Sunday, February 16, 2020

"Roasted" Garlic in a George Foreman grill

Finished Garlic in Storage Jar

Garlic is great for both culinary and medicinal purposes. I was using Kyolic Garlic capsules for my high blood pressure, and recently ran out of the pills and couldn’t afford more. So I just ate some of the “roasted” garlic I had on hand. It’s not as unpleasant as eating garlic cloves raw, in fact they are fine-tasting. And I think they are working for my blood pressure. (I also take 2 drugs for my blood pressure, but the garlic must have been helping because my readings went up when I ran out of the Kyolic Garlic.)

“Roasted” Garlic in a George Foreman contact grill

Step one: break your heads of garlic into individual cloves of garlic. Leave the papery stuff on the garlic cloves. Cut a bit off each garlic clove at the base or bottom (in the direction of the roots, not the top.)  Put the cloves in a plastic ziplock bag or a glass canning jar. Measure out 1/4 cup of EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil.) You CAN add 1 tsp (teaspoon) of kelp or basil or oregano or thyme— or two or three of the above— if you want to flavor your garlic cloves, but this is optional. Marinate for a while or overnight.

Garlic, marinating
Step two: Prepare your George Foreman grill by setting the positioning lever to the back, or level, position. Put a Baking Plate on the bottom and the Steak Plate on the top. Spray some olive oil cooking spray on to the plates, and add a bit of EVOO to the Baking Plate. 
Set the temperature to Medium and preheat the grill. When the green light goes out, indicating it is preheated, put the marinated garlic cloves onto the grill in a single layer, and grill for 7 to 9 minutes (set a timer!)

Step three: When the time is up, remove your garlic cloves from the grill and place into a glass canning jar. Put a label with the contents and date on the jar. You may store the roasted garlic briefly in the refrigerator or for a few months in the freezer. 

To use: pop the garlic out of the papery ‘shell.’ You may place it in a garlic crusher to get crushed roasted garlic for culinary use. For medicinal use, I take one largish clove three times a day. Chew it well— garlic needs to be crushed or chewed to have a medicinal effect or even a culinary flavoring effect.

Just "roasted' garlic


Monday, February 10, 2020

Anatomy of a Bulletproof Beverage


Bulletproof coffee is a thing now. I had a family member who briefly tried ‘keto’ who made some (and didn’t like it.) When I was in a rehab center after my stroke, I used the pitiful bits of butter I could get in my coffee, since I didn’t want to waste them on the often-lukewarm food. 

The purpose of a bulletproof beverage is to get healthy fats into your body. Note that in Keto * Low-Carb we go by science when we think about what fats are healthy, not by what big national organizations claim are healthy fats— they’d have us using CANOLA oil! Remember there are people trying to sell us on the idea that sugary Honey-Nut Cheerios are ‘heart-healthy’ just because they have oat ingredients in among all the sugar and carbs.
Because ‘keto’ is trendy right now, you have to beware of trying random advice about what is allowed on Keto * Low-Carb. You can’t use ‘creamers’ in your coffee— not only are they processed food, but they have sugars and starches and probably very little HEALTHY fat. 

A bulletproof beverage consists of three parts— the basic beverage (coffee, tea, cocoa/carob and hot water, bone broth), a healthy fat (butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, extra-virgin olive oil, home-made ghee, perhaps heavy whipping cream or coconut milk/cream as a lightener) and, possibly, additions. Like cinnamon— healthy for diabetics— a pinch of sea salt or a bit of kelp powder, or any other thing that is healthy in small amounts and tastes well in your bulletproof beverage.

I have never been a big coffee drinker, but I started using some instant coffee when I read about the oxalate problem with tea. I still drink some tea, but not as much and I don’t care for additives in it. I currently have three brands of instant coffee in my house, one of them imported from Germany. 

On the few occasions I have been able to afford Kerrygold butter, I reserved it all for bulletproof beverages so the goodness wouldn’t be wasted. I use MCT oil when I can, because it’s helpful in getting into ketosis or staying in ketosis. Since I can’t afford a lot of MCT oil, I use coconut oil as well— it CONTAINS some MCT. I used to use butter as well, but ever since I first made ghee, I prefer the taste of that. 

When I was in the rehab center I got some extra-virgin olive oil to put in my coffee, but that tasted just too dire. Butter in my coffee was a treat, EVOO in coffee just wrecked a good cup of coffee. Since coming home, I found that if I put in 1/2 Tablespoon to 1 Tablespoon of EVOO in my coffee and have 1 Tablespoon of MCT oil, butter, ghee or some other tasty fat source, I can’t taste the EVOO. 

