Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recipe: White Fish Fingers

In the same vein as my much-loved Fried Chicken Fingers, I decided to give the almond flour treatment to some slender white fish fillets (I can't remember the type of fish, bad me!), bought from the organic butcher up the road, who also sells wild-caught salmon and other fish on Wednesdays. I'm not a fan of white fish, or any fish that tastes 'fishy', if you know what I mean. Solution? Herbs, spices, and coconut oil!


4 white fish fillets (around 150g per serving)
1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1 or 2T dried herbs - thyme, basil, parsley, etc
2t cumin
1t garlic powder
Coconut oil, lard or butter


1. In a shallow bowl, combine almond flour, herbs & spices.

2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs until combined well.

3. One at a time, dip fish fillets into egg mixture, and roll in almond flour coating.

4. When all fillets are coated, heat oil/fat/butter in a large frying pan.

5. When oil is hot, gently place fillets in a single layer in the pan. Let sizzle until crust begins to brown and meat begins to become opaque.

6. Turn fillets carefully, and sizzle until crust is golden. Test to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly by slicing the end off one fillet.

Serve fillets immediately, with fresh vegetables and Lemon & Macadamia Mayo. If you like your root veggies, you could also make fries - et voila, the perfect Paleo replacement for Fish 'n' Chips!

Update (22 Feb) - also works on larger fillets! Check out the gorgeous rockling I prepared and scoffed down for tonight's dinner:

It requires care and precise spatula work to handle a 200g fillet of this shape and coating, but so long as you keep the amount of frying fat to a shallow depth, and flip way from yourself, you should do fine! The heat doesn't need to be terribly high either - no need to raise the fat to a spitting heat. Enjoy!

Trying To Find Equilibrium...

Without going on and on about the whole drug-induced hyperphagia bizzo, I'm still experiencing surprising bouts of deranged eating frenzies, as well as mood swings. However, my weight is holding steady, either because the six-week cure is doing its thing, or because the weight is mainly water-retention and my cells are full. My average food intake over the week is still much higher than I would like it, but I'm feeling a bit slimmer and have been receiving some leptin signals after particularly large meals (i.e. a protein shake with extra cream and water). The message might not last long, but it's an improvement. So that's the good news, but the bad news is that I'm still being taken over by the feed-demon every few days, and the best I can do is remove myself from all access to food. Last night I actually left the house at 10pm and went walking in my Vibrams, but ended up with such bad stomach pain that I had to call the beau to come rescue me after just an hour. Also, it seems like everyone but me has knowledge regarding the link between anti-depressants and weight gain. No wonder my doctor was always very keen to know whether I was having any 'reaction' to the drugs we were trying. I always thought he just meant fatigue...

Anyway, even if I've been eating what I'd class as too-much food some days, it's always been good food!


Protein shakes for breakfast, recess & lunch:

Dinner - entree: salmon sashimi with a dollop of my Lemon & Macadamia Mayo

Dinner - main: kangaroo steak fillet, cheesy scrambled eggs, and chipollatas from Jonathan's, served with a bit of butter


Protein shakes for breakfast, recess & lunch.

Dinner: White Fish Fingers, bacon, sautéed red cabbage, and an avocado! I've been scared of avocados since a nasty sushi incident in 2004, but after watching this avocado slowly ripen in my fridge after being purchased for my Dips Recipes experiment, I decided to give it a go... Yum! If it weren't for all the fibre, I'd seriously consider putting avocados on regular rotation...


Breakfast: Tasty beef snags from Jonathan's

Lunch: snacked on brie cheese, blueberries, strawberries and a nuts & seeds mix at a friend's place. The beginning of a very bad appetite domination - makes me wonder about the role of carbs in this reaction...

But amidst the inhalation of Nola, lots of double cream, saganaki, and macadamia nuts, I managed to whip up another Oopsie Pizza for the beau and I. The eggs were freshly bought and therefore were at room temperature, resulting in a VERY fluffy crust. Yum!


Like a good little catch-up faster, I ignored food for a solid 24 hours after breaking away from the pantry on Saturday night (and putting a couple of kilometres in between myself and the fridge), eventually breaking the fast with some leftovers from the lunch I made for the beau - a succulent preparation of roast chicken thighs using a lot of coconut oil and lots of chopped basil, plus other herbs & spices...

Before cooking:

After cooking (with a sprinkling of almond flour added mid-cooking):

I served the beau's share on top of sautéed red caabage and red capsicum, which itself was on top of romaine lettuce leaves.

I served my post-pushup dinner 'plain', although the flavour was anything but!

Yes, I said post-pushup. Why? Because, to help keep my beau to his plan, I have joined him in the Hundred Push-up Programme, which states that you can improve you push-up ability through adherence to their six-week programme. I finished Day Two today, managing to eek out 12 push-ups in the fifth set. I'm going to be sore tomorrow...

Due to today being a push-up day, I decided to wash dinner down with a protein shake, trying the Macha Green Tea flavour of Natural Factors' Whey Factors powder range. Interesting taste, and noticeably lacking in sweetness - a good thing in case a sweeter shake would have sent me running for the kitchen! So despite my fasting, I've met my protein intake minimum - no lean mass loss for me, I hope!

Back to work tomorrow, with shakes in tow, and a tasty meal already planned for tomorrow's dinner...

Until next time, I wanted to share with you a recent post of Melissa's Hunt.Gather.Love, where she presents a fantastic starting-point for discussions with non-paleo eaters, focusing primarily on health (right where the focus should be!). Her Human Health Quadrants diagram is a little hard to make sense of at first, but is an interesting way of looking at how particular lifestyles link to nutrition and environmental hazards. A very neat way to shut down the usual 'paleolithic people only lived til 30' bollocks, and a pithy picture to point out the realities of today's choices. I love it when the primal/paleo community works to make the info we amass more accessible to the average SAD-eater; a dynamic grass-roots movement is the best way to propel health understanding forward. Keep it up, team!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recipe: Grain-Free Granola (Nola) - The Final Cut

Way back in June of 2009, I tried my hand at making a granola-replacement for the beau's breakfasts, and was thrilled with the results. I posted the recipe to this blog so that he could log on and see how to make it himself. Sadly, he has never pulled his finger out and made himself a batch. So, every few weeks, I'm begged to make up a new lot of it for him and, fool that I am, I do it. Why? Because I don't want him eating carby garbage. He's already started effortlessly losing weight now that he rarely strays into Neolithic Land, except for the odd lunch bought during the work day.

Over the months, I have honed the recipe to the point where I don't have to measure or think as I make it. The ingredient list has diminished to a core of never-fail elements, and I have explored use of healthier and more natural sweetening agents, such as true maple syrup, appealing to his Canadian upbringing. I use less and less sweetener every time, and he has stopped adding fruit to his granola as well, so this is helping him avoid lunchtime carb cravings.

So I present to you - Grain-Free Granola (or, as I call it, 'Nola', since there's no 'Gra' in my mix!): Theme & Variations.

Core Ingredients:

1kg raw almonds (soaked if possible)
500g raw walnuts (same)
150g coconut flakes or grated coconut
3 egg whites
Optional - 2T sweetener (either maple syrup, or xylitol & a pinch of stevia)


1. Preheat oven to moderate, and line metal trays with foil or paper. I have Xtrema ceramic bakeware, so I use them as is - nothing sticks too firmly, and there's no liner waste.

2. Using about a cup of nuts at a time, depending on blender size, process nuts in a deep or sealed bowl until chunks are at the desired size. You can also chop the nuts by hand if you're keen for a long, steady workout.

3. Place prepared nuts in a large bowl, and add coconut.

4. In a small, dry bowl, beat egg whites until smooth, glossy peaks form. Add sweetener, and stir thoroughly.

5. Add egg mixture to nuts & coconut, and stir thoroughly until no egg foam is visible and everything has been coated. If you feel the egg didn't stretch far enough, whip up another white and add that to your bowl.

6. Spoon nut mixture onto bakeware, keeping the layers no thicker than an inch high.

7. Bake in oven for around 10 minutes, or until the top layer starts to become golden.

8. Remove from oven and stir mixture to bring uncooked nuts to the surface and to break apart any lumps. Replace in oven and bake for another 10 or so minutes, watching for burning. You may need to repeat this step if your batch is cooking unevenly (if you're oven is anything like mine, you'll be in this situation for an extra 20 minutes or so of stirring and replacing).

9. When cooked to your liking, remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly before storing in an air-tight container. Don't worry if your cereal pouring container is adulterated with gratuitous corn flake imagery:

Serve with berries & cream (or coconut cream) for best results, but is also good with straight raw milk, or so I'm told. Personally, I could eat it like trail mix, by itself, so long as there's no sweetener added to the batch!

(NB: If the SAD's portion distortion has you thinking that a normal serve of such foods is upwards of two cups, I'd like to point out that just half a cup of Nola will satisfy you, especially if served with cream. The beau, being a tall boy, tends towards a full cup serving, with his milk. Eat slowly, enjoy, and listen to your leptin receptors.)


Sunny Nola - After baking, add dried fruit such as sultanas, chopped apricot, goji berries, and even dried apple slices. Good for those with a sweet tooth or those who use carbs after a workout.

Seedy Nola - add sunflower or pumpkin seeds to the chopped nuts before adding the egg whites.

Norridge (Nola Porridge) - after baking, put batch through the food processor to create a semi-fine meal. Fantastic served with warmed milk, cream or coconut cream, or just add hot water and cooked fruit.

PumpkiNola - warm and add canned or previously roasted and pureed pumpkin to your bowlful of Nola, and stir thoroughly. Top with cream, and enjoy a hearty treat!

A lovely, luxe breakfast for those mornings where you just can't face eggs and bacon. I clearly don't understand your mind-set, but I hear there are such people out there... :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Makin' Merry & Makin' Mayo!

