Quick and Easy Cucumber in Greek Yogurt Sauce

Having 2 somewhat aged yet still serviceable cucumbers I swore to my wife that I would eat, I riffed off a recipe I read *somewhere* this past year and made the following cucumber salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 peeled cucumbers, cut lengthwise into quarters, then (more or less) cubed
  • 1 or 2 containers of the 7oz. Fage Greek yogurt (I actually used maybe 10 oz. because I was using up an already-opened half-container – one *or* two would work fine, depending on how creamy you’d like it to be)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, chopped thin
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
  • 12 turns of the pepper mill
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (I have the kind that comes in a jar – fresh garlic might require less)

Except for the cucumbers and scallion, I mixed the ingredients above together for about 2 minutes, then poured over the cucumbers which I had put in a 2-quart container. I mixed gently, then chilled.

This came out pretty good, though next time I might add a bit more dill – you can easily over-dill a dish in my opinion so I wanted to show some restraint here. I would probably not use the balsamic vinegar again. Instead I would use an apple cider vinegar or other lighter-colored vinegar as the dark balsamic, if I had used any more, would have turned the mixture a somewhat unpleasant brownish color which would have detracted from it’s ‘curb appeal’.

I’d say that this serves 4, and each serving would be:

Calories: 160
Fat: 10g
Sat fat: 3g
Carbs: 10g
Net Carbs: 9g (really 6g*)
Protein: 8g

*Note that Greek yogurt contains ‘sham carbs’ – the carbs listed on the label are higher than what the yogurt really contains because the carb counts is of the *milk that makes the yogurt* – once the yogurt is fermented, some of those sugars get turned into lactic acid which doesn’t count as a ‘carb’.

Shopping Low Carb: Whole Foods, Supermarket, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon Subscribe and Save

Shopping low carb – at least the way that I do it, can be a pain in the ass. The reasons for this are:

  • The conventional supermarket has the most variety and the best prices generally, but the specific items I’m looking for are either unavailable or at a higher price
  • The specialty markets (ie: Whole Foods) have more of the items I am looking for and the prices are comparable or better than they would be at the conventional supermarket – the problems is that the rest of their stuff is immorally overpriced
  • The ‘value specialty markets’ (ie: Trader Joe’s) provide an eclectic selection that ranges from treasures to junk
  • Some things are only available mail order – or only economical mail order

What this means is that I have become used to buying food at 5 different stores.

A pain in the ass – see what I mean?

Let’s take a tour.

Continue reading “Shopping Low Carb: Whole Foods, Supermarket, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon Subscribe and Save”

Atkins Induction – Notes on Day 1

I am thinking that if this amuses me, I might try to do a quick daily  – or maybe sorta daily – chronicle of starting my low carb diet up again. We’ll see how this goes. When I begin a low carb diet I take a very personal and somewhat strange approach – but I’m almost too close to it to notice. I’m going to try to tease these tidbits out, though I give you no assurances that what I do is safe – or sane. It’s not advice – just reporting. Make of it what you will – I don’t mind.

If I do this, I will have to hit the ‘publish’ button without too much rereading, so if these appear rambling or redundant it might be because they are stream-of-consciousness. My apologies beforehand – there are many things I don’t publish because I over think them.

So anyway…

In work I stuck to roast beef and butter, then a plain greek yogurt. Dinner was 2 pork burgers (ground pork cooked like hamburger), 1 hamburger wrapped with swiss cheese, some low carb ketchup, and a slice of low carb bread, toasted, with olive oil, oregano, and salt.

You’ll notice that except for a slice of low carb bread and the ketchup, which made up maybe 5% of my total calories, all of my foods are pretty perishable. I think eating food that rots easily is an important part of eating healthy.

You’ll also notice there’s not a lot of ingredients. The total number of ingredients in my entire day’s food would be less than on a typical microwave dinner. There’s also cultured foods – both the cheese and yogurt are cultured – or given the change to be eaten by microorganisms before I eat it. Very little of my total ingredients were put into chemical drums and shipped from a chemical factory. The bread and ketchup certainly contain these items, but again, they were only 5% of my calories.

There was also nary a vegetable in sight. I like vegetables – some of my best friends are vegetables – but I personally don’t feel the need to have them every day, all the time.

I also had 2 teaspoons of Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil. This is an experiment on my part. I bought it on a whim and it is too soon to not if I think this stuff is good or if it isn’t, but I will tell you – a little research shows this stuff is, like most things in nutrition, somewhat controversial – but that’s for another post.

I (somehow) maneuvered myself around the paella, the rice, the Chex Mix (‘Mmmmmm – Chex Mix’ Says my inner Homer Simpson.’) The temptations were there, but I managed to avoid them.

As to how I felt, my energy flagged toward the end of the day. Understandable as I worked from 8am to 6pm straight – mostly complicated brainwork. While I had coffee in the AM, I am drinking much less than I used to. I once could go through 3 pots a day – now I am down to perhaps half that. Still a lot – but not for me until recently.

Before bed I took a metformin and an adult multivitamin. I do not have diabetes but I have a strong tendency in my family for it and would like to forestall its onset as long as possible. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) says it’s OK to give ‘pre-diabetics’ metformin for this purpose, and I got my doc to agree.

