Tea Eggs

I have been making these for years – I don’t know why I haven’t posted this one yet. When my family and I go to the beach, we always make these because they are so portable. They beat regular hard-boiled eggs because they need no extra flavoring – the flavoring is already in them.

Here’s the ingredients:

  • Eggs – we usually cook 10-12 at a time – they don’t go bad in our house
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 English tea bags
  • 2-3 anise stars (you can leave these out, but it’s worth trying with them.)

Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the eggs to a depth double the height of the eggs as they lay in the bottom of the pot, then put in all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Yes, just throw the tea bags in as-is, along with the rest of the stuff.

Now this is critical: once they have come to a boil and have been boiling for about 3 minutes, take each egg out on a long spoon and whack it all around with another spoon – you want to crack up the shell as much as possible without removing the shell to allow the ‘soup’ it’s floating in to infuse into the egg.

Allow the boil to continue – the last batch I made I let boil for about 20 minutes, then let it sit in the broth overnight. You can also reduce the heat and let simmer for as long as you like – we’ve found the longer it simmers, the more flavor is absorbed.

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Insulin Resistance

“You know you’re going to become a diabetic, don’t you?” Said my doctor as we went over my blood work.

I suppose I know this – I just thought that I could keep it at bay a bit longer.

I just had my blood work done, and although my numbers are pretty good, my glucose was 106 mg/dL. This is the indicator that I’m on the path my father, mother, sister, and brother have trod before me – the path to full-blown type 2 diabetes.

I told him my family history, and for him, there was a certitude in his pronouncement – it was just a matter of time – you can run, but you can’t hide.

Now, here I am in the home stretch to year 5 of a low carb lifestyle (with numerous little transgressions into high-carb territory) and part of me thinks: low carb failed me – I was hoping it would prevent this.

Another part says: your glucose 2 years ago was 98 – perhaps you have slowed the progression of a disease that struck your parents and siblings with a vengeance. And – don’t forget – you’ve kept off 60-65 lbs. My doctor expressed surprise at this, saying that the long-term weight-loss chances are about the same for low-carb and low calorie dieting, which, with a moment’s reflection, doesn’t make a bit of sense: if the weight-loss chances were less for low carb, there should be surprise on his part.

He’s a nice fellow, but I suspect he’s not at all convinced that this low carb stuff is valid.

Anyhow, his main recommendation was to exercise more, which for me, is easy: since my current time exercising is zero, anything resembling exercise is a plus.

Partly because of his recommendation, when I got home, I took my daughter and our bikes and cycled along the Raritan Canal, which was fun (though I didn’t like the exercise part).

So now I begin my research into insulin resistance. As this condition is a big part of low carb science, I am not unfamiliar with it, but when it doesn’t impact you directly, it’s somewhat academic – like frog biology.

So here I am reading about it with a deeper, more renewed interest. So first, it’s off to Wikipedia – the freewheeling, anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia that proves the old about an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters would produce all the works of Shakespeare – or at least an online encyclopedia.

Wikipedia says, and I quote:

Insulin resistance is the condition in which normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a normal insulin response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Insulin resistance in fat cells reduces the effects of insulin and results in elevated hydrolysis of stored triglycerides in the absence of measures which either increase insulin sensitivity or which provide additional insulin. Increased mobilization of stored lipids in these cells elevates free fatty acids in the blood plasma. Insulin resistance in muscle cells reduces glucose uptake (and so local storage of glucose as glycogen), whereas insulin resistance in liver cells reduces storage of glycogen, making it unavailable for release into the blood when blood insulin levels fall (normally only when blood glucose levels are low). Both cause elevated blood glucose levels. High plasma levels of insulin and glucose due to insulin resistance often lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, including its complications.

Which, frankly, becomes this as I read it:

Insulin resistance is the condition in which normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a normal insulin response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Insulin resistance in fat cells reduces the effects of insulin and results in blah blah of stored triglycerides in the absence of blah which either increase blah blah or which provide blah blah. Increased mobilization of stored lipids in these cells elevates blah blah acids in the blah blah. Blah blah in blah blah reduces blah blah (blah blah blah blah blah blah), whereas blah blah in blah blah reduces blah blah, making it unavailable for blah blah when blah blah levels fall (normally only when blah blah). Both cause blah blah. High blah blah of blah blah due to blah blah often lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, including its complications.

