Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Frozen Fruit Smoothie #2

 

Similar to an Icee, but healthier for you

Similar to an Icee, but healthier for you

Try this for dessert instead of calorie-laden items like pie, cake, cookies, and ice cream. Unlike this smoothie, those aren’t very nutrient-dense, either. Since I provide the nutritional analysis below, you can easily incorporate this into most diabetic diets, such as the Paleobetic Diet. Most diabetics need to limit their carbohydrate consumption. Twelve fl oz of this smoothie has almost 40 digestible carb grams, so you may need to reduce the serving size or eat few other carbohydrates with your meal.

At the Parker Compound, we mix this in a Vitamix. Other devices may work, but I’m not familiar with them.

It's all here

It’s all here

Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) frozen raspberries

1/2 cup (120 ml) frozen blueberries

1 cup (240 ml) frozen strawberries

1 frozen banana (7 inches or 18 cm), cut into 3–4 pieces

1 tbsp (13 g) chia seeds

1 handful (1/2 ounce?) raw kale

2.5 cups (590 ml) water

1 cup (240 ml) ice cubes

Instructions

First item into the Vitamix is the water, then banana, all berries, chia seeds, then top off with the ice. Start mixing on variable speed 1 then slowly increase spin rate to 10, for a total mix of 45–60 seconds. Soon after you get started you’ll probably have to use the “plunger” a few times to un-clump the top items.

Loaded and ready to spin

Loaded and ready to spin

Depending on your batch of fruits, this drink may not be as sweet as you like. You could easily sweeten it up with your favorite artificial non-caloric sweetener. I used 1.5 tsp (7.5 ml) of Truvia to good effect, just thrown in with every thing else before or after the primary mix. Or you could use table sugar, about 4 tsp (20 ml), instead of the Truvia. Most of us eat too much sugar. If you go the sugar route, you’ll increase the calories per serving by 15, and increase carbohydrate grams by 4 per serving.

My able assistant wields the plunger

My able assistant wields the plunger

Number of Servings: 3.5 servings of 12 fl oz (350 ml) each

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 and 1/2 fruits

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

7% fat

90% carbohydrate

3% protein

190 calories

46 g carbohydrate

7 g fiber

39 g digestible carbohydrate

5 mg sodium

290 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in vitamin C, fair amount of fiber, homeopathic amounts of sodium

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I credit my wife with this recipe.

 

What’s Your Favorite Paleo Diet Cookbook?

Would you help me out and tell me your favorite paleo diet cookbooks, and perhaps why? My patients are asking me for paleo diet recipes, and I need more sources. 

Ideally, I’d like authors who avoid or minimize use of dairy products, legumes, grains, and industrial seed oils. My favorite version of paleo is Loren Cordain’s. Let’s also minimize hard-to-find or esoteric ingredients. I don’t care whether or not the beef is pastured or if the chickens are free-range happy ones. Prep time under 30 minutes is always appreciated. I would love to have basic nutritional analysis such as digestible (net) carb grams, calories per serving, and percentage of calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrate.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to do the nutritional analyses myself, as I have with my Paleobetic Diet recipes.

Here’s one that I haven’t read yet but have great expectations that it’s good: 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpenter. I’ve read several of her non-paleo low-carb cookbooks and they’re good. Her 500 Paleo Recipes book provided some basic nutritional analysis for each recipe, including carbohydrate grams, which is critical if you have diabetes.

Dr. Cordain has a new cookbook being released in March, 2015. Does his 2011 collaboration with Nell Stephenson provide nutritional analysis (unlikely)?

Some books and authors for your consideration: Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Cookbook, something from the Hartwigs, Robb Wolf, Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo,  Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed, Diane Sanfilippo, Nom Nom Paleo by Tam and Fong, and Paul Jaminet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

Recipe: Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

A while back I posted a meal recipe for Bacon Brussels Sprouts to accompany Brian Burgers. To make it a little more convenient, I’ve substituted off-the-shelf real bacon bits instead of frying my own bacon. I traded olive oil for the bacon grease. The two versions taste very similar.

