Tuesday, October 27, 2015


The anti-meat activists are having a heyday with the new study from the World Health Organization that states unequivocally that, hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats cause cancer. I'm sure you have seen it everywhere, even though the study has not even been officially released! Here is a link to the story in yesterday's Washington Post if you need a refresher: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/10/26/hot-dogs-bacon-and-other-processed-meats-cause-cancer-world-health-organization-declares/

Below is my response. I've posted on every news story I could find that gave me a comment box! Also check out Zoe Harcombe's in-depth rebbutal here: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2015/10/world-health-organisation-meat-cancer/  See more responses to the WHO recommendations at the end of this post.


Nitrates are actually used to treat heart patients. They open the arteries. I haven’t seen any solid science that supports their link to cancer. Green vegetables have hundreds of times more nitrates than cured meats, yet we are encouraged to eat lots of them! I posted about how we came to believe nitrates were harmful here: http://carbwars.blogspot.com/2013/07/rethinking-bacon-and-best-way-to-cook-it.html 

We already know that the fat in pork is good for us; even those who vilify saturated fat surely are aware that pork fat is mostly mono-unsaturated, like olive oil. One of the main kinds of fat found in beef is quickly converted to mono-unsaturated fat as soon as it is ingested, so if there is any problem with eating cured meat (other than the fact that it is most often eaten as a sandwich with a side of fries cooked in a toxic vegetable oil sludge and served with a sugary soft drink), it is most likely due to the way it is raised and processed in this country. Factory-farmed meat, fattened on GMO corn and soy, injected with hormones and anti-biotics, mixed with starches, sugars, and preservatives (like BHA and BHT), and usually cooked and packaged in plastic, might contribute to cancer. But we can opt out on the nasty stuff. If we buy fresh or naturally cured, pastured pork and grass-fed beef and lamb, we can still enjoy the benefits of the world's most nutrient dense foods, the ones that have nourished mankind throughout all of human history.

It is interesting to note that most of those who responded in the media to the WHO study buy into the myths about the dangers of cured meat and red meat. The real Mediterranean diet was full of cured meat; that’s why a lot of it is called by Italian names, like salami, prosciutto, pancetta, pepperoni, etc.

PS: Dr. Eenfeldt’s blog post reminded me that I forgot to mention that the way meat is cooked affects its carcinogenic content. So don’t blacken your steak or if you do, trim away the burnt parts and keep your bacon wobbly. Marinating meats or cooking in liquid helps reduce the harmful compounds too. See my recipe for cooking bacon under water. (He points out that cooking any food at high temperatures produces carcinogins but charred vegetables will have many more of them than charred meat!)

The experts weigh in on the WHO study:

A great article on the WHO study from Prof. Schofield:

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker

Sunday, October 25, 2015


You may not be familiar with lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), a relative of cranberries, unless you've had lunch at an IKEA store. They grow wild in cold climates and are popular for jams and sauces in Scandinavia. I planted some as a groundcover in my front yard and developed a profound respect for anyone who harvests these tiny, tart berries. No wonder we seldom see them in places where there are alternatives like big fat strawberries, raspberries, and cherries! (I picked a sprig to garnish my sorbet in the photo but I bought the berries to make it at the grocery store.) Their low sugar content makes them a perfect choice for a low-carb fruit dessert.

Keep frozen berries on hand and you will never be more than five minutes away from a fabulous dessert! I called this "sophisticated sorbet" because the lingonberries are distinctively tart and the Chambord makes this an adults only recipe. You can leave out the liqueur and use all raspberries for a less sophisticated version. 

8 ounces frozen raspberries
8 ounces frozen lingonberries (or use all raspberries)
Erythritol-based granular sweetener, such as Swerve, equal to ½ cup sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon Great Lakes powdered gelatin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Chambord or other raspberry-flavored liqueur

A high-speed blender works best for this, but it can be made in a food processor. Have ready a chilled container for the finished sorbet.

Let frozen berries thaw for 5 minutes at room temperature. 

Meanwhile, place sweetener, gelatin, and salt into blender and pulse until powdered. Don't remove the lid until the dust settles. Add berries, water, and Chambord. Blend according to the directions for frozen desserts for your blender until it forms a smooth puree. Taste and adjust sweetener if necessary.  

