December 2

Photo food diary Tuesday Dec. 2, 2008


Vanilla shake Dec 2, 2008
Vanilla shake Dec 2, 2008

Started off the day with a Vanilla shake with just a touch of caramel syrup in it.
Didn’t eat lunch until early afternoon.  MD and I went to the Habit, which is a well-trafficked Santa Barbara hamburger/sandwich chain.  It was a chilly damp day today in SB, but we ordered at the window and ate outside.  MD whined about the cold, but she manned up and ate outdoors with me.

Note the line to the left of the soft drink machine.  More about which later.
Here is the menu.  Pretty simple but inexpensive and very good.
Habit menu Dec 2, 2008
Habit menu Dec 2, 2008

MD ordered a BBQ Bacon Char burger protein style (with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun) and a regular drink.  I also ordered a BBQ Bacon Char and a Tri-Tip Steak sandwich and a regular drink.  We got our drinks first, then waited for our lunch.  Here is how it came.
2 BBQ Bacon Chars and 1 Tri-Tip Steak sandwich 12/2/2008
2 BBQ Bacon Chars and 1 Tri-Tip Steak sandwich 12/2/2008

Here is my Tri-Tip sandwich up close and personal. (Tri-tip is a Santa Barbara special cut of beef.  I’ve never seen it anywhere else, but every place here has a tri-tip sandwich.)
Tri-Tip Steak sandwich Dec 2, 2008
Tri-Tip Steak sandwich Dec 2, 2008

I told you it was good.  Plus I had the BBQ Bacon Char as did MD.
BBQ Bacon Char sandwich  Dec 2, 2008
BBQ Bacon Char sandwich Dec 2, 2008

We both finished our sandwiches and ate all the little peperoncini in the cup in the 2nd photo above.
We had soda water (or seltzer) for our drink.  I don’t know how many of you know this, but you can get soda water out of most soft-drink self-serve vending machines.  There is a little button that is sometimes in the back, but more often in the front of all the dispensing levers.  All you have to do is put your cup under the spout and push the little button and you get non-caloric, fizzy soda instead of HFCS- or aspartame-containing soft drinks.  Here is MD dispensing.
Dispensing soda  Dec 2, 2008
Dispensing soda Dec 2, 2008

Here is the little button up close:
Soda button
Soda button

As MD and I ate and watched the other diners, I noticed a pattern.  People would come to the window, order their meal, and get their drink cup and a numbered ticket.  They went immediately to the soft drink dispenser and filled their cup.  I watched at least 20 people, and ALL of them got the HFCS-sweetened drinks.  I didn’t see a single diet drink customer.  These folks would all slurp on their drinks while awaiting their orders.  Once their orders were called, they walked to the counter, picked up their food, walked by the soft drink dispenser and refilled or topped off their drinks.  Then they sat down and ate.  After they ate, they disposed of their trash (we’re a clean lot here in Santa Barbara) and walked by the soda machine for one last refill before they walked away.  Each of the regular cups holds what looks to be about 16 ounces, but with ice, probably holds , say, 12 ounces.  Each 12 ounce soda contains about 40 gm of high-fructose corn syrup.  Multiply that by 3 (or at least 2.5) and that gives you how much HFCS each of these people consumed during their lunch.
Late in the afternoon, I scarfed into a bag of mixed nuts and threw back TWO handfuls of the following size.
Handful of nuts Dec 2, 2008
Handful of nuts Dec 2, 2008

For supper, MD made chili.  No beans.  Just meat, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and whatever she uses to make the chili sauce that holds it all together.
Chili Dec 2, 2008
Chili Dec 2, 2008

I had this bowl and the rest in the skillet, which was probably about 3/4 this much.  We had diet tonic to drink.
Pomegranates and blackberries Dec 2, 2008
Pomegranates and blackberries Dec 2, 2008

If you can believe it, we still have this stuff left from when we bought it early last week.  I’ve got to admit that despite how much I love it, I’m beginning to get a little tired of it.  MD tells me that there is enough for one more go round.  Then, thank God, it will be gone.
I’m going to go ahead and post this now.  If I eat a snack tonight or drink anything other than a non-caloric beverage, I’ll put it up at the head of the list on tomorrow’s digital diet diary post.

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  1. Hmm, soda water without the sugary soda concentrate? How does that taste? I might have to stick with iced tea, I don’t know if I could drink the carbonated water alone.
    I think it tastes great. Much preferable (at least to me) to the sugary sweet taste of both HFCS- and artificially-sweetened soft drinks. It’s a nice clean yet bubbly taste. Get a bottle of club soda or seltzer and give it a try – it’s basically the same thing. You can add a little lime or lemon juice if you want to perk it up.

  2. Will you spill the beans and tell me what vanilla protein powder you used? Also, did you add coconut milk to this as well? I only purchase chocolate protein powder (Jay Robb’s) because someone told me the Jay Robb vanilla was sickening sweet tasting.
    Delicious looking lunch (and dinner, too). Having this food diary pictorial was a GREAT idea! Thanks! I’ve pre-ordered your new book with Amazon and am anxious to receive it.
    Sure. We use MRM Whey Rich Vanilla protein powder. It’s available all over the place. But any good protein powder should do. We do add coconut milk to give it a smoother texture and some added fat.
    Thanks for the book order. I appreciate it. At least we know we’ll sell one.

  3. On the rare occasions we eat at a place with a soda dispenser, we look for the seltzer water button, too (not every place has it, but they all have a plain water button).
    Sometimes we pay for a soda to get the cup for the seltzer, but most of the time we get a smaller water cup for free. For a family that can be a nice savings if not paying for the beverage. Even my 10 yo son likes the plain carbonated water (sparkling water is his term for it). If there are nice lemon wedges available, we put one in. Add a Splenda packet and you’ll have lemonade, though frankly, I prefer beverages unsweetened now.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Dr. Mike. I may be a sicko but I really enjoy seeing your menu blogs with pictures.
    When you get together with friends and/or family, is your low-carb lifestyle still an issue? Do they often comment on it or ask questions about it?
    Also, would you mind sharing your vanilla shake recipe?
    Please keep on blogging. Your site is a real gem.
    Kind regards,
    Here is the recipe:
    6 oz water
    1.5-2 scoops Vanilla protein powder (We use MRM whey Rich Vanilla)
    1 ounce coconut milk
    1 cup of ice cubes
    1/2 ounce Ambiance (Torani is ok, too. Or DaVinci) sugar-free caramel flavored syrup
    blend in blender.

  5. Around this neck of the woods (Virginia) pretty much every soft-drink dispenser dispenses plain water as well if they don’t offer bottled water for sale.

  6. Good tip of soda machine! I have to admit, i was once one of those people who made multiple trips to the soft-drink self-serve vending machines. Probably explains why i have more mercury amalgams than i’d like to admit. Speaking of which, i think those fillings are bad news, and thus, i’m getting them removed in the very near future.
    MD’s chilli looks great! Save a seat for me at your dinner table.
    Her chili is good. This particular version was pretty hot (spicy hot) as well as just good.

  7. I remember reading about this food diary idea and thought I might give it a try. Never got motivated enough to actually start. Now that i see a visual presentation on your blog I have the batteries for my digital camera sitting in the charger right now! Thanks!
    Go for it. You’ll be surprised.

  8. it’s nice to see a pictorial representation of the sheer volume of food you get to eat in a day. just like you mentioned about appearing on that morning show–it looks like a LOT of food.
    comforting to know that you can eat a LOT of very satisfying food and still be healthy. i happen to like food and i like eating a lot of it.
    i’m pretty new to protein power–been doing it about 3 months now (going great–23 pounds lost so far). i’m curious about the shake…can you share the recipe or a link or something about how to make a good low carb shake?
    Here is our (MD’s) basic shake recipe:
    6 oz water
    1.5-2 scoops protein powder (low-carb)
    1 ounce coconut milk
    cup of ice cubes
    Sweeten and flavor to taste. (In this particular shake MD used
    1/2 ounce Ambiance (Torani is ok, too. Or DaVinci) sugar-free caramel flavored syrup)
    blend in blender.

  9. “Here is my Tri-Tip sandwich up close and personal. (Tri-tip is a Santa Barbara special cut of beef. I’ve never seen it anywhere else, but every place here has a tri-tip sandwich.)”
    Dr. Mike, tri-tip started in Santa Maria. It was a big event at the end of the cattle season.
    Lived in Santa Maria for years and ate it all the time. It is now offered in many places here in northern CA. Unfortunately they cut most of the fat off so you really have to search to find it with the fat left on.
    I cook it over oak in a Santa Maria style BBQ. It raises and lowers and I can cook up to 5 or 6 tri-tips on it.
    Since we get rain up here in the winter, I pre-cook some tri-tip (just getting the fat crispy on the outside and then freeze) and in the winter just stick in the oven and it tastes as if it just came off the grill.
    My favorite meat.
    When I wrote ‘a Santa Barbara special cut’ I meant Santa Barbara County. I know that it originated in Santa Maria. But I don’t know what a Santa Maria style BBQ. What is that?
    I, too, love it cooked over oak.

