103 LOW CARB FOODS, NUMBER 5 – Lobster

Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can on luxury foods.

Lobster – Low Carb Foods, Luxury, #5


We all have our weak moments. We have times when we feel our path is too hard. Before I started a low carb diet, I’d reach for a candy bar or something else sweet at delicate moments. Now, when I feel a wobble approach, when I feel overwhelmed or just a bit down, I know it’s time to pamper myself. Since I live by the sea and lobster is abundant here, it is a luxury that isn’t out of reach if I cook it myself. It’s expensive, but then I’m doing intermittent fasting, and I have missed many meals and saved lots of money doing so. Because we vacationed in New England when I was a child, lobster is a nostalgic dish for me. It transports me back to sea breezes, sunburns, plastic bibs, and unpretentious lobster shacks with wooden picnic tables. In other words, it feeds my soul. Of course, like any special treat, it is best not to overdo lobster. In Irish, there is a saying, ‘An rud is annamh is iontach’ – ‘What is seldom is wonderful.’ It’s best to keep it special. 


Top 5 low carb lobster dishes:

  1. Steamed lobster with butter 
  2. Grilled lobster
  3. Lobster salad 
  4. Lobster bisque
  5. Lobster Newberg

Lobster and ethics

There are many people, including my wife and daughter, who don’t like killing animals, especially in the house. I understand that. I was a vegetarian for more than 20 years and may become one again. However, I eat meat now, and I feel that being overly squeamish about killing a lobster is disingenuous since creatures die to make my meat eating possible, and the only difference is that the death of a lobster happens in my kitchen. I would hesitate if the lobster was shipped to me live or held for long periods in a tank, but here the food chain is short. I can look out my window at fishing boats. When the moment comes, I don’t enjoy the process of dispatching a lobster, but it makes me more mindful and makes me appreciate the sacrifice it takes to keep me fed. If you find killing a lobster difficult, then find a friend or loved one who will do the deed for a share of the feast or else order one at a restaurant. 

How to kill a lobster humanely
  1. Put the lobster into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. This will shut down its metabolism.
  2. Plunge the point of a sharp knife into the cross below its eyes, then cut down to separate the head.   

This video, from Bon Appétit might be helpful (go to ca. 1 minute in).


My favourite way to enjoy a lobster

I steam it in a big pot with two inches of water for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size. If I have seaweed to add to the water, even better. When I dip the juicy mouthfuls into hot butter, all feels right with the world.


Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.


103 LOW CARB FOODS, NUMBER 4 – Cream

Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can on luxury foods.

Cream – Low Carb Foods, Luxury, #4


Could anything be more luxurious? The word ‘cream’ signifies the best or something special – la crème de la crème, the cream of the crop, the cat that got the cream. Give me decadent Irish cream, and I’m like that cat. In Irish, ‘cream’ is ‘uachtar,’ and our president is ‘Uachtarán.’ I imagine the president has an abundance of luscious, thick Irish cream in the presidential fridge. 

I do too – cream makes up for many foods I’ve put aside. Forget what you’ve heard about it being unhealthy – it has half the sugar of milk. Look for the highest fat content you can find – half and half means it has more sugar. Buy cream often, and rummage around the back of the shop fridge to make sure it’s the freshest. Use it liberally and enjoy every minute. Cream satisfies in a way that few foods do.


Some things I do with cream: 

  1. Add to coffee
  2. Whip and eat with berries
  3. Make pannacotta (see recipe)
  4. Whip with pure cocoa
  5. Make chia pudding
  6. Add to omelette
  7. Cream of mushroom to top chicken, fish, meat or to serve on its own
  8. Add to soups and chowders. 
  9. Cream of spinach
  10. Make butter

Tip: How to whip cream to make it truly delicious: 1. Buy the most local, freshest, and full fat cream you can find. 2. For the best consistency, whip it on medium speed – fast speeds aerate too much. 3. Stop mixing when soft peaks form. If you over whip, it will taste buttery.

Note: Using a stick blender with a single whisk attachment is my favourite method for silky cream. Use the narrowest jug you have that fits the whisk.


Pannacotta means ‘cooked cream’ in Italian, and it’s a dessert from the Piedmont. I love this dessert, and it doesn’t miss the sugar. I use vegetarian gelatine (from carrageenan) It’s naturally salty, which amplifies the flavour of the cream. You might have to play with the quantity, depending on the brand.    

