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Shinob1

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The past 2 or so months I have been dieting and I’ve lost 30 pounds! :D However I’m really starting to get tired of the meals I’m cooking. I know there has to be some ways to spice things up, so I’m hoping you guys can give me some suggestions. How I cook my meals is I bake fish and sauté veggies, or I’ll sear/pan fry meat, take it off the heat and then cook the veggies. I’ll put the meat back in the pan to heat up and incorporate some flavors before I serve it. Also when I make my meals, it is for two servers, dinner and lunch for the next day.

My only restriction is that it needs to be low carb. So I cannot do pasta, rice, bread etc. Any veggies & meat are fine and so is fruit. As far as things I like, almost anything. I like spicy food and am not afraid of trying something new.

Here are the things that I make on a regular basis – if you have any suggestions or new things to try please let me know. Also keep in mind I am a beginner, so it can't be too complicated. :thumbsup:

Sausage & Peppers
1 package Kelbasa
1 green bell pepper
1 onion

Chicken & Peppers
1 package of boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 green bell pepper
1 onion

Lean beef & Peppers
1 package of extra lean hamburger
1 green bell pepper
1 onion

Fish & Veggies
2 frozen fillets of Salmon or Tilapia
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini

Here is my pantry of ingredients that I normally have, for the recipies above I’ll sub in different veggies, but I usually eat onions & bell peppers with everything except fish.

Protein:
Frozen Salmon
Frozen Tilapia
Kelbasa Sausage
Chicken Tenders or Breasts
Ground Beef
Turkey Bacon
Cholesterol free eggs / Egg Beaters

Veggies:
Asparagus
Yellow squash
Zucchini
Onion
Bell Peppers
 

bprescot

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Any grains, pulses, beans, etc that you normally have in the pantry?

EDIT: Woops, just saw the low/no carb.... Still, though, you might want to make an exception for stuff like Lentils...
 

rahimlee54

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Congrats on losing the weight 30 lbs in two months is quick. I eat very healthy usually and only have rewards on the weekend normally. For cutting weight you can still eat carbs, but if your current diet is working for you I wouldn't adjust it. You can add some NY strip or filet mignon for a nice lean protein, you may want to ad some green vegetables such as: broccoli, green beans, spinach, collards, or kale. Wilted in a pan with EVOO garlic S&P is great for spinach. If you wanted to add any carbs at some point beans as mentioned above, sweet potatoes, and quinoa are a great way to keep the protein and fiber high and glycemic index low.

I'd also add some salads for more variety, but that is up to you. Cobb salad is great in small amounts.

Good luck.
 

Shinob1

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I have been thinking about adding in salads to the rotation. I was going to do spinach, carrot, celerey, radish and maybe some cut up chicken breast.

I'd really like to add some heat to the things I eat. Should I just dice up some jalapeno peppers and throw them in then I am sauteing the veggies?

I will also do green beans, but they are from a can. Can I take fresh green beans and saute them?
 

Crothcipt

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If you are having hunger issues I would look at lettuce too. Very filling and low cal.. I would also recommend oil and vin. for a salad dressing. Ya you "lose your man card," for it but it helps a ton too. As for green beans you can but make sure you cut the stems off and the tiny string they have running down the side. As far as spices it is up to your palate. Throwing in ***'s when you are sauteing can be good, just watch out for the fumes you can get off of them. Not dangerous but can be nauseous. Gl on your endeavor and gratz on losing that much so soon.
 

dbesed

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Try searching for ketogenic recipes on google. I'm sure there is a tone of recipes :)
 

Shinob1

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Thanks for the advice so far. I'll google ketogenic. What about sauces? What can I whip together that would be healthy and tasty?
 

mhlee

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Invest in some good cookbooks. They'll teach you HOW to cook, not just replicate recipes.
 

stereo.pete

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Shinobi,

Along with your "dieting," I call it eating healthy but I was wondering if you have incorporated weight training into your regiment? I am not weighing myself this round but I have lost two inches in my waist line over the last two months and that is strongly because of eating healthy and weight training with some cardio mixed in. I also found that using quality protein supplements helps out as well, such as Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey Protein and Gold Standard Casein Protein. The best part about Casein protein is that you take it before you go to bed and it very slowly is absorbed into your system, which keeps your metabolism at a higher rate than normal while you sleep.

Keep in mind you need to find a way of eating for the rest of your life that will help you keep that weight off and keep you interested in eating that way.
 

Shinob1

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This time around I haven't done any working out. I tend to respond very well to low carb dieting. I'm not following a specific diet to the tee, but if I had to categorize it, it would be Paleo. I'm trying to stay away from grains and dairy. I have a lot of digestive issues and so far they have all but disappeared after eating this way.

Lately I've been allowing myself to carbs in small amounts. I seem to be maintaining my current weight loss, but I don't seem to be dropping any additional weight. That's fine with me because even though I need to loose about 30 more pounds, I feel pretty good as is and want to make sure I can maintain this weight loss.

