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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The Dreaded Paleo Perfectionist

For this week’s blog challenge, my group decided to talk about the extremists in our area of blogging.

A perfect definition of "paleo perfectionism."Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

A perfect definition of “paleo perfectionism.”
Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

For paleos, this is the dreaded “paleo perfectionist” (also called “paleo police”).

What’s a paleo perfectionist? Well, I’ll tell you. They think they’re paleo.. and perfect. Yes! That is paleo perfectionism.. Sort of!

A paleo perfectionist is one who thinks that paleo is an all-or-nothing diet. They chastise innocent people on the internet who do not follow paleo 100% of the time. They leave nasty comments on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blog feeds. It’s almost like they feed off of giving other people negative energy. They will judge you before even getting to know you (by what you eat, of course). If you deviate from the “rules” of paleo, you’re out of the club. Didn’t you know you had to follow paleo 100% of the time?! WELL!? DIDN’T YOU?!

Ecard paleo perfectionistThese paleo perfectionists do not represent a majority of the paleo population, and they certainly do not represent me. The great thing about paleo is that you get to judge what is good for your body. When you ate that strawberry, did it make you feel good? Then by all means, continue to eat them! Did that banana that made you feel sick? Maybe you should leave it out. That is the philosophy of paleo. (Also, here is another great philosophy on paleo treats).

Of course, you will hear paleo described as: legume-free, dairy-free, grain-free, etc. Yes, this is true. Most people do encompass these things.. For a majority of the time. Let’s take me for example. I am not a paleo perfectionist in any way. I don’t police other people expecting them to be paleo day in and day out. I think it’s an unrealistic expectation in the world that we live in for people be paleo in every way, shape, and form. It just doesn’t fit people’s lifestyle to never eat any processed foods. I quite enjoy my goat milk yogurt that comes in a container, thank you, and I think I’ll keep eating it because it’s delicious. In fact, I’m not afraid to admit that just last night I had a gluten-free (not grain-free! gasp!) cookie from a PACKAGE. YES! (Side note: these cookies were amazing, and you should buy them. Additionally, I don’t necessarily think these are 100% processed because there are no preservatives) I ate a processed food. Why? Well, because my dad bought it for me, and I wanted to eat it. So I ate it. And it was delicious. SO THERE. What are you gonna do, scream at me?

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

I would say that I am in tune with my body, and I put science behind it. I don’t say, “well, I’m gonna eat that lamb heart tonight, because it is DARNNNN tasty!” Lamb heart isn’t actually that bad, but I eat lamb heart because it’s nutritious for my body. Offal is the most nutritiously dense meat you can eat, so I eat it.

There’s a general 80/20 rule to paleo: most people eat paleo 80% of the time, 20% not paleo. Of course, this doesn’t mean going to Taco Bell once a week because Taco Bell isn’t even food; I’m convinced it’s cardboard or something. Anyway, you’d just be adding a whole bunch of chemicals to your body that shouldn’t be there, and obviously that is very bad. 20% maybe means you have a gluten-free cookie once a week, or something.

So, what’s the lesson of the day? Back off, paleo perfectionists. Stop policing people. We don’t care what you think of our diet or our lives. We don’t care if something isn’t paleo. We just want to do something that makes our bodies feel good. We want to heal our insides and our outsides. We want you to leave us alone. And not just paleos, so do those “annoying vegans“! And don’t even get me started on any nutrition police. Let us be us.

P.S. the electronic device you’re currently using to look at this site? Totally not paleo 😉

Healing through Bone Broth

For my blogging class, we were supposed to post a “spring break update.”

Unfortunately, this will be nearly impossible for me. Why?

fluThat’s why. I got sick the day before spring break started. I had to leave class early and endure a week’s worth of sickness and pain and death.

Well, maybe not death, but it was close. It definitely felt like death. I lost a total of 11 pounds. Don’t worry, I quickly gained it all back in the last few days of break, which I admit I spent freely doing nothing. This was completely contrary to my original plan for spring break: I had each day planned for what I was going to catch up on. AND! I was going to start two of my end-of-the-semester research projects. Alas, this didn’t happen.

And so, my friends, you see why it’s impossible for me to do a spring break update. I was sick the entire time, and therefore I wasn’t even eating. I couldn’t possibly update you on any delicious food I had, seeing as I had none.

What I can update you on is how I’m healing my body from the flu/stomach virus.

Thursday, when I finally began feeling a little better (6 days after I began with chills and a fever), I went to replenish my food supply. Since I eat whole foods, I literally had nothing to eat: it had all gone bad. My first priority was to make bone broth.