Panna cotta Recipe

Ingredients: 227 ml (1 cup) full fat cream. 1/4 teaspoon vegetarian gelatine. Vanilla to taste.  

Method: Heat the cream and gelatine, stirring just until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Take off the heat. Pour into moulds or ramekins. Refrigerate until set. Gently transfer onto a plate and serve with berries, with a squeeze of lemon, or on its own. 

Variations: 1. Add pure cocoa to taste. 2. Cook with a crushed cardamom pod. Strain after cooking. 3. Add cinnamon. 4. Add a shot or two of espresso. 5. Add marsala wine. 6. Add Scotch whiskey. 


Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.


103 Low Carb Foods, Number 3 – Chocolate

Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can on luxury foods.

Chocolate – Low Carb Foods, Luxury, #3


As a unrepentant chocoholic, chocolate is the treat I’d hate most to lose, and guess what? I haven’t. This mystery of the Mayans, the ambrosia of the Aztecs, tantalises and satisfies in a way few other foods do. Its melting point is the same as body temperature, which is perhaps why it is so beguiling in the mouth. If you weren’t a chocolate snob before, it is time to become one, for milk chocolate is full of sugar, and you’d do well to gravitate toward the dark varieties to keep the carbs down. Dark chocolate is low in carbs and high in fat, and a small amount goes a long way.

Choose a square or two of 85% or higher chocolate and pour all your mindfulness into the experience. Cocoa nibs are worth seeking out; they add a nice crunch. Pure cocoa gives tremendous flavour to cream or puddings and in small amounts adds few carbs (make sure you’re not buying cocoa with sugar added). Cocoa butter is a luxurious fat, a guilt-free way of adding chocolate flavour, and by adding vanilla you can make sugar-free white chocolate.  

Valrhona Abinao Chocolate

My favourite brand of eating chocolate is Valrhona – I took a chocolate course in their factory in France and have never forgotten it. Their Abinao is surprisingly fruity for such high cocoa content. It’s so satisfying that I have no trouble eating it in moderation. Their cocoa is also worth the money if you can find it. Artisan chocolate makers will welcome the support you can give them, so seek out any in your area. Since chocolate is a case where quality is more important than quantity, why not set yourself a goal to find your favourite chocolate in the world? I could think of many worse ways to spend time.

Some things I do with chocolate: 

  1. Savour every instant of it.
  2. Eat it dark and sparingly (3gm). 
  3. Add 25g pure, organic cocoa butter to a cup of coffee. Blend.
  4. Grind cocoa nibs with chia.
  5. Add shavings to fresh mint chia.
  6. Make delicious, satisfying mole sauce – no sweeteners, of course. 
  7. Eat a bit with a small handful of raspberries and whipped cream.

Recipe: Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients: 100 ml full fat cream. 30gm 90% chocolate. 15gm butter. 15gm cocoa butter.  

Method: Melt the chocolate, butter, and cocoa butter together. I use a dry coffee mug in a bowl of hot water. Heat the cream just to a simmer. Add to the chocolate in small parts, stirring until it is smooth and glossy. Pour into little glasses. Cool. 

Variations: 1. Add pure vanilla to taste. 2. Add cinnamon. 3. Add a splash of whiskey. 4. Top with cream. 5. Decorate with cocoa nibs or berries.


Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.


103 Low Carb Foods, Number 2 – Caviar

Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can on luxury foods.

Caviar – Low Carb Foods, Luxury, #2


If you eat caviar every day, it’s difficult to return to sausages. — Arsene Wenger

Next time a friend mentions how abstemious you must be to live on a low carb diet, whip out a jar of caviar. Roe (fish eggs) are among the most expensive foods in the world, and roe of the sturgeon — caviar — are the most costly of all. Russian caviar is considered the best. Other countries, including China, Iran, and the US, produce caviar. It’s important to note that most sturgeon are endangered or critically endangered in the wild, so do not buy wild caviar or caviar that has been poached. Luckily the fish are now farmed and no longer killed to extract the roe.

Caviar is salted, which improves the flavour and helps with preservation — the more salt, the better the preservation but worse the taste. It is perishable and must be refrigerated when opened and consumed quickly. Since caviar is a treat, buy the best you can afford, although other varieties of roe can be quite tasty. These include roe of salmon, trout, and the bright orange lobster roe usually discarded (I love to fry them briefly in butter, which gives them a pleasing crunch).

