Many of us think of healthy food as boring and bland. If you have to eat healthy you have to sacrifice taste. NOT! The mrs. and I changed our diet three months ago. She has lost 16 pounds, I have lost 26 pounds and we have not experienced deprivation. Every evening she thanks the Lord for her live-in chef and kisses the hands that prepared her meals. Now that is a thankful, appreciative wife!
Our doctors told us we needed to go on low sugar diets. I went on a low sugar/low simple carb diet commonly perscribed to diabetics back at the end of 2004. I am not diabetic but have a history of heart disease, having had a heart attack at 38 and a major family history of heart disease.
The diabetic diet is a diet for life that not only lowers blood sugar, it also lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke – and it makes you lose weight! I lost 50 pounds in fifteen months on the diet and working out in the gym an average of four times a week. In 2006 I sustained a serious arm injury requiring delicate surgery and a long period of healing, PT and recovery. For the next four years I drastically reduced my visits to the gym and strayed from my low sugar diet. In that four year period I regained 35 of the 50 pounds I lost. When you travel a path that gets you lost, chances are pretty certain if you travel that same path you will wind up in the same place you don’t want to be. So what do you do? You change direction and travel a route that will get you to where you want to be.
When I weighed in at 242 at my visit to my cardiologist he told me I needed to lose weight like my life depended on it – because my life depended on it. He said I had several recent blood tests where my sugar levels were borderline high and that I needed to adhere to a low sugar diet. Between last September and May I had gained about 22 pounds and added four inches to my waist. I had ballooned from a 38 waist to a size 42. My visit to the cardiologist was a wake-up call.
The good news is that I rarely felt deprived when I was on my low sugar diet. My cooking skills and facility with spices and condiments combined with fresh, healthy whole foods made for healthy and tasty meals. Getting back on the wagon would not be painful nor difficult. In fact, the meal I made for dinner this evening is an example of delicious, healthy eating.
I made a meal rich in vegetables, beans, whole grain, salmon, avocado, olive oil and spices. I made blackened salmon filets coated in my spicy Taubi’s Jam’asian sauce and served them on a plate with Hass avocado topped with olive oil and sea salt.
I sauteed organic yellow baby carrots in olive oil at high heat until I got them a little caramelized to bring out the natural sugars in them. I also did the same thing with regular sliced (orange) carrots and mixed the two together, sprinkled some sea salt and olive oil on them.
I then sliced up some purple cabbage and sauteed it in olive oil and a little water and cooked it covered so the cabbage could both sautee and steam at the same time. I am on Coumadin, an anti-coagulant and green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K which counteracts the effects of the Coumadin so I was told not to eat green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, broccoli rabe, green cabbage, kale, green lettuce, etc. I was not happy about this but in the interest in staying alive, I had to follow doctor’s orders. Necessity is the mother of invention and it made me try purple cabbage. It looks beautiful and tastes like – cabbage!
I also made a bean dish that has become popular with my wife and guests. I call the dish ebony and ivory tasty beans. It’s quick and simple to make. I use canned cannillini and black beans which I rinse in cold water in a strainer. First I diced and sauteed an onion until it’s translucent and soft but not browned. I then threw in the black and white beans, sea salt, black peper and my homemade blend of Indian spices that is similar to garam masala. I lowered the flame to a simmer and covered the pot until the beans absorb mositure and soften some. When the beans are at the desired level of doneness, I added in chopped scallions and some more olive oil and stirred the ingredients. If you put in too much olive oil or cook the beans for too long you risk getting a version of refried beans – which is not necessarily a bad thing taste-wise but it is less esthetically pleasing visually.
The last dish is a side dish of quinoa with pigeon peas, caramelized onions, sea salt, black pepper and my mixture of Indian spices.
I am pleased to report everything was delicious, visually stimulating and very healthy. Try these dishes and enjoy!
Written by Richard Taub
Photo Credit: Richard Taub