Monday, November 30, 2009

Short 'n' Sweet

After yesterday's epic post, here's a shorty to balance the verbosity.

Breakfast: Two pure beef sausages, and one egg fried in butter.

No time for lunch, so stayed fasted until dinner ten hours after breakfast.

Dinner: Scotch fillet steak, served with a pat of butter.

And we're done! Weight continues to drop, skin is great at the moment, hair stays clean and free of oil for incredible stretches of time, and I'm completely over my cold!

Once last thing before I leave you - I stumbled upon an article posted way back in 2002 by Charles Eisenstein entitled The Ethics Of Eating Meat: A Radical View, espousing most of the same information as is currently taking the health and diet world by storm via Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth. It doesn't have her flair for language, but it also isn't as dampened with anecdotes, so it might be a better one to pass on to the science-loving friends and family who still believe the usual myths about industrial agriculture/husbandry vs the potential of alternative methods, and their relationship to fossil fuel and other environmental woes. Enjoy, and good night!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Modern Agriculture is the Biggest Contributor to Greenhouse Gases.

Michael Pollan said it in an interview with Bill Moyers this time last year. Lierre Keith again has stated it in her book The Vegetarian Myth. Rebecca Hosking also talks about the ’10 calories of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of food produced by contemporary agriculture’ in her elegant and accessible documentary, A Farm for the Future, which I have embedded below. And these are just the references I’ve come across today, but it’s a message that has long been put forward again and again by scientists the world over.

“When we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases.” - Michael Pollan, in his NY Times article ‘The Food Issue - An Open Letter to the Next Farmer In Chief'.

So why do ‘experts’ (read: politicians sponsored by Big Agra and vegetarians) keep propagating the myth that red meat is what is destroying the planet? Don’t they see that a big part of the ‘red meat problem’ is that agriculture is used to provide the feed for factory farmed animals? Why do they continually blame the fact that cows fart out methane, without considering the impact of a non-natural diet on their digestive processes?

Instead of weighing in on the yapping match, I wanted to share with you the findings of my latest explorations inspired by Lierre Keith - she elegantly puts forward the issues of soil maintenance and the necessity of animal products in the human diet, but there still hasn’t been a conclusive solution to the fact that modern farmers, even those raising their animals primarily on pasture, still rely on fossil fuel to power their machines for transportation, harvesting, and other vital farming activities. So I have been spending time reading about farming methods which are doing away with the reliance on oil without requiring massive amounts of manual labour nor struggling to produce enough food to feed the farmers themselves, let alone the rest of the world...

First, I encourage you to view Rebecca Hosking’s documentary below, outlining the problems faced by British farmers (and relevant to the rest of us), through to some possible solutions. I have written a basic overview of some parts of the documentary to lead into my own thoughts, so if you don't have time to watch the 50 minute film, you can get the basic message from my notes.

Part One - Rebecca looks at the necessity of change in current British farming practices, and is faced with the facts regarding the inevitable energy crisis once oil supplies hit their peak (predicted to occur at 2013 at the latest, causing not just an energy crisis by an economic meltdown unless we find ways to cope now)

Part Two - how to move forward. Alternative energies? Richard Heinberg tells us that the window for developing alternative energy sources has passed if we wanted them to allow us to pick up where oil left off. He bluntly states, "We're going to have to transform our entire agricultural system very quickly if we are going to avert a global food calamity." But how to do so? Revert to old systems of manual labour and horse & cart machining? Considering that today’s farms use oil-guzzling tractors with 400 horsepower, we can see that even if we went back to traditional ‘machining’, we would have to increase the amount of farms and farmers significantly, to feed the population.

Part Three - Raising cattle is not superficially labour-intensive, but depending on climate, farmers must protect animals from the cold of winter and supply them with hay, protect delicate pastures from hooves during the wet season, or ensure animals are well hydrated and have access to leafy summer crops in hot, dry summers (the situation in most of Australia - certainly the experience at my family's farm). Rebecca meets a family who have used the power of nature to create grass pastures that can avoid the usual British problem of delicate fields, but it's not an easy process to replicate. Each farmer would need to examine their local soils and experiment with a variety of grass species to find what can work for them. This piece is the first of the documentary to touch on the important message - that we need to understand nature and work with the eco-system in order to have it work for us.

The radical idea presented by the documentary (though no surprise for those of us familiar with the devastation caused by modern agriculture) is the argument against plowing. Plowing kills the soil - it is akin to humans ripping off their own skin. The documentary demonstrates the traditional reaction to plowing - birds coming and feasting on the fauna in the soil. After years of plowing the same field, birds no longer bother showing up, since there’s nothing alive in the soil to it - the nutrients have been ripped out, leaving nothing for subterranean animals to eat. The only way we currently cope with this destruction is by pumping the soil full of fossil fuel fertiliser - so what do we do when that’s gone?

Without oil, countries cannot import/export foods, so will require a return to local produce. Countries of small size with dense populations, like Britain, probably cannot feed their entire population on meat alone, simply given the amount of space cattle etc need for grazing (since that is the only sustainable way for them to be fed). But what are the other options, given we cannot endlessly rip up the soil if we cannot rely on oil for fertility?

The likely solution to this question, drawing on the principle outlined earlier or allowing nature to behave as it wishes to, rather than have farmers fight the landscape, is Permaculture. As Wikipedia puts it, "Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and perennial agricultural systems that mimics the relationships found in natural ecologies." The key term is design - intelligent, informed construction of human necessities within the 'ordered chaos' of nature.

Part Four - the amazing, low-energy potential of establishing forest gardens within natural woodlands. A small farm produces all the fruit, vegetables, and meat the owners need, plus the fuel to cook it. This is a farm that has not been designed to produce maximum yield, yet it comfortably feeds them with minimal effort on their part. Every element of the eco-system plays a role in maintaining the environment and soil fertility - the 'closed loop' effect of permaculture. An answer to the winter hay/summer crop issue is suggested by Rebecca's realisation that certain types of trees can serve as fodder crops for animals - naturally occurring food that the animals would probably have eaten more often than grass when living wild. I imagine this would make the meat even more delicious as well, as anyone who has tasted lamb fed on saltbush, or roo that graze on all sorts of native trees and shrubs can attest!

Part Five - Martin Crawford (Agroforestry Research Trust) details the benefits of forest gardening and the way nature works to sustain itself and how intelligent design helps to 'deal with' conventional farming/gardening problems. Fossil fuel need not apply. How much work is done by the humans? About a day per week, when harvesting is taken into consideration. And considering a farm designed for maximum yield could feed ten people per acre, this is very promising...

One "downside" that Rebecca details is the inability to grow cereal crops in forest gardens. Oh noes! You could not wipe the smug grin off my face when I found that out, especially when Martin then went on to explain how nuts would be a far more sustainable alternative, especially given that the density of growth can be equal to that of organic cereal grains without the need for a soil-raping monoculture, and the nutritive value of some nuts is 'similar to rice' (or, as we know, MUCH better for us than any cereal grain!). Plus, a nut orchard requires very little maintenance, again saving on manual energy - important if we are to maintain civilisation without requiring a great percentage of the population to return to farming. An informed gardener with an eye for detail can grow five times as much produce in a vegetable garden than modern farms currently can.

Perhaps we will return to Victory Gardens? Supermarkets and industrial farming is likely to decline as oil declines, so we need to act now to reawaken the farming traditions and improve pastures, moving into Permaculture - perhaps creating more kitchen gardens in our schools, urban community gardens and larger local providers close to metropolitan centres.

This film has joined the ranks of important and accessible texts that I will be doing my best to work into the school curriculum in the future. As Rob from Transition Culture says in his review, "We are all in Rebecca’s debt for so passionately and coherently showing the nation both that food and farming is in desperate need of a Plan B, and that that Plan B could actually be more biodiverse, more resilient, more beautiful and nourishing, than what we have come to view as ‘normal’."

Personally, I am thrilled that I now understand the value and importance of Permaculture, an Australian concept, since my sister-in-law and her husband are passionate and educated proponents of the system, having spent time living and working on a farm in NSW - the Permaforest Trust (that's them in the 'surveying' photo!), whilst completing their certification and building a mud hut! I look forward to picking their brains when I see them in January. My mother also nurtures a kitchen garden and a few chooks at her primary school, where students can go in and get their hands dirty, learning directly how to care for crops, using methods such as companion planting to keep pests at bay. For now, I grow my own herbs, buy my organic vegetables through a neat local system (local farm > market > organic store > me) removing the need for individuals or stores to travel out to the farms themselves. Most produce is grown in Victoria or just over the NSW border. I buy my meat through an even neater system - Organic Direct serves as the go-between from a farm not too far from Melbourne, to individuals in the city and surrounds. Fossil fuel is saved by the company making just one trip from farm to customers per month, covering everyone in one weekend. We then supplement this monthly (or bi-monthly, usually) haul with trips to the local organic butcher, which is less sustainable, but at least the meat is still local and not factory farmed. Plus, I either walk there, or it's a quick drive in the Prius.

So here are the meals I fueled myself with today - and while I'm not completely free of fossil fuel reflux, a couple of mild burps are much better than what the industries would like me to regurgitate:

Breakfast: since I woke up late and had big plans for lunch, I wanted to keep breakfast quite small. But then this lamb chop called to me from the fridge...

Lunch: We're consuming a roast per day at the moment, and don't I just love it! I served the beau a pile of organic veggies with his - beetroot, broccoli and carrot - not just to make his plate more visually interesting, and use the contents of our weekly veggie box for once, but also so I could hog most of the meat for myself!

However, thanks to my chunky breakfast, I didn't quite manage to scoff my entire serving. I ate too much as it was, and had to take a nap whilst my digestive system sprung into action! Preparation for Christmas feasting, mayhaps...

Dinner: after the lunch experience, I wasn't going to eat anything else, but my calories for the day were a bit low, and I didn't want to risk allowing my cold to gather strength and return, so I took in a small meal of bacon and eggs as the sun began to set...

My weight continues to drop, with my system today letting me know that fat is indeed being burnt, thanks to the unmissable reaction to toxins re-entering my system as they are freed from fat cells. Let's just say it was good to have a day at home, nice and close to a bathroom...

So that's my current food-oriented effort to find a way of surviving on less fossil fuel. I also walk to work, and minimise my need to travel by car where possible. My partner works in the city, but carpools in his Prius to cut down on fuel requirements. We're both heavily reliant upon electricity since our jobs require computers, but we use green energy and buy carbon credits when we can, especially when we use air travel. We still have a long way to go, but we're doing okay.