  10. Didn’t see that place last time I was in Santa Barbara. My wife’s friends may have just moved away, so not sure I when I would be back. I like the lettuce buns.
    I get tri-tip at my local Sam’s Club (Tampa, FL). They only have it once every couple weeks. Every time they have it, I buy it. My wife was leery, complaining that she didn’t like tri-tip (she never had it) but loved the fajitas I made with majority tri-tip and scraps from a whole tenderloin I clean and cut for the freezer. No wraps of course, just cheese, sour cream, pepper, onions, spices. I’ve also heard Rachel Ray and others talk about tri-tip on the Food Network so I know they have it elsewhere. Tri-tip for us is a good compromise, not too fatty and not too lean as I prefer skirt steak over the flank steak that she prefers.
    I can’t stand soda water, my wife loves the “sparkling” water. In Italy we always order a bottle of each at dinner or multiples and, of course a bottle of wine. No wonder meals were always so expensive.
    Tri tip is popping up here and there across the country. But in Santa Barbara it is a staple and can be had almost everywhere. I like it best cooked slowly over an oak fire.
    The Habit has been in SB for years. I think there are 4 or 5 of them at least scattered throughout the town. Great place. Inexpensive and the food is tasty.
    I love sparkling water, too. I always get it in Italy. Aqua minerale frizzante.

  11. Tri-tip has been in Seattle supermarkets for at least 25 years. It used to be my favorite cut of beef, but it’s gotten awfully lean and tough.

  12. FOOD PORN!!!!! Love it!
    I’ve been drinking sparkling water (club soda) for at least 25 years now. They used to look askance at me when I ordered it in bars a long time ago, but it’s common now.
    To kick my 1-or-2-Jameson’s-a-night habit, I’ve started drinking club soda “on the rocks” in my Irish crystal drink glasses. For some reason, it feels more decadant to drink it out of those glasses, and I feel like I’m cheating! I know. I’m easily duped. Simple things amuse me.
    As for that lettuce wrap. I’ve been in the LC world for over 10 years and have often heard of it, but I always assumed it was like one leaf of Romaine lettuce wrapped around meat. Is that iceburg lettuce? Just dig in with your thumb and rip off a good-sized chunk?
    I’ll definitely try that! THANKS!!!!
    Notice that I haven’t had any Jameson this week either. That may change tonight, though.
    Yes, that’s how you do the lettuce wrap. It’s easier to hold the iceberg lettuce than a wrapped leaf of Romaine, and I think it tastes better.

  13. That chili looks amazing! Now I’m so in the mood for chili. I have a quick question — I’ve read your posts about IF (I’ve yet to try it), but I can’t find anything you’ve written on the blog or in PPLP about this idea (that I recently read about): one day a week, eating about 500 more calories than usual as a way to not let your metabolism gets used to lower calorie intake. If I’m eating between 1300-1400 calories a day (low-carb, of course!), should I have one day a week where I eat around 1800? I’m trying to lose about 10 pounds, and I didn’t know if this might help, since the rest of the week my calorie count is lower. Any truth to this claim?
    I don’t know if just going up an extra 500 kcal once a week would do it or not. I certainly won’t hurt. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

  14. I pre-ordered two of your books on Amazon, so you have at least 3 now and counting!
    How do you take pictures when you are outside? Digital camera? They look great! I am not very computer savvy. Basically as I understand you take a picture with digital camaera and download to your computer as a file, is it correct?
    That is correct. Digital camera to computer to blog to you.

  15. I noticed you like Vanilla shake, what about chocolate shakes? I am not crazy fan of choclate but recently found a great tasting chcolate whey protein. I mix 8 oz of almond milk with 2 scoops of Isopure chcolate whey protein with two tablespoon of organic unsweetened cocoa and a packet of trivia. Tastes awesome, exactly like melted chocolate milk or shake!
    By the way I finally tasted coconut milk, first time in my life! I work in the most heavy populated Carribean community and never tried anything coconut, except those candy with coconut inside. So last night I did! It was good, I really liked it. You are right, not exactly cow’s milk but is not that bad!

  16. Tri-tip:
    It’s bottom sirloin cut into a triangle piece. They eat this in France and Germany and they cut it a little differently, but it’s very good at a Brazillian “Steakhouse.” In the US, Santa Maria and the Central Coast of California (CCC) have defined the cut, but it’s spread far and wide, with their preparation (there are a lot of things you can do with it, I wouldn’t say the CCC preparation is the best or the worst… just solid).
    When I lived in LA, it was everywhere. When I lived in St. Louis, it was a lot of places. When I lived in Virginia, everywhere. And Everywhere here in Chicago. But LA was the first place I saw it. The wide presence of it in LA, Chicago and NoVA suggests a mexican influence to me. And they have it there too.
    Enjoying the blog. Happy to share the wealth of knowledge on the food stuffs.
    Thanks for the link and the geographical locations of tri-tip you’ve come across. I had never noticed it until I came to Santa Barbara.

  17. I drink a club soda that has potassium citrate in it. I lost my taste for soft drinks long ago. I find club soda way more refreshing even when it isn’t chilled. Sometimes I add some whipping cream and vanilla flavor to make an Italian soda. A sure cure to break the soft drink habit is to try drinking Coke or Pepsi warm. Yuk!
    Thanks for the vanilla shake recipe.

  18. In my experience tri-tip is a ‘western cut’ and you don’t see it much east of the Mississippi. If they do have it they call it something else because when I was in the Navy I would rave about how good a cut of meat it was and all the easterners would say they had never heard of it. Santa Maria style BBQ is awesome and tri-tip cooked over Mesquite is especially tasty(lived in Tucson, Az for a few years and everything is cooked over Mesquite down there).
    Dr. Mike here is a link to a place that sells Santa Maria style BBQs.
    Basically the big feature is that the grill can be set to any height to allow for more precise cooking with wood.
    Thanks for the link.

  19. I got introduced to carbonated water in Europe and really liked the taste compared to the syrupy taste of soft drinks. A grocery store chain where I live offers canned 12-packs of sparkling water. I drink these a lot. A special treat is to add a splash of sugar-free flavored syrup and an ounce or two of cream for a cream soda-type beverage.
    Remember back when restaurants didn’t offer unlimited refills on soft drinks? How deprived we used to be when we had to make a paltry 12 oz. drink last for a whole meal or pay for a second one. I think there’s some psychology at play in people thinking they can fill up again and again with the “free” refills to make the drink a better bargain. I usually order unsweetened iced tea and sweeten it with saccharine or sucralose, to avoid the aspartame in diet drinks. I’ll have to look for the soda button; I’ve seen water, but not soda.

  20. Dr Mike I always wanted to ask you what would be the very minimum amount of daily calories for a man on a low carb diet, not lifestyle, diet! Considering that man is relatively healthy, takes multivitamin formula and exercises quite regularly. He is for an argument;s sake is 5”9 and weights about 220 pounds.
    There seems to be a lot of arguments going around on Jimmy Moore website blogs that challenged people to post menus. My friend Vadim started it. Miriam said that 1700 calories a day on protein shakes was very, very low. But he does vary calories day by day. Some days its 1500 others 3500. But for the curiosity only, is there a minimum for a man? Or its all relative as long as calories vary?
    I read your book long time ago and it said that a weight loss of 4 to 5 pounds consistenly was totally possible on low carb lifestyle. But for a man VAdim’s stature he would need to eat about 1500 calories consistenly to achieve it on daily basis. Wouldnt that be too low ? Wouldnt it decrease his testosterone also?
    If people are consuming their own body fat, the caloric intake can go pretty low. 1700 calories is certainly not all that low – I don’t think that anyone following a 1700 cal low-carb diet would get into trouble.
    4-5 pounds per week is possible in very large people – mainly men. Women who need to lose 10-15 pounds are not likely to lose at that rate.

  21. I can get tri-tips at Costco (Willowbrook) in the NW area of Houston, TX… but they don’t taste like one done in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara or Paso Robles! I think it’s the oak, or perhaps it’s the actual Santa Maria style barbecue pit? There’s just something special about ‘cue done along the coast of California… can you tell I can’t wait to get back to California?
    So what can PP fans eat along with the Santa Maria style tri-tip? The original Santa Maria style barbecue is accompanied by pinquito beans, and a lot of other starchy stuff. [ See: ]
    I love the idea of photographing your food intake. Thanks for sharing!
    MD has a recipe in one of our books (the Low-carb CookWoRx Cookbook, she just informed me) for making BBQ beans to go along with Tri-tip and other BBQ meats. The beans she uses are black soybeans, which contain very little carb and a lot of protein. Use those and a little slaw, and there you have it. You can find many of these recipes on the Low-Carb CookWoRx site.

  22. I discovered the soda-water quite by accident one day at a restaurant. After making the usual inquiry about a caffeine-free, sugar-free diet soda and getting the usual “we don’t have any,” exasperated, I asked the waiter, “Don’t you have ANYTHING for someone who wants a soda and doesn’t do sugar or caffeine?”He thought a moment and said, “How about some seltzer with a lime?” he suggested. I always thought I hated seltzer, in fact, DID hate it when I was younger, but I was desperate so I sighed and said, “OK.” It was fabulous! I now keep a 12 pack of store-brand seltzer in my fridge at all times, and I can drink it straight out of the can.” That clean, dry taste is an amazing thirst quencher. The soda isn’t quite as good as the seltzer to me, but when I want a fizzy drink with my burger, add some fresh lemon or lime slices and it will do nicely.

  23. I just came back the other week from visiting friends in Santa Barbara (used to live there). I was surprised how more “low carb” friendly Cali is to the East Coast. They still offered low-carb options in restaurants and lettuce wraps. All of which are no longer available here after the low carb boom ended. I do miss all the burger joints back there like Habit and Fat Burger. And the trip-tip platters. Thankfully though Santa Maria Style Tri-tip is sold in the Trader Joe’s over here.

  24. Is this a diet menu (i.e. trying to lose weight after Thanksgiving) or a standard one? I notice a complete absence of anything resembling a cereal–is this usual? I usually fall for 20g of whole wheat/9 cereal bread in the morning, heavily spread with butter. That’s it for cereals for me. I try to keep the carbs below 60mg per day…is that reasonable for the average person with no great carb issues?
    Also, do you think that this type of diet will offset the usual weight gain we experience in the 40s and on (especially women in the premenopause/menopause period). I am approaching that time of life, and I have noticed that not only is it hard to lose weight, but it’s much easier to put it on! Especially with anything “carb” even though I do a lot of exercise to keep up the muscle mass. Any comments on age and the ability to deal with carbohydrates?
    Also, about those HFCS drinks…I bet that just cutting those out alone would change the whole face of America. I’ve known many a person who has slimmed down considerably by doing nothing more than eliminating their daily sugary soft drink fix.
    No, this is pretty much our standard diet. We eat bread very occasionally, and then, usually a low-carb version. It will help women reaching menopause lose weight. Age does make it a little more difficult to deal with carbs. It’s important for women to get hormones checked at this period of life, because without fixing the hormonal situation, it can be very difficult to lose.

  25. i wanted to comment on your response “i don’t crave food when i’m stressed”. that is the most wonderful aspect of low carbing for me. when i was doing ultra low fat vegan, i always craved foods (mostly anything baked with frosting) whenever i was stressed. on low carb, stress is just stress, it never attaches itself to food.

  26. Just had to add one more comment.
    In Maine (and I assume elsewhere in the country) we have a brand of diet soda called Waist Watchers. It’s sweetened with Splenda and comes in some amazing flavors (favorites are Black Cherry, Root Beer, and Vanilla Cream). I’m not a big soda drinker, but when I get the urge, I go for these over Coke or Pepsi.

  27. has an article today called “Eat Your Statins” that is promoting the Jupiter study. I only mention it because the reader comments seem to be running universally negative or even hostile. The word is out and the statinators are not getting a free ride anymore! The Drs. Eades can certainly take credit for some of that. Would that other Drs. had a more skeptical approach to “big pharma.” I remember when my gyn. told me that every American woman over the age of 45 should be on HRT. I asked him why they didn’t just hand it out at the DMV, since all of the necessary information was on my driver’s license. He was not amused.
    I’ll bet he wasn’t amused. And I’ll bet he gave out scripts for Premarin and Provera instead of bio-identical hormones.

  28. Yet another off-topic question from me: Have you read any of the studies on the issue of heterocyclic amines, the supposed cancer causing chemicals that are generated by the cooking of muscle meats at high temperatures? Any thoughts?
    I’ve read a few. I have been less than impressed with the data. Even if true, it’s probably only of concern to those who eat their meat well done. But I don’t think even they have a worry.

  29. Ok, now I feel silly. That comment wasn’t up there when I posted though…
    Also, thanks for the heads up a few posts ago about the Amazon thing. I did my Christmas shopping through your site!
    Don’t worry about it; it’s my fault for not getting the comments posted sooner. And thanks a bunch for your Christmas shopping choice.

  30. If you are follower of Katherine Milton (University of California) those people ponying up to the soft drink dispenser and sloshing down gallons of HFCS-sweetened soft drinks are using technology to confer an evolutionary advantage. Put another way, the consumers of of large amounts of HFCS-sweetened soft drinks are demonstrating a superior evolutionary pattern over the low carb camp. In a letter to the editor response to Leon Cordain’s rebuttal of her position Milton states:
    “To date, few genetic adaptations to diet have been identified in humans, suggesting that, in their evolution, humans tended to resolve dietary problems primarily by using technology rather than biology. The technologic abilities of humans derive from their unusually large, complex brain, a brain that, under normal conditions, is fueled by a steady supply of glucose. Consumption of digestible carbohydrate is the most efficient way for humans to obtain glucose for brain function. Potential alternatives—gluconeogenesis or the use of ketones to fuel the brain—represent alternative, more costly metabolic solutions.”
    Milton’s statement “the brain……………is fueled by a steady supply of glucose” probably evokes a vision of GPM flows in most people. If so, consuming gallons of HFCS-sweetened beverages, in other words liquid sugar, would make sense because it would seem to fully leverage evolutionary efficiency. However, the statement would have been far less compelling had Milton qualified “steady supply of glucose” by stating that the average person’s bloodstream contains less than a teaspoon of glucose and that the burn rate is not very high. She also seems to have conveniently overlooked the matter of what happens to all the excess glucose derived from a high carb intake beyond the small amount that it takes to provide a steady supply of glucose to the brain.
    Milton is right about one thing, the consumption of digestible carbohydrate is the most efficient way for humans to obtain glucose. And you can’t get a more efficient source than liquid sugar soft drinks. What Milton didn’t mention is that consuming digestible carbohydrate is the most efficient way to obtain more glucose than is immediately needed with the excess being converted into fat and stored in the body.
    It sounds like Milton’s position is in reality a compelling argument for a metabolic advantage in the less efficient process of gluconeogenesis.
    Yep, it is a compelling argument. Most of Milton’s statements, however, are compelling arguments that she is brain dead.

