So, What Exactly DO You Eat?

I get questions all the time: “What do you eat?” “How many calories do you consume?” “Like.. no bread? How is that even possible?”

Let me preface by saying: I don’t count calories. Ever.

I know I just blew your mind. You’re probably thinking, “WTF??!! No, you’re on a diet. You count calories.” Wellllll, no. I don’t. I just don’t care to because it’s way too time consuming for me. I eat when I’m hungry, and usually, I eat what I want to eat. I go through periods when I eat way more fruit than I should and that’s okay.

My meals mostly consist of proteins and vegetables, as well as some type of fat (lately, it has been olive oil). Though, on my long days at school, I sometimes have yogurt, nuts, or fruit (or all three).

When you look at my meals, you may think, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of vegetables! Are you crazy with those vegetables?” and yes, it’s mainly a vegetable filled plate; those vegetables are always cooked in fat or oil. This is because the feeling of fullness generally disappears on the paleo diet as you cut out carbs. A large consumption of fat is necessary for the feeling of satiety. Fat is not bad for you. Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple notes that it isn’t fat causing atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls) but oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol).

In order to feel full, I listen to my body. It usually goes like this:

Brittany, I’m craving some brussel sprouts.

To which I’ll say, “By golly, I should make some brussel sprouts in olive oil!”

Does my body want protein? Then, I’ll have a protein filled plate. Does it want veggies? Fruit? I don’t deprive my body of what it’s telling me it wants, and I think this is a huge reason this diet has been a success.

I’ll eat what I want, thanks! You ain’t the boss of ME!

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, & grass-fed beef

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, & grass-fed beef

Here is a meal I ate the other day (I’m on a huge brussel sprout kick right now). I was feeling incredibly hungry, so I added a lot of veggies (cooked in olive oil) to my plate. Notice that I didn’t cut the fat off the beef. First of all, I think fat is delicious. Second, it’s great for you, as we’ve established.

Typical breakfast: eggs, brussel sprouts, green beans, oranges, and coffee

Typical breakfast: eggs, brussel sprouts, green beans, oranges, and coffee. Not pictured: morning smoothie.

Morning smoothie: 1 cup swiss chard or spinach, 1 banana, 1 handful raspberries, 5 strawberries, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon green matcha

Morning smoothie: 1 cup swiss chard or spinach, 1 banana, 1 handful raspberries, 5 strawberries, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon green matcha

The above is my typical breakfast: protein, vegetables, and fruit. Coconut oil (in my smoothie) is ohhhh my god so good for your skin and health in general. Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides; MCTs are “easily digested, absorbed, and put to use nourishing the body.”

A typical lunch at home (the salad was a bonus)

A typical lunch at home (the salad was a bonus). Turkey andouille sausage, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and a raw vegetable salad.

At home, I have protein and vegetables for lunch. I had a “bonus” salad because I went to the store. A majority of the salad dressing is made from olive oil. Olive oil is my favorite oil to use because it reduces oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol) and helps raise HDL (the good cholesterol).

It may look like my diet doesn’t vary very much, but it actually does. I’m just on a huge brussel sprout and asparagus kick lately. I’m not perfect; I don’t always have a protein for lunch. Or, I may have a few more brazil nuts than I should. GASP! It all depends on what my body is asking for.

Are you afraid of fat? Do you cook with fats or oils? If so, what kind do you use?

Edit: if you’re looking for good apps to use to track your diet, check out Unwilling Vegan’s post entitled “A Day in the Life of a College Vegan.”

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Pancakes in Your Loincloth

One of my favorite things to eat is pancakes. And – this is totally terrible – I love the pancakes from IHOP. I know, I know. Just kill me now. They’re probably made with sugar and corn syrup, AND they probably make them out of underwear. There’s probably everything in their pancakes BUT pancakes.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes from IHOP. Don't these look perfectly amazing? Image courtesy www.ihop.com

Strawberry Banana Pancakes from IHOP. Don’t these look perfectly amazing?
Image courtesy http://www.ihop.com

Since going grain-free, I have found it really, really difficult to find a pancake recipe I like. My issue with them is they just don’t taste good. Most grain-free pancakes are made with almond flour (made from almonds). Sadly, this flour creates a horrible texture. Speaking of texture, I think this is the main issue with grain-free pancakes. Everyone likes the smooth, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth aspect of the pancake, right? … Right? Yeah.