SWEETENERS are not normally used in bulletproof beverages, but when I do a hot cocoa/carob BP beverages, I use a few drops of liquid Stevia (Sweetleaf.) On Fridays on other penitential occasions I use as few drops as possible and can handle a hot cocoa with only 2 drops of stevia. Carob doesn’t even need a sweetener really. If you are really ‘hooked’ on sweetened beverages, so that you needed a couple of Tablespoons of sugar in your coffee or tea back when you ate carbs, you can use whatever amount of liquid stevia you need, but try to taper off, and also sometimes take a break from the sweetener. We need to break our addiction to constant sweet things!

Have you ever made a bulletproof coffee, bulletproof tea or other bulletproof beverage? Did you like it? Is it a regular part of your Keto * Low-Carb life right now? Please share your experiences in a com

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Must Moms force Kids & Husband to finish Junk-Carb Dinner?


Television food-related commercials exist to make the bad eating habits that enrich the food processors socially acceptable. In addition to that vile ‘potato-pay’ commercial which has popped up again, there is that frozen-pizza commercial in which a mom is proud that she has compelled her husband and children to finish their frozen-pizza junk-carbs dinner.
OK, the whole idea behind finishing one’s dinner was that traditionally dinners were composed of decent food. Or, at least, as decent as the family could afford. Poor people have historically used bread and potatoes to fill the gap where the meat they couldn’t afford would be. 
But when dinner is junk-carbs, what is the point of finishing dinner? Maybe the snack food you might eat instead might be less deadly. 
Since the death of the home-cooked meal and its replacement by processed food and fast food, all heavy in carbs, finishing dinner is more of a health hazard than a benefit. It doesn’t even solve the hunger problem if there are enough carbs involved— you will just be hungry before the next meal rolls around. 
And the family dynamic thing is skewed all to heck in that commercial. Moms are traditionally wives who are traditionally women, who don’t suffer from the toxic masculinity their male husbands allegedly have. But that doesn’t mean women are so wonderful that a man will put up with being treated like a child who needs to be compelled to finish a junk-carbs dinner. Adult persons normally expect to be able to eat what they like— even to going on a healthy low-carb regimen if they want to.
As for frozen pizza for children, they are not only being robbed of a healthy meal with real meats and real veggies, but they are missing out on a learning experience. Children aren’t born knowing how to eat a steak or a pork chop or a salad. If they are fed on an all-junk-carbs and processed-foods diet, how will they cope when they become overweight and are advised to change their diet for the better? Better to let them have real food that will build their health and not destroy it.
Finally, trying to force any human being to eat a food they don’t want to finish is a losing game. It just makes the person more bullheaded and more willing to sit at the table forever to avoid the broccoli.  And if you finally train the person into being a member of the ‘Clean Plate Club’, how will you feel when the person becomes a dying 500 pounder with a compulsion to finish all food regardless of hunger level?

Do you ever feel guilty about refusing a carb-filled food that you are served at a meal? Do you feel a compulsion to ‘clean your plate?’ Do you feel that throwing a bit of uneaten mac & cheese in the garbage will somehow make third world children starve? What other attitudes about food are standing in the way of your health?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Starting Keto? Meet the Meats!


The starring food in the Keto * Low-Carb way of life has been a staple food of the human diet like since FOREVER. When humans were hunter-gatherers, they hunted. And meat, poultry & fish are the perfect low-carb foods, because nearly all of them (except scallops and the like) are zero-carb foods. See, we low-carbers DO SO have ‘free foods,’ and they are not lettuce.

You can eat the following types of meat-poultry-fish: beef, bison, venison, pork, lamb, mutton, veal, chicken, duck, goose, turkey, pheasant, guinea fowl, Cornish game hen, cod, salmon, tuna, tilapia, crab, lobster, shrimp, trout, perch…. any kind of meat from an animal, bird or fish.

You can eat any cuts of meat— steaks, chops, roasts, ground meat, chicken legs, wings or thighs, ribs, neckbones, or any other cut of meat you can get from your local farmer, fisherman or grocery store. 

FAKE MEATS, as manufactured for the vegetarian population, do not count as meats because they contain carbs. They may also be heavily processed foods. The carbs in fake meat count as carbs. Some fake meats probably should not be eaten by any ketonian. 

PROCESSED MEATS are not a major part of our eating plan. Lunchmeats of various sorts may have carb-containing fillers and even sugar added. We do not eat that stuff. Read the labels on purchased meatballs and meatloaf— these foods usually have carb-containing additives we should not have. Bacon and ham, however, though processed, are generally considered a permissible food. Meat in little cans, often found next to the canned tuna in the store, may have carbs— even budget brands of canned tuna may have a carb or two, because they add a bit of ‘vegetable broth’ or even ‘modified food starch.’ Boycott those foods wherever possible. If you are very low-income, and you get given some of these canned meats, or Spam, the carbs are low enough that you can eat them, but it is better to stick to the zero-carb meats from the meat department when you can. (The advantage of the canned meats and Spam is that they don’t need refrigeration or, in many cases, cooking. Compare the labels when you buy to get the lowest carbs you can get, though.)

KOSHER and HALAL MEATS are fully permitted on Keto * Low-Carb. It’s not a dietary sin to keep kosher!  If you are Jewish but haven’t been religious before, it is perfectly ‘kosher’ to start keeping kosher when doing Keto * Low-Carb. If it makes you more aware of what kinds of things you are putting in your body, that’s a good thing. However, if you are not even Jewish or Muslim, and are considering going kosher just because you know other people from your church who are doing it, consider whether you can actually obtain the kosher foods you need. If there is a pastured-pork producer living in your county, and you have always loved pork, maybe you need to reconsider the kosher thing.

AFRAID OF SCARY-UNHEALTHY MEAT?
Read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. This author reviews a lot of scientific research on diet, and shows how the low-fat theory got going in spite of the lack of evidence. You may find that a lot of what you have been told about meat is not true.
If you have been vegetarian, especially if you are in poor health as a result, read Ketotarian by Dr. Will Cole. It is full of meat-free Keto * Low-Carb recipes, along with a few fish recipes (for pescatarians.) 

MY KETO-RELATED TWITTER:
If you are a Twitter user, please consider following me on Twitter. I follow (most) back.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Recipes: Supersalad Seasoning (Salad Supreme) & Blue Cheese Dressing


Recently I wanted to try a new salad dressing recipe— I bought blue cheese and everything— and I found it called for an ingredient called ‘Salad Supreme’ which I hadn’t heard of. Evidently it was a blend of spices and seasonings from Schilling corporation. I did a search on ‘Duck Duck Go’ and found a recipe for the stuff, which I adapted a bit for Supersalad seasoning.
Normally I hate doing a recipe for which you have to make another recipe first, but this one is a good seasoning mix that I’d want in the house anyway, whether or not I was making blue cheese dressing. (I’ve never even tasted blue cheese before I made this dressing. It was good! Not great, like Dana Carpender’s Hoisin Sauce which I used as salad dressing as well as a meat sauce, but good.)

SUPERSALAD SEASONING
1 1/2 tsp (teaspoon) toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp paprika (smoked paprika?)
1/2 tsp poppy seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp black pepper (white pepper?)
1/8 tsp cayenne powder

Put ingredients in a clean 1/2 pint canning jar, close lid and shake to blend. Use to season salads, meat or anything else. You can make a double batch if you like. 



BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
This is adapted from Roquefort Dressing #2 in Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.

1/2 cup EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
1 clove roasted garlic, crushed
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (or Roquefort?)
1 1/2 tsp Supersalad seasoning (see above)
1/4 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp (Tablespoon) water

Put ingredients in a wide-mouth canning jar, use a stick blender to blend for 1 minute. Store in refrigerator, use promptly. NOTE: You can replace part of the EVOO with MCT oil to make it more ketogenic. And more expensive, alas. OTHER NOTE: Like all salad dressings, you can use it to flavor your meat as well. Why not top a burger with a 1/2 Tablespoon?

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure and Keto * Low-Carb


I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) a long time ago— even before I started doing low-carb. But I was low-to-no income, and not yet on SSI disability and Medicaid, and so couldn’t keep up with doctor visits to be able to keep taking hypertension pills.

I think when I first started doing low-carb (in the 1990s) that it brought down my blood pressure. After all, doing Keto * Low=Carb is a reliable way to get your blood sugar down— so much so that doctors warn people to go to their own doctor to get their blood pressure and blood sugar pills’ doses cut down when they start Keto * Low-Carb. It’s a reliable effect.

But not enough of a reliable effect to overcome my years of carb-eating and vegetarianism. I developed Type 2 diabetes, and not too long after I began to have bad kidney tests. My blood pressure was high— not super-high or scary-high as long as I was doing low-carb most of the time, but still, high. My ‘PCP’ (the non-doctor who is my government-approved health care provider) threatened that I would be put in ‘a home’ because of my Asperger Syndrome if I refused to go to a nephrologist (kidney doctor) in the city of Iron Mountain, even though that’s more of a drive than I could handle. [My therapist at the time confirmed that they don’t put people with Asperger Syndrome and high IQs into ‘homes’ for disobeying a non-doctor.]

One nephrologist was from India, and though a conventional low-fat advocate who tried to push the ‘DASH diet’ on me, had some medical smarts and ordered tests to see if I had some underlying kidney problem. They fired her though, and the nephrologist I had to go to next was a woman from the Philippines who told me that my diet could not affect my kidney disease (I knew there was at least one peer-reviewed study to the contrary) and she also demanded that I take home a DVD about dialysis— even after I told her I had no working DVD player! Maybe I was supposed to sleep with the DVD under my pillow and the info would leak into my head that way? Anyway, I quit going back to her after that. My ‘PCP’ didn’t try to have me put in a home after all (and now denies she ever said it) but the bad thing was that I went off my hypertension pill.

When I had a small stroke in Feb. of 2019, I ended up on two hypertension pills, and my PCP recently increased the dose of one of them. I am now getting better blood pressure readings every morning. My Keto * Low-Carb lifestyle has not brought down my blood pressure by itself, nor has it healed my kidney disease. But I do believe it is helping heal my body. I just need pills as well now.

RESEARCH:
A 2011 study in the scientific journal PLOS One showed that a ketogenic diet reversed diabetic kidney damage in diabetic mice in two months.
A 2013 study of a small human trial published in The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showed improvement of kidney function in diabetics on a ketogenic diet for 12 weeks.

Friday, January 31, 2020

How & Why I Made Ghee

Jar of Home-Made Ghee

I made ghee for the first time yesterday. Ghee is a kind of clarified butter which originates in India. It removes the milk solids so some dairy-sensitive people who can’t eat butter can use ghee. It also has the benefit that it can cook at higher temperatures without burning, and it has a nutty taste that is different from butter and that some people like a lot.

I made the ghee from unsalted butter from the grocery store. I have heard that some people make ghee from grass-fed butter like Kerrygold which is healthier, but I don’t have the kind of income to do that. I used the ghee recipe from Fran McCullough’s Living Low-Carb (2000.)

The recipe makes 2 cups of ghee from 1 pound of unsalted butter. It says to melt the butter over medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes to drive the water out of the butter.  Then you reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 15 minutes until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden but not brown.

Recipe and Butter
I thought my milk solids got kind of brown at the end, but the flavor of the ghee was alright. I strained it into a canning jar, using a canning funnel and a ‘non-gauze milk filter’ which they use to filter milk on farms. I get those at the farm store— I used to keep milk goats— and I use them for many kitchen filtering tasks. You can also use a coffee filter.

I used the ghee in some fat bombs (high-good-fat candies) and in my morning bulletproof coffee which was half-MCT oil and half-ghee this morning. It adds a nice flavor to stuff. I have read the flavor described as ‘nutty’ and ‘like butterscotch.’

Ghee keeps for up to 3 months without refrigeration and 1 year in the refrigerator. It gets solid as a brick in the fridge, though. I took mine out of the fridge as I anticipate it getting used up well before it goes bad. If you don’t use much ghee at a time, you can make smaller batches, or divide your ghee supply into smaller jars and keep most in the fridge or freezer. Write the DATE on every jar of ghee you make— you don’t want to push it in a corner by accident and eat it years after the expiration date.

Have you ever made ghee? Did it turn out the way you wanted it? Or have you purchased store-bought ghee? What do you like/dislike about ghee? What do you use it for?

