Saturday, 9 January 2016

Filling low carb Meatballs:

The other day after a tough run I wanted a big meal that was going to give me a lot of calories. We wondered round the supermarket and I felt like meatballs, we got the better quality stuff so they were only around 5g of carbs for 10 meatballs! Of course this did not make a meal so I quickly put together the following, it was nice enough for me to want to post though sadly I ate it all without taking any pictures! 

400g (I think) good quality meatballs 
2 onions 
1 pepper
100g mushrooms 
1 tin chopped tomatoes 
4 rashers bacon
cheese to go on top grated
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp cumin 
1 tsp mixed herbs
Butter or olive oil

1) Brown meatballs in a hot pan in either the butter or oil
2) When all sides are browned add the onions, mustrooms and peppers and fry into slightly softened. 
3) Add the chopped tomatoes and spices and leave to simmer (around 15 minutes) on a medium heat. 
4) Fry the bacon in butter on a high heat until crispy. 
5) Add the herbs and stir in then add the bacon and cheese onto the top of the meatballs and leave for a minute or so until the cheese has melted. 
6) Serve and enjoy. 

The meal certainly filled me up after a 16 mile run and the spices and herbs were enough to give a little extra flavour but not too much. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Low carb energy:

This is something I have mentioned before and something that I feel I should mention again and that is the amount of energy you have when you are living a low-carb lifestyle. The first few weeks might be tough but once you have you electrolytes stabilised and you have fully adapted to burning fat as you main energy source you feel so much better. 

I have mainly experienced this from a running point of view. This post is sparked by me doing a 16.2 mile run at the weekend. Nothing crazy about that as I have been gradually building distance and I took it steady but what most longer distance runners will find different is that I did it on no breakfast, no snacks, no gels, no jelly babies and finished with my fast 3 miles and energy was not a problem. 

Your body, even if you are as amazingly fit and healthy as Katie and I, stores a vast number of calories as fat and so you have a huge resource to use and are extremely unlikely to suffer from energy being your problem on a day to day basis or when running. The key things I would say are keep your salt levels up (I had some salty stock before heading out) and stay hydrated (though I admit I only had around 100ml of drink during the entire run). 

The energy we have is one of the many health benefits we have discovered and one of the many reasons we will not be reverting back to a "normal" high carbohydrate diet. For us at least this lifestyle is extremely healthy, easy and just right and I suspect that many people would feel the same way if they just tried it and stuck to it for 3 months. You forget your sugar craving and you can forget about starving yourself to lose weight. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Prof Tim Noakes - Marathon Talk

Something that combined 2 of my favourite subjects, low-carb high fat and running. Today I listened (not for the first time, yes I am that interested) to an interview conducted on marathon talk with Prof Tim Noakes the author of Lore of Running and the Real Meal Revolution. For those interested look up and download episode 142 of marathon talk, a fantastic show that I listen to every week but this is one of my favourite interviews in which he is actually talking about the research he is doing for The Real Meal Revolution. 

On the show he notes that he has done significant research and read many books and articles and in none of them does the high fat low carb diet come out worse. I don't want to go into detail but I do think that the interview is worth a listen to for most people and not just runners. He mentions the ease of maintaining weight, not getting hungry, sugar addiction and some of the science. 

I am convinced that 75% of people will be better off on a low-carb diet. The science and the research is fairly sound and if LCHF had the same monetary backing as high carb low fat you do wonder if the debate would be over, anyway imagine that it was over and we are told that LCHF is healthy....

For me I have heard several people that say they want to try this life-style recently and because of what Katie and I have done they think it is healthy in both the long and short term. Most of these people (with one notable exception and well done to that person) have not started the life-style and the problem is having the will and determination to start. Once you have started and gotten yourself off the sugar addiction it is easy. True it is easier for Katie and I as we don't have an obsession with drinking which many people seem to, really don't get it as it is so much more fun to not drink! 

This life-style is not something to dip your toe into you need to try it properly for a few weeks and see what happens. Give it a go and commit and you can literally change your life. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

Homemade Yoghurt

For a long time on this diet we didn't think we could have yoghurt because most of the varieties the supermarkets sell are too high in carbs, mostly because they're focused at low fat so increase the sugar. But recently we thought about it and decided to try making our own so we knew exactly what was in it and could control this. We already had a yoghurt maker so we dug that out and started using it. As a side note our yoghurt maker is just the basic one from Lakeland and is just designed to hold the yoghurt at around 40-47oC so it can ferment. 
Yoghurt Maker from Lakeland
We had a few failed attempts with the yoghurt and couldn't really work out what was going wrong. We started off using fresh whole milk with a new starter culture and we were finding that the culture was splitting and curdling, almost like it was getting too hot. We did get one mixture to work and we worked out we were leaving it too long and the milk was getting over hot. 

Previously when we made yoghurt we used UHT milk so we decided to give this a go and see how successful it was. Turns out this is the key to the yoghurt and it has worked every time since. We also add a spoonful of dried milk powder to make our milk slightly thicker. At the moment this is skimmed as that's all the supermarket had but we intend on upgrading this to whole when we need more. 

Once the milk is finished we also strain it through a cheese cloth for a couple of hours, it doesn't take long, to remove the whey and make the mixture thicker. I actually prefer the yoghurt this way as it's thicker and creamer but it also had the bonus of removing more carbs from the yoghurt in the whey. 

1 litre UHT Whole Milk
1 tbsp Dried Milk Powder
1 tbsp of live yoghurt. we used a starter sachet the first time which we purchased from Amazon but now we use a tbsp of the previous yoghurt. You can just purchase any natural live bio yoghurt from the supermarket and use this as a starter as well. 

Put all the ingredients in the yoghurt maker and mix well. Leave it for at least 8 hours, we tend to leave ours overnight so it gets closer to 10. The longer you leave it the tarter the flavour but also the fewer carbs in the yoghurt. It's generally accepted that this has reached it's end by around 12 hours. 

Once the yoghurt is completed we put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to stop the fermentation. Then I strain it using a cheese cloth over a sieve. The yoghurt will last in the fridge for up to a week, if you haven't eaten it by then. The fresher the yoghurt the better it'll be as a starter for the next mixture. You can freeze the yoghurt you need for next time and then use this when you want another batch. We haven't personally tried this becasue we are making yoghurt regularly enough at the moment for it not to be an issue. 

There isn't really clear information about how much carbs are in yoghurt, especially homemade because of the way it is made. The bacteria that turn milk into yoghurt feed on the lactose in the milk, lactose is the source of carbs. The longer the bacteria is active the more lactose it uses and therefore the fewer the carbs. It is estimated that the maximum amount of carbs remaining is 70% of the total but in the case of homemade yoghurt it is estimated to be much lower. Also, as I stated earlier, the whey contains carbs that we have strained off, but again we don't know precisely how much. So if you start with 4.7g per 100ml (which is what our milk carton states) you will have reduced this to at least 3g in the fermentation (probably much more) and also the straining. So the resulting yoghurt is low carb, just don't have too much of it!!! 

I hope you have fun making yoghurt and enjoy it as much as I do. I keep having a little mouthful each time I go in the fridge at the moment, not ideal!!