Further reading:

If you have the space and desire to start your own organic permaculture garden, here's a neat 10-step run-down of how to get it started.

To learn more about Permaculture, particularly its feasibility on a larger scale and how it can work in a variety of climates, start at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia's website.

If you're in Melbourne and wish to find local groups that can help you start your own garden or give you information on how to support the efforts of others, check out Permaculture Melbourne. I bet other major cities around the world have similar organisations, or at least individuals who are willing to help you out.

The Salatin family in the US established a larger scale farm that is thus far the closest thing in America to a sustainable farming system - Polyface Farms. Joel Salatin is a vocal proponent of this way of farming, and pops up all over the place, so if you come across an interview with him (and there are many online resources to get you started), read and absorb the fresh wisdom of this guileless, earnest farmer.

And, as always, have a browse of the Weston A. Price Foundation's site, if you haven't already, for eye-opening science covering traditional foods, contemporary foods, and the impact of each on health.

Think before you eat. Consider the energy expended in raising, processing and transporting your food to you. And do everything you can to reduce your impact on fossil fuel use. That way, there's no reason to feel guilty about eating your one cow per year, especially if you know its existence gave back to nature through soil fertilisation. Supporting or creating your own Permaculture farm is just another way of knowing for sure where your food comes from and what was used to produce it - and that knowledge is increasingly powerful. And as always, the most important rule to live by is: Eat real food. And know where it came from.

Maybe the future isn't so bleak.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

BOING!! (That's me, bouncing back)

I feel wonderful today! I still have a bit of a sniffle, but the swollen throat soreness has finally dissipated, and my energy level is almost back to normal. Plus, I am looking and feeling quite svelte thanks to cutting the carbs again, I've dropped a pound, and my subcutaneous fat is shrinking (leaving jiggliness and temporary excess skin that I can't stop grabbing and stretching to prove to myself that fat has disappeared!)

The boon of healthfulness has almost out-weighed the negative whinge-fest I'm currently battling, thanks to it being Report Writing Time. I'm plowing through, and I still have a few days, so it's not critical just yet. But I'm already looking forward to how relieved I'll be when this sword of Damacles is no longer aloft my consciousness. In the meantime, I've been using my favourite form of procrastination to its full potential - cooking!

While one recipe still isn't quite ready for publication (mainly because I haven't managed to get a good photo, and the beau is trying to make them last so I don't get many opportunities), I did make another batch of lovely Choc Apricot & Walnut Balls, rolled in coconut:

Still haven't tried one in its entirety, but the beau is steadily making his way through this newest batch, so let his behaviour tell all...

My day involved three separate species of animal, so that's pretty good by my standards.

Breakfast - pure beef sausages from the organic butcher; so tasty for plain meat!

Lunch - whipped up a batch of chorizo, bacon and egg stir-fry for the beau and I, and finally snapped some lovely pictures! Thank you, sunshiny day!

Dinner - organic corned beef silverside. Much leaner than I'm used to, and lower in sodium... I had to add thyme and salt to make the stuff edible. Shame...

But I did have fun trying an idea that I read about eons ago - sticking the cloves into the onion rather than just letting them float around! The beau even ate the ultra-tasty onions afterward, as well as some boiled carrots.

Me, well, I stuck with the obvious...

I have defrosted another lamb roast. It's already haunting my dreams. I think it needs to be eaten for lunch tomorrow. Om nom nom....

Food for thought:

A few articles about ketosis have been popping up of late, mostly positive, but today Peter from Hyperlipid posted an opinion piece on ketosis and its value. A definite must-read for anyone who follows anything close to a ketogenic diet - just like a new drug might save your life, you also would be wise to look up the potential side-effects so that you know what to look out for. Peter has collected all the significant and relevant information regarding the opposition of ketosis, and his post has inspired some very thoughtful comments from other experts. Like Peter, I am still in favour of ketosis as a fat-loss method since I seem to function very well that way, whilst visibly burning fat. I'll be interested to know what it is like when I have less excess fat to burn...

Also, I've taken advantage of Dr. Mercola's current free shipping offer and bought up his ceramic cookware, bakeware and teaware products, as well as his natural sunscreens and bug repellent. I wanted to buy his cookware ages ago, but shipping bulky pans to Australia from the US was going to cost more than the products themselves! So when his email newsletter told me about the Black Friday sale (til Dec 2nd) I dove straight in! I'm very excited, since my el cheapo Raco ceramic-coated cast iron pan set has started to crack! Unbelievable! My Le Chasseur cast iron products are in perfect shape though, but they're soooo heavy that it's a pain to use them. Fingers crossed that the Mercola stuff is as light as they say... And no, I'm not being paid to promote these products, I'm mentioning my purchase purely to let like-minded individuals know about what I consider to be a sweet-ass deal! I can't wait to try his sunscreen - I don't want to have to hide from the sun in fear of burning when I'm up north for a week! And DEET-free bug-spray that WORKS is a thrilling concept!! I'm sick of my nail polish melting off when I spray my feet!)

