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Dec 25, 2010 09:28 AM

Low-Glycemic Cooking - Please Help! (not holiday related)

Bf has an issue going on and is working with low-glycemic eating. So far it seems to be helping tremendously. The problem is that I'm running out of ideas of what to cook. I went to the library, got a g.i. cookbook and some diabetic cookbooks (diabetic cookbooks not helpful in this case) and that's somewhat helpful.

I've also been trying out vegetarian cookbooks, the joy of cooking (vegetable recipes, meat recipes) and pretty much anything I can make without carbs. But this is not just low carb eating!

Yesterday I made a portobello mushroom pizza - bland, but with work would be good, meatballs without breadcrumbs (overcooked but otherwise tasty) and broccoli with garlic and oil

My main issue is he's become seriously meat dependent which a) is bad for cholesterol and b) is getting expensive. And the second main issue is that nothing's ever filling or satisfying enough it would seem.

I still have to work with the cookbooks I have - it's only been a week, so I really shouldn't be complaining yet...but it looks like a long road ahead!

Anyone familiar with this? Anyone have thoughts? Recipes? Can send aid in the form of their personal chef? ;) lol

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. "My main issue is he's become seriously meat dependent which a) is bad for cholesterol and b) is getting expensive. And the second main issue is that nothing's ever filling or satisfying enough it would seem."
    - eggs & egg whites
    - low fat cottage cheese and Greek yogurt
    - lean chicken or turkey sausage, turkey bacon, etc.
    - bison/buffalo
    - chicken or turkey *thighs* - more flavorful than breasts
    - beans & legumes
    - nuts, seeds & nut butters
    - whole grains like pearled barley, buckwheat, quinoa and steel-cut oats

    get cooking! ;)

    seriously though, recipes for Phase One of the South Beach Diet will be suitable for him, so read through these threads and see if anything sounds good:

    oh, and Happy Holidays, old neighbor :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Also, if he likes bread, try the Food For Life and Alvarado St. Bakery low-glycemic breads. Each company makes one loaf specifically for low-glycemic needs. They are usually in the frozen or refrigerated sections of markets. Bread is a tough one to give up but these loaves make it much easier!

      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

        great call. totally forgot about those, because sprouted or not, gluten is still gluten for me!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Thanks. And, because I forgot:

          There are also sprouted grain tortillas and corn tortillas. I love the corn ones, I feel indifferent about the other ones. I think they are both from Food For Life and are both kind of tough. I like to soak the corn ones in a little lime water before warming in a pan.

          Mine always seem to get mold before I can finish them so I separate them into small batches of three and wrap them for the freezer. They last much longer that way!

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Why didn't I GHG a message to begin with?? ;)

        Thank you! Yes, cooking seems to be the name of the game now. I hadn't considered the cottage cheese, as well as the bison...thanks :)

        Also reading through the threads, some of which have some interesting recipies...

        Happy Holidays to you as well my old neighbor :) Hope you're enjoying the west coast...we are waiting for snow here and I am absolutely terrified to be heading out to the grocery store on a Sunday AND the day after Xmas AND before a snowstorm...eeeeekkkk!!! ;)

      3. Hi lovessushi! Because you haven't said what your BF's issues are, and just how low GI he's meant to eat, I'm hessitant to give advice. However, I'll say that I follow a low GI lifestyle. It began as a way to lose weight (in 2004) and I've kept at it. Let me tell you, I cook, and I eat! If weight loss isn't a concern, and he doesn't have sweet cravings, South Beach Phase 2/3 is a good place to begin your research. Phase 1 is too restrictive and not necessary. I've found the South Beach cookbooks pretty boring. It was easier for me to learn "foods to enjoy" and "foods to avoid" and incorporate them into "meals I would eat" lol I learned to listen to my body and its response to certain foods. For instance, I can eat an apple or an orange anytime, but if I have a peach, I have to have a bit of protein with it. If not, I can feel myself get shakey as my blood sugar spikes. My sister is like this with bread. She has to have peanut butter or an egg along side it. The protein slows the sugar response. I stick to whole grains, veggies, fruits, milk, cheese, and yogurt, meat, nuts, and beans.I use "good" fats like olive oil. I avoid sugar and white bread like the plague! The list of things that he will be able to eat is enormous. Don't be discouraged, get him involved in the process, and have fun with it!

        1. Without knowing what your bf's issue is, I can only try to give some fairly blind advice, but here it is.

          Barley and quinoa are both good, filling carbohydrate sources that are low on the GI scale. Quinoa is also quite high in protein, so you might be able to persuade your bf to lay off the meat a bit. Dried beans of any sort are also good options.

          You probably won't be able to make a decent low GI pizza crust, but the cheese and stuff on top of the pizza slows down the digestion of the carbs enough that there is usually no blood sugar spike. For me it's more like a slow four or so hour rise, and then a slow fall.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Euonymous

            I've been hearing lately about "glycemic LOAD vs. glycemic INDEX"--Dr. Weil recently had a video on this subject, basically saying that a meal's glycemic load might be more important than gi alone and I think that's your point Euonymous on the pizza? In other words, the pizza crust might be an issue but paired with the cheese and meat, it is less of an issue for some people anyway.
            Here's the Weil clip:

            1. re: Val

              I think this is exactly the issue and many of the things on glycemic index don't take portion size and the total meal into account. I don't think they know enough about it yet.
              I think the issues about how different fats are processed by the body are up in the air as well.

            2. re: Euonymous

              Oh, and I forgot to mention also that, oddly enough, sweet potatoes are quite low on the GI scale. Also basmati rice, plain (unsweetened) yogurt, and most types of pasta/macaroni.

              There's a good GI chart here:

            3. The old Sugar Busters books have some good recipes, too -- Sugar Busters came out after Michel Montignac's "The French Diet" and the original Atkins, but well before South Beach, and falls somewhere between Atkins and South Beach.

              The SB books are also quite good for understanding how the body uses food and how that is affected by the glycemic index -- it was written by a group of doctors, including an endocrinologist and a cardiologist - but in an easy-to-read format.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842

                Thank you everyone for all the input! This is all very helpful and gives me lots to consider and lots to read. Pretty much he's avoiding all grain carbs at this point (except, small amounts of bulgur, quinoa and other low gi grains). He doesn't want to do substitutions either - he'd rather skip the bread than eat "fake bread" as he says, and then eventually he's going to start eating those types of foods again in healthy, limited quantities.
                He's driving me crazy... ;)
                I just sat going through cookbooks for an hour, writing down ingredients, examining recipies, and looking at what everyone suggested online.
                Please keep the suggestions coming! I am heading to the grocery store now...

                1. re: lovessushi

                  Here's one that my carnivore husband likesto help you get started.
                  Bean Soup
                  1 can each: refried beans, black beans, great northern beans, chicken broth, Rotel tomatoes. This is ridiculously simple, yet filling. When time permits, I use dried beans, but get great results with canned.

                  Glad to hear he's not eliminating all grains. Lots of companies make whole grain products;they don't have to be fancy or expensive. It just needs to say 100% whole grain on the packaging. Check the ratio of sugar to fiber.And check the ingredient list to be sure it lists only whole grains. The fiber should be at least equal to or, preferably hiigher than, the sugar. 3 g fiber is the minimum in what I try to find.

                  Thomas' makes a good wrap(though it might be called a tortilla)
                  Pepperidge Farm has a delicious dark bread
                  Strohman's makes an acceptable bread, as does a store brand at Walmart. Not the highest in fiber, but acceptable.
                  Triscuit's are whole the thin crisps with hummus.

                  The important thing is to find things he likes, eat them in moderation, and pay attention to how his body reacts. The peach/protein example and the pizza one will give you an idea of how the pairing can work for some people. Best of luck!

                  1. re: lovessushi

                    from what I've read and what my doctor says, most beans are fairly low GI. Especially if they are made from the dry version, rather than canned. Many times, the more you cook or overcook something low GI, the sugars are more easily digested and so the GI value goes up.

                    One of my favorites is a white bean mash. It's just mashed beans cooked in a pan with whatever spices you like, until they are crispy on the bottom. Very tasty. I have used rosemary, or sage or whatever looks good in the market that day.

                    Also, there's a pasta on the market, called Dreamfields, which is specially formulated for low GI and net carbs. It's very tasty and is very much like regular pasta.

                    1. re: lovessushi

                      I don't know where you're located, but around here our Trader Joe's stores carry a flourless sprouted wheat bread that is NOT like "horse food" at all. It toasts beautifully, and while I'd rather have a good sourdough or rye for a ham sandwich this stuff is more than acceptable for those, too.

                  2. I eat this way and have for 2 1/2 years. First the cholesterol thing is not a concern ... not the forum to get into that, but cholesterol in your food does not equal bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, Google it.

                    As far as the expense goes, learn to love cheap protein, and buy it in bulk, you can get tilapia from Asia for $2.70 a pound at Walmart. Learn to love cheap cuts of meat, I eat whatever Publix has on sale this week.

                    Recipes don't work too good, a lot of times they call for stuff like cornstarch, really if you don't like the taste of animal flesh with a few spices thrown on it then it's not for you. Cutting out the carbs leaves you with (a) protein and (b) fat, that is all.

                    Finally if he is serious about this he should be willing to prepare his own damn meals, I sure do.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: redfish62

                      cutting out foods like pasta, potatoes and peas, doesn't just leave you with protein and fat. there are dozens of veggie options out there. the acceptable foods list for the first 2 weeks of atkins induction has over 50 vegetables on it.

                      not necessarily concerned about gi, but i have been eating low-carb for over a year. it gets easier, i swear, lol.

                      without the starchy foods, don't be afraid to add more fat to the meal, through butter, olive oil, mayo, cream or cheese. THAT will lend itself to satiety. slogging through ever more meat isn't the answer. he shouldn't be consuming more than 30% of his calories from protein.

                      as mentioned by others, eggs are very cheap and just about the perfect protein. cheaper cuts of meat, like shoulders, shanks and hocks, are long-cook times, but very hands-off and make several meals' worth. i buy chicken thighs on sale for under $1 per pound.

                      this is a low-carb site with easy dishes on it:


                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Thank you - yes, really trying to avoid as much meat.

                        Unfortunately or fortunately (and without starting up a whole argument here) I do my best to avoid factory farmed meat, which leaves me with shopping at whole foods which leaves me being very limited to how much I can buy in a week. So I like the idea about the cheaper cuts, perhaps I could make stew or something. And with the eggs he could have omlets, etc.
                        I have tried to get over my fear of fat ;) and have been adding a bit more butter and olive oil when I cook...scary, but I can do it ;)
                        It's true though, I have learned there are a LOT of things to make with vegetables!
                        Thanks again - I really like reading all the feedback - gives lots of new ideas and things to consider!

                        1. re: lovessushi

                          The fear of fat is a hard thing to overcome, I had a hard time with it, for a few days I forced myself to fry some bacon and have it as an appetizer, and then cook my dinner in the bacon grease.

                          I don't eat like that anymore, but it did get me over my fear of fat..

                          I've been pricing dutch ovens to cook cheaper cuts of meat, you can cook enough cheap beef to have some leftovers.

                          1. re: lovessushi

                            without enough fat, people die. rabbit sickness, they used to call it.

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              HOWEVER...we . are . all. different. If colon cancer runs in your family, you definitely do NOT want to be eating tons of saturated fats....yes, you do need fats...but some of us should avoid sat I love bacon fat??? Oh, yes, i do! But, my father and brother have died from colon cancer so saturated fats are to be avoided ... FOR ME...not saying it's for you! And I DO love the bacon fat on occasion, very seldomly.

                            2. re: lovessushi

                              i share your aversion to factory farming and you preference for ethically-raised protein. :) still, even as a low-carb eater, i only have about 4-6 ounces of protein at a meal. it's within the usda rec's and all that. my meals are vegetable based, really, not animal. but it's leafy greens and such. not corn, peas and butternut squash. i will eat an entire bag of spinach, or head of cauliflower, by myself, lol.

                              learn about braising, slow cooking, stews and soups. these all are better suited to cheaper, tougher cuts, that are frankly more flavorful. as a former vegetarian, once i learned about pork belly, i never looked back, lol. although i could happily tuck into a prime ribe-eye every now and then, i still am no big fan of most beef. pork butt, shoulder and ribs, lamb shank, leg and shoulder and beef short ribs do me for red meat. i love duck confit. chicken thighs are a staple. eggs, eggs, eggs. shrimp, scallops, mussels. seasonal local fish. (i am in boston.) edamame.

