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Hey, Gang -
Here it is, late though it may be. My house is still torn apart, and driving me out of my mind, and it's been hard to get my act together and get things done. I'm sure all you home owners who have undergone renovations will understand.
Still, there's a variety of stuff in here, including a great recipe for your grill! Hope you like it.
All contents © Copyright 2002 Hold the Toast Press. All commercial reproduction is expressly prohibited. If you think your friends will enjoy Lowcarbezine!, please forward them the WHOLE ISSUE. Please, do not post articles or recipes elsewhere on the internet without permission. My attorney tells me that I'll have to come scold you and tell you to cut it out if you do.
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Ethnic Restaurants 101: Italian
Last issue I promised a look at menus from various ethnic restaurants, to see what they offered low carbers. Here it is! Or rather, here is the beginning of what is going to be a series - if I did a bunch of menus at once, the resulting issue would be unbelievably huge.
So here's a start - a thorough rundown of the menu of an Italian restaurant, with an eye to what will and will not work for the low carb dieter. Of course, I can't guarantee that your local restaurants will have the same dishes, but I'm hoping that after we go through a few menus together, you'll be clearer on how to find the low carb possibilities on your own.
Remember, though, that restaurants use different recipes, and there's no way I can know whether your local eateries add sugar or bread crumbs or whatever to a given dish. Indeed, short of always ordering plain broiled meat, fish or poultry, and a salad with oil and vinegar, there's no way you can be 100% sure of the carb content of any restaurant meal. All you can do is the best you can do. When others cook for you, you will always be somewhat out of control of your food. This, to me, is a good reason not to eat out more than occasionally, but your milage may vary, of course.
However, you can learn quite quickly to scan a menu for low carb options, and I have found that it's a rare restaurant where I can't find something tasty to eat without next-morning regrets. The one cardinal rule to remember is this: Ask for what you want. If you want the Shrimp Alfredo without the fettucine, ask for it! If you want the Oriental Chicken Salad without the chow mein noodles, ask for it! Heck, I spent a week in Mexico ordering "Sopa Tortilla sin tortillas, por favor." ("Tortilla Soup without the tortillas, please" - and mighty tasty it was, too.) And I regularly order the innards of sandwiches served on a bed of lettuce, instead of on bread.
It's your money. The restaurant is there to serve you, not to dictate what you eat. If a waiter gives you trouble about customizing your order (within reason, of course,) I'd recommend you talk to the manager - or simply walk out and never return.
The corollary to "Ask for what you want" is "Ask if you're not sure." If you don't know if the sauce is sweet, if the wine is dry, if the meat is breaded, ask! Information is your friend.
Okay! Let's look at a menu! The idea here is that you can click on the link, go to the actual menu, and click back and forth between the menu and the article, reading my commentary as you go.
By the way, I didn't scan dozens of menus looking for a restaurant that was particularly low carb friendly. I figured that wasn't the point! Instead, I just did a Google search for "Italian restaurant menu" and found:
Valente's Italian Restaurant, Denver, Colorado: http://www.menusfirst.com/denver/valentes.htm (Scroll down just a little to find the menu)
We start with the lunch menu. Take a look at those appetizers, first. The only one that looks like a possibility for us is the calamari, but you'd need to ask the waiter if it's breaded or not.
The soup and salad section of the menu is a lot friendlier for us - the Tossed House Salad, Caesar Salad, and Italian Cobb Salad all look great, and if you're looking for a light meal, as you may well be at lunch, you might stop right here, with either a Chicken Caesar, or the Italian Cobb. The Grilled Mediterranean Salad might well work for us, too, but you'd need to ask the waiter what vegetables were involved. If it's classic Italian stuff like zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms, we're looking at a great low carb dish here.
Minestrone, no matter how yummy, is not low carb; it contains both dried beans and pasta. I'd steer clear of it, and of the unlimited soup and salad. It's a shame this restaurant doesn't offer just an unlimited salad bowl; it's one of my favorite choices.
You'd think that the Sandwich, Calzone, and Burger portion of the menu was pretty hopeless for us, but look back a paragraph or two to what I said about ordering the insides of sandwiches on a bed of lettuce. I can see a few sandwiches here that would take well to that sort of treatment. In particular, I could see ordering Italian sausage with cheese and peppers, Valente's 38th Avenue Cheese Steak Sandwich, or the Chicken Prosciuto Club, as main dish salads.
Next we have pizzas. I would be unlikely to order pizza unless I was with a group of non-low-carbers who were dead-set on having pizza. In that case, I'd insist that they ordered one with extra cheese, and plenty of my favorite low carb toppings - and ordered enough so I could have at least three slices to peel the toppings off of, leaving the crust behind. Most of the toppings listed are low carb; I'd steer clear of the meatballs (breadcrumb filler), roasted garlic (1 gram per clove!), onions (borderline vegetable), and pineapple. In any case, if I were dining on crustless pizza, I'd take the option of adding a house salad for a buck and a quarter.
Looking again at this menu, however, all luncheon pizzas are individual-sized, allowing the carb-eaters to have theirs without me. I'd skip it, but it's up to you.
How about the daily specials? Most of them don't look promising. I'm assuming that "fried broasted chicken" involves breading of some sort, and beer battered fish is right out. The meat loaf is bound to have bread crumbs in it. The boneless pork chop cacciatore might be okay without the vermicelli, though we can't know the carb count of this restaurant's tomato sauce. (Tomatoes, for some reason, inspire people to add sugar.) The prime rib sandwich served on a bed of lettuce, rather than the bun, might be quite good.
I trust you all know that the steak listed next on the menu is a good low carb choice? You'll ask for an extra salad or steamed veggies in place of the mashed potatoes, of course. What about that "demi glaze?" I'm assuming that the menu is translating the classic cooking term "demi glace" (say "deh-mee glahs".) This is not a sugary glaze, but rather stock with extra herbs and shallots, boiled down until it starts to get a little syrupy. Should be fine.
And of course, we're going to skip the pasta.
On to the dinner menu!
Here again we see the calamari, but no hint whether it's breaded or not. If it's not breaded, and you're fond of calamari, may I suggest you order it with the garlic aioli, rather than the marinara? Aioli is much like mayonnaise, only garlicky, and should be lower carb than the tomato-based marinara. The antipasto is another good choice; typical antipasto platters feature salami, ham, olives, pepperoncini, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and cantaloupe - low carb foods all.
All of the salads on the dinner menu look low carb and fabulous; no trouble there. How about the House Specialties?
I'm sorry to say that most of these are a bad idea for a low carb dieter. If you look closely, though, there are a couple of items that may work, with a little judicious "editing." The Fettuccine Alfredo gives the option of adding a grilled chicken breast and mushrooms for $1.95. How about asking for the grilled chicken breast and a double order of mushrooms, smothered in Alfredo sauce, hold the fettuccine? That sounds like a heckuva meal to me. I might also order the sausage and peppers minus the spaghetti, or ask if I could get the vegetables from the Tuscan vermicelli served with a grilled chicken breast, no vermicelli. Yes, these are special orders, but it's all stuff they've got prepped in the kitchen; you wouldn't be asking them to do anything outrageously out of their way to accommodate you.
What about the stuffed pepper, or the Eggplant Parmigiana, or the Chicken Parmesan listed with the Chef's Combination (this shows up on its own further down the menu, too)? I strongly suspect that the stuffing in the pepper would contain breadcrumbs, just like a meatloaf, and both Eggplant Parmigiana and Chicken Parmesan traditionally are breaded.
The next section of the menu, "Old Favorites," consists entirely of pasta. We'll skip it, shall we?
Ah, steak and shrimp. Happy turf for us! Anything in this section will work, assuming you ask them to hold the starch portion of the dish - those cheddar mashed potatoes with the steak, or the vermicelli with the shrimp. In particular, the Adriatic Shrimp Brochettes look promising enough I may see if I can come up with a recipe of my own!
Next we have chicken and veal. This part of the menu is fifty-fifty - half of it works, the other half doesn't. Both the Veal and the Chicken Parmigiana will be breaded. Pass 'em up. But the Grilled Veal Toscano and the Grilled Chicken Romano - minus the mashed potatoes - should be fine.
