Friday, January 6, 2012

#Lowcarb Philosophy - My Own

There is low carb, and there is low carb. There are those that eat only organic and grass-fed and reject every sugar, starch, and sweet food (no matter what the sweetener used) out there. Then there are those who follow the most liberal of low carb plans which allow a couple of carb servings a day but limit total carb intake to 100g. And we're somewhere in-between. We can't afford to go organic/free-range/grass-fed, and I would gain weight if I were to follow the more liberal plans - which is more like what my husband likes to follow.

Since my surgery a lot has changed with my digestive processes and how my body handles food. During my long recovery I ate small amounts of carbier foods (applesauce, mashed potatoes, for example). And since that time I have never gone back to a strict starch-free diet although I don't eat sugars at all. I am limiting my intake of grains - even low carb grain-based foods, though. But baked potatoes are one thing that I haven't given back up, and probably won't. They don't seem to affect me in any way.

Back to grains though...I feel a need to really limit myself more in this department, especially wheat. I use CarbQuik, carbolose, vital wheat gluten, Wheat Protein Isolate 5000, and (rarely) wheat bran in my baking. It seems to be fine for my husband who has no issues with any of it, and for my 32MO grandson who eats white bread and buns and fast food when he's not with us, so at least that's an improvement for him when he's here... But though I can't put my finger on it, I just have a sense that I need to limit my intake of wheat specifically, and possibly all grains - even my oat fiber and flax meal. I will continue to bake as I have for my family, but think I need to do more to provide substitutes for myself so that I won't have to resort to eating what I've made for them, if I just want a piece of toast or something. And, I'm happy enough with my couple of potatoes a week that I don't feel as much of a need for bread-y foods anyway. So that's something I'm working on now.

Prepared foods is another issue I'm thinking about more. I'm not a fan. I like to fix everything - EVERYTHING - from scratch. In an ideal world this is how I would be. In my reality, however, I'm not stressing over a couple of frozen pizzas every month (which my husband loves!), or whatever. Whatever processed foods I buy are SO minimal, that's the only example I can think of! Oh yeah, spaghetti sauce. A single jar of which lasts us a couple of weeks. Looking back on this paragraph, I realize I'd be obsessing if I concerned myself with that, so I can release my concerns that I'm harming my family now - yay! (Sometimes it's good just to write things out...see them in black and white, and they make sense!)

As you can see, I'm pretty far from either end of the spectrum. I have my feet firmly planted in my own reality, the reality that includes strict budgets, unexpected car repairs, illnesses, a finicky 32MO boy who is here for most meals, and - especially since a major, life-changing, serious surgery 13 months ago - the realization that eating part of a frozen pizza will probably not shorten my life or impact my health in any major way. So I eat my 20-30gN of carbs - keeping my fat content high, consisting of meats and lots of vegetables, some dairy, maybe some seeds or nuts as snacks - nearly every day. And I go up to maybe 50gN, or even 75gN one day a week (or less). It's been working well for me all through the holiday season, I've even lost 7# in the last couple of months! :)

Not sure if my philosophy of low carb is evolving or what, but so far so good! Meanwhile, if you know of a REAL pizza crust, that tastes and has the mouth feel of a REAL pizza crust but is low carb, maybe I lied just a little when I said I'd stop obsessing about prepared foods... :)

Another Month of #Lowcarb Grocery Costs! Jan. 2012 week #1

Today was the first time I bought any food for this month, so I figured I may as well make this another month of food budget "reporting".

18 eggs - $1.75
Juice (for grandson) - $2.88
Drink Mix (their brand of Crystal Light, makes 6 half-gallon pitchers - $1.98
(2) half gallons half'n'half @ $3.58 each - $7.16
quart heavy whipping cream - $3.78
SUBTOTAL - $17.55

2.3# chuck roast - $7.57
(2) frozen pizzas @ $2.49 = $4.98
24 pack of water bottles - $2.99
loaf of "light" bread - $2.50
(2) cans diced tomatoes @ $0.63 - $1.26
20 oz. turkey "ends & pieces" - $1.69
5# russet potatoes - $2.29
SUBTOTAL - $23.28

TOTAL for the week: $40.83

A couple of comments:

1 - This is the first time I've bought bread in MONTHS. Don't even remember the last time. I'm sick, and have been for nearly a week, and not up to making bread right now; plus I desperately need to put in a order so I can be making loaves again, but with car problems right now every extra penny is going to resolve that. At this point, buying a loaf of boughten bread (7gN/slice) is the least of my concerns. (I don't eat this at all, by the way.)

2 - We buy these frozen pizzas regularly. They are about 100gN per pizza. My husband isn't trying to lose weight, and that is his maximum carb allowance for the day; he eats a whole one, I can eat part of one. I'm kind of tired of messing around with low carb pizza crusts, too, and they'll never taste like the real thing even though some are ok. So without apology we eat these a couple of times a month.

I have some food in my freezer now, a few 1# packages of ground chuck, some bacon, some chicken leg quarters, a pork roast that will be good for several meals, some pork chops, some fish, and lots of vegetables that I've been picking up on sale here and there. We have our big freezer in the garage unplugged, and are keeping only what will fit here in the house now, as another savings measure. (Without the freezer or the big energy hog TV we used to watch last year, we're hoping to see some savings this winter.) So I'm not starting off from bare bones, except in the baking goods department. But I make do, even though I don't have everything I need to make everything I want, I can pretty much figure out a way of creating most things until I can get a order in.

Next week my husband has an appointment in a city where there is an Aldi's. They are less expensive on many things than Sav-a-Lot, so I will do some minor stocking up and that will be my shopping for week #2 this month...unless I see a great sale on meat that I can't pass up of course :).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies #lowcarb #recipe

Oh yeah, these are great! Nutty and chocolate-y...bad me, though, I didn't measure anything as I was going along, so these measurements are approximate but pretty close! If your dough seems too thin, add more flours; if it's getting too thick as you add your flours, skimp a little.

1/4c softened butter
1/4c softened coconut oil
1/2c granulated splenda
1/4c granulated brown sugar sub
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
dash salt
2-1/2c flours*
1/2c chocolate chips**

* I used 1/2c oat fiber, 1/2c polydextrose, 1/2c coconut flour, 1/2c pecan flour, & 1/2c walnut flour; you could almost certainly use the low carb flours of your choice; I was going for a nutty flavor so I didn't use almond flour which is very mild.

** the package claimed 7gN of carbs per 20 chocolate chips; I used 80, which was just shy of a half-cup.

Followed the usual cookie-making procedures: creaming butter/sugar, adding vanilla, then the next 3 ingredients, then the flours, and finally the chocolate chips.

Baked at 350 until they were done (according to my nose).

These aren't heavy (because I used so much baking powder/soda no doubt); I could have omitted the dash salt because I used salted butter and of course the baking soda is salty, but I like the combination of salty/sweet flavors in my mouth and wanted to make sure I tasted that salty flavor.

I got 43 cookies. I didn't do the math, and always recommend people do their own carb counts rather than depend on anyone else's numbers anyway. I know for the chocolate chips alone are about 1.5 per cookie, so I'm guessing around 2gN per, or slightly more...but do your own math :).