Avoiding Boredom on a Low-Carb Diet

Yawnsville. I’m so bored of gazelles…

Boredom is the enemy of healthy eating, right? It’s easy to be enthusiastic five days into low-carb dieting, but 20 days later? Not so much.

I suffer from this myself. Sometimes, you long to nose-dive into a gigantic bowl of crisps. Or scarf down eight slices of bread, covered in butter. Here are some ideas for keeping boredom at bay.

Do try out lots of different recipes. Most of us rotate the same meals week in/week out. When you’re restricting what you’re eating, that’s a double whammy. We’ve lots of suggestions here, but the Grand Daddy of diabetes-friendly recipes is The Diet Doctor. There, you’ll find various carb counts, vegetarian choices, fish, meat and eggs ideas in abundance.

Look for different texture. Low-carb foods can lack crunch. (Think crisps, crackers and more.) Pork rinds are crunch-tastic. Make them yourself by cutting pork skin into strips and tossing with a little sea salt and hot smoked paprika. Place them on a rack over a tray and whack in a very hot oven for 25-30 minutes. You can buy them too.

De-carb your favourite recipes. Missing bread? Try our easy, low-carb version here. Use cauliflower for rice or those zero noodles to make Chinese and Asian-inspired dishes. Cauliflower also makes fabulous mash.

Eat enough. Boredom might be hunger in disguise. Work out your calorie allowance for your levels of activity and ensure you’re meeting it. Adding cheese, cream and mayonnaise to dishes is an easy way to bump those numbers up.

Try new foods. Yes, branch out and eat something you thought you hated. Liver, cabbage and sprouts (not all together) might turn out to be delicious.

Have at least two or three go-to sweet recipes. Humans love a sweet taste. While you might want a low-carb diet to get rid of yours, the wise woman (or man) has low-carb options on hand just in case. Try our peanut chocolate fudge for a sweet hit. Or this recipe for ice-cream.

Eat high-carb occasionally. Make it worth it, though. I ate a slice of chocolate cake recently which was…average. I muttered to myself afterwards, “Well, that was a total waste of carbs.” Choose the very best you can and eat in the evening, rather than at lunchtime or breakfast as the resultant tiredness won’t matter so much.

Happy days!

For a book stuffed to the gunnels with low-carb recipes, The Diabetes Diet (now available in print and e-book format) is your number one choice.

A Week of Super Low-Carb!

diabetes diet
Mediterranean trout with kale.

This week, I’m going super low carb. The carb count has crept up lately. And I was ill for a while which sent the blood sugar levels soaring.

And yes, I wouldn’t mind knocking off a kilo or two. Then treating myself to a whole new wardrobe.*

Does anyone else love a spot of dietary planning? You dig out your recipe books, go online, write menu plans and shopping lists. All instead of doing the day job. Bliss!

I’ve researched the recipes I fancy, here and on Diet Doctor which has every kind of keto option you can imagine. A lot of them can be cream and cheese heavy (not a bad thing), but they do offer salad-y type stuff and dairy-free options too.

I thought I’d try these chicken drumsticks, the crunchy coating made from coconut and pork rinds. I’ll skip the coconut, though, as I don’t think I’d get that past my husband. [“Coconut flakes?! On drumsticks? Get thee behind me, Satan.”]

I’ll also be making the cauliflower cheese recipe from our website, and the Mediterranean trout with kale you see pictured above.

And I’ve already knocked up a batch of home-made mayonnaise, using rapeseed oil because I love the gorgeous yellow colour it gives.

Chocolate fudge is in the fridge ready for when the dreaded sweet tooth growls at me. And I’ll be making turkey curry with spinach to handle the spice craving.

I’ll report back on what happens.

 

*Kidding. Freelancing makes even shopping for clothes in Asda tricky. 

Yummy Lummy’s Low-Carb Chicken Casserole

This post belongs to Yummy Lummy – I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!. Whisky flavoured chicken blue cheese casserole Whisky flavoured chicken and blue cheese casserole may sound weird but the taste is amazing, especially with some nice Danish blue cheese melted throughout the chicken and vegetable mix. 34 more…

via Whisky flavoured chicken blue cheese casserole — Yummy Lummy

Artificial Sweeteners

As a blogger, I get sent press releases regularly. Most of the time, they’re irrelevant (I got a lot of financial information because a media directory had mistakenly classified me as a financial journalist) but I get the odd one that reflects my interests and what I write about.

Recently, the subject line Artificial Sweeteners linked to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and metabolic dysfunction caught my eye. Our book and blog contain recipes that use artificial sweeteners. The internet abounds with blogs and posts that say ‘no’, but offer up little in the way of compelling evidence.

Anyone remember the Gulf War syndrome caused by diet coke conspiracy theory? (The authorities later dismissed consumption of overheated aspartame as a cause.)

Examine.com which offers an independent, objective and unbiased assessment of nutrition and supplements, provides this recent exploration of artificial sweeteners and their effects.

The press release I received came from the Medisys Health Group in Canada. As they say, sensationalist headlines about sweeteners aren’t new. The average Canadian consumes 88 pounds of sugar from all sources a year – more than four times the daily recommended sugar limit from the World Health Organization.

If excessive, long-term consumption of sugar leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, cancer and more, are artificial sweeteners the answer?

I don’t use them in my cooking, but I get a dose of sweeteners daily thanks to my love of soft drinks; Diet Coke, mainly, but also squashes, diet tonic and chewing gum. These are all sweetened with what are called non-nutritive sweeteners (such as saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame and sucralose).

As the press release notes, health implications for them are inconclusive and overall, the ones available on the market are considered safe for regular or occasional consumption. Where the press release says we should be cautious is that they don’t retrain the taste buds, and then can make naturally sweet foods like fruit taste less appealing. There is some research that suggests that artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar levels and trigger the insulin response*.

The Medisys Group recommends you limit or avoid artificial sweeteners, and focus on whole, unprocessed foods instead, a stance we support at the Diabetes Diet.

MY FEELINGS – I get the sugar retraining aspect, though many of the recipes in our book and on our blog do taste a lot less sweet than their sugary equivalents. The research doesn’t yet convince me that I need to give up diet drinks (though the plastic argument could and should win me over).

As for using it in recipes, sugar is by far the most harmful substance to people with diabetes. If making cakes, puddings and biscuits with artificial sweeteners and low-carb ingredients keeps you away from it, is that not the best solution? We promote low-carb, not primarily as a way of losing weight but of keeping blood sugars steady and therefore making diabetes easier to manage.

Read the full release, including a breakdown of the research into metabolism, sweeteners and losing weight etc., here. You can also read the Diet Doctor’s analysis of sweeteners and which ones have the least impact on your blood sugar control, here.

*I’ve never experienced this as a result of drinking diet sodas.