Too Much on Your Plate
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We All Scream for Ice Cream
Jonny Bowden Weighs In
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Binge Eating: Why?
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Make It Low Carb!
Collecting Baseball Carbs
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"Skill and confidence are an unconquered army."
— George Herbert
The Balancing Act...
Recently, I opened my mailbag and found the following:
I sure hope you can help me. I spent 2003 low carbing. I lost over 60 pounds and felt wonderful.
I know that low carbing is the best way for me.
My dilemma is, my husband had a heart attack a few weeks ago. The stress of that, plus trying to
conform to his low fat, low cholesterol diet has really thrown me off.
Please suggest how I can keep my husband's diet heart healthy without adding carbs to mine. Preparing
two complete sets of meals is both costly and time consuming. I would appreciate any insight you might
be able to give.
First things first, congratulations on your weight loss and finding a way of eating that works for you.
Second, let me extend my best wishes for your husband's recovery and future good health.
I will make a brief aside here to say that low-carb diets are heart-healthy diets, even if the medical
establishment does not accept them as such. There is a lot of controversy over the role of dietary fats
and heart disease, but recent studies have indicated that low-carb diets do, even in the short term,
improve blood cholesterol profiles, reducing the risk of heart disease.
You are not alone in trying to maintain a low-carb lifestyle while the rest of your family does not.
In your case, your husband's new dietary restrictions appear to be directly at odds with low-carb, but
I believe with some creative approaches, you can make this work for you.
Lean meats and fresh vegetables and fruits are healthy for everyone. The trick is to build the foundation
of your meals — the protein source and one or two side dishes — around ingredients that are acceptable to
everyone, and then to add other side dishes to round out the menu for the differing life styles: frizzled
cabbage for you, steamed rice for your husband. For side dishes such as these that reheat well, it makes
sense to prepare several servings at one time, and then only reheat a portion when you need it. I even
do this with pasta for my kids; I cook it until it is just before "al dente", and then store it in the
refrigerator; a minute in the microwave brings it to the perfect texture.
One of the luxuries of the low-carb lifestyle is indulging in rich sauces, cheeses, and satisfying fats.
Since your husband has been advised against this, here are a few tricks for slipping those
oh-so-satisfying morsels into your own diet without having to prepare two entirely separate meals:
- Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles and chopped walnuts and pecans over your green salad; limit your
husband's to just the leaves.
- Prepare a miniature antipasto plate (cheese, salami, olives, etc) to nibble on during dinner
preparation. Just a few bites can help give you the good fats you need to feel satisfied with your
- If you like rich sauces, make and serve them separately from the foods they're intended for,
so your husband can partake sparingly or not at all. (I like chicken with a green chili-Monterey
jack sauce, but my kids won't touch it; I grill the chicken and serve the sauce on the side.)
Last, a word about desserts and sweets. No one benefits from eating refined sugars and flours, so
many low-carb treats could be ideal for your husband. However, low-carb recipes often run wild with
butter, cream cheese, and sour cream. The good news is you can tweak these recipes to lower their fat
content. Neufchatel, often sold as low-fat cream cheese, has no more carbs than regular cream cheese.
Plain yogurt may look high-carb, but most of the sugars are metabolized by the yogurt-forming bacteria.
According to the GO Diet, you can count about 4 grams of carbs per cup of plain yogurt, making it an
ideal food for both low-fat and low-carb diets.
Spicy Pepper Beef
The recipe below retains the essential flavors of the original, but the proportion of vegetables has
been greatly increased; the original recipe yielded only one quarter of a small pepper per serving.
Once you taste this, you'll realize that's not nearly enough; I have, in fact, made this dish without
the beef — just add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce to the peppers as they stir-fry, and you'll end
up with a spectacular side dish.
Adapted from A Wok for All Seasons by Martin Yan
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 6 T soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Try to make the slices of beef and the slices of pepper all around the same size. The beef will slice more
easily if you partially freeze it before slicing.
- 1.5 pound flank or beef sirloin steak, thinly sliced across the grain
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
- 2 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
- 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
- 1 tsp Splenda (or use ? packet)
- ? tsp salt
- ? tsp black pepper
- 1 T sesame oil
Place the sliced beef and the marinade ingredients into a Ziploc-style bag; work the ingredients together in
the bag from the outside to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed. Seal and refrigerate for at least
? hour and up to 1 hour.
If you like your peppers soft rather than crunchy, steam them for 5 to 6 minutes in the microwave before continuing
with the recipe.
Use a wok or a very large non-stick skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, and add the ginger and red
pepper flakes. Stir for about 5 seconds until the mixture becomes fragrant (don't inhale too deeply or
you'll give yourself a coughing fit.) Add the beef and marinating liquid, and quickly stir-fry just until
the beef loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside. Add the peppers to the
pan and stir fry until they are cooked to your liking: about 1 minute for crispy, longer for more tender
peppers. When the peppers are cooked to your satisfaction, return the beef to the pan. Stir in the
Splenda, salt, black pepper, and sesame oil to finish.
Serve over cauliflower "rice", spaghetti squash, or frizzled cabbage, if desired. The abundance of peppers
makes this recipe very close to a one-dish meal. For the non-low-carbers at your table, steamed white rice
is the perfect accompaniment.
with questions, comments, or requests. Thanks!
Copyright © July 2004 Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury
Title and inset photos Copyright © 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury