Sticking to the plan South of the Border

md-singing

MD loves to sing and does so every chance she gets.  Our trip to Mexico has really given her something to sing about.  She is joyous because even here it’s possible to stay on a low-carb diet.   Not only possible, but pretty easy.  And a good low-carb diet at that.

Since everyone seems to enjoy photos of good low-carb food, I decided to put up our day’s worth of eating today so that everyone can see the kinds of low-carb foods available in Mexico for not much money.

The only real problem we encountered was that at almost every restaurant we were presented with chips, salsa and guacamole when we sat down.  It’s tough not to dip a few chips and eat them, especially since they’re the greasy tortilla strips cooked in lard.  When we first got here, we ate a few just to quench our lust for them.  But then were able to simply let them sit there.

Breakfast this morning was a great omelet that had everything in it.  Chorizo, ham, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes – the works.  It came with some potatoes and a little tortilla cup of refried beans.  I avoided the potatoes and left the beans alone.  It wasn’t a great sacrifice because I’ve never been a big fan of refried beans.  Besides, the omelet was pretty huge and totally filled me up.  And it was a good thing I tested the red sauce before I slathered it on the omelet, which was my first impules.  It was muy caliente.  At least as hot as Tabasco.  So I used only a little.

omelet

At lunch we had a real treat.  We started with a bowl of gazpacho.  It was my first time to have gazpacho in Mexico, and I was absolutely delighted to discover they do it here in the Andalusian way.  I love my gazpacho chunky instead of non-chunky.  In the US you never know how you’re going to get it, but you do know it’s going to come all in one bowl already put together. I always hope it’s going to be the chunky variety.

A few years back MD and I were just starting off a trip through Spain with a visit to Seville.  We stopped in a little restaurant for lunch, and I noticed gazpacho on the menu.  I ordered a bowl, hoping against hope that it would be the chunky variety.  When the waiter came bearing the soup and sat it before me, I was muy disappointed because there wasn’t a chunk in sight.  In fact, it looked kind of like the Campbell’s cream of tomato soup I had grown up on as a kid.  Then came the next waiter carrying a cloverleaf kind of a serving dish with each of the little leaves filled with chopped up stuff.  In one there were finely chopped tomatoes, in another, chopped cucumbers.  Another was filled with chopped onions, and the last was filled with chopped green peppers.  The waiter held the serving piece before me, and I ladled out as much of each of these as required to make my gazpacho as chunky as I wanted it.  Then the waited put a little dollop of sour cream right on top.  I took a bite and thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The soup was piquant, but its acidity was set off nicely with all the chunks of fresh vegetables.  For the rest of the trip, we went to only restaurants that had gazpacho on their menus.  I couldn’t get enough.

When we got home, I raced to the bookstore to get a cookbook with a recipe for Andalusian gazpacho.  I found a couple, noticed that the recipes both looked about the same, bought the best looking one, and brought it home.  I badgered MD until she finally made the stuff.  I, myself, finely chopped all the stuff to go in the base.  When it was all ready, I filled my bowl with the soup, spooned a bunch of the chopped stuff in, and took a spoonful.  It sucked.  It didn’t compare to the Spanish variety.

We tried a few more iterations of the recipe (and tried some others we had found in different Spanish cookbooks), all of which didn’t come close to matching up.

We had a chef friend who was a culinary genius and who had grown up in southern Spain.  We told him about our misadventure with the gazpacho making and asked him if he had a recipe for Andalusian gazpacho.  He more or less gave us a slight variation of the same recipe we had been trying without success.  We told him that we had tried the recipe and it didn’t match up to what we had all over southern Spain.

After thinking for a minute, he said, “Ah, I know what the problem is.”

He told us that tomatoes grown in Spain tasted much different than tomatoes grown in the US.  Spanish tomatoes, due to the different soil they’re grown in, have a different level of acidity and a different taste.  He asked us to let him fiddle with it for a while to see if he could come up with a way to add some ingredients to the mix to make the US tomato base taste like the Spanish one.

In a week or so he sent us a new recipe.  It wasn’t simple.  MD went to work on it and cranked out some gazpacho that was as good as the Spanish version.  She makes it for special occasions now (or when I whine enough for it), and it never fails to be a huge hit.  My contribution is to always chop the stuff because I don’t think she ever chops it fine enough when she does it.  I got the job with the admonition, “If you don’t like the way I do it, do it yourself.”  And I have ever since.

The gazpacho served in the restaurant in Mexico was Andalusian style, and was good.  But it wasn’t as good as the Spanish version or as MD’s version.