Scrape sorbet out of blender directly into serving dishes and serve at once or place in a container to firm up, stirring occasionally.

Sorbet may need to warm up for 20 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator if it has been frozen for more than 2 or 3 hours. Break into chunks and blend or process again for soft serve, if desired.

Once sorbet is firm enough to scoop, use an ice cream dipper to portion it out into flexible silicone muffin pans to make individual servings that can be popped out when ready to use. 

Makes about 7 servings.

Cal: 305; Fat: 0g; Protein: 0.9g; Total Carbs; 8.1, Fiber: 3g, Net Carbs: 5.1g
Without Liqueur: Cal: 291; Fat: 0g; Protein: 0.9g; Total Carbs: 7.4g, Fiber: 3; Net Carbs: 4.4g
Sugar alcohols are not included in nutrition data.
Nutrition data will be about the same if recipe is made with all raspberries. 

Pin It: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993910584801/

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I've eaten more real, honest-to-goodness sandwiches in the last month than I have in the last 15 years! My last post featured the recipe for the low-carb, gluten-free, flax-free buns that brought back the good ole days of quick, convenient lunches without cheating!

The obvious thing to do with a bun is to put a burger on it and I've certainly done that, but I've also used them for other sandwiches like grilled cheese, BLTs, and the one in the picture above, made with deli meats, cheeses, and nutrient-packed, micro-greens.*(See note at end of post about Rainbow Mix Micro-greens.)

The trick to making a grilled sandwich out of one of my buns is to cut it into three pieces. All the bakers among you probably already know how to get thin, even slices, the way you do for making multi-layer cakes, but for the rest of you, here's how to do it. 

Make the buns using the recipe here: http://carbwars.blogspot.com/2015/10/buns-beautiful-buns.html

Take several wooden picks and place them around the outside of a bun about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Rest a serrated knife on the picks to keep it level as you carefully saw though the bread.

Next, place wooden picks halfway up around the outside of the top half of the bun. Rest the knife on the picks as before and slice off the rounded top. Save the top for another use. Now you have two unifrom peices of bread that will brown nicely on both sides. (To cut the buns into even slices without a knife: Wrap a length of thread around the bun under the wooden picks. Cross the ends and pull them sideways to quickly cut bun in two.)

Preheat a skillet and grill the slices on both sides in lots of butter or bacon fat until brown. Watch carefully, as bread made with nut flour will burn faster than regular bread.

You may add whatever fillings you like, but to replicate the sandwich in the top picture, spread one slice of the grilled bread with a thick layer of soft goat cheese. Pile it high with pastrami, sliced turkey, and Swiss cheese or your choice of deli meats and cheeses. Add a big handful of micro-greens and put the second slice of grilled bread on top. Serve it with a dill pickle on the side,

What kind of sandwich do you want to make? A Reuben with corned beef, Swiss cheese, saur kraut, dill pickles, and Russian dressing (or mustard) would be terrific. Caraway seeds can be used as an add-in when making the buns or sprinkled in the pan before grilling the bread for an authentic taste. For a grilled cheese, grill the bread slices in butter and add Cheddar cheese to one. Top with the second slice, turn sandwich, and heat until cheese is melted. Serve with sugar-free sweet pickles.

Nutrition Data for buns minus top slice:
I'm estimating that slicing off the domed top of the bun will reduce the nutrition counts by about one fourth, since the top is smaller than the other two slices. So the bread for each sandwich would have  7.5 grams of Total Carbs and 4.5 grams of Fiber for 3.2 grams of Net Carbohydrates instead of the 4.1 in the whole bun. It would be half that if you make open-face sandwiches.

Nutrition Data for micro-greens:
14 grams have 4 Calories and no carbs, fat, or protein.

Nutrition Data for sandwich will vary with filling choices.

DisRAINBOW MIX MICRO-GREENS Photo from: www.brightfresh.
About Micro-greens: 
Micro-greens are young seedlings of vegetables and herbs harvested soon after germination while they still contain all the nutrients they need to grow. In a recent study, researchers were astonished to find that micro-greens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times the levels of nutrients found in their mature counterparts. Qin Wang, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, said, "When we first got the results we had to rush to double and triple check them."

Many grocers and produce stands now sell mixtures of sprouts and tiny leaves like the Micro Rainbow Mix shown below. This one is from BrightFresh™ and it contains: arugula, broccoli, amaranth, beet tops, parsley, radish, and others. They are grown in bright natural sunshine in San Marcos, CA, not factory-farmed with unnatural, artificial lighting in a warehouse.

They can be used in soups, salads, and sandwiches, and they make a beautiful edible garnish. More info: http://www.webmd.com/diet/20120831/tiny-microgreens-packed-nutrients

Pin It > https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993910498267/

Disclaimer: I have not recieved free products or compensation from the company mentioned in this post. 

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker

Friday, October 2, 2015


I've added another bread to my repertoire! I hope you will love these buns as much as we do. They are perfect for burgers and sandwiches or they can be toasted, buttered, and spread with sugar-free jam. They are low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, and flax-free. 

 3/4 cup almond, cashew, or other nut or seed flour
2 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 Tbsp hemp hearts, chopped nuts, or shelled sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp sesame seeds or other add-ins (*See Tips and Notes    below for suggestions.) 
2 tsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
Sugar substitute equal to 1 teaspoon sugar, such as stevia, monk fruit,    xylitol, or sucralose
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, plain yogurt, or coconut yogurt 
2 Tbsp light olive oil or melted coconut oil or butter
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
!/2 packet (1 1/8 tsp. or 1/8 oz) of instant or active dry yeast, optional, for a yeasty taste only
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan and line with parchment paper, Grease the paper also.

Whisk the nut flour, psyllium powder, nuts and seeds, coconut flour, baking powder, any dry sugar substitute, and salt together in a bowl. (If using liquid sugar substitute, add it with wet ingredients instead.)

If using instant yeast, add to dry ingredients. If using active dry yeast, dissolve in 1 tablespoon warm water and stir into wet ingredients. Yeast is for flavor only and will not affect rise.

Break eggs into a second bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in sour cream or yogurt, oil or melted coconut oil or butter, and vinegar.

Stir almond flour mixture into egg mixture and beat until well blended. Grease first bowl, which is now empty. Transfer dough to the greased bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. (Use a timer or watch the clock to be sure you let it sit long enough to hydrate.)
With a greased knife or rubber spatula, cut the dough into 4 pieces for buns, 8 for dinner rolls. With the spatula and greased fingers, shape pieces into balls and put in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle buns with a few extra seeds or nuts if desired. Bake on middle rack in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned. 

Split buns with a serrated knife and toast for best flavor and texture. Serve with butter and sugar-free jam or use as buns for burgers, sandwiches, or eggs Benedict.

Storage: To keep baked goods made with nuts and seeds fresh longer, store them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel and place in refrigerator or freeze. The towel will absorb excess oil and moisture. Separate buns with parchment paper when freezing for easy removal.

Recipe inspired by Theresa Fletcher at thelowcarbreview.blogspot.com.

Makes 4 buns or 8 dinner rolls.

Nutrition Data per each of 4 buns when made with sour cream, hemp hearts and sesame seeds:

Calories: 293; Fat: 27.1g; Protein: 8.8g; Fiber: 6.1g; Carbohydrate: 10.3g; Net Carbohydrate: 4.1g

If using yogurt, some of the carbs will have been eaten by the live cultures. The amount that remains is about 2 grams per 1/2 cup of yogurt, so similar to the counts above for using sour cream..

Tips and Notes:
*Optional add-ins could include: pine nuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, currants, finely shredded coconut, or a mixture. Add-ins are for flavor and crunch only and do not affect rise. You may also substitute oat fiber for one tablespoon of the add-ins (you could probably use more, but I've only tested it with one). Oat fiber has no carbs.

I used Frontier brand psyllium husk powder. Some brands may be gritty.

These buns contain 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of fiber for each of 4. If you are not adapted to getting much fiber, start with just one or 1/2 bun per day.

If dough is sticky and hard to shape, let it sit a little longer. You can also dust it with a little coconut flour or spray it lightly with cooking spray.

For dairy-free buns, use coconut yogurt and olive oil or melted coconut oil.

Edited after publication.

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwarsblogspot.com

Monday, September 7, 2015


I often hear, "now, why didn't I think of that?' when someone sees my substitute for mashed potatoes. Adding eggs makes them creamier and thicker and mellows the taste for those of us who find cauliflower a bit too turnip-y. (This is the basic recipe used for Faux Mashed Potatoes, Faux Duchess Potatoes, and Cottage Pie in Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.)


1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound 15 ounces as purchased, or 1 pound 8 ounces, trimmed)
4 garlic cloves, peeled (½ ounce total)
3 ounces cream cheese (one small package), softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs

Wash and trim cauliflower. Quarter the head and cut vertically into ½-inch slices. Place cauliflower and garlic on steaming rack in large saucepan. Add water to pan (not touching rack) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and steam until fork tender, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes. Place in work bowl of food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape down bowl and process for about 1 minute more, or until smooth. Add cream cheese, butter, salt, and pepper and process until blended.

Let mixture cool for a few minutes (so it won’t cook the eggs) and add the eggs. Process until blended. Continue with recipe for Faux Mashed Potatoes (p. 281), Faux Duchess Potatoes (p. 282), or Cottage Pie (p. 88). (Recipe above requires additional cooking for the other recipes. Faux Mashed Potatoes recipe follows.)

Makes 4 cups or 8 servings of ½ cup.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 2.2 grams; Protein: 3.2 grams; Fiber: 1.1 grams; Fat: 6.4 grams; Calories: 80
See specific recipes for complete nutrition information.

Total weight: 1 pound 141/3 ounces or 861 grams
Weight per serving: 3¾ ounces or 108 grams
Preparation time: 10 minutes active; 40 minutes total

“Training is everything. The peach was once
a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but
cabbage with a college education.”
– Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


Follow recipe (above) for Cauliflower Faux Potatoes. Return cauliflower mixture to pan after blending in the eggs and cook and stir over low heat for 6 to 10 minutes until thickened and mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Taste and correct seasoning if needed. Serve hot with butter or gravy.

Makes 4 cups or 8 servings of ½ cup.
Per serving—
Net carbohydrate: 2.2 grams; Protein: 3.2 grams; Fiber: 1.1 grams; Fat: 6.4 grams; Calories: 80

Total weight: 1 pound 141/3 ounces or 861 grams
Weight per serving: 3¾ ounces or 108 grams
Preparation time: 10 minutes active (plus time to prepare Cauliflower Faux Potatoes, p. 280.

“….As food for cattle, sheep or hogs, this is the worst of all the green and root crops; but of this I have said enough before; and therefore, I now dismiss the Potato with the hope, that I shall never again have to write the word, or see the thing.”
– William Cobbett (1763-1835), British writer and reformer

You can get the Kindle version, a $9.95 value, for free (via Matchbook deal) when you purchase a print copy of Nourished from Amazon or if you have already purchased one in the past; http://www.amazon.com/Nourished-Cookbook-Health-Metabolic-Balance-ebook/dp/B007SZGD7Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

(c) 2012, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com 

Sunday, August 30, 2015


After the hottest summer ever recorded here in the Pacific Northwest, we are suddenly back in the 60s with nothing but rain in the forecast. What can we do with all those tomatoes that don't have enough summer left to ripen? Did you know that anything you can do with tart apples, you can do with green tomatoes? Surprisingly, green tomatoes are higher in carbs than ripe ones, but still much lower than apples. They make wonderful desserts, like tarts, mincemeat pies, and that old Southern specialty, green tomato cake!

This moist, spicy cake is a winner!

9 tablespoons almond flour
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour  (Note to self: try with oat fiber.)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon true (Ceylon) cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
A pinch of salt
4 medium-sized, firm, green tomatoes, cored and finely diced
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs
½ cup Natural Mate erythritol blend equal to 1 cup sugar or use 1 cup      Swerve or Xylitol  
1 tablespoon rum
Grated zest of one lemon, about 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled but still liquid
½ cup broken pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch cake pan or spring-form pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan.

Combine almond flour,oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium bowl. Reserve.

