Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Low carb’ Category

New Study—Like Several Old Studies—Favors Fat Over Carbs

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Nicholas Bakalar reports in the NY Times:

High carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher risk of mortality, and high fat intake with a lower risk, researchers report.

An international team of scientists studied diet and mortality in 135,335 people between 35 and 70 years old in 18 countries, following them for an average of more than seven years. Diet information depended on self-reports, and the scientists controlled for factors including age, sex, smoking, physical activity and body mass index. The study is in The Lancet.

Compared with people who ate the lowest 20 percent of carbohydrates, those who ate the highest 20 percent had a 28 percent increased risk of death. But high carbohydrate intake was not associated with cardiovascular death.

People with the highest 20 percent in total fat intake — an average of 35.3 percent of calories from fat — had about a 23 percent reduced risk of death compared with the lowest 20 percent (an average of 10.6 percent of calories from fat). Consuming higher saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat were all associated with lower mortality. Higher fat diets were also associated with a lower risk of stroke.

“Guidelines recommend low saturated fat, and some recommend really low amounts,” said a co-author, Andrew Mente, an epidemiologist at McMaster University in Ontario. “Our study, which captures intake at the lowest levels, shows that this may be harmful.” . . .

Continue reading.

See also: “A Decades-Old Study, Rediscovered, Challenges Advice on Saturated Fat.”

And I always recommend Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 September 2017 at 8:33 pm

Big batch of chili simmering

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I used the 6-qt pot, with the following recipe as template. Changes were to omit the canned green chilies and the green bell pepper, substituting about 6-7 Hatch chilies, which are now in season.:

Optional: smoked ham shank, cooked overnight
1/4 cup olive oil or bacon grease
3 large onions, chopped – ellow, white, and red
1 Tbsp kosher salt & 1 Tbsp black pepper
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (Hatch chilies instead)
1 large red/yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and chopped (Hatch chilies instead)
3 ancho chile peppers, cut into small pieces
[Optional: 3 chipotle chile peppers or 1 small can chipotles in adobo—if the latter add after meat]
1/4 cup minced garlic cloves
2-3 Tbsp Mexican oregano
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp Ancho chili powder
3-4 lbs boneless chuck roast or pork shoulder
2 Tbsp espresso grind dark roast coffee (the actual grounds – I use Illy)
2-4 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce)
2 oz 99% cacao chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger)
1-2 Tbsp liquid smoke
6 or so good-sized tomatillos, chopped
1 28-oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 can original Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 small jar or can of tomato paste
1 28-oz can whole green chilies (Hatch chilies instead)
juice of 2 lemons or 4 limes

Optionally, put a smoked ham shank in the cast-iron dutch oven, add 1/4 c water, cover, and leave in a 200º oven overnight. The next day, let it cool and pick all the meat off the bones. Could use fat for sautéing onions, but I just added the liquid to the chili.

Put olive oil or bacon grease in 6-qt pot or 4-qt sauté pan. Sauté until the onions are transparent and starting to caramelize, stirring often (about 20 minutes). It’s best to do this in a large-diameter pan.

Add the vegetables and spices, and sauté another 10 minutes or so. The 6-qt pot was full but I did not require moving to 7-qt pot.

Add the meat without browning it—my younger daughter says that the meat is more tender in stews and such if it is cooked without browning, and that sounds good to me. Moreover, this dish does not need the flavoring of the Maillard reaction: there’s plenty of flavor from other sources.

Beef chuck roast works better than pork shoulder: the beef gets very tender, the pork not so much.

Add the remaining ingredients. I use scissors to cut up the whole San Marzano tomatoes after adding them. I recommend getting a large (28-oz) can of whole green chilies or four 7-oz cans of whole green chilies. Canned diced chilies seem to have a short shelf life and turn to liquid when added. The whole chilies are easy to chop because their cutting resistance is low: you can just press the knife through them. In this case, though, I used Hatch chilies.

Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover (or not), and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve plain or topped with grated cheese or sour cream. Chopped avocado and/or cilantro would also be good, and a squeeze of lime juice would not be amiss.

In the knife skills video, it was recommended to use a serrated knife on foods with a slick tough skin. The tomatillos exactly fit that description, so I tried the serrated knife: perfect! Easy cutting, no slipping.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2017 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Beef, Food, Low carb, Recipes

Pretty good dinner for a 104ºF day: Chilled chicken salad

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Just made this up. The key is first to make Nigella Lawson’s Tarragon Chicken, using a 6-lb chicken as described in this post (includes lessons learned). We had a drumstick, thigh, and wing apiece for dinner, so the breast was left. I used 1/2 the breast to make a chicken salad tonight. Measures are approximate.

2 avocados, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 thick scallions, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 breast from a 6-lb chicken cooked using Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Tarragon Chicken, diced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped (or you could use tarragon)
1/3-1/2 cup homemade tarragon mayonnaise
2 tsp Maldon salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix. Serve.

It’s really very tasty. The tarragon mayonnaise was my usual mayonnaise recipe with about 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves added at the beginning. This is with the optional two anchovy fillets, since they increase depth of taste by adding umami. I used Enzo Meyer Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive oil for the mayo.

The other 1/2 breast is destined for the same dish tomorrow.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2017 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Dinner tonight: Nigella Lawson’s Tarragon Chicken

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Here’s the recipe, and here are my lessons learned: Mix marinade in a bowl in the morning and marinate the chicken for a day, covered, turning it occasionally. The plastic bag in the refrigerator doesn’t work: olive oil solidifies. I could not find a “3-4 lb chicken,” if they still exist. The smallest I could find was a 6-lb chicken. It took 40 minutes.