So the result, once I’ve trudged my way through the blah blah, is:

Insulin resistance is the condition in which normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a normal insulin response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Higher levels of insulin are needed to control glucose levels in the blood, which often leads to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, including its complications.

Ok – next up are the symptoms – again from Wikipedia:

  1. Fatigue.
  2. Brain fogginess and inability to focus. Sometimes the fatigue is physical, but often it is mental.
  3. Low blood sugar. Mild, brief periods of low blood sugar are normal during the day, especially if meals are not eaten on a regular schedule; they are normally raised by mobilization of glucose into the blood from stored glycogen made from blood glucose previously taken by liver cells. But prolonged hypoglycemia, with some of the symptoms listed here, especially physical and mental fatigue, is not normal. Feeling agitated, jittery, moody, nauseous, or having a headache is common in insulin resistance, commonly with rapid relief once food is eaten.
  4. Intestinal bloating. Most intestinal gas is produced from carbohydrates in the diet. Insulin resistance sufferers who eat carbohydrates sometimes suffer from gas.
  5. Sleepiness. Many people with insulin resistance get sleepy immediately after eating a meal containing more than 20% or 30% carbohydrates.
  6. Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight. For most people, too much weight is too much fat. The fat in IR is generally stored in and around abdominal organs in both males and females. It is currently suspected that hormonal effects from such fat are a precipitating cause of insulin resistance.
  7. Increased blood triglyceride levels.
  8. Increased blood pressure. Many people with hypertension are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance. One of insulin’s effects is on arterial walls throughout the body.
  9. Depression. Because of the deranged metabolism resulting from insulin resistance, psychological effects are not uncommon. Depression is said to be the prevalent psychological symptom.

Some of these are great symptoms for the hypochondriac – they are so vague, and can be caused by so many other factors, that each of us can cuddle our symptoms in their embrace and claim our fatigue is from Insulin resistance, when it could also be from a dozen other things.

I do notice that I feel a bit sick after eating too many carbs – and I do feel a sense of swelling up. Those do fit the symptom set above, so maybe we’re on the right track.

So next up – what causes this?

The cause of the vast majority of cases of insulin resistance remains unknown. There is clearly an inherited component, as sharply increased rates of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes are found in those with close relatives who have developed Type 2 diabetes. However, there are some grounds for suspecting that insulin resistance is related to a high-carbohydrate diet. An American study has shown that glucosamine (often prescribed for joint problems) may cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has also been linked to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) as either causing it or being caused by it. Further studies are in progress. Other studies have also linked to the increased amounts of fructose (e.g., in HFCS – high fructose corn syrup, currently the least expensive nutritive sweetener available in industrial quantities), its fructose causing changes in blood lipid profiles, among other things. The high amounts of ordinary sucrose (i.e., table sugar) in the typical developed-world diet is also suspected of having some causative effect on the development of insulin resistance (sucrose is 1/2 fructose, which may account for the effect, if any). IR has certainly risen in step with the increase in sugar consumption and the addition of HFCS (since its invention in the last few decades).

At the cellular level, down-regulation of insulin receptors occurs due to high circulating insulin levels, apparently independently of insulin resistance. Inflammation also contributes to insulin resistance. Mice without JNK1-signaling do not develop insulin resistance under dietary conditions that normally produce it.

Some research has shed light on a complex interaction between elevated free fatty acids and inflammatory cytokines seen in obesity activating Protein Kinase C isoform theta. PKC Theta inhibits Insulin Receptor Substrate (IRS) activation and hence prevents glucose up-take in response to insulin.

Finally recent research and experimentation has uncovered a non-obesity related connection to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. It has long been observed that patients who have had some kinds of bariatric surgery have increased insulin sensitivity and even remission of Type 2 diabetes. It was discovered that diabetic / insulin resistant non obese rats whose proximal small intestine and duodenum has been surgically removed also experienced increased insulin sensitivity and remission of Type 2 diabetes. This suggested similar surgery in humans and early reports in prominent medical journals are that the same effect is seen in humans, at least the small number who have participated in the experimental surgical program. The speculation is that some substance is produced in that portion of the small intestine which signals body cells to become insulin resistant. If the producing tissue is removed, the signal ceases and body cells go back to normal insulin sensitive behavior. No such substance has been found as yet, so this remains speculation.