Place chopped green tomatoes in a heat resistant bowl, sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on high for about 4 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl to drain for 10 minutes. Press down on tomatoes to remove excess moisture and blot on paper towels.

In the bowl of a food processor, process eggs. Add sweetener, rum, zest, and vanilla extract and process until blended. Add one third of the dry ingredients and one third of the melted butter to the eggs and process. Repeat twice more until all dry ingredients and butter are incorporated. Add tomatoes and nuts to batter and fold in until coated. (This will be easier if you transfer the batter to a bowl first.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out almost clean (the cake is moist inside, so the pick may not be completely clean).

Remove from oven. Use a large spoon to serve warm from the baking pan or place torte on a rack to cool and unmold onto a plate. Sprinkle with a little powdered Natural Mate or other sweetener, if desired. 

Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature, topped with sweetened yogurt or whipped cream or a scoop of low-carb ice cream.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Nutrition data for each of 8 servings:
Calories; 147; Protein: 5.3g; Fat: 10.7g; Fiber: 3.3g; Total Carbs: 8.8g; Net Carbs: 5.5g.

Nutrition data for each of 10 servings:
Calories; 118; Protein: 4.2g; Fat: 8/6g; Fiber:2/8g; Total Carbs: 7/1g; Net Carbs: 4.5g.

(Data does not include sweetener.)

Pin it: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993910216881/

Post was edited after publication; I forgot the xanthan gum.

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Jimmy Moore’s blockbuster book, Keto Clarity, (see my review here ) spelled out the advantages of burning fat for energy instead of sugar. It created a demand for a cookbook of Jimmy-approved recipes for those who want to try a strict ketogenic diet for weight loss and /or improved health. He made a good case, but it can be a hard to convince someone to commit to a lifetime without pizza, mac and cheese, french fries, pop, bread, and goodies. Many may think they don’t have the will power to stick to such an austere diet so they won’t even try. Enter Maria Emmerich. I know Maria through her popular books and her blog and have always been in awe of her energy, talent, and enthusiasm. I sometimes wondered if this petite dynamo with an impish grin and a tumble of dark curls lives in a parallel universe where the sun shines brighter, the days are longer, and they sip a special elixir that keeps everyone rosy-cheeked, productive, and happy. Read this book and you will discover that Maria’s secret is really quite simple; eat real foods that slow aging, heal the body, and nourish the mind. And make them so good and so satisfying that no one need ever experience hunger or feel deprived! This magic is available to all of us who seek to join her in the lavish, indulgent feast so we too can become superhuman.

Just so you know what to expect, although the title of this book has the word “Paleo” in it, the classic Paleo diet, as defined by the gurus who founded and named it, like Loren Cordain, and those who popularized it, like Robb Wolf, is neither low-carb nor high-fat, and certainly not ketogenic. The original Paleo protocol specifies lean meat, roots and vegetables, fruits, nuts, and natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. It forbids grains in any form and all dairy products, which eliminates some of the most allergenic foods and may be part of the reason it is successful for some. Also off limits for Paleos are legumes and anything processed or man-made. The majority of Paleo adherents are young, male, and athletic and can probably tolerate more carbohydrates than the average overweight American who is already metabolically challenged. The only thing Paleo about the way of eating described in the Ketogenic Cookbook is the rejection of grains, beans, and any food that cannot be eaten in its natural form. Many of the meals in The Ketogenic Cookbook include dairy products, especially cheese, and they literally ooze with healthful, natural fats, like coconut oil, bacon, and butter. Not Paleo perhaps, but better. 

Pin It > https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993910063017/

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the Ketogenic Cookbook.

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I had a request for a recipe for chocolate chips and I realized that I didn't have one on the blog. This one is adapted from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance. You can pour it out in a sheet and chop it up to make chips or you can make candy cups, bars, or fruit and nut clusters.

Adding liquid to melted chocolate is a big no-no. After years of making my chocolate chips with powdered, dry sweetener, I hit on a better solution. It lets me use one of the zero-carb liquids as the primary sweetener without causing the chocolate to seize and turn into a hard, dry lump.

