Monday, April 11, 2016

Lower Carb Taco Soup, Crispy Pan Fried Trout, and Other Tastes of My Weight Loss Plan


So far I'm really liking this way of eating! Low carb does not feel the least bit restrictive to me. I am still eating anything I want, but in smaller portions and making substitutions to make these foods lower carb. I don't count carbs, but I do know that zucchini has less carbs than pasta, and mushrooms have less carbs than kidney beans.

Some things I ate this week:

Taco salad (greens, lean ground turkey with taco seasoning, cheese, avocado, salsa, and lite Ranch with a side of iced tea:

low carb taco salad

Crispy pan fried trout fillets, dusted with cornmeal, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley and cooked in avocado oil and butter in a nonstick skillet:

pan fried crispy trout lower carb

Yes, cornmeal has carbs: about 7.8 g/Tablespoon. There is less than a tablespoon on each fillet. So good and crispy!

crispy skin pan fried trout cornmeal

My old favorite, Cauliflower Crust Pizza (which was great while the family ate regular pizza)!

cauliflower crust pizza recipe

I used this recipe and topped it with sliced mushrooms and salami.

low carb cauliflower crust pizza

I often make my favorite Taco Soup, but this time near the end of cooking I ladled about 3 cups into a pot, and *then* added the beans to the rest. To the bean-free pot I added diced celery, onion, mushrooms, and zucchini and simmered it until the veggies were soft. This was great! The family had their usual (but high carb) taco soup....

crock pot taco soup recipe

... and I had my lower carb, bean-free Taco soup! Just as delicious!

low carb taco soup no beans

It was great topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.

low carb no beans taco soup

I also had a veggie lasagna I made by layering cooked spaghetti squash, sauteed mushrooms, low carb marinara sauce, ricotta, turkey sausage crumbles, and mozzarella and baking it in the oven. Delicious! I don't miss the pasta one bit.

low carb lasagna

Other things I ate without taking pictures:

roasted chicken thighs
steamed asparagus
lettuce and spinach salads
apples with a little peanut butter
strawberries
low carb cereal with almond milk
scrambled eggs
squares of very dark chocolate
Clementines
a sugar free Fudgesicle

Lots of good things! I am very content with my eating and NOT counting calories or carbs. This is a way I can eat forever and not feel deprived. I hope that this, along with my consistent walking (at least 7500 steps/day) and biking (every day) will make me a healthier, happier, lighter person.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

all looks very delicious and healthy !

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your sharing your meals with us. I am always looking for new low carb meal ideas. Do you eat fruits? Do you limit fat? That is alot of cheese.

Linda

Lyn said...

thanks Anon.

Linda~

yes, I eat fruits. I avoid tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapple, and avoid dried fruits, but I have had fruit almost daily. I don't limit fat but I do pay attention to it. For example, this morning I had an Egg Beater omelet and a turkey sausage patty (less fat than eggs and regular sausage, although I would eat both on occasion). The cheese I use is reduced fat. I really do like cheese!

Wendy said...

Hi - I'd like to try the taco soup (both versions) - do you have a link to the recipe? Thank you in advance. All best with the lower carb journey, I think cutting out sugar and most/all white carbs is the way forward for many people.
Wendy @ fitteratfortyish.wordpress.com

Lyn said...

Wendy~

Sure! If you look above the first picture of the taco soup, there is a link to the recipe (click on the words "Taco Soup" and it should take you there). To make the lower carb version just don't add the beans to all or part of the soup. Then dice up your favorite veggies (I used onions, celery, zucchini and mushrooms but you could use peppers,tomatoes, anything you like) and simmer until soft. I did not measure the veggies, just put in as much as I thought looked good. Hope this helps!

Wendy said...

Dur, I see the link now, should've spotted it on my own. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do you eat so much cheese?

JDET said...

Lyn, I am so happy for you. You really sound like you've achieved the mental state needed to make this work, and the food looks great. One thing I really like about low carb eating is that I don't feel denied because I can get enough to eat to avoid the hunger demon. I do count carbs using the Atkins app, but at this point it's really just for my own awareness as I am eating a lot more foods with no clue how many carbs are in them.

Thanks to you, I got back on the treadmill. I found that it had some programs in it and tried a "fat burning " one. 20 minutes and no running, but a lot of fast walking at pretty decent grades (6%). I'd never used the incline feature, so I now realize that I can work harder without running and in less time. I'm now one pound from losing the 50 I needed to drop ;) and starting to think about how to maintain it rather than losing.

