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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Call for further lowering Cholesterol due to New Study Findings

Dr. Briffa has a recent article where he highlights a new study that is making scientists think that cholesterol levels should be driven lower than ever before. Dr. Briffa makes the statement that too low cholesterol can lead to cancer and even death. Yikes!

This is his article: Dr. Briffa's Cholesterol Article

Here was my comment below his article: "I think they are out to lunch in my humble opinion. Certainly, they are with regard to statins. I won’t take anything with such a bad track record.

(Let's try simple logic.) We know inflammation leads to heart disease. We know dentists have discovered that taking a tiny amount of doxycycline (no adverse gut problems reported but take yogurt or a probiotic to be on the safe side) daily reduces inflammation of gums, and they have since discovered after 6 months general inflammation markers (CRP levels) dropped by more than a half. I have the study somewhere if anyone is interested - I’m too lazy to go find it now.

Inflammation leads to heart disease we’re told and a host of other diseases. I’m a lay person but my logic says: “Cut the inflammation and perhaps the body won’t have to try so hard to repair the arteries by laying down fatty deposits” I think we’re maybe blaming cholesterol, when, in fact, the real culprit is being overlooked."

I did go look up the study again re reducing inflammation (found the link on my blog): Reducing Inflammation - such a no brainer way to do it

So, why on earth is nobody picking up on this study with regard to doxycycline? There is practically NO money in it - that's why!!

I think this is HUGE news, but very few people will probably find this path.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do You Think Portion Sizes are a Problem Here?

NAME OF THE DESSERT: HEART ATTACK CHOCOLATE SUNDAE

THE WORLD'S LARGEST CHEESECAKE in Mexico City


Hmm, need I say more? Portion sizes in restaurants can be excessive, no doubt about it! Sometimes it makes sense, if possible, to eat half the meal and ask to take the rest home. When trying to lose weight, be mindful each day and with each meal or snack to keep portion sizes smaller.

This was tongue-in-cheek, because they are extreme examples. lol That sundae was consumed recently by my youngest son, Jonathan - sure he let everyone else have a taste, but it made all of us laugh as it was so ridiculous in size! He doesn't normally get sugar at home, so occasionally he splurges. At home he has actually been mindful of eating lower carb these days (he does not need to lose weight, but I guess I'm rubbing off on him). Interesting, since before now he has shown little interest in low-carbing. In fact, he mourned the loss of the desserts, etc. that I used to make with my very first traditional-style Splendid Desserts Splenda cookbooks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Failing at Low-Carbing Getting you Down? Some practical advice.




One day one wakes up and realizes one has been off track for a while and the pounds have crept back on and, ugh, it feels awful. The freedom to eat anything and everything whenever was so much fun and liberating, but it came with a price. It sounds so easy to say, "Go back to low-carbing and back to induction and then gradually climb the carb ladder and you'll lose the weight again, and perhaps this time remain true to low-carbing long term."

The truth is if one is new to low-carbing, one brings a freshness and excitement to the table, that is almost non-existent with someone who has been familiar with low-carbing and someone who equates getting back on track with deprivation and hard work.

So, how about we think this one through? Kudos to those who don't have to think it through, who jump back on the low-carb wagon effortlessly and start getting into the dynamic weight loss phase relatively quickly. This post is not really for you, but will be more interesting to those who lack these skills.

Diets don't work! We all know that. Lifestyle change is what works. Think about your own lifestyle and what you enjoy eating. Keep all those things you enjoy eating, but make an effort to cut out the extraneous, unnecessary, unhealthy stuff (keep those for special occasions - not a cheat - simply an occasion here or there. We don't "cheat" - we make a deliberate decision to have something off plan occasionally). Okay, keep the protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats (in moderation), etc. and keep the wholegrain bread if necessary (hopefully, a lower carb alternative or one from my books (More Splendid Low-Carbing has a super wholegrain bread) to one or two slices per day during weight loss (depending - you may have to skip this for a few weeks). Skip the treats and desserts for now (yep, even the low-carb ones, unless you simply must have something - then make low-carb crepes or pancakes or waffles (my books have plenty of choices) to have alongside bacon or sausage for breakfast, say - but keep the really sweet stuff (yep, even cheesecakes) to a minimum - maybe once or twice a month. Make something, enjoy that day, and freeze the rest. If you are a diet pop'aholic - try cutting down bit by bit and replace with refreshing water and a slice of lemon in it, perhaps. Keep the yogurt and reduce the amount of cheese. Do exercise and concentrate on eating healthier, as well as reducing carbohydrates (but don't count, unless you want to) and reducing your normal portion size (one way to do this is practice intermittent fasting - see post on this blog (do a search in top left hand corner) a couple of times a week.