Here is how it comes to the table.  It came with only three chopped vegetables instead of the four I’m used to, so that was a strike against it.

gazpacho

Here is what it looks like all loaded up.  Plenty chunky for me.

gazpacho-mixed

After the gazpacho came the main course for lunch: ceviche made with octopus, shrimp and mahi mahi.  It was fresh and stunningly delicious.  I could have eaten three more bowls, but I didn’t.  I can never get enough good ceviche, and this one was outstanding.

ceviche

For dinner we started with salmon carpaccio.  I didn’t really know how it was going to be when I ordered, but it ended up being superb.  The tiny slice of toasted bread in the middle of it is a slice of bagel that is probably one eighth of a bagel.  It contained I would guess about 4 grams of carb, and I ate every one of them.  This terrific carpaccio cost about $8.  It would have cost at least twice that in the US.

salmon-carpaccio

The next item I chose was called a Two Oceans Broth, and was made of clams and mussels.  Since it was called a broth, I assumed it would be a clear soup.  I was disappointed when it came, and I realized it was a cream-based soup – both sides of it.  I don’t have anything against cream-based soups – I’m just not crazy about them.  It was nice to behold and great tasting, but I didn’t eat all that much of it.  I fished out the clams and mussels and ate them, but ate little of the soup.

two-oceans-broth

The final course was a pistachio crusted tuna with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  I told them to hold the papas and give me some extra legumbres, which they did.  It was as good as it looks.

tuna

You will notice a couple of dinner rolls in the back on the left side. And you should also notice that they are untouched and remained that way for the entire meal.  We had no dessert and no coffee.  Just some agua minerale con gas (sparkling water) and a little wine.

The wine was a Mexican sauvignon blanc made in Baja California.  I was a little hesitant to order it because I couldn’t imagine a Mexican wine being much good.  I was pleasantly surprised as this one was quite delicious.  We each had about a glass and a half.  I had the waiter leave the empty bottle so I could photograph it for this blog and to remember what it was so that I could try to get some back in the states.  It was that good.  Kind of piquant and crisp, just like I like a sauvignon blanc to be.

So there you have it.  Low-carb Mexican style.  And for not much dinero.  The Two Oceans Broth cost about $8.50, which is less than a comparable bisque would cost at home.  The tuna set me back about $15, which is far less than such an entre would be anywhere in the US.  The wine was less than $4 per glass.

As you can see, there is no reason to avoid traveling to Mexico because you’re worried about your diet.  You can eat low-carb here for less probably than anywhere in North America.  Go for it.

Note: For those of you who have comments languishing in comment purgatory, don’t despair.  I’ll get to them soon.  I have a long flight and a long wait in the airport, so I can get to them then.  Assuming, of course, that wifi is available.  But if not, I have some time over the next day or so.  Sorry for the delay.

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48 thoughts on “Sticking to the plan South of the Border

  1. “In a week or so he sent us a new recipe. It wasn’t simple. MD went to work on it and cranked out some gazpacho that was as good as the Spanish version. ”

    Hey, no fair!

    What’s the recipe?

    She doesn’t have it here with her. You’ll probably have to ding dong her about it on her blog.

  2. You were probably so pleasantly surprised with the Mexican Sauvignon Blanc because it’s actually from the Chilean Central Valley! Having grown up in Chile, I haven’t personally tried LFE’s sb but now I’ll definitely have to look for it here in California.

    It is made by a Chilean company, but apparently at a winery they have in Baja.

  3. Definitely not Anthony Bourdain’s Mexico. Good to know its possible to eat this way. Now that you got us all cranked up on MD’s gazpacho, how about giving up the recipe? At least tell us what makes it not so simple. I bet it is something like having to roast the tomatoes first.

    I don’t think you have to roast the tomatoes first. She doesn’t have the recipe here with her. Ask her about it over on her blog.

  4. Hello Dr. Mike –

    Thank you for the free copy of Protein Power Lifeplan! I’m aware, thanks to this blog, of a couple topics where your current recommendations are different from those you presented in PPLP (i.e. Vitamin D). While we eagerly await the release of your new book, would you be willing to post something on your current supplementation recommendations vs. those you presented in “Micronutrient Roundup” (in the Appendix of PPLP)? Especially, do you have a recommendation for daily intake of krill oil (or specifically EPA and DHA)?

    Thank you (that’s plural, including MD) for your attention and for all your work. In the last 12 months I’ve gone from an almost-obese (26+% body fat) 51 year old man , to a 52 year old man carrying 17% body fat. The plural of anecdote is NOT data, I know, but I’m convinced!

    Pete

    I’ve been intending to get around to doing that. But I can’t until I get back to all my stuff. I’m glad to learn that you’ve done so well.

  5. Hi Doc,
    Just got back from Mazatlan and yum-yum. Fish of all types shrimp, lobster
    anything from the sea. Breakfast omletes (pico de Gallo) and salsa it was a wonderful
    week. Prices are a very good value and it seemed kind of quiet the week we were there. Very easy low carb and good timing as I have started to get a bit bored (over 2 years
    low carb). Type 2 Diabetic starting a1c 10+ last 3 6 month tests 5.9, 6.1 and 5.9. Thanks for your blog and the common sense used.

    M hall

  6. Wonderful pictures!

    It’s very surprising to me that I don’t lust for sweets, french fries and bread while living the low carb lifestyle. As it turns out, those darn tortilla chips are my biggest weakness!

    Fortunately, when I do give in, I’ve learned to eat an entire bowl of salsa with just 2 or 3 chips.

    We have a local mexican restaurant that makes a salsa they call “Quemado.” That translates to “burnt,” but they just roast the tomatoes, onions and peppers before mixing and it’s wonderful.

    I do the same thing: nurse a couple of tortilla chips through an entire bowl of salsa or quac. I also use sliced jicama when I have it available.

  7. I had a similar experience when my parents lived in Paris. They had a cook who made the most delicious salad dressing. I thought she had a secret recipe. Not! She simply poured olive oil in a salad bowl, added wine vinegar (nonbalsamic) and a little mustard.

    The secret was that the ingredients were very fresh and high quality.

    I think the reason Americans eat so much sugar and salt is because our ingredients are stale and low quality.The food still doesn’t taste very good so people eat a lot of it, trying to substitute quantity for quality.

    Your food diaries have illustrated that a person can be satisfied with less food when the food is good quality, pleasingly presented on a plate.

    Exactly. I think aesthetics and quality are hugely important. I had a similar experience to yours when we were in Sicily a few years back. I was presented with a wonderful salad, and when I asked what the dressing was made of, I was told olive oil and salt. I didn’t believe it, so I watched our hostess make another salad, and that was all she used. I’ve tried to duplicate it with greens, olive oil and salt from the US, but it is never the same.

  8. Dr. Mike,

    I hope you don’t find this question impertinent. What I’d really like to know is, where are you at with your own weight and body composition? As you are an authority on low-carb, I would really appreciate hearing if you feel you are at your own ideal weight and body composition. Also, diet wise, what is your achille’s heel? I’m asking because I gave in to mine last night – I massively overindulged in Mesquite BBQ kettle-cooked potato chips and my friend plied me with too much whiskey on the rocks. I woke up feeling pretty crappy this morning, I can tell you, and i’ve been SO disciplined!

    I don’t think it’s as impertinent as I do immaterial. The truth and the way is the truth and the way no matter who says it. If I told you six months ago to sell all your stocks and convert everything to cash and told you I was doing the same. Then you discovered that I had put all my money with Bernie Madoff, would that make my advice to you any less accurate? My advice is based on my interpretation of the scientific literature and my hands-on experience with about 10,000 patients. Whether I follow it myself or not has no bearing on the value of my advice or recommendations.

    Having said all that, I do follow my own advice. I’m 6’2″ tall and weight about 190-195 lbs. There are plenty of photos of me and my wife sprinkled throughout this blog, so you can see what I look like.

    My own Achilles’ heel varies. Sometimes it’s pastries, others it’s just bread. I don’t ever cheat on much of anything else. Berry pies or cobblers, I suppose, are a temptation, but those fall under the rubric of pastries. And I do tend to hit the Jameson a little too hard sometimes.

  9. I have worked extensively in Mexico and never had any trouble eating low carb there. The food was unlike anything served in Mexican restaurants in the US. My Mexican friends told me that that was peasant food and is available only in specilaized restaurants in Mexico.

    My favorite dish was an omelet made with Sonoran machaca, a dried beef beaten to airy fibers by wooden mallets. I have never found this kind of machaca in the US. Another favorite was huachinango en sol, snapper covered in a salt paste and baked. The salt paste came off with the skin when it was served at the table, and the flesh was absolutely sweet. If you go to Monterrey, you should not miss the cabrito, roast suckling kid. It’s amazing.

    I also found a lot of interest in low carbohydrate eating among my latin friends.

    Hey Chuck–

    Good to hear from you. It’s been a while.

    M

  10. Great photos! The food looks great too! The ceviche dish looks especially good. I’ve started a Flickr group for native nutrition photos in case you or any of your readers might like see and/or share more good photos of traditional and paleo food.