 

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

It took me 10 minutes of chopping to shred the sprouts

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 g) Brussels sprouts, raw, shredded (slice off and discard the bases first)

4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsp (75 ml or 35 g real bacon bits or crumbles (e.g., by Hormel or Oscar Mayer)

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

1/8 (0.6 ml) tsp salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) ground black pepper

3 tbsp (45 ml) water

Instructions:

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Steaming in progress

You’ll be steaming this in a pan with a lid. Put the garlic and olive oil in a pan and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes to release the flavor of the garlic. Add the water to the pan and let it warm up for a half a minute or so on medium-high heat. Then add the shredded sprouts and cover with the lid. After a minute on this medium-high heat, turn it down to medium. The sprouts will have to cook for only 4–6 minutes. Every minute, shake the pan to keep contents from sticking. You might need to remove the lid and stir with a spoon once, but that lets ourtyour steam and may prolong cooking time. The sprouts are soft when done. Then remove from heat, add the bacon bits, salt, and pepper, then mix thoroughly.

When time allows, I’d like to experiment with this by leaving out the bacon and using various spices instead. Do you know what goes well with Brussels sprouts?

Number of Servings: 3 (1 cup or 240 ml each)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

71% fat

19% carbohydrate

10% protein

270 calories

14 g carbohydrate

6 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

328 mg sodium

646 mg potassium

Prominent feature: High in vitamin C (over 10o% of your RDA)

diabetic diet, low-carb diet, paleobetic diet

Brian burger and bacon Brussels sprouts

Recipe: Baked Glazed Salmon and Herbed Spaghetti Squash

This is a paleo-friendly modification of a meal in my Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes book. It makes two servings.

Ingredients:

16 oz (450 g) salmon filets

4.5 garlic cloves

7 tsp (34.5 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1.5 fl oz (45 ml) white wine

4.5 tsp (22 ml) mustard

4 tbsp (60 ml) vinegar, either cider or white wine (balsamic vinegar would add 6 g of carbohydrate to each serving)

2 tsp (10 ml) honey

1.5 tbsp (15 ml) fresh chopped oregano (or 1 tsp (5 ml) of dried organo)

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

0.5 tsp (2.5 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) black pepper, or to taste

Instructions:

Start on the herbed squash first since it may take 30 to 70 minutes to cook. Click  for instructions on cooking spaghetti squash unless you have some leftover in the fridge. To two cups of the cooked squash, add 4 tsp (20 ml) of the olive oil, all the fresh chopped parsley, a half clove of minced garlic, 1/3 tsp (1.6 ml) of the salt, and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) of black pepper, then mix thoroughly. The herbed squash is done. It could be difficult to time perfectly with the fish even if you have two ovens. But it’s tasty whether warm, room temperature, or cold. If you want it warm but it’s cooled down before the fish is ready, just microwave it briefly.

Onward to the fish. Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C). Line a baking sheet or pan (8″ or 20 cm) with aluminum foil. Lightly salt and pepper the fish in the lined pan, with the skin side down.

Now the glaze. Sauté four cloves of minced garlic with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for about three minutes, until it’s soft. Then add and mix the white wine, mustard, vinegar, honey, and 1/8 tsp (0.625 ml) of salt. Simmer uncovered over low or medium heat until slightly thickened, about there minutes. Remove glaze from heat and spoon about half of it into a separate container for later use.

Drizzle and brush the salmon in the pan with the glaze left in the saucepan. Sprinkle the oregano on tip.

Bake the fish in the oven for about 10–13 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Cooking time depends on your oven and thickness of the fish. Overcooking the fish will toughen it and dry it out. When done, use a turner to transfer the fish to plates, leaving the skin on the foil if able. Drizzle the glaze from the separate container over the filets with a spoon, or brush it on. Don’t use the unwashed brush you used earlier on the raw fish.

Servings: 2

Nutritional Analysis:

50% fat

13% carbohydrate

37% protein

600 calories

21 g carbohydrate

3 g fiber

18 g digestible carbohydrate

1,150 mg sodium

1,277 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and selenium

Recipe: Brian Burgers With Bacon Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Pistachios

diabetic diet, low-carb diet, paleobetic diet

Brian burger and bacon Brussels sprouts

Here’s another meal recipe from my stepson. This makes three servings. You’ll want to make the Bacon Brussels Sprouts to serve with other meals, so I’ve provided an additional nutritional analysis for those alone.