Just over one month of 2009 left folks... It's been a year of huge changes for me so I'll almost be sad when 2010 rolls in - but it will be nice to be able to label a year's worth of fat loss and health improvement! My outlook on life has changed so much too, for the better, and hopefully this transition to a far more mature, objective, environmentally-aware mindset will be permanent and inspiring to others. So many people have inspired me this year, most of them participants in the online health & primal communities, so I hope that this blog is giving back something in however small a way. Even if my life speeds up and I no longer have time to maintain this blog, it's great to know that it will stand as a resource for future health-seekers to find and learn from, to help them on their own journeys.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Eat Meat

Carnivorism is paying off already! I'm feeling better (despite some lingering head cold symptoms) and my remaining body fat is getting jiggly, which is a sign of fat burning. Another sign - the unmistakable taste of ketosis kicked in not long after breakfast, and hasn't left the village for long at any point over the course of the day. The bonus of the slightly icky taste - apart from the knowledge that fat is being burnt - is that it encourages me to drink more water, helping to flush this virus out of my system.

Despite today's weather hovering in the humid tropics for most of the afternoon (it's nearly midnight and I'm still glistening as I sit and type this, despite the fact that I'm only wearing one of my new, slinky jersey dresses), I didn't mind cooking up a storm for three of my four meals. Yep, four meals. I photographed three of them:

Breakfast - after wasting so much food yesterday morning, I went for a solitary lamb chop today. It seemed like it was enough...

...but by 11am, three hours post-breakfast, I was in major keto-mode and feeling a bit under-fueled. So I reached for my stand-by can of tuna in springwater, which hit the spot! Amazing what 73 kcal can do when it's protein - consider the lack of staying power if it were the same amount of food in candy form!

Arriving home at around 5pm, hunger had set in again, so I whipped up a new favourite - chorizo sausage and egg scramble. I managed to snap a vaguely pleasant photo this time around.

And the pièce de résistance, roast lamb! Organic, Demeter, rolled and lightly seasoned, with an enjoyable amount of fat and an unbeatable flavour! My 300g serving went down a treat - I just wish there had been more... To the butcher!

And to round out this fairly average week, I was sifting through my blog subscriptions, cleaning out those which haven't presented a new post in over a month, when I stumbled upon a post from the now-quiet Thrifty Dieter's Blog, authored by a Twitter friend of mine. In this post, she quoted one of my posts during my first all-meat experiment. It drew me back to my post, way back in July, and it was wonderful to reacquaint myself with my mindset back then - a simpler, streamlined version of how I now think. It has encouraged me to let go of a few complications when it comes to food, and get back to enjoying meat for what it is - the healthy, delicious food out of which humans can get every drop of nutrition.

My multivitamin stash has just run out, and I catch myself stressing that I will be missing out on something. Now I will stop those thoughts and remind myself - 'I eat meat. Natural, grass-fed, sustainable, chemical-free meat. It has everything I need.'

I stress about how to respond to 'dietary requirement' requests when invited to weddings and parties. Now I will quit worrying about appearing like a freak and just write down 'I eat meat' - and when I show up, all I'll appear to be is gorgeous and happy.

I eat meat. I eat meat that is naturally, ethically raised and sustainably farmed, helping to combat the current environmental issues. As Don Matesz discusses in his the second part of his review of The Vegetarian Myth:

Ms. Keith addresses all of the other claims made by political vegetarians against animal husbandry, like that it uses more fuel than monoculture or causes global warming. In fact raising animals on grass is more fuel efficient than raising row crops, and monoculture of row crops has a net effect of releasing carbon into the atmosphere whereas raising ruminants on pasture has the net effect of sequestering carbon.

I often wonder what would have happened if, at the beginning of this journey, I had been persuaded by a vegetarian publication that theirs was the way to go for weight-loss (my primary goal at the beginning of the year). Would I have been totally blinded by vegetarian propaganda or would I still have chased down more general health blogs and been faced with the realities of necessary animal product consumption and the results of a diet high in grains, sugars, and starches? I suspect I would not have found the scientific facts surrounding general health, since my initial motivation was quick fat loss in the first month, and I bet I would not have had that experience going vegetarian. I probably would have gained weight, if I am insulin resistant (all signs point to yes, especially with the PCO in the mix).

So I am still so thankful that I was in that Bento place that day last November, flipping through that Women's Weekly, when I stumbled upon that article telling me to cut carbs in order to lose weight. And then I spent those two months leading up to Jan 1st researching what low-carb actually was, and whether it was safe, and was convinced that it was (despite there being more science-void "DANGERS OF LOW-CARB" sites out there than scientifically-valid endorsements of the lifestyle. Good thing I can tell the difference and don't take things on face value. I owe so much to my unending sense of curiosity!). And then, oh, the wonderfulness that was January, and every month, week, day, MEAL since then!

I eat meat, and I love it, and it loves me!

... but I still make a pretty kick-ass cheesecake.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Forced to take just one more day off work (missing the best conference of the year, boo!) while the last of this bug is worked out of my system, I didn't get to slack off - reports are due tomorrow, so I've been busily marking exams and writing as euphemistically as possible about my dear cherubs. Fear not - I still found time to get into the kitchen, and even had some fun experimenting with new ideas in the evening!

Breakfast proved too much for me - I only managed to down the bacon and a bit of lamb chop before hitting satiety... And this is after fasting since lunchtime yesterday... Odd.

For lunch I sliced up some fancy new chorizo sausages found at the local supermarket - no filler, no sweetener, just beef, pork, and spices, smoked! Zing! Fried them up, and scrambled in some eggs - yum! Sadly, there's no photo since a freak storm hit just as I finished making my lunch, and the power went out. My camera's flash was too powerful for the contrast of white plate/eggs with dark meat. Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time!)...

