Friday, June 25, 2010

One For The Road

In fewer than seven hours, the beau & I will be hopping on board the first of a series of planes that will eventually deposit the two of us in sunny (it better be...) Canada! So I am bidding you adieu for two weeks, but before I rush off to pack my suitcase full of distressingly light-weight garments that haven't yet experienced my current figure, here's a quick breakdown of my situation at present and in future:

* I'm really enjoying yoga. It's really hard work, especially since I'm also using a non-beginner podcast to give me ideas for workouts between sessions at Balwyn Yoga, but I'm really loving it. This week, I went along at the tail end of a punchy series of fasting: 16hrs of nothing but water and tea, and then over 24hrs of fat fast food and portioning, although I hadn't yet had my fourth & fifth meals of the day (and decided to skip them thanks to the immense endorphin high that greeted me mid-way through my yoga class)! I floated home...

* For those of you who haven't heard of the Fat Fast per se - though you probably have heard of something similar - here's a quick summary:

- I am striving to garner 90% of my calories from fat, whilst limiting my caloric intake to create a decent deficit. Atkins recommended 1000kcal, spread out over four or five meals in the day. I'm more flexible - I just listen to what my body wants.

- My meals of choice (since I'm paleo, I don't do the cream cheese and whipped cream + sweetener concoctions Atkins recommended) have been 1) 30g macadamia nuts, 2) 1T nut butter with 1T coconut oil, and 3) a hard-boiled egg with 15g butter. I've been hitting a minimum of 80% calories from fat, and I could go higher if I liked the taste of my current coconut oil...

- The idea is to fast for 3 to 5 days (any longer and you're putting your body at risk of protein deficiency), and if fat loss is happening (which is pretty likely given the cal restrictions - if not, there's a major hormonal issue at play) then you can scale up the calories and add in foods such as fatty ground beef. Then you can return to Atkins Induction etc, to see if your body's newly revved-up metabolism will happily continue to burn stored fat.

For me, I'm playing with more of an Alternate Day Fasting situation. I'm not setting a rigid schedule, since going overseas would make that awfully difficult, but I'm planning to eat 'normally' for one day, and then fast for one or two days, then another normal day, etc. We'll see if this is necessary. I won't necessarily be doing a fat fast as such on my fasting days - just keeping my calories at or below the 1000kcal mark, if my body likes it.

Progress thus far: the morning after my yoga class, I weighed in at 2.6kg less than I had pre-fast! I know that I was holding onto some water thanks to sodium and such, but it was still wonderful to see! My body demanded a refeed after that though, so I used my sore muscles as an excuse to finish off what remained in my jars of almond butter and macadamia spread. The overall calorie count (albeit estimated in terms of servings) was pretty monstrous, and yet the today the scales only showed an increase of 0.5kg, which I would have expected merely considering the weight of normal food amounts. I'll be scale-free in Canada, so I'll be monitoring my gut jiggliness... Traveling is always rough on the cortisol levels though, so I'm not too bothered, so long as I don't GAIN weight!

To the future:

I've bagged up two hard boiled eggs and a pat of butter to take to the airport and eat before we get on the plane at 7am, if I'm hungry. I know eggs don't keep too long out of refrigeration, but I'll try not to eat for the sake of eating... I've also bagged up three servings (200kcal each) of macadamia nuts that should get me through the looooong flight! Dang, I should have bought some bagged white tea - all I have is the loose stuff and that won't work on a flight... Boo.

The beau's mother, with the assistance of the lovely Kat Garson, has found two very exciting farms in/near Ottawa to supply me with my meaty goodness for the trip, as well as hopefully becoming my MIL's continuing provider of good meat - you know, meat that's actually suitable for human consumption. Now, the original plan was to go out to the farms, take a butcher's (haha, a pun AND cutesy rhyming slang!), and do a write-up. However, time constraints mean I will not get to check out the wonderful Dobson's Farm this time, although we have placed an order for a variety of beef, particularly ground beef, that we will be picking up upon my arrival via the central city market in Ottawa. It's not all bad news though - we WILL squeeze in a visit to the terribly exciting Bearbrook Game Meats farm since it's snuggled up close to where I'll be staying! I'll finally be able to try the North American 'delicacies' my Tweeps often tweet about - buffalo, bison, & boar! I'll also be sure to stock up on smoked salmon, my favourite, and maybe I'll even try foods that are available in Australia but not easily, such as emu, duck, kangaroo (if they have unadulterated steaks, etc), and some sausages that are made of a mix of meats, provided they don't include flour.

