My Newest Obsession – Tasty, Home-made Veggie-Protein Soups!

Those of us in Canada recently found that proteinwell.ca, one of our good sources for alternative protein packet soup options, seems to be going out of business.

This got me thinking about whether or not I could create tasty home-made veggie & protein soups…. after all, I’d been basically using a soup protein packet and blending in a combination of veggies along with spices.

So I started experimenting and have turned out what I and a few 3FatChicks forum friends think are great, tasty alternatives.  One of the added benefits, is that you can use your personal choice of bouillion for them. I look for a low carb and low sodium option. I was always somewhat concerned with the high sodium levels in some of the soup packets.

Here’s the basic recipe for my veggie-protein powder soup: (2 servings total)

3 cups broccoli (or cauliflower)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
low sodium/low carb bouillon or bouillion cube (about 2 cups liquid total)
1 tsp of both dehydrated onion flakes and parsley
about 1 tsp of cumin and curry (added tumeric to the cauliflower one)
several dashes of fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp of worcester sauce
*1/2 – 1 tsp of coconut oil can be stirred in to each individual serving just prior to eating. (* this fat is not included in nutritional totals below)
unflavored protein powder added when pureeing the cooked soup – enough to bring per serving total to 15g.
scant 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
organic fibre (optional)

I cook the vegetables in the bouillion until tender, adding spices and flavorings as it simmers. Pour into the blender and puree well. Meanwhile, mix together the unflavored protein powder, xanthan gum, and fibre if using in small bowl. Add this to 1/4cup of unsweetened almond milk (or water if preferred) in shaker cup and shake thoroughly. Slowly pour this mixture into the vegetable puree in the blender, as it continues to blend.

Return to cooking pot and reheat to serving temperature.

*Nutritional Values for Broccoli Version:
Cals 170; Fat 1.8g; Sat Fat .6g; Carbs 15.5g; Fibre 4.5g; Sugar 5.7g; Protein 15g; Sodium 325mg; Chol 30mg; Potassium 605mg.

*Nutritional Values for Cauliflower Version:
Cals 162; Fat 3.5g; Sat Fat 1.7g; Carbs 21g; Fibre 10g; Sugar 7.3g; Protein 15.5g; Sodium 250mg; Chol 36mg; Potassium 657mg.

*Remember that your overall nutritional values may differ, depending on the unflavored protein powder and bouillion that you use. And you’ll also have to review the protein content of your powder, and use the appropriate amount to bring each serving up to 15-18g/serving.  I enter my recipe contents in FatSecret.com in order to ‘tinker’ with the ingredients and calculate the appropriate amount.

I hope you enjoy them!

Ideal Protein Chef’s Sausage & Chicken Gumbo Recipe

This sounded intriguing, and a nice change of pace from the dinners I’ve been eating lately, so I made up a batch yesterday afternoon.

I found it very tasty, and satisfying. I will definitely make it again. Sometimes, as a single person generally cooking for just myself, I’m concerned with trying multi-serving recipes in case I don’t like it well enough to want the repetition for another couple of meals. But I won’t have that problem with this Sausage & Chicken Gumbo – I’m looking forward to eating it again at dinner tonight.

I didn’t have any alternative chicken soup on hand, so left that out. I think it would be even better with the soup – probably give the broth a stronger flavor. My broth base was tasty, but a little flat… I ended up putting a few drop of Frank’s RedHot Sauce in it to add some extra ‘heat’.

I also used all fresh vegetables, and a very lean turkey kielbasa.

Ingredients:

1 (3 1/2 oz) finely chopped cauliflower (like rice)

1 packet of IP or alternative chicken soup mix (un-prepared)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped green bell pepper

1 cup frozen cut okra

2 cups chopped celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)

8 oz turkey kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces.

1 small can diced tomatoes

1 (14 1/2 oz) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Combine soup packet and olive oil in a Dutch oven; saute over medium heat 2 minutes.  Add first 6 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

Stir in chicken, kielbasa, tomatoes, and broth; cook 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve over cauliflower rice.

This makes 3 very generous servings.

In my opinion this is a seriously tasty dish (and as I said probably just that much better with the use of the chicken soup packet)… definitely worth trying!

Attention Fellow Cappuccino Lovers! A Healthy Alternative Cappuccino for The Ideal Protein Diet.

I was on the actual Ideal Protein products only for two weeks, but during that time I grew to love their Cappuccino Drink Mix. I often had it for breakfast.  I’d make it in my blender and add hot coffee to it.  So I missed that when I switched over to alternative products.

