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Carb Solution: Dessert for the Irish

By Dennis Linden

Over half of the U.S. adult population, some 154 million, qualify as being overweight or obese. Another 29 million of us have diabetes, many as a direct result of being overweight. Then, there are the 23.9 million overweight children who are dutifully following the example of their XXL adult role models. Diabetes and these extra pounds cost this country billions annually in both medical and economic resources; not to mention the affect these weight-related maladies have on a person’s overall mental well-being and happiness. However, both diabetes and being overweight are very manageable, even preventable, with a few lifestyle tweaks. By maintaining a sensible diet in conjunction with some consistent exercise, no matter how minimal, we can all be in total control of our own weight. One easy way to start taking that control is to make decisions about the foods we eat based on the glycemic index [GI] and glycemic load [GL].

Simply put, our bodies convert all foods into sugar calories that provide energy to the body via the blood stream. The glycemic index assigns a score of 1 to 100 to all foods based how speedy the body converts that food into sugar. Foods that break down slowly enable the body to assimilate theses calories of energy more efficiently without overwhelming the body with more sugar than it can process. While this is especially important for diabetics who process sugars much slower than others, everyone can benefit from eating foods that have low glycemic scores since they also reduce appetite and encourage the metabolism to burn body fat. Conversely, a diet of foods high on the glycemic charts have been proven to actually increase appetite and impede effective fat oxidation.

A QUICKIE GLYCEMIC PRIMER:
  • The glycemic index of a food compares its effect on blood sugar level to that of pure glucose, which has a score of 100. White breads, which are made of processed white flour, are at the top of this scale, scoring a “perfect” 100 on the glycemic index. For perspective, a score of 55 or below denotes a low-glycemic-index food; 70 or above is considered very high. Serving size is not a consideration in arriving at a food’s Glycemic Index number.
  • The glycemic load, on the other hand, focuses on how much digestible carbohydrates (sugars) a food contains in a typical single serving, which is defined as approximately 3.5 ounces. For glycemic load, a score of 20 or more is high, while 10 or less is low. 

Bad news: everyone’s annual St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl, from green beer to green beer, must be cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Plan B: It is suggested that we all hunker down at home and commemorate the Irish with a pint of mint green ice cream and hope for healthier times by next year! Unfortunately, ice cream is low in nutrients, high in added sugars and calories, not to mention most store-bought brands contain artificial ingredients. So, here’s an alternative recipe that allows us all to celebrate our Irish heritage, even if we have none, with a big bowl of low-carb lime green “sorbet” that is sinfully rich in flavor yet made with just three common fresh produce ingredients, no sugar or dairy fat involved! Have hope, carb-counters, there is life without ice cream – and that’s no blarney!

While the combination of avocado, lime and cilantro is usually enjoyed with a bowl of salty chips and salsa, the same trio can also be repurposed into a frozen delight that will definitely satisfy those ice cream cravings. Surprisingly, the avocado in this recipe contributes only the creamy smooth texture and the appropriate color, considering the occasion. The flavor is all lime – more accurately, double lime -- with a hint of cilantro in the aftertaste. The dairy richness of real ice cream is replicated with the only other two ingredients, coconut milk and a pinch of sugar substitute, like confectioner Swerve or the like. That’s it – just five ingredients blended and frozen! The results are so rich that your taste buds will believe they have been transported to a well-known Vermont ice cream factory … only without the carbs! O.k., so the B & J reference may have been a little blarney; still, pandemic or not, this recipe sure beats a green beer, anytime!

Avocado Lime Sorbet
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for Avocado Lime Sorbet

Ingredients

2 medium Hass Avocados, sliced
1 Melissa’s Lime Juice bulb
1 cup Coconut Milk
2 medium Limes, juiced & zested/separated
¼ cup A Sugar Substitute Sweetener, powder
½ cup Cilantro, chopped

Preparation

Halve both avocados, remove pit and then thin-slice them lengthwise while still in the skin.

Halve both avocados, remove pit and then thin-slice them lengthwise while still in the skin.

Carefully scoop out the slices whole with a large spoon, place them on a foiled tray, then give each slice a generous squeeze of lime juice from the bulb -- making sure to cover with juice completely. Place tray in freezer for 3 hours.

Bring to a boil the coconut milk, sweetener and zest of 2 limes over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil the coconut milk, sweetener and zest of 2 limes over medium-high heat. Let this reduce by about 25 percent, pour into a container, and place in the freezer until thickened.

Transfer avocado slices from freezer to food processor. Cover with the cilantro and the juice from the zested limes.

Transfer avocado slices from freezer to food processor. Cover with the cilantro and the juice from the zested limes. Run food processor until chunky, then add coconut milk reduction. Process again until a smooth consistency is achieved. Transfer to a storage container, return to freezer until frozen. For best enjoyment, let soften just slightly before serving.
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