Ingredients:

13 oz (370 g) ground beef, 85% lean

1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) Tessemae’s All Natural Dressing-Marinade-Dip “Southwest Ranch,” or A1 Steak Sauce or balsamic vinaigrette or AMD vinaigrette (Brian recommends the Tessemae’s Dressing)

1.7 oz (50 g) onion, diced coarse or fine

1 garlic clove, diced

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) paprika

1–2 pinches of salt (pinch = 1/16 tsp)

pepper to taste (a pinch or 2?)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) dried rosemary, crumbled or crushed

1/2 large egg, whisked to blend white and yolk

3 oz (85 g) lettuce

1 lb (450 g) Brussels sprouts (cut and discard bases if desired, probably doesn’t matter),   shredded

8 oz (225 g) bacon (6.5 regular (not thick) 8-inch strips), diced

3 tbsp (45 ml) water

1.5 large tomatoes, sliced

4.5 oz pistachio nuts

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Prepping the bacon; use a sharp knife

Instructions:

First cook the bacon in a pan over medium–high heat until done. Don’t discard the grease.

Next do your Brussels sprouts prep (shredding). It will take a few minutes to shred it with a knife. Set those aside.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian slaving away. Thanks, dude!

Start on the burgers now. Place the ground beef in a bowl then add your chosen sauce or vinaigrette, onion, egg, garlic, paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand. Divide the mess into three patties of equal size. Fry or grill over medium heat until done, about 10 minutes.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Steaming in progress

As soon as the burgers are plopped on the heat, start steaming the shredded sprouts thusly. Take a pan with a lid, add 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the bacon grease and the 3 tbsp of water, then heat that up for a minute or two over medium to high heat. Then throw in the shredded sprouts, salt and pepper to taste (probably unnecessary), and cover with a lid. Immediately reduce heat to medium and cook for 4–6 minutes. The sprouts will soften up as they cook. Gently shake the pot every minute while steaming to prevent contents from sticking to the pan. If necessary, remove the lid and stir while cooking, but this may increase your cooking time since you release hot steam whenever you remove the lid. When the sprouts are done, remove from heat and add the remaining bacon and bacon grease, then blend.

Bacon has been added and blended after the sprouts are cooked

Bacon has been added and blended in after the sprouts are cooked

Serve the burger on a bed of lettuce (1 0z). Enjoy tomato and pistachios on the side. Serving sizes are below.

Number of Servings: 3 (one burger patty, 1 oz (30 g) lettuce, 1 cup (240 ml) of sprouts, 1/2 tomato or a third of all the slices, 1.5 oz (40 g) pistachio nuts)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

58% fat

17% carbohydrate

25% protein

740 calories

32 g carbohydrate

12 g fiber

20 g digestible carbohydrate

827 mg sodium

1,802 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in fiber, protein, vitamin B6, B12, C, copper, iron, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

Nutritional Analysis for Bacon Brussels Sprouts: (1 cup, no added salt):

47% fat

28% carbohydrate

26% protein

180 calories

14 g carbohydrate

6 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

530 mg sodium

709 mg potassium

Prominent features: mucho vitamin C.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian likes his burger wrapped in 2 oz of lettuce

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, and Tangerine

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet

Slow-cooker chicken and roasted veggies

Guess the percentage of light versus dark meat in a chicken.

It’s 50:50. Along with the breasts, the wings are considered light or white meat.

Guess how much meat and skin you have left after you cook and debone a whole chicken. No peaking.

About half the raw weight you started out with. Not counting the giblets you feed to the coyotes.

The nutritional analysis of this meal (see below) assumes that you eat the chicken skin and the onion on the bottom of the slow-cooker (sometimes called a Crock♦Pot although that’s a registered trademark). Much of the chicken fat will stay in the bottom of the slow-cooker after you remove the chicken and onion. Now you’ve got chicken stock to use in other recipes.

diabetic diet, low-carb, Paleobetic diet

Meal prep: zucchini and broccoli

Ingredients:

1 whole young chicken, about 5 lb (2.3 kg) raw gross weight

1 medium onion, 6.5 oz (185 g), peeled and cut into 1-cm thick discs or circles

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

5 garlic cloves

5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, about 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) (or a third of that if using dried thyme—I’ve read that dried thyme is better to add early in the cooking process whereas fresh may be best if added toward the end)

3/4 tsp (3.7 ml) fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)

3/4 tsp (3.7 ml) salt (or to taste)

1/2 tbsp (7.4 ml) fresh or dried rosemary

2 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped

8 oz (240 ml) canned chicken broth

1.5 cups (360 ml) broccoli florets (aka flowerets)

3 zucchini squashes (6.5 oz or 185 g each), cut into 1/2-inch or 1-cm discs

5.5 oz (155 g) fresh carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tsp (10 ml) lemon juice

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) lemon zest (optional)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) pepper flakes (do you have a left-over packet from your old pizza-eating days?)