How about the section of Chef's Signature Pastas? Could be a dead loss, could be a possibility, depending on how accommodating the kitchen is. You see, all of these sound wonderful and low carb, minus the pasta. If you can get them to serve you the rest of the dish plain, or on a salad, or over some steamed zucchini, you'll have a terrific and satisfying meal.
Which brings us, once again, to pizza. Full sized pizzas are on the dinner menu, and if your friends or family insist on pizza, go ahead and do the eat-the-toppings-leave-the-crust trick - just make sure they order enough for you to have an extra slice or two, since you're leaving the crust behind.
The last section of Valente's dinner menu is labeled "Sandwiches and Calzones," but I confess I'm confused, since it sounds like all the items in this section contain pasta, and I can't see putting pasta in a sandwich. Still, some of the combos sound good and low carb if you can get them without the bread or pasta. Worth asking.
I'm going to skip the carry out and banquet menus. How about something to drink with your meal? Just ask the waiter to recommend a dry wine, red or white, as you prefer. Chianti is a classic choice with Italian food, and it's good and dry; should run between 2-4 grams a glass. Of course, you may have diet soda, iced tea, water, or coffee if you don't want to drink!
I trust it comes as no big surprise that the desserts are all high carb. Unless it's a big event and you've planned an Indulgence, abstain!
That gets us through our Italian restaurant dinner, and wasn't it yummy? I hope this gives you a better idea of what may work for you at your local Italian eateries. Next issue: Mexican!
Reader Success Story!
Few things can cheer me like a really dramatic reader success story. Here, from a reader named Robin, is a real day-brightener:
I just thought I would share my success story with your magazine!
All my life I was heavy. When I was around 15 I went on Jenny Craig. I lost some weight but also got sick so my doctor made me stop. I then proceeded to gain all I had lost plus more. 14 years later I was at my all time heaviest weight.
I never believed dieting would work for me after watching family members try and only come out bigger in the end.
Last July I turned 30. When I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror I was not at all happy with what I saw. I decided right then that I was going to do something about it. A month or so before that I had started drinking water and knew that I had dropped some weight but was unsure how much. I started researching some diet plans and came across a plan that I had a feeling would work for me. On August 2nd I jumped on a scale and it said 297. That was the first day I started low carbing.
That was 9 months ago and 122 pounds ago!!! I have lost well over 150 pounds since this time last year!!! I am living proof that low carb works!!! It is the easiest thing I have ever done, and with that I know I will be able to live this way the rest of my life!!
I made a webpage about my loss complete with before and after pics and measurements. It also includes the plan I followed in the beginning and a link to my daily journal where I post my daily menu! Please feel free to check it out.... http://www.healthchecksystems.com/heightweightchart.htm I am very proud of my page and myself!!
I LOVE my low carb life!!!
Thanks for taking the time to read this :-)
Only 6 from my goal!
5'6 - large frame - ideal weight 147-159 20 pounds excess skin :-(
Wow. Wow-wow-wow. Robin, you rock! Since you sent this story back in May, I'm betting you've lost that last 6 pounds by now. Congratulations, big time!
Looking for More Reader Success Stories!
It looks like a national magazine is going to write an article about me, the new edition of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds!, and low carb in general. They'd like a couple of success stories to use in addition to mine. So please, if you're a successful low carb dieter who has used my book (rather than Atkins, or The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program or one of the other books out there,) we'd love to have your story - and your before-and-after photos! Send 'em to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . You might just see your picture in a magazine!
Reader Review of 500 Low Carb Recipes
I wish I had this when the kids were babies!!, July 7, 2003
Reviewer: Wanda from Ocala, Florida
This is a fantastic book for the whole family. I wish I had been cooking out of it for the past 25 years so that my kids (teenagers) didn't look at me funny when introducing new ways of making their favorite foods, however so far they have enjoyed every bit of it and they cannot believe that you can actually loose weight on this. I try to stay away from the processed low carb food now that I have this book. It use to be so expensive to eat the processed food but now my grocery bill has gone down since I cook all my foods now using this book. Thanks Dana for putting all your time and effort into such an excellent book for anyone and the family!!
You're very welcome! Thank you for buying my book!
To read this and other reader reviews of 500 Low-Carb Recipes, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931412065/lowcarbohysoluti
Much as we love Amazon.com, you need to know that the book is available at bookstores everywhere!
