Book Review: Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1

About six months ago I read Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1 by Jennifer Eloff, Maria Emmerich, Carolyn Ketchum, Lisa Marshall, and Kent Altena.

The paleo diet is often thought of as low-carbohydrate, even though Eaton and Konner have convinced me that’s not necessarily the case.  Eaton and Konner suggest that an ancestral diet, on average, provides 35 to 40% of total calories as carbohydrate.  Compare that to the 50-55% of carb-derived calories in the Standard American Diet.  Many hard-core low-carbers restrict digestible carbs to 10 or 20% of total calories.

Old Stone Age diet followers nearly always exclude grains.  Cookbooks that exclude gluten, derived from certain grains, could appeal to paleo dieters.  In that spirit, here’s my review of Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1.  Many of these recipes use dairy products and artificial sweeteners, so if you’re eating strict pale, look for a different cookbook.

If you have a favorite pure paleo cookbook, do me a favor and tell me in the comment section.

♦   ♦   ♦

If you’re serious about low-carb eating, you’ll want this book.  Five well-known low-carb cooks and chefs present many of their best recipes in a straightforward format.  All 300+ recipes are gluten-free, wheat-free, and sugar-free.  I read through over half of the recipes and understood all the instructions; I’m confident I could make anything in this book.

Some of of the recipe ingredients will be a little hard to find. You may have to order a few of them online, and the authors tell you where to order. Unless you’re just dabbling in low-carb eating, you’ll want to stock up on some of these anyway.

I have an incurable sweet tooth.  I like to share my cooking with my wife, but she has, um, (ahem)… “gastrointestinal problems” with my usual non-caloric sweetener, Splenda.  That’s not very common, but is a well-known phenomenon.  I was glad to learn herein that erythritol is a trouble-free alternative, GI-wise.

One thing I miss about standard high-carb eating is baked sugary items like cakes and muffins.  Sure, I’ve read that if you stay away from those for four to six months, you’ll lose your desire.  Not me.  And I tried.  In my next stretch of days off, I’m making a batch of Jennifer Eloff’s Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix and spending some time in the kitchen!

Not being previously familiar with him, I was particularly impressed with Kent Altena’s background.  Starting at over 400 pounds (182+ kg), he lost over 200 pounds (91+ kg) and reenlisted in the U.S. National Guard and started running marathons (26.2 miles)!  Thank you for your service to our country, Mr. Altena.

The book is laced with commentary from low-carb proponents, including Dana Carpender, Jimmy Moore, Dr. John Briffa, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Dr. Robert Su, and me.  I am honored to have been invited.

By the way, recipe measurements are given in both U.S. customary and metric units, which non-U.S. residents will appreciate.  Serving size nutrient analysis includes digestible carb grams (aka net carbs).  All recipe carb counts are under 10 g; most are under 5 g.

If you’re tired of eating the same old things, I’m sure you’ll find many new dishes here that will become time-honored classics in your household.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Disclosure: As a supporter of low-carb eating, I contributed two pages to the book.  I did not and will not recieve any remuneration, and I purchased my own copy of the book.

PS: Recipes I want to try: Cinnamon Swirl Cookies, Green Bean and Bacon Salasd, Gingerbread Biscotti, Tuan Burgers, Blueberry Muffins, Pecan Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon Cauli-Rice, Spicy Shrimp with Avocado Dressing, 24-Hour Chili, Harvest Pancakes, Breakfast Casserole, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, Stuffed Mushrooms, Broccoli Bacon Salad, Seven Layer Salad, Sausage Quiche, Low-Carb Pancakes, Stuffed Hamburgers, Eggplant Parmeson, Flax Bread, Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix, and Mock Danish.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1

  1. Thank you for your review of Book Review: Low-Carbing Among Friends, Volume 1 – I’ll be adding it to my cookbook shelf.

    In March I purchased a copy of ‘Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan’ and have been cooking from it ever since. You won’t find the muffin and cookie recipes that you love, but there are a few dessert recipes (and the baked coconut flakes are seriously addictive). She is a genius with spices and I haven’t had a recipe go wrong yet. I brined a chicken for the first time, using her recipe, and I’ll never go back to my unbrining ways, having tasted the difference.

    Very recommended.

    • Vivian, I appreciate your mentioning “Well Fed.” That may be one of the ones I acquire. I assume each paleo cookbook follows a particular version of the paleo diet, such as Cordain’s, Sisson’s, Devany’s, Wolf’s, or whoever’s.

      -Steve

  2. Thanks for the review. This book sounds like a very worthwhile read.

    My favorite “pure Paleo”cookbook is “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso. Tons of great easy-to-prepare recipes based on Paleo/Primal principles.