  31. So, is MD going to share her chili recipe? Yummmm!
    Thanks for going to this effort – it’s an excellent visual aide, demonstrating that lo-carbing can have variety AND be delicious!
    Oh, and re: your MRM Whey protein shake: Any advice on using whey if you’re elderly (Age 86, in good health, generally)? A hospital nutritionist’s advice, (about which I was mostly skeptical), was that whey could be dangerous for the elderly. I know we can use soy protein without whey, but assume it’s healthier with it???
    As to the whey question, I’ve never heard of the idea that whey would be harmful for older folks. I think it would be the opposite. Whey provides high quality protein and boosts the immune system.
    I asked MD about the chili recipe and she just happened to have it at hand. She calls it her Three Alarm Chili. She emailed it to me, so here it is:
    Three Alarm Chili
    Big, beefy flavor and lots of heat is how we like our chili con carne, but if you don’t like yours quite so spicy, simply dial down the heat. Feel free to start with just a dash of cayenne and adjust the seasonings to your liking. For the truly adventurous, who like to break a sweat when they enjoy a bowl of chili, add an extra half teaspoon or more of cayenne and even throw a handful of chopped canned jalapenos on top.
    Serves 6
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    2 pounds lean sirloin or bison steak
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or as desired)
    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sliced white button mushrooms, fresh or canned
    1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile
    1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
    1 can (15 ounces) black soybeans, rinsed and drained
    1 quart beef broth
    1 cup dry red wine (optional)
    4 tablespoons grated Mexican Four-cheese blend
    2 green onions, chopped, green and white parts
    1. Place the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier to cut into half-inch cubes.
    2. In a large skillet or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and sauté until limp.
    3. Add the meat, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and sauté until browned on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    4. Add the mushrooms and sauté another few minutes until the mushrooms give up their juices.
    5. Stir in the green chiles, tomatoes, and soybeans.
    6. Add the beef broth and wine, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
    7. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
    8. To serve, top each bowl with grated cheese, chopped fresh green onions, and for the adventurous, a tablespoon or two of sliced jalapenos.
    Protein per serving: 39 grams
    Effective carb per serving: 9.3 grams

  32. Dr. Mike,
    I wish I had some of those burgers during my little experiment below, they look real tasty.
    I just spent 4 straight weeks drinking a 1000 calorie shake each morning. I did this as an experiment because I got my blood work along with instructions from my GP to go on a low-fat diet and limit egg’s to less than 5 per week. After a good chuckle I decide to put it to a test. Armed with the knowledge I gained from PPLP and this blog I knew my TRG/HDL ratio (1.8) was fine. I was sent a new lab sheet to have my blood retested in a few weeks to get my total cholesterol below 200. Of course we would discuss the use of cholesterol lowering drugs if it did not drop below 200.
    Total 242
    TRG 80
    HDL 45
    So to study for my next test I will do the opposite of what was suggested. My goal was to eat 5 eggs a day and add extra salt / fat to my unlimited caloric intake. I missed my goal by 1 egg and averaged just over 4 eggs a day (117 total) and no less than 2500 kcal’s a day. Although I did not track every bite of food it was extremely low-carb. I even managed to give up Diet Coke for the entire 4 weeks.
    I started every day off with a chocolate shake just shy of 1000 kcal’s:
    6 oz Heavy Cream
    2 whole large raw eggs
    50 g protein powder
    5 g coco powder unsweetened
    Usually a salad with 2-4 hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper, sometimes bacon cheeseburger no bun.
    Usually a big Rib Eye or Prime Rib, sometimes 4 fried eggs with bacon or omelet.
    None, was never hungry
    Two weeks in I used my home test kit:
    Total 229
    TRG 67
    HDL 34*
    * My home test kit always seems to record my HDL 10 points lower from a real lab test, ratio is still good 1.97 with the low HDL
    As a side effect of all the extra calories and fat, I lost 2lbs 🙂 (I’m 16% body fat)
    Just got a call from the GP that my new blood work is in, can’t wait to see how I did. But I really can’t wait to see the reaction when I say Oh I ate 117 eggs between tests.
    I’ll post the results when I get them.

  33. That food looks awesome! There are very few places in my area that serve really good food, but here in NC it’s barbecue.
    I was also going to comment on the lettuce. I tried romaine a couple of times and it was not pretty….iceberg is much easier and neater.
    I’ll have to check out the soda machines too. I’ve seen water, but not soda. I usually just get the water. Many places here have ice tea (mostly sweet) and it’s very good, so that’s usually what I get.
    Do you ever get comments or strange looks when you take the pictures?
    No, I haven’t gotten any strange comments or looks yet. I always tell people in restaurants that I’m a food writer, which usually gets me better service and they don’t mind the photos.