    Most tortilla chips here are fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, so lard would have much less PUFA but if it’s commercial it could still be partially hydrogenated. Chips when eaten with chili con queso can be fairly low carb as a percent of calories. But beware, many restaurants substitute cheap high-PUFA vegetable oil for the traditional cream used to soften the cheese. And of course, nowadays, most corn is wonderful GMO, even in Mexico I suspect (I’m biting my tongue on the wonderful).

  11. This comment is in response to both this post and your previous one. Since reading your last post about the psychology of making food choices, I’ve been doing a lot more conscious analyzing of what I am choosing to eat. Actual mealtimes are not a problem. I plan my weekly menu ahead of my weekly trip to the supermarket, prepare everything all at once on the weekend, and do not deviate from that for meals throughout the week. Where I am likely to deviate from plan and eat something that is not low-carb legal are the following: stuff other people bring to work, a random idea about a food that pops into my head and sets off an impulse to taste that food, and eating at restaurants. The stuff at work I have gotten much better at ignoring, depending what it is. The drive to satisfy an impulse to eat a food, I’m working on. Often I don’t have in the house what pops into my head, so I have no choice but to ignore the food craving. The hardest one is resisting much of what is on the menu at restaurants or the complimentary food (usually bread) they bring to the table. I eat out on average twice a week, and almost never at a fast food place. But it can be torture to pass on the spanakopita because of the phyllo dough or or to be uncouth at the Ethiopian restaurant and ask for a fork to eat the meats and vegetables because I can’t eat them by hand with the enjera bread. And yes, I usually have a few of the tortilla chips at Mexican places. The only thing I can say in my defense that if I give in to the complimentary chips or bread, the portion is way smaller and eaten slowly just to taste the food (and it’s not really about the chips but the salsa, not about the bread but the butter). The days of my husband and I eating the whole basket of chips followed by a main course of some tortilla-filled dish and finished off with sopapillas are no more. Nevertheless, your last post has inspired me this week to really think about what I am eating and why, and as far as the foods that I know are not healthful (sweets or grains), to delve more deeply into exactly why it is I think I need “just a few bites” of these, and could I ask myself to give up the little tastes of this or that food crossing my path. I’ve succeeded in saying no to these impulses more often when I take the time to really examine them. I think part of the problem with impulse eating, or eating whatever people put in front of you just because it’s there and you like it, is that we don’t hear much anymore about self-denial and temperance being virtues. We are conditioned everywhere we turn to give in to impulses. A friend of mine once quipped, “Blessed are the weak in will for they shall keep us all in business.” Thanks for reminding us we need to work on the strength of our will when we know better.

    I suspect you are not in this boat alone.

  12. Picture is worth a thousands words! in your case, it is worth that much more since you commented on them! I want to go back to Mexico. Been there once, and now want to go back! But I can yet, no vacation time! Thank you for the tease, lol!

    Ok, on seperate note I wanted to ask you a question. I have been watching Biggest Loser this season. I cant comprehnd how these contestents lose 15 pounds after 3 rd week. Is it possible? I know they are big people, it is understood that they lose water weight for the first few weeks. But they continue to lose upwards of 10 to 15 and even 20 pounds a week in 3rd or 4 th week! Ha???????? I am pissed at that show for many reasons. First it creates unrealistic expectations. These people exercise their brains out, but they do so undcer DR constant supervision in a state of the art facility with so many amenities, and personal trainers. I personally know few geniusus who tried to emulate their success and almost eneded up in ER. I understand that people are ultimately responsible for educating themselves but still…… They showed an episode last night where Bob, a personal trainer urged everyone to eat Fiber One Cereal in the morning. He went on and on about how healthy and low cal it is. Ok, for half a cup you get 60 cals and 14 grms of fiber! Has anyone ever tried it! I swear it tastes like a cardboard box from a homeless peson who has been sleeping on it for a while. No offence to homeless person!!!!! And after they ate that half a cup Fiber One creal with a glass of skim milk totalling 100 cals, they went to the gym and sweated their balls off!

    I am still pondering on the quesiton, how are these people losing 20 pounds a week??????? I once was 300 pounds and read a book called Miracle of stravation by Paul Bragg. I went on a total starvation diet for two weeks, no food, just water. And I did walk 6 miles every day. And I lost 20 pounds. I almsot lost my life, but thats another story! How are these people lose so much weight week after week eating cupboards and drinking urine basically! I read in physiology book that its almost physilogically impossible to lose more than 3 pounds of fat a week. What are these people losing? It cant be that much water loss! Is it ther muscle tissu, they claim they gain muscle and are able to lift more weight wevery week! I dont know, but surely would like to know your opinion!

