An Interview with the Author of
Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine
To purchase Ruth’s excellent cookbook, please visit Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine.
Ruth Glick doesn’t know it yet, but her family is about to become larger. After reading her cookbook, Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine, trying some of the recipes, and talking to her on line, I’ve decided to ask her to adopt me. I want to eat like this all the time, and I’d like to enjoy her company. She’s delightful.
Ruth is an experienced, award-winning cookbook author. Her 100 Percent Pleasure was named one of the top 12 cookbooks of 1994 by USA Today. She is also the recipient of a Bronze Award from the USA Health Information Resource Center, and her recipes have appeared in Family Circle, Weight Watchers, Shape, Mademoiselle, and The Washington Post Food Section.
Why would a professional cookbook author who has won awards for her low fat cookbooks do a complete turnaround and write a low carbohydrate cookbook? As it turns out, for the same reason why we adopt a low carb lifestyle: to improve her health and her husband’s health. Both Ruth and her husband, Norman, needed to lose weight. Of even more concern, though was the fact that while following a strict low fat regime their cholesterol levels were rising to unhealthy levels. In addition, Ruth was plagued with rising blood pressure and Norman’s triglyceride levels were extremely high.
Both Ruth’s sister-in-law (a patient of Dr. Diana Schwarzbein) and a good friend are veteran low carbers, and they persuaded Ruth and Norman to try a low carbohydrate style of eating. With the approval of both of their doctors, they decided to give it a try – and it worked! They each lost the 20 pounds that they needed to, and have kept it off. Both have seen their cholesterol return to healthy levels. Ruth’s blood pressure is now well within the normal range, and Norman’s triglycerides dropped over 300 points. Low carbing has served them well.
I asked Ruth what she missed the most when she began low carbing. She told me that her sister-in-law gave her a good piece of advice. “Don’t focus on what you can’t have. Focus on what you enjoy about the low carbohydrate lifestyle. So,” Ruth said, “I really don’t think a lot about what I can’t have. But if I have to name something – well, perhaps a good piece of olive bread, dried lima beans cooked with tomato sauce, occasionally a baked potato with ‘the works.’ Beets.”
What recipes did Ruth develop first to substitute for what she was missing? “I didn’t really think about substitutes at the beginning,” Ruth replied. “I focused on doing sauces and flavored butters with steak, pot roasts, stews, pork chops with sauerkraut. All kinds of wings – Buffalo wings, teriyaki wings. I love sweet and sour beef with cabbage, so I made that.”
“I gleefully eat foods that I had to limit before,” Ruth continued. “Steak. Eggs. Bacon. Cheese. Mayonnaise. Cream cheese. I thought about the flavors I like and found ways to have them – like bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad instead of a sandwich. I thought of chicken salad with almonds and celery for crunch, and instead of putting it on bread for a sandwich, I stuffed it in half a red or green bell pepper. I suppose that something I missed was pizza, so I developed the pizza omelet that’s in the book.” Ruth loves to make appetizers. “That’s one of my specialties. I started making artichoke and spinach dip, cheese balls – the blue cheese ball in the book is wonderful – and chili con queso.”
It’s somewhat of a shock for most of us to begin a low carbohydrate lifestyle. Imagine not only changing your personal eating habits, but your whole professional outlook as well. Face it, Ruth put a lot more on the line than most of us have to. She’s actually put her culinary career on the line, too. I asked her what was the hardest part of the switch from low fat to low carbohydrate.
“It really wasn’t hard for me! I just do it. I guess you might assume that it would be difficult for a former low fat cook to put more fat into the food, but actually, that’s been fun! When I first began low carbing, I thought that the easiest dessert recipe to convert would be cheesecake, because it’s so high in fat.” Ruth didn’t stop with cheesecake, though. Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine includes some other wonderful dessert recipes for a variety of candies, pie crusts, pies, tarts, mousses, and an absolutely delightful fruit pizza with a marzipan crust.
“I love coming up with food that people like,” Ruth said. “I really work on new recipes. I test each one once or twice, then I have someone else make it so that I can find out how difficult it was to follow the directions, and see whether I’ve made any mistakes. I also try to have as many people as possible taste the recipes before they go into the cookbook, so I have friends over to eat a lot.” I wish I was Ruth’s next door neighbor.
Ruth doesn’t use nutritional software to analyze her recipes. She does a preliminary analysis using the nutritional information and the labels of the ingredients and a carb counter book, then turns the recipe over to a professional nutritionist for a final, definitive analysis.
“I honestly think that you need to know a lot about food composition to do a good analysis,” she said. “You will make mistakes if you haven’t made an intensive study of the subject. For example, what percentage of the nutritive value of beef or chicken bones goes into the broth when you make soup? It’s a complex subject, and I think an expert should handle it. Also, when I develop a recipe and it’s too high in carbs, my nutritionist helps me to adjust the ingredients. I ask her questions like ‘What will be the amount of carbohydrates per serving if I lower the tomato sauce from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup? Can you suggest a product that’s lower in carbohydrates? Is there a different brand which will fit into the low carbohydrate program better?’ I do tell people to check labels, though, as some products that have the same name are higher in carbohydrates than others.”
“One thing the nutritionist couldn’t help with was herbs. The USDA really only has an analysis of ground herbs. I primarily use dried herb leaves, which are lower in carbohydrates simply because they have less volume. But the nutritional analysis will come out higher because there are no nutritional values available for dried herb leaves.”
Ruth is already at work on a second low carbohydrate cookbook, but don’t look for it soon. “I felt that I had to get the first book out quickly,” she said. “Now I’ve got more time to do another. I won’t ever give up recipe testing. It’s too much fun!”
Ruth and her husband travel a lot, and I asked her if she found staying on a low carbohydrate plan difficult. “Being stuck on a planes for hours is difficult,” she replied. “I pack cheese and the kind of sausages you can buy that doesn’t need refrigeration until you open the package. I also take lots of protein bars, nuts, and sugar free hard candies.”
Restaurants aren’t a problem, though. “There are plenty of restaurants where you can get meat, a salad, and low carbohydrate vegetables. On a trip to Texas last year we ate a lot of steak. In Thailand, we stuck with the Thai meat and poultry salads and some of the other meat and poultry dishes. (I do like noodle dishes, but we skipped them.) In England, we eat a lot of beef and lamb. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we haven’t encountered any mad cows!”
Ruth and Norman are off to England again shortly. I have got to become a successful, award-winning culinary author! It only takes years of hard work, accumulated culinary expertise, innate creativity, and diligent attention to detail. Oh, but the rewards! Imagine going abroad, sampling the wonderful ethnic and regional foods, and being able to write the trip off on your taxes!
Never mind me; I’m just jealous. I wish I’d written Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine. It’s a lovely cookbook – not only for low carbers, but for non-low carbers as well. It’s perfect for those of us with loved ones who don’t low carb! And while I haven’t had the chance to try every single recipe in Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine yet, I’ve loved the ones I have. Ruth’s Spicy ‘Honey’ Mustard Wings, her Roasted Onion Spread, and her Asian Steak recipes alone make buying it worth the price.
Thank you, Ruth. You’ve made low carbing easier and tastier for everyone.
To purchase Ruth’s excellent cookbook, please visit Fabulous Lo-Carb Cuisine.