Yesterday I went through my closet to clear out some of the "fat" clothes. I actually have four sizes of jeans in the same style! And the smallest is a little loose. When I started, I had to lie down on the bed to zip up the biggest size and still struggled to get the zipper to close, so I really needed at least one size bigger, if not two. I am donating the bigger sizes, and am only keeping one size up to hedge my bets. I actually went clothes shopping this weekend for the first time in years. I was so depressed by my size that I'd just ordered clothes on line. It was kind of weird to actually have to try stuff on!

Keep up the good work. You're doing great and inspiring the rest of us!!

Anonymous said...

This is not an attack, but don't be surprised if you don't lose weight or lose very little weight! I won't argue whether eating this way is healthier, but all of those dishes are incredibly caloric. Despite what substitutions you've made, you're eating cheesy pizza, lasagna, fried fish, and a taco bowl. Reduced fat or not, that is an incredible amount of cheese, and avocado may be healthy, but it is very caloric. Coming from someone who's maintained weight loss of 40-50 lbs. since 2008, there is no way I could eat that way and even maintain. Just a thought!

Lyn said...

Anon~

How much is "so much"? Do you have a recommendation of cheese ounces per week that is permissible?

I eat cheese because I like it, and it does not raise my blood sugar.

JDET~

That is SO awesome! Reading that really made me smile. Great work and I am so happy for you!

Anon~

Could be, and if I don't lose weight I'll make some adjustments. Right now my focus is on 1) keeping my commitment to daily exercise, 2) staying off sugary stuff and keeping my carbs lower, 3) eating things I enjoy and staying calm about food. I think it's easy to assume by photos that things are more calories or more volume than it truly is; I've often eaten half an avocado for breakfast, but that salad has 1/4 of an avocado on it and very lean turkey meat. Healthy fats are good for us! I did eat more cheese than my normal this week (reduced fat). I think having a cauliflower pizza that is under 400 calories for dinner is not really "caloric"; I don't want to eat so little that my body doesn't have the energy to do the work I am asking of it. The taco soup (veggie version) was extremely low calorie, even with a sprinkle of light cheese and a spoon of light sour cream.

So far I feel amazing, am keeping all of my goals and commitments, and am happy. I know I may lose very slowly (as I have for years) or may not even lose at all; in that case my goals for May will be to keep the great habits I've built of exercising and eating low carbs/lots of vegetables, and make a few other changes to my eating. I am really okay with that and am not going to freak out if I am not losing quickly.

Anonymous said...

Technically, if you are trying to go low carb, you should stay away from the reduced fat/light stuff! They replace the fat in these versions with additional carbs. Granted, this would make these meals even higher in calories, but if your goal is low carb then full fat dairy is the way to go, and not quite so much of it.

Anonymous said...

Fat is not the enemy, people! That is a dieting myth. What I see: good protein, adequate vegetables (but I hope there are more, unseen) and best of all: no sugar!

Anonymous said...

Fat is not the enemy. However, high calories are the enemy when you're trying to lose weight. Since that is the focus of the blog, then it's important for people with experience losing weight to note issues that the person trying to lose weight may have based on the information presented in the blog. It is preferable to eat full fat dairy in my opinion--but you have to eat fewer calories over all. Either way, my original point stands. The foods above are mock ups of extremely high calorie foods. Is it really best to fake these foods? Would it be better to try to create a desire for foods that are not lasagna, pizza, etc? I'm just asking, not telling! It would be different if these foods were a rare treat, but this is only a week or two into her new plan, and all of the meals listed here are just "faked" cheat meals. Once again, as someone who's sustained a 50 pounds of weight loss over eight years, my experience has been that you have to develop a taste for non-comfort foods to succeed long term, not just mock-up comfort foods. Just my experience and the thoughts of most people who have lost a great deal of weight and kept it off. That doesn't mean that is the only way, of course, but I've yet to meet someone with this mindset who succeeds long term. Here's hoping Escape from Obesity will prove me wrong!

Lyn said...

Anon~

If I can make a food I like in a healthier way, why not? I do like oven baked fish, but sometimes pan fried is nice for the crunch. The fish itself is low in calories, and pan frying one fillet adds under 100 calories. With a side of steamed broccoli, that whole dinner is just under 300 calories. Is a 300 calorie dinner too high calorie?

The veggie lasagna is also almost exactly 300 calories, and the whole pizza is under 400 calories. The taco soup *with garnishes* is under 250 calories.