On to dinner, where my appetite was starting to come back, so my grilled salmon filled and chorizo sausage slice was highly appreciated!

And now for a couple of teasers - here are glimpses of the two recipes I'm currently working on... You'll have to wait until I have perfected the recipes and have more spare time...

My taster tells me that one of the recipes is already perfection, so keep your eyes out for that recipe popping up here in the next day or so!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting Back In The Kitchen (Cos I'm Still On Sick Leave)

Yes, I had time and energy today to whip up my first holiday-centric primal treat - Apricot & Walnut Balls! But Jez, you ask, what else did yo do with your day? Please tell us, because it's bound to be oh-so interesting.


I had breakfast. Scotch fillet steak, and a fried egg.

With that fuel in my belly, I rested up outside in the semi-sunshine whilst the beau did some podcast recording inside.

A bit later, I had lunch, using leftover ground beef and an egg to make a hideious, yet tasty, slab 'o burger.

Then it was time to face reality - even though I'm not quite 100%, I don't have the luxury of forgetting about work for a few days. Why not? It's report-writing time. A couple of year levels are due on Friday, so I had to go to work to pick up a pile of marking to do before I could even write those reports... But I've made a decent start now, so hey. I refuse to let this time of year stress me out. I have found a productive way to shake off the cabin fever/boredom - go to the kitchen and get my hands into a new invention!

Now, the trick is not to EAT any of the inventions! I started a fast after lunch, so that helped stop any fingers making the trip from mixing bowl to mouth. I'll be making more tomorrow since my brother & his girlfriend are probably coming over for dinner. Lamb roast, some sort of salad, unique fruity dessert treats... I'm the best sister ever!

Recipe: Apricot & Walnut Balls

I'm proud to present my first culinary experiment in primal holiday treats - Apricot & Walnut Balls! I could add Coconut or Cocoa/Chocolate into that name too since they're optional, wonderful extras, but then things just get a bit too wordy...

So here is my primal response to my old holiday favourite - chocolate rumballs!

The best part about this tasty treat? Outrageous simple to make, with just a few ingredients that are easy to find and use. Huzzah!


1 cup dried apricots (whole)
1 cup walnuts

Optional extras - unsweetened dessicated coconut, raw cacao powder, vanilla extract.

(This was a mini-batch for trialling purposes, making 12 small balls. Simply scale up the amounts of each ingredient equally to create larger batches.)

Impressed by the simplicity yet? But wait, there's more...


1. Place apricots and nuts in a blender (plus optional cacao and vanilla). Blend well.

2. Roll mixture into balls of desired size with hands. (Optional - roll balls in coconut to finish.)

3. Chill until required.

That's it!!

To test the recipe, I made a variety of options for the tester to sample - plain, plain in coconut, with cacao, and with cacao in coconut.

The verdict?

The Sweet Treat Expert: Ask Beau Sugarholic

"Visually appealing, with a delicious tang of sweetness. The plain balls were a little too plain, though still stimulated the taste buds. Coconut immediately added interest, and cacao perfected the rich sweetness of the treat. I certainly don't miss the added sugar.

I would recommend making a platter with half with/without cacao, all rolled in coconut. Gorgeous! Mine didn't last long enough to test this theory, but given the exposed fruit, I'd keep these boys covered in an air-tight container until serving.

To check the uniqueness of my invention, I did a quick Google search of "apricot walnut balls recipe" and got a few hits, but all of them require the unnecessary addition of condensed milk or confectioner's sugar. Pah! If my resident sugarholic gives these the nod, you know that extra sweetness is dangerously excessive. Enjoy your food the way nature intended you to (occasionally)!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Listening To My Body

Officially down with a nasty head cold. It wiped me out yesterday and I decided to take a sick day today despite the fact that I had no classes today so it's a bit of a waste. I'm prepared to take tomorrow off as well, but I think I may have turned the corner, thanks to a surprising action...

The Day O' Meat started off as expected, albeit with a longer sleep-in than the usual Tuesday. I broke my fast with the remains of last night's chicken - I don't know what they do to make the carcass so extra tasty (and I probably don't want to know), but the saltiness of the meat between the bones drives me nuts! I found myself absent-minded eating the bones - when the ribs separated into two sections, I noticed that the chicken's spine had mysteriously disappeared... Yum! So apparently I was hungry. Maybe I needed marrow nutrients...

A couple of hours later, I grilled up some bacon for lunch, before heading back to bed:

Now, when I grilled up that bacon, I was ignoring a gnawing sensation in my stomach that was demanding fruit, of all things. Now, I've never really craved fruit in such a visceral way before. I know what psychological cravings are, and what blood sugar cravings feel like, but this was something completely different I tried to shut it up with bacon and sleeping...

However, when I awoke, the demand for fruit was still there. I wondered whether my body was calling out for vitamin C, or some other nutrient that it wanted to help fight off the cold. So I decided to experiment and listen to my bod. I made up a pancake of 90% egg / 10% almond meal, fried in coconut oil, and defrosted a handful of blueberries, adding a couple of 100& cacao duds for good antioxidantory (it's a word now) measure.