The adult multivitamin I take because it doesn’t have iron in it. With the meat I eat, I don’t need more iron. I am suspect of ALL supplements – for a number of reasons – and even take this one wondering if it helps or harms. I take it because I most certainly am not a slave to the notion of a ‘balanced’ diet and think that there are probable some micronutrients that I am deficient in – it might help.

I am also sucking on nicotine lozenges. Having used them to quit my brief and intense relationship with cigarettes a few weeks ago, I am now addicted to them. They do not help with weight loss – I have proven that to myself. Apparently many people do believe this as I get many hits to my failed experiments on this. I read on some weightlifter blog that I was ‘clueless and doing it wrong.’

Sounds like me.

My daily totals for Monday were as follows:

Calories: 2,602 – a little high, but I’m OK with it
Fat: 201g (71%) – about the range I shoot for
Net Carbs: 17g  – fine with it
Protein: 169g – a little high

Not a bad first day, and while I don’t obsess about the number on the scale, getting all bent out of shape when it doesn’t go in the direction I like, it did go down to 210.6, which is a 3 pound loss. I’ll take it.

A Mayonnaise Replacement with Greek Yogurt

I am a slave to mayonnaise. I love the stuff. I love it so much that I can eat it by the spoonful. The problem is the types of fats typically used in mayonnaise. I typically avoid seed oils like the plague because they are chock full of omega-6 oils, which are necessary to health, but the amounts in seed oil are way beyond what we need and have the potential to be harmful – this, at least, is what I believe.

As omega-6 fats are found in scads of other foods – avocados, meat, eggs, and scores of other stuff – there’s little concern of not getting enough. It’s the ‘too much’ that could prove worrisome.

Now, for those of us with culinary skills, you can make your own authentic mayonnaise from olive oil – but I’m not talented enough – or persistent enough – or maybe just too darn lazy.

So I have been on a quest to come up with a ‘replacement’ – rather than a substitute. While it might seem like just semantics, calling something a ‘substitute’ sets you up for disappointment as a substitute will always prove lacking. Continue reading “A Mayonnaise Replacement with Greek Yogurt”

I Don’t Want Any, Sweetheart – I Want it ALL! – Scenes from a Low Carb Life #1

[Note: as I revise and edit my book, there are portions that don’t quite fit anywhere. Here you go.] 

It was a beautiful fall day and the wife wanted to take the family to the park. We also had to take a ride afterward so I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from – literally. I’m doing this Induction without the benefit of a lot of portable foods like Atkins shakes and nuts so I needed to eat an ample amount of calories before I left. I grabbed some roast beef and Belgian butter and made 4 roll-ups and had those while everyone got ready. I also downed a Greek yogurt as well. This gave me a total of 770 calories as well as ample protein and plenty of fat to run on. No matter what happens, I should be fine. Continue reading “I Don’t Want Any, Sweetheart – I Want it ALL! – Scenes from a Low Carb Life #1”

A Most Awesome Ham, Cheese, and Onion Baked Frittata UPDATE

This photo does NOT do this recipe justice

UPDATE: Stupid here forgot to mention that the thing had eggs in it – which just happens to be the main ingredient. Duh. I think I messed up on the nutrition info as well.

I was riffing on the ‘quiche’ recipes from the previous weeks and thought to try a variation. I found a ‘frittata’ recipe that vaguely resembles this – with low cal this and fat-free that – so of course I had to change it up and do a remix. Using ingredients around the house as well as a special purchase of nitrate-free deli ham sliced as thick as the deli man said he could slice it, I whipped up the following

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup of grated Kerry Gold Dubliner cheese (that was the entire 7oz. block grated – one package. Keep in mind, any cheese that you can grate would probably work – I am considering trying others.)
  • 2/3 pound deli sliced ham, diced – about 2 cups
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 7oz. container of Greek Yogurt
  • Salt (8 turns of the salt mill)
  • Pepper (12 turns of the pepper mill)
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter

Mix to a uniform glop and use a soup ladle to put into a 12-cup cupcake pan. Cook for 1/2 hour at 350.

I had greased the pan with an olive oil spray and the little ‘frittatas’ (the recipe I got it from called it that – I have no idea what a ‘frittata’ is) came out nicely with a spatula run around the outer edge.

I think this might have been one of the best concoctions I have yet come up with. Everyone in the family enjoyed these, my daughter stating that they tasted like the souffles from Panera Bread.

There was a perfect balance between the ham and the softened but still firm onions, each adding a layer of texture aside from the cheesiness of the rest, and the Greek yogurt added body and volume. The taste was fabulous if you like ham and cheese, they all came out of the cupcake tin with little effort, held together in a large container, travel well, and warm up great. These have been my lunch and dinner for a good part of the week.

Great for induction. I’m eating 1 or 2 a day, am in induction now and my ketone level is moderate on the test strips – and I am losing weight eating them. That’s important. Induction-friendly stuff can still sometimes cause a stall in some people.

Extra bonus! Nutrition info!

UPDATE: Lazy me sat down and made a tally – thought you might like to see – though looking at it 5 days later I think I screwed this up as well:

  • Calories: 297
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Sat fat: 11g
  • Carbs: 5.7g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 20.8g

PS – I looked it up. Apparently a ‘frittata’ is not baked – that’s a quiche. Call it whatever you like.