Making the most of dietary taboos

Due to my brand new pathological sentence -- (sotto voce: of Diabetes II )-- I have been changing my diet.


I guess this is a drastic change, so drastic that when I tour a fast food section at a shopping centre I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of food I am now disallowing myself. Maybe 76-75 percent of what we are asked to put in our mouths in these eateries is based on wheat, rice, corn or potatoes.


If you want a taste of 'civilisation' -- that's it on the end of your fork.


Since I have gone feral -- trying to eschew such fare -- I'm slashing my carbohydrate intake while allowing myself a couple of daily indulgences, being such essential fruits of civilisation that make me even more civilised and without which life would be unbearable.


Thus my diet has changed and rather than let my gastronomy suffer too much from my denials I am trying to update my cuisine choices with as much culinary flare as I can muster.


My quest has nonetheless been exciting for all that. Necessity afterall, is the mother of consumption.


So I'm learning a few tricks about eating low carbohydrate on the food chain:

  • Greek Yogurt: I luv yogurt and as Count Otto von Bismarck said about bayonets, you can do anything with yogurt except sit on it. The plethora of fruit flavoured yogurts available in any supermarket obscures the utility of this fermented milk. You can drink it, blend it, make sauces from it (like Tzatziki) , build a curry from it, mix it with either sweet or savory foods and indulge yourself in a massive array of national cuisines from the Mediterranean basin to India. And when you start making your own yogurt as I have -- you get to experience yogurt, like Little Miss Muppet did , as a choice of curds and whey.
  • Sourdough Bread: And talking about whey...what better home for the sour semi clear liquid extracted from the curdling of fermented milk, than in your Sourdough starter. Your happy kitchen yeasts at work. Sourdough bread tends to have a lower Glycemic Index than other breads -- because of the amount of digestion underway and the
    Sourdough's acidity -- so it ain't quite a simple wheat loaf. It's biology at work making whoopee. The carbohydrate is there still but with sourdough on your side you can get your GI down below 60 and your carbs to maybe under 12 grams per serve. ( Compared to a standard loaf of GI >70 and Carbohydrate >15
    gams).
  • Spanish Food: Many cuisines I am familiar with come from true peasant stock and build their sustenance around a good serving of high density carbs.In Asia it is rice. In Northern Europe, potatoes. In the Middle East, various wheat forms. In Italy, pasta... But the Spanish, aside from rice dishes like paella, don't seem to be obsessed with merging grains with meal dishes. Wheat, in the form of bread (and excellent hard wheat bread at that), is something you ate with a meal, it wasn't in the meal. This tendency has promoted a cooking style where mixes of meat and vegetables are standalone, low carbohydrate courses where many creative flavourings have merged. You also get a selective Arab/Middle Eastern influence -- the Moro style -- which is not held hostage to a pork taboo. And Spanish pork is fantastic fare. So if you are thinking low carb options -- think Spain -- because Spanish tucker offers options, especially in regard to celebrating vegetables.
  • Sausage: I've always been a dedicated mince meat man. It goes with almost anything. You can stuff with it, roll it, pat it down, slosh it with sauces, stir fry it, bake or fricassée. And it is (or once was ) cheap! I tended to stay away from tackling the ubiquitous 'meat ball' because it's often a challenge to get the 'ball' to stay together without binding. But when you take your meat; grind it up; mix it with spices and what have you -- then extrude it into a casing-- all these issues are passe. The humble sausage ticks a lot of boxes. Unfortunately sausages sold at supermarkets and most butchers may be over 25% fill with the fill being grain based. But when you make em at home -- what gets encased in the casing, is a world for you to win. The very wide world of the
    sausage
    is at your fingertips.
  • Camembert : Not the only soft cheese but check its properties. For diabetics, cheese is in and for those that may balk at some of the fat content of hard cheeses a little bit of Camembert -- and Australia has world class Camembert (and some great Parmesan style cheeses) -- is low carb indulgence.

Thus my shift is in motion. The belly is moving. I still have a few issues with cream -- I take that in my morning coffee instead of milk -- but I take milk in my tea. Can't give that up.


No one's perfect.

Hmmm, Spanish food. Great suggestion. I hadn’t thought of that cuisine as offering low carb new tastes.

Love Camembert & Greek yogurt. I’ve started draining ricotta the same way as making Greek yogurt to make it richer, smoother & lower carb. I love ricotta.

With an ice cream maker, it’s easy to make low carb ice cream using just heavy cream, sweetener & flavoring. Homemade tastes great & fun to come up with unusual flavors. I intentionally bought a small ice cream maker so I don’t go overboard eating too much at once.

Chips are a downfall for me, so I make my own that are super low carb.

Tom- I just went out and bought the “Flat Out” bread/wrap you were talking about, and just a hint, it makes an amazing pizza- not your typical pizza though. What I did was throw the wrap under the broiler until it got crispy, then spread a thin layer of cream cheese that had dry Ranch dip mix, mixed in, topped it with a salad and grilled chicken. YUMMY.

I reckon if you are going to crab up on any occasion you need to make the ‘indulgence’ worth it sop a Gerri suggests you navigate your best route around your passion(or is it addiction?). but you gotta be inventive: gorgonzola? Now there’s’ something I should try.

I’ve been interested in food wraps and layers: eggplant as part of a Mousaka. Cabbages as in cabbage rolls and wraps. I’m trying to see what i can do with Nori but away from sushi it doesn’t work so well.

I’ve cooked Middle eastern for of for over 30 years and it is carb dense stuff, but the first thing I noticed when seriously considering Spanish was the separation – especially when I was in Barcelona last year.Latin America, although is in contrast held hostage to corn and beans.Another interesting cuisine is Vietnamese – if you take out the rice noodles.

I use nori for wraps. Not soft like flour wraps, of course, but works well for some things. Great for food that needs to be taken along. I use cream cheese, cucumbers, scallions & smoked turkey or leftover fish. I eat it like a burrito. I also use nori with peanut butter. Sounds awful, but tastes good.

An alternative for wraps is using crepes made from almond flour. I used them for enchiladas & for layered dishes. I came across a recipe (haven’t tried it yet) using shredded zucchini (water squuezed out), grated cheese & an egg mixed together, form thin circles & bake on parchment paper. Depending on how long it’s cooked, it can be kind of soft or very crispy.

Dave, have you tried Miracle Noodles www.miraclenoodles.com? Zero calories, zero carbs, all indigestible fiber. They’re like Asian cellophane noodles. I’ve used them in stir fries, with tahini/peanut sauce & in Asian soups.

Miracle noodles? I was noodle aficionado and especially dedicated to Vietnamese Pho noodle soups. you may have thrown me a life preserver…I’ll start looking.

I’ve tried several brands of shirataki noodles & think www.miraclenoodles.com brand tastes the best. Hope you like them. I’ve only used the angel hair.