What you see above is a photo of the very meal I ate on New Year’s day as I laid around recovering from New Year’s Eve.
I eat black-eyed peas once a year – on New Year’s day. It’s an old Southern tradition that’s supposed to bring good luck. Along with the black-eyed peas are slices of smoked, peppered ham, stewed tomatoes, collard greens and a green onion. It’s what MD has made every New Year’s Day since we’ve been married. She actually made some cornbread, too, just for tradition’s sake, but I’m not much of a cornbread fan, so I abstained. I try never to waist carbs on something I’m not all that crazy about.
If you ever wonder what to do with all the ham that’s left after the first meal, you can follow my lead and make perfect ham sandwiches.
Here are all the fixin’s for such. I’m not a big fan of sprouts – they always make me think I’m eating grass. But these are broccoli sprouts, which are loaded with sulforaphane, so I’ll make an exception. Enough tomatoes, lettuce and mustard and I’ll never taste them.
Below is the perfect ham sandwich. A big slice of ham with good mustard, tomatoes, lettuce all contained within two more slices of ham to replace the bread. It just doesn’t get any better. These sandwiches will be my lunch for the next week (or until the monster smoked, peppered ham that MD’s brother sent us for Christmas is gone).
It just doesn’t seem right that you can eat this well and lose weight and cure disease. But as we who haven’t fallen victim to low-fat-itis know, you can.


  1. Man after my own heart….
    Have you tried layering the ham and such in the romaine and eating them as a wrap? Works great with tuna salad, egg salad and chicken salad..all full fat of course..
    Yeah, I’ve done it that way, but I would get more romaine and less ham – and I want it just the other way. I have to do it with tuna salad or egg salad because I can’t use those as faux bread.

  2. I’m having a heck of a time trying to find older posts, ones that were done recently, but that don’t appear in the “Recent Posts” list. How do I get further back than those? Do I have to resort to doing a search? There used to be an Archives section organized by month. Where did that go to?
    Can you help?
    Hi Kathy–
    I don’t know. I’ll ask my web guy. This is the first I’ve noticed that they’re gone.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. What a wonderful sandwich; that ham looks amazing. Our traditional New Year’s Day dinner is Fondue Chinoise–thinly sliced beef and chicken, scallops, and shrimp cooked at the table in broth. Even the sauces are low carb—aioli, horseradish and sour cream, jerk sauce, and a curry sauce (mayo and sour cream based, with a tiny bit of apricot preserves). This year we postponed it, because our daughter—and New Year’s baby—is travelling in Europe.
    As for sprouts, they remind me of a poem my mother used to quote about King Nebuchadnezzar eating grass, who “sighed, as he munched the unaccustomed food, It may be wholesome, but it is not good.”
    I don’t usually eat sprouts. In fact, I never eat them unless they’re broccoli sprouts, and only then for health reasons. Definitely not for taste. Plus, if you eat enough ham and mustard you can’t taste them.

  4. Looks yummy, but where’s the cheese? A big honkin’ slice of swiss would make that impossible to resist!
    Best to you,
    It would be good, but I’m not a huge fan of cheese. If it comes with something, I eat it, but I never really ask for it.

  5. Love the meal idea and the PP diet.
    One recent concern I’ve had, however, is that when large amounts of protein are consumed, the body converts a lot of the protein to glucose and promotes an insulin response. Indeed, if you are guided by insulin response — rather than the indirect measure of the glycemic index or glycemic load — beef is a poor source of protein since it promotes a pretty heavy insulin response. (Don’t know about ham. See The concentrated spike of insulin induced by a meal heavy in protein reduces insulin sensitivity. The result will be similar to eating carbs: the body becomes a sugar burner and will turn to muscle rather than fat for energy.
    Clearly protein is required, but to excess and concentrated in one meal, would seem to be counter-productive. It seems to me from this reasoning that low-carb, low-to-moderate protein, and high fat is the preferred mix. Thoughts?
    Hi Tony–
    This isn’t a worry. I’ve answered this question about a thousand times it seems in the comments section. I need to do it in a post because not everyone sees all the comments and my comments to the comments.

  6. Dear MRE,
    That ham looks fantastic. Never seen it in the stores though. Any idea where he got it?
    There are some really good low-carb breads available. The one I like best is from Trader Joe’s called Sprouted Rye. Only 4 ECC per slice and darn good toasted. Another from Nature’s Own called Wheat & Fiber has about 6 or 7 ECC per slice and is also pretty darn good.
    Hey Laurel–
    The ham came from Petit Jean meats in Arkansas. MD’s brother sends us one every year. All you have to do is heat them up, and they’re ready to eat. And delicious. But, if you get one, make sure it truly is cured through and through. A few years ago we got one that somehow hadn’t made it through the process completely, and it was still pretty raw after we heated it up and put it out for a big dinner with a lot of guests. We refer to that occasion as the Christmas of the ham sushi.

