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"I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is two weeks."
— Totie Fields
I'm one of those people who can eat just one or two small squares of
chocolate and put the rest away for later. Usually, 24 or more hours
elapse before "later" occurs. Because of this, I have a reputation for
having incredible willpower.
This brings me to strawberries... I love strawberries and could easily down a
pint without thinking about it. This time of year, they are abundant, reasonably
priced, and very tasty. They deliver more vitamin C than one orange!
And they offer you 20% of your daily value of folic acid. Plus there's only about 8 net
grams of carbs in an entire cup of sliced strawberries! Nutritionally, they're winners.
The question is, how do you work them into your diet in a controlled way, so that you
won't over-do it? Obviously, fruit salad is out of the question for me.
I have a confession to make: I don't have willpower at all.
For whatever reason, I can walk away from chocolate, but I
cannot resist the luscious, seductive taste of fresh fruit.
I could cheerfully eat four bowls of fruit salad in one sitting. I have
eaten four bowls — cereal bowls, not dainty little dessert bowls — of fruit
salad at one sitting. Any concept of portion control I might possess flies
right out the window when I'm faced with the combination of fresh berries,
cubed melons, a diced stone fruit or two, and maybe even, bless me, cherries.
Later, of course, I pay for my lapse with an insulin spike, blood sugar crash,
and massive cravings. Also, headaches, bloating, and weight gain. Not fun.
Portion control is a big part of what makes maintaining a low carb way of
life possible. One of the most common misconceptions about the low carb way
of life is that you can't have fruit. Of course you can have fruit! The idea,
though, is to be mindful of which fruits you are eating (grapes are definitely out;
you may as well eat jelly beans), and how much fruit you're eating.
Strawberry Shortcake —
that assembly of a sweet biscuit; sliced, sweetened strawberries; and whipped
cream, is the quintessential taste of summer, with portion control built in!
The version below provides balancing fats and protein along with the sweet fruit,
so it mitigates any immediate cravings the berries may trigger. I'm hard-pressed
to think of a more ideal food combination. (Well... there's pie, but that's a topic
for another column.)
When the berries are at their peak, I could cheerfully eat this every day. The
net carb count of the final product is about 8 grams. You'll find the portion
size to be quite generous. It's so generous you might want to make two dozen
tiny scones instead of 12 plump ones, so you'll end up with a more reasonably
sized dessert. Either way, they make a delightful part of a nutritious breakfast,
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced thinly (about 4 cups)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (1 g carb per tsp)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup Splenda or other non-caloric sweetener, to taste
Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl with enough room for tossing. Sprinkle
on the vinegar and Splenda, and stir to combine. Cover and let rest in the
refrigerator for several hours, stirring occasionally, to draw the juices out
of the strawberries, and for the berries to macerate, absorb the flavor of the
vinegar and the sweetness of the Splenda.
Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream:
Don't skip the balsamic vinegar; you'll
be amazed at how that tiny amount of acid can "brighten" the taste of the berries.
Nutrition information (total): 286 calories; 2 g fat, 68 g carbohydrates,
16 g fiber,
4g protein. Per approx. 1/3 C serving: 24 calories; 0 g fat,
5.75 g carbohydrates,
1.3 g fiber, >1 g protein.
3 cups; 12 servings
- 1+1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoon sugar free vanilla syrup (DaVinci's, Torani, etc)
- or -
- 3 Tablespoons Splenda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the cream in a mixing bowl that gives you plenty of extra room. Beat the cream
at high speed, and when it starts to thicken, add the sweetener and vanilla. Beat at
high speed just until stiff peaks begin to form; don't overbeat or you'll end up with sweetened
butter. To test your peaks, dip a spoon (or the beaters of a hand-held mixer) down
into the cream and lift straight up. If the resultant "peak" flops over at the top,
it's a soft peak; if it stands straight up, it's a stiff peak. Aim for somewhere in
between and everyone will be happy. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use.
Nutrition information (total): 1232 calories; 132 g fat, 10.5 g carbohydrates,
0 g fiber, 7.5 g protein. Per approx. 1/4 C serving: 102 calories; 11 g fat,
1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, >1 g protein.
(adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham)
12 drop scones
- 1 1/3 cups vanilla whey protein powder (Designer Whey)
- 2 Tablespoons oat flour
- 2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Splenda (omit if you'd like a more biscuit-like taste)
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- Splenda for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up;
there's no need to grease it.
Copyright © June 2004 Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury
Combine the dry ingredients, then sift them into a large mixing bowl. Don't
skip the sifting, as it lightens the texture and insures that all the ingredients are
lump-free and properly distributed throughout the batter.
Add the heavy cream and stir with a fork. It will quickly form a shaggy, sticky dough.
Stir just enough to insure that all the ingredients are well mixed.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, separating the scones to allow for
them to rise. Try to get the 12 scones as close to the same size as possible so they
will all cook in the same amount of time.
Brush each scone with the melted butter, and sprinkle with Splenda if desired.
Bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown on the bottom and golden on top.
Be careful not to overbake as they can dry out quickly. Remove from the oven and cool on
a rack before serving.
Nutrition information per serving (1 scone): 171 calories; 14 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates,
1.4 g fiber, 9g protein.
Assembly: Split a cooled scone and arrange the bottom half in the center of a small plate.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of strawberries and juice onto the scone; cap with the top half, and spoon
another 2 tablespoons of strawberries over the top for a total of about 1/3 cup of strawberries. Dollop
about 1/4 cup of whipped cream on top, and enjoy.
Nutrition information per assembled (very generous) shortcake: 297 calories; 25 g fat,
10.75 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g fiber, 10 g protein.
Reader Request: I've had two requests for low carb versions of muffins made from
bran cereal. If anyone has had any successes with converting recipes that use All
Bran or bran flakes cereal, please share it! E-mail me
with "cereal muffins" in the subject line. Thanks!
Title and inset photos Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury