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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to increase Insulin Sensitivity and help treat diabetes

From Wikipedia: What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in South America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport.

(My note: this fruit makes a lovely jam, not unlike apricot jam. The oil found inside the seed pod between the nut and the shell is very corrosive and toxic to skin. The juice of the fruit itself can stain clothes permanently.)

School of Montreal experts suggests cashew extract may help treat diabetes.A new study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research shows cashew seed extract may play an important role in preventing and treating diabetic issues.The cashew is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The plant is indigenous to northeastern Brazil.

Cashew nut snack, roasted and saltedImage via Wikipedia

Scientists at the School of Montreal and the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon studied how cashew products affected the responses of rat liver cells to insulin. In Canada, more than three million Canadians have diabetes and this number is supposed to reach 3.7 million by 2020, according to the Canadian Diabetes Association. (My injection: this is so hard to believe because when I arrived in Canada in my early twenties, there were not that many people with diabetes. Growing up in South Africa, I only knew of one lady who had diabetes, and certainly I knew of no children with the condition.)

In U.S.A, according to the American Diabetes Association, from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, there are total 23.6 million children and adults in the United States - 7.8% of the population - have diabetes. 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older each year.

Scientists viewed cashew tree leaves, bark, seeds and apples. They found that precisely the cashew seed extract increased the absorption of blood sugar by the cells. Extracts of other plant parts had no such effect, indicating that cashew seed extract likely contains active compounds, which may have potential anti-diabetic properties.

In certain people who have diabetes, a disorder called insulin resistance prevents the body from processing the hormone, which regulates energy and the processing of sugars in the body. Insufficient insulin can lead to heart or kidney diseases as time passes.

The cashew nut is a popular snack, and its rich flavor means it's often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared.Cashews are a staple in vegan diets. They are utilized as a base in sauces and gravies, and can take on sweet properties for frostings and cookies.They are high in protein and a raw, natural way to obtain energy.The fats and oils in cashew nuts are 54% monounsaturated fat, 18% polyunsaturated fat, and 16per-cent saturated fats (9% palmitic acid and 7% stearic acid).Since there is no cholesterol in cashew nuts they are a healthy fat food for heart patients too. And because of their high levels of monounsaturated essential fatty acids, in addition they help support healthy levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.

Here below a 4 servings recipe "The Cashew Curry" made in 45 mins having a wok or frying pan, a wooden spoon and these ingredients:

* ½ pound whole cashews
* 2 T organic extra-virgin olive oil
* 5 shallots, thinly sliced
* 5 curry leaves
* 2-in bit of lemongrass or zest of just one lemon
* 1 T coriander
* ½ t turmeric
* ½ t salt
* 2 chiles, thinly sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 slices ginger
* 15 oz unsweetened coconut milk
* 2 T cilantro, chopped
Sauté the shallots in the oil, stirring occasionally, until golden, about ten minutes.Add the curry, lemon, turmeric, chiles, garlic, ginger, and salt, and cook until fragrant, 5-10 mins.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, another 5-10 mins. Remove curry leaves and serve, with diabetic rice or brown rice (my injection: or cauli-rice).

About the writer - Linda Miller writes for">diabetic person cook books , her personal hobby web site targeted on cooking techniques to help individuals eat healthy to protect against or deal with type 2 diabetes.

Medical references:
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


These brownies are so decadent-tasting – very close to the real thing! I have so many brownie recipes, but can one ever have too many?
3/4 cup melted butter (175 mL)
1 cup SPLENDA® Granular (250 mL)
1/2 cup granulated erythritol (125 mL)
11/2 tsp vanilla extract (7 mL)
3 eggs
3/4 cup Low-Carb Bake Mix, (175 mL)
1/2 cup cocoa (125 mL)
1/2 tsp baking powder (2 mL)
1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)

In food processor, process butter, SPLENDA® Granular, erythritol and vanilla. Add eggs; process. In medium bowl, combine Low-Carb Bake Mix, page___, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture; process. Spread in greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in brownies comes out clean. Cool, frost, cut and refrigerate in an airtight plastic container to keep fresh longer and prevent recrystallization of the erythritol.

Yield: 25 servings
1 serving with frosting
111.9 calories
3.0 g protein
9.8 g fat
3.2 g carbs

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Binge Eating - a real heartbreaking eating disorder

Binge eating is more common than we think. Some people deal with it by becoming bulimic, but others suffer the extra weight gain. Deep emotional scars from childhood are often implicated, but for these people food is a drug that comforts and increases serotonin levels in the brain which makes them feel better. Stress and boredom probably also play a role.

Brain viewed from the right side showing the 4...Image via Wikipedia

Brain chemistry involved in binge eating and an eating disorder advisor site.

Binge Eating is often in response to deep depression. Eating brings some happiness and some very temporary relief, however, it is not a long-term solution and the weight gain will cause one to be even more depressed, thus continuing the cycle.

Signs and symptoms of Binge Eating

Here is a link to the story of a lady on LCF's who has experienced this problem and overcome it and now lives triumphantly: TaDa's Story She shared her story to help other people. What a brave, kind lady!

Here is an overview of a book dealing with overcoming binge eating.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Africa's Snow White is here - Enjoy reading!

Jonathan has written two novels based on a true story. I hope you will enjoy reading. Please recommend his books to others who might find they can relate to the story.

I will be adding chapter by chapter to my blog. Click on the link titled "Africa's Snow White at the top right hand side of my blog.

Jon's website: Jonathan Eloff
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Saturday, July 24, 2010


A tasty, simple supper.  Sometimes we just want something that is down-home, simple cooking, right?...comfort food.   This makes a lot, so will feed a family.

2 cups spreadable cream cheese (500 mL)
4 eggs
3 lbs lean ground beef (1.36 kg)
1/2 cup chopped onion (125 mL)
7 tsp Worcestershire sauce (35 mL)
1 1/4 tsp salt (6 mL)
1/2 tsp black pepper (2 mL)
4 tbsp low-carb ketchup (50 mL)
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (250 mL)
paprika sprinkle (optional)

In food processor, process cream cheese and eggs until smooth.

In skillet, cook ground beef and onion until beef turns brown; drain. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, No salt and pepper; continue cooking a few minutes. Spread evenly in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spread low-carb ketchup over top. Pour cream cheese mixture over top. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.

Helpful Hints: Mushroom pieces in the hamburger would be good too.

Yield: 8 servings
1 serving
616.6 calories
44.4 g protein
45.7 g fat
4.9 g carbs

For other great Low-Carb, Gluten-Free recipes by the team & me:

Support your team, buy Low-Carbing Among Friends cookbooks at: (Paypal/Amazon) - SALE priced! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today for the First Time the Penny Really Dropped!

This is really weird and I should have understood this so clearly much earlier in my life and perhaps I did on some level (I know I did), but today this truth really made a bigger impact on my little brain. It was like I was hearing it for the first time.

It is a secret about calories and how they work long term in the bigger picture of weight loss.

You know how many of us try to stick to a certain caloric level each day and how complicated it makes life sometimes? It is not necessarily how many calories I eat today or how many I eat tomorrow, however, it is important how many calories I consume over a longer period of time. It was Mike O'Donnell who created this epiphany in me this morning. LOL Here are his words:

"Here’s a little secret about calories too, it doesn’t really urgently matter what you eat per meal or even per day. It’s the long-term calorie load effect over days/weeks that determines how we much we really burn and store as fat in the long run.

So what does that mean? It means trying to have exact calorie meals proportioned out 6x a day and the same calorie intake daily is a very complicated/confusing way (but it makes for a great industry in selling stuff as people stay confused).

How about we just focus on the bigger picture and know that high calorie days can be offset with low calorie days. How about instead we see that by selecting some days to be lower in calories we can have more flexibility on the other days and how we eat. How about we just focus on the bigger picture and know that high calorie days can be offset with low calorie days. Do you want to spend every day focused on measuring food and portions, or do you just want to be free to eat? (My injection: I'd like to be free to simply eat when I am hungry. It is basically what I do anyway.)

How about we just focus on the bigger picture and know that high calorie days can be offset with low calorie days. How about instead we see that by selecting some days to be lower in calories we can have more flexibility on the other days and how we eat. The body was designed to work optimally on changes/challenges, not routine!"

Remember the IF Life is just a Tool in Weight Loss

IFing can be done 3 x a week or for weeks on end to lose weight, however, I'm not sure it is necessary to use it as a WOL every single day - caloric restriction every single day for the rest of one's life - probably not! It is really a tool for weight loss and in the end for weight maintenance. During weight maintenance, fewer days of IFing will be necessary to maintain weight. I don't believe it needs to be an everyday thing forever and a day, but it is a very useful tool to aid in weight loss. Remember Christina? She is an amazing success story. She lost weight low-carbing Atkins-style and for the last 10 lbs, she incorporated IFing, and lost those last few stubborn pounds.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


This is an easy, perhaps cheaper way to make nut butters. Not only that, it is guaranteed that your nut butter contains only good ingredients!
8 oz sliced almonds, toasted, OR use raw almonds (250 g)
OR roasted peanuts (with or without salt)
2 tbsp light-tasting olive oil(25 mL)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste (1 mL)

To toast almonds: In dry nonstick pan, stir fry almonds over medium heat until browning. Watch carefully as they can burn very quickly.

In food processor (mine is only medium-powered) with sharp blade, process almonds or peanuts until ground as finely as possible. While continuing to process, gradually add olive oil through the feeder until completely incorporated. Add salt and process again. Refrigerate in a sealed container or use in your favorite recipes.

Helpful Hints: The amount of olive oil to use will vary but use enough to get a good consistency. Start with 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil.

Yield: 1 cup (250 mL)
1 tbsp almond/peanut butter
96.9/97.3 calories
3.0/3.7 g protein
8.9/8.7 g fat
1.1/1.7 g carbs

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Intermittent Fasting is not Starving - Some FAQ's

The IF Life FAQ's

Please don't think of IFing as starving. It's not meant to be done that way. There will be a caloric deficit, but not a huge one, as one only loses 1 to 2 lbs a week maximum.

The IF Life - Is it for you?

The IF Life Report by Mike O'Donnell who found out the secret to easy weight loss which if adhered to is a no brainer. You don't have to count anything and you can be more liberal with food choices. It is important that the eating window is long enough that one can have at least two meals and perhaps a snack otherwise calories would go much too low and that could backfire on one in the long term.

Eating less happens naturally when one has a long period of time without eating. Not only that, no insulin is produced (no fat is stored) during the non-eating hours and that is when the body has to dip into the fat stores to provide energy. Insulin is the fat storing hormone.

The typical rate of weight loss is l lb per week. That does not seem like much, but it quickly adds up over time. How much better is that than standing still or gaining or having to constantly think about food and weight loss. This way of life is very liberating and low-carbing fits well into it as well. In fact, low-carbing will make sure cravings don't hit during the non-eating hours.

Is this easy? Yes, it is once you get into the groove, however, it may be difficult to find the right schedule in the beginning, especially if you have a family to cook for and to feed. Chances are you need to create a schedule around that. It is complicated for me, because my family likes dinner late in the afternoon and I am a breakfast person these days. It's really difficult for me to skip breakfast and it even affects my mood, so I'm still trying to figure this out. I did it for a while and sure enough I lost 1 lb a week - great! Then something happens and messes up the schedule - usually having to cook outside my eating window and then I cave, or visiting friends' houses for dinner. Sooo, I have to learn to skip breakfast in order to do this. A cup of tea or two does help to tide one over. Apparently, one can change the window to suit one's day - i.e. IFing is flexible. Still if one's window is already closed then that is a problem.

Even although skipping breakfast goes against every nutritionist's advice out there, I would still lose weight when I did IF with a window from about 11 am to 5 pm (6 hour window -18 hours of fasting). I sometimes used to throw in an almost 24 hour period of not eating and that made doubly sure that I lost the 1 lb. I have a thyroid autoimmune problem, so most people won't have my difficulty in losing weight.

Just as a matter of interest, I was not always a breakfast person. When I was in my twenties and a working girl, I always gave breakfast a skip due to time constraints and wanting more mirror time (I was more than a little insecure about my looks at that time, plus I battled a bit of acne - which incidentally never ever came back after going low-carb). I was thin - really quite slender (narrow hips and slender legs with a small waist), but still had breasts (always had those). I ate a small sesame seed and honey snack candy thingie that I bought regularly at lunch time and walked around the downtown of the city of Cape Town. Supper time I ate a big meal and by that time I was usually starving. I drank sugar coke (sugar not high fructose corn syrup was used in coke in South Africa) and often had things like spaghetti or lasagna and bread and butter and jam. So, really not a healthy diet by low-carb standards, but I was skinny and healthy and young. However, it is kind of strange to look back and realize that I was actually doing the IF life without ever knowing it and it allowed me to keep my best figure ever! Interesting!

Listen to people who have successfully incorporated the IF Life. It's very motivating: People talking about IF

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cravings for Carbs - Real or Imagined?

Very real as most low-carbers who are honest about their struggles will reveal. If there are some carbs you have consumed recently, cravings for more can come and bite one in the you know where at any time of the day - even after a substantial low-carb meal! Sometimes that craving is so great that one succumbs. Now that is not the end of the world - enjoy whatever it is if you must - and get back to a strict LC meal soonest possible. Having tasted the naughty no-no sometimes gives us back our resolve to get back on track, because of the undesirable side effects and sometimes simply because the craving is satisfied and that is the end of that. For me, it's not salty things like chips I crave when I've had carbs creep into my diet - it is sweet things. That is why it is actually not such a bad idea for me to have something baked in the freezer or a frozen candy treat or whatever for just such an occasion.

Cravings are sometimes super-strong and it is an iron will that is required to say, "No!" Giving in means losing the edge on weight loss for a day or two or more, but never ever give up or have a defeatist attitude, where now you have failed and in your mind, therefore, can have free license to eat carbs every meal every day until all the weight you have lost is back again. This kind of attitude is very, very common, but so self-destructive. Love yourself much more than that! Find some carby-tasting replacements to satisfy those cravings and then stick with your WOE. Your body will thank you and later your mind will too when you feel and look fantastic!

How long before the cravings subside? Basically it takes about 3 days on a strict low-carb diet for the carbs to be out of your system and for the cravings to subside.

Here are people confessing their Carb Sins.

Chromium and L-glutamine can help with bad cravings for carbohydrates.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A tasty way to increase Omega-3's in your diet

Did you know flax seed meal is high in Omega-3's? Apparently many of us get too much Omega-6 in the diet, but flax seed can help balance that. It has been called nature's tomoxifen. Flax seed meal should not be taken in excess (i.e. no more than 1/4 cup per day and less for some sensitive individuals (start slow)) and should always be followed by plenty of water and I mean plenty of water for safety reasons. It can be a bit of a laxative but it can also bulk up and for that reason, drink your water. Omega-3's have the ability to reduce inflammation in the body. I've just recently started adding flax seed meal into my diet. A guide to cooking and baking with flax seed.
Flax seed meal comes in two varieties: golden flax meal (mild tasting) and the regular kind (a bit grassy tasting). I prefer the golden flax meal but it is less readily available in stores.
How I use flax:
1. I love to put some plain, thick yogurt in a cereal bowl and sweeten with a couple of Splenda packets. Sprinkle with golden flax seed meal and walnuts. Walnuts are also high in Omega-3's!
2. Microwave Dry Cereal.
3. I use it in the one minute muffin or one minute bread, the next minute toast. Let me see if I can dig up my latest one minute muffin experiment.
Here it is - it is golden yellow in color:
1 egg, fork beaten
2 tbsp Carbalose flour
1 tbsp golden flax meal
1 tbsp DaVinci Sugar Free Banana Syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp shredded Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese
In cereal bowl, place all ingredients in order (except cheese) and whisk until fairly smooth. Fold in the cheese. Nuke about 1 minute 15 seconds. Microwave times will vary as not all microwave ovens are the same. Loosen edges, invert bowl. Slice in half and butter; toast instead, if desired.
Nutritional Analysis: 1 muffin:
224.7 Calories; 14.9 g protein; 16.3 g fat; 3.6 g carbs

4. Fast Cheesebread.
Here is Kristin's recipe for a chocolate 1 minute muffin.  Thought I'd share it in the main post.  Thanks, Kristin!

Chocolate minute muffin
1 T. coconut oil, melted and swirled in mug or bowl
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (or 2 T. ground flaxseed and 2 T. almond meal)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 T. cocoa powder
1 T. granulated lecithin
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp sweetener of choice (I use a packet of stevia or xylitol)
1 egg
1/2 T choc chips, optional (choc and mint chips are yummy, too)
After melting the coconut oil, add dry ingredients and egg, mix in mug. Add choc chips and mix. Microwave on high 1 minute.
I usually mix about 2 cups worth of this recipe (quadruple it minus the coconut oil and egg) and use 1/4 cup at a time.
This lowered my cholesterol (ldl and overall between 30 and 40 points in 3 months....)

Low-carbers - are they all on a "one size fits all" diet?