  7. Dr Eades,
    In your blog, in November, you wrote:
    Both MD and I have had patients who complained to us that they were following our program to the letter and weren’t losing any weight. When we asked them for their diet diaries we found that they were consuming huge amounts of food but were rigorously keeping their carbs below 30 grams per day. Sometimes we calculated that these patients were eating 4000+ kcal per day, which could have even been higher given that patients tend to under report what they eat instead of over reporting. What was amazing to us was that they weren’t gaining. They were pretty much maintaining their weight on an enormous number of low-carb calories.
    OK, but where do those extra ~2000 kcal/d go? To some extent, a body can increase its metabolism by running hotter, fidgeting etc. But its hard to believe they were doubling their basic metabolism. If they were, I think they’d be running a high fever. Are they excreting it in feces or urine? Breathing out flammable amounts of acetone? Going out and harvesting row crops?
    ps. Sorry for posting this somewhat off topic, but I searched your site for 10 min looking for your email address and didn’t find it. Also, your ‘more about’ link in your ‘About’ section (top right of every page) is a dead link – gives a 404.
    Hey David–
    This is another one of those questions I’ve answered in the comments a zillion times. I need to write a complete post about it. For now just take my word for it, it happens. And not necessarily be increasing metabolism, but by the increase in futile cycling and uncoupling oxidation from phosphorylation.
    One of these days I’ll finish off my About Me link.

  8. Black-eyed peas! That sure brings back the memories. Mom learned to make them when she lived in Shreveport back in her airline days and we had them every New Year’s day along with sauerkraut (traditional for Germans) and menudo (traditional in our border town.) The peas were the only thing I liked.
    I never thought about using slices of ham for bread and will have to try that as it looks positively mouthwatering. But I think I’ll skip the sprouts, there’s nothing strong enough to mask that nasty old sock odor and taste for me.
    I guess there are a lot of people out there who don’t like sprouts.

  9. Dr. Eades-just to let you know that I have been practicing intermittent fasting for about 2 months now. Most days I don’t get much past noon (a low carb lunch) but other days can actually make it until 5pm. Went to the peridontist today and they said that my gums were so improved that they recommended that I go a year instead of my usual 6 months between visits. Yeah and thanks for the info on fasting.
    Thanks for the report. God job!

  10. The big breakfast diet: Early morning feasts are the secret to beating middle-age spread
    By DANIEL MARTIN – More by this author » Last updated at 23:58pm on 4th January 2008
    Comments Comments
    Those who ate the biggest breakfast put on the least amount of weight during a study
    Most popular stories
    Breakfasting like a king and dining like a pauper really is the answer to middle-age spread, doctors have discovered.
    Skipping breakfast starves the body of nutrients and prompts it to store more of lunches and dinners as fat, they say.
    A study found that consuming up to 50 per cent of the total daily energy intake at breakfast gives the body time to metabolise calories more efficiently.
    And whether a person has breakfast or not may affect weight gain more than the amount of food eaten throughout the day.
    Doctors from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge conducted a five-year study into the eating habits of 6,764 men and women living in Norfolk aged between 40 and 75.
    They found those who ate the biggest breakfast put on the least amount of weight even though they consumed the most food through the course of an average day.
    Research leader Dr Nicholas Wareham said that energy intake among big-breakfasters was highest, while increase in body-mass index, and weight, was lowest.
    He and his team of researchers found those who obtained between 0 and 11 per cent of their total daily energy intake at breakfast put on 1.23kg over 3.7 years, but middle aged men and women who consumed between 22 and 50 per cent, only put on 0.79kg over the same period.
    They conclude: “In our study, all participants gained weight over the follow-up period, on average; however, our data indicate-that consuming a higher proportion of total daily calories at breakfast is associated with relatively lower weight gain in middle age.”
    Although the researchers say there could be unknown factors which explain the findings, they suspect it is more to do with the way the body metabolises calories.
    If the body is starved of food for long periods, as is the case if breakfast is skipped in the mornings, then it begins to store more fat, resulting in weight gain.
    According to Dr Wareham, the findings may have serious implications in the fight against obesity, specially for older people.
    He told the American Journal of Epidemiology: “From a public health perspective, redistribution of daily energy intake, so that a larger percentage is consumed at breakfast and a lower percentage is consumed over the rest of the day, may help to reduce weight gain in middle-aged adults.”
    David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum agreed starting the day with a good breakfast was a good way to tackle weight gain. But he said it depended what types of food were consumed.
    “If you start off eating something slowburning such as porridge or fruit, that is good because it will keep you ticking over until lunchtime, meaning you will not need to snack in the morning and you won’t have the sugar or insulin surges that can led to weight gain,” he said.
    “But breakfasts won’t help you lose weight if they’re full of black pudding and fried bacon.”

  11. Wishing you and your family a most happy and prosperous New Year! I cannot imagine why I have never eaten a black eyed pea! I guess Maryland is too far north for that tradition. But I am half Irish, and half German, and the German half was dominated by my maternal grandmother, a fine cook. Her tradition has it that one must eat lentil soup (linzenzup) on New Year”s Eve, preferably at the stroke of 12. I would assume luck was heavily involved here, too. Well, maybe you were lucky if you were eating, rather than drinking, at midnight. And, home to do it! I think lentils are about comparable in carbs to black eyed peas.
    Collard greens are wonderful! They are a bit zestier and more bitter than spinach, and I grow them in my summer veg garden, along with beautiful Swiss chard. They are great sauteed with a little onion and garlic.
    This year our New Years breakfast consisted of sausage patties, eggs scrambled with spinach, feta, and dill, and chicken livers cooked with a little dry vermouth.
    Question: when you entertain at dinner parties, etc., do you limit the cuisine to low carb? I do not. I start with things we can eat, and then add the lethal stuff to the menu. Because, frankly, our friends think we’re nuts! Since I can’tchange their minds about healthy eating, I give them what they want!
    Hi Dorothy–
    We typically keep the fare pretty low-carb. All the people we dine with know what are deal is, so they expect it. And they sort of look forward (I think) to see what we can come up with that is good without seeming diet-y.

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