Starting to Make Ghee
Midpoint in Making Ghee
About to Strain Ghee


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Put On Your Low-Carb Colored Glasses


A lot of people fail on Low-Carb, Keto or Atkins because they lack information. Dr. Jason Fung started asking his patients to fast because when he put them on a low-carb diet, they were coming back and reporting that they had given up bread and started eating pita bread. He would have his patients fast for three days right away— without doing Keto * Low-Carb and getting in ketosis which would make the fast painless.
We need to get to the point that we pick up a package of processed food, gaze at the ingredients list, and right away spot the ingredients that make the food not-for-us. We need to be able to look at a recipe and spot which ingredients are full of carbs. We need to put on our low-carb colored glasses.
The way I learned to do that is that I had an old copy of Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (1972.) I got it in a thrift shop in Iron Mountain, Michigan, at a time when low-carb and Atkins were considered just an old fad diet. There is a chapter in that book called: The Revolutionary Never-Hungry No-Limit Steak-and-Salad-plus Diet. (There is no chapter number in that edition, but there is an index in the front so you can find the chapter in question.)
This book chapter is essentially a diet sheet, probably based on one Dr. Atkins handed out in his practice. It tells you which foods you can eat in unlimited quantity, which ones you can have in restricted quantity, and which ones were out-of-bounds. I read that chapter multiple times until I had the content almost memorized, still read that chapter from time to time, and therefore I pretty much know what foods I can and can’t have. You need to learn that, too.
I prefer this old Atkins books to newer books because it is very practical for patients that didn’t keep food diaries, consult carbohydrate gram counters, or use modern apps to calculate macronutrient percentages. It doesn’t have you counting your carb grams, which means you are not tempted to give up your salads and your cheese and heavy cream rations to use those carb grams on a tiny portion of a high-carb food you are addicted to.
UNLIMITED FOODS
These are mostly zero-carb foods, and as such are mostly meats, poultry, fish and seafood. Eggs, which do have less than 1 gram of carbs, are also included as an unlimited food. Butter and fats, salt, pepper and spices, and water and carb-free drinks are also unlimited.
LIMITED FOODS
You are allowed the juice of ONE lemon or lime, four ounces a day of any hard, aged cheese, 4 teaspoons of heavy whipping cream.
FORBIDDEN FOODS
These are the foods that made you sick, or fat, or carb-addicted in the first place. Bread, biscuits, candy, cookies, bananas, baked beans, milk, macaroni and potatoes, among other things. You need to learn what these are— by reading the list in the Atkins book, and by reading labels in the grocery store. If that new ‘high-protein’ cereal has more grams of sugar than Froot Loops, we need to give it a pass. 
OTHER RESTRICTIONS
Many people on Keto * Low-Carb have given themselves many other restrictions— they don’t eat soy products, or green beans or alfalfa sprouts because they are ‘legumes’ just like baked beans, or they abhor ‘canola’ rapeseed oil. Sometimes the additional restrictions are based on good science. Other times they are arbitrary— such as not using butter or heavy cream because Paleolithic man didn’t keep dairy animals. Don’t jump in to following a rule just because you heard it on a podcast or read it in a keto online forum. Ask for the peer-reviewed scientific study that backs the new restriction up.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:
Get out your copy of Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution (1972,) if you don’t have one, buy one. Find the chapter I mentioned above and bookmark it. Every morning for two weeks, start your day by reading this chapter through. You might each day pick out one kind of allowed food to buy and eat— things you already like and something new. And pick out each day one food from the ‘forbidden’ list, look up the carb count to see why it is so bad, and perhaps find substitutes for the ones you love the most.

Have you had any difficulties learning the rules for Keto * Low-Carb? Have you made mistakes and learned better? What makes you stick to it even when it’s hard? Drop me a comment!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Recipe: Ground Bison (Venison?) Patties with Cream Cheese


Ground bison? No, ground GRASS-FED bison. And I bought it at the Walmart in Marinette, Wisconsin. It comes in 1 pound packages like the grass-fed ground beef. Ground bison is leaner, though, and super-lean meat is not part of the Keto * Low-Carb way of life. So I concocted this recipe, based mainly on some old German meatball recipe I only half remember. But it turned out good. I would also try this recipe on ground venison if I had any (I have some frozen venison I might thaw and make into ground meat in my Vita-Mix) or ground turkey or ultra-lean ground beef or anything else that might bring your daily fat total too low.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound ground bison (or ground venison, or other ground meat) [0 grams carbs, 0 fiber, 0 net carbs]
4 oz. cream cheese (Philadelphia or similar) [4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 4 g net carbs]
1 egg (I used a jumbo egg) {0.4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0.4 g net carbs]
2 TBSP (tablespoon) ground flaxseed meal [4.04 g carbs, 3.8 g fiber, 0.24 g net carbs]

