To carb, or not to carb? That is the question.
In my house, the answer is not too often.
When my daughter started having digestive troubles a few years ago, and a gastroenterologist was all too quick to prescribe some questionable drugs, I immediately hit the books. What I discovered was that if she didn't eat grains or starchy carbohydrates, her body could heal and her symptoms would subside.
She felt better within a few days of changing her diet.
There are many low carb diets to choose from (I'll have some book selections another day), but my recipe today is based upon the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which has helped people recover from symptoms of Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Celiac Disease, and even Cystic Fibrosis and Autism. It's not for everyone, though, and any drastic change in diet should only be made under the guidance of a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) who holds a Ph.D. From our experience, most diets need to be "tweaked" to meet the needs of each individual, and a CNS/Ph.D. goes through extensive training in order to meet those needs safely and effectively.
I've been making Lucy's Beef Stew recipe for quite a while now, and it remains a family favorite. It doesn't take long to make (I love its simplicity), aside from the 3 hour cooking time. It's jam packed with nutrients and is low on carbs (from carrots). Lucy was kind enough to give me permission to post it on my blog. Here it is:
Lucy Rosset's recipe for Beef Stew (serves 6 to 8 people)
1 3/4 lbs. lean beef stew meat (I prefer Whole Foods' extra lean beef stew meat 100% grass fed beef stew meat - updated 9/26/11)
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium-size onions, coarsely chopped
4 (or more) garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 cups green peas (optional)
Cut stew meat into bite-size pieces. Place all ingredients in a large pot, except for the peas. Add enough water, just to cover. Bring to a boil, and immediately lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 3 hours with the lid slightly ajar.
Cook peas, and add to stew a few minutes before serving.
As usual, I've tweaked this recipe. Here are a few modifications I've made:
I usually use 2 to 3 lbs of stew meat (organic, grass-fed, or at least hormone and antibiotic-free) and about 6 to 8 onions. First, I cover the bottom of the Dutch oven, or large pot, with olive oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes, and then briefly add the garlic. Then I add the beef, the carrots, water, thyme, salt, and pepper.
After about three hours, the broth becomes thick, and most of the onions disintegrate. It becomes a delicious beef/onion broth. We're also not shy with garlic in my house - I use 6 to 8 cloves instead of 4.
I prefer to use sea salt (probably about a teaspoon, but please adjust to your liking), and we have yet to add the peas. Some of us like them and some don't, so I usually don't. I think they'd be quite tasty, though, so I will try it sometime soon.
Lucy mentioned that she has recently started adding cauliflower and mushrooms as well. You could certainly play around with adding different vegetables, some at the beginning and some at the end of the cooking process.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I've been meaning to share it for quite a while now; but when I saw an article in More magazine which suggested the whole idea that "saturated fat is a villain" is nothing but a myth, I had to share it. The article was in the current issue, but I couldn't seem to find it online. I was able to find a similar one from Scientific American, though. Both articles claim this information is new, but it's certainly not, as I'll prove to you with some in-depth book selections sometime soon.
Should you just go ahead and eat as much saturated fat as you want based upon one or two articles? Certainly not. You need more evidence, and more than one "expert" to agree, before you can really believe it. You have to read between the lines of any research, and it helps to dig deeper by seeking out thoroughly researched books. I have done so, and like I stated above, I will share them soon.
In the meantime, you can find the above recipe in Lucy's Specific Carbohydrate Cookbook on Lucy's Kitchen Shop web site, along with other wonderful cookbooks, information, and products relating to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Again, I am not a Ph.D., even though I've done extensive research on this topic, so please see one before you make any drastic changes to your diet - especially if you have any medical conditions or food allergies.
While a low carb diet is certainly not for everyone, I don't think there's a single person out there who would not benefit from eating closer to nature. A major problem with eating carbohydrates out of a box or bag is that they very often have their most healthy and natural components removed.
Were we really meant to eat white flour, additives, colorings, preservatives, chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or a significant amount of sugar or sugar substitutes? It doesn't make sense to mess with nature and get away with it so easily, but major companies are making huge sums of money by using these cheap alternatives to natural ingredients.
It has to stop.
So, please do yourself a favor. I know you're busy; but every time you prevent yourself from buying premade food, and instead choose to support companies which are committed to using only natural ingredients in their products, you're helping not only yourself, but the planet as well. If you haven't already, you can start by reading your food labels, and by shopping mainly in the outer aisles of your grocery store. We all need to find creative ways to eat healthfully, and we can do that by thinking outside the box!
Again, I hope you enjoy the recipe. I don't know about you, but I tend to cook more during the winter. So, now might just be the best time for all of us to take some time out to scrutinize our eating habits and lifestyles in general. A new year is coming soon, after all...
Please feel free to share thoughts, questions, suggestions, and/or healthy recipes! Have a great week.
Are you looking for more naturally gluten and dairy free recipes like this one? As of February 2013, I will be sharing more of them at my new site: TransformedByFood.com. I hope you'll check it out.
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