I got the blah blah thing going on again. Translated so people who don’t feel the need to pretend they are smart can understand:

  • They don’t know what causes insulin resistance in most cases
  • It tends to run in families
  • High carb diets might cause it
  • Glucosamine might cause it
  • PCOS is somehow linked to it, but they don’t know how
  • Eating sugar, especially that monster from Japan, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Bariatric surgery sometimes reverses it, and docs don’t know why.

So what to make of all this?

  • First – quit whining. There are people who would love to say their blood sugar is 106. And there’s a lot of people who’d see this number only on medication.
  • It’s been caught early – the whole point of getting bloodwork. It gives you the opportunity to do something about it.
  • It gives further impetus to maintaining my low carb lifestyle, losing a bit more weight and continuing the battle to work some exercise into my life. Each of these can help to get that number on the low side of 100.

I think I had a mental rationalization that said that, as long as I could keep the scale from going up, eating junk wouldn’t harm me. I had focused on weight alone as my indicator of health. I also have my wife, who thinks at 200 lbs., I’m just fine in the weight department.

Now I can’t hide behind these rationalizations. A reduction in weight will help in insulin response. Exercise helps here, too.

Maybe the silver lining here is I have fewer rationalizations to hide behind. I think a big part of attaining optimal health is a mind game – it’s not only what you eat, but what you think.

Oh, and there’s one other motivation I have: I want to prove my doctor wrong.

Hypertension: Low Carb and High Blood Pressure

Twenty years ago, when I was first diagnosed with hypertension as a twenty-something fatso, the numbers were 190/110. It runs in the family – my Dad has it, so it wasn’t all that much of a shock that I would get it, too.

I went to my Dad’s cardiologist at the time and he put me on Vasoretic – the generic enalapril with a diuretic (water pill).

The first few months really sucked. When acclimating yourself to a bodily environment where your heart is not about to blow a gasket for the first time in years, you feel awful – tired, lethargic, dizzy. It took me at least 3 months to get used to a lower blood pressure. The drug got me down to about 140/90 – not great, but a helluva lot better than 190/110.

A succession of docs tried to get it a bit lower, but to no avail. The 90 in the 140/90 was what concerned them. For the resting pressure (systolic), it was still too high. It must be noted that my weight at the time – maybe 225 and steadily climbing – played a part, but docs sometimes ignore weight as a factor – they seem to feel it’s hopeless to even try to change that factor, so they focus on other means.

Then, in 2003, I went on a low carb diet and lost a significant amount of weight – about 60 lbs. When I next had my blood pressure taken, I was 120/80 – perfect blood pressure for the first time in 20 years.

Fast forward to yesterday. I went to the doc on an unrelated issue, and as always, the nurse checks your blood pressure prior to the doctor seeing you. She took it and reported the numbers:

112 over 68

Say again?!?

I’m an almost 6-foot guy in his forties with a family history of hypertension. Those numbers sounded like the blood pressure of a five-foot, 70 lb old lady.

Could a guy my size even walk around with blood pressure so low?

I asked the doc, and he smiled, as if thinking to himself: “Modern medicine wins one.”

“Oh, those are very good numbers. If you don’t regularly feel dizzy, then the pressure isn’t too low for you. We like to see these numbers as low as possible.”

Reassured that this wasn’t too low, I tried to figure out why it would be going so low now. When I lost my 80 lbs, it wasn’t this low – and I’ve actually gained weight since then.

Was it the maintaining a 65 lb weigh loss that has allowed my body to adjust the pressure downward?

Then, I just happened to open a magazine I was reading that claimed that magnesium can help control hypertension. I have been taking a magnesium supplement for over a year now – might that be playing a role?

I also got a note from a correspondent that mentioned low carbohydrate diets cause hypotension. It was made to sound like a bad thing – and it is – unless you have high blood pressure.