  34. I literally gasped when I realized just how much sugar is in three trips to the soda fountain. It’s not like I didn’t already know, but when I read it, I had a moment. That’s not healthy for anybody.
    Yes or no, do you discuss alternative sweeteners in your new book?
    We discuss them a little. MD’s blog has a nice post on alternative sweeteners.

  35. Oh please, make your last round of this dessert with real whipped
    cream. It only takes 3-4 minutes to whip up some cream. Real, genuine, home-made vanilla in there with a little Splenda (or DaVinci) and…wow! The cream takes the bite out of the tartness of the fruit, yet the fruit takes the heaviness out of the cream. It’s almost better than the famous Wimbledon Strawberries and Cream.
    Not only that, but you can impress your friends by whipping up a decadent whipped cream in less than 4 minutes with your low-carb inspired muscles and a simple whisk! Just whisk away… it’s easy. I even have an 18 year old case of Carpal Tunnel and I can do it in 4 minutes.
    Those lettuce wraps look wonderful. We’ve been using green-leaf lettuce for our wraps and experience lots of breakage. You are lucky to have a chain that serves those pretty things.
    One thing that I’ve been wanting to mention, slightly off-topic: I posted a while back about eating these wheat crackers and experiencing sleep disturbances. After following your advice and quitting the crackers my sleep improved. This is notwithstanding my daily magnesium supplementation.
    I recently started eating these crackers again. I made a nice cheese dip that I’ve been putting on a (one) cracker once a day for snack ( 3 net carbs per large 2.5″ x 5″ cracker), one a day for the last week. Now all of a sudden I have a cold sore. This is something that has not happened since I started low-carbing in 2004.
    Coincidence? I think not. There is something about that tiny wheat assault that caused this. No doubt in my mind. Nothing else in my diet of mostly meat has changed. No stress here, either.
    I’ll maybe…maybe…give it a try with cream

  36. Dr. Eades-
    Is there a way to contact you directly instead of my inserting off-topic questions? I’ve been reading about Magnesium Oil and wondered what your take is on it. It sounds fabulous; it costs a fortune.
    I have some, but I have no experience with it. I’ll let everyone know when I do.
    We are redoing our website and blogs. When the new version is up, there will be a contact address. But, based on the number of comments I get on this blog, which I’m constantly behind on dealing with, I don’t know how many emails I’ll be able to respond to.

  37. Ha ha, carbonated water something exotic in the states! This is standard fare here in Europe (Perrier, San Pellegrino, Apollinaris to name only the most prominent from France, Italy and Germany). I even own a machine to make it myself at home from tap water.
    We’re not as advanced as you are. 🙂

  38. Dr. Mike,
    Just got back the lab results for my earlier comment.
    Total 268
    TRG 59
    HDL 40
    I’m disappointed that my HDL did not go up but the TRG/HDL ratio dropped slightly to 1.5 from 1.8.
    The doctor wants an appointment to discuss these results and I will insist on having the LDL particle size measured if they think more tests are required.
    What is the name of the test that I should ask for? Just say particle size test?
    The only thing that has changed in my diet over the last few years is 3 weeks prior to the first blood test I started Finasteride 5mg per day for BPH. Could that cause my Total Cholesterol to be over 200? (not that 200 is meaningful and Prior to the Finasteride I have been below 200)
    Just ask for a LDL particle size – they should know what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t get too wrapped around the axle over this anyway. These measurements can change from day to day. And there can be lab error. Given what you’ve been eating and your low TRG, I’m surprised your HDL is what it is. I would have expected much more. And there may well be on the next lab.

  39. magnesium oil… I have read all the stuff about the mag oil. As said it is expensive and who knows if the results equal the hype. Since I am a chiro and do a lot of musculoskeletal work, the idea of getting more mag into tight, spasmed muscles is very appealing. I had a friend who is a compounding pharma who made me some mag glycinate in a base to carry it through the skin. Seems to work pretty well. Better than oral? Not sure. The mag citramate Dr. Eades had here works better than any others I have used and you can’t beat the price.
    Some options may be:
    1) order mag oil through Amazon.. it’s cheaper and you could help this site.
    2) soak in epsom salts (mag sulfate), it’s cheap and do it at night and sleep like a baby.
    3) take the mag citramate
    I’m betting mag need would go down if following a low carb diet due to lowered stress hormones and less blood sugar spikes. Getting it inside the cell would probably be much easier.
    Doc, I wonder if people who do respond favorably to the oil are doing so because their guts are so inflammmed from all the grains, etc that the mag is hard to get through?
    Just some of my musings since I have thought a lot about this over the years due to working with a lot of fibromyalgia and autistic pts where mag is so vital
    I, too, often recommend soaking in Epsom salts for those who can’t tolerate oral magnesium. It works like a charm – and without side effects. Thanks for reminding me.
    You could be right about the oil working better for those with inflamed guts.