Better Nutrition For New Yorkers?
I've just read a very interesting article on a new movement afoot in New York City - a movement to get inner city youth to eat better. And although I see a red flag or two, for the very most part I must say it's a tremendously encouraging development.
The problem is multi-faceted - junk food in the schools, few grocery stores in the poorer neighborhoods, cheap, crummy fast food everywhere, the reduction or removal of gym classes in the schools, sedentary gaming at home, a total lack of connection to nature and growing things, and kids who have grown up learning nothing but poor nutritional habits, to the point where some see eating healthy, unprocessed foods as "eating white."
The result? Obesity running rampant at 20% of youth, and estimates that 1 in 3 kids born in 2000 will have "adult onset" diabetes by the time they're out of high school. Those are very frightening statistics, not only in terms of human suffering, but in terms of the health care costs our nation will face in 20 years' time as a result.
Just as the problem is multi-faceted, it will take a multi-factorial approach to combat it. Happily, such approaches seem to be emerging in New York City, and elsewhere around the United States.
Firstly, and very powerfully, the New York City education department is banning candy, soda, and other junk from school vending machines. Not only does this remove a source of sugary garbage from the kids' environment, but it also stops sending the message that adults feel these foods are appropriate for kids in virtually unrestricted quantities. Would that every school district in the nation would do the same.
The education department also plans to "reduce the fat content" in the 800,000 meals it serve every day. This may or may not be a good thing. If it means that breaded and fried chicken nuggets are replaced with grilled chicken, and french fries are replaced with celery and carrot sticks, it's a very good thing. If, on the other hand, it means that meat is replaced with pasta, and salad dressings based on vegetable oils are supplanted by fat-free dressings made from corn syrup, it's not such a positive development. Just exactly how this plays out remains to be seen - and I'm guessing it will be some of both. I also suspect that given the sorts of budgets school systems run on, a fair amount of the fat in school lunches is unhealthy, highly processed fat. If this is the case, eliminating some or all of it is a good idea. I confess, however, that everything in this paragraph is mere speculation.
New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has proposed a 1% tax on "junk food," with proceeds to go to fight childhood obesity. Again, how positive a development this is depends on the definition of "junk food." If we're talking candy, chips, soda, cookies, fries, and most especially sodas so big you could bathe in them, I'm all in favor. However, I'm unalterably opposed to the fast food law suits going on now, and mentioned in this article as another way of improving childhood nutrition. It is not the job of the fast food industry to feed the children of the nation well, or to see to their health and well-being. That job belongs to their parents. Any child old enough to walk into a fast food place alone is old enough to be taught enough basic cooking skills to make him or herself a snack. And if the parents are taking them to the fast food places, then why does the blame fall on the restaurants, not the parents?
Quite exciting is the emergence of neighborhood nutritional activism, both in New York, and in other big cities. A big focus is pressure for business to expand the range of healthy, unprocessed foods, especially produce, available in neighborhoods where 1 grocery store may be serving 100,000 people. There are also activist groups working to teach kids how to choose foods and how to cook, absolutely vital life skills; to get kids out of the city now and then so they can get in touch with where food actually comes from, and even folks organizing partnerships between communities and farmers, to help get fresh produce to city folks. One remarkable program is called "Collards and Commerce," and hires inner city high school students to work with area farmers growing and selling produce, while earning both money and school credits in cooking and business.
All told, the signs are hopeful. I'm especially pleased that many community-based organizations are springing up to deal with the problem. Not only does this strike me as far more effective than government-imposed solutions, but it also is a clear indicator that people recognize that there's a real problem - and one that has be dealt with on a person-by-person basis.
Do your part. Teach your kids to eat real food. Teach them to cook; it will serve them all their lives. If you're involved with kids - a teacher, a Scout leader, or the like - consider insisting on non-sweet snacks, like whole grain crackers and cheese, rather than the usual cookies and juice. Reward kids with privileges, stickers, badges, praise, time and attention, rather than junk food. Go to your local PTO and speak out against candy and soda machines in your schools, no matter how much money they may bring in - your children's health should not be for sale.
The little things you can do may not seem like a lot, but to your children they will be a very big deal indeed. And millions of people, each doing a little bit, can change the world, and our children's health, and over time, the fate of the nation.
