On Monday I got a phone call which made me feel like a bit of a failure.
It was from my doctor saying they had the results of a recent test and that I basically have gestational diabetes.
My mind was screaming…
“That can’t be right… I eat so well. There must be a mistake.”
But the results were there.
You know the ironic thing??
I was already planning to write this week about eating low carb. I had a request from a Stonesoup reader which went something like this…
“I am supposed to eat a gluten free diet also no carbohydrates (according to Quack ). Because of blood problem.
How to get a list of food that is free of above. I am old so not too smart with these things.”
Weird coincidence, right?
Anyway now I’m used to the idea, you’ll be happy to know I don’t feel like a ‘failure’ any more. I’m actually looking forward to learning what I can about the whole diabetes, insulin, blood sugar and diet puzzle.
And finding ways to improve my diet. After all I’m far from perfect!
My 3 Favourite Ways To Eat Low Carb
1. Swap grains for veggies (and legumes).
For most of us the biggest source of carbs in our diets comes from grain based products like breakfast cereals, bread, pasta and rice. About 5 years ago I started experimenting with reducing and even eliminating grains from my diet and I can easily say it’s had the biggest positive impact on my waistline.
These days I have eggs and some sort of vegetable for breakfast instead of a bowl of All Bran. For lunches my go-tos are salads, soups or leftovers instead of a sandwich.
Then for dinners my fave substitutes for grains are to use vegetable ‘noodles’ made from zucchini or carrots instead of pasta or rice noodles. I also love cauliflower ‘rice’ (raw grated cauli) instead of steamed rice. Or sometimes I’ll just serve my stir fry, curry or ragu on a big bed of baby spinach instead of rice or pasta.
For wrapping things I love iceberg lettuce leaves or (my latest discovery) cabbage leaves instead of tortillas or flat bread.
The possibilities are endless but best of all I never feel like I’m missing out.
2. Choose savoury over sweet.
Sweet treats are the other big source of carbs. So there’s a big opportunity to go for a handful of nuts over a cookie at snack time and a cheese plate instead of dessert.
3. Focus on real food. Not ‘low carb alternatives’
If you switch to processed packaged foods labelled with ‘low carb’ you’re really just swapping one problem for another. And usually paying a premium in the process.
Real food with lots of veggies is the way forward.
How about you?
Got any tips for eating low carb? Or are you a confirmed carb lover? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…
Asian Beef & Zucchini ‘Noodles’
I took this photo a while ago before I invested in a spiralizer. So the ‘noodles’ in the picture were made using my mandoline to slice the zucchini into fine strips and then hand sliced into thinner noodles. While that method is good, I have to say the look and feel you get from the spiralizer is so much better! More on that soon. But if you don’t have either, no stress – see the variations below for suggestions.
enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes
2 medium zucchini
2-4 red chillies, sliced
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
1. Remove steaks from the fridge (up to an hour ahead).
2. Wash zucchini and slice into ‘noodles’ either using a mandoline or spiralizer. Sprinkle with a little salt and stand at room temp to soften.
3. Heat a frying pan on a very high heat. Scatter a very fine layer of salt over the bottom of the pan and add the steaks.
4. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side for medium rare (or 3-4 minutes for medium) or until cooked to your liking.
5. Remove steaks and place on 2 warm plates. Carefully wipe out the excess salt from the hot pan.
6. Add zucchini ‘noodles’ and chilli to the hot pan without returning it to the heat. Allow the noodles to warm through then add the soy sauce. Taste and add more soy as needed. If you want the noodles hotter, pop the pan back on the heat but I find there’s usually enough residual heat to get things warm enough.
7. Spoon zucchini, chilli and sauce over the steaks and serve hot.
no mandoloine / spiralizer – either slice the zucchini by hand as finely as you can or use a vegetable peeler.
budget – replace steak with minced (ground) meat. Just brown it in a little oil (without the salt crust) then toss in the zucchini, chilli and soy.
vegetarian – replace steaks with cooked white or black beans. Just warm everything in the pan.
more veg – feel free to use more zucchini or add other ‘noodle’ veg such as carrots and/or red peppers. Some fresh herbs like mint or coriander (cilantro) would also be lovely.
paleo / soy-free – use fish or oyster sauce instead of the soy or replace with coconut aminos.
carb-lovers / more substantial – serve with steamed rice OR toss cooked rice, singapore or hokkien noodles in with the zucchini.