I might get some cooking in during my trip, if there's demand at all, but otherwise I'll be sitting back and lapping up some much-needed sun!

The suitcases are calling - au revoir!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Recipe: Frittata (Crustless Quiche)

I make these constantly, in muffin form for picnics, and in pie size for dinners. And yet my usual technique is oddly missing from my blog! There's my Quiche, with its almond flour crust, and my really meaty Kanga & Bacon Frittata, but my diced-stuff-with-egg-poured-on-it-baked-in-oven has yet to feature! Until now...



The fillings:

Diced meat - I like bacon or ham, but cooked chicken would work
Diced veggies - capsicum, zucchini or squash, sweet potato, carrot, tomato... Anything that's like to hold its shape somewhat is a good candidate!
Diced cheese (if you're into that kind of thing) - feta is my tried-and-true favourite.

The rest:

Eggs (1.5 to 2 per person, around 6 for the average pie dish)
Cream (1 to 2T per person)
Herbs (chopped basil and thyme are my favourites)


1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease pie dish or muffin tray with coconut oil or butter.

2. Dice and toss all desired fillings in a large bowl. Place fillings into the chosen baking apparatus, but don't pack them down.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, cream and herbs until combined and a little frothy. Pour egg mixture over the fillings, but don't fill container completely - around 3/4 filled is perfect.

4. Place into the oven, and bake gently until centre has solidified. You may need to lower the temperature if the top is browning too fast.

Serve hot, warm or cold, and it's fantastic a day or two later as well. Mmmm!

Recipe: Kangaroo Balls! (aka Meatballs)

I finally found a reason to push beyond my lazy burger-slash-rissole recipe and branched out into proper meatball country for my latest dinner party fun times! I used almond flour since I prefer the taste of an almond coating on my red meat, so I figured it would be the tastiest choice when it came to having flour on the inside of the meat as well. I was deliciously correct. These were the tastiest kangaroo balls I've ever had in my mouth.

Kangaroo Balls


1kg minced kangaroo meat (or ground beef, of course)
2 free-range eggs
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, especially basil!
1/2 cup almond flour
Optional - 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. I always use my hands so that all the lumps of meat are tenderised and combined with the other flavours. Grabbing about a tablespoonful of mixture per ball, roll into spheres and set aside.

There are two good options for cooking:

* Fiddly but tasty: heat a little tallow or lard in a frying pan, and roll a few balls around in the pan over a high heat until cooked through.

* Easy but drying: line a baking tray with foil, and place balls on top in a single layer. Bake in a hot oven for around 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked through.

You can also combine the two methods for the best results - fry the outside of the balls to seal in the moisture, then bake to cook through without burning.

Delicious on their own as finger food, since the roo meat packs an unexpected punch, or as part of a tomato soup combo or warm salad. I served mine alongside a variant of my Warm Beet Medley.

We Like To Party!

Now I could bum you all out by regaling you with the continued fat accumulation misery hell I'm going through, and reveal that - although some water weight is involved - I hit my pre-2009 weight when I weighed in this morning and I'm back to tracking my food and I'm going to push my fat percentage to 90% to try and kick-start some loss and that my summer lake-side holidays in Canada next week is suddenly a terrifying cellulite-laden nightmare of a prospect...


Party food photos!

Cheese Crackers - no, LITERAL Cheese Crackers! Parmesan and cheddar cheese, grated, plopped on a lined baking tray, and melted violently in a hot oven. Peel, slice, and serve the hardened, crispy, tasty goodness!

Kangaroo Balls!

Then my interest in snapping photos diminished as guests started arriving, but here's the rest of the goodies as laid on the table - from the top: Fried Chicken Fingers, Warm Beet Medley with lots of extra veggies like fennel, a yummy cos salad with snow peas and capsicum and stuff, Veggie Frittata, Kangaroo Balls, and Ham & Veggie Frittata.

A final plateful...

The final flourish - Chocolate Zucchini Muffins!

... and lookit! Leftovers the next day!

Now, wasn't that more fun??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recipe: Coconut Curry Soup

I've found a new favourite - a creamy, rich soup with enough zing to warm away the Winter chills from mouth to tummy!

Coconut Curry Soup


1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2T coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin, roasted
1 stalk broccoli, chopped
8-16 stalks asparagus, chopped
(Other similar veggies could be substituted for the above options, i.e. cauliflower, capsicum, sweet potato)
3T mild curry powder
1T chopped chillies, or chili flakes/paste
1T paprika
1 can coconut cream
Salt & pepper to taste


1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, heat coconut oil until melted. Add onion and garlic, and saute until fragrant.

