast it, grill it or turn it into ratatouille, this is a vegetable with a lot of uses.

I make my own version of Aubergine Parmigiana, that famous Italian dish. Buy the best quality mozzarella you can find, and top the dish lavishly with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this as a side dish with roasted chicken. Or just cut yourself a ginormous portion and eat with salad.

Aubergine Parmigiana

  • Servings: 4 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 large aubergine, sliced
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 50g grated Parmesan*
  • Salt and pepper

Turn your oven to 175 degrees C. Slice the aubergine into half-centimetre thick slices. Drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. You want the slices softened and lightly browned. Leave the oven on once the slices have cooked as you will be using it again.

While the aubergine is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and cook the sliced onion for five minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic and dried oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for fifteen minutes. You want a thick, concentrated sauce.

When the sauce and the aubergine are cooked, rip the mozzarella ball into pieces. Layer up slices of aubergine, tomato sauce and mozzarella in a casserole dish. Grind on some salt and top with the grated Parmesan and a generous helping of pepper. Cook in the oven to heat through and brown the top – about ten to fifteen minutes.

Top with the chopped basil.

6g net carbs per serving.

*The cheese so good, Pepys buried a round of it in his garden during the Great Fire of London.

 

 

Jovina cooks Italian: Seafood and Vegetable Grill with Green Goddess Marinade

 

Seafood On The Grill Tonight

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Tips On Grilling Shellfish

The flavor of shellfish benefits significantly from grilling. Removing the shellfish from the grill before they become too well done and rubbery is the biggest challenge. Watching closely for shellfish to turn opaque (non-transparent), removing them from the grill and serving them immediately are key to delicious tasting fish.

Prepare scallops for grilling by cutting off the curved shaped appendage that is attached to the side of the body, if still intact.

Prepare shrimp by removing the shell and the vein that runs along the back. Personal preference dictates whether to leave the tail on or off.

Marinating shellfish in a flavorful oil will help to prevent the tendency of the scallops and shrimp to dry out.

Two skewers work best to prevent the seafood from spinning or turning on the grill.

Grill shrimp on each side for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the shrimp. Cook scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on their size.

Tips On Grilling Vegetables

Make room on the grill for vegetables. The caramelized, smoky flavor that comes with grilling does wonders for vegetables. A lot of veggies do well on the grill, but some really stand out — asparagus, corn, eggplant, squash, mushrooms, peppers and onions.

Most vegetables cook better and are less likely to stick if they’re marinated first or brushed lightly with vegetable oil.

For added flavor, sprinkle grilled vegetables with chopped fresh herbs. Cut the vegetables all about the same size for even cooking.

If you use wooden skewers, soak them in warm water for 20 minutes.

Marinade for the Shellfish and Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

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Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a measuring cup. Divide in half. Use one half for the shellfish and one half for the vegetables.

Grilled Shellfish Skewers

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For 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 medium sea scallops
  • 6 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Marinade, recipe above
  • 2 double skewers
  • Green Goddess Dressing, recipe below

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

For 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a Fennel bulb, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 of a Red Bell Pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small Zucchini, cut into 2 inch slices
  • Marinade, recipe above
  • 2 double skewers
  • Green Goddess Dressing, recipe below

Directions

Marinate the shellfish and vegetables separately for 30  minutes. Drain and thread the scallops on one double skewer and the shrimp on a second double skewer.

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Do the same with the vegetables. Save any marinade left in the bowl to use as a basting sauce.

Preheat an outdoor grill to high and grease the grill grates with oil.

Place the vegetable skewers on the grill first, since they will take longer to cook. Cook until the vegetables are tender, turning and basting them with the olive oil mixture occasionally, about 15 minutes.

After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, place the shellfish skewers on the grill.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve the grilled shellfish and vegetables with the Green Goddess Dressing.

Green Goddess Dressing

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This may be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This dressing is also delicious drizzled over hard-boiled eggs.

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the chives, parsley, anchovy fillets, tarragon and vinegar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream, scraping down the sides, and process until pureed. Add the sour cream and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Store in the refrigerator until serving time.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ask for changes in nutrition advice

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The USA  based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics submitted comments supporting the scientific process used by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in drafting its recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Academy’s recommendations to the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services include:
1) Supporting the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommending it similarly drop saturated fat from nutrients of concern, given lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease;

2) Expressing concern over blanket sodium restriction recommendations in light of recent evidence of potential harm to the larger population;

3) Supporting an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern; and

4) Asserting that enhanced nutrition education is critical to any effective implementation.

The final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are expected to be released at the end of this year.

Dana Carpender: What do you eat on a typical day?

4415406430_7a5ba031bb_o.jpgDana Carpender, author of several low carb cookbooks, generously gave her time to be interviewed for this blog site. Over several posts she will be sharing her wisdom about the low carb lifestyle.

My first question: What do you eat on a typical day Dana?

Honestly? Leftovers. 🙂 What with trying recipes, and only two people in the house, I eat a lot of leftovers. The summer I wrote The Low Carb Barbecue Book I ate chicken or ribs for breakfast every day for weeks.