I use to work out at a gym 3 to 5 days a week and did the supplementation and all that. Now I'm just trying to work on what I put in my mouth first and when I hit a point where I'm not loosing any weight at all, then I think I'll start exercising again to increase my metabolism.

My fear however is that I'm at a burnout stage with dieting in general. I'm getting tired of eating the same 5 things so that's why I want to spice it up a bit. I think I'll buy a low carb cookbook and give that a try. I read some reviews about the South Beach cookbooks and may purchase the kindle versions for like 10$. Does anyone have recommendations for cookbooks?
 

DwarvenChef

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When I started paying attention to my eating and trying to get healthy again I checked out many "diets" found fault with them all. That said I don't have food allergies or metabolism issues, I just ate bad food. Looking at the plus and negs on these diets that exclude huge food groups I found they where more dangerous than the weight they peeled off people. Just be careful on what your doing for the long term, some diet authers died from complications that could be easaly directed to their diets. Just be carefull.

That said what worked best for me was to cut out processed foods. Sodas were the first to go, than anything with a GMO, and so on. I found new ways to cook the foods I liked excluding nothing. I eat bacon regularly, in smaller portions and from good sources if I use up the stuff I make. When I tallied up the nutritional make up of what I was eating vs how I'm eating now, I have to add more of the things Doc say I should be watching out for lol. She tells me I need to keep my salt under 2k... my daily intake without adding any is under 500... I had to start adding salt lol. In that first year I lost 50 pounds and have not gained any of it back. I still eat burgers at a select few places and very rarely just to satisfy that craving.

I fell 100% better today than I did a year and a half or 2 years ago when my BP sky rocketed, 230 and 150's forget the order .. (or was always that high for many years...) now my BP is well inside norms and I'm able to get the doc looking into getting me off the low dose pills :) Hopefully I will not have to renew the last bottle :)

Loosing the weight is good but do it carefully, no one needs to loose another friend :)
 

Deckhand

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I have been thinking about adding in salads to the rotation. I was going to do spinach, carrot, celerey, radish and maybe some cut up chicken breast.

I'd really like to add some heat to the things I eat. Should I just dice up some jalapeno peppers and throw them in then I am sauteing the veggies?

I will also do green beans, but they are from a can. Can I take fresh green beans and saute them?
In regards to heat jalapeños, serranos, Sriracha sauce, tony Chachere's Cajun salt. Good luck. You are motivating me to do my eight minute abs by passion4profession again, and I need to walk my dog more.
 

Crothcipt

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When I did body for live a few 10+ years ago, I read that a low carb diet is bad for your kidneys. I don't remember where I read that but I think it has some merit to it.

What Dwarvenchef has said makes sense to most problems and to weight loss. Don't think of it as a "Diet" but as a life time learning experience.

Also Gratz on getting off the meds chef.
 

Deckhand

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Last "diet" I did was trying to see six pack abs for summer. Greek yogurt, Kashi go lean cereal with protein powder, cottage cheese with pineapple, terriyaki chicken breasts with rice, and lots of water. Lots of weight lifting, picnic table lifting, abs workouts, push ups, walking, jump rope, etc. you feel better and have more energy working out consistently.
 

Shinob1

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I agree with everything you all are saying. What I am doing really is lower carb. I use to eat nothing but fast food. Ice cream or cookies daily and needless snacking. The carbs I'm eating is coming from nuts and veggies. But I've also allowed myself to eat some pasta or baked potato here and there.

My next step is to start working out on a regular basis. Once I am doing that I'll increase the protein and carbs.

Today at the store I picked up some peppers, Salsa Verde, mushrooms, and a few other things. I'm going to try my hand at some stir frys and jazz up some of the things I am already making.
 

The Edge

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Good luck with the diet! Here are a couple sauces that you can add to whatever protein you like with some sauteed veg.

Here's a slight variation on a Rick Bayless sauce:

10-12 de-stemmed and de-seeded guajillo chiles
3-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 whole cloves
2 cans or 3 cups of beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil

Take the chiles after removing stems and seeds, toast for 15-30 seconds per side in a hot pan, then cover with hot water and soak for 20 minutes.
Drain and add to a blender with garlic and cloves. Blend to a paste (if needed, use a little of the beef stock if it gets too thick)
Once blended, add oil to a hot pan, and then add the paste you created to fry until it becomes brick red. Then add beef broth. Taste for salt and pepper.
You can strain the sauce at this point, but I don't feel it's all that necessary. You can also adjust the amount of chiles depending on how hot you want it.
It'll be ready to go, and you can freeze or refrigerate any leftovers.

Next is a Thai chile sauce:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons siracha
1-2 tablespoons water or stock

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add to sauteed meat and veggies and let reduce. Siracha can be adjusted as well if you want it spicier or milder.