I felt better almost instantly! The ache behind my eyes went away, and my ear/throat stopped aching. Well! I can't know whether the improvement was the result of something in the meal or just the placebo effect, but considering my cynicism going into the experiment, I wonder if the latter was negated... Either way, it makes me wish that there was more vitamin C in Mark Sisson's Master Formula, and I'll have to keep and eye out for sweetener-free C next time I'm in the pharmacy, ready for next flu season.

So tomorrow will need to be the start of Meat Month, although I indulged in a very meaty dinner to complete the day - bacon and minced beef! Oh how glamorous...

I'm heading to bed with a little bit of lingering throat/ear soreness, but with any luck I'll wake up feeling much healthier.

Has anyone else ever followed their instinct when it comes to finding a natural remedy for an ailment? I figure this is just one step up from getting rest when you're fighting any illness, or rubbing bruises...

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Month of Meat - Go!

With exactly one month before my first family Christmas gathering, I'm committing to staying Zero Carb for all four weeks! I'm expecting to be meat-only for Christmas anyway - with all that tasty meat served up at Every. Single. Meal., why dilute the experience with a few carrots?? I feel best on meat-only, and I want that happy, healthy glow when I see my relatives - some of whom I have not seen in years! Looking extra-lovely in my new dresses won't be too bad either :)

However, I have promised to provide my readers with some holiday recipes, and I intend to honour my word! It will take some serious will-power to avoid licking fingers and sampling my wares, but I'll do it! So as soon as my first experiment is ready for publication, you'll be introduced to my resident Taster, Mr. Beau Sugarholic! He'll be especially handy when it comes to primal holiday dessert recipes, as - I can promise you - if he gives a sweet treat the thumbs up, it's a very dependable sign that even the most carb-addicted friends and family members of yours won't be able to pick that the recipe's sugar-free! I'll be donning my very feminine apron as soon as this cold is out of my system. Yep, even the super-doses of Vitamin D didn't prevent this one from taking hold. Yuck. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get any worse - I don't have any classes tomorrow so to take a sick day would be disgracefully wasteful! Maybe I'll just take along a blankie and pillow, find an empty classroom, and snooze...

But let's stick to the present day for just one moment. After yesterday's calorific refuelling, I was anything but hungry today, so I skipped breakfast, packing a bottle of protein shake just in case my appetite returned during the day. It didn't, but I downed the shake in the early afternoon just to save myself the task of lugging it home. I then napped until it was time to go get a facial (oh, my life, I tell you what...). After an hour of having my head massaged with various products (great relaxation, but also wonderful for sore sinuses), the beau collected me and we picked up a chicken for dinner. As always, I grabbed my favourite parts - legs, wings, and skin!

The breast-man grabbed his portions, and the rest of the meaty carcass is waiting in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast. The scotch fillet steaks will wait for tomorrow's dinner...

My woozy head is telling me that I have remained vertical for far too long, but I wanted to leave you with a couple of interesting links from the past couple of days:

Charles Washington finds evidence that whilst the American Heart Association is kinda pulling a CSPI/Trans fat switcheroo in terms of their claims of 'this is what we've always said...', there is a light slowly emerging at the end of the 'fat is bad' tunnel... They're still recommending what is essentially a low-fat diet, but under the guise of moderate fat, given it is now shown that moderate fat may be better at reducing heart disease risks. Any step in the right direction is positive.

Dr. A gives us a neat little study which sums up the benefits from living on a ketogenic diet, and further proves that there's a lot more to calories than the general medical community would have you believe. I'm holding onto this one ready to whip out for nay-saying friends corrupted by docs that convince them that ketosis & ketoacidosis are one and the same, and are dangerous.

And finally, Stargazey neatly summarises one of the issues that is often on my mind when it comes to my role in the primal/low-carb community - the potential for harm. I try to stay very clear that I am sharing my experiences, not telling others that what I do is what is necessarily what they should do, and when I do feel that way I back it up with evidence wherever I can. I love answering questions when I can, and helping other people solve their health & weight woes by sharing my own experiences and scientific understandings, but at the same time I've seen and heard other 'mentors' who send individuals down dangerous paths. I won't name names of current offenders, but I'm sure most of you know of the Kimkins debacle from a couple of years back - I missed that one, yet I see other individuals forgetting about their own influence and happily encouraging others to consuming fewer and fewer calories since it works for them (does it really?), and bad-mouthing the choices of anyone who dares question The Plan.

I think I need to make a button so that my motto is loud and clear to any visitors - learn the truth about the dangers of particular foods, and within the evolution-founded diet that remains, experiment with your options until you find what works best for your health and your tastes. After all, this is a lifestyle, it's not a crash diet. Optimal health is my goal, and it's clear that fat loss is a side-effect of improved health, if you're currently overweight. If you're sacrificing health in order to be thin, then I can't empathise with you. If you're using healthful eating to achieve fat loss, then that's fine because that's how I started, and it took me a long time to realise I actually had the cause & effect in reverse. My health is what matters, and knowing that reaching my ideal weight is further evidence of my improved health is just the butter on the steak!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday, Groggy Sunday

If I were to describe today in one word, it would be Bleurgh. Ravenous would be the second word, with Snoozy a close third. Apparently, gallivanting across the city at all hours of the night, in the rain, isn't the best plan, nor is sleeping with wet hair. However, leaping from my bus home to catch the supermarket on the dot of midnight, closing time, was genius as it allowed me to stock up on some essentials that got me through today. Whilst my eats were still perfectly Primal, my fingers are crossed that my upped carb consumption won't have any negative ramifications...