2. Add curry powder, chillies and paprika, and stir well.

3. Add veggies to the pan, and fry gently for a minute.

4. Empty can of coconut cream into the pan, then fill the can with water and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil.

5. When vegetables are cooked thoroughly, remove pan from heat. With a stick blender or by pouring the soup into a food processor, blend until vegetables are pureed.

6. Meanwhile, if using meat, sauté the meat in a medium frying pan with a little coconut oil. When meat is seared along all edges, add to pureed soup mixture and return to the heat. Simmer until meat is cooked through.

Serve cold or warm, but don't serve straight from the boiling pot, as the flavours are better when they have time to develop. This soup keeps very well, and tastes even better the following day. Delicious and nutritious!

Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Don't you love it when an experiment goes oh-so right? I had planned to make my Savory Zucchini Slice for my dinner guest, but had already prepared a savory starter and main, so why not something a little sweeter for dessert? I didn't want to use sweeteners, of course, so I used the next best thing - raw cacao powder! Playing on the inherent sweetness (to me) of zucchini, the resulting muffins tasted almost exactly like the carby rubbish (low fat, of course) I used to inhale on a regular basis. Moist, rich, tasty perfection, with visual appeal to boot!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


3 small zucchini, grated finely
6 eggs
1 cup coconut flour or almond flour
1/2T baking powder (although the slice works well without it)
1T cinnamon
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa)
1/2 cup coconut oil or melted butter
1/2t salt (unless you're using salted butter, like I do)
Some chopped nuts and coconut flakes for topping

Optional - stevia or maple syrup to taste (or make available to add later upon serving, if desired)


1. Preheat oven to moderate - around 175 deg C.

2. Line and grease a muffin tray

3. Separate eggs, placing yolks in a large mixing bowl, and whites in a medium bowl for whipping. Whip whites until fluffy.

3. In the large bowl, combine zucchini, egg yolks, spices, and oil.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture, and stir until combined.

5. Fold egg whites into batter carefully, then pour everything into prepared pans.

6. Sprinkle with nuts/flakes, and bake for at around 50 minutes, watching carefully for burning. The mixture's density means that it will cook quite slowly, but if you see burning happening before the muffins bounce back when prodded with a finger, turn the heat down to 100 deg C and allow the centre to cook slowly.

Serve warm or cold with cream, fruit, and maple syrup if desired. I enjoy them alone, although coconut flour can be quite drying in the mouth.

The review from the panel? "They taste just like normal chocolate muffins - though it's good to know they've got zucchini in them, else the green bits inside would be a tad concerning..." True. And scrumptious!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time To Play!

Just like in modern times, all work and no play made Grok a dull boy. Hunter-gatherers have always generally worked fewer hours and have had more leisure time than the average 40-hour-plus American worker. Once the day’s catch was complete or the roots, shoots, nuts and berries had been gathered, our ancestors spent hours involved in various forms of social interaction that we might categorize today as “play.” Young males would chase each other around and wrestle, vying for a place higher up in the tribe social strata. The males might also practice spear- or rock-throwing for accuracy or chase small animals just for sport. Young females might spend time grooming each other. To the extent that play was considered enjoyable, the net effect was to solidify social bonds and to prompt the release of endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) and to mitigate any lingering stress effects of life-threatening situations.

From Mark Sisson's Definitive Guide to the Primal Blueprint

Whilst the irony of using play to deal with stress caused in part by my play is not lost on me, I'm enjoying a range of activities to take control of my cortisol levels, lower my food obsession, and get back into the activities I always found truly enjoyed and felt inexplicably driven to do. Thus, I have vanquished my preference for lazing on the couch, snuggled in my tie-dyed purple comforter, steadfastly avoiding the bitter chill of Winter (yes, once it drops below 20 degrees Celsius, I claim that the 'freezing' weather is too painful to endure), and have been getting creative:


I have been experimenting with a few culinary tricks that don't really warrant their own recipe post. I tried making osso bucco for the first time, using the appropriate cut from my beef delivery from Farmer Dan. After searing the meat, I stewed gently it with lots of spices and herbs. The meat tasted wonderful, as did the fatty marrow, but since I was rushed, I didn't have time to allow the gristly sections to soften and break down completely. I don't mind a bit of chewing, but the beau ended up cutting all the tougher sections off and discarding them, along with the succulent meat still clinging to the gristle. Shame.

