February 24, 2009

Some high-fat / lowish carb snacks

Having reviewed the evidence that a tiny bit of glucose goes a long way to improving your mood, and bearing in mind that low-carb diets eventually test the will of people with a sweet tooth, here is a quick list of some snacks that, when eaten sparingly, provide a nice pick-me-up without being too sweet. If something tastes very sweet, even if it lacks sugar, the mere taste will trigger the insulin response, so don't think that dumping a bunch of Splenda into something or wolfing down 10 sugar-free Hershey bars will bypass the process.

1) Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent ice cream made from coconut milk. You'll probably have to go to Whole Foods to find it. Coconut milk is almost all fat, and its fat content boasts a higher percentage of saturated fats than butter, lard, or tallow. Since Turtle Mountain caters to yuppies, they have to remove quite a bit of the fat, so it's not quite as rich as Haagen Dazs or whatever, but it's still pretty thick and smooth compared to soy and rice ice creams. Has about 13 g of sugar and 21 g of carbs per quarter of a container, but I only eat about 4 spoonfuls.

I've been lactose intolerant since I was about 23, and this is the closest thing to real ice cream I've had -- it could do a lot better, though, by leaving all of the fat in, which would also allow them to remove some of the carbs. So far I've tried Mocha Almond Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, and Passionate Mango. All great. Again, just take a little after a big meal.

2) Dark chocolate and peanut butter -- I could never give this combination up, but now I need to find a low-sugar form of it. Lindt makes an 85% cocoa bar that has only 5 g sugar and 8 g carbs per serving, and lots of saturated fat. The other dark varieties, whether higher or lower in cocoa, have higher sugar and/or carbs (obviously stay away from milk and white chocolate, which are full of sugar). It's not bitter at all, but it does have a very strong dark taste.

Finding peanut butter without a lot of harmful polyunsaturated fats is tough, but Smart Balance peanut butters have very low levels, and they're at least pretty balanced between good omega-3 and bad omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Has a ton of monounsaturated fat, as much saturated fat as a portion of ham, hardly any sugar, and few carbs. It's not quite as savory as hazelnut butter, but this brand is much less sweet than all other peanut butters I've had.

Just slather a big hunk of the peanut butter on top of the chocolate, and take it with some low-sugar soy milk or honey bush tea, to add some sweetness. This is easily one of the richest things I've ever had -- all that fat pumped me so full of energy that I couldn't sit still and had to work it out by dancing around vigorously for about an hour. If you've ever wanted dancer's legs, having one of these a day will make it happen.

3) Blackberry or raspberry smoothie made from coconut milk. In a blender, mix a full can of coconut milk -- not the low-fat or lite kind -- enough soy milk to thin it out a little (maybe a cup or two), two packets of Splenda, and a container of blackberries or raspberries, which don't have much sugar. Remember, coconut milk is fatter than lard, so don't drink a tall glass of this stuff -- a cup or a cup and a half is plenty. If you can have lactose, use full-fat animal milk and/or full-fat, unsweetened yoghurt instead of soy milk. (It's the lesser of two evils for me -- it has some polyunsaturated fats, but has much lower carbs than rice or almond milk.)

All of this stuff is gluten-free, too. Once I found out I couldn't have gluten, it was pretty hard to find snacks -- and most of the gluten-free cookies or whatever taste incredibly bland and are high in carbs anyway. Stick with the above, and you can't go wrong.

12 comments:

  1. "If something tastes very sweet, even if it lacks sugar, the mere taste will trigger the insulin response, so don't think that dumping a bunch of Splenda into something or wolfing down 10 sugar-free Hershey bars will bypass the process."

    The mere taste of something sweet triggers the insulin response?

    Why do they say that Splenda is "safe for diabetics"?

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  2. Don't get too enamored of Soy Milk....

    http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/

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  3. Like I said, it's the lesser of two evils, and I only drink one cup a day at most. I avoid soy as much as possible because of the high polyunsaturated fats.

    Re: Splenda and insulin, I just checked PubMed, and two very recent papers came out suggesting that the rat result may not generalize to humans -- i.e., the sweet taste of it may not trigger our insulin response after all.

    I'll read them sometime today and report later.

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  4. Can you please get back to talking about teenage girls?

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  5. Since Turtle Mountain caters to yuppies, they have to remove quite a bit of the fat

    I laughed when I read that. It's so true.

    Peter

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  6. I agree that eating refined foods can't be healthy. However, I really think that how a person looks is genetic. In our family, one side is morbidly obese, the other has ideal weight for height. While people of a certain type are popularized, they were always out there. They just weren't considered so wonderful.

    I know that now there is an epidemic of obesity and sedentary behavior.

    How much of the increase in the incidence of obesity is because there is a fixed threshold in measurement? I am not saying that the increase is not real or not important, but if 10% of the people are obese one year, and another 10% are just below the threshold, then that 10% only need gain a couple of pounds and voila, you've got yourself a headline.

    My friend was very concious of glycemic index. So she would not eat refined foods, etc. I don't worry about looking up such charts etc. Is the whole glycemic thing passe?

    Okay, eat an apple and take a quick lap around the block and don't worry.

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  7. Hello agnostic! "...Coconut milk is almost all fat, and its fat content boasts a higher percentage of saturated fats than butter, lard, or tallow..."
    - That's because coconut milk contains a good amount of coconut oil.

    But few people know that that there is more than one type of saturated fat?

    Coconut oil is 92% saturated but predominantly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Almost all other fats/oils (saturated or unsaturated, plant- or animal-based) are mostly, if not entirely, long chain fatty acids (LCFA).

    MCFAs are quickly digested by your body. MCFA-rich coconut oil goes straight to your liver to power metabolism, which simply can't be said of LCFA-rich oils. MCFAs are so different from LCFAs. Their absorption, transport, metabolism and uses are completely different. Just my two cents.

    Cheers,
    CoconutOilGuy
    www.coconut-oil-central.com
    Your Drugstore in a Bottle

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  8. Unsweetened almond milk is worth searching out, and isn't hard to find at Whole Paycheck or most health food stores. Tiny amount of carbs, a decent amount of creaminess and tastiness.

    Jerky (turkey, beef...) from the better stores (so it doesn't have too much crap or sugar in it) can make a good low-carb snack too.

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  9. BTW, if you're still in this looking-into-fats-and-such mood, a few links you might enjoy:

    http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/

    http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/

    http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/

    http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/

    Fun to get word about there about this stuff, isn't it?

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  10. healthy not hippy3/2/09, 9:54 PM

    Avacodos also work as good, sating, monosaturated fat snack.

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  11. This is great. I can't eat gluten either as it makes me extremely tired and clogs my sinuses. While dairy doesn't seem to be as big an issue I still stay away from it especially since my fiance can't have it (or gluten). I started eating much more fat about a year ago and it's really improved my overall health and fitness levels. I hadn't heard of coconut milk ice cream before so I'll have to track that stuff down.

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  12. Tofutti makes the best non-dairy frozen desserts, IMO, and I have tried them all.

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