  40. Alternatively, buy some magnesium chloride crystals, dilute roughly 50 / 50 on purified water and buy yourself an atomiser spray bottle.
    It’s *very* inexpensive that way,

  41. Thank you so much for the link to your wife’s blog on alternative sweeteners. It answered a lot of questions I have.
    I’m not sure, though, how exactly using them “in moderation” translates. Is that subjective? Is it one serving per day? And if so, is one serving equal to one diet soda, less, more? I can’t seem to get a definitive on this, no matter how much research I do.
    I guess in moderation is in the eye of the beholder. I would say in moderation is the equivalent to two or three soft drinks per day.

  42. Robert: “magnesium oil… I have read all the stuff about the mag oil. As said it is expensive and who knows if the results equal the hype.”
    I haven’t tried magnesium oil yet. So I don’t know if the claims made for it are hype. And I won’t know until I do try it. What I do know is that the results I have experienced after only 9 days on high doses of magnesium chloride hexahydrate in a concentrated solution far exceeded what I had experienced with any supplement I have taken in the 40 or so years I have been taking supplements. This includes the experience I have had with magnesium citrate with malic acid which is what Thorne Research Citrimate is.
    Claims are being made for the advantages of magnesium chloride over other forms of magnesium which I seriously doubt are hype. And getting my hands on magnesium chloride hexahydrate USP powder took considerable effort. So I doubt anyone is making a killing selling the stuff. I suspect that it is probably easier to get high grade heroin or cocaine (if I were wanting such substances). When I finally succeeded in finding a sympathetic pharmacist who sourced and ordered magnesium chloride hexahydrate USP powder for me I paid $36 for half a kilo (500 grams).
    Magnesium chloride hexahydrate yields a little less than 12% magnesium. So you have to take a gram of magnesium chloride hexahydrate powder to get 120 mg of magnesium. I make a concentrated solution of magnesium chloride hexahydrate by adding enough water to 25 grams of powder to make 50 cc of solution. One cc = 60 mg of magnesium. I take about 3 cc per dose (180 mg) in anywhere from 4 to 6 doses spread throughout the day. In addition, I also take other forms of magnesium such as aspartates, orotates and citric malates (Citrimate) because it is not always practical to take the liquid.
    A warning. Magnesium chloride hexahydrate in a solution has a brackish, salty taste that takes some getting used to. I tried more dilute forms. But I found it harder to get them down than a smaller, more concentrated dose. Chasing a dose with club soda helps kill the taste. After a while you get used to it.
    In a future post I will list some of the benefits I have experienced from magnesium chloride hexahydrate in a solution. For now the most significant benefit I have experienced is an almost euphoric increase in physical and mental energy. Maybe it is exclusive to me. But is is something I would wish on anyone. So hopefully others will have the same experience.
    I mentioned that I experienced significant benefits after 9 days. Unfortunately, I ran out after 9 days because I initially only ordered 100 grams. It took several weeks to obtain a new supply. During this interval I took as much magnesium in other forms as I could without having non-stop diarrhea. Despite this I regressed considerably. I did not regain lost ground until I resumed taking magnesium chloride hexahydrate.
    Here is the web link to the article that first piqued my interest in magnesium chloride.

  43. Tim Rowe: Alternatively, buy some magnesium chloride crystals, dilute roughly 50 / 50 on purified water and buy yourself an atomiser spray bottle.
    It’s *very* inexpensive that way,
    You can also just massage the same mix onto your skin. Sensitive areas may sting for a while. But I have not experienced any lasting effect.
    Some sort of agent is added to mgcl hexhydrate to increase the absorption. I came across a post on a web site that told how to make magnesium oil with this agent. I could be wrong, but I suspect that magnesium oil is something of a marketing entity intended to create a mystic by which to leverage the profit in magnesium chloride hexahydrate powder. I don’t think making magnesium oil is exactly rocket science.

  44. On the hormonal situation from your answer to my previous message…what do you mean specifically and where can I get more info on this particular topic? You have piqued my curiousity.
    Many thanks and keep up the good work!
    It’s difficult to get reliable information on this subject. I’m trying to goad MD into putting up a long post about it. There is some info in our new book coming out in March 2009, but not a huge, indepth discussion.

  45. Thanks, Dr. Eades for the response regarding whey for the elderly (My elderly husband had 16′ of his small intestine removed 4 years ago due when they were blocked and “died” due to a bowel infarction). I work hard to find the balance of foods that are healthy but will put on some weight. (While I’m forever trying to lose!) He much prefers eating eggs or puffed wheat! Since your posts I have made him a couple of protein shakes with about 1/4 of ensure added (good or bad??), but now can feel free to add some whey also. It’s really a learning process.
    And, thanks to MD for her chili recipe. I’m fixing it this week.
    We really enjoyed your photo diary of meals. It was amazing how much it added when you actually picture foods, not just read a list of them! Not a bad idea for all of us to do for a week or two occasionally!
    Ensure is probably good. Will give him some easily absorbed calories.

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