So, can you tell my why you say the foods are high calorie? Just because something *looks* decadent does not mean it is unhealthy. I think eating a dinner 250-300 calories is pretty reasonable. Even 400 is reasonable. My other meals, like breakfast, are often 200 calories or less. I also don't believe that even a piece of "real" lasagna or fried fish is a "cheat" meal. It's just a meal, higher in calories and carbs, that would not be a healthy choice for me so I don't choose them right now. But I really don't see how a bowl of soup made of lean ground beef, onions, celery, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes is some kind of "fake" meal as you're stating. It's a perfectly healthy dinner.

I do appreciate your thoughts, but I wanted to correct some assumptions you made about my meals (i.e. that they are high calorie, and "faked" cheat meals.)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lyn,

You didn't weigh your food from what you've said on this blog before, so how are you sure what the calorie counts are for those meals? If you weighed and those are the calorie counts, then my apologies. I have just been strictly counting calories for years now, and those meals look like more to me. My apologies once again if I am incorrect.

I agree that 400 calories meals are appropriate with three meals a day. However, if you're snacking as well, that will quickly place you into maintaining or even gaining territory, based on your medical work that you shared with us.

Lyn said...

Anon~

I used a recipe for the taco soup, so that was measured, aside from the added (very low calorie) celery, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, which I estimated. The pizza was also from a recipe that I had already calculated calories for. I read the package for the trout so I know how many ounces that was. I always have measured very high calorie foods like oils, peanut butter, cheese, and salad dressing... not so I can add up calories, but so I can avoid going overboard with calorie dense foods. Other things like lettuce I feel safe estimating because if I say it was a cup but it was actually a cup and a quarter, the calorie difference is negligible. If you look closely at the veggie lasagna, you can see it is zoomed in but it is not a huge portion; if I scraped that into a measuring cup, the whole thing would be about one cup of food... most of it vegetables. I baked it in a 2-cup capacity ramekin and it only came about halfway up the side. Looks can be deceiving! But it was still delicious and filling.

I do snack; I eat on a schedule: 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks/day. I often skip the morning snack. Typical snacks are things like a few almonds, a 100-calorie protein shake or bar, some iced coffee with cream, a low fat string cheese, turkey jerky... things that are about 100-150 calories.

You may be right and I am eating too much to lose weight, we'll see. Since I'm not counting calories I have to find less stressful, less obsessive ways to cut back, so I might end up doing that by smaller portions, or cutting cream out of all my coffee, or choosing lower calorie snacks, or eating less cheese. I'm going to assess that at the end of the month when I weigh and see where I am.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for clarifying, Lyn! I wish you the best of luck this month. :D

Anonymous said...


You need to count Total Carbs and total carbs/day. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled in many cases without meds - just eating low carb.
FB Groups:
Reversing Diabetes
and
Type 2 Diabetes Straight Talk.

Carbs count isn't just about Weight. it's about your heart / bp /organ health.
Every time your blood sugar is at 140 or above organ and nerve damage is being done.
Whether you own up to it or not you are diabetic and I really hope you are daily testing your blood sugar. Try the Bayer Contour Next glucometer...

Lyn said...

last Anon~

I'm diabetic? Wow, that's an interesting web diagnosis. Not sure if you are real or just trolling, but since my very highest A1C ever was 5.3, and my fasting glucose has always been between 86 and 93, and non-fasting average glucose *before* going off sugar and carbs was 105, you don't need to worry. My endocrinologist does enough testing and there's no reason for me to get obsessive and start poking myself after every meal at home when my numbers are always in the normal (not diabetic, not pre-diabetic) range.

I have no reason nor desire to count carbs, calories, fat, or anything else at this point. Eating foods that are naturally lower in carbs, in smaller portions, is a natural way to keep my carb level down without worrying about exact numbers.

David Dane said...

It all looks so yummy... (perhaps you erased it) I said yesterday please put some in a thermos and mail it to me....
It really does look delicious....

Lyn said...

Thanks David! I didn't see another comment from you so I guess it got lost in cyberspace :)

David Dane said...

Also, I have been doing something different. And I suggested this before.. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil in some hot tea in the morning. I do not know if you ever heard of MCT (medium chained fats) which is a derivative of Coconut oil... If you used a tablespoon of MCT in the afternoon it would help kick in those natural occurring Keytones, they help burn fat. I use the "Now Sports Brand" which is a product of Now Foods. Both these oils help satisfy hunger and food cravings. You are only adding 200 calories per day...

Lyn said...

David~

I like coconut oil! Good stuff. The other day for my snack I mixed a tablespoon of coconut oil with a bit of cocoa powder and stevia and froze it. Tasty and filling! I tried it in my coffee a long time ago but couldn't get past the "oil slick" feeling. I cook with it sometimes, though.

