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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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.