Well, I have a big birthday coming up - 25! The clock rounds off a quarter of a century on the 28th of February (at 7:29pm EST, to be precise), the end of what promises to be a big weekend! I was told that hitting 25 would feel like a transition into 'oldness', but I dunno; I look at that number and still see spring chicken. Not that age has ever meant much to me. I wonder if I would feel older without my newly-acquired knowledge of how ageing works and why some individuals present superficially, in the physical sense at least, as much older/younger than they are. Attitude, it seems, is not everything after all. I think I have good genes though - Mum is nearing 60 and even though her face is starting to sag, the cheekbones we share hold her face's youthfulness where it shines beneath the surface. As for me, my face looks a bit younger than it used to in some ways (eg. my upper eyelids aren't saggy with chub anymore), but losing fat from ones face is always going to give an air of lost youth. Chubby cheeks are always going to signal childhood, and plumpness rules out most wrinkles. I'm still far from wrinkle territory though, and it excites me that minimising glucose consumption may help me stay that way, thanks to avoidance of glycation, etc.

I'm having a party on the Saturday (the 27th); a 1985 themed event, where dressing up is mandatory! We'll see how that goes... And I'm now a bit miffed by the fact that my chosen outfit doesn't fit nicely! With only ten days between now and costume-donning time, I doubt I'll be able to make that much of a change, especially since I'll still be on my drug, and upping the dose at that!

Speaking of the drug, it has been decisively proven that yes, this drug IS causing my increased appetite and is also accelerating fat accumulation. Yay! Full disclosure for the reference of others on the same thing - I'm on DepTran for the chronic pain caused by the damaged and hyper-sensitive nerve cluster. DepTran (Doxepin) is usually used as an anti-depressant, but as my boyfriend put it, apparently taking an anti-depressant when you're not depressed makes you depressed. Yup. The types my GP & I have tried in various rotations over the past few years haven't had any side-effects whatsoever, as far as I could notice, so he was hoping that I would not have an adverse reaction to this tougher one either. Frankly, it's a pretty bloody scary drug, and I'll be happier once I'm off it. If you have a look at the Wikipedia entry about its pharmacological relationships, you can see why and how it is messing with my energy levels, causing fatigue, and weight gain. Big bold letters, kids - weight gain. You can't miss it. Thanks doc, for the heads-up on that one... Oh, and if you look further down, into the Side Effects area, you'll see the frequent increased appetite info, and also breast enlargement! Yep, check that one off my list too - that happened first, before any other weight gain. I'm not small up top in any sense, but now even my looses blouses are pulling across the front! Oh gosh... So anyway, I have an appointment with my GP on Monday, and I'm expecting he'll tell me to stay on DepTran since it's pretty much our last resort short of amputation of the nerve cluster, and given the location of the cluster, that would NOT be fun nor easy, and potentially not even effective since pain may remain at the location of the scar! Gotta love medicine.

But anyway, with that reference there for anyone who is ever in the position of being prescribed DepTran, let's get back to the topic - makin' merry! I am merry, too - despite the fat 'n' fatigue, I've accepted that my drug-driven behaviour can be under my control if I work at it, and I shouldn't beat myself up if my resolve weakens against the forces of compulsion! Look on the bright side - when I over-eat, at least some metabolic healing might be taking place, and I can reap the rewards of a pumping metabolism for the following few days! I'm working hard to play all of my cards to combat my urge to eat, by getting back into the Drs. Eades' Six-Week Cure program (since it satisfies me and I'm also never tempted to eat after my belly is full of protein shake thanks to sheer volume!), reminding myself of the keys to balancing my hormones for fat burning (see this fantastic post on Animal Pharm about Blood Glucose, especially the last section on Entropy Production), and finishing my day's eating earlier than usual to extend the fasting period for as long as possible without risking hunger during times I have access to food. I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow, thanks to my drug and the cycle of fatigue, and am dead to the world until morning, so at least I'm protected from the dangers of midnight snacking!

Oh, and for those readers who were interested in my Alternate Day Fasting experiment, I'm hoping to reincorporate that back into play soon - maybe not quite as frequently so as to lessen the stress (and therefore cortisol production) on my body, but hopefully some days will just be three small shakes and no meal... And in other experiment news, the beau and I are beginning the Hundred Pushups programme - the beau will try anything so long as there's an iPod app for it! It's just for fun, so we may only make it through the six-week course once and not make it to 100, but we'll see... I've never been good at proper push-ups - my toes don't seem to bend back far enough to support me comfortably, so I end up doing girly ones even when my arms can handle the full plank position... I'll see what I can do about that as well.

Yesterday I tested the shake waters by packing a shake made of Natural Factors Double Choc Whey Factors powder, pure cream, and water for lunch. With a moderately-sized breakfast of Jonathan's Pork & Fennel sausages in my belly for breakfast...

...the shake got me through my busy work day and through most of my late show rehearsal before the tummy rumbles started up and the limb energy started to dissipate... So when I finally trekked home, I replaced that rumble with tasty meats, pronto!

First up - a grilled pork forequarter chop, wrapped in bacon. Yes, damn it, wrapped in bacon!

And a bit later, since the hyperphagia hyena was chasing me down, I fried up slices of zucchini in a copious amount of macadamia nut oil, and grilled some pork & fennel sausage to serve on top. Perfection (although the appetite engine would not shut off - I fought the good fight!)