So, this is odd, but grain-free pancakes are so grainy. When I bite into them, I feel like I’m biting on air bubbles and foam and gritty grains. It’s not pleasant. Is this fixable? I don’t know. Flour (gluten) gives pancakes that nice, smooth consistency. To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I tested some recipes.

First up, a grain-free recipe that calls for coconut flour (made from coconuts). This isn’t almond flour, obviously, but I am still substituting a flour for a flour. What did I expect?

First, I expected to be able to cut this recipe in half because I’m feeding one person, and it’s supposed to make 12 pancakes. The consistency was wrong when I halved it, so I just made the full batch. Um, okay. I’m not sure who this person is feeding, but I only got 6 pancakes using their measurements. Perhaps this person eats delicately, but I certainly do not.

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Second, I expected these pancakes to be fluffy. No, that did not happen. I was only half disappointed, though. I kind of knew that it wouldn’t happen, but I got my hopes up.

Third, I expected them to be not grainy. They were indeed grainy. Considering I’m using a high rated coconut flour for this experiment, I’m going to assume that this happened because I’m using grain-free flour, and perhaps this happens with all grain-free flours (just as it did with my failed attempts at pancakes with almond flour).

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Fourth, I expected them to taste good. They didn’t, but this may be partly my fault. I cooked them in coconut oil, and I think I should have cooked them in butter. Regardless, they were quite bland and flavorless. I’m not 100% sold on the fact that butter could have fixed this issue.

And so another disappointed road to pancakes.
Or is it?????
The next day, undeterred by my previous day’s failure, I decided to try to make simple pancakes. A friend had told me about 2-ingredient pancakes.

“NO WAY!” I said.
“YES way! They’re supposed to taste good, too!” she informed me.
Yeah right, I thought. You’re so gullible, but not me!

Yet here gullible is, trying 2-ingredient pancakes. Here’s what you do:

Step 1: put 1 peeled banana in food processor
Step 2: add 3 eggs
Step 3: blend

Super simple, right?! I didn’t like the consistency, though. It wasn’t thick enough for pancakes.

I CAN FIX IT!

I have gelatin!

What is gelatin? To answer this question, let’s go back to say, the Paleolithic days.
There you are, roaming the forest in your loincloth, spear ready to strike any animal you see because you and your family haven’t eaten any meat for weeks. You see a lion (in the forest?). You throw your spear! It dodges, comes racing at you. You manage to wrestle the lion down with your bare hands, proving you are the ultimate warrior.
Now, what do you do with that lion? Do you gingerly cut it up, throw away the skin and bones and just eat the good parts of the meat like we would today?

Of course not!

You use the skin for clothes or blankets. You cook and eat every part of the meat because who knows when you’ll be able to kill another animal again. You boil the bones in some water you find. You eat the fat to keep you sustained. You eat every part of the animal.

Gelatin is what you get when you boil bones (and ligaments, etc) down. This is an essential part of our diet that has been lost, so gelatin has numerous benefits for a good reason: we lived off of this stuff for thousands of years. These benefits include (from the Weston A. Price Foundation):

– Supports skin, hair and nail growth
– Good for joints and can help joint recovery
– Can help tighten loose skin
– Can improve digestion
– Improve cellulite

Yes, please.

To this 1 banana, 3 egg batter, I added 1 tablespoon of gelling gelatin (the one in the red can makes it gel, like Jell-O), to give it a better consistency for pancakes.

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It didn’t really work. The pancakes were rather flat and still pretty tasteless despite the delicious banana in them.

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I’ll keep looking for that perfect grain-free pancake.