DIRECTIONS:
Put on disposable plastic gloves, and smoosh the ingredients around in a small bowl until mixed. Divide meat into four equal portions and form into patties. Cook the patties just as you normally cook hamburger patties, or put them into individual freezer bags to freeze them (I used 1 pint freezer bags.) These make nice-sized patties, if they come out too big for your tastes, divide the recipe into 5 portions. OPTIONAL: place 2 TBSP of home-made vinaigrette dressing in the bag and marinate for a few hours or overnight. I used the Italian Vinaigrette recipe from 500 Low-Carb recipes by Dana Carpender— it has garlic in it. Garlic is life!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Whole Recipe: 8.44 g carbs, 3.8g fiber, 4.64g net carbs
1/4 recipe— 1 patty: 2.11g carbs, 0.95g fiber, 1.16g net carbs

GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL INSTRUCTIONS
If your patties are frozen, thaw them overnight. Use the level (not slanted) setting and use the Baking Pan on the bottom and the Steak Plate on top. Spray with olive oil pan spray and set grill to Medium and preheat. When grill is heated, cook patty for 5 minutes. One instruction booklet I have for my grill gives Medium as the heat setting for burgers, the other instruction booklet FOR THE SAME GRILL says ‘High.’ Both say 3-5 minutes. Ground turkey, on the other hand, is 8-9 minutes on High. 
I had some grilled mushrooms in the fridge and set them on the grill with the meat patty to heat them— they came out maybe a bit overdone but I liked it okay as a burger topping. You may also add low-carb catsup and any other burger toppings you really like. DON’T eat it on a bun or bread, but with a knife and fork. (My flatbread recipe is too fragile to serve as a burger bun— maybe if you made them with 3 TBSP batter instead of 2? That would equal 1/4 cup, by the way.)
If you have a cheaper model of George Foreman grill or contact grill (cooks from both sides), use a tile or something to make the grill more level. If there are no replaceable plates, of course you can’t use the Baking Pan. If any significant amount of fat escapes into the Drip Tray (fat-catching tray), top the burger with it or part of it when cooking is done. 

If you have any comments or ideas about this recipe, please drop a comment. If you make this recipe, stop back here and tell me how it turned out. I love to hear from  blog readers! Well, not so much spam comments or mean trolls, (unless they are funny) but everyone else.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Adventures in Meat Freezing


Recently I made a foraging expedition to Gary’s Market in Stephenson, upper Michigan, and bought a family pack of boneless pork chops, two rib eye steaks, and a package of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. So I had to get busy packaging them for the freezer.
I have two freezers, really. The one on the top of my fridge, and an upright freezer on the back porch. Now, any book on food preservation will tell you that the freezer on/in your fridge is not great for food storage. It’s best to have a dedicated freezer for that. I’ve heard that upright ones are easier to use than chest freezers. If you are low-income like me, the money to buy a freezer may worry you. But you may be able to save by buying in bulk or direct from a farmer if you only have a freezer to put your meat in.
I do sometimes use the freezer compartment in the fridge to store some meat and veggies I am actively eating. But I worried about the temps— some ice cubes melted and then refroze in there (just when I needed them for a smoothie.) I got a pair of freezer/fridge digital thermometers which not only tell the current temp, but the high and low temp. I put one in each freezer. The freezer compartment is temperamental, in part because I often accidentally pull it open when closing the fridge door. 
The thermometers came in pairs and I didn’t need four, so for my fridge I put in one of the thermometers I use in my egg incubator (I make my own baby poultry at home.) I find that when I set the fridge to the cooler temp I prefer, it makes an unholy racket from time to time, usually at 3 am, and so I fear that my fridge will need replacement soon.
FREEZER PACKAGING
There are many ways to pack food for the freezer. I use canning jars to freeze single portions of soups/stews/curries. For meat, I use plastic freezer bags. I get gallon and quart freezer bags at the dollar stores, and pint freezer bags, which are harder to find, at Gary’s Market. 
I put a single portion of meat into the smallest bag it will fit in, and put several bags of the same type of item (pork chops, beef steaks, bison meat patties) into a bigger bag, often a gallon bag. I write the DATE and type of food on every bag. ALWAYS DATE YOUR FROZEN FOOD! Frozen food doesn’t last forever and you don’t want to eat something you should have thrown away in 2004.


USING FROZEN MEAT
Be sure and regularly USE your frozen meat. Every evening at bedtime take out the amount of meat you will be using the next day, and put it in the fridge. You might put a bit of vinaigrette dressing on some of the meat as a marinade. I use the vinaigrette recipes from Dana Carpender’s 500 Low-Carb Recipes (2002.) I’ve been grilling my meat most days on my George Foreman grill, using the Baking Pan for the bottom plate so I won’t lose any of the healthy fat I pay good money for.

