REPOST: Low Carb Crockpot Beef and Daikon Radish

Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable
Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable

04/16/15 Update – I just made this again except simpler: just the meat, fire-roasted tomatoes, daikon, an onion and Worcestershire sauce. It came out great and I thought I’d unearth it from the 2013 archives for those of you who haven’t seen this one. 

This kitchen experiment was prompted by a recipe my wife made with short ribs and daikon radish. You often find this mild radish in Japanese cuisine, julienned into fine threads and served raw with sushi. I had never considered cooking radishes, but I thought I I was eating potatoes when I tried my wife’s dish.

This gave me the idea of a beef ‘stew’ of some sort so it was time to perform an experiment and potentially waste $20 worth of food. Of course, being a hot an muggy day, I was inspired to make it a crockpot recipe (I wonder about me.)

Using just the daikon and the stew meat as the main ingredients and a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes in a supporting role, I threw in whatever else I found lying about the fridge, low carb, and reaching it’s golden years in terms of edible lifespan.

  • 2 pound stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 shakes tabasco sauce
  • 1 large can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 10 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 daikon radishes, each as long as a forearm, diced into chunks about the size of a thumb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

I used the fire-roasted tomatoes in particular to save a step: browning the meat beforehand. I think this step is to introduce the flavor notes from the browning and does not change anything else about the result. I spared myself the extra time spent but getting those flavor notes from the tomatoes.

I placed the beef at the bottom, then added can of tomatoes then the cut veggies.

You will note that I did NOT use beef stock nor add water. The hope was that the liquid from the tomatoes and the juices from the meat and veggies would be enough. Crock pots are tricky in that they need enough liquid to transfer the heat to the solid pieces of food – and crock pots are s-l-o-w so you don’t know for 8 hours if you’ve created a delight or a disaster when experimenting.

I crossed my fingers and set the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

After 6 hours I had a small bowl.

The stuff was great. 6 hours proved to be enough.

The combination of vegetables made for a flavorful broth, the meat was tender, the fire-roasted tomatoes added nice flavor notes and the Worcestershire sauce and tabasco added some complexity that didn’t overwhelm the dish or make it too spicy. The chunks of daikon reminiscent of potato in texture and played their part nicely. Imagine a vegetable soup with meat and potatoes.

I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started this, but these are all fine ingredients that tasted great together.

The feedback I got was it might have used a little more salt, and in retrospect I would dice the daikon a little smaller next time – I found myself breaking the daikon into smaller pieces.

Given the temperature, eating hot soup was somewhat bone-headed as it put me in a sweat, but regardless, I think I have another interesting crockpot recipe to add to my repertoire for the colder months when this would fit the bill after coming in from the cold on a winter day.

I have one of those large oval crockpots. I’m guesstimating that we have 8 servings here. If that’s the case, here’s the nutrition info:

Calories: 333
Net Carbs: 8 grams
Total fat: 20 grams
Protein: 26.5

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Fat, Dumb, & Happy: Day 8 – Solanine

Monday, March 17, 2014 – 225.8

6am

Nice jump in the scale. I attribute it to a lot of bulk and water from yesterday’s meal, as well as less fat overall. I’m not concerned. I think I’ve shown my actual weight, minus the water I am retaining, is maybe 219. If the scale does not follow a smooth path downward I won’t be worried – you need to give your body time to adapt to the new regime. The scale is a handy tool when it doesn’t become an emotional rollercoaster that dictates your mood for the day.

What jazzes me is the ketones. Both yesterday and today they are running dark – great. Every day in ketosis means another day of my body adapting to it – and another day where I did not given in to carbs. You can’t fake this test, and while imprecise, it does tell you you’re in the zone.

While I might have been better off to switch to roast beef and butter, I want to finish off that great soup I made yesterday. It’s not bad to add some variety of quality vegetables into the mix also – even if the number on the scale doesn’t show what you’d like it to show.

This isn’t entirely about the scale. If it was, I could go on the ‘Walter White Blue Meth’ diet and be slim and trim in no time – but *how you get thin* is important.