    I’ve never seen the show, so I don’t know what the weight loss claims really are. If they are indeed that these contestants lose 15-20 pounds per week for multiple weeks, I can say, based on my years of experience, that it is BS.

  13. How timely! I am leaving on Feb 18 for Nuevo Vallarta and it’s nice to see that living low carb will not be as hard as I had imagined. The pictures are wonderful!

    I do agree with Gretchen about the poor quality of our food supply and it definitely affects the taste. I thank God everyday for the family owned, organic farm that I have nearby in San Juan Capistrano. They have a great farmstand where you can watch the workers bring the produce in right from the fields. The difference in taste is amazing.

    Cathie

  14. What. no Patron’s ?! Sheesh.
    Food looks amazing!
    Smart man, taking the misses to Seattle first then Mexico second … redemption, lol. She looks much happier there!
    I think what most other cultures do that we do not is the use of fresh ingredients and many spices, as many have mentioned above. Most Americanos don’t realize how wonderful a fresh salad with homemade dressing can be and think about the nutrition you can get by adding fresh spices to dishes. French paradox my foot! How about the American paradox … how we survive despite the atrocious food we eat!
    Hope you have an enjoyable trip.

  15. Now that my mouth is watering and I read through the entire article, I was surely expecting to see your version of the soup posted. Please be ever so kind as to share it with your readers.

    Thanks in advance

  16. The food looks wonderful!

    I want to second the request by dulcimerpete for a blog about the supplements, and their quantities, that you and MD currently recommend.

  17. I know this is off topic and maybe even a little schadenfreude but didn’t last we hear from “Volde-mate” he had left to go invest in the American stock market in order to take advantage of the stupid right before the huge crash?

    I bet I can guess what happened to that $20,000 he had kicking around.

    It’s like the old joke: know how to make $10,000 in the market? Start with $20,000. I suspect our friend has a lot less than that if he truly tried to outsmart Mr. Market.

  18. Hi Doc,
    The food looks wonderful but I think the waiter was having a bit of sport with you about the LFE wine. It definitely came from Chile. There may have been a Mexican tax stamp on the bottle. There’s nothing in Baja, let alone a winery.

    You would be wrong. There are multiple wineries in Baja.

  19. Hey Doc… that’s Puerto Vallarta. Parents live there. I used to play golf at Marina Vallarta when in high school (the Colegio Americano). I would be curious as to what restaurants those were?

    Thanks,

    Alex

    It was indeed PV. And I did play golf at Marina Vallarta. The restaurant was at Casa Velas, which probably wasn’t there when you were there.

  20. Hi Dr Mike,

    I posted this comment on the previous blog entry, but it has greater relevance here. It is another series of food photos, but this time from hell. My previous comment follows:

    Here is the BEST complaint letter EVER on airline food. Viewing it with the pictures is a must. Sir Richard actually called the complainant.

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/3890842/Food-on-Virgin-Mumbai—London-flight

    This is beyond Low Carb. This is High Crap!

    Michael Richards

    P.S. I was about to book Tetsuyas (our French Laundry equiv) for our 20th wedding aniv, but this has put me right off!

    This is a hilarious complaint. I’m glad I wasn’t presented with this swill. I’ve flown Virgin and have always had good food. I wonder what happened on this flight?

  21. Thanks for the photos and a reminder of what real Mexican food is like, as opposed to the starch most people think of as Mexican food. I was saddened when my favorite Mexican restaurant closed recently. The food was truly authentic and prepared with high-quality ingredients. The ceviche was great, and the pescado veracruz (red snapped braised in a tomato/olive broth with squash and zucchini) was the best low carb dinner I could find in any restaurant.

    I like your response to the question regarding your body composition. I used to ignore diet or exercise advice from anyone who didn’t have a gym body, but finally realized that the truth is the truth regardless of who says it. Football players listen to their coaches even if the coaches can’t beat them on the field.

    And every professional golfer has an instructor whom said golfer could beat like a rented mule. Do people think any of Tiger Woods’ coaches could beat him? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not overweight and trying to use all this to make an excuse for it. It’s just that my own body habitus has nothing to do with my advice and knowledge.

  22. I have a few reactions to your latest serving of travelogue/food porn:

    1) I can never stay on plan when I travel. I go into vacation mode and that means let’s eat everything, and lots of it! Usually traveling means I’m on vacation and I just enjoy letting loose. I suppose if I traveled as much as you seem to, I would have to rethink that, but I don’t, so I won’t, ha!