I have a full physical coming up in the next week, and I intend to ask my doctor about this – and see if I can get my medication adjusted to a lower dose – I only take one prescription medication – the Vasotec – and when I went on low carb, one dream was to stop all prescription meds completely.

Maybe it is possible.

Chocolate Bark with Coconut Oil – Updated with Nutrition Information

Chocolate is supposed to be good for you – if you can avoid the high sugar found in most chocolate. For years, I’ve gnoshed on the Lindt 85% dark chocolate, and though I never was a big dark chocolate fan, this is really good dark chocolate and I always buy it.

If you just can’t stand the thought of a dark chocolate, your options begin to rapidly go downhill. The problem with chocolate (and baking as well) is that the creation of the stuff is more of a science than, say, a stir-fry. If you get the proportions wrong, you’ve made a puddle of chocolate goo. This is part of the reason that you find sugar alcohols in a lot of low carb chocolate bars – and we all know that sugar alcohols are great as stalling Atkins dieters trying to do induction.

In the Great Low Carb Craze of 2003, when everybody was doing low carb, there were some OK chocolates. Yeah, they used sugar alcohols, or those chemicals that end in ‘ol’ – sorbitol, malitol, etc. These aren’t calorie-free, but they have less of an impact on blood sugar – a major bugaboo on Atkins.

Also – eating too much of the stuff could have a laxative effect – think Alli with a chocolate flavor.

I used to keep some bars in the freezer, break off 2 squares a night, and I was able to stay in ketosis. Did it slow my progress? Maybe, but at what point does a diet become so restrictive that life stops being worth living?

As I’ve mentioned in my about page, it did take some time to lost my 80 lbs, and I’m up 15 now, but I still look back and think a 65 lb. weight loss sustained over 5 years ain’t shabby.

The low carb chocolate you could find at your local grocery store is no more, however – low carb has gone underground, like the French Resistance in WWII. We now have to find foods that are only accidentally low carb – it’s almost as if the label ‘Low Carb’ is the kiss of death to a product.

Truth is – the low carb chocolates weren’t all that good. They were a bit waxy. Better than nothing, but about the quality of no-name Easter chocolate.

I’m sure that some of you will mention that there’s this great ‘chocolate bar X’ that I can order over the internet – but I don’t want to buy food over the internet. I know a number of you don’t have a choice in this because of your location, but I just don’t want to get in the habit. Call it a mental block – I’ve never bought low carb food over the internet.

So now we come to the item mentioned in the title of this posting. I was reading on one of the low carb forums about a chocolate ‘bark’ made of coconut oil, chocolate, and Splenda. I had purchased some coconut oil – without a clue what to do with it – based on a suggestion that some research points to coconut oil helping in weight reduction.

You can read more on all this in the forum post – I won’t attempt to cover it here. What I will cover is my version of the chocolate bark recipe. I used the following:

  • 1 cup coconut oil, heated until it liquifies (it’s solid at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda.

(As the proportions for each are 1/2 of the previous ingredient, it is easy to scale this recipe up and down without much calculating.)

I mixed these well and used the top of a large tupperware casserole as a plate, lined it with tinfoil, and poured in the mixture. I then covered the top with tinfoil (to prevent a God-awful mess from a shallow plate of chocolate goo pouring all over the inside of the freezer) and put in the freezer for a half-hour.

The result was unbelievably good. I had bought a high-quality coconut oil and there was no coconut flavor at all. It tasted like a high-quality milk chocolate, with the same texture.

It is a disaster waiting to happen as it melts quickly – care is advised with children and white slipcovers (from actual experience)

Dangers aside, this was a great find, and I’ll do this one again, most certainly.

While cocoa has carbs in it, cocoa is a great expenditure of your daily carb allotment, in my opinion. Probably safe for induction, if you don’t overdo it, but it’s so darn good you’ll have a hard time resisting ‘just another piece’.