                              the great thing about eating like this, is that it allows you to add flavorful fats to your meal and not worry about an insulin spike and the concomitant issues. you can have butter, olive oil, nut butters, cheese and cream in sensible amounts and not worry.

                              we have been brainwashed by the usda for several decades. americans have never been fatter or suffered from more diseases related to obesity, and thus preventable. hypertension, diabetes, pcos, heart disease, etc. even gout is making a comeback.

                              exhale. research. it's awesome you're doing this for him. but also do it for yourself. i lost 25 pounds in 6 months and have never been healthier.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                hotoynoodle thanks for sharing my aversion...a lot of people seem to think I'm a bit off the wall ;) and I appreciate the lighthearted post...exhale..hmmm... ;) 25 pounds is awesome!!! Yes, I need to lose a bit of weight as well, so this is slowly becoming the new way of eating here...whew...
                                Yes, working on adding more leafy things, etc. Unfortunately he is getting tired of all the crunching and munching and green...but I am working on learning more and the library has become my new friend lol. I just took out Mark Bittman's new cookbook in the hopes that might have some new ideas.
                                Your diet sounds delicious! And with your comment about stew you remind me of a mushroom stew I found with just a bit of beef in it...I need to make that...
                                And in reference to your post below, it was difficult at the beginning, but definitely doing better at avoiding the starchy vegetables.

                              2. re: lovessushi

                                one more thing i meant to mention - if you don't already, start doing more of your shopping at Costco and/or Trader Joe's.

                                Costco sells 1-1/2 dozen cartons of Organic omega-3 enriched eggs for $4.79, huge 2-lb tubs of Fage 0% yogurt for $5.49 (they dropped the price again!), and you can't beat their prices on things like smoked salmon, organic veggies, almond butter, organic PB, huge bags of quinoa & lentils, whole-grain cereal & oats, etc.

                                TJ's has really good organic chicken (packaged breasts, tenders and thighs) for a heck of a lot less than what you'll spend at Whole Paycheck, and their nut & seed butters are are their organic eggs and their cartons of egg whites. they also have some good frozen seafood, and they sell packages of ground bison.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Yes, I love the almond butter there! And actually we just got gift cards to TJ's for the holidays so that is where we will be trying to do most of our shopping!

                                  1. re: lovessushi

                                    excellent :) i hate to buy plastic containers, but every once in a while i get the almond butter with roasted flaxseeds (red lid) because it's so good!

                                    if you need any product suggestions, or even further advice/guidance, feel free to e-mail me offline. the whole GI/GL concept is more complicated than just assigning values to foods and choosing the ones that have low #s, but i didn't want to dive into the scientific & medical implications here - it's not the place for it.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      :) I hate plastic containers too...but yes, some foods are just so worth it every so often!

                                      Thank you, as always - I will e-mail you if that's ok. I think I'm going about it in both too simplified a way and too complicated a way. And I'm not such a great cook so it's all just kind of frustrating as I'm trying to produce a great simple meal AND improve my cooking skills! lol-

                                      Thanks :)

                                      1. re: lovessushi

                               do I find your e-mail address? I don't want you to give it out on here - is it on your profile and I'm missing it?
                                        Otherwise I can give out the one I use for spam on here and then send you my regular one...

                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                          glad you caught that before my "edit" window expired so i can remove it now :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            No, no - thanks for sharing it. And I'm sorry about the nasty e-mails! Sheesh!

                              3. re: hotoynoodle

                                i'd start with pubmed. gi on things like potatoes varies greatly by prep and varietal.

                                1. re: Chowrin

                                  or you can simply avoid starchy "veg" like spuds and corn. the glycemic index is proving to be less reliable than glycemic load, which can also vary with the composition of a meal. eating an apple, vs. eating an apple with some slices of cheddar cheese has a far different effect on blood sugar.

                                  still, it's easiest to avoid super high starchy stuff like corn, peas, butternut squash and spuds.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    "eating an apple, vs. eating an apple with some slices of cheddar cheese has a far different effect on blood sugar." I remember, when we were first looking into this low-glycemic business, how shocked we were to learn that an unadorned baked potato is worse than one with butter, and that French fries are the least offensive of all, just because of fat's slowing down the carb uptake. This is of course no excuse to order fries with every burger!

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Wow...I did not know that! I have a lot to learn...hmm...fries are better, huh?... ;)