Absolutely delicious. Definitely a repeat. Here’s a good guide to spatchcocking a chicken. I used a lot of tarragon in the marinade, and I used two lemons and 1 cup olive oil, because it’s a 6-lb chicken, not a 3-lb chicken.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2017 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Stir-fried iceberg lettuce with shrimp

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We had this Mark Bittman recipe tonight, with these changes:

  1. Avocado oil for sautéing: very high smoke point, monounsaturated oil (like olive oil, another fruit oil).
  2. Double the garlic.
  3. Double the ginger.
  4. Use 1 lb of shrimp rather than 12 oz. Jumbo shrimp require fewer peels per pound. I cut shrimp in half cross-ways: easier to eat, feels like more shrimp.

Extremely tasty, fast, and easy. Do all prep before you heat the skillet/wok. (I’m a skillet guy: woks don’t work well on an electric range.) The stir-fried iceberg lettuce is excellent.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 August 2017 at 6:42 pm

Why Cutting Carbs Can Be Tough

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I am lucky in that I have generally view carbs—pasta, bread, potatoes, rice, and the like—as “filler,” unlike the enjoyable tastes of the meal. So cutting out carbs was fairly easy for me, though I would enjoy having beans and lentils again. The NY Times has an interesting column by Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat—And What To Do About It. (Both books are really excellent and worth reading, and I would also recommend The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teicholz.) Taubes writes:

I’ve been eating a high-fat, carb-restricted diet for almost 20 years, since I started as an experiment when investigating nutrition research for the journal Science. I find it’s easy for me to maintain a healthy weight when I eat this way. But even after two decades, the sensation of being on the edge of a slippery slope is ever-present.

The holidays and family vacations are a particular problem. Desserts and sweets, it seems, will appear after every lunch and dinner, and I’m not particularly good at saying no when everyone else is partaking. The more sweets I eat, the more we eat as a family, the longer it takes upon returning home before that expectation of a daily treat fades away.

What I’ve realized is that eating a little of a tasty dessert or a little pasta or bread fails to satisfy me. Rather it ignites a fierce craving for more, to eat it all and then some. I find it easier to avoid sugar, grains and starches entirely, rather than to try to eat them in moderation. The question is why.

To begin to answer that question requires understanding that researchers are generally divided not only on what causes obesity, but also why we have cravings and often fail to stay on diets.

The conventional thinking, held by the large proportion of the many researchers and clinicians I’ve interviewed over the years, is that obesity is caused by caloric excess. They refer to it as an “energy balance” disorder, and so the treatment is to consume less energy (fewer calories) and expend more. When we fail to maintain this prescription, the implication is that we simply lack will power or self-discipline.

“It’s viewed as a psychological issue or even a question of character,” says Dr. David Ludwig, who studies and treats obesity at Harvard Medical School.

The minority position in this field — one that Dr. Ludwig holds, as do I after years of reporting — is that obesity is actually a hormonal regulatory disorder, and the hormone that dominates this process is insulin. It directly links what we eat to the accumulation of excess fat and that, in turn, is tied to the foods we crave and the hunger we experience. It’s been known since the 1960s that insulin signals fat cells to accumulate fat, while telling the other cells in our body to burn carbohydrates for fuel. By this thinking these carbohydrates are uniquely fattening.

Since insulin levels after meals are determined largely by the carbohydrates we eat — particularly easily digestible grains and starches, known as high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup — diets based on this approach specifically target these carbohydrates. If we don’t want to stay fat or get fatter, we don’t eat them.

This effect of insulin on fat and carbohydrate metabolism offers an explanation for why these same carbohydrates, as Dr. Ludwig says, are typically the foods we crave most; why a little “slip,” as addiction specialists would call it, could so easily lead to a binge.

Elevate insulin levels even a little, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the body switches over from burning fat for fuel to burning carbohydrates, by necessity.

“The more insulin you release, the more you crave carbs,” he said. “Once you’re exposed to a little carbohydrate, and you get an insulin rise from it, that forces energy into fat cells and that deprives your other cells of the energy they would otherwise have utilized — in essence, starvation. So you compensate by getting hungry, particularly for more carbohydrate. High insulin drives carb-craving.”

The result is that even a bite or a taste of carbohydrate-rich foods can stimulate insulin and create a hunger — a craving — for even more carbohydrates. “There’s no question in my mind,” says Dr. Lustig, “that once people who are ‘carboholics’ get their insulin levels down, they become less carboholic. And if they go off the wagon and start eating carbs, they go right back to where they were before. I’ve seen that in numerous patients.”

Sugar and sweets might be a particular problem because of several physiological responses that may be unique to sugar. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 August 2017 at 12:40 pm

Kale my way

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Just made this for lunch.

1.5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 Tbsp Enzo Fresno Chili Crush extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
salt and pepper
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 Hatch green chilies, seeded and chopped fine
1 bunch Bora red kale (i.e., not Russian red kale)
1 bunch Lacinato kale
1 lemon, diced
2 Tbsp sherry
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
1 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in 11″ sauté pan (mine is 4-qt, so you might want to use a pot). Add onion, salt, and pepper and sauté for a few minutes until the onion turns transparent.

Add garlic and peppers and sauté a few minutes more.

Then add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For lunch I had a bowl of that topped by an over-easy egg cooked in olive oil. Very tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2017 at 2:25 pm

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