Different Stokes for Different Folks

January 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

   No, that title does not include a typo; it does, however, include an envelope-pushing reference to fueling the body.  Under the “Foodie” tab above I enthuse about my commitment to plenty of exercise and a Mediterranean diet.  My own transformation from enervated to energized provides all the evidence I need to justify this approach.  Yet I don’t serve my spouse the same foods I so passionately endorse.  Let me explain that seemingly hypocritical practice. 

Forty-nine years ago my husband was diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile onset, inherited) diabetes.  For years he controlled his blood sugar with diet and injected insulin.  Still, the disease takes a toll, resulting in nerve damage, vascular disease, and insulin resistance.  When he was no longer able to control his blood sugar levels, and the “experts” were clueless, a friend recommended Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s ultra-low carbohydrate diet, which caused me to shed tears, literally, when I read a sample daily menu:  these were all the foods I had learned to avoid, and few of the ones I felt were essential.  But there is no arguing with the science and logic outlined in The Diabetes Solution, and my husband lost 30 pounds while gaining better control of his blood sugar following its guidelines.  Again, first-hand experience wins out. 

I have since learned that fat is not an enemy if you keep your carb count low, because your body then burns the fat for energy rather than storing it; that you can get the micronutrients and vitamins you need through slow-acting carbohydrates like non-starchy vegetables; and that there are plenty of creative ways to prepare delicious low carbohydrate meals.  For further perspective, just think about how many different, often very limited, dietary patterns sustained various isolated population groups over the centuries, before transport systems allowed for kiwi and blueberries and cantaloupe and fresh asparagus to be available year-round.  The human body is designed to adapt. 

Today I offer some of the results of my foray into the dark, mysterious Land of Low Carbohydrate Cooking:  Beanless Chili, Salmon Patties, Rhubarb Relish, Seafood Sauté, and crustless Italian Easter Pie.  The “pie” makes a lovely company meal.  Just add a citrus tossed salad and homemade whole wheat Irish soda bread.

For the ultra low carb chili (4 servings; 3.25 g carbohydrate per serving):

1 # lean ground beef                     1/2 tsp cumin                1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder                           2 tsp olive oil             1/2 C diced green pepper     

1/2 C red wine                            4 TB salsa                                1/2 C grated cheddar 

Brown and crumble the ground beef in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When cooked through, sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, and onion powder; mix well.  Push beef to outer border of pan and add olive oil and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add green pepper to pan and cook over low heat for five minutes, combining with beef and stirring frequently.  Add red wine and salsa and mix well.  Heat another 10-15 minutes over low heat.  Turn off at this stage and reheat when ready to serve.  Sprinkle with grated cheese. 

The salmon patties (8.7 g carbohydrate for entire recipe) call for: 

2 eggs                          6-8 oz cooked salmon, chopped fine             2 TB Soy Quick*

½ tsp onion powder             2 TB finely minced green onion            2 tsp butter 

Mix all ingredients well and form into patties.  Place 1 tsp butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium low heat and cook until golden brown on one side.  Add additional 1 tsp butter to pan and flip patty to brown on second side.  Salt and pepper well.  (*I use soy protein isolate.) 

Rhubarb relish (11.2 g carbohydrate for entire recipe) requires: 

1# pkg frozen unsweetened rhubarb              1/2 C water                1 envelope unflavored gelatin

6 drops liquid stevia extract                2 TB Sugar Free DaVinci Raspberry Syrup 

Place rhubarb in a medium saucepan with water and bring to a simmer.  When bubbling, pour a small amount of hot liquid over gelatin in a small bowl and stir well; pour back into saucepan and add stevia and raspberry flavored DaVinci syrup.  Cover and chill. 

The light, simple sautéed seafood (7 g carbohydrate for entire recipe) entrée will use: 

8 large shrimp, peeled, deveined                       6 oz tilapia fillets, thawed

6 tsp butter, divided                                     2 C chopped radicchio

1-1/2 C chopped fresh spinach             salt and pepper or Cajun seasoning 

Sauté shrimp in 2 tsp melted butter over medium heat until pink and cooked through.  Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.  Melt additional 2 tsp butter in same pan and cook tilapia until tender, breaking into large chunks with a spatula after cooking on both sides.  Remove fish to plate with the resting shrimp.  Add final 2 tsp butter to pan and stir in radicchio and spinach.  Toss together over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until radicchio is crisp-tender.  Add back seafood and heat through.  Season to taste.  

The quick-to-prep egg and ham pie (six servings; 3 g carbohydrate per serving) is adapted from Dr. Bernstein’s The Diabetes Diet and is a family favorite, regardless of dietary leanings: 

3 eggs     1/2 C grated Parmesan     15 oz whole milk ricotta     1/2# diced ham 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Blend in remaining ingredients, stirring well.  Butter a 9″ pie pan (I prefer glass) and bake at 350° for about 55 minutes.  

If you live in a house divided, as I do, I encourage you to prepare from scratch whenever possible to keep good control over the ingredients.  When time is short – and when isn’t it? – I cook large quantities and package up portions for later use.  I will not be daunted by dietary differences.  “Forge ahead and freeze ahead,” that’s my culinary credo.

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Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

And what is the "something" we are aiming for here? Simply a life of robust good health in every important area - spiritual, physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To that end we offer inspirational real-life stories about PEOPLE OF FAITH AND COURAGE; menus and cooking directions meant to fuel your creative inclinations and your healthy body in the form of MUSINGS OF A MIDWESTERN FOODIE; and ADVICE FOR LIFE from the perspective of those who have lived it to maturity. (Click on the green category tabs at the top of this page to learn more about each section.)

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