This is a no-brainer way of approaching losing weight. Do cut carbs, do take out empty carbs in processed foods, crackers, too many breads, desserts, etc. (but if you would like a bowl of oatmeal a few times a week, then have it and enjoy). Absolutely, have no sugar! And, cut portion sizes and perhaps add walking to your daily routine. This will keep your metabolism humming, even when your food intake goes down a bit.

This is eating "normally", lower carb by far than what you perhaps were doing and definitely lower carb than the average American or Canadian at 300 grams a day.

This moderate approach is healthy, lower carb (good carbs) and something one can do for life. I hope this post will give hope to those who try and try again at very strict low-carbing only to fail time again. That's not fair to you. You can do it - just with a slightly different, less strict approach.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

*BLUE RIBBON CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRY TOPPING* (GF)


BLUE RIBBON CHEESECAKE
This firm, extra-special cheesecake only gets better as it ages.

Thank you for your interest in my recipes.  Find this incredible cheesecake in Low-Carbing Among Friends.

Trust but Verify - A Potent Example

Okay, you've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and possibly Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What does your doctor do for you? Probably nothing really substantial....unfortunately!

Here is a site fibroandfatigue.com sent to me by a new friend and long-time sufferer of those conditions. She is still seeking solutions. It's really sad, but on the bright side, I think she is closer today to finding her answers, because she has been actively seeking them, outside of her doctor's advice and jurisdiction.

Don't accept a dismal diagnosis and prognosis - pray, keep seeking and searching and your answers will come and your health will return - maybe even 100%. Do visit your doctor, do get his input and wisdom and learning on the subject, but also be proactive.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Trust but Verify When It Comes to Health Care

So many of us grew up trusting our doctors implicitly. Today we are living in a different time and place. It is a time when doctors are busier than ever (partly due to good Health Care plans such as in Canada) and they simply don't have the time to devote sufficient care (in my opinion) to some of their patients. Who cares more than you do about your own health - right?

In this day and age we have the internet. Medical information is at our finger tips. Discussions about medical problems are at our finger tips. We now have the ability to go online and within minutes have some information that we can bring to the table when we next visit the doctor. If you have a query, go to the internet, but also ask the advice of your doctor. Fact is, we don't have enough medical background (most of us) to discern the information accurately 100% of the time. However, we can also research some of the advice the doctor gives us.

Frankly, had I fully trusted my doctor and hero-worshipped him the way some people would, I'd be in a spot of trouble. See, my doctor upon discovering the goiter on my thyroid quickly made an appointment for me with the doctor in town (a big man, almost 7 foot and an ex-basket ball player!) to remove my thyroid. It was not meant to be, because he had quit operating a few months prior, plus I had already declined anyway, as I was determined to explore other avenues. Can you imagine that big man's hands in my throat? The very thought scared me to death! The long and the short of it is that I still have my thyroid. Once one removes that, it's not possible to put it back.

Think about statins....too many people are being prescribed statins and their side effects are numerous. In fact, with many medicines, such as that used for restless leg syndrome, the side effects outweigh the possible benefits. I don't know about you, but those are not good odds.

My dear friend, Jeanne, who has passed on now, was taking so many medications (close to 20 and you can bet no one has done any studies to find out how these medications interact with one another), she had to have a chart to figure it all out, as to when to take them, etc. She had type 2 diabetes, pulmonary and heart problems (had a pacemaker), rheumatoid arthritis and macular degeneration. She was almost 80 years old. The thing is that they put her on prednisone (something that is best taken for short periods) for years, during which she gained 40 lbs and soon thereafter was diagnosed with diabetes. I have to wonder if the eye problems were not exacerbated by her diabetes. Anyway, I do believe, and I could be wrong, that perhaps she would have been better off had she been proactive in her own health care. For one, she would have adopted a low-carb lifestyle, taken prednisone for a short period of time and taken only the most essential medications. Her research on the internet could have led her down that path instead.

Hysterectomies - how many of these operations are unnecessary? How many times do surgeons remove everything - ovaries included? How about C-sections? How many of them are truly necessary? Doctors do these operations often unnecessarily in my opinion and they make lots of money doing them!

