Book reviews from all genres: children's books, mystery novels, biographies, alternative health books, sci-fi books, humor, history, music and moreHelp our owner beat a rare disease!
Advanced Search Author Interviews New Author Listings Book Review Home
Dr.Deborah Friedson Chud
Publisher: Bay Books

Interviewed By: CJ Inge
CJ: In your book, you describe how you learned about the Zone diet, and you write about the immediate benefits you discovered. What are some of the main benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet?

Dr.Chud: When we eat carbohydrates, our blood sugar and insulin levels go up. Lower carbohydrate diets work by stabilizing blood sugar and lowering average insulin levels. Since insulin causes us to store fat and prevents us from burning our own stored fat for fuel, lower carb diets help people lose weight through decreased fat storage and increased fat burning. People tend to have more energy because their blood sugar remains more stable, with fewer peaks and valleys throughout the day. More stable blood sugar helps delay the onset of hunger after meals and makes carbohydrate craving less likely. The net result is enhanced weight loss.

CJ: The Gourmet Prescription is geared specifically towards people who've switched to a low-carbohydrate diet. You mention changing your recipes to fit in with this plan once you discovered insulin modification. How much transformation did most recipes require?

Dr. Chud: In my own case, reducing my carbohydrate intake and emphasizing "good" carbohydrates (high fiber vegetables, fruits, and beans) helped me with chronic muscle pain. Insulin is involved in inflammation through its effect on prostaglandins. When I brought down my insulin levels, my pain decreased. This was my primary motivation for going on the Zone diet-- but I lost over 20 pounds in the process. It was a nice bonus!!

CJ: The Gourmet Prescription is geared specifically towards people who've switched to a low-carbohydrate diet. You mention changing your recipes to fit in with this plan once you discovered insulin modification. How much transformation did most recipes require?

Dr.Chud: For the record, The Gourmet Prescription is actually geared toward two different groups of people: those ON lower carbohydrate diets already (the Zone, Atkins, Sugar Busters!, Protein Power, Suzanne Somers's diet, Schwarzbein, Carbohydrate Addicts) and those who are NOT on any diet, but who wish to eat great food and have some of the benefits of better insulin control.

As to your question about the amount of transformation required, the answer is "variable". Certain recipes, like Smoked Shrimp Fajitas and Not Exactly Peking Duck only required the substitution of lettuce leaves for traditional flour-based wrappers. (Lettuce leaves do not raise insulin levels, whereas tortillas do.) Other recipes required more ingenuity. I found I could substitute Chinese sweet bean sauce (lower carbohydrate content) for hoisin sauce in recipes such as Broiled Veal Chops with Asian Flavors, Five-Spice Flank Steak, and Glazed Sweet Bean Turnips. I also used fructose, a granulated natural fruit sweetener, in place of sugar and honey because it does not cause blood sugar and insulin to skyrocket. I often use it to sweeten salad dressings (e.g. Fennel-Pepper Slaw with Ginger and Cucumber-Orange-Radish Salad), marinades (Pork Cutlets with Orange and Spicy Marinated Roast Chicken), and sauces (Smoked Turkey Tenderloins with Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce and Scallops with Smoked Leeks).

Since my recipes are all low in fat and calories as well as carbohydrates, I turned to "infusion pastes" to keep meats moist during roasting. These highly flavored purees of vegetables, herbs and spices enabled me to trim all the visible fat from meats and poultry without losing flavor and moisture.

Another strategy I used to reduce fat in recipes was "stovetop smoking". This made it possible to get the smoky flavor of bacon, ham, and sausage into recipes without the fat -- especially the saturated fat-- accompanying these unhealthy ingredients. Warm Black Beans with Smoky Sofrito, for example, uses smoked bell peppers and onions instead of bacon to impart a smoky flavor. This dish, which I served to 100 people at the Miami Book Fair, contains just 3 grams of fat per serving and 0 saturated fat!! Another great example is Spinach Salad with Smoked Portobellos and Roquefort Dressing. Bacon usually contributes the smoky flavor to spinach salad, but it's full of fat, as is the dressing. I get the smoke into my salad in the form of hearty smoked mushrooms. The dressing contains nonfat buttermilk, low fat mayo, and just enough Roquefort for flavor. The result: a great salad with only 4 grams of fat per serving!!

CJ: Aside from changing the protein/carbohydrate ratios, what were the other changes you made?

Dr.Chud: Interestingly, the diets in the lower carbohydrate spectrum all differ from each other in their protein-carbohydrate ratios. Moreover, no macronutrient ratio has been shown to be optimal for everyone. As a result, I presented the recipes in The Gourmet Prescription in a way that would make them useful across the full range of low carb diets and also to people who are not on any diet. Every recipe contains a full nutritional analysis for gram counters. For those on the Zone diet, there's a recipe yield expressed in Zone "blocks". As I mentioned, all of the recipes are low in calories and fat as well as carbohydrates.

The book is divided into protein dishes and carbohydrate dishes so that people can balance their carbohydrates with protein. This reflects one of the main meal-planning rules for insulin control: we always eat protein and fat with carbohydrates-- never carbohydrates alone. Protein and fat slow the digestion and absorption of food. This helps control insulin levels.

Another feature of the carbohydrate dishes is that they are "low-glycemic". The glycemic index is a scientific measure of the blood sugar rise in response to carbohydrates. It correlates highly with the insulin response. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly and lead to a lower rise in blood sugar and insulin. The Gourmet Prescription celebrates full-flavored, low-glycemic carbohydrates such as Roasted Garlic Asparagus, Hot Sesame Green Beans, Red Grapefruit Slaw, Minted Pea and Radish Salad, Saute of Fennel and Tomatoes with Smoked Peppers, Black Bean Salad with Avocado, Cannellini-Tomato Salad with Anchovies and Capers, Roasted Pears with Gorgonzola, and Fresh Figs with Virtual Mascarpone.

CJ: : Many of your recipes are highly imaginative. How do you develop them?

Dr.Chud: I'm an insatiable reader of restaurant reviews magazines and newspapers. I get many ideas this way. To give you an example: I recently read about an asparagus tart in a pastry shell flavored with leeks and mint. I made my own lower carbohydrate version (and lower fat too) by blanching the asparagus and then sauteing them in a small quantity of olive oil with sliced leeks and shredded mint. I seasoned the dish with a sprinkling of fructose and some salt and pepper. It was fantastic!!

CJ: When did you decide to write a cookbook?

Dr.Chud: I was approached by a publisher on New Year's Day 1998. It took me several months to face the challenge because I had never written anything for publication, let alone a cookbook. I wrote the first draft between Memorial Day and Labor Day 1998. I was able to write it fairly quickly because I had already spent over two years developing recipes for myself. I had them on cards in a little file box. All I had to do was transfer them to my computer and write the headnotes.

CJ: The website is currently under construction. What will it feature when it's complete?

Dr.Chud: The website is a long way from launching. However, it will contain recipes from my work-in-progress, updated glycemic index lists, links to selected nutritional sites, easy-to-understand summaries of the latest research in nutrition with special emphasis on weight control, cardiovascular health, fitness, and women's health. I will also offer interactive "office hours" where I will answer questions live.

CJ: Are you working on any new projects?

Dr.Chud: I am working on The Low Carb Gourmet, a sequel to The Gourmet Prescripion.

Books: The Gourmet Prescription