5 medium (2 and 3/8 inch or 6-cm diameter) tangerines

low-carb, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet

Slow-cooker loaded and just about ready to fire up

Instructions:

First, the slow-cooker chicken. This cooks for eight hours, so you’ll want to start in the morning. Place the cut onion in the bottom of the cooker. Do what you want with the chicken giblets (neck, liver, heart, gizzard), even eat them after cooking. The coyotes don’t care if cooked or not. Rub 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the olive oil onto the top of the chicken, then place in the cooker on the bed of onion. Cut three of the garlic cloves into thirds and drop into the cooker. Add the chicken broth to the cooker. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top of the chicken, along with 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) of black pepper and 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) salt. Sprinkle the rosemary and parsley into the cooker. Close the lid and cook on low heat for eight hours.

At the base of the slow-cooker

At the base of the slow-cooker

Now the roasted vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 ºF or 200 ºC. In a large baking dish or sheet, place the broccoli, zucchini, carrots, 2 minced garlic cloves, the lemon juice and zest, the pepper flakes, 1/2  tsp salt (2.5 ml) , 1/2 tsp pepper (2.5 ml), and 2 tbsp olive oil (30 ml). Mix thoroughly. You could do the mixing in a bowl if you wish, then transfer to a cooking sheet. You want these cooking as a thin layer rather than bunched on top of each other. Place in oven and cook for 15–20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your veggies. The carrots will always end up firmer than the others.

Enjoy a tangerine for desert.

low-carb, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet

Next step is the oven

low-carb, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet

Eight hours later…

Servings: 5 (a serving is 7 oz of chicken (with skin), 1 cup of veggies, and 1 tangerine)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving: 

49% fat

13% carb

38% protein

692 calories

24 g carbohydrate

5 g fiber

19 g digestible carbs

1,409 mg sodium

1,132 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin A, B6, C, iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, low-carb

Here’s all of it except the tangerines. To do my nutritional analysis, I had to debone the bird and weigh the meat and skin.

Recipe: Sunny’s Super Salad

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, diabetes,

You won’t be able to eat this in one sitting if you’re small or sedentary

This huge salad is a full meal. It fills a 10-inch plate (25 cm). Since it contains five vegetables, you should feel virtuous eating it. Who says the paleo diet’s all about meat?

Ingredients:

8 oz (230 g) raw chicken breast tenderloin (it cooks down to 5 oz)

1/4 cup (60 ml) canned mandarin orange wedges (6-7 wedges) (if you can only find these packed in syrup or light syrup, add 3 g to the digestible carb count below)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) lemon pepper seasoning

4 oz (110 g) hearts of romaine lettuce

1 oz (30 g) baby spinach

2.5 oz (1/4 cucumber or 70 g) cucumber, peeled and sliced into discs

2 oz (60 g) California avocado, peeled and seeded, cut into wedges (1/2 of standard-sized avocado)

3 oz (85 g) fresh tomato (a typical roma or small tomato)

1 oz (30 g) walnuts

6 tbsp (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) vinegar (we used balsamic)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) crushed dried rosemary

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, low-carb, seasoning

Like Deborah on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” my wife often makes lemon chicken

Instructions:

First cook the chicken breast over medium heat in a skillet. If you think the meat will stick to the pan, add a smidgen (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml) of olive oil to the pan. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. It’ll take five or 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, prepare your vinaigrette. In a jar with a lid, place the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary, then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Not 21 or you’ll ruin it. You’re done.

If you use a commercial vinaigrette instead, use one that has no more than 2 g of carbohydrate per 2 tbsp. You may have trouble finding that since so many of the commercial guys add sugar.

Place the lettuce and spinach on a plate then add the cucumber, avocado, tomato, cooked chicken, walnuts, and mandarin orange wedges on top. Drizzle two or three tbsp of the vinaigrette over it (nutritional analysis assumes three). Enjoy.

Servings: 1

(Actually, you’ll have enough vinaigrette left over for one or two more salads or vegetable servings. Save it in the refrigerator.)

Nutritional Analysis:

57 % fat

12 % carbohydrate

31 % protein

710 calories

25 g carbohydrate

10 g fiber

15 g digestible carb

990 mg sodium

1,570 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin A, B6, C, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, selenium, and phosphorus.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, balsamic vinaigrette,

I like this and use it. The lower left corner says “with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.” In order, the listed ingredients are water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil, sugar….  2 tbsp has 3 grams of carb. Which oil would you guess predominates? BTW, balsamic has the most carbs of all the vinegars.

Recipe: Beef Soup, Roasted Asparagus, and Blackberries

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

Dinner time!

The entree is a cross between stew and soup; stoup, if you will.

Ingredients:

2 lb (0.9 kg) stew meat, lean, bite-sized chunks (tenderized by the butcher if able)

1 garlic clove, finely minced

6 sprigs cilantro, de-stemmed, whole leaves

2 oz (58 g) sweet onion, diced (1/2 of a small onion)

1/4 of a medium-size green bell pepper, de-seeded, diced (medium bell pepper weighs about 5.5 oz or 155 g)

8 oz (227 g) canned tomato sauce

2.5 cups (590 ml) water

1.25 tsp (6.2 ml) table salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste (1/4 tsp or 1.2 ml?)

16 oz (454 g) fresh raw asparagus, no larger in diameter than your little finger, with any dry or woody stalk cut off and discarded

1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

7.5 oz (213 g) raw blackberries

Instructions:

Stoup first. In a frying pan or electric skillet, place the stew meat, cilantro, garlic, bell pepper, onion, and cook over medium heat (350º F or 177º C) until the meat is done. Then add the tomato sauce, two cups of the water, one tsp of the salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for two hours, then add a half cup water to replace evaporation loss.

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

Cooking stew meat. NOTE: this is double the amount the recipe calls for.

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet

Meat is done and the “gravy” has magically appeared

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleobetic diet

Appearance after addition of the tomato sauce and 2 cups water

Now the asparagus. Preheat oven to 400º F or 204º C. Place asparagus on a cooking sheet covered with foil, brush the asparagus with the olive oil, then lightly salt (1/4 tsp?) and pepper to taste. (If you don’t mind cleaning up, just use a baking dish without the foil.) Roast in oven for 8–15 minutes; thicker asparagus takes longer. It’s hard to tell when it’s done just by looking; if it’s still hard, it’s not done. Click for another post I wrote on cooking asparagus and brussels sprouts.

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet

Asparagus roasted at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes

Enjoy the berries for desert.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleobetic diet

2.5 oz or 1/2 cup of blackberries

Servings: 3 [one serving is 1.5 cups (355 ml) of soup, a third of the asparagus (5 oz (140 g), and 2.5 oz (70 g) berries]

Nutritional Analysis:

40 % fat

12 % carbohydrate

48 % protein

590 calories

19 g carbohydrate

8.5 g fiber

10.5 g digestible carb

1,557 mg sodium

1,778 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, B6, B12, copper, iron, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

The fresh cilantro is a nice touch

Paleobetic Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Wait, what?

paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, low-carb diet, spaghetti squash, spaghetti

Meaty low-carb spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash

Yeah, I know. Spaghetti’s not paleo.

But this one is. Recently here we’ve looked at low-carb spaghetti sauce and cooking spaghetti squash. It’s not too much of a stretch to put them together and call it spaghetti. No grain-based pasta here!

paleobetic diet, spaghetti, squash, low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleo diet

Cooked spaghetti squash partially teased apart with a fork

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (240 ml) low-carb spaghetti sauce

2 cups (480 ml) cooked spaghetti squash

Instructions:

Prepare the ingredients after clicking on links above. Assemble as in the photo. Enjoy.

Number of Servings: 1

Nutritional Analysis: 

52% fat

33% carbohydrate

15% protein

408 calories

36 g carbohydrate

7 g fiber

29 g digestible carbohydrate

1,398 mg sodium

1,201 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in B12, copper, iron, niacin, thiamin, B6

Discussion

With the Paleobetic Diet, I strive to limit mealtime digestible carbohydrates to 20 g or less. This meal has 29 g and the calories are on the low end (408) for larger and more active folks. What gives?