It started well - I scored a bit of a sleep-in, and the combination of an early dinner yesterday and a late breakfast today meant that my plateful of porchetta (yum!) broke a nineteen hour fast.

A couple of hours later, I finished off the last of last week's bacon.

Then I went back to bed at noon. That's right, noon. Why? Because I was drowsy and feeling a bit of a sore throat coming on. I really don't want to get sick - the year is winding down and work is so laid back, so I don't want to blow a sick day right now!

After snoozing off and on for a few delicious hours, I awoke with a bit of a sinus issue, so made an ultra-eggy almond pancake with a few blueberries, a little 100% cacao, and a dollop of whipped cream. Perfection!

The pancake kept me sated for a while, but my body was demanding more fat. I had some asparagus in the fridge that was also on its last legs, and since it's one of the only veggies from the weekly delivery that the guinea pigs won't touch, I figured it would do, so I sautéed it up in a hefty amount of organic butter. Oh my...

Meanwhile, I defrosted some lamb chops, and as the final food for the day, I grilled it up and scoffed it by hand. Now that's primal!

Apart from giving my body extra rest and consuming extra energy to help fight off these first signs of a cold, I took a super-dose of Vitamin D to boost my immune system. This is the first time I've had to apply 'primal medicine' - let's hope it works!

I won't be caught without thawed meat in the fridge again any time soon either - I have breakfast thawing as we speak: scotch fillet steak!

OH, and I nearly forgot to mention - after yesterday's pig-out/in, what was I greeted with when I hopped on the scale this morning? A full pound loss. I never say this, but... Boo-yeah.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pigging Out!

A day of feasting on porcine treats - to health!

Breakfast/Lunch: A delicious rack of pork, with a heady layer of crackling to boot!

No, I didn't manage to down the whole lot! I ate the crackling first, then the fatty parts of the chops, and then a tiny bit of lean before I was stuffed! What an indulgence!

Dinner: I wasn't expecting to be hungry again, but around 5pm I felt a sensation that wasn't quite hunger, but was suggestive that I would be some time while I was out in the city, and I didn't want to have to resort to fast food... So, I grilled up some tasty tasty bacon, and tried my experimental purchase of the week - Bertocchi's Italian Pork Roast, Porchetta-Style. Oh my word. Pork roast, salt, and spices. That's it. A thick layer of fat. Tender, perfectly prepared meat. I'm in love!

And there's more in the fridge for tomorrow...

So with a belly full of Porky, I'm off to the theatre in my best, slim-fitting dress! Take THAT, conventional wisdom!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Day Playing "How Many Animals?"

Breakfast: Sheep meat & cow milk

Dinner: Pig meat & chicken ova

Just call me Young McDonald... :)

And to herald the arrival of a luxurious weekend of mild weather, after another week of unseasonably hot, humid days and nights, here are some online articles and blog posts that appealed to me this week:

Don Matesz posted his second review of The Vegetarian Myth, this time breaking down Keith's argument detailing the misconceptions held and propagated by political vegetarians. Another must-read and a great one to forward to friends who lean away from the realities presented here.

Mark Sisson tears the grain advocates a new one - share it with your healthywholegrain-loving friends!

Very little on the Internet has excited me as much as the promise of an online show demolishing diet myths, starring a true academic, Dr. James Carlson. I haven't watched the first episode, but just his promo has me tingling with excitement!

Finally, Mark Sisson responded to the reader question, "Is the Primal Blueprint a kind of asceticism?" Particularly when I limit my food consumption to animal products, I'm asked whether I get bored, or whether I miss certain "tasty" foods. Of course, I don't. Meat is my favourite tasty food, so I have come to realise. As much as I can enjoy other flavours, meat by itself entertains my palate, and with such a wide variety of meat out there, who gets bored? When I first found the pack of ZC-ers that live on ground beef and water, I did think that the lifestyle is nothing but asceticism, and given the way the individuals report their lives on the Zeroing In On Health forum, I suspect that it is the ascetic nature of the lifestyle that appeals to a lot of them. Not having to worry about food, food as nothing but fuel, eating one meal per day, quickly... But at the same time I'm sure there are beef & water folk who enjoy every single plate of beef. I can certainly relate to the idea of finding water delicious - I love the stuff! Fresh, cool, crisp water is all I will drink. I drink tea in cold weather for the warmth more than the taste!

And with a lovely, fatty rack of pork waiting for me to cook up and savour tomorrow, how could I ever call my way of eating a pleasureless existence?! I'm already drooling at the thought! I'll be popping it in the oven first thing in the morning, and it will be my one meal of the day since I doubt I'll be able to stop at just one or two chops. And all that crackling...

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Another unseasonable scorcher today, yet I didn't turn to whipping up a few icy protein shakes, but stuck to grilling meat for breakfast and dinner. Even with my sexy, new Sigg bottle following me everywhere, I still fell behind when trying to keep my fluids up, so I'm suffering from a dehydration headache right now. So this will be brief so that I can get back to the one room in the house with air-conditioning...

Breakfast: a lamb forequarter chop and a copious amount of bacon. Mmmmmm...

Dinner: Bacon & Beef burgers - the beau took his with a side of organic lettuce...