    2) I was in Mexico City in the early 90s for a work assigment, and my Mexican colleagues took me to the places they liked, both fancy/pricey and simple/cheap. I was amazed to discover that actual Mexican food that Mexicans eat has almost nothing in common with the stuff served up at El Torrito/Chevys, etc. Its also the same story for Chinese food, my Chinese wife tells me actual Chinese food has not much at all in common with your standard USA Chinese restaraunt fair.

    3) I am a couple inches shorter than you, and I gotta tell ya,I would go hungry if I ate as little as you do. I think I just have a bigger appetite, my hunger switch doesn’t go off that soon.

    And btw, I would go sober if I drank as little as you do, as well, mahahaha.

    When MD and I were busy in our clinic all day, we didn’t travel much. We used the times that we did travel as dietary vacations. We would pick up a couple of pounds, which we would then ditch as soon as we got back home and back on our normal regimen. After the publication of PP and the other books, we found ourselves traveling more than we were home, and we soon paid the price because we continued with our idea that traveling = dietary vacation. Now we know that we’ve got to stick with the plan when we’re on the road, so we do. Most of the time. We do have occasional lapses. But we try to recover quickly. It’s much easier to re lose an extra 4-5 pounds than it is to re lose an extra 25-30, so we never let it get to that point.

    I don’t view myself as eating as little as you seem to think I do. I have a giant hunk of some kind of meat at least once, if not multiple times, a day along with all the rest of the stuff I eat.

    I do admit to not drinking all that much – at least as compared to you. If I drank as much as you claim to, I’d never be sober.

  23. Vadim, about The Biggest Loser– I caught a snippet of video, not sure where, which showed Jillian (trainer) discussing calorie levels with the contestants from last season. Women were to consume 1200 c., men 1500 c. Then they were to exercise for 6+ hours per day, burning 6000+ c. per day. The idea is to get the contestants to lose 1-2 lbs. per day. I also believe that what they show the television viewers has been edited and so some of those weigh-ins are a couple of weeks apart. Also we must consider what happens when they go home. Some contestants do keep most of the lbs. off, but there are a number who have regained a significant percentage back. The winner of the 3rd season, a man who lost 214 lbs., has gained 100 of those pounds back (Oprah’s confession spurred him to make it public, on her show). The 5th season winner and runner-up, brothers, have also gained some back, maybe 30-40 lbs. each. And there are a few others who have also “confessed” to their backsliding. One woman reported that TBL did a number on her body; she can certainly exercise for hours at a time, but her weight is climbing. She is disappointed and confused as to why her success is slipping away. Sure, they get a jump start, and seem to transform their lives in about 6-8 months, and are most likely healthier than they were, especially those who get off the drugs for their myriad of health problems. That said, the program that they used to lose the weight is not one that they can sustain for life. (and yes, Fiber One is nasty:-)

  24. Sir Richard actually called the complainant.

    I don’t fly a whole lot, but on a Virgin flight from LA to Heathrow I was surprised to see Branson walking the length of the plane twice (both aisles) asking everyone what they thought and what Virgin could do better.

  25. Dr. Eades,
    I read your response to my question about your weight and body composition, and I just wanted to say that I meant you no disrespect, and It was in no way intended as a criticism or negative comment towards you. I simply wanted to hear you share your experience, as an encouragement to me and other readers. I sincerely thank you for all you’ve done and written; stumbling upon you, Gary Taubes and a few other authors in the last year has radically changed my life for the better. BTW, thanks for your prompt replies, and for offering your wisdom on this forum, it’s a great supplement to your books.

    No problem. I probably came off as being offended, but I really wasn’t. I just wanted to get the point across that it’s the message that’s important, not the messenger. Dr. Atkins had a weight problem most of the time I knew him, but that didn’t mean his advice wasn’t valid. Oz Mehmet is rail thin, but his dietary advice sucks.

    Cheers

  26. Glancing through the comments brought to mind a couple of thoughts: 1) Regarding the authenticity of American Mexican restaurants: I had a student write an essay in an English class once about her and her date taking a Mexican exchange student and his date to the local Chi Chi’s chain restaurant. In her narrative she related that the Mexican student thought the name of the restaurant was funny because in Spanish it’s slang meaning something like our word “titties” (any Spanish speakers who can verify that?); he didn’t know what to order on the menu because he didn’t recognize anything as familiar food; and when they asked him to translate the lyrics of the song that was playing as background music, he couldn’t because it was in Portuguese, not Spanish.
    2) I’ve never watched the Biggest Loser either. My idea of entertainment is not watching people being bullied into losing weight through a diet we know is not safe to eat and abusive amounts of exercise. But it’s no surprise the contestants gain back their weight. Good Calories, Bad Calories goes into how starvation diets always result in rebounds of weight gain.From what I’ve heard about the show, it’s perpetuating every myth that Gary Taubes tried to dispel.

  27. I agree with the comment above that part of our problem in the US is tasteless or off-tasting food that by not satisfying somehow (oddly) creates a need to eat more.

    I remember once in Italy my husband gave me a bite of his salad –just simply grated carrot and olive oil. It was so good my reaction was not to want more but, rather, to want to stop eating so I could remember that delicious taste. I’ve had a few other similar experiences but never in this country.

  28. God, don’t get me started on airline food! When I fly (which is very rare) I pack my own food–chicken breast, some cherry tomatoes, nuts, maybe some fruit. I’ve yet to see an airline meal I thought was healthy!

  29. Dr. Mike –

    A note about Spanish – the word you want is “picante,” rather than “caliente.” The concept of spicy-hot is independent, in Spanish, of thermal heat!

    Mmmmm… chorizo…

    –M

    Thanks for the heads up. I wondered about that.

  30. Thanks for posting these pictures; I will have to keep them in mind the next time I am wanting some low carb Mexican cusine.

    On a more random note, I saw an interview with Mike Huckabee the other day that I thought you would appreciate. He was discussing the economic stimulus plans and I paraphrase what he said, “It’s like a diabetic eating a ton of sugar, you’re going to be riding on a high for a little bit but then you’re going to crash and crash hard.” So true.

    True, indeed. In both cases.

  31. Hey Dr Mike, hope you are enjoying your trip as much as I enjoy your blog. And believe me, i do enjoy your blog quite a lot! And I do appreciate your opne-mindeness and patience at times! Saying all that I cant help but ask you a personal question. Are you a religious person? Intresting it came to my miind. I have been on my worst behaviour lately. I am a sugarholic and an addict. Recently I thought I beat my sugar demons, but it came back with a vengence! I guess once a sugarholic, always a potential sugarholic. I guess I am as good as my last meal! I have always been an extrovert and a very emotional person, hence a propensity for various addictive habits. Recently, about two years ago I quit smoking. Havent had a cigarette since. I am not a religious person, spiritual. I know some people hate that word just as much as some hate the modifieed Atkins sentence. I wasnt planning on quiting smoking, it just happened. If I ever believe in Miracles, this one was the biggest of my life. My vice-president’s mother passed away from emphysema. I was begged by many, including the vice-president to quit, but it didnt happen. Addicts always find a way to justify and reason their addcitions. So I was sitting in a cathlic church in a hot NYC summer listening to a priest telling about 300 people about this woman’s legacy. Then once in a while he would say something and people kneeled down and prayed. I was the only one sitting donw. Imagine a non-practicing Jew sitting in a church amongst 300 kneeling cathlics! Talk about uncomftable moment! At that moment the only thing I wanted to do is just go to my car and have a cigarette. As a priest went on speaking how wonderful this woman was, and she trully was, I was waiting so impatiently for my salvation, that is a cigarette. Then he said that we humans are all interconnected in this world and no matter how different we think we are, it is an illusion. It sounded good, but too philosophical for my soul at the moment when all I wanted was a cigarette. He continued saying that she left so many legacies in the community she lived and how mnay lives she touched! And soon after he wrapped up his speech by saying that there are surely some strangers people in the church who didnt know the lady quite well. I said to myslef ” I didnt” . He said miracles do happen and if we pray we shall recieve! The last sentence I remember was something along the line that even though she is gone, she will continue leaving legacies and touching people after her passing just as much as she did when she was alive. I went back to my car, took out a pack of cigarette and realized I only had one left. I turned my AC on and lid the cigarette. One puff and I felt so repulsed by it I had to throw up. I never had that experience before. Next morning I woke up and the first thing I did was going into the grocery store to buy a pack of cigarettes. I lid one up and threw up again. On it went for few more days. All of a sudden I became intolerant to smoking. God’s honest story. I havent had a cigarette since. I contemplated on what happened for a while and then realized it must have been some subconschous hypnosis. All of a sudden I felt like this woman did change my life and left one more legacy! But I was too removed from the religious believs and tried to rationalize it throgh science. Until one day I just decided to at least open my mind to beleive it was a Devine Intervention. So every time someone asks me ” How did you quit smoking cold turkey I respond ” I didnt quit, God took it away from me! “” But now I am praying God would take away my other demon which is carb binging! I dont want it to be too late until I get diabetes or worse!