No matter what the diagnosis, do some leg work yourself. Research it as much as possible as knowledge is key, besides, of course, first and foremost asking the best physician in the universe for help - God!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lack of Sunshine, Winter Weather and Comfort Food Cravings

The lack of sunshine, cold weather and lower serotonin levels lead people to crave more comfort foods. Dreamfields Macaroni anyone? Seriously, I think it is true that one tends to eat more comfort foods during colder weather - I think it helps us to put on a little insulation to keep us warmer in the long, winter months. It is almost instinctive to put on a few extra pounds in the winter, besides the fact that we go through a couple of months of heavy celebrating around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Here was an interesting article along those lines: Globe and Mail Of course, low-fat is still the advice, but if we're low-carbing, it is not as much of an issue, although lower fat alternatives may be used if calories are a concern - lower fat alternatives such as light cream cheese (better than nonfat for sure) or light sour cream, etc. One has to be careful because often lower fat means higher carb, but one can weigh the pros and cons. Of course, the higher carb one eats the greater the cravings, so stick to low-carb alternatives for the comfort foods. It is a no brainer with a few good low-carb cookbooks in your arsenal against temptation.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

JUDY BARNES BAKER: Carb Wars Blog

CARB WARS BLOG

If you don’t already know the name Judy Barnes Baker; you soon will. You see, Judy is about to make history. Judy has been asked to write a low-carb cookbook for a very large organization, the name of which I am not able to divulge at this point in time. Judy’s first book “Carb Wars, Sugar is the New Fat” so impressed the higher ups in the organization that she was given a contract to write another cookbook, this time a low-carb menu-oriented cookbook.

I will say more about Carb Wars in a moment, but I also want to mention that Judy has a wonderful blog. I spent a lovely hour reading different posts. She is not only an accomplished cookbook author, but she also has the ability to write in an interesting fashion. She loves to share places they visit with her readers and the cuisine (not always low-carb - tell me how many places serve totally low-carb fare anyway?) which she has enjoyed, however, the recipes she mimics and shares with her readers are definitely low-carb. Judy has a real gift. She knows food and her knowledge and research is all in her cookbook and on her blog. She is a very interesting person. She is also very nice. She graciously said she could learn some things from me and that she wished she had known about my books sooner. Well, I could say the same about her! Judy actually found my blog and mentioned it on her blog (wow, what a nice thing to do) and that is how I met her via the internet.

Please add Judy’s blog to your favorites to visit. She does a great job and shares some really neat adventures, great food and informative health articles. One I find of particular interest is her perspective on some of the sweeteners available on the market and some of the “healthier” alternatives. Her perspective on Splenda pretty much mirrors my own and she convincingly debunks the myth of chlorine in Splenda being harmful. We, as a family, have consumed more Splenda than most anyone on planet earth over the last 17 years. I think we’d be in major trouble health-wise if all my desserts that I developed and tested were made using sugar and white flour. My boys grew up on Splenda and they are both slender. The youngest has the body fat percentage of an athlete and he is not an athlete, but a budding author, who is relatively sedentary. He loves computers as does his brother, who is 3 inches taller at 6 foot, and who is a software programmer working on his own entrepreneurial pursuit – a Star Wars-type game. Judy's article is at this link - look for Sweeteners Update.

Judy has had a long struggle with fibromyalgia. She writes about it on her blog and about a new hopeful protocol. Summer Adventures (and about fibromyalgia) There are several links on her blog to do with this subject and soon there will be an update about the protocol.

Judy is very creative and her book is so beautiful to look at, to handle and to read and to use. It is large and chock-full of information, some of which is new to me. Some of her innovative substitutions for old favorites amaze me. It all sounds absolutely delicious! If you don’t already have her book, I would highly recommend you order one ASAP to add to your low-carb cookbook collection. I made her paper thin crepes (wonderful) and chocolate fudge (sweet perfection) and plan on making a whole bunch of different recipes and trying them out on my company. I have pieces of paper sticking out of the cookbook everywhere. I was thrilled to find a recipe for Chimichurri Sauce served with grilled steak. Where I live it is a popular sauce/condiment, although I didn’t have a recipe until now. I can choose several amazing veggie dishes to pair with this dinner, one amongst dozens of great main meals. I have to be honest. I have never eaten some of these vegetables. She has me curious. For dessert, I could choose so many amazing desserts. It is difficult to decide – hmmm how about Pecan Pie, Flourless, Sugarless Chocolate Torte, Deep Dish Cherry Pie, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Fudge Pie (I’m in heaven, I think, just reading these names and they are but a few of the desserts). Or, how about Apple Strudel, Chocolate Strudel, Berry Custard Cake or Orange Almond Torte? She has a section for things that go “Crunch!”, a candy section (until now, I thought I was the only author who had that in every book. ), soups, salads, a yeast bread, tortillas, crackers, low-carb flour replacement, hot cereal, popovers, cream puffs, yorkshire pudding, substitutes for fries and mashed potatoes (besides and including cauliflower), pan gravy, all the main meals one could want, condiments, jams, candied fruits such as cherries, cranberries and watermelon rind and, literally, you name it, and it is probably in this comprehensive and well thought out book. Judy, who is an accomplished artist as well, said somewhere on her blog, I think, that her cookbook is the most creative thing she has ever done. It truly is wonderfully creative! Congratulations, Judy! All the best with your new book! I, for one, cannot wait to add it to my low-carb cookbook collection.