1 teaspoon no-trans-fat shortening, such as Spectrum*
High-intensity liquid sweetener equal to ½ cup sugar**
A few grains of fine salt
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment, waxed paper, or foil
and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Place liquid sweetener and salt in a small saucepan. Add shortening and place over very low heat until shortening melts. Cook and stir for 1 minute more to let the liquid evaporate. Stir in chocolate and continue to stir until almost smooth. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring frequently, until it is about 80° F. (The slow cooling tempers the chocolate so it is smooth and shiny.) Pour it out on the chilled sheet pan and tilt the pan to spread the chocolate to a thickness of about ⅜ inch. Return pan to refrigerator until chocolate is cold. Peel off the paper or foil and chop into chips. Store away from heat in a covered container.

Makes 1 cup or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate:
1.9 grams; Protein:1.9 grams; Fiber: 2.4 grams; Fat: 8.1 grams; 77 Calories:
Total weight: 4 ounces
Weight per serving: ½ ounce
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Pour melted chocolate into molds to make sugar-free chocolate candy cups or bars.

Mix in chopped nuts, coconut, or chopped, dried cranberries and drop by teaspoonfuls to make nut and/or fruit clusters.

*You can use coconut oil if you prefer, but the chocolate will be softer and melt more easily. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees.

**Any liquid sweetener will work for this recipe. You can use liquid stevia if you like the taste, monk fruit, sucralose, or a combination, however, the combination of sucralose and chocolate can be bitter. Adding a small amount of another sweetener gives a more natural sweet taste. (Commercial products often combine sucralose with Acesulfame K.)

Salty is the opposite of bitter. If your coffee is bitter, add a little salt. It also takes away some of the bitterness in chocolate. Use only fine salt so chocolate won’t be grainy.

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


“Home grown tomatoes, 
Home grown tomatoes,
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy,
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.”

~~from the song, Home Grown Tomatoes by Guy Clark.

Like it or not, life without tomatoes is a reality for many of us for a number of reasons. First, allergies to tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family are quite common. Second, Dr. Richard Bernstein says tomatoes are too high in glucose for those with diabetes and anyone following the protocol outlined in his book, "The Diabetes Solution," must eliminate them. And third, those who are on ketogenic diets may just want a replacement that is lower in carbs.
Think of all the foods we eat everyday that are based on tomatoes (spaghetti, lasagna, barbecue, ketchup, chili, pizza, salsa...) and you will appreciate the scope of the challenge. I'm tackling it one sauce at a time and this unconventional, tomato-free Barbecue Sauce is the first to get a makeover.

Use like regular barbecue sauce for basting ribs, chicken, or meatloaf, as a dipping sauce for meatballs, or stir into pulled pork.

½ onion, finely chopped (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons cooking fat, bacon fat preferred
2 garlic cloves (¼ ounce), peeled and chopped
2 cups Basic Rhubarb Sauce, recipe follows
½ cup cider vinegar
1 anchovy fillet, mashed, or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons liquid smoke, hickory or mesquite flavored
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or increase black pepper if avoiding nightshades
1 teaspoon coconut aminos or ½ teaspoon gravy flavoring (like Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master)
Sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons pomegranate molasses* or black strap molasses, optional
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, more if not using hot sauce

Sauté onion in bacon fat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté a little longer. Mix in other ingredients and simmer, uncovered, on low heat for 30 minutes. Purée in a food processor in batches if you prefer a smooth sauce. Refrigerate until needed.

Makes about 3 cups or 24 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Per serving—Total Carbohydrate: 1.3g; Protein: 0.3g; Fiber: 0.4g; Fat: 11g; Calories: 17; Net Carbohydrate: 1g
Optional ingredients are not included in nutrition count. Pomegranate molasses will add 0.37g carbs per serving of 2 tablespoons. 

The rhubarb that grows best here in the Northwest is not red. It is pale green blushed with rosy pink--quite beautiful as it is, but it makes a greenish-gray sauce. I happened to be cooking red beets when I made the sauce shown in the picture above so I tossed in a few of the stems and peelings, about the amount from one small beet. Bingo! I fished out the pieces before blending the sauce, but the taste is quite nice so you could leave them in, but they would add a few carbs. If you use the iridescent, candy-apple-red rhubarb sold in most stores, you may not need to add anything for color.

