THE Premier Low-Carb store .. .. AND Meeting Place

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eating Less Sugar May Result In Fewer Wrinkles!

This concept is not really totally news to me, as I remember years ago Ian's dad, who is now a retired doctor in Cape Town, South Africa, said to me that sugar causes inflammation in the body and literally "rusts" one (oxidation) and can lead to premature aging. Oupa has never been one for desserts or sugary anything anyway and at the time when he declined my desserts I wondered if that was some sort of bias on his part. Still years later when I began low-carbing I recalled his words and today as I'm writing this article, I recall them again. I guess he already knew. It's too bad more mainstream doctors did not warn their patients of the ills of sugar for their health and even their looks. I know for years Dr. Perricone (a dermatologist in the U.S.A. with his own line of beauty products and a proponent of healthy low-gylcemic eating) has been telling people this via T.V. and books he has written. He has sometimes been criticized for his views, but it is amazing to me how people who dare to think out of the box are most often ostracized by the masses who think alike. That is why people like Dr. Michael Eades (Protein Power Author) and Dr. Akins (when he was alive) are to be admired. For example as well, the first doctor who dared to say that doctors should scrub and wash their hands thoroughly before surgery to prevent infection was also laughed at and ridiculed!

As an aside from this article, but also of interest along these lines, when I first started low-carbing, I was impressed by the fact that the late Dr. Akins said he was always so surprised to see that often people who were on low-fat diets had very deep creases from nose to mouth. That to me seemed like an odd observation. In another excellent book of Dr. Akins, called "Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution", he wrote about omega imbalance and how trans fats in our diets contributed to omega imbalance (a thing to avoid), but he also spoke about these omega-3 oils being excellent contributors to young-looking skin. My husband says we ladies slather "fat" in creams on our faces, but how much better if that fat comes from inside from the diet, such as in the healthy omega-3's from salmon oil, primrose oil or borage seed oil (capsules containing these oils can be purchased for supplementation in the diet). Dr. Perricone, like the late Dr. Atkins, also very strongly believes in these oils for good, healthy and glowing skin. There are many other even more important health benefits to these oils, but I digress now and want to return to the crux of this article.

Sugar according to a British Medical Journal can actually contribute to dry, wrinkly and sagging skin, because of a process called glycation in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The more sugar one consumes, the more AGEs accumulate and the more damage they do. The springy collagen and elastin in the skin is what gets damaged. Sun is still the number one enemy of skin. We can avoid too much sun exposure (a little is good, too much is bad, in my opinion) and now we can avoid too much exposure to refined carbohydrates as well, another enemy of the skin.

For those of you who feel sad that damage has already occurred, there are retinol products on the market that will help rebuild collagen apparently. A dermatologist would be able to advise on that subject. I was not aware of this. What I am aware of is that there are new lasers (less damaging on the skin than the old ones) in the market that emit a light that damages the inner layers of the skin, setting up inflammation that causes new collagen to form, thus firming the skin. These effects I read last about 2 years, however, it is not an inexpensive treatment and may require more than one treatment. I read recently that I am possibly not a candidate for such a procedure, because I have an autoimmune disease. I also cannot tolerate products such as Renova which dermatologists sometimes prescribe for increasing collagen production in the skin.

In my case, the best defense is just doing things naturally and that is avoiding too much sun exposure and low-carbing. Although after about the age of 25, I was more careful about sun exposure (I got plenty growing up in Africa and spent every vacation on the beach or at the pool at home), I was still very much a sugar addict. I will be honest, even nowadays, I do "cheat" sometimes and will eat something with sugar or white flour in it, but rarely. It is usually when a friend has made a dessert for our family at a dinner party or occasionally if my husband has brought something home like brownies (I will not lie. They are good.). He should know better! (smile) I mention this because I don't want anyone to think I am somehow "perfect" with regard to low-carbing. I am very much human in that regard, but that does not mean I cheat and then throw in the towel forever and a day after an indulgence. I endeavour to remain low-carb every day as I know it is what is best for my body, but I am far from perfect and sometimes will slip up, because once a carb addict, probably always a carb addict. I almost always regret an indulgence, as it will often show up on the scale.

To avoid sugar in its various forms, nowadays it is prudent to read labels on food products. Here are some of the names sugar lurks under: glucose, maltose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrin, starch, dextrose, sugar cane, fruit juice concentrate, turbinado, maple syrup, molasses and honey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheese Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Let's be thankful to God for our many blessings and let's look for those around us with whom we can share some of those blessings.

Here is a Thanksgiving Pie I will be making tomorrow for the family. Splendid Low-Carbing for Life, Volume 2 has an awesome and very easy Pumpkin Cheesecake (my son, Jonathan's favorite), however, I wanted something a little lighter tomorrow after the meal I have planned.