Many is the time I've complained in this ezine about the fact that MacNeil, makers of Splenda, have refused steadfastly to release liquid Splenda in the US. Oh, every now and then a source has become available - I assume by someone selling off smaller, repackaged quantities of the same liquid Sucralose available to the food processing industry - but MacNeil has shut these people down over and over again. I'm unclear as to why they're so dead-set on keeping liquid sucralose off the market, but wouldn't be surprised if it's because the undiluted liquid is so sweet - 600 times as sweet as sugar - that a tiny bottle would last the average consumer a long, long time, cutting into profits.
Why the big deal about liquid Splenda? Why not just buy granular Splenda? I do, I do, and so, I'm guessing, do the vast majority of low carbers. Granular Splenda is a terrific product, no question - but it is not a carb-free product. It is merely much lower carb than sugar, containing, as it does, 1/8 of the carbohydrate of sugar. Where does the carbohydrate in Splenda come from? From the malto-dextrin used to dilute the sucralose, and make it the same sweetness per volume as sugar. Malto-dextrin is a highly processed, high impact carbohydrate, and there's enough of it in Splenda granular that 1 cup of the stuff will add 24 grams of carbohydrate to your recipes. (½ gram per teaspoon, 1.5 grams per tablespoon.) Splenda without the malto-dextrin would let us whack big chunks of carbohydrate out of our diets, while still enjoying the excellent flavor of sucralose.
Enter Fiberfit by Nutragenics.
Fiberfit seems to be passing the MacNeil "Is it allowable?" test by virtue of being marketed as a supplement, not a sweetener. (The same ploy has worked for companies that sell stevia, which the US government still insists shouldn't be marketed as a sweetener.) I'm sure it also helps that Fiberfit is considerably diluted; it's nowhere near as sweet as straight liquid sucralose. Fiberfit is a combination of liquid sucralose plus soluble fiber, and is marketed with an emphasis on the fiber content, rather than on its sweetening ability. And indeed, 1 teaspoon of Fiberfit contains 1 gram of soluble fiber, which can only do us good. However, that same teaspoon of Fiberfit also contains enough sucralose so that it has the sweetening power of 4 teaspoons of sugar. You can see how useful this could be.
The only carbohydrate in Fiberfit comes from the soluble fiber, so the stuff is effectively carbohydrate-free. It lists 4 calories per teaspoon on the label, but since those calories come from the fiber, the amount you'd actually absorb is negligible. I'd consider this calorie-free, as well.
In short, this is a viable carb-free, calorie-free form of Splenda, and a fine thing it is, too.
So far I haven't experimented a lot with Fiberfit; mostly I've been using it in yogurt and the like - things where I just add a little sweetener, stir, and taste. I'm uncertain how the water and fiber content would figure into a recipe where a large amount of sweetener is needed - for instance, replacing 1 cup of granular Splenda with 1/4 cup Fiberfit would add a considerable amount of liquid, plus 24 grams of fiber, a pretty hefty amount. I'm not at all sure that this is a bad thing, mind you - I have a feeling it might add needed moistness to low carb baked goods, which often are a little drier than one might like - but it will take some experimenting to figure out which recipes work with Fiberfit.
I will say that Fiberfit tastes very good - at least as good as granular Splenda. It has no flavor other than "sweet" - it's not vanilla-y or anything. This makes Fiberfit usable in a wide variety of applications. I'll be ordering some when the sample bottle Nutragenics sent me runs out. Whether I'll start using it in recipe development, however, depends on how popular I find it becomes with all of you. I don't want to start regularly calling for ingredients that most of you don't have on hand, and will have to special order. If I start getting a strong demand for Fiberfit recipes, I'll happily work on them! In the meanwhile, I'll still use granular Splenda for recipe development, because it's widely available.
Fiberfit is not dirt cheap; a 4-ounce bottle will run you $7.95. Further, Nutragenics charges shipping by weight, and any package 5 pounds and under costs a flat $6 to ship. This means that if you want only one bottle of Fiberfit it's going to run you $13.95, which strikes me as pretty tall tickets. If you're curious, but unwilling to commit to buying more than 1 bottle to begin with, I strongly recommend you find a few friends to chip in on an order. Then, if you decide you like Fiberfit, buy several bottles at a time - by my calculations it would take roughly 20 bottles of Fiberfit to make up a 5 pound order, which would cut shipping costs per bottle to a negligible level.