This recipe makes more than you need for the Barbecue Sauce. You can also serve it as a condiment (it's especially nice with salmon), like applesauce, or as a dessert topping (with more sweetener).

3 pound fresh or frozen rhubarb stalks, sliced into ½ inch lengths
Sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste or up to 1/2 cup for dessert sauce)
½ cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A pinch of salt
Beet skins or stems for color if needed, optional

Place rhubarb in a large saucepan.Add water, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked down and very soft, stirring occasionally.

Puree in a food processor or blender or use a stick blender if you prefer a smooth sauce.

Use in place of tomato sauce in my recipe for Barbecue Sauce Reinvented. (More tomato-free recipes will be forthcoming for those who are allergic to nightshades and those who follow Dr. Richard Bernstein's protocol outlined in The Diabetes Solution.

Pomegranate molasses is a thick, zesty condiment used in Middle Eastern cuisines. It is not very sweet, but adds a lot of punch to the sauce. It can be found with the ethnic foods in some groceries, online, and in specialty stores. 1½ teaspoons will add a total of 9 grams of carbs to the whole recipe. You can omit it or use black strap molasses instead.

Pin It > https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993909884362/

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


These chewy, fudgy bars are made with the same sweetener used in Quest bars, which can now be purchased for home use.  The basic recipe has only two ingredients and can be made in minutes. Endless variations are possible depending on what flavors and add-ins you use. For my first version I used cocoa and chopped nuts. So easy; so good!

2 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (I used MRM brand)
Tiny pinch of salt
¼ cup IMO syrup* (See information and sources below.)
2 tbsp chopped almonds

Grease candy bar molds or a loaf pan, line with parchment paper, and grease paper also or use greased silicone molds or pans. You can also use muffin pans to make round "cookies" rather than bars or you can shape them by hand. Flexible containers made of silicone will facilitate removal. (I have molds for making bars on order, but I made the ones pictured at the top in a 3- x 5-inch loaf pan. If you double the recipe, it will make 4 bars when sliced horizontally.) 

Whisk cocoa powder, whey protein powder, and salt together until well blended. Set aside.

Grease a saucepan or microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add syrup to bowl or pan and heat in microwave for about a minute or until bubbly or heat on cooktop until bubbly. Stir in dry ingredients and mix with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon to make a smooth dough. Mix in nuts.

Scrape mixture into molds and smooth top or let cool until it can be safely handled and shape into bars or “cookies.” Place in refrigerator for about an hour or until cold. Bars can be safely stored at room temperature but they will be soft. Refrigerate for firmer texture.

Makes 2 bars or disks. Recipe can be halved for one bar or multiplied for more.
Nutrition data per bar or disk: Cal: 128; Fat: 4.8g; Protein: 14g; Carbs: 15.4g; Net Carbs; 4.3g 

This is the bare bones recipe for making one bar. It can be customized to taste. 

2 tbsp IMO syrup
1/4 cup sugar-free sweetened whey protein powder or other protein powder
Optional add-ins and flavors: cocoa, chopped nuts, chopped dried cranberries, citrus zest, sugar-free chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, vanilla or other extract

Make as in above recipe.

Makes 1 bar. 
Nutrition data per bar: Cal: 142; Fat: 1.3g; Protein: 23.1g; Carbs: 28.9g; Net Carbs; 3.9g 

The Protein Cookies shown below were made with polydextrose (PDX) powder rather than IMO syrup and formed in a silicone muffin pan. (I used less cocoa in these, hence the lighter color.) 

To use PDX instead of IMO, add the dry PDX powder to an equal amount of water (1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup PDX for making 2 bars) and mix until dissolved. Heat until bubbly and continue as in either recipe above. 


*Isomalto-oligosaccharides IMO) is a new healthy sweetener that is very similar to one called polydextrose (PDX) that I used in a lot of recipes in my books. Both IMO and PDX are prebiotic, soluble dietary fiber made by breaking down starch into indigestible glucose. The starch can come from corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, tapioca, or other grains or roots. Polydextrose (PDX) is made by treating the starch with vitamin C and is considered to be synthetic. It contains a small amount of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. IMO is made by treating the starch with enzymes, which do not alter the product chemically and allows the manufacturer to say that it is “all natural.” 