The best alternative I’ve found is ChocoRite’s Cappuccino Shakemix, which I buy from thelowcarbgrocery.com.  I noticed it’s also available at Netrition.com.  You can click on the Netrition Search Icon to the top right of this post to locate it there.

ChocoRite Cappucino Shakemix

The label of ChocoRite’s Cappuccino Shakemix suggests 2 scoops/portion, for 24g protein/portion. We don’t really need this much in one serving on our Ideal Protien protocol, so I just use 1.25 scoops, which gives 18.24g protein.  One bag of shakemix also stretches to more servings this way – always a bonus.

This is my ‘go-to’ breakfast at least three days of the week – and it couldn’t be faster or easier.  I put 1/2 cup of cold decaf coffee (I pour any  left over decaf coffee each morning into a container and keep in my fridge, sometimes using it instead of water in the liquid base for shakes, muffins, etc..)  into my single serve blender,  add 1.25 scoops of the protein powder and blend well.   Pour into mug, and fill to the top with freshly brewed black decaf coffee.  I generally nuke it for about 30 seconds to get it nice and steamy.  Enjoy.

Some days I’ll add about 1/2 tsp of instant coffee granules for an additional coffee-flavor spike, but the flavor is good on it’s own. A dash of cinnamon on top is great too.

Here’s the nutritional values for Ideal Protein’s Cappuccino Drink:

100 calories; 18g protein; 0g fat; 5g carbs; 0g sugar; 0g fibre; 50mg sodium.

Here’s the nutrition values for 1.25 scoops of ChocoRite Cappuccino Protein Powder:

112 calories; 18.24g protein; 2.25g fat; 6g carbs; 0g sugar; 3.75g fibre; 35mg sodium.

In my opinion a good and tasty  alternative for cappuccino lovers.

What The Heck Are Sugar Alcohols? And – Should I Care?

I don’t recall even being aware of ‘sugar alcohols’ until I started this diet.  But when I decided to branch away from Ideal Protein products and started analyzing the ingredient lists and nutrition labels of various alternative products, they all seemed to include a reference to sugar alcohols.

The sugar alcohol count is shown separately and the names of the sugar alcohols will be on the ingredient list of any product that contains them.

Here’s the nutrition label and ingredients list for a protein bar product called NuGo Smarte Carb SugarFree – Chocolate Black Cherry.

NuGo Smarte Carb – Chocolate Black Cherry SugarFree Bar

Product Description

Nutrition Label

 

 

 

 

You can see on the label to the right, that Polyols/Sugar Alcohols are listed separately – in this case the bar has 16g of them. You can see in the ingredients list below that it contains maltitol, and maltitol syrup – which are sugar alcohols.

Ingredients List

 

 

 

 

 

Some sugar alcohols are extracted from plants, but they are mostly manufactured from sugars and starches. They are widely used by manufacturers of “sugar-free” or “low-sugar” products, because they provide fewer calories than sugar and have less of an affect on blood glucose than other carbohydrates.

As Ideal Protein’s products help to stabilize the dieter’s glycemic index by regulating the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas, this ties in with the glycemic Index and/or glycemic load.  The glycemic Index (or GI) ranks foods based on their effect on blood sugar in your body – the higher the glycemic Index, the higher the glucose response in the blood.  On Ideal Protein, we actively seek to avoid a high glucose response, so we avoid consuming anything that will create it.

Just as with foods,  each sugar alcohol ranks differently on the GI.  This can be seen by the following chart, which was found at  LowCarbDiets.About.com. 

Comparison of Sugar and Sugar Alcohols on Glycemic Index

As the chart shows, the various sugar alcohols vary in the degree to which they effect your blood glucose. And also, just as we all have an individual tolerance level for carbohydrates, each of us will react to different sugar alcohols in our own unique way. Sugar alcohols may reduce your weight losses significantly (or completely stall you), while they don’t affect another dieter whatsoever.

In terms of ‘Net Carbing’ during the Ideal Protein Diet, we can subtract sugar alcohols (or a portion of them) from the total carb count of the item that contains them,  because they have less of an effect on our blood glucose than either sugar or starch. I’ve read somewhere that the Ideal Protein ’Rule of Thumb’ is to deduct 1/2 of the sugar alcohols total from the item’s total carbohydrate count. This seems to fit somewhat with a report available through the American Diabetes Association, which recommends that if a food has more than 5g of sugar alcohols, we should subtract 1/2 the grams of sugar alcohol from the amount of total carbohydrate, and count the remaining grams of carbohydrate in the meal plan.