JENNIFER'S OATMEAL SPICE COOKIES (GF)



Jennifer's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
These are exceptional! They are moderate in carbs, but more of a maintenance-level cookie. A regular oatmeal raisin cookie from MacDonald's comes in at 21 grams of carbs, so these are fully one third of the carbs. I made these for my girlfriends who are not low-carbers. They loved them! McDonald's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Nutritional Analysis

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup Splenda Granular
1/4 cup powdered erythritol, OR Splenda Granular
up to 1/4 cup milk or cream (last time I only needed 1 tbsp.....? lol, not sure what's up with that - probably using the erythritol made the difference) - so this is optional
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups Quick-1 minute oats
3/4 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup ground walnuts
2 tbsp oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup raisins

In food processor, cream butter; add Splenda, erythritol and eggs. Add Quick-1 minute oats, ground almonds, ground walnuts, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt; process. Add a little milk or cream, as necessary. Stir in raisins. Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes in 350°F oven. Remove with flat spatula and cool on cake rack.

Nutritional Analysis: 3 dozen cookies, 1 serving: 90.1 calories; 6.1 g fat; 2.3 g protein; 6.8 g carbs

Helpful Hints: Use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free oats to make these gluten-free.

CHUNKY CHOCOLATE PECAN SQUARES



CHUNKY CHOCOLATE PECAN SQUARES
A decadent treat that makes a good addition to a party plate of squares. I used sliced almonds here (not really recommended - I am suggesting chopped pecans or walnuts). Either use chopped pecans, or walnuts  or an extra 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Graham Cracker-like Crust:
2/3 cup Low-Carb Bake Mix, OR Gluten-free Bake Mix
2/3 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp powdered erythritol (30 mL)
1/3 cup butter, melted
Filling:
3 eggs
1/2 cup any Sugar Free Pancake Syrup
Sweetener of choice to equal 1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar free chocolate chips
(sweetened)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Graham Cracker-like Crust: In medium bowl, combine Gluten-Free Bake Mix, ground almonds, powdered erythritol and melted butter. Press into an 8-inch (20 cm) square glass dish, using a piece of plastic wrap if necessary. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 10 minutes.

Filling: In medium bowl, beat eggs with fork. Stir in Ketogenics® Sugar Free Pancake Syrup, sweetener, butter and vanilla extract. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour over prepared crust.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 25 minutes, or until filling has set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and refrigerate.

Helpful Hints: These squares can be frozen. 1 cup (250 mL) Chocolate chips = 6 oz (180 g).

Nutritional Analysis (with pecans): 25 squares, 1 square per serving:
119.0 calories, 2.3 g protein, 10.0 g fat, 1.6 g carbs


LEMON DELIGHT CHEESECAKE (GF)


Lemon Delight Cheesecake
Bursting with strong, citrus flavor!

Coconut Almond Crust:
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup SPLENDA® Granular
1/4 cup medium-flaked coconut,(unsweetened)
2 tbsp certified gluten free oat flour
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg yolk
Alternate Crust (Gluten-free)
1 cup Gluten-Free Low-Carb Bake Mix, 
  OR Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix
1/4 cup Splenda Granular
1/3 cup butter, melted
Filling:
16 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups SPLENDA® Granular
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 tbsp oat, OR whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp grated lemon rind (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lime juice
Topping:
Crème Fraiche, page 172, (halve all ingredients) Splendid Low-Carbing, OR use whipped cream (sweetened),OR combine yogurt, sour cream, Splenda and a little thickening agent (either from my book or 1/8 to 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum).

Coconut Almond Crust: In medium bowl, combine almonds, SPLENDA® Granular, coconut and oat or spelt flour. Stir in butter and egg yolk. Press into 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, lined with wax paper. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 10 minutes.

Filling: In food processor with sharp blade, blender or in bowl with electric mixer, process cream cheese until smooth. Add SPLENDA® Granular, sour cream, eggs, oat, whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour, lemon rind, lemon juice and lime juice. Process until smooth. Pour over prepared crust. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 35 to 40 minutes.