Today was Day 1 of 6WC #2, so I supped on chocolate protein shake for breakfast, and packed one for work as well. The beau & I headed up the street after work to pick up our weekly veggie box and get wild-caught salmon from the organic butcher - they only get salmon on Wednesdays, and I usually miss out, but today there were five fillets left, and I snagged the lot! I also picked up some smoked salmon and some cooked prawns to serve as a light entree for dinner:

I grilled pork chops for the beau, and he graciously left the thick & gorgeous fatty rinds on the grill for me, so I cooked them a bit longer and then had a good ol' chew!

For my actual dinner, I was left with minimal appetite, so I grilled up a bunch of Jonathan's Chipollatas and washed them down with another protein shake - Natural Factors French Vanilla this time.

My eating for the day was done, but not my cooking...

I've been wanting to try to make mayonnaise for a while now, especially since Every. Single. Product. in the supermarket is based on soybean oil or undisclosed vegetable oils. I wanted to have a tasty salad dressing (or component of salad dressing) for the beau and I to dip into should we desire it, and the fact that it would be one filled with healthful fats would be a wonderful bonus! Tonight's experiment was a texture & flavour, if not photographic, success. I will add visual stimulation when we use the mayo on top of salads or as a component of deviled eggs, etc.

Recipe: Lemon & Macadamia Mayonnaise


3 pastured egg yolks (save the whites for making Grain-Free Granola)
1T lemon juice (about half a lemon's worth)
1 cup of healthful oils - I used 150ml macadamia nut oil & 50ml extra virgin olive oil, but coconut oil would be a great one to add to the mix too.
Ground seas salt & black pepper to taste.
Optional dried herbs (lemon thyme works really well) or spices


1. Place egg yolks and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor, or a small mixing bowl if using an electric whisk like I did.

2. Start mixing, and drizzle the oil slowly into the bowl as you mix, allowing the mixture to gradually emulsify and thicken.

3. Once the mixture is thick and creamy, add salt & pepper and optional extras, and beat a couple of times to combine.

4. Pour or spoon mayo into an air-tight container and refrigerate. I'm not sure of the fridge life of this one - I'll update this when I know more!

My batch has a distinctively nutty flavour, which I LOVE but the beau responded to with the comment, "It tastes kinda like paint". We ask no questions regarding his frame of reference... So. This is one to adapt to your own tastes - personally, I wouldn't like a detectable coconut oil taste, and I imagine EVOO alone would be quite bland... So play with your oil mix and your herbs & spices to find something perfect for your uses. I certainly look forward to working on this one some more as well - it's a safer way to get your fat intake up without creeping into sweet treat territory...

So after I packed my little tub of mayo away in the fridge, I still had some exposed egg whites waiting for me... So, I risked tempting my appetite, cracked open a kilo of nuts, and made the boy a new batch of Grain-Free Granola! It's about time I updated my recipe, so I might make a new post about it tomorrow. In the meantime, here's how this batch looked straight out of the oven...

There will be lots of culinary experimentation in the next week, as I trial ideas of '80s-esque party food! Colourful fun! ;)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zzzz-Day Weekend - Recipes for savory frittata and choc-raspberry muffins

The beau & I joined my folks in Daylesford this weekend for a pleasant family getaway. I was still lugging my drug's side effects with me (i.e. fatigue, wooziness, and hormonal disruption in the form of mood swings, raging appetite, and some unexpected feminine issues), but I fought to stay as alert and pleasant as possible - something I found easier to manage on Saturday once I gave in to a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts for afternoon tea. Apparently keeping my fat intake up helps immensely with countering whatever particular hormonal disruption the drug is causing.

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs for the road trip - an early start. The beau 'forgot' to have breakfast and tried to pull the old "Oh, I better get something from McDonalds cos I forgot to eat before we left..." Not so fast, boy-oh! I boiled four eggs, and knew I would only need two, so I peeled the other two and popped them in his gob faster than he could say McMuffin.

Lunch: we met with my folks at Pipers By The Lake in Ballarat for a 'light' late lunch before our early dinner plans. The lightest non-neolithic offering was the eye fillet beef steaks on broccolini (and a pile of asparagus, apparently). I was hungrier after lunch than before, so I succumbed to Mum's big bag of cashews, a nut I had previously been sure that I didn't like. Well, in this state of hyperphagic hovering anyway, it would seem that I do indeed like them.

Dinner: I booked us an early seating at Mercato in Daylesford, where the menu promised many primal options, and I was keen for some fish. As the FOD turned out to be barramundi on potato mash, bathed in an unfriendly sauce (can't remember exactly what the waiter said), I ended up going for the kangaroo fillets, hold the potato. Well, they didn't hold the potato, but they did serve up a posh side salad of wilted greens, avocado and feta cheese, which I shall certainly reproduce with my own twist for my next dinner party!

Taken with the beau's iPhone - don't buy one of those if you like your phone to double as a half-decent camera! I love my Sony Ericsson C905...