Making a wholesale switch from the Standard American Diet to the paleo diet ican be difficult for some under the best of circumstances. For those used to eating carb-heavy pasta, I thought it might be comforting to offer something similar but with a lower carb count. Hence, spaghetti pasta. The tomatoes in the sauce are an additional source of blood glucose-elevating carbohydrates. So I’ve tried to minimize them by creating a meat-heavy sauce. Nevertheless, a reasonable portion size tipped me over the 20 gram carb limit. In contrast, a single cup of cooked spaghetti pasta by itself has 40 grams of digestible carbohydrate and 220 calories.

I think you’ll find the two cups of spaghetti squash filling and satisfying. If that’s not enough calories for you, munch on some leftover high-protein food such as chicken or steak.

Recipes: Spaghetti Squash

low-carb diet, spaghetti squash, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

The smallish yellow spaghetti squash is at the top. It’s related to pumpkins and zucchini.

It’s hard to give up pasta. Many diabetics who don’t notice that their blood sugar levels spike too high when they eat pasta. What’s too high? In general, I’d say over 150 mg/dl (8.33 mmol/l) measured one hour after a meal, or over 130 mg/dl (7.22 mmol/l) two hours after the meal.

Other experts disagree and propose other numbers.

An alternative to spaghetti pasta that shouldn’t raise blood glucose levels as high is spaghetti squash. It’s all about the carbohydrates. A cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 10 g of carb; a cup of cooked spaghetti has 43 g. The fiber grams are about the same. Numbers are from FitDay.com.

Spaghetti squash is a classic low-carb vegetable. If you’ve never tried it, you should. As vegetables go, it’s one of the largest, heaviest, and most interesting to prepare. Easy, too. The spaghetti squash season is autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere. Purchasing in spring and summer may be iffy.

In my part of the world, supermarket spaghetti squashes weigh between two and five pounds. We cooked a three-pounder (1.4 kg) that yielded five cups; a five-pounder (2.3 kg) gave us 12 cups. A serving size is one, maybe two cups. What you don’t eat immediately stays fresh in the refrigerator for at least several days. Re-heat by microwaving or stir-frying.

Like pasta and potatoes, the squash by itself is bland. It’s a great substrate for sauces or seasonings.

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, spaghetti squash

Raw squash cut in half lengthwise

Here’s how we cook it at the Parker Compound. Preheat the oven to 375º F 0r 190º C. Very carefully slice the squash in half lengthwise. Spoon out and discard the guts (seeds and membranes like a pumpkin; it even smells like a pumpkin). Put the halves flat-side down in a pan, then add a half inch (1.3 cm) of water to the pan. Cover with foil and bake until the outer shell (rind) is fairly easily pierced with a paring knife. This will be about 45 minutes for a two-pound squash (0.9 kg); 90 minutes for a four-plus pounder (2.3+ kg). Then turn them over, re-cover with foil, and cook 15 minutes more, until very tender. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Then use a fork to pull the strands away from the rind.

Other cooks simplify the process and just place the squash halves flat-side down on a baking sheet and cook for 30-60 minutes. Some leave the seeds in while cooking and spoon them out just before the stranding step.

Now what?

You got options.

Our first experiment was with l0w-carb spaghetti sauce.

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet, spaghetti squash

Low-carb spaghetti

Next we took three cups squash (710 ml) and mixed in 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, 2.5 tbsp (37 ml) chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) minced fresh garlic, 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt, and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) black pepper.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleobetic diet

Seasoned with parsley, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper

Finally, we took a cup (240 ml) of the squash and added minced celery (4 inches or 10 cm of stalk), 3 minced black olives, 5/8 oz (18 g) of minced sweet (bell) pepper, 1/2 clove of minced garlic, salt (a dash), and pepper to taste.

paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, low-carb diet, spaghetti squash

Seasoned with sweet peppers, black olives, garlic, celery, and salt

These last two options I consider side dishes. By the way, they taste good either cold or warm. They would go well with a number of entrees, such as steak or salmon.

I’ve read that this squash is good with pesto, or just with salt and (non-paleo) butter.

Nutrition facts from FitDay.com:

One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 75 calories (I’ve seen 42 elsewhere), 10 g of carbohydrate, 2 g of fiber, 8 g of digestible carb, 4 g of fat (predominantly MUFA), minimal protein, and a fair amount of vitamins A, niacin, B6, and C. Plus 8% of your RDA for manganese.