8pm – 223.0

Today was the worst I’ve felt so far. Extremely tired, sore knees, achy legs, couldn’t wake up no matter how much coffee I drank, head not clear. It was a struggle to get through the day. And I was way more hungry than last week. I had more of the soup for lunch and *again* it did not satisfy but left me hungry. For the first time since I started this I was fantasizing about going out and getting a sandwich.

Instead I hit the bag of macadamia nuts hard. I even found my last Atkins bar left over from a business trip in November hidden in my bag and ate that.

Let’s pull back a moment and try to analyze the situation.

First, I’m going to assume for analysis that psychology is irrelevant. I’m not saying it isn’t – I’m assuming it isn’t and see where it takes me.

The crock pot of beef and veggies was very tasty – but more so than any meal I’ve had so far, I was hungry after it – 3 bowls worth in fact.

What’s with that?

A few things come to mind.

– it was the least fatty meal I’ve e had in a week. While low carb for the vast majority of humanity, it probably had, per bowl, maybe 10 grams net carbs. It was also the most fiber I had in a week. Sounds great – right? Low carb, high fiber – where’s the problem? The hunger afterward was the problem.

So what was it about the soup? I had 2 ingredients in large quantity: artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Of lesser quantity were the sweet peppers and 1/2 onion at most for the entire pot.

Was it the high fiber, the overall higher carb count or one of the ingredients that got me?

I’m going to give the stuff I ate and drank afterward a free pass at present. I’m also going to remove the onion because of the small quantity.

I’m going to focus on the artichokes, peppers and tomatoes.

I did a little research as I lay in bed, ready to hit the sack right after I came home. Before that, still ravenously hungry and talking myself out of stopping at one of the half-dozen fast-food joints on my way home by reminding myself I’d ruin the ketosis, I made 4 eggs with a lot of butter and cheese and ate that for dinner. This was after eating lunch, the Atkins bar and a half bag of macadamias so it wasn’t like I needed to eat more.

This meal – nothing but fat and protein – satisfied.

The research came up with this: solanine. It’s a toxic compound found in some plants that supposedly exist to prevent insects and animals from eating them. They are found in nightshade plants as well as a few other plant types.

Here’s some examples of plants containing solanine: tomatoes, peppers and artichokes.

What are some of the symptoms?

From one website:

An enzyme present in the body called Cholinesterase originates in the brain where its responsible for flexibility of muscle movement. Solanine, present in nightshades, is a powerful inhibitor of cholinesterase. In other words, its presence can interfere with muscle function – the cause of stiffness experienced after consuming nightshades. All people are not sensitive to nightshades in the same degree. Research has proved that when an inflammatory condition exists, consuming nightshades is like adding “fuel to the fire”. That said, there is no scientific evidence that for those not afflicted with inflammation that nightshades will cause it.

http://haydeninstitute.com/additional-resources/additional-resources-diet-and-nutrition/inflammatory-foods-nightshades

I also found some evidence, though much less, that solanine might cause hunger in sensitive individuals, but so little it seems tenuous at best. I’ll be the first to say that it’s a bit of a reach to say there’s a cause and effect here without lots of testing – but it’s a worthy hypothesis to pursue. What if I avoid plants with solanine and notice this doesn’t happen again? Outside of a slightly more restrictive approach – what do I have to lose?

From the same link above, here’s a list of the offending foods:

Nightshades – Avoid in order to decrease inflammation:

  • Potatoes, all varieties (sweet potatoes and yams are NOT nightshades. Beware of potato starch used in many seasonings and as a thickening agent)

  • Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeno, chili, cayenne, pimento)

  • Tomatoes, all varieties (including Tomatillos)

  • Paprika

  • Eggplant

  Foods that contain solanine although not directly in the nightshade family:

  • Blueberries & Huckleberries

  • Okra

  • Artichokes

  Other Substances to Avoid:

  • Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna (known as deadly nightshade)

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications)

  • Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil’s trumpets.

  • Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills

  • Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper)

What’s relevant to me from that list is three of the items from my crockpot meal, as well as eggplant, blueberries and paprika. I’ve had okra and liked it, but I don’t eat it. I don’t take homeopathic remedies, nor do I eat flowers. I *have* used capsicum, but maybe once every few years, so I can avoid that.

So I’ll proceed from here under the assumption that I am sensitive to these compounds and see what happens – at least for a while. This sucks, of course, because I like these foods – and they are low carb.

But if I *do* find a stronger cause and effect link by experimenting along these lines, avoiding these foods might be worth it

Fat, Dumb, & Happy Day 7

Sunday, March 16, 2014  – 221.4

9:15am

Earlier in the year I had intended to begin exercising and tried running. I liked it – even though when I was doing it the temperature was near zero. I was running for about 10 minutes tops each day, which isn’t much, but since I haven’t run since I was in primary school it was a big improvement. I liked running outside as opposed to the treadmill, which I think is somewhat soul-deadening compared to running outside in the real world.

But then my knees began to hurt. A lot.

I’ve seen the T-Shirts that say ‘pain is the weakness leaving your body’ – very macho – but I also know a number of my contemporaries who have had hip and knee replacements. No matter how cool titanium joints sound, I would prefer NOT to have one, thank-you-very-much.

My plan ‘B’ for this is to try again after losing 30 pounds so there’s less weight pounding on my knees I’ll try again.

In the meantime, I’ve been given the opportunity to get my exercise in another way – one that is low-impact and much more gentle for fat folks trying to get a little exercise: swimming.

It was nothing I pursued – it sort of found me.

A local drama that made the papers, good intentions, and mismanagement led to the construction of a beautiful building intended to be a Jewish Community College. It was funded by a huge donation by a generous benefactor, but cost overruns and overoptimism led to the whole project collapsing and the generous benefactor left with a huge, unfinished, empty building.

The generous benefactor, now a reluctant landlord with a white elephant on his hands needed to do *something* with this facility, and leased it to a local family who decided to open a ‘family-friendly’ athletic club.

I like that. It’s not a muscle-head gym, but a place where families can come with their kids and feel welcome and comfortable.

My wife came home one day and announced she signed the family up for a membership. The place hadn’t even opened.

I figure it’s water under the bridge *now* – I might as well see if I can get some return on the investment.

I got to test it out for the first time this morning. It is an olympic-size salt-water pool – I never knew salt-water pools existed. I did 20 laps.

I must be honest and state that I can’t swim – I only know how to propel myself through the water and avoid drowning. It’s not flailing, but a rather graceless yet workable facsimile of ‘swimming’.

I have no fear of the deep water because my ample adipose tissue causes me to bob like a cork.

With my poor form, swimming side by side with people who actually know how to swim, I shamelessly made a fool of myself if there was anyone there watching and judging me – but being of an age and disposition where I don’t much care what people think of me most of the time, I was unselfconscious and quite enjoyed the experience.

It was also a bit of a timing test. Much of my life, with kids and school and schedules and work and meetings sometimes requires down-to-the minute timing to make sure I can get done what needs to be done. From the time I left the house, got there, got undressed, got in the pool, did the 20 laps, got out, dried, dressed, left and got home and threw the bathing suit and towel in the dryer was 55 minutes total – I might be able to make that work.

I can get there at 5am on weekdays when they open, be back a little before 6am, have 20 minutes to chill with some coffee, then wake the kids and go through the morning routine of having my younger daughter to before-school daycare by 7:30, then head off to work and be there between 8:30 and 9am.

Could not only be workable, but enjoyable – oh – and good for me as well.

It bears repeating because it’s so important: I’m not exercising because it will help me lose weight! That doesn’t work except for the most dedicated gym rat with plenty of spare time. Exercising to lose weight is a myth perpetuated by people who sell gym equipment, athletic club memberships and sports accessories.

You can sit on your fat ass, diet, and end up with a much less fat ass without a lick of exercise. I did.

The reason to exercise is because it’s good for you – if you can manage not to hurt yourself doing it. There is ALSO a booming industry in repairing the injuries of exercisers who hurt themselves. A friend who was about as physically fit as one could imagine and looks way younger than his age (mid 50s) just got a hip replacement. Why? All that damn exercise – that’s why!

Exercise because you like it, because it is good for your health, and because it can make you feel better psychologically. Don’t EVER think it will help you lose weight – the chances of this are thin (pun intended).

4:00pm.

The feeling of being on the clock never ends. The moment I came home from the athletic club, my daughter needed to go to her lacrosse practice. I have no idea what lacrosse *is* – something involving a ball and long sticks with tiny fishing nets at the end – but my daughter seems to be interested so – whatever.

Coming home I had to help my younger daughter practice piano. Before that, however, I decided to make something with the crockpot. In another experiment I threw in a can of tomatoes, a pound of grass-fed gound beef, 2 bags of frozen artichoke hearts, some lelftover sliced onions, some aging mini sweet peppers and the remainder of the taco mix that was masquerading as smoked paprika (and threw away the container). lastly – 20 shakes of Tabasco sauce. I left that to cook, did the piano practice with my daughter, then needed to take her to ballet, then take her to her piano lesson, then come home and do dishes and clean the house.

Along the way I found two abandoned hard-boiled eggs. I had these with a few splashes of low carb ketchup. I’m not much for hard-boiled eggs but I’m a big fan of ketchup. they went well together. I should remember to do this more. Eggs are a perfect food – relatively cheap for even the highest-quality eggs, easy to cook, and packed with top-notch nutrients, protein and fat –  and hard-boiled eggs are convenient.

I also had a tiny brie, packed in a small plastic container.

I’ve been in ketosis continuously since day 2 and I still feel the ‘water in the gas line’ feeling where waves of energy appear, then falter, then appear again. Occasionally a slight headache appears, then disappears as well. Again, nothing unexpected – and certainly beats how I felt when eating a lot of carbs – perhaps I was more miserable than I realized.

9 pm

I ate a lot in the evening, though all of it low carb – if not as low carb as I would have liked.

I avoided the pasta, the cake and the pie that was about had my crockpot dish of ground beef, tomatoes, & artichokes. In fact, I had three bowls. The fact that I didn’t put in too much seasoning brought out the natural flavors of the meat and vegetables.

But I was still hungry.

I ended up having a half-bottle of wine while eating pork rinds with cream cheese. I had a lot of cream cheese – perhaps half the package. Again, right now the focus is on sticking to the right foods and not necessarily portion control.

The wine as concerning. It doesn’t make me fat in itself and is low carb, but it stalls me at least until it gets out of my system. The worse part is it’s potential to get me into carb-gobbling mischief. I thought this was it – the screw up I’d been waiting for. But it didn’t happen.

Before bed I finished up 2 cups of the drinkable yogurt and went straight off to sleep.

Low Carb Crockpot Beef and Daikon Radish

Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable
Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable

This kitchen experiment was prompted by a recipe my wife made with short ribs and daikon radish. You often find this mild radish in Japanese cuisine, julienned into fine threads and served raw with sushi. I had never considered cooking radishes, but I thought I I was eating potatoes when I tried my wife’s dish.

This gave me the idea of a beef ‘stew’ of some sort so it was time to perform an experiment and potentially waste $20 worth of food. Of course, being a hot an muggy day, I was inspired to make it a crockpot recipe (I wonder about me.)

Using just the daikon and the stew meat as the main ingredients and a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes in a supporting role, I threw in whatever else I found lying about the fridge, low carb, and reaching it’s golden years in terms of edible lifespan.

  • 2 pound stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 shakes tabasco sauce
  • 1 large can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 10 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 daikon radishes, each as long as a forearm, diced into chunks about the size of a thumb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

I used the fire-roasted tomatoes in particular to save a step: browning the meat beforehand. I think this step is to introduce the flavor notes from the browning and does not change anything else about the result. I spared myself the extra time spent but getting those flavor notes from the tomatoes.

I placed the beef at the bottom, then added can of tomatoes then the cut veggies.