Crust:
1/3 cup ground pecans or almonds
2 tbsp Splenda Granular
1 tbsp spelt, oat, or whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg yolk
Cream Cheese Layer:
8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Splenda Granular
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Layer:
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda Granular
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp giner
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optiona)
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Crust: In medium bowl, combine pecans and almonds, Splenda Granular and flour of choice. Stir in butter and egg yolk. Spread in 9-inch pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and press crust out evenly; remove plastic wrap. Bake in 350 deg. F. (180 deg. C.) oven 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Layer: In food processor with sharp blade, blender or in bowl with electric mixer, process cream cheese, Splenda Granular, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over crust evenly.

Pumpkin Layer: In medium bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, Splenda Granular, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Beat well with wire whisk. Whisk in half-and-half cream and whipping cream. Pour over Cream Cheese Layer. Bake in 350 deg. F. (180 deg. C.) oven 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish with whipped cream, creme fraiche (recipe in my books - much nicer than whipped cream and holds up better) and additional pecan halves, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings, 1 serving:
183.5 calories, 5.4 g protein,. 14.9 g fat, 7.0 g carbs

P.S. This cheesecake pumpkin layer can be reduced in carbs by using a Splenda Quick Pack instead of Splenda Granular. This pumpkin layer can be made even sweeter by the addition of 2 tbsp or more of powdered erythritol. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has no gastrointestinal affects and the way it works in the body, is apparently very beneficial for low carbohydrate diets. Sometime I'll blog on the synergy of Splenda and erythritol in baking. The slight cooling effect is easily masked by using it fairly sparingly and in conjunction with another sweetener like Splenda or by having other flavors mask it. For instance, by using 1/4 cup erythritol and 3/4 cup Splenda it will give one a much sweeter result than Splenda alone, and this can be very beneficial for sweetening chocolate recipes.

I just made this pie and it smells incredible. I did use some powdered erythritol (2 tbsp) in the cream cheese layer along with Splenda and also about 1/4 cup erythritol in the top layer along with a Splenda Quick Pack (I used a whole can (about 1 1/2 cups) of pumpkin as I'm not counting carbs too closely in my dessert tomorrow and an extra egg). I often play with my recipes like this, but if you make it just as written, it will be lovely too - just not quite as sweet. I have a real sweet tooth as you can tell.

Tip: Wait until the crust cools before adding the cream cheese layer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

*SPINACH QUICHE* (GF)

I did mention that sometimes I will share a recipe on my blog. Here is one from Splendid Low-Carbing for Life (Vol-1). This recipe is actually not completely my own, but a recipe from my mother-in-law Kay Eloff, slightly adapted to make it lower in carbohydrates. She lives with her husband of over 50 years, “oupa”, a retired medical doctor, in sunny South Africa, at the southern most tip of the continent of Africa. Cape Town is a beautiful city if anyone is thinking of visiting South Africa. It is also one of the safer places to visit in the country which is considered rather dangerous to visit due to violence. It is wise to hook up with South Africans who know the safe places to visit. I grew up in South Africa, as did my husband, but we left as young adults soon after we were married and we lived for almost 30 years in the great white north – Canada! Now we live in a tropical country. I was unaware of the problems in the country as we were pretty much kept in the dark by the government and we did not have TV until the year I was graduating from high school, in 1974. I always say I went to Canada to learn about South Africa.

Anyway, I could write a book if I keep going, so here is the recipe! It is good company fare as well, making an awesome lunch accompanied by a nice salad. There is a fair amount of sodium in this recipe from the cheeses, so don’t be weighing for a couple of days.

SPINACH QUICHE

Crust:
½ cup ground almonds
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten, OR any flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk

Filling:
6 bacon slices
1 whole large leek, cut thin diagonally
1, 10 oz package frozen spinach
8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
5 extra-large eggs, beaten
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crust: In medium bowl, combine ground almonds, grated Parmesan cheese, vital wheat gluten, melted butter and egg yolk. Press into 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan. Bake in 350ºC (180ºC) oven 10 minutes.

Filling: In large skillet, cook bacon until just before it gets crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels. In some bacon fat, cook leeks over medium heat until soft. Squeeze liquid out of spinach and add to leeks along with bacon. In food processor or in bowl with electric mixter, process cream cheese. Add sour cream; process. Add eggs one at a time, while processing, until smooth. Stir in feta cheese and half Parmesan cheese. Pour mixture over vegetables and bacon; stir to combine well. Pour over prepared crust.

Bake in 350ºC (180ºC) oven 50 minutes, or until set. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over top.

Nutritional Analysis: 10 servings
311.1 calories, 17.1 g protein, 24.3 g fat, 5.6 g carbs