Topping: Prepare Crème Fraiche (halve all ingredients), and spread over cheesecake. Garnish center of cheesecake with thin lemon slice, twisted decoratively, if desired.

Nutritional Analysis: 12 servings, 1 serving:
266.5 calories, 7.8 g protein, 22.6 g fat, 8.8 g carbs

Friday, January 2, 2009

Okay, who was a good Little Low-Carber this Holiday Season?

For those of you who were good and remained on the low-carbing WOE this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years - I'm very impressed. 10 out 10 for you!

Okay, who of us succumbed to the chocolates and roast potatoes and assorted naughties, this season to be jolly? Hesitantly and sheepishly, Jennifer raises her hand. Seriously, I don't know what got into me, but once I started on those Hershey's chocolates, I knew I was in trouble. See, I only wanted one beautiful box of chocolates for Christmas to share with the family. It is sort of tradition. However, this year the box of Lindt chocolates was so expensive and my husband balked much to my dismay! Instead, what happened was he found this bag of Hershey's kisses (I don't even like these very much) and also a bag of little mini bars of Hershey's chocolates at a much better deal. He bought them both (My husband loves a deal and will usually double up and buy two of everything), but it was still way before Christmas. What happened? - we stole one chocolate here and there and pretty soon we were hooked on sugar again. Sugar is such a drug - not to mention chocolate! Come Christmas we were having company and lo and behold our chocolate stash now looked pathetically depleted. So Ian went out and bought another bag of little Hershey chocolate bars (they are really mini she says defensively). So this Christmas time went by in a blissful, guilty, sugary blur! I won't deny that I enjoyed it for a time, but then I was just eating it for the sake of eating and not even tasting it anymore. What a waste!

The painful result? Ugh, well, do I have to share? I think I had better come clean. I won't go near my scale! I'm being an ostrich with her head firmly in the sand. I don't want to know the damage - at least not yet! More Canadian company is arriving on the 7th of January for almost 3 weeks and I can pretend a while longer that I still look the same. I can see the damage on Ian though. He looks decidedly more round in the belly and face. Oh dear - all I wanted was one tray of chocolates and that would have meant with our company, about 2 chocolates per person. Done! Instead our Christmas company (bless their hearts!) brought us two more boxes of Purdy's Chocolates from Canada. We promptly opened the larger one and shared....Does it get any worse than this?

Yep, it does. The other morning I had such a weird turn. I have never been aware of low blood sugar episodes much other than very occasional sort of shakiness inside if I don't eat for a long time. I had a hypoglycemic reaction a few hours after an oatmeal and raisin breakfast (this would normally not happen with such a breakfast but the carb overload was cumulative in its effects on me and I had been up since 4:00 am). I had somewhere between the following symptoms (from this site: WebMD)

Mild hypoglycemia

Symptoms of mild low blood sugar usually develop when blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dL and may include:

* Nausea.
* Extreme hunger.
* Feeling nervous or jittery.
* Cold, clammy, wet skin and/or excessive sweating not caused by exercise.
* A rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
* Numbness or tingling of the fingertips or lips.
* Trembling.

Moderate hypoglycemia

If blood sugar continues to fall, the nervous system will be affected. Symptoms usually develop when the blood sugar falls below 55 mg/dL and may include:

* Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety, restlessness, or anger.
* Confusion, difficulty in thinking, or inability to concentrate.
* Blurred vision, dizziness, or headache.
* Weakness, lack of energy.
* Poor coordination.
* Difficulty walking or talking, such as staggering or slurred speech.
* Fatigue, lethargy, or drowsiness.

This woke me up very quickly and I'm back on the wagon and feeling much better. The moral of this story: "Once a sugar addict, always a sugar addict!" It is best not to have these tempting foods in the house. My husband loves white buns (you know, French breads and the like) and when he brings those into the house for our sons, he is sorely tempted. Why bring them in, I ask him? It's not great for our sons either. Fortunately, that stuff never tempts me. Desserts and chocolate - well, that's another story! The irony is that I had plenty of truffles and low-carb chocolates around as well. Weird, how sugar won out time and again!

Okay, so now if anyone had me on a low-carb pedestal even for a brief moment, I've come tumbling down in a humiliating fall. It can happen to anyone - even someone like me who has lived and breathed low-carbing for many years. I won't be kidding myself again in a hurry. The end result was so unhealthy....Many people shiver at the thought of using Splenda, but frankly had I consumed all those desserts I made through the years and used sugar instead....well, I shiver to think....