After dinner, we returned to our rented residence for movies and - against my will - snacks. I actually wonder whether my mother didn't believe me when I told her about this weird drive to eat I'm currently experiencing, so she put the platter of meats and cheeses right in front of me... Well, she believes me now. I wish she had bought wheaty and sugary garbage, because I would never be compelled to consume something that could harm me. The down-side of teaching her about nutrition... So, the plan for Sunday was to make up for a bit of excess with a normal-to-low eating day...

Sunday - Valentine's Day

After a very deep, generous sleep, we rose from the luxurious bed in our cottage to be greeted by an entire lack of hot running water. The house was build in the mid-1800's, but we were still expecting a few mod-cons... Fortunately, I'm more than accustomed to skipping a shower or two, so I headed to the kitchen to breakfast on salmon sashimi. Sadly, my ever-efficient mother had already unpacked the fridge, and had left my salmon fillet out on the bench after packing everything else away for the drive home. I opened up my room-temperature fillet, and sliced a bit from the middle, but it was lacking in taste and texture. It would have been fine had I some lemon juice (since plain sashimi is best chilled), but without it I couldn't manage more than two bites. Ah well, I was eating light anyway... Having identified the positive effects of fat consumption on my side effects' symptoms, I bought some double cream (51% fat, practically solid!) and devoured a spoonful for breakfast.

We passed through the Daylesford Sunday Market on our way out of town, hoping to find the organic meat supplier that my parents had spied in Ballarat - they put up a stand at a Saturday market near Pipers but it closed before the beau & I arrived. There was no meat to be found, but plenty of trashy trinkets, so we hopped back in the car and made our way back to Melbourne for our Valentine's Day celebrations. The day was teetering on the edge of disaster from a very early hour: the beau had been up frequently throughout the night, tending to work issues, and thus was pretty tired; I was in my usual fatigued state, coupled with some off-schedule PMT to deal with; it was a two-hour drive back home, and as soon as we arrived we were heading to the first part of our V-Day (or as it felt, Zzzz-Day) plans - to see the live cinema streaming of the play, Nation, performed at London's National Theatre.

After the show, it was off home, and the beau was banned from the kitchen whilst I whipped up some secret picnic fodder:

Ham, feta & red capsicum frittata, roast chicken, and fresh garden salad for the beau.

I served myself a frittata sans capsicum, a bit of chicken, and a generous chunk of double brie for the fat content.

The frittata muffins were made much like my Mini Frittata recipe details, but lazier as I was pressed for time:

Simple Savory Frittata - Single Serve Sized

1. Heat the oven and grease the muffin tray holes with butter.

2. Dice 400g ham (free-range and unadulterated), 180g smooth feta cheese, and one large red capsicum. Combine in a large bowl.

3. Spoon diced mixture into muffin tray holes - don't pack tightly. Fill holes evenly, and the mix should be no higher than level with the top edge of the tray.

4. Crack 7 or 8 eggs into a cup and beat until yolks are combined with whites. Pour egg mixture evenly over dived mix in tray, filling to around the 3/4 level.

5. Bake in moderately hot oven until risen and firm to the touch. Turn off oven and allow to cool with oven door ajar before removing - this will ensure the bottom of the frittata cooks properly and may make them easier to remove from tray. If they stick, loosen gently around the edges with a knife.

Delicious served hot or cold. They keep well in the fridge if you need to make them a day or so in advance.

These treats were served to the beau at Moonlight Cinema's V-Day Screening of 'New York, I Love You'. Unlike the beloved 'Paris, Je T'aime', this one wasn't terribly romantic, and a bit slow, so there was time to notice the lack of padding between us and the ground of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, but at least no one can see you shifting around and sprawling on top of piles of blankets under the cover of darkness... Plus, on V-Day, no one would really care what other couples got up to on their picnic blankets...

As a special V-Day surprise, I experimented with making choc-raspberry muffins based on the chocolate sponge recipe of eggs and cocoa. Success, although how I failed to photograph it, I'll never know! But here's a photo that is fairly similar to what my experiment ended up looking like, although my mixture was much darker and denser - I didn't bother separating the eggs, but the mud-cake result was just as satisfying, if not more so!

Here's what I did:

Choc-Raspberry Muffins

1. Heat oven to moderate and grease a mega-muffin tray hole with butter or coconut oil.

2. Combine 40g unsweetened cocoa, 3 pastured eggs, and around one teaspoonful of sweetener (stevia & xylitol here, for the beau) in a bowl, preferably using an electric beater.

3. Spoon mixture into muffin pan until hole is half-full.

4. Add a layer of fresh or frozen (not defrosted) berries on top of the cocoa mixture, and top with more cocoa mixture until berries are covered.

5. Bake until risen and firm in the centre. Turn off oven and allow to cool with oven door ajar before removing - this will ensure the bottom of the muffin cooks properly and may make it easier to remove from tray. If it sticks, loosen gently around the edges with a knife.

Serve warm or cool with cream (or cream cheese, as that was all I had left in the fridge).


I was meant to step-up the drug dose last night, which is why I organised to take today off work. Yeah, forgot to boost the dose. Oops. So now I either do it tonight and risk crashing through my 11 hour day tomorrow, or put it off... I wanted to also call my GP to talk about my reaction to the drug, but I couldn't get through. Oh well. I'm feeling good though - upping the fats, and restricting myself to animal products again. Also, my protein powder has arrived, so I will have that to help control my urge to feast as well as hopefully help me to shed the gain. I'll be more-or-less following the Six-Week Cure Shake Weeks program, sticking to meat and eggs for dinner. The powder is making its journey to me via the beau, so today I went for the carnivor-friendly foods that were already in my fridge:

Breakfast/Lunch (eating window from 11:30am til 4:30pm) - roast chicken leftover from the picnic yesterday...

... and haloumi fried in copious amounts of coconut oil and macadamia nut oil. The haloumi was just the messenger, really. I bought the macadamia nut oil to make mayo with, but haven't tried yet, so I figured I'd try cooking with it - yum! I could possibly eat it alone too; something I can't stomach with coconut oil, no matter how I try...

I also had a leftover ham & feta frittata, and my eating for the day was all done by 4:30pm (satiety- & calorie-wise). I metaphorically locked myself out of my kitchen, sticking to tea and water for the rest of the evening. I kept myself busy with a bit of a bodyweight exercise, and then half an hour of sweeping the back patio and pulling out chunks of grass squeezing their way through the paving stones. Hard work, and quite a bit of sweat, so I'll be grateful for my hot running water tomorrow morning!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Birds flyin' high, you know how I feel...

First of all, I want to send heatrfelt thanks to all those commenters who weighed in with their support an perspective and empathy in response to my last post. Your messages were truly touching, and a very welcome reminder that 1) my efforts are appreciated and 2) that I'm not the first to have a hyperphagic reaction, whatever the cause.

I'm feeling a lot better today, given that I've been on this dose of my drug for almost a week, but that also means it's time to step it up another notch... I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so I'll be upping the ante on Sunday night, taking Monday off to cushion the potential crash-landing.

Blocking my access to food has worked very well - a little too well; yesterday I at e a small breakfast and packed a small lunch, about 600kcal combined with a decent amount of animal fat. At the end of my long day of classes and rehearsals, I wasn't ravenous but I was ready for dinner. However, it took me so long to find a way home on that miserable, rainy evening, I missed my chance to eat dinner and still have a sufficient amount of digestion time before wanting to go to sleep. So, after all my plans to put a hold on the ADF protocol, I ended up fasting. Today was a normal eating day - a generous breakfast, no lunch (too busy, and not hungry), and a large dinner of protein and fat. I know that the hyperphagia is still present since I was compelled to keep eating dinner tonight even though my logic was telling me that I should be feeling sated... I had served myself a little too much food, but after yesterday's accidental fast, I wanted to be sure to get enough protein to balance things out.

Breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, and some ham (some shaved, some sliced off a 'log' of free-range ham from the local butcher)

Dinner: Corned silverside leftovers, chicken drumsticks wrapped in bacon, and extra coconut oil.

I'm full, but I catch myself gritting my teeth - a sign of a desire to eat, for me. I'm drinking tea so hopefully I can keep my stomach and mouth occupied until bedtime.

So, while not much has changed, I am pleased that I can wield self-control now that I've identified the problem (it's amazing how long I ignored my extra snacking, even though I was logging everything, and feeling bad about the calorie totals), and the fact that the scales reported a 0.7kg drop overnight is comforting. I am still currently up by 5kg on my post-Christmas weight, and 7kg on my pre-Christmas weight. It's devastating that half of my fat loss success has been so quickly reversed. What's helpful to my sanity though is that I haven't gained any weight on my face, just gut and maybe thighs/hips, so it's not an all-over bloat issue and maybe other people won't notice... Here's hoping that I can get rid of the extra weight promptly! At least we're in for some cooler weather, so I can hide a bit more. I need to go and buy warmer clothes, but I don't want to go shopping now and spend money on clothes that will hopefully be too loose in a month or so!

In the wider blogosphere, Charles Washington posted a timely retort to the recent claims that long-term carb restriction may pose metabolic problems, as asserted recently by Matt Stone. Whilst there's not much to Charles' post itself, he does note a study that he believes supports the theory that Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet, and therefore other low- to very-low-carb, and maybe even zero-carb diets do not cause 'deleterious metabolic effects'. I've seen others critiquing Matt's viewpoints (and no one supporting them, actually), but Charles is the first to try to justify the lack of metabolic issues in the ZC way of life. Although he doesn't do a great job, it's helpful to me to be reminded that many others function as well as I do on ZC and have been doing it for longer, so perhaps I can stop worrying about my metabolic health and just eat the way that (usually) provides me with the most comfort and satiety - meat & fat! I will stay watchful for signs of a lagging metabolism though.

And on a completely different note, Don Matesz posted a detailed discussion on the theory that humans are designed through evolution to live in coastal regions, with ample access to sea animals and plants. My love of seafood is certainly keen to believe this theory! A mix of sea and land animals certainly seems to cover all our nutritional bases, from what I have read. More surf 'n' turf, please!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lament, plus Recipe: Oopsie Pizza!

I've received a couple of quite horrible comments recently, criticising my recent 'obsessiveness' towards food. Overlooking the fact that this is primarily a primal eating blog and being 'obsessive' is part of the territory (if I took a disinterested approach, this would be a pretty dull blog!), this got to me since it rang in such opposition to my recent real-life sensations. Of late, thanks mostly to Alternate Day Fasting, I haven't been worrying about counting calories or watching serving sizes as carefully, in order to test whether the average person could benefit from the ADF concept. The average person would not weight their food, nor know much about nutrition, let alone ban neolithic agents from their food supply. I wanted to make this experiment as realistic as possible for the average dieter.

However, the average person does not also have to necessarily deal with transitioning to a new nerve-desensitising drug - a cluster of my nerves suffered an infection a few years ago, leaving the cluster highly sensitive to contact. The slightest touch on this area feels akin to a rough blade plunging through the skin. Not nice. So my GP & I have been trying drug after drug, looking for one that will improve, and eventually cure, the situation. A couple of options have helped a bit, but the situation remains. Two weeks ago I started on the latest and scariest of the family of drugs, gradually stepping up the dose every week. This also happened to be the time I started experimenting with formal ADF.

Long story short, I don't know whether the drug or the program - or maybe even just life stress - is to blame, but I have been steadily gaining weight over the past fortnight, and finding myself in the death-grip of what I can only assume is the hyperphagia I've read about from researchers and individual sufferers. I would find myself constantly in the kitchen in the evening, no matter whether I was fasting or not, and unable to stop reaching for nuts or cheese or other foods that didn't require cooking. Even if I was in tears, hating myself for feeling such a powerful need to keep eating, I couldn't stop it. I felt powerful stomach pains but even they wouldn't stop this urgent desire.

My guts are swollen and sore, my legs have swollen a bit (not comfortable in this hot weather, I can tell you), I'm constantly tired for a couple of days after stepping up the drug dosage, and am lacking in motivation to do anything except eat! I haven't been taking photos of my food - that's how much I've been turned off by eating. I did manage to snap a couple of very attractive, balanced meals though:

(Just don't think about what may have compulsively followed those tasty treats into my over-worked and swollen guts...)

I've been at a loss as to how to tackle this situation. I can't stop the drug since it's bloody expensive and, even if it's a painful process, if it's the one that will finally cure this sensitivity then I want to let it do its thing. I don't totally blame ADF for my response, but I will be stopping that method until I can give it a proper trial. I was going to go back to the Six-Week Cure shakes since they were satisfying and made it easy to control portions and get enough fluids in this foul heatwave, but I was out of protein powder. (There's some currently in the mail, and I'll be re-starting the 6WC when they arrive, to help shift my metabolism into dealing with few carbs, high fat, and fat-burning. I'm in need of a quick-fix, sure, but I also know how kick-starting those processes helps me in the long run.)

So, in the meantime, I'm going on lock-down. I never ventured away from primal foods, but I'm going to restrict the 'sensible vice' options, as well as counting carbs and calories, and going for three small-but-satisfying meals per day. I'll be planning my meals ahead so I don't discover when logging my food after eating that I've accidentally gone overboard on calories. Absolutely no snacking will be allowed. I want to try and work out how much of this excess weight is mere water retention thanks to the drug, and how much is due to fat accumulation from consuming excess calories. Now that the weather is at the tail of the heatwave, I want to walk to and/or from work every day, as well as start to integrate more activity back into my life. We're going horse riding on Saturday, for instance, though having to tell the manager my weight over the phone had me nauseated and almost in tears. To see such a change in my physicality in just two short weeks is more affecting than seeing myself finally become slender enough to nearly carry off a bikini. I really hope that the drug's weight-gain effects are just temporary, if the drug is to blame at all. I haven't lost the love of cooking, but I've certainly lost the love of eating, so I hope (after this post) you'll see a turnaround in tone here when describing my eating activities.

In fact, why wait until the next post? I just had a great time in the kitchen, and although it's not a new recipe, I want to share it with you all!

Diana Renata, the Wilderness Childe, posted this recipe on her blog two days ago, and I was instantly reminded of the original Oopsie inventor, Jamie Von Eaton, crafter of other such wonders as Cauliflower Pizza, and how much I always wanted to try making Oopsies, but didn't really need to. I didn't want to have to pack a lunch in the morning that looked like a wrap or roll just so I would "fit in" in the lunchroom. Instead, I would take leftover curries or chicken drumsticks, or nothing at all! So I missed out on the Oopsie experience. However, when presented with Diana's brilliant pizza-base interpretation, I had to have a go! Whilst I'm not sure I agree with her "best pizza base ever" sentiment (I like being able to pick up crisp slices of cauliflower pizza), I really liked the holdable & foldable effect, and the fact that the base is nothing but animal products (albeit processed ones) is a very sweet discovery for someone who dabbles in carnivorism.

My recipe is a pared-down version of Diana's, since I don't really like to use processed agents such as cream of tartar (you don't need it to to make your egg whites stiff), nor garlic or onion powders.I've also incorporated my tried-and-true pizza-making tips for an evenly cooked crust that never sticks to the slide.

Oopsie Pizza


4 pastured eggs
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Herbs & spices to taste
Your favourite pizza toppings (I used mozzarella, capsicum, tomatoes, ham, and mild salami)


Heat oven to moderately high, and place a clean pizza tray inside.

Grab two medium bowls, and separate the eggs so that the whites are in one bowl, and the yolks in another.

Using an electric whisk, whip the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form.

By hand or using a stick blender, beat yolks, adding in cream cheese, Parmesan, and herbs & spices as desired, until thoroughly combined.

Fold this yolk mixture into the whipped whites, trying not to crush the foamy bubbles too much.

Remove pizza tray from the oven carefully, and grease thoroughly. Pour the pizza dough mixture onto the tray, spreading the mix evenly.

Return to oven, and bake until golden brown - around 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare topping items.

When the crust is done, remove from oven and apply toppings (I recommend using a layer of cheese first to hold your toppings in place).

Return to the hot oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until toppings have toasted/melted as desired. Turn the oven off when toppings are cooked, and allow the pizza to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recipe: Sunflower Sesame Crackers

These will be old news to you if you follow the posts on Mark's Daily Apple, and that's how Mark wanted it. But now it's my obligation to ensure future readers of this blog find these tasty treats in my Recipe Index to replace nasty wheat and rice crackers that seem ubiquitous at every party, on every cheese board, and around every bowl of dip. When you want something fancier than veggie sticks and chips to snack on, grab out some sunflower and sesame seeds, and you'll have tasty, crunchy crackers in no time!

(Above - Mark Sisson's Worker Bee's rendition of my crackers, along with my prawn paté)

Sunflower & Sesame Crackers


1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
A small amount of filtered water, just enough to make a paste

Optional - dried herbs such as parsley or thyme, sea salt, black pepper, powdered garlic, cinnamon, etc!

You might also like to try substituting nuts or other seeds for either of the primary ingredients here. I've played with nut flours many times, so I wanted to try experimenting with seeds, especially since they tend to be more affordable and reliable than nuts. You might also like to try nut or seed butters, but that makes for a messier cooking process, as well as adding to their overall price-tag.

Note: Since this recipe calls for seeds, I thought this would be a good time to point out the importance of soaking/sprouting seeds in order to minimise the potential harm caused by phytic acid. The Weston A. Price Foundation details the importance of this thoroughly on their site and in their resources, as do many other publications detailing optimal health and traditional food preparation. Below is a simple step-by-step process (originally posted here) for preparing your seeds - minimal effort for maximum results:

If you choose to soak your nuts and seeds, please follow these general guidelines:

1. Getting ready: Use raw, preferably organic, nuts and seeds. Make enough for three days only. Use a glass or stainless steel bowl or jar (plastics may contain toxins). Rinse your nuts or seeds (purified or distilled water is generally preferred).

2. Soak them: Place your nuts and seeds in in the bowl or jar and then cover it with something breathable, like a towel or pantyhose. Let them soak according to the following schedule (all times approximate).

* Almonds, germination time 8 – 12 hours at room temperature
* Cashews, whole, germination time 2 – 2 1/2 hours at room temperature
* Sesame seeds, germination time 8 hours at room temperature
* Sunflower seeds, germination time 2 hours at room temperature
* Walnuts, germination time 4 hours at room temperature
* All other nuts, germination time 6-24 hours at room temperature

Over the course of the soaking, drain and rinse the nuts or seeds two (2) or three (3). Each time you do this, make sure you rinse them until the water drains clear. This is especially important with nuts and seeds that soak for longer amounts of time.

3. Afterwards: After you've soaked them, you may want to do a final rinse with grapefruit seed extract or organic apple cider vinegar, as these can will clean them of bacteria without being absorbed. You now have germinated nuts and seeds! You're ready to eat them. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three (3) days.


First, you need to make a flour from the sunflower seeds. I use a food processor which does the job in a few seconds, but if you're feeling paleolithic you can crush the seeds by hand!

Sprinkle the sesame seeds into the mix and stir to combine evenly.

Add the water in small amounts and stir the mixture well, stopping when the flour and water have bonded into a mass of dough.

Line a baking tray with baking paper, place the dough on top, and then top with another sheet of baking paper. Roll out the dough as thinly as you can, ensuring thickness is consistent. (Sprinkle on any addition salt, pepper or herbs now)

Remove the upper sheet of paper, and score the dough into desired shapes with a sharp knife. Don't cut all the way through to the bottom of the dough, just deep enough to help you break the crackers apart once cooked.

Bake in a moderately hot oven until properly golden and check that the centre is crisp (about 20 minutes). Turn oven off, open door slightly and leave until cool. This will help dry out the crackers for maximum crunch!

Once completely cooled, break along score lines and serve as the perfect accompaniment to primal dip & cheese platters. They also do a great job as a stand-in for bread when enjoying soup or sandwich fillings, and are delicious topped with fruit chutney (such as rhubarb and strawberry) so long as the batch is plain and unsalted.

(A wonky edge piece topped with a piece of organic Edam cheese - the perfect antidote whilst my colleagues carb-binged on school-provided morning tea...)

The crackers will stay fresh for a good week or so if kept in a air-tight container once cooled completely, making them an excellent road-trip or camping food.