Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Low Fat/Fat Free Looks Like: Part 1, Low Fat Sneaky Red Lentil Hummus

Samuel and I at Disneyland, on the "It's a Small World" ride.

Sugar has been demonized. Don't get snookered into believing all "they" say about it.

In the words of Dr. McDougall,


*Is not health food
*Is not for eating
*Is not the cause of diabetes
*Is not the cause of obesity

"You avoided sugar and still got fatter. You used artificial sweeteners on your cereals and you gained...Why?

"Sugar has very little to do with weight gain. Carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy. Excess carbohydrate is stored invisibly in the muscles and liver as glycogen, or eliminated from the body as heat. It is too wasteful for the body to turn excess carbohydrate into fat. However, fat is easily stored."

Sugar is a measly 15 calories per 1 teaspoon.

Oils, fats, on average, are a whopping 130 calories per tablespoon.

What does that look like?

If you add 1 tablespoon of oil/butter substitute to your one cup of cooked potatoes, you have officially doubled the calories in your serving of potato.

My sister, Aimee, asked, "One question/request, can you post some tricks on how to better reduce/eliminate refined oils in baking and eating? Or update us on how that is going and tips on how to make it work?"

YES! I love requests. Thank you.

Here is my response.

Changing my plant foods to consist of low fat eating was scary.

I mean, I felt like I was about to jump off a cliff because I didn't know what to eat, and when I don't know what to eat, I panic.

It felt like I was transitioning to whole foods all over again, and in a sense, I was/still am.

Low fat (after eliminating all meat, dairy, and eggs) means eliminating and reducing nuts, seeds, coconut milks or shredded coconut, oils, avocado, olives, and higher fat soy foods.

My eating pattern/transition process has looked something like this:

*Soups (Vegetables soups are easily modified to be oil free, with water sauteing)
*Raw veggies
*With fat free/low fat dips and dressings
*Steamed veggies of all varieties
*Grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and occasionally pasta or some whole kernal rye bread)
*Starches (mashed potatoes moistened with soy milk, yams, squashes, seasoned with salt and pepper)
*Beans of all varieties
*Raw fruit
*Green smoothies (low fat)
*Ethnic foods (Mexican, Asian, Indian)

I have not really been eating a lot of baked goods, as I am trying to avoid flour (ground up grains) but I can still post how to make fat free baked goods if there is interest in that.

Let's start with raw vegetables. I have three good salad dressings for you which are fat free, and thickened with applesauce or apples. Today, however, I want to post a great dip that I have loved, and have also thinned out and used as salad dressing.

A trick to surviving on the road (traveling as a whole foodist) is to bring a lot of your own food.

This is how Paul and I spent our day getting to Arizona (the halfway point to Cali for Thanksgiving).

I have found that mostly, we really just want to munch and crunch.

Eating raw veggies, with a great, low fat dip, really hits the spot, and doesn't make you feel like you-know-what afterwords.

We also brought boxes of cuties oranges, bananas, and apples.

The kids had Ziploc snack baggies with a mix of popcorn, pretzels, and whole grain crunchy cereal. They loved it, and ate their whole bags, while munching on fruit, also. Additionally, I made them a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

This is the bag of pre-cut veggies I brought. Paul and I ate 96% of it in one day.

On to the recipe!

Sneaky Red Lentil “Hummus”
From Angela Liddon's

Note From Angela Liddon: Make this spread as a fun alternative to chickpeas! It’s not only similar in appearance, but taste too. Red lentils also tend to be easier to digest, so if you have problems with chickpeas I encourage you to give this a try.

Note From Ashlee: Making fat free hummus (no tahini!) is actually really kinda' super-de-duper hard, hard, hard. So far, in my experience, it doesn't taste good, either. This is, by far, the best tasting reduced fat hummus. I usually double the recipe, and thin it out more with water if I am using it for a salad dressing. As you can see, I removed the oil. I am sure this would still taste great if your tablespoon of tahini was scantly measured. Some hummus calls for 1/2 cup of tahini! I like to think of this as a veggie dip, not a veggie bath...

Yield: 1 heaping cup


1/2 cup uncooked red lentils + 1 & 1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove, peeled
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (please, oh please use fresh squeezed! This is where the flavor is at!)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
water to thin out, if needed
Herbs & seasonings of choice, if desired (I didn't add anything extra)

1. Pick through the lentils to make sure there are no pebbles and rinse in a small colander. In a medium-sized pot, add the lentils and 1 & 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover, simmering until the water is absorbed or about 10-13 minutes. Stir the lentils frequently to prevent them from sticking to the pot.

2. With the food processor running, drop in the clove of garlic to mince. Add the cooked lentils, along with the lemon juice, and tahini. Process until smooth. Add a touch of water if necessary to thin out.

3. Add salt to taste and other herbs and seasonings if desired.

Nutritional info: (per 2 tbsp) 45 cals, 1 gram fat, 7 grams carbs, 60 mg sodium, 1 gram fibre, 3 grams protein.


Over the next few days I hope to be able to show some of the low fat meals (the soups, salads, and ethnic foods) my family and I have been enjoying. Forgive me if I get distracted, or am too busy to get it all done in short order...

Luv ya! Thanks for reading!

P.S. My kids are NOT fat free, or flour free. Every day they have nut butters, breads, soy foods, olives, and I often add a touch of nondairy butter or oil to their pastas, or individual serving plates.


  1. I suppose I should be more specific with my questions. Can you help me understand how to substitute fats in baking? I know you use Chia jel and veggie/fruit purees. I just need a little more guidance for the method.

    1. Oh, yes! Methods are really great to learn, and not using oil in baked goods definitely requires understanding methods.

      I will work on it, thanks for the clarification!

  2. Can look at my blog and see nutritional facts of healthy, low fat food at grocery stores.