Seven low carb ways to serve caviar:

  1. On a spoon
  2. On fresh, crunchy cucumbers
  3. On homemade cheese crackers
  4. With sour cream or crème fraiche
  5. On eggs
  6. As caviar butter (gently blend caviar and butter)
  7. As caviar butter sauce. Look it up. It’s a thing

Caviar varieties and terms

  • American Osetra — the white sturgeon. Illegal if poached.
  • Beluga — the beluga sturgeon. It’s considered the highest grade. Do not buy illegal wild varieties. It is farmed, and wild populations are starting to recover.
  • Hackleback — the shovelnose sturgeon in the US.
  • Mallosol — means little salt, so it’s more perishable and considered the best.
  • Ossetra — the ossetra sturgeon is near extinction in the wild. It is second only to the beluga in price.
  • Paddlefish — cousin to the sturgeon. Common in the US.
  • Payusnaya — pressed. It’s caviar that’s not intact as eggs. OK for recipes.
  • Sevruga — also known as the ‘starry sturgeon.’ It’s critically endangered in the wild.
  • Sterlet — Once considered the finest. Now virtually extinct.
  • Vegan — Yes — it is possible to find caviar made from kelp.

Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.


Thanks to Robert Anasch for making the photo available freely on Unsplash.

103 Delicious Low Carb Foods, Number 1 – Butter

Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can.

A. Luxury Foods

1. Butter

Butter might seem a simple thing to list as a luxury, but it makes almost everything taste better and more luxurious. For example, lobster without butter is good, but lobster with butter is fantastic. The same is true with many foods. Green beans are fine. Green beans drenched in butter, with crunchy, sliced almonds toasted with butter, are exquisite. If you can find real Irish butter, then it will be even more amazing (in my biased opinion).

Before I started a low carb diet, butter played a part in most of my favourite foods — croissants, mashed potatoes, cookies, cake, toast with melted butter and so forth. Sometimes I wonder whether those foods were just an excuse to eat butter, and I can still do just that. When I mash cauliflower with enough butter (and cream), I don’t miss the potatoes too much. It’s like losing the wrapping paper but keeping the present. 


Some things I do with butter: 

  1. Add to coffee
  2. Cook vegetables
  3. Cook fish
  4. Add to sauces
  5. Make ghee – clarified butter
  6. Add to toasted nuts, especially pecans
  7. Spread on low carb psyllium bread
  8. Make garlic butter
  9. Make herb butter
  10. Whip it (see below)

Fat is fabulous

Fat is one of the micronutrients that keep us alive. Without fat, we would not survive. Fat has been unfairly demonised, although it is coming back into fashion now that there is more understanding of the role of sugar in obesity. Fat helps us feel full when we aren’t stuffing ourselves with carbohydrates, and it makes food more luxurious. In case you are worried about your heart, the often-repeated warning that it’s unhealthy doesn’t seem to have any validity. Butter does not make you gain weight, and it does not clog your arteries. So dump the margarine and add butter for more enjoyment in life. 

I definitely suggest making butter yourself. It’s a simple process, and not strenuous if you have an electric mixer. I never tire of witnessing the miraculous transformation of cream into golden goodness. Old, soured cream (as long as it’s not mouldy) can be repurposed as butter – in fact, it will taste better. I like to whip the butter, since whipped butter is not usual here in Ireland. I grew up with it in New York, and I miss it. One of the benefits is that it is a joy to spread, even when cold.

Recipe: Homemade whipped butter

1. Beat full fat (35+%) whipping cream.

2. After it is whipped, it will then begin to clump and turn yellowish.

3. Periodically scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to make sure every bit’s included.

4. When the liquid separates, beware of splashes. Stop the mixer and discard the liquid.

5. Rinse the butter with cold water, then mix to push any fluid out. Discard the liquid. Repeat until the water stays clear.

6. Add salt if you prefer it (2% is usual in Ireland).

7. Whip the butter on high speed until airy and light in colour. 


From ‘Churning Day,’ by Seamus Heaney

…Their short stroke quickened, suddenly
a yellow curd was weighting the churned up white,
heavy and rich, coagulated sunlight
that they fished, dripping, in a wide tin strainer,
heaped up like gilded gravel in the bowl…


Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.