...whilst I enjoyed mine with a hunk of fried haloumi! Yummmmmmm!

And back I scurry to the cool room - such a huge day of rushing around, and now this heat exhaustion; at least I should sleep well tonight! One more day and then a restful weekend... I have some culinary experiments up my sleeve for Saturday, so here's hoping they go well and appear here soon! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back In The Habit

To my joy, the transition back to my usual breakfast/dinner eating schedule was a breeze! My delicious breakfast of porterhouse steak and bacon kept me going for TWELVE HOURS:

I indulged my desire for a large quantity of meat by ordering the mixed grill platter at Kouzina, where we ignored most of the carbs (the beau still nibbles on the white crap more than I'd like) but demolished the meat promptly!

It feels good to be back on a mostly meat way of eating, although - due to popular demand - I will keep my food options a bit more open in order to spend more time developing recipes for you to try! Especially with Christmas coming - there will be lots of primal holiday treats in the mix!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wrapping Up The Six-Week Cure & Getting On With Life

Now that I have determined that the Eades' program could well work for my Mum in her bid to lose her belly before my cousin's wedding, I'm relaxing back into my usual primal programming. I shed just over 2kg in the past four weeks, with a solid inch coming off my waist. I'm very happy with this considering the insane stress I've been under this past month, and the sleepless nights I've suffered courtesy of the past week's freak heat wave. I always know that other forces are at work at that I shouldn't pay too much attention to the scale one those days where I can't seem to stop my hand reaching for the nut jar... Hello stress! Hello hormones!

And we won't mention just how many nuts I've eaten in the past two post-Cure days...

What we will mention, are the lovely primal meals I have enjoyed today, including some more of the now-famous Primal Chicken Fingers, thanks to link love from Mark Sisson!

Porterhouse for breakfast! Ah, back to normality.

Bacon & egg smash for a late afternoon snack.

Then, fried chicken fingers for dinner! Yum! I made them extra flavourful - zing! ;)

Meanwhile, I am trialling probiotics - out with the old experiment, in with the new!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chicken & Chips

With a protein shake in my belly, I took Melbourne by storm and shopped until I almost literally dropped. The goal was to find summer clothes for work, but everything I like tends to be on the tailored-therefore-warm side. Nonetheless, I did find a couple of sheer, breezy tops that will work for school, as well as a couple of very exciting purchases - a high-waisted work skirt (I could never wear high waists before since my muffin-top was too prominent, but now it tucks away seamlessly!) and my first ever Little Black Dress - satin, slim-fitting, short, and skimpy! The beau approves! Now I just need a cocktail event to wear it to...

After such a big day, I skipped the bother of cooking and picked up a roast chook, and served it with a brand new treat - kale chips!

Kale chips have done the rounds of the low-carb & paleo communities a few times, but I never jumped on board because a) I didn't have access to kale, and b) they sounded totally foul. Well, a) kale showed up in this week's veggie box, and b) I was totally wrong!

I was reminded of the recipe via Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, and followed their basic recipe. Here's exactly what I did, in case your oven is more like mine and less like Amy's -

Recipe - Kale Chips


Olive oil


Heat oven to 180° Celsius. Line a tray with foil.

Wash and dry kale in a salad spinner, then tear into chip-sized pieces. Place in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.

Place kale on the tray in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, watching for browning. If chips shatter slightly when firmly prodded, they're ready. Leave them in for 5 minute increments if they're still floppy.

Sprinkle with salt, and serve hot or cold. You could let them rest on some paper towel if they're too oily for your preference. Yum!!

I love how the sunlight has filtered through the fragile, transparent chips to leave green shadows...

Finally, I've been hearing a lot of doom and gloom about genetically modified/engineered soy and other products making their way into the global market, with the first (we assume) GM soy being used in Aussie products recently/soon. When I bring this up with people, sometimes I receive blank stares, or questions wondering why it matters. Yipe. So when I found this Civil Eats article today, neatly dealing with the whats and whys of GM food, I thought I should share it here in case you haven't found a reliable resource of your own. This is also one to pass on to friends who consume mindlessly.

Enjoy your safe, healthy & tasty food choices!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Junk Food! Recipe: Fried Chicken Fingers

Decided to end a long, hot week with a luxurious plate of anything-but-guilty pleasures! Namely, junk food, paleo style!

Dinner: fried chicken fingers & spicy beefburger.

This is my second successful attempt at making fried chicken with paleo ingredients - utterly delicious! Here's how -

Recipe: Fried Chicken Fingers


500g chicken thigh, skin on or off
2 eggs, beaten in a bowl
50g almond flour
1t paprika
1t cumin
1t thyme
1t garlic powder
1t parsley
... or your preferred herbs and spices
Optional salt & pepper
1/2 cup coconut oil


1. Heat oil in a solid (ceramic or cast iron) frying pan over low heat.

2. Slice chicken into long strips, about 1/2" thick.

3. Place strips in bowl of beaten egg, and toss with hands until coated.

4. In a wide bowl or plate, mix almond flour, herbs and spices.

5. Dip chicken strips in coating mixture, individually.

6. Place strips in pan, being careful of splashing oil. Fry until browned, then flip and fry until chicken is cooked through.

The finished product:

Definitely keeping this one in rotation! Healthy fats, low carbs, and a psychological treat! :)