Last is a Thai red curry sauce:

3-5 red jalepenos (or you can substitute the guajillo sauce from earlier)
stems from 1 bunch of cilantro
10 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
2 cans of coconut milk

Add garlic, peppers, and cilantro stems, and fish sauce to a blender (or someone may have mentioned a mortar and pestle for more authenticity), and puree until smooth. Add oil to hot pan, then add puree and fry for a minute or two. Add the coconut milk next, and stir together. Wouldn't call this the most healthy of sauces, but a little goes a long way, and it is very flavorful. This could also be used for the base of a soup, or just added as a sauce to whatever protein and veg you are cooking.

These are some of my favorites, hope they help.
 

cnochef

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Instead of a low carb diet, you should eat foods that stabilize blood sugar and these include whole grain rice (converted cooks in 1/2 the time) and pasta, buckwheat soba noodles, sweet potatoes and steel-cut oats (oatmeal). These foods all have high fibre and they convert to sugar slowly.

Eating protein rich foods like lentils, beans and legumes are also very healthy for you and fill you up quickly. Have a small handful of almonds to cure afternoon hunger.

Make sure you eat plenty of antioxidant and so-called superfoods. These include blueberries, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash, broccoli, swiss chard and other dark leafy greens, Omega3-rich fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, beets, quinoa. Small amounts of 70%+ dark chocolate and red wine daily are said to be good for you too.

Get your meat protein from meats lower in saturated fat and cholesterol like beef eye of round roasts, chicken and turkey breasts, trimmed pork tenderloin. Substitute ground turkey or chicken in burgers, chili and meat sauce. Try eating less meat in general (4oz per day is plenty) and low fat, low sodium cheeses. Tofu isn't as bad as you think, add some to your stir-fry and soups.

You can never go wrong with fresh fruit like bananas, apples, all citrus and melons. They are a great way to curb a sweet tooth and get water and fibre.

As for specific cooking ideas, I think it's a good idea to have whole wheat pasta with tomato based-sauce, turkey or veggie chili, turkey Bolognese sauce, vegetable soup or any kind, dal or channa masala (they're Indian protein dishes, look them up), hummus, quinoa-based tabbouleh salad, healthy refried beans and so on available for quick and healthy meals. Then supplement this with fresh veggies, fruits and salads and you're set!

For breakfast stick with oatmeal, Greek yogurt + fresh fruit + healthy granola, whole grain cereals (watch the sugar of course) or toast. Having a good amount of protein for breakfast doesn't hurt either and that includes eggs, lean ham, peanut butter (low sugar or natural) and cottage cheese. I've recently discovered buckwheat pancakes and really recommend them too!

Cook with vegetable or canola oil. Extra virgin olive oil is great for you but better uncooked drizzled on salads or veggies. Vinegars of all sorts especially apple cider vinegar have proven digestive benefits.

Drink lots of water, give up most or all pop, green tea is great for you and even brewed iced tea contains antioxidants just watch how much sugar you use.
 

SameGuy

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Excellent post -- and thoughtful advice -- cnochef!!

I was going to mention the "handful of almonds" trick, which has been great for helping me cut mid-afternoon processed-sugar snack binges down to zero. Also, I've become a big fan of quinoa, which is more versatile than it looks. I buy a big bag of it at Costco. It's so easy to use and very tasty. The other day I made a really good pilaf with onions and shallots, garlic, carrots and rapini, all with a simple balsamic and lemon juice seasoning. Mmm.
 

cnochef

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I love quinoa too, like I said I use it in tabbouleh salad instead of the bulgur wheat. Another good one is Greek-style quinoa with spinach, feta cheese, sauteed onions and garlic, fresh dill and kalamata olives.
 

DwarvenChef

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Saw the pic, looks good :) I don't eat much in the refined carbs, just the natural stuff. I find I get just as good a nutrition without following a "diet" by just eating real foods... And it tastes SOOO much better :)
 

Shinob1

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Thanks for the sauce recipes and other suggestions. I made some stir fry last night with some new ingredients that was very tasty. What do you all think about brown rice?
 

cnochef

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Thanks for the sauce recipes and other suggestions. I made some stir fry last night with some new ingredients that was very tasty. What do you all think about brown rice?
Personally, I enjoy brown rice. It has a more toothsome texture and nutty flavour. Because of this though, it's obviously not as neutral-tasting as white rice.

I would recommend that you use converted or some other quick cooking brown rice that takes 15-20 minutes. Beware as regular brown rice can take up to 50 minutes to cook and I find that stuff really dries out:(
 

Deckhand

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Thanks for the sauce recipes and other suggestions. I made some stir fry last night with some new ingredients that was very tasty. What do you all think about brown rice?
If it suits your palette it is healthy rice. I tried to like it, but never found it enjoyable. I do like McCanns steel cut oatmeal and it's easy to make in my zojirushi rice maker, but I add things like milk and brown sugar, berries, etc. after it cooks.
 
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