In the absence of leftovers? Probably an omelet for breakfast, especially if there are ripe avocados in the house; cheese-and-avocado omelet with chipotle hot sauce is a big favorite of mine. Dinner will be a fairly simple protein — chicken, steak, burgers, pork steaks, something like that, with a low carb vegetable or salad with it if we feel like it. I confess we don’t always bother. If I want just a little something, I might well have shirataki with a fatty sauce – or just butter and Parmesan.

This is, of course, when I’m not working on a book. If I am, it’s a wild card! It depends on what sort of book it is, what I have in the house, what idea I’ve had.

If I snack, it’s usually on nuts. I’ve snacked less and less as the years have gone by, and as I’ve deliberately increased fat as a fraction of my calories.

Perhaps the most notable thing is that I have long since slipped away from the three-meals-a-day format. I rarely eat more than two meals a day anymore; I’m just not hungry enough. I try to do some intermittent fasting, so I often don’t eat until noon or one — a good 16 hours after I ate the previous night — although I drink copious quantities of tea.

Long-time readers will note that this violates a previously stated rule to always eat breakfast. I no longer consider that a hard-and-fast rule, but rather one that depends on circumstance. If someone works away from the house in a place where carby garbage is available, like the donuts in the break room or the candy bars in the vending machine, then I feel breakfast is imperative, even if it’s just a couple of hard boiled eggs or individually wrapped cheese chunks grabbed on the way out of the house. This is especially true for those who are just starting out, and not yet solidly in the mindset of “this is how I eat.”

But if, like me, you have more time freedom, and have achieved a blissful lack of regard for starchy, sugary stuff, postponing breakfast until you’re genuinely hungry is a good way to work in some intermittent fasting.

Too, I’ve lost the idea that some foods are “breakfast foods,” while dinner needs to be a protein and two veg. I’m perfectly happy having leftover chicken and coleslaw for breakfast, or whatever happens to be kicking around the fridge. And I’ve certainly been known to eat eggs for dinner, or just make something snack-y, like Chicken Chips. (Chicken skin spread on the broiler rack and baked until crisp, then salted. Yum. I buy 10-pound bags of chicken skin from my speciality butcher.)

One other oddity: I don’t feel any need to snack during movies or television. It’s common for people to feel that there should be something they can munch on mindlessly for hours while consuming entertainment, but low carb foods don’t lend themselves to that. They’re filling. Eat a bucket of mixed nuts the size of even a small movie theater popcorn and you’ll make yourself sick. People need to get away from the idea of food as entertainment.

 

New UK “Eat Well Plate”: same old rubbish!

The UK government has released a new version of the risable “Eat well plate” which gives us at diabetesdietblog.com even more heartburn, if that were possible.

In this they have given due pominence to fruit and vegetables but have also advised even more starch such as bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, pasta and rice. Low fat dairy is encouraged and protein is under represented again. Vegetable oil and low fat spread is given a little sliver of prominence. They have advised us to eat 30g of fibre a day and limit sugar to 30g a day.  Lordy, some of us don’t even eat this in total carbs a day! carbohydrate.jpgThey have said that 150g of fruit juice or smoothie can count as one of “your five a day”.

Cardiologist Aseem Mahhotra has tweeted, “Is this a joke?” Well, sad to say, probably not.

The government are grimly determined to back a diet that will lead to more obesity, diabetes, acid reflux, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Isn’t the NHS in enough of a mess already? Obviously the government don’t think so.

 

Why can’t you get healthy food at a medical meeting?

The photograph of  lovely display of cakes you see here was taken by  a doctor at a medical conference the subject of which was….tackling obesity.

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Similarly, the sandwiches and chips you see dished up is all to often the only sort of food you will see at medical seminars.  I recently attended a two day course on the subject of how to speak to patients so that they would be more motivated to change their unhealthy eating and non-existent exercise habits when dealing with their diabetes. The group consisted of psychologists, doctors, nurses and dieticians. The food was sandwiches, cut up vegetables with sugary/fatty dips, cakes and orange squash.  At other meetings there have been lots of pastries, vol au vents, potato salad and sausage rolls. It is rare to find lean meats, plain eggs, salad vegetables and fruit.

Some of this is down to cost. It is much cheaper to serve carby/fatty rubbish. But what sort of example is it to health professionals when they are at seminars to discuss the resolution of unhealthy lifestyles for their patients?

Not being able to eat anything at the lunch served, I went to the hospital staff canteen to see if I could do any better.  Potato and leek soup, battered chicken in sweet and sour sauce, vegetable stroganoff, boiled rice, baked potatoes, steak pie and a salad bar which contained some vegetables, boiled eggs but no lean meat. A deli counter made up sandwiches but the single meat filling was heavily covered in mayonnaise.

The chill cabinet contained lots of sandwiches, sweetened yoghurts and fruit juice.

Crisps, Pringles and Doritos were available. So were cakes, biscuits, scones and jelly.

At least if I was having a hypo I would have been easily able to satisfy my dietary requirements.