Example:  If we look at the NuGo Smarte Carb SugarFree – Chocolate Black Cherry Bar:

One bar contains 24 g carbohydrates, and has 16g sugar alcohols – we subtract 8g sugar alcohols (1/2), which leaves us with a net carb total of (24 – 8 = *16g)

NuGo SmarteCarb Sugar Free -Chocolate Black Cherry Bar

*As Ideal Protein allows us to subtract fibre too, the final Net Carb Count for this bar would be:

24g carbohydrates  – 8g sugar alcohols – 7g fibre = Total Net Carb Value of 9g

*Click on American Diabetes Association for the complete article.

As I mentioned above, everyone’s system reacts differently to the different sugar alcohols.  It’s an individual thing, much like our individual tolerance levels for carbohydrates. Some of us are much more tolerant to higher levels of carbs than others. Ditto the sugar alcohol situation.

What have I decided from all of the above?  In terms of relating this to my alternative food choices, I’ve been sticking to items as much as possible that are a lower rank on the Glycemic Index. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat alternative bars that contain the other sugar alcohols from time to time – I do – I just am aware of it, and limit it. I actually considered purchasing a box of the NuGo protein bar I used as an example above because it’s a reasonable choice for an alternative protein bar and it sounds good (!), but I decided against it because of the level of maltitol and maltitol syrup. I found out early on that I am intestinally ‘challenged’ by these two sugar alcohols and limit my consumption. It’s too bad for me, because a lot of great sounding stuff has maltitol and maltitol syrup in it – like this yummy-sounding bar.

If you are interested in the bar, it’s available at thelowcarbgrocery through this link: thelowcarbgrocery.com.   I noticed it is also available through Netrition – You can search via the Netrition Search Bar at the top right of this post page.

Also –  I’m going to follow the recommendation of the American Diabetes Association, and when an alternative product contains more than 5g of sugar alcohols, I will subtract half of the amount from my total carbohydrate count for that product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Tasty Breakfast Muffin Treat

I’m seriously loving using silken tofu as the base of the liquid I use for making muffins.  I spoke about this earlier this week in my post  http://diettalktoday.com/a-great-alternative-to-ideal-protein-pudding-muffins-yummy/  That day I used the Baker’s Deluxe Chocolate Chocolate Muffin Mix, with silken tofu and chocolate protein powder. That was yummy.  So today I experimented with another of their mixes.

This time I used their Classic Carrot Muffin Mix, along with 1/6 of a package of silken tofu (85g) and enough extra unflavored protein powder to bring the total protein content up to 15g.  The result was another very yummy, moist muffin. And suitable as an alternative to the muffins that dieters make using the Ideal Protein pudding packets. I’ve included the nutritional values for Ideal Protein’s Dark Chocolate Pudding packet below so you can compare the values with those of this muffin.

Here’s the recipe:

Baker’s Deluxe Classic Carrot Muffin Mix
(sold in USA as Dixie Diner Classic Carrot Muffin)

Combine 1/4 cup of dry muffin mix with unflavored or vanilla protein powder (quantity will vary depending on your protein powder – enough to bring protein content of muffin up to 15-18g – with mine I only needed 1.5 tsp) , 1/4 tsp baking powder.Blend 1/6 of container of silken tofu (85g) with 1 tbsp egg white in cylindrical container. I use an immersion blender to liquify the tofu completely until it forms a frothy liquid mixture. Add dash of vanilla. Add just a couple of tbsp of additional liquid to thin the mixture if required. I use cold coffee, but water or unsweetened vanilla milk would do well.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry mixture, combine thoroughly.

Microwave at High about 100 secs… since microwaves vary, check to see if done at that point, and if stlll gooey return for another 20 – 30 secs and retest.   Cool and slice.  I warmed up some Walden Farms Apple Butter and spread it on slices of this muffin.

A very tasty and satisfying breakfast, along with my black decaffeinated Tim Horton’s coffee.  (We Canadians love Tim’s :) )

Nutrition Facts Per Carrot Tofu Protein Muffin-In-A-Mug:

Calories  100  Total Fat 4.5g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 167mg Potassium 134mg Carbohydrate 8g  Fiber 6g Sugars 1g Protein 15g

Nutrition Facts for Ideal Protein’s Dark Chocolate Pudding Packet Muffin (including 1/4 liquid egg whites):

Calories  130  Total Fat 1  Cholesterol 10mg Sodium 345mg Potassium 570mg Carbohydrate 8  Fiber 4g Sugars 2g Protein 24g

My alternative is a bit higher in fat and lower in net carbs and sugar. The final nutritional values will vary slightly, depending on the protein powder that you use. But in my opinion this is a suitable alternative – tasty, moist, and healthy.

I also just noticed on thelowcarbgrocery.com information page, that this product is the same one as Dixie Diner Classic Carrot Muffin Mix. In Canada, select Dixie products are marketed and sold under the Baker’s Deluxe Brand.