Not at all! Even the late Dr. Atkins said that we could come up with a "Dr. Atkins and I" diet, which means simply tailoring the diet to suit your own lifestyle, needs and your own body. I wouldn't suggest doing this right off the bat, but down the road after trying a low-carb diet plan as written, one can tweak one's diet to suit one best. Everybody, I maintain, is a little bit different. There is no "one size fits all" diet out there. That is another reason not to get involved too much in the diet of anyone else. "Do my own thing and only give advice when asked" is my motto. I do not try to evangelize people to low-carbing, even although I speak about it on my blog a lot - this is really a place where I preach to the converted - and, if any would-be newbies are interested, they are welcome to listen and accept or reject the message they'll find here.

There are so many different low-carb diet plans: Protein Power, Go Diet, CALP, Atkins and you name it. At the same time there are different levels of carbohydrate that suit different people. For me, personally, counting anything would be a pain. I've tried it, believe me, and I totally respect those who can and do count carbs. I just don't want to be bothered with getting too scientific about it. I want to eat when hungry and not measure or count anything. Perhaps if I had lots of weight to lose that would be very different and I'd have to learn to be more disciplined. Here is a thread on lowcarbfriends to give one some idea of how people develop their own low-carb strategies that work for them personally - the "Dr. Atkins and I" diet for many of them: Low-Carbing My Way I found their comments very interesting and thought I'd share this thread with my readers, in case you've missed it.

My best email buddy used to low-carb alongside me. We have been "diet" buddies for so long now that I forget when we connected. I met her on lowcarbfriends many years ago. What makes it fun is that we are more of less of the same stature and height and our weights are usually more or less close. Lately, Jan has discovered that she does better on a low fat, calorie-restricted diet. Her blood work profile looks better too. Incidentally, she has almost always beaten me in any diet race we've undertaken. She is very competitive and I'm afraid I am less so, plus, of course I have had the handy excuse that I have a thyroid autoimmune problem and am constantly developing recipes. True, however, Jan is also slightly hypothyroid, but doesn't have the autoimmune kind of hypothyroidism. Still, what I'm saying is some people will actually not be suited to low-carbing. I think everyone is suited to cutting out white flour and sugar wherever possible, however, high fat is not for everyone. Also, Jan would mix low-carbing and high-carbing (on weekends) and I don't think that is good for anyone on a regular basis.

Being a Low-Carber is not easy!

I've been so sick with the flu'. Apparently, we have the Swine flu' here in South America (government has kept it quiet), 55,000 people were hospitalized and several people died. Just when I thought after 2 weeks that things could not get any worse, my coughing fits resulted in a pulled muscle in my lower back. How can that happen? Don't ask me! Anyway, miserable, miserable flu. My husband and son were even worse than me. They had to use asthma medication, steroids and antibiotics. As a result, blogging has not been my priority of late.

Anyway, to get back on topic, being a low-carber in a high-carb world is never easy. Temptation is everywhere, but it is especially difficult to resist temptation at other people's houses - at a party, for instance. Sometimes one is fortunate and it is something like a barbecue. Take a salad and a low-carb sugar free dessert and you know you won't go hungry or look funny.

I was invited to a birthday party last night and there was nothing to eat - high carb tortillas and pizza followed by cake and trifle. Even the beer was the high carb variety. There was diet coke and that's about it! So, lovely party - great-tasting food (I won't tell a lie) - as I decided to indulge in a moderate fashion (i.e. my portions were small) after my first few sips of beer. Some of you may be shocked and have thought of me as a purist, but heck, I'm as human as the next person.

Still, I am a low-carber until I die and that mindset never leaves me. It is the way that I choose to eat because I'm convinced we don't need the white flour and sugar in our diets. Besides that my Hashimoto's thyroiditis puts me at risk for diabetes; low-carbing makes sense for me. My CRP levels are always somewhat high in the medium risk category thanks, I think, to having the autoimmune disease. My husband's CRP levels are substantially lower, even although he indulges in high carb foods much more often than I do and has more weight on him. I don't need to increase that inflammation in my body with high-carb junk foods on a regular basis.

So, as soon as possible I get back on track and stick with my moderate low-carb diet. I usually stay under 60 grams a day, sometimes much less, sometimes a little more than 60 grams. However, that is low-carb compared to the 300 grams or more of carbohydrate that the average American or Canadian person consumes. The average individual in the States consumes about 170 lbs of sugar a year (children get fully half their calories from sugar). My family consumes a negligible amount in comparison.

However, I'm sitting here feeling sore, coughing and feeling a bit sorry for myself. Being a low-carber in a high-carb world is not easy. Those of us who stick with it as a WOE are the ones who have chosen this lifestyle not simply for weight loss, but also for health reasons. Good for us!!