BUYING MEAT IN BULK?
The next move for me is to buy some meat direct from a farmer, in whatever quantity I have to buy. I’d want some beef— grass-fed if I can get it. I also might get one of my lambs butchered if I can find out where to go with it. (I think my Serbian-American friends who have butchered for me before might be getting too old for it, and plus they don’t cut it up enough or package it well. Though they DID do it for free when they did it, and they have also been known to give me free frozen venison or pork.)
I never used to be a big meat-eater before I went low-carb— I was too busy being addicted to carbs to learn to cook meat— but I’ve found I really enjoy some of the meat I cook— even more than I enjoy Rice-a-Roni, and I used to eat that stuff all the time. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

There is No Such Thing as 'Plant Butter'


The food processors who produce a popular brand of ‘spread’ now have come out with a product that they have misnamed ‘plant butter.’ It comes in varieties that contain olive oil or avocado oil, but the one I looked at online ALSO contained the dreaded ‘canola’ oil (a trade name for rapeseed oil) and ‘pea protein.’ 
OK, here’s the thing: I live in the dairy capital of upper Michigan, Menominee county. My home is a former dairy farm, as are the two homes nearest mine. There are several currently-working dairy farms on my road. And so I know: butter is a DAIRY product. It comes from cows’ lady parts (or goats’ lady parts or sheeps’ lady parts, or I suppose yaks’ lady parts) and there is no such thing as a ‘butter plant’ with udders you can squeeze to get ‘plant butter.’ 
It used to be that dairy farmers were more defensive of their product. They would raise a fuss if imitation soy based drink was called ‘soy milk.’ They would give out awards to local restaurants who used real butter and not margarine or spread. 
I grew up eating margarine as a kid because of our society’s fat-phobia. Now I learn that the butter-substitutes we used back then were very unhealthy— full of trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, and over-refined cheap oils. 
Now we know that healthy fats are important in the diet— see the 1957 study from Kekwick and Pawan ‘Metabolic Study in Human Obesity with Isocaloric Diets High in Fat, Protein or Carbohydrate’ in Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, a scientific journal, which shows that diets high in fat were more effective in producing weight loss. 
My answer to the ‘plant butter’ scam: eat real butter. Grass-fed butter like Kerrygold is good if you can afford it. If you are dairy-sensitive, try ghee, which is made from butter. You can make it yourself at home, and I’m planning to write a blog post about it once I try making some myself.
If you want extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil on your food, don’t buy ‘plant butter.’ You can just brush some of the actual oil over your food. You can even do this with low-carb gluten-free bread substitutes such as ‘Atkins Diet Revolution Rolls’ or one of my own recipes (I will share the latest version on this blog, soon.)

RECOMMENDED READING:
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, 2008 Reviews the science behind dietary theories like low-fat and low-carb.
Real Food Keto by Jimmy Moore & Christine Moore, NTP, 2019 Chapter 4 will educate you about fats— the good and the bad.
Ketotarian by Dr. Will Cole, 2018. If you just have to do a ‘plant based’ diet, you can still do keto. Author was a podcast co-host with Jimmy Moore.

In Search of a Few Good Keto/Low-Carb/Paleo/Carnivore Podcasts

Jimmy Moore and his fat pants
I used to listen to all of Jimmy Moore's podcasts quite often, but now that he is on hiatus, well, I still listen to HIS podcast but I'm trying to expand my list.

I'm open to any recommendation that my blog readers might have. Just add a comment to this post with a link. Any podcast that seems good-enough to be useful to others I will add to my 'podcast' blogroll. Sadly, it's hard to find podcast links that actually update properly in my blogroll, but I leave podcasts on as long as the link leads to something.

I have tried a few other podcasts such as 'Fat Burning Man' and 'Two Keto Dudes' but I'm always willing to try something new. If you yourself are a podcaster, do mention that with your link.


In Other News
I'm planning, in spite of my low-income, to get a new (or used) dishwasher to help me with my cleanup process. I'm hoping it will help me keep cooking so I can keep eating keto and improving my energy level, my blood sugars, my weight and my general health.