You will note that I did NOT use beef stock nor add water. The hope was that the liquid from the tomatoes and the juices from the meat and veggies would be enough. Crock pots are tricky in that they need enough liquid to transfer the heat to the solid pieces of food – and crock pots are s-l-o-w so you don’t know for 8 hours if you’ve created a delight or a disaster when experimenting.

I crossed my fingers and set the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

After 6 hours I had a small bowl.

The stuff was great. 6 hours proved to be enough.

The combination of vegetables made for a flavorful broth, the meat was tender, the fire-roasted tomatoes added nice flavor notes and the Worcestershire sauce and tabasco added some complexity that didn’t overwhelm the dish or make it too spicy. The chunks of daikon reminiscent of potato in texture and played their part nicely. Imagine a vegetable soup with meat and potatoes.

I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started this, but these are all fine ingredients that tasted great together.

The feedback I got was it might have used a little more salt, and in retrospect I would dice the daikon a little smaller next time – I found myself breaking the daikon into smaller pieces.

Given the temperature, eating hot soup was somewhat bone-headed as it put me in a sweat, but regardless, I think I have another interesting crockpot recipe to add to my repertoire for the colder months when this would fit the bill after coming in from the cold on a winter day.

I have one of those large oval crockpots. I’m guesstimating that we have 8 servings here. If that’s the case, here’s the nutrition info:

Calories: 333
Net Carbs: 8 grams
Total fat: 20 grams
Protein: 26.5

New Years Resolution to Lose Weight in 2013? Your LowCarbConfidential.com Quick Start Guide

new-year-300x209

This is the time of the year where the traffic to my site skyrockets as folks decide that they want to make a change for the better in the new year and have decided to try a low carb diet to lose some weight.

Unfortunately, I have over 500 posts here, and it’s a bit harrowing to try to navigate all this – even for me. Really – at 500+ posts, I might want to begin to pare down some of the less useful posts (ie: crap) so that people don’t get lost in all this.

Before I do that, however, I thought I could provide a guide to some of my more popular posts – as well as some of my own favorites that I think would be most helpful in hitting the ground running on a low carb diet. Continue reading “New Years Resolution to Lose Weight in 2013? Your LowCarbConfidential.com Quick Start Guide”

Low Carb Crock Pot Brisket (With Pictures)

The kid and I had planned to cook a recipe for brisket from one of the cookbooks put out by America’s Test Kitchen, a concern that does what I do, but only on a large-scale – buys lots of food and ruins a lot of it – in order to come up with the perfect recipe. We’ve tried a couple of their recipes in the past, and, by golly, they did come out good.

The problem was that the particular recipe did seem rather involved and we just didn’t find the time to pull it off last weekend. This past weekend, I decided to do something with this beautiful and expensive piece of meat, but I wasn’t going to follow their detailed recipe…I decided I’ll just give it a whirl.

My large oval crock pot seemed like an ideal cooking tool for this piece of meat. Brisket is a tough cut of meat that can be made tender through a long cooking process, then cutting the meat across the grain to eliminate any long strings. The potential for failure is large, though – if it isn’t cooked right, the meat will shred, giving you long stringy shreds that ruin it.

So, combining a few recipes I found, I came up with this recipe as well as this method. Note that while this recipe takes time, it does not take a lot of labor, so with a little planning and patience, you’ll end up with a pretty flavorful  pot full of brisket.

Continue reading “Low Carb Crock Pot Brisket (With Pictures)”

Kitchen Experiment FAIL: Low Carb Crock Pot Chicken Curry

I was WAY out of familiar territory here, and now have a pot full of food sitting in the fridge I know no one will go near. I can’t even begin to pretend that this one has any redeeming qualities. Experiments sometimes lead to failure – and this one was a big failure.

This was inspired by a green chicken curry meal with coconut milk I had on vacation which was very good. I ordered it because it was something I would never order – I just wanted to try something different, and it was a wonderful mix of spicy and cool with citrus notes.

I wanted to try to come up with something using curry spices reminiscent of that vacation meal.

Silly me. Continue reading “Kitchen Experiment FAIL: Low Carb Crock Pot Chicken Curry”