The next experiment was inspired by the beau coming down with a nasty cold - ergo, meaty soup was required! I acquired some smoked pork bones, to be different, and boiled them until the entire house smelled like bacon. Mmmm... After removing the bones and noshing on the softened pork goodness myself, I chopped up and seared some topside beef steak, red onion and leek, then added them to the pot, along with diced turnip, sweet potato, tomato, carrot, and celery. Then it was time for the epic simmer, serving some to the boy and then topping up the meatiness with diced ham and fresh basil. The wonderful aspect of soup is that it stores in the fridge so well and reheats elegantly.

Finally, I revisited my Zucchini & Coconut Slice as an afternoon treat for the sick beau, taking down the more savory aspects (cumin) and topping the loaf with Nola. I indulged in a slice - I felt like it and the concept of dabbling in a small amount of carbs on the weekend works well for me so I don't obsess - and topped it with salted butter to avoid triggering a sweet craving. It ended up being my dinner, since it kept me full all afternoon and evening!

In terms of my eating this past week, for those who miss scrolling through food porn shots, know that I've been eating much of the same meals that have been my favourites throughout this primal journey: bacon and eggs, lamb chops, salmon sashimi, smoked salmon, and chicken curry, and then some rarer bits and pieces like been steak, beef burgers, white fish, and roast pork. It has been very interesting desisting my 18 month long habit of logging my food on SparkPeople. I no longer weigh my food. I am trying not to consider the caloric density of my food. I am simply eating what feel like normal portions at normal and necessary intervals. I have been taking lunch to work when possible in order to limit the potential cortisol response of my usual two-meal routine, but given my ability to leave work when the students do, no longer held back for hours by rehearsals and University tutorials to run, I've been happy to wait until 4pm for a late lunch. I'm still turned off by drinking plain water so I've been supping on organic white tea, and also fresh water with a dribble of lemon juice added for flavour. So no major changes in terms of my menu, just a release of my mathematical analysis of my food and its potential for instructing me to eat more when I don't need it, and for beating myself up when I 'fail'. I haven't felt much satiety, so that hasn't changed, although the zucchini slice today hit my gut and had me feeling far from hungry for hours! I'm a little worried I'm going to get some serious munchies when I head to bed in an hour...


I have been doing my best to get to bed before midnight, sleeping for at least 7 hours on work days and longer on the weekend. I'm hoping to kick my numbers up to a steady 8 hours each day, though it's very hard to get to bed by 11pm when the others in the household don't care to... Without sounding tragically co-dependent, I don't like falling asleep alone! Nyawwwww... It's cute until I point out that I just really don't like being woken up when some inconsiderate 6'2" lug flops into MY bed! Stresssssssss... :)

Visualisation & Meditation

Another struggling venture is my Jon Gabriel experiment. For the uninitiated, Jon Gabriel believes that he solved his weight and over-eating issues through a process of visualising his ideal body and other meditative activities, and over the course of two and a half years, lost weight steadily because his body now "wanted to be thin". I acquired the meditation recording from his CD (it comes with his book) and have been listening to it when I go to bed. Apart from the stress that comes from trying to follow a relaxation process whilst my bedmate shines his iPad in my face and coughs his guts up, the recording is quite interesting and listening to a calming recording has helped me off to a very sound sleep. One downside has been that, the first night, I fell asleep before the recording had finished, and woke up an hour later with my headphone cord wrapped around my face. Panic! And since part of the visualisation is to imagine yourself waking up in the morning feeling energised and alert, the jolt awake triggered the rest of my visualisation and I felt revved up and ready to meet the day! Not the best sensation to be faced with at 1am...

As you've probably picked up from my tone, I do feel that Jon's description of his process ("the weight will simply melt off and you will achieve your ideal body just by visualising it!") is overly simplistic. The power of positive suggestion is its ability to train your subconscious and unconscious mind to stop obsessing about food. Jon also attempts to encourage listeners to find physical activity more desirable, to get in touch with their body, but I can't vouch for his success there because I beat him to it!


One of my favourite activities at University was to head down to the sports centre at least once a week and attend yoga, despite my weirdly short calf muscles. It was led by an amazing European bloke that inspired absolute confidence and could lead 30 beginners through a series of postures whilst also spotting every single mistake happening in the room and correcting it. He also would always demand that any women currently menstruating would inform him of the fact before the class commenced. I would understand if he then varied the postures to somehow accommodate the particular physiology of menstruation, but I never noticed such activity... Anyway, I continued with yoga when I joined Fitness First in 2006, but then failed to pick it up again after moving out to the suburbs where I currently reside. The classes were always held too far from home for this non-driver.

