If you read this recent post, you know that 10 years ago I lost 15 pounds when I went into septic shock with a life-threatening infection. Through a series of circumstances (keep reading), I went low-carb, which I've been, more or less, ever since. I'm into a carb "correction"right now, which means I went astray over the holidays, gained a few, and it's time to get back to reality: Carbs, especially refined ones in bread or sweets or those delicious ones in baked potatoes, make me fat. If you're interested in how I learned this, the tale follows.
|The veggie/beef curry goes atop wilted spinach for me. Rice is off the table for low-carbers,|
but super-slender PK enjoys his with organic brown basmati rice AND spinach.
I bought fat-free everything! Half and half, sour cream. cottage cheese, skim milk, even fat-free bakery products.(What a joke!) I was addicted to Junior Mints, which were fat-free so harmless, I believed, but I did limit myself to one box daily.
I thought I was right on top of it, but the number on my scale kept creeping up. One year later, I had regained nearly five pounds eating what I thought was a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercising like crazy. I did not like the trend; in a couple years, I'd be back to where I was before I got sick.
|Peanut sauce! OMG! Recipes below.|
I have been a nut-case exerciser since age 31 when I chucked cigarettes and replaced a killer habit with one that enhances life. For the past 35 years, including all the time I was gaining a pound or two a year, regular exercise was a priority. Even when I was at top weight—I was the captain of a racewalking team, for crying out loud—the ounces kept accumulating. I walked 20 to 30 miles a week, many of them with the hip-rolling, feet-blurring manner of racewalking. I was hot-footing my 165+ bulk at a 12-13 minute-mile pace. If you think it is easy to walk a mile of rolling hills in 13 minutes, give it a try. I knew that without vigorous aerobic exercise, I would be a blimp. Oh yes, I did strength training too, and a killer spinning class at the gym. I had an athlete’s resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute.
Ok. So I almost died. Lost weight as a result. Adopted a low-fat diet to keep it off. Exercised like crazy, and was slowly regaining weight! What the hell?
What Happened Next?
I accidentally got educated about low-carb nutrition. In 2002 I started working with a nurse practitioner
|Here's the curry all put together in about a half hour, excluding the peanut sauce.|
Delicious! High in protein, all the fiber, vitamins and minerals of veggies, and packed with flavor.
But but looowwww in carbs. Recipe below.
Over the course of several months, I learned how to live without bread, rice, Junior Mints etc. etc. PK, the metabolic animal, lost 20 pounds without realizing he was on a diet. He was so worried that he had a hidden cancer, that he saw his doctor! Weight hoarder that I am, I lost about eight pounds, putting me back on track. I've held more-or-less steady, give or take a few, for the past decade, keeping up the exercising, of course. My experience made me. for a time, a low-carb proselytiser that induced one of my friends to cover her ears and chant "lalalalalala" when I got on the subject. Now I know that low carb works for me—but not for everybody. More about that in another post. For now, here's how to make a killer curry in a hurry!
Thai Vegetable Beef Red Curry with Spinach and Peanut Sauce
1 T vegetable oil (I use unrefined coconut oil)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/2 pounds sirloin tip or other tender steak, sliced (could also use chicken or tofu)
6-8 large mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1-2 T red curry paste (I use Mae Ploy Panang Curry Paste, which is a bit hot.) We like hot so I use more.
2 T soy sauce or Thai fish sauce
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small/medium onion, sliced
1 serrano, jalapeno, or other pepper, minced
2 T fresh cilantro or basil
First get all the ingredients sliced and diced and ready to cook.
Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet.
Add the garlic and stir fry til fragrant, maybe 30 seconds.
Add the sirloin and stir fry for a couple minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and give the mixture another couple minutes over high heat. (Start with the mushrooms if you like them cooked through.)
Turn off the heat and remove meat and shrooms and set aside in a bowl. You don't want to overcook the steak.
Over medium heat, stir fry the curry paste about 30 seconds, then whisk in the fish sauce or soy sauce and the coconut milk. Fish sauce gives a more authentic Thai flavor.
Add the red bell pepper, onion, and chili. Simmer for for a few minutes, depending upon how crisp you prefer your veggies.
Add beef and mushrooms and accumulated juices. Mix and simmer long enough to heat the meat and shrooms. Serve with lightly steamed spinach (can substitute chard or mild kale) or, for those who are not counting carbs, steamed rice.
Top with heated peanut sauce and fresh basil or cilantro.
Adapted from a recipe in "Authentic Thai Cooking" by Virginia C. Silpakit
1 cup coconut cream (I used coconut milk. Couldn't find coconut cream. I never buy "lite" coconut milk. Why bother?)
2 T red curry paste
2 T Thai fish sauce
2 T Golden Mountain soy sauce (or any soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar (I use stevia - not sugar. Non caloric stevia is made from the stevia plant. It comes in powder or liquid form, and is very concentrated. I used less than a teaspoon. Taste and adjust carefully. Splenda can be used in the same proportion as sugar, if you like a sweetener processed with chlorine!
2 T tamarind concentrate (Very important. Can be found in Asian food section of larger markets)
1 tsp lemon juice
4 T peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 T vegetable oil (peanut or coconut)
1/4 cup water
Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir fry the curry paste til the aromas are released. Add the coconut cream (or milk), sweetener, fish sauce, lemon juice, tamarind, and water. Mix well and boil for about 10 minutes. (I think the boiling is to dissolve the sugar that you're not going to use.) Add the peanut butter and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. This would be when to add more sweetener. Simmer for about five minutes.
Peanut sauce can also be used with satay and many other curries. So good!