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Apr 29, 2011 07:42 PM

Help me choose a new low carb cookbook

I like to find recipes in cookbooks. Even if I don't use a recipe exactly as written I often get ideas for things to fix, or read about techniques. I've been doing low carb for about 15 months now. I have lowered my blood sugar and lost some weight. However, my cholesterol has gotten worse and my weight loss has stalled!

I need a way to cook that uses low or lower fat ingredients integrated with low carb.

Basically I need to read ways to make tasty food that don't require whipping cream or 6 eggs. I've read some reviews. Carpender has inaccuracies and her ingredient list is full of esoteric stuff; Stella uses Splenda and the wrong sort of oils and he uses high fat ingredients; the low carb book issued by Prevention isn't really low carb. Do any you have a trusted low carb cookbook, particularly that doesn't use loads of fatty ingredients?

I think I need to stress that I am not interested in beginning a new eating plan. I want to refine how I am eating now, a part of which is to eat about 15 g of "slow" carb eaten roughly every 5 hours. I feel really well on this plan, and I seem to have the energy I need to do fitness exercises.

If you know a good cookbook that would suit me, I'd love to hear about it.

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  1. The one I found helpful is this one:

    However, low carb cookbooks aren't very good since they are not written by cooks. More likely they are penned by MD's. So, I generally turn to the internet for recipes, the active low carber forums, recipes on seafood stews on epicurious or egullet or chow have served me well.

    Final word of advice would be to think of simply eating a 'normal' meal and omit the starch or 'bad' starch as it may be.

    1 Reply
    1. re: meatnveg

      I have that eat-protein-and-veggies-and-omit-the-starches thing down. I haven't had a potato, pasta or rice in around 15 months. I feel better for it. But sometimes you just want to cook something good that involves multiple ingredients. Sometimes you'd just like a nice sauce on your fish. Sometimes you'd like to make a comfort dish without carbs. Recipes help. One reason I thought I might like Carbender's stuff is she seems to be systematic about things. I want more than a book of recipes. I'll have a look at the book you found helpful.

    2. I have Fran McCullough's low carb books and a couple Atkins books and after an initial excitement and anticipation I find I rarely use any of them. I agree with meatnveg's suggestion to simply eat a normal meal and omit the bad starch.

      The problem I have with most low-carb cookbooks and a lot of low-carb recipes is where substitutes are used to create low-carb versions of typically high-carb items like baked goods, pancakes, desserts and the like and I'd rather do without than consume a poor fascimile. They all end up being poor substitutes for the real thing and I'd rather not have to purchase the substitute ingredients.

      I've found the most success trying to infuse flavor into proteins and vegetables with herbs, spices, and vinegars, and sticking with meals comprising a protein component with a vegetable or a salad. Basically meals composed of fresh ingredients. One doesn't really need a cookbook or too many recipes for that kind of a meal, once you understand the carb component of foods. Hope this is helpful to you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: janniecooks

        I don't want a lot of sweets either. I don't seem to require desserts, although a small square of dark chocolate is very satisfying sometimes. I do use Splenda and the SF coffee syrups to add some sweetness to a few foods. But what I want to do is cook a nice dish sometimes, equivalent in goodness to something I would choose to make from a normal cookbook. But without a lot of carbs.

      2. I just got the Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy cookbook. It is great, with pictures of the finished product, the ingredients in it, and a pic of something in between. There are not a bunch of ingredients I don't have in my 'arsenal' that I will never use again if I go buy them. Pretty straight forward and easy. Take a look at it at: . First cookbook I've bought that I use.I found a bunch of low carb sites, but when I read the ingredients, they were not low carb. This website definitely is low carb. Check out their forums.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nanzi

          I have many low carb cookbooks but I think the one that would be what you are looking for would be
          The Low Carb Gourmet by Karen Barnaby. She has 3 spaghetti squash recipes that sound good. It's as the title says, lots of "gourmet" but simple type recipes. Another that has amazing lc recipes is The Ultimate Low Carb Diet Cookbook by Donna Pliner Rodnitzky. Her recipes are clean, fresh and very good.

        2. Sue, I have been low-carb for 10 years now and I have never really found a cookbook that inspires me to cook from it. The problem I find with many of them is that there are a wide range of opinions on what actually constitutes a low-carb diet, and if you are eating only 45g of carbohydrate a day, you'll probably find that many "low-carb" recipes are actually too carby for you. For instance, I'm currently following the low-carb phase of the P90X diet, which for most people is very low-carb - if you read the P90X forums, people who are used to a normal diet are constantly bitching that this phase is too extreme. Please. I get to eat 100 cals of fruit, 200 cals of potato/bread/starchy veg and 100 cals of snacks (which can include more fruit or carb) EVERY DAY. It amounts to about 20% of my caloric intake - on Atkins I was eating no more than 5%, so this feels like a major vacation.

          Anyway, all of that to say, I have had the best luck creating interesting low-carb recipes by reading the Active Low Carber forums and adopting some of the creative and interesting techniques posted there, then adapting regular recipes from my favorite cookbooks using low-carb substitutions. The Atkins books can also be helpful - although the recipes seldom interest me, the techniques used to lower the carb count are often useful in other recipes. Since you are looking to avoid loads of fat, you might also consider the South Beach books - the recipes are a little higher carb, usually, but also lower fat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            I agree that some low carb recipes have too much carb for me. I'll find some low carb forums with recipes, and maybe I'll gain a few tips or techniques to satisfy my need for variety and flavor. Thanks for the recs.

          2. sue, did you see this thread from a few months ago? maybe something mentioned in it will sound good:

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Thanks for the link! The thread looks interesting.

              1. re: sueatmo

                One of the first posts in that thread recommends Kalyn's Kitchen, and I can definitely vouch for her recipes. She's got quite a collection, cooks real food, and has it organized in such a way that you can find things easily.


                Her chicken black bean cilantro soup was a regular for me a couple winters ago:


                I have the Karen Barnaby book, but honestly, haven't cooked from it a lot. (I'm a lapsed low-carber...) I *have* made her tabbouleh and it's just the thing for a hot summer day: