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Low-Carb Meals in Minutes

Book Review by Norene Gilletz

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Anyone trying to lose weight is confronted with all sorts of diet books offering advice on how to lose those unwanted pounds. Low-carb diets are all the rage, but are they safe and do they really work?

Linda Gassenheimer, the author of two best-selling low-carbohydrate cookbooks, offers up some delicious, sensible, safe solutions for effective weight-loss. Her first book, Low-Carb Meals in Minutes (Bay Books), zoomed to #1 at Amazon.com, with over 250,000 copies in print worldwide. She followed it up with a sequel, More Low-Carb Meals in Minutes (over 175,000 in print).

Low-Carb Meals in Minutes
by
Linda Gassenheimer

Bay Books

More Low-Carb Meals in Minutes
by
Linda Gassenheimer

Order Now
from
Chapters.Indigo.ca or Amazon.com

Gassenheimer explains her low-carb diet in a nutshell. "In general, cut back on the amounts of carbohydrates and eat lean proteins, monounsaturated fats (olive and canola oil), high-fiber vegetables, fruits and beans of all kinds. The emphasis is on using vegetables, lean protein and the type of carbohydrates that do not send blood sugar skyrocketing."

Gassenheimer does not recommend zero carbs. They are a very necessary part of a diet and should not be eliminated. Both books recommend an initial stage (Quick Start) with 10% of calories from carbohydrates. The second stage (Which Carbs) provides for the reintroduction of complex carbs at a level of 25% of the calories consumed. Finally, she provides a permanent lifestyle level (Right Carbs) where 40% of the calories come from carbohydrates, 30% from monounsaturated fats (olive or canola oil) and 30% from lean proteins. Each section offers nutritionally well-balanced recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

She believes that this is the best diet for people who are prediabetic or insulin resistant (also called Syndrome X). If you are an apple shape, carry your weight around your middle or have a "beer belly," then it is very likely you are insulin resistant. Her well-balanced approach presents a lifestyle that shows you how to start reintroducing the right carbs without regaining the weight loss.

Gassenheimer worked with two cardiologists, two endocrinologists and several registered dieticians to create her "no-brainer" blueprint for quick, delicious and healthful meals. The shopping lists, helpful hints and countdown are all tools to help you have a meal ready in minutes. All of the ingredients can be bought at a local supermarket and each recipe includes a nutritional analysis. She suggests complete meals so you don't have to worry about what side dishes go with what. Her meals are low in saturated fat and there are plenty of foods containing fiber from vegetables and fruit.

Although her books are not Kosher, many of the recipes can be used or adapted by the Kosher cook. Her nutritional tips, helpful hints and sensible advice will be helpful to anyone looking for ways to follow a healthy low-carb diet. Her books not only help you lose weight, but the three-step program helps you keep it off by achieving a permanent balanced eating lifestyle. Gassenheimer's recipes are inspired from flavors around the world, including Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Caribbean and North American favourites.

Here is a very simple 15-minute dinner from Low-Carb Meals in Minutes. You can use this as a blueprint to make other similar dinners. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used instead of salmon, cauliflower instead of broccoli and green beans instead of yellow. Enjoy!

ASIAN GINGER SALMON
Olive oil spray
3/4 pound salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. low-salt soy sauce
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium high and spray with olive oil. Add salmon and brown 2 minutes. Turn, salt and pepper the cooked side, then brown the second side for 2 minutes. Lower heat and sauté for 5 minutes. Combine soy sauce, water and ginger in a small bowl. Remove salmon from skillet, add soy sauce mixture to skillet and cook several seconds. Divide salmon between 2 plates and spoon sauce over salmon.

Makes 2 servings.

One serving: 310 calories, 43 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (3 g saturated), 120 mg cholesterol, 714 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.

SESAME BROCCOLI
1/4 pound broccoli florets (2 cups)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Alternatively, bring a pot of water to a boil and add broccoli. Boil 2 minutes, then drain. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high. Sauté broccoli and sesame seeds 3 to 4 minutes, or until sesame seeds are golden and broccoli is bright green, but crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the salmon.

Makes 2 servings.

One serving: 158 calories, 7 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat (2 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 79 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

YELLOW BEAN SALAD
1/2 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut in half (2 cups)
2 tbsp. no-sugar-added olive oil and vinegar dressing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Alternatively, bring a pot of water to a boil and add beans. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain. Toss cooked beans with salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

One serving: 119 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 79 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

Helpful Hints:
Broccoli and beans can be micro-waved at the same time for 3 minutes on high.
To save washing an extra pan, prepare salmon and cover with foil to keep warm. Use same skillet to sauté broccoli.

A washed, ready-to-eat salad can be substituted for one of the vegetables.

To chop fresh ginger quickly, cut it into small cubes and press through a garlic press with large holes. If using a press with small holes, just capture the juice that is squeezed out; it will give enough flavour for the recipe.

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All images and recipes © Norene Gilletz, 2002, unless otherwise noted.
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