Nutrition Information

I just love this ‘calculating’ part…not really. Anyway, if we assume that you’ll get 16 pieces of chocolate out of this, perhaps using one of those silicone ice cube trays to measure the stuff out in portion-controlled doses (which I was too stupid to do when I originally wrote this 5 years ago), I see you coming up with the following per little chocolate:

Calories: 140
Fat: 14g
Carbs: 3g
Net Carbs: 1g
Protein: 1g

‘The Steak At The Top Has Got To Go’: The Survey Results

A while ago I posted a survey – a little about you. The results of this survey are interesting, but you need to be careful not to come to conclusions from these results. People who participated are self-selected – what would the people who don’t fill in surveys say? We’ll never know. Someone once said about statistics that they’re like a bikini: what they reveal is tantalizing, but what they conceal is vital.

With my caution toward conclusions outlined, here are some of the results as well as my thoughts:

1. A lot of what I’m doing is preaching to the choir. A lot of you already know about low carb and have lost weight doing it – and what you come for is the personal reflections on living low carb and the reflections on living low carb in a high carb world. Living low carb is a little lonely sometimes, and blog posts that reflect on this aspect might help let folks know they’re not alone. I’m sure that a few folks that come along are newbies, but I imagine few of them stick – they soon go on to another diet – maybe Nutrisystem – dang, that pre-fab food looks delish on the commercials, doesn’t it?

2. The overwhelming majority of you folks found Low Carb Confidential through another blog. This source is cited 2-to-1 over search engines. This could mean that the folks that participated in the survey are ‘blog rats’ (think ‘mall rats’), and the people who come in from search engines have come in on a tangent and are less involved in the topic. For example, they are looking for a Tanita scale review, come here, get the info and split – never to return – low carb isn’t for them – for whatever reason. It is doubtful these folks would fill in the survey, it seems.

3. Half the responders try to visit every day. Again, leading to the ‘low carb blog rat’ profile of our survey responders.

4. The longer articles are preferred over the shorter ones. This is a nod to Megamas, most certainly, as my posts have tended to be short as of late. Megamas is currently recuperating from a serious case of cranious constapatus caused by straining his blog muscle. He is resting comfortably and it is hoped that he, and his in-depth articles, will return to Low Carb Confidential in the near future.

5. Most responders lose weight on low carb. While a few didn’t, most did – and they lost significant weight. Here’s the responses:

6. Have you lost weight on a low carb diet?
Percent # Responders
No 3.80% 2
No – I’m not on a diet 0.00% 0
Yes, but I gained it back 7.70% 4
Yes, under 10 lbs 7.70% 4
Yes, 10 – 20 lbs. 13.50% 7
Yes, 20 – 30 lbs. 19.20% 10
Yes, 30 – 40 lbs. 11.50% 6
Yes, 40 – 50 lbs. 9.60% 5
Yes, 50 – 60 lbs. 7.70% 4
Yes, 60 – 80 lbs. 3.80% 2
Yes, 80 -100 lbs. 7.70% 4
Yes, over 100 lbs. 7.70% 4
answered question 52

5. The open-ended questions proved interesting. Here they are, unedited or redacted, of the question: what do you like most about the site?

  • makes me feel not so alone as i begin this journey – 8 pounds in seven days so far!
  • Very informative and funny
  • your personality shines through while also offering great advice
  • depth of subjects covered. everything is there somewhere.
    all of it.
  • Your sense of humor
  • very witty writing..educational..funny…. relative.
  • Your writing style 😉 I like science pieces and journal-y pieces – I like all of it.
  • Your honesty. I like to read about your personal progress and set backs. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your recipes also.
  • tone
  • Personalization of dieting and tips.
  • easy flow to the writing
  • It makes me giddily happy that you take a very analytical view in regards to Low Carb. I’m am atheist, and I often feel very ‘alone’ in the Low Carb world, with all the advice to ‘leave it to god’, etc. I feel very comfortable reading your blog in knowing that I’m not all of a sudden going to be subject to a theistic lecture.
  • Ideas for recipes, and success stories
  • You have a good voice. You know how some people are easy to talk with? You’re easy to read with. So to speak. Casual. Informative. Yours is one of the sites I use to help me keep my focus. And I like that I’m never sure what you’ll talk about. I never know what my best friend is going to talk about either.
  • I’ve only read 2 articles so far so don’t know yet.
  • reading your experiences with food issues
  • Well written and consistently updated.
  • Your writing style is intelligent and engaging.
  • it’s somewhat quirky
  • Recipes, candid stories from the authors.
  • the personal advice
  • Well written and updated pretty frequently.
  • I like the humor most.
  • the information
  • I am looking for anything else new on the low carb front
  • honest and candid opinions….and lcc funny sense of humor..
  • I really don’t visit the site. I get the LCC daily message in my email. What I like most is the author sharing his experiences — I have learned so much about the effects of alcohol, etc. – Info I haven’t found anywhere else. On the site, I especially liked the links to other low-carb resources like Viva Low Carb.
  • writing style
  • Factual like the alchohol test
  • The Nutritional information

6. Here’s the answers to the question: what do you like least about the blog?

  • Casualness
  • When there’s too much debate about other types of diets.
  • too much science for me sometimes
  • Not a drinker, so those entries are of little interest to me.
  • Could use a bigger font…these eyes aren’t getting any younger!
  • when it strays from low carb
  • Megamas’ sometimes gets a little self-righteous. Also, the alcohol experiment was a little annoying. I suggest he read Marion Nestle’s book What to Eat. http://www.whattoeatbook.com/ . She does a good job of explaining why it is so difficult to attribute any one food or nutrient to a specific result.
  • the steak at the top has got to go
  • megamas too lengthy
  • you dont post each day

7. Answers to the question: what do you think of this survey?

  • i wonder if anyone ever sees the results :o)
  • okay
  • very good
  • good. glad someone cares to ask questions.
  • good idea
  • Will my answers really impact your posting?
  • good idea
  • It so totally rocks.
  • Its a good idea
  • Eh.
  • it’s cool
  • It’s interesting that you want reader feedback – a lot of blogs do not!
  • Great idea
  • Fine with me. I hope it helps you.
  • Kind of neat.
  • I understand the impulse to know more about who is visiting.
  • Nice starting point.
  • should help improve the site
  • I appreciate the chance to give some feedback.
  • it’s O.K.
  • Questions need some other options… for example, I don’t really prefer either the long or the short articles, exactly…it depends what they’re about! And really I read because it’s nice to hear other low-carb experiences, not so much because I’m looking for help exactly.
  • I love surveys in general
  • it’s a survey
  • Good idea to know where your readers are…
  • Easy to do. No problem except it asked about the site and I only went on the site once. You need a provision for people who receive the daily blog only.
  • short
  • Nice One

7. Answers to the question: What questions would YOU have asked on this survey that I didn’t?

  • I’d ask what type of diet a person specifically follows.
  • hey, got any good recipes?”
  • what type of LC diet do you follow? But just bc I’m nosey that way.
  • Age/Sex/Location/height/weight for statistical purposes to see what type of audience/market share is reading.
  • what subjects would you like to read about?
    My correct response to #4 is that I’ve been on a Low Carb diet for awhile and like to read about the adventures of others that eat similarly. I’m not really looking for advice.
  • I cannot imagine making (and keeping) the commitment to maintain a blog. I suspect, though, that you just have to write about who you are and what’s going on in your (low carb) life. Don’t worry too much about what everybody else thinks. And thank you, by the way.
  • I don’t have any other questions I can think of, but for question 4, your answers really didn’t fit my category. I’ve been low-carbing since 1997 and I read blogs for entertainment value, not advice. They also keep me motivated to stay low carb and sometimes provide me with new thoughts or recipes.
  • Basic demographics…age range, gender.
  • anything about how people handle weight loss stalls.
  • How do you read the blog? via RSS aggregator or directly from the site.
  • how can we help you better!!!!
  • “what are you wearing”… just kidding. I don’t know, it depends on exactly *why* I was conducting the survey.
  • What topics or information would you like to see covered on this blog?
  • No 6 should also have had Low Carbing for health reasons which, as a diabetic is my major reason.

Interesting stuff. Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey.

Kitchen Experiment #18 – Demented Mock Potato Salad

The conscripted members of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel (my wife and two daughters) cast a wary eye at some of the things I prepare. Long experience has told them that to accept my innocent-sounding invitation to ‘take a taste’ puts them in a bind, as what was offered might indeed be yummy – or not so yummy, often in strange, unfamiliar ways that leave them even more wary the next time.