You may have seen that I am trying to blog more on this blog this month. If you want to encourage that, you can make a comment on this blog, and perhaps share the link to a good post on your social media. (Thank you!)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Using a George Foreman grill on Keto * Low-Carb


Let’s face it: the George Foreman table-top grill is pushing a dietary approach that is the opposite of ours: reduce fat, reduce fat, reduce fat, and ignore the harm done by carbs. But I love my George Foreman grill and use it often— to make low-carb, high-fat food!

MY GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL
There are different models of George Foreman grill. Mine is called ‘The Next Grilleration G5’ and has removable grilling plates. It also has a lever so you can change the position of the grill from tilted (so the fat drains off) to level (to keep the healthy fat you paid money for.)
It has a top plate called the Steak Plate and a bottom plate called the Grilling Plate. But you can also use a different plate called the Baking Pan to cook steaks, chops and the like without draining off the fat. Keep the Plate Position Lock Lever in the back position. 

I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO COOK MEAT
I could do a lot of cooking things— from making cookies to baking bread— but I never learned to cook steaks or chops or any kind of meat before I got my George Foreman grill. The grill’s instructions has a list of the kinds of meat, poultry, fish and other foods it can cook, the temperature (high, medium, low), and the number of minutes to cook. I always set the timer for this, so I don’t under- or overcook.  The grill cooks on both sides at the same time, so it cooks more quickly. The food is tasty, as well. 
I also use the instruction booklet when I am cooking steaks or chops in a frying pan— I use the time indicated as the time to cook on each side. 

ADDING FAT
When you are using the Baking Pan for the bottom plate, you can use avocado oil or other healthy oil on the plate to keep food from sticking and to add fat. Also you can use a fat-containing sauce or add a bit of sour cream to the finished food. 

RIBEYE STEAKS
I got some decent ribeye steaks and I marinaded it in a plastic bag with low-carb vinaigrette dressing (from 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.) I cooked them on the grill, set to High, with the Baking Pan and the Plate Position Lock Lever  in the back position. I used EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) on the grill to prevent sticking and add fat. It turned out really tasty.  I intend to cook some boneless pork chops in the same way (except the booklet recommends the Medium setting and a shorter cooking time.)

BACON
I like my bacon crisp. Not quite as crisp as my mom does, who tends to like hers a bit cremated, but still…. Bacon cooked in a pan in its own fat isn’t quick to get crisp, so I use the grill with the Grilling Plate and with the Plate Position Lock Lever to the front position and a clean drip tray in place. 
After cooking the bacon, I pour the hot or warm fat through a coffee filter into a canning jar and save the fat for various cooking uses. I’ve even made mayonnaise with bacon fat!

GRILLED ONIONS
A yellow or white onion of 2.5 inch diameter is 10 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber, so plan your portions accordingly. I slice mine about 1/4 inch thick, sprinkle it with Himalayan pink salt and/or Spike or Vegesal, Use the Baking Plate and the Plate Position Lock Lever set to the back position, and use EVOO or other healthy fat on the plate. Cook for the recommended time of 2-3 minutes on High, or go as much as 4 minutes. I used to be a big eater of onion rings, mainly because of the high carb batter, but I like these plain grilled onions very well. 

CHICKEN THIGHS
I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and actually cooked it 2 minutes beyond the 7 minutes recommended, and it still was a bit under-done. I ate it with a tablespoon of low-carb Hoisin Sauce (recipe from 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.) Heavenly, and the bone went in the freezer bag for chicken bones, to become part of some chicken bone broth some day. 
I did some searching online about cooking bone-in chicken, and the only useful suggestion I read was to beat the chicken thigh down a bit with a meat mallet. I don’t own a meat mallet, but will cover a heavy aluminum ice crusher in a plastic bag and smash the chicken with that next time.

CLEAN UP
The grill needs to be unplugged and cool down before you remove the removable plates for washing. Sadly, these plates have to be washed by hand. I use my biggest dishwashing pan and fill it with soapy water. I use the gentle sponge that came with the grill— never use scouring pads on the non-stick finish. I understand, from doing some research, that the dishwasher-safe plates meant for a newer model also fit my current grill. When I get a working dishwasher in the house, the new plates are a planned purchase.
The base of the grill must never be immersed in water. Wipe it with a soft cloth or sponge, and dry with a dry cloth. 
If you hate kitchen clean-up as much as I do, get in the habit of cleaning your grill promptly instead of letting it sit there dirty, getting harder to clean. 

Do you have a George Foreman or similar indoor grill? Have you used it for Keto * Low-Carb cooking yet? What have you cooked on it so far?