So if you’re interested in trying it, you can purchase in Canada through thelowcarbgrocery.com.  And it’s available in the USA through Netrition.com under the name Dixie Dinner Carb Counters Muffin Mix.  Click on the Netrition search box to the top right of this post to locate it.

Enjoy!

 

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Hmm?… Ice Cream for Breakfast?

Late last night, I got thinking it was time to try out my 1/2 pint Hamilton Smith ice cream maker again, so I decided to prepare my favorite protein ice cream recipe. I just take 1/2 cup of light coconut milk + 1/2 cup of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk + 1 scoop of flavored protein powder (used Matcha Green Tea this time), blend thoroughly, and chill thoroughly. This makes 1 serving, and is the perfect amount for the 1/2 pint ice cream maker. I blended the mix last night, and stuck it in the fridge to chill thoroughly. Since it was ready and waiting this morning – and obviously thoroughly chilled – I thought ‘Why Not!?’… and had protein ice cream for breakfast. When ice cream is as healthy as this, you can have it for breakfast with no guilt… and stick with your diet!

Here’s the nutritional values:
180 calories; 8g fat (from coconut milk); 5g carbs; 0g fiber; 2.4g sugar; 17g protein; 100mg sodium; 215mg potassium; 54mg cholesterol.

On my alternative-product Ideal Protein Diet, it is important to watch the daily fat intake, although the plan recommends adding 1-2 tsp of oil each day – olive oil and grape seed extract oil being preferred. I’ve been using extra virgin olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil throughout this dieting process. I note that 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil has 4.5g fat … 1 tsp of extra virgin coconut oil has 4.62g fat. So I’ve had my ‘extra added oil’ for today. :)

I started using coconut oil as one of my main two cooking/eating oils a couple of years ago, and believe in it’s considerable health benefits. And by association coconut milk, although I stick with the light variety.

I got thinking about this, because of the 8g fat in my protein ice cream – which does come mostly from the coconut milk. I’m glad I checked though, because now I know for sure that on the days when I have the protein ice cream made with light coconut milk, I need to count that as my 1-2 tsp of ‘added oil’ as per this diet protocol. But that’s fine….

If you would like some further reading on the benefits of coconut oil, I recommend the book by Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D., The Coconut Oil Miracle.

Another Weigh-In Day Come and Gone …

Wednesday was weigh in day for my alternative-product Ideal Protein Diet.  I weigh myself every week.  Well – to be honest – sometimes I check several times through the week, although during the weight loss phase the Ideal Protein coaches advise the dieters not to do this.  Just in case there’s temporary water retention or something, and seeing that unexpected increase on the scale causes a stress-out.  But that was my ‘official’ weigh-in day,  the one I record to keep an on-going track of how things are progressing over the months.

Of course I love the weeks when the scale shows a drop, but there have been a few weeks when the weight hasn’t budged.  I don’t seem to be alone in this, as it happens to many at the 3FatChicks.com dieting forum.  The important thing is not to get frustrated, but to hang tough and just ‘keep on keepin’ on’.  We dieters can be so fixated on that number on the scale. At the 3FatChicks forum Continue reading

A Great Alternative to Ideal Protein Pudding-Muffins! Yummy…

Oh my…. now I know for sure that I’ve got dieting recipes on the brain!

I’ve been determined to create a low carb-low fat-low sugar muffin that will serve as a tasty replacement for the Ideal Protein Pudding-Muffin-in-a-Mug that so many Ideal Dieter’s rave about. I woke up this morning and my mind was preoccupied with this… I knew I could use a new muffin mix I found by Baker’s Deluxe to achieve this; but the challenge was in being able to add extra protein powder to make it an adequate substitute for the usual Ideal Protein product, and keep it moist.

And I succeeded… I guess it’s true that some great ideas are stirring in our brains, while we’re in that ‘semi aware’ state first thing in the morning.

It came to me to try using silken tofu in my recipe … tofu would take on the Continue reading

How to Jazz Up 8oz of Turkey Burger!

I have to admit that when I first started following the Ideal Protein Diet a few months ago, it seemed impossible to eat a full 8 oz of ‘real protein’ at a sitting.  I guess I’ve grown used to it, because these days it doesn’t seem to be that much of a problem…. especially if my ‘recipe du jour’ has produced a tasty ‘real meat’ dish!

Speaking of tasty, I was looking around for a way to jazz up my turkey burgers and ended up with the following recipe. I often find turkey meat a bit on the dry side, and I find the following produces a moist burger with a nice flavor and texture. Continue reading