    Dr Mike your blog is an informative, inresting and very educational, But at times it takes a miracle for people like me to stop substituting sugar and carb for emotional voids! Do you have a miracle down your sleeve for idiots like me. I know stupidity hurts, i just dont want it to kill!

    I wish I did have a miracle. You’ve just got to take it one day at a time. If you binge on sugar one day a week and are pretty good the other six, that’s a whole lot better than binging six days and being good one. Look upon every day without a sugar binge as a victory, and, ultimately, you should have many more victories than defeats. And many more victories usually wins the war.

    And I would take plenty of magnesium.

  32. So true about the taste of fresh, well grown food. Most of what we eat comes from our backyard or nearby neighbors who raise meat

    http://themodernhomestead.us/article/Home.html

    Our simple meals are fabulous. I rarely bother with sauces. In most cases I feel it would be a crime to hide the intense, complex natural flavors.

    During the winter we always have beautiful chicory salads, tossed in a dressing of top quality olive oil, lots of mustard and a drop of raw red wine vinegar. This time of year when we are invited anywhere for a meal and I ask what can I bring, people always beg for the chicory salad. that may even be why we got invited!

    The mustard seems to pair well with the robust chicories. Spring and Fall lettuce salads get only the olive oil and mere drop of vinegar. Oh yes, and a bit of finely ground sea salt.

  33. Quick question. Was there a mix-up with the listings on the categories of this post? Did you mean to mention statins in the post or are you just fighting with the wi-fi services over the border?

    Thanks for the heads up. It wasn’t intentional. I think there is a gremlin in the last update of WordPress because these extra categories keep slipping unnoticed.

  34. Vadim,

    Doc, forgive my commenting. I have seen people do well with sugar cravings taking chromium .. look on the web for info and dosages. I have also had good luck with blood sugar herbal formulas. Ones that contain gymnema and cinnamon work well for ME. Gymnema actually blocks the sugar receptors on the tongue, so drinking a soda or eating a cookie becomes a disgusting experience (I know, I’ve tried it ! Coke tastes like tonic water). But you have to get it on your tongue for thiat. Otherwise, some good companies make preparations with chromium, cinnamon, gymnema ,etc. I used to use L-glutamine right under my tongue and that would help kill a carb craving. AT least enough I didn’t snarf a bag of cookies.

  35. Please upload a cloth, I need to wipe drool off the keyboard.

    Have you ever considered applying for a grant to research low carb cuisine throughout the world? Would be a much more useful project than some of the published papers. It would be a hard thankless task of course, might take years but someone has to do it . . .

    Good idea. The current administration is loading up the latest stimulus plan with a lot of garbage that makes a lot less sense. Maybe I should see if I can get in on the give-away gravy.

  36. Let’s get things straight- I hate tomotoes. Always have. Since I was a kid I picked them outta sandwiches and couldn’t stand it when my sister tormented me by eating them like apples.

    I lived in Thailand for six months and the strangest thing occurred- I loved tomatoes there! They were delightful, sweet, airy, squishy, watery, fruity deliciousness.

    I moved back to the states and won’t touch ’em. I had no idea it had to do with the soil and the level of acidity. Thanks!

    And I must say- after Marc (from Marc’s Feel Good Eating) told me about your blog I added it to my reader and love it. Thank you!

    The soil and the amount of ripening on the vine makes a huge difference. Sadly, most tomatoes we get here in the US are picked green and ripen on their way to the stores, which makes them kind of cardboardlike and tasteless.

  37. Many commercial foods, including especially tomatoes and apples, are bred for things like high yield and consistency, and probably disease resistance and thick skins to reduce transit damage. This process tends to breed out things like flavour and levels of bioflavinoids. Try eating an old variety grown by neighbours for a completely different experience.

    It’s likely that other countries still have locally produced varieties which fit their local environment.

    I suspect they are now doing the same with people. If you can’t eat enough carbs, out of the gene pool with you. Soylent green?

  38. Just a thought… in regards to getting your veg for gazpacho minced just right: You may want to look into the Food Chopper, made by the Pampered Chef, it really is a fantastic tool. Makes mincing take about 3 seconds, and varies the coarseness depending on how many times you hit the plunger. I have had the privilege of trying about 6 different brands of this style of chopper, and my husband agrees this one is the most hassle free, and completely disassembles for easy cleaning. And it’s dishwasher safe. They have a website if you would like a look at it.

    Cheers!

    Thanks for the info. I passed it along to MD.