What’s bone broth? Bone broth is cooked down bones (from any animal) in soup form. If you remember the gelatin post, it’s essentially the same thing, just in a different form. Cooking down bones is the purest and most raw way to obtain all-important gelatin. In addition, bone broth is essential in recovering from micronutrient deficiencies. Importantly, as the Paleo Mom explains, bone broth contains two important amino acids: glycine and proline. Your body can make these two amino acids, but it’s much more energy efficient to consume them.

Some great benefits of bone broth include:

  • More speedy recovery time from illness
  • Improvement of cellulite
  • Strengthened hair/nails
  • Improve digestion
  • Support bone and tooth health

Everyone has a different bone broth recipe. Here is what I put in mine:

  • 1.5 pounds bone marrow
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 organic carrots
  • 3 organic celery stalks
  • 3 parsnips
  • 3 handfuls of bok choy, stems removed
  • 1/2 spanish onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper

If you can’t tell, I like to use repetitive measurements because it helps me remember them better. Because I used bone marrow (remember that you can use any animal bones, and I have heard that chicken or beef knuckles are best), my broth turned out quite fatty. I let it sit in the fridge overnight in a container and removed the solidified fat from the top. The fat is completely edible, but it’s honestly too much for my palate. I love my fats, but this stuff is really fatty.

The layer of fat that accumulated on my bone broth

The layer of fat that accumulated on my bone broth

After scraping this layer off, I was left with delicious, healthy broth.

Bone brothDrinking this broth is an important step in helping to fight my fatigue. Last week, Charlie helped me cut sections of my hair to send off for a DNA sample. This test costs a lot of money, but it might reveal an answer that I just can’t figure out; or, it might reveal something my doctors just aren’t seeing.

Even if you don’t have health problems, I encourage everyone to start living a healthy lifestyle, what ever that choice may be. If it makes you feel good: do it, eat it, live it. If it doesn’t then don’t. If bone broth makes you happy, drink it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Always be open to trying something new.

Nuts on Nuts

I’m nuts about nuts.

Nuts are really, really tasty. AND! They have this new thing called “nut butters” (hehehe!) Yes, I’m a little immature.

So.. Okay, I might totally eat more than the recommended daily amount of nuts. But, I can’t help it. Almond butter is such a staple in my diet. Particularly, I love Justin’s nut butters.

This is my collection of nut butters

This is my collection of nut butters

Chris Kresser explains that nuts actually contain phytic acid, which is a “storage form of phosphorus” that prevents our bodies from absorbing important minerals like iron. Yikes. In addition, he also says that chocolate probably contains copious amounts of this stuff. So, even though I’m not iron deficient, it makes me wonder if this is what’s causing my fatigue. I mean, I do enjoy my chocolate and my nut butters.

This post mainly centers around Pili nuts. Now, you’re probably thinking, “wtf is that?” which is exactly what I thought when I heard the name from Barefoot Provisions. Well, I couldn’t help it. I ordered these babies before I even knew what they were. As an added bonus, Barefoot Provisions sent me a free pack of Stephen James’ regular Pili nuts (not dusted with cocoa). SCORE!

IMG_7229

Pili nuts are from the Pili tree. The Pili tree grows in the Philippines. They are relatively large in length and width. What do they taste like? They’re honestly amazing. Barefoot Provisions describes them as “buttery,” but it’s hard to imagine a nut that tastes like butter. They really do taste like butter, though! It’s not a sickeningly oh-my-gosh-I’m-eating-butter-straight-up, but a subtle, mild flavor. Buttery consistency is a better term. It’s spectacular. It reminds me of a soft nut like cashews. They’re sort of easy to bite into. After biting into a Pili nut, though, it just melts in your mouth the whole time. It’s the best nut I have ever eaten.

Cocoa Pili nuts

Cocoa Pili nuts

Cocoa Pili nut in my man hand

Cocoa Pili nut in my man hand

The company, Stephen James, also makes something called “Carazuc Coconut Flower Sugar,” which is made from the sweet sap of the coconut tree flower. I had bought the Pili nuts dusted in these, and since there was some carazuc sugar leftover in the bottom of the bag, I got to try it on its own. You know how things like Splenda and Truvia taste like crap? Or maybe you’re saying right now, “how dare you! Splenda is the greatest invention EVER, BRITTANY!” Not for someone (like me) with a distinctive palate. Every bite I take that is made with an artificial sweetener tastes so fake to me. I can’t deal with it. Carazuc sugar, however, tastes like sugar. AMAZING sugar, that is. BUT! It’s low glycemic. I’m waiting to order some until I have a big order on Amazon (you can get it cheap as an add-on!).

If you ever see Pili nuts, buy them. You won’t regret the snack.