As I have a good track record – I do come up with a number of concoctions that they do like (my daughter loves my 1-minute brownie recipe, for example), they can’t dismiss me out of hand, because they know they might be missing out.

And yet, I know that they fear that one day, after they take a taste, they will be told that what they’ve eaten resembles one of the food challenges in ‘Fear Factor’: “Oh – that’s some trout pudding, dear – do you like it?”

I haven’t been all that creative in the kitchen of late, which I think they (not-so-secretly) appreciate, but my dry spell in the kitchen was broken by my wife’s decision to make her infamous potato salad.

My wife’s potato salad is not your ordinary potato salad: she adds diced kielbasa, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and diced apple to the potatoes, then uses Italian dressing rather than mayo – I don’t know how it sounds to you, but it’s a crowd-pleaser.

So how was I going to resist this? Ugh! A massive bowl of this stuff with a hungry low carber in the house? It was a recipe for disaster (no pun intended).

I had once made a variant of the above with cauliflower as a replacement for the potatoes, and it came out good, but I didn’t want to go through all the trouble – and end up with two massive bowls of food that would go to waste – or my waistline. No, I wanted something fast and easy, that would be a low carb substitute, and fill the craving and keep me away from that damn potato salad.

So I asked my wife to put aside some of the egg and kielbasa and I stopped at the store the next day to get some frozen cauliflower.

I got the cauliflower and came home to make my batch, but drat! There was no more kielbasa – it had got eaten. In my estimation, the flavor from the sausage was critical – it wouldn’t be the same without it.

I then began to scan the fridge for some analogue.

In the deli drawer, I found liverwurst – I didn’t buy the stuff all that often, but had a hankering for it that week.

Kilbasa is from Poland, Liverwurst is from Germany – same geographical location, more or less. Both nitrated deli meats. Hmmm. Could it act as a substitute? Maybe – but something told me that this is not how you eat liverwurst.

I tried it anyway:

  • 1/2 pack of frozen cauliflower, microwaved for 5 minutes (mushier is better for simulating potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup diced hard-boiled egg
  • 2 slices diced liverwurst
  • mayo to taste
  • a small bit of vinegar to taste
  • small amount of salt
  • pepper

The verdict?

It came out pretty darn good. It was also a breeze to make – dash together a few ingredients, mix well, stash in the fridge overnight to let the flavors meld, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful dish that I found was particularly good at keeping me full for a long while. Safe for induction – I’m in ketosis after eating it, so it had little impact in that department.

Try it if you dare. I will certainly make this again.

The Low Carb Confidential Library

I am absolutely beside myself sometimes because I will find somewhere in the vast sea of endless dreck and clutter that is the internet, a gem of an article – and then I lose it – and I can’t find it ever again.

I recently stumbled upon a site set up by a low carber that was a wonderful resource of articles of information on low carb – there were some great links here. I left it open in my browser window and went back later – only to find that my machine had some sort of error and closed the browser window on me. I tried finding it by looking at my browser history, my cached files, going back to the source where I found it – but I can’t find the darn thing.

Part of my problem might be that I use multiple computers, with multiple browsers on each. I know what you’re thinking: if this dope just used one browser on one machine, at least all his links would be in one place.

You’re right, but it’s not going to happen.

Instead, I’m going to post them here. It seems that things I post to this blog I can actually find, so I’m going to start the Low Carb Confidential Library containing the articles, videos, and whatever else I find that I feel is at least tangentially relevant to the topic of this blog.

For the time being at least, it will appear as another page on the tabs at the top of the blog.

Please note that the fact that I link to it doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it: if it’s here, it’s because I found it a good read, and worth my referencing again at some point in the future.

I’ll start the library with a short but interesting article by Jared Diamond: “The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race“, which makes the case that the development of agriculture was actually bad for mankind and while it has allowed the population to soar to levels that the hunter-gatherer cultures could never achieve, mankind has paid a terrible price for this decision. The fact that if we had not embraced agriculture thousands of years ago would have probably meant that none of us would be alive is not lost on me, but it’s a good read nonetheless.