Alternately, you could do a websearch on "Fiberfit" and check out what various etailers are charging for shipping. I did find etailers listing Fiberfit - I'd recommend a few, but all the ones I found were currently out of stock! This may be good news, in a way - if it means that people love this stuff so much that they can't keep it in stock! I've also spoken to the nice folks at our long-time advertisers, Carb Smart, and Fiberfit is among the new items they're bringing online.
Anyway, Fiberfit is very nice sweetening alternative for those of you trying to cut even the Splenda grams out of your diet - or save them to "spend" on something else! Take a look at http://www.fiberfit.net
Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds
Lori King loves this book!, April 14, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Amsterdam, NY USA
Wonderful book! Easy read, entertaining, informative, and it works! I have purchased hundreds of
books from Amazon and this is the first book I've reviewed. I really recommend it to those who find that low-fat, high-carb eating is no longer a viable weight loss alternative for them.This is usually everyone about 35 years of age or older, unless they're into heavy body-building.It may also be good for younger adults too. I just know that I got so discouraged that I gave up on diets and exercise. I saw results right away with a low-carb plan that I tailored to my way of life. There is enough flexibility that I feel like I'm in control of the process, which is important for me.The extra energy, health benefits, and regained clarity of mind are the additional benefits that make me want to continue low-carb even if I didn't lose an ounce. I'm also not always hungry anymore. Great job Dana! I'm waiting for your next book. Please hurry...
To read this and other reader reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds, go to Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1592330401/lowcarbohysoluti
You can also get How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds through your local bookstore, though some may have to special order it.
Cooking Low Carb!
Here's something good and new to throw on your grill:
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce (called "nam pla" or "nuoc nam," depending on whether it's Thai or Vietnamese in origin)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Splenda
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Put everything but the chicken into your blender, and run it until everything's well combined. Cut your chicken breasts into portions, if needed, and put them into a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Pour the coconut mixture over them. Press out the air, and seal the bag, then turn it around and about until all the chicken is coated with the marinating mixture. Let the chicken marinate at least a couple of hours, and all day won't hurt.
I like to cook these over charcoal that's burned down to a nice low, steady glow, but you can certainly cook them in your electronic tabletop grill instead, if you prefer. If you're doing them on the grill, you'll want to cook them about 5 minutes per side; in the electric grill they'll take 5-6 minutes total. Either way, baste them halfway through with the mixture left in the bag.
4-6 servings. Assuming 5 servings, they'd have 3 grams each if you licked all the marinating mixture out of the bag, which of course you won't do. So you can figure less than 2 grams per serving. Again, based on 5 servings, and exactly 1 ½ pounds of chicken, you'll get 31 grams of protein per serving.
Serve with Peanut Sauce - which will give you something to do with some of that leftover coconut milk!
This is way too good; you'll be tempted to cheat on your portions.
½ teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Splenda
Just plunk everything into your blender (which you've washed by now, right?) and run it, scraping down the sides a couple of times, until everything's well-blended.
Makes roughly a cup, or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each. Each will have 4 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams, and 3 grams of protein. Also about a metric boatload of flavor!
About the coconut milk and the fish sauce: Some of you may be wondering where to find these. My basic rule is that if I have to look in more than two stores here in Bloomington, Indiana, to find an ingredient, I don't use it. Here in Bloomington, I can find these ingredients in the "International" section of Kroger, a big grocery store, or at Sahara Mart, a gourmet/International/Mediterranean/health food store that is also my best source for low carb specialty stuff, or at Bloomingfoods, my health food store. I could probably also get them at any of the Asian markets in town, but didn't bother to look, since I shop at all three of these other places regularly.
Fish sauce is widely used, by the way, in Southeast Asian cuisine, and really doesn't taste that much like fish. It keeps well, so if you like Thai or Vietnamese food, buy a good sized bottle and keep it on hand. If you can't find it, you can substitute soy sauce. Your results will be less authentic, but still quite tasty.
That's it for this issue! See you next issue!
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