PamL said...

Long time reader, and I think you are doing great! Some very positive changes and I bet you feel good, too!

I also notice that you still use low-fat stuff, and imitation eggs. I have been reading a lot over the last couple of years, and eggs are not a bad food, and low-fat is just not good! But after we have grown up listening to all the experts tell us that we should eat a low-fat and no eggs, it's a really hard habit to change, I know!

I wanted to suggest a website that I found a couple years ago that has really changed my thinking on fat. I have no affiliation with her and have never met her. The only thing I have done is read a lot of her articles. The lady's name is Dietitian Cassie and her website is http://www.dietitiancassie.com/blog/. On the right side is a link that says Start Here. That's a good overview. I've had a lot of luck using this type of eating, although portion control is always a problem for me. I do have to weigh and count stuff because I do tend to over eat if I don't.

PamL said...

I should also add that dietitian Cassie recommends having a protein, a fat and carbohydrate with every meal and snack. The carbohydrates she recommends are fruit and vegetables. I think that is why that type of eating works for me. It is very low on processed foods.

JDET said...

Lyn, I am really shocked at some of this criticism of what you're doing. Let me say this about the low carb thing. I lost 35 pounds on low carb in 2003. I gradually regained about 10, but that was it. I maintained that weight until my husband died in 2013 -- ten years. I had long since quit counting carbs, but had made the mental transition to a lower carb way of eating. It was only when my husband died that I abandoned all logic and ate tons of cookies and ice cream, gaining 40 pounds in two years. Now it's back off, plus that ten, and I did it on low carb, high fat, and (sometimes) even high calorie. After church on Sunday Mom and I stopped for breakfast. I ordered a three egg omelette with bacon, ham, and cheddar, skipping the hash browns and toast. The chef told me it was a half pound of meat! I couldn't finish it, but had fun trying. I went home and figured out that sucker was over 1,000 calories. I didn't eat lunch (too full), but I did eat a normal dinner, and it didn't affect my weight one bit. Why? There were almost no carbs in that gut buster. For all those nay sayers, Web MD has a very recent assessment of the Atkins diet. Hardly a biased source. It's very pro low carb eating. So is my cardiologist. And it's a lot easier to track carbs than calories! You go, girl! Ignore the anti-carb crowd. They don't know what they're missing!!!

Lyn said...

JDET~

Thank you for the encouragement! I find the comments interesting too. But then, no matter what I am eating I have people who think it is "wrong." Over the years I've been told everything from beans to meat to fruit is bad. Anything processed is bad, anything sugar free is bad. Don't eat sugar, or beef, or cheese, or bacon. I am told I am eating too much and eating too little at the same time! I don't mind the input, but I decided a long time ago to do what I feel is best. There is no way I could please everyone... because all I'd have left to eat is lettuce. And then people would be mad it was Iceberg :)

JDET said...

Lyn,
Great attitude! You lost all that weight before, so I'd say you're more of an expert on what works for you than anyone else! If you're interested, here's a link to that WebMD article:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/atkins-diet-what-it-is

And I can't wait to try the soup!

Susan R said...

Lyn, your food always looks delicious to me!
I agree about the comments but I must say you never seem to get defensive and handle them with grace and dignity. I really admire you for that.

Vickie said...

I think probably the diabetes confusion is stemming from the Victoza shots. Even though you said your blood work was normal, the fact that you were taking diabetes injections is a little confusing. . .

Lyn said...

Vickie~

I think if people actually read my posts, they'd not be confused. I was pretty clear in my very first post about Victoza that my doctor wanted me to take it as a blood sugar regulator, because of hypoglycemia symptoms if I go to long between eating. There are more uses for Victoza than just diabetes treatment; it can slow digestion and just keep blood sugar at a very steady level (if someone is sensitive to normal highs and lows, it reduces symptoms like shakiness, extreme hunger, and cravings). I think the confused people just made assumptions instead of reading what I actually posted.

Vickie said...

The other thing that happens, and it is just a fact, is that you are living/writing from one end of the scale, and there are people living/reading from the other end of the scale. They maybe were eating and thinking where you are now. And a lot of major changes (food clean up might be the easiest way to put it) happened to them along the way. So they are writing to you from that viewpoint. What they know now, that they did not know then. So you have different sets of people, with very different viewpoints, commenting. I have always thought of these two groups the way I phrased it - one end of the scale, the other end of the scale. I think it is important to think about that as you read comments. Because the perspectives are going to be really different.