Neither IMO nor PDX is as sweet as sugar, so you will need to add another sugar substitute to boost the sweetness. The recipes above call for sweetened protein powder, which provides the extra sweetness. 

IMO and PDX both contain a lot of fiber and you may need to start slowly and build up a tolerance to avoid gastric repercussions. (Don't test it just before an important event like a job interview or a first date for example!) Those who have SIBO, IBS or other condition that makes them sensitive to indigestible fibers will need to be especially careful of these products. There is a chart that shows how much of each kind of fiber it contains here: http://vitafiber.myshopify.com/pages/vitafiber-nutritional-information

IMO comes as a syrup or a powder. Vitafiber and Fiberyum are two brand names. The powder can be subbed one for one for sugar in recipes and the syrup can be used like corn syrup. There are lots of recipes on the Vitafiber website. 
RECIPES FROM VITAFIBER SITEhttp://vitafiber.myshopify.com/pages/recipes

 The brands of PDX that I have used don’t say what kind of starch it is made from, but they do say it contains none of the allergens that must be disclosed on labels, which are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. It could still be made of corn. Products made with Vitafiber that are advertised as being Paleo friendly are made from tapioca although other kinds are available for use in various products.

PDX is not quite as cheap as it used to be, but still less than IMO. (IMO is cheaper if purchased in larger quantities.) 

Below is a list of some sources for IMO and PDX. You may find others. Shop around for the best price: 

You can buy PDX from: Honeyville Farms, (http://shop.honeyville.com/products/bakery/baking-ingredients/sugars-and-sweeteners/polydextrose.html) Five pounds is $20.99 plus $4.99 flat rate shipping.
 LC-Foods also sells PDX in ¼ pound bags for $8.38 ($6.93 shipping) from their site or from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/LC-Foods-Polydextrose-Fiber/dp/B0096E56QY/ref=pd_sbs_325_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=164NM0VRMMZ0W4CQP5XF

Netritian has Vitafiber powder, 2.2 pounds for $21.99 with $5.99 for shipping. http://www4.netrition.com/vitafiber_prebiotic_fiber_powder.html

Amazon sells Vitafiber powder for $22. for 2.2 pounds with Prime shipping: http://www.amazon.com/Vitafiber-Basic-Powder-1-0-Kg/dp/B00TQ87DBQ/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1434521326&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=vitafiber+powder

The Fiberyum brand of IMO syrup comes in many sizes. It can be ordered from Amazon. A 1/2 gallon jug is $35.95 plus shipping.  http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=vitafiber+syrup&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=4966556179&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_3g7ka29se_e
I have not received samples for any of the products mentioned above and I do not get a commission on sales made from this site. 

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com 

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I have absolutely love this recipe. Sometimes I make a double batch of just the hot salad to serve as a side dish. 

For Dressing:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
2 tsp sesame oil
Sugar substitute to equal 1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

For Salad:
1 cup finely sliced fennel (save fronds for garnish)
1/2 cup finely sliced white onion
1/2 cup finely sliced celery root, also called celeriac
Additional salt and pepper to taste

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 lb large sea scallops, about 12, fresh or thawed frozen
2 tbsp chopped, fresh fennel fronds

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, 1 tbsp water, sesame oil, sugar substitute, salt, and pepper. Reserve.

Slice fennel horizontally into thin slivers. Slice onion, pole to pole, into thin slivers. Peel and trim celery root and cut into matchsticks about the same size as the onion and fennel strips. In a large bowl, combine fennel, onion, celery root, salt, and pepper.

Mince 2 tbsp fennel fronds for garnish. Reserve.

Put 2 tbsp bacon fat in a large skillet and heat on medium-high. Blot scallops dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt. Place scallops in hot skillet, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove scallops and place on a heated serving dish.

Add sliced fennel, onion, and celery root to hot skillet and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes until hot but still crisp. Add salad to serving platter with scallops, drizzle with reserved dressing, sprinkle with bacon bits, and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings
1 serving: 237 calories; 22g protein; 12.6g fat; 1.3g fiber; total carbs: 7.4g; 6.1g net carbs

Pin It > https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993909788863/

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com

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