However, this Tuesday I bit the bullet and walked down to Balwyn Yoga for a class. Despite the 45 minute walk on a "bitterly cold" evening, I was revved up for my first session in a new space. I was put in the 'beginners area', a small alcove adjoining the main yoga room, where four young, pregnant women had their legs akimbo and there was very little space to move. We were led through a strenuous series of poses, much more difficult than my Uni/Fitness First days, whilst the girls chattered about due dates and baby names and (awkward for me to hear without commenting) breast-feeding/formula and hospital food! I had to pay for 5 classes at once, so I will definitely be attending sessions for the next two Tuesdays before we head overseas. The location of the classes really is inconvenient though, so I will be treating these classes as 'lessons' to inform my own practice at home. I'm also stocking up on free yoga videos and iPod applications to assist me. My enjoyment of yoga has been fully reawakened - I've been finding any old excuse to spend 15 minutes on some poses every day (it helps that I should be doing lots of assessment and writing reports - any reason to procrastinate!), and love watching my flexibility improve. Doing the splits is a long way off, but I'm feeling my leg muscles lengthen and release rapidly! Since yoga is a mixture of strength and resistance training, it is perfect for my body type and primal outlook regarding exercise.

Sprinting & Moving Slowly

My usual walks to work have been literally dampened of late, with rain water encroaching into my Vibrams and through my Injinji socks! Not a great start to the morning. On wet mornings, I have to therefore succumb to the necessity of my old runners. Bleh. I also had the urge today, a cold Sunday, to take a walk at dinnertime (since I was still satisfied by my zucchini slice and butter), and headed out in my KSOs after dark. Once I reached the vacant walking track, I was inspired to do a series of sprints! So I would run or sprint all out for short distances, and then resume walking quickly whilst I escorted my unbridled breasts back into their bra. That's the downside of spontaneous sportiness - lack of pre-meditated sports-bra encapsulation.


My plan to get a massage at least once per month has kicked off as I now have a membership with a mobile massage service in Melbourne. However, I bought a full 'beauty' treatment from them as a present for myself and my beau, charging the massage therapist (whom we had not experienced before) with the task of exfoliating, foot soaking & reflexologically rubbing, facial masking, and aroma-therapeutically massaging both of us in pursuit of relaxation. Whilst the beau enjoyed his treatment, having asked to trade in the facial for more massage, my treatment was anything but relaxing: 1) my massage was first, whilst the therapist still reeked of cigarette smoke; 2) the therapist apparently forgot that he was supposed to massage my feet - and (apparently) being a Pisces, I carry stress in my feet; 3) my shoulders were also ignored - a key zone!; 4) during the back massage, the therapist DUG his thumbs into my hip bones repeatedly, causing bruising! The beau suffered similar marking, and; 5) the therapist applied my facial mask OVER my make-up! Ew! And the combination caused a stinging sensation and, later, a disgusting break-out!

Relaxation fail.

Here's hoping I can get the other therapist that the company has sent to me before, since she was an absolute ninja when it came to my body and my tension patterns. This week's therapist may have been a gorgeous, buff, blond boy who gave off waves of heterosexuality, but give me my 40 year old, red-headed stick figure of a woman with scary arms like Madonna any day!

Retail Therapy

A trip to one of my favourite clothes stores proved to be a very poor idea, since nothing fit, so I thoughts more broadly - cosmetics & glasses! I now have a range of delicious miessence products to minimise the harsh chemicals present in my make-up & removal regime, and I have a sleek black pair of sass & bide glasses being fitted with my prescription in the lab! Good news - I had to have an eye test to update my prescription, and my eyesight has improved since my last test two years ago! Hmm, what's changed in that period of time? Hello, primal!

I also splashed out on a bunch of Injinji socks, at last, to help keep away with winter chill:

Live Entertainment

On Monday night, I went with the beau and his workmates to see Jimeoin at the Comic's Lounge. Although two obese warm-up acts made unimpressive jokes about their size and assumed gluttonous eating habits, the night was relaxing and enjoyable. I do love Jimeoin's style, and I can say that without being biased by my little role in one of his films... I also splurged and had some champagne to help me REALLY relax! Although the bubbly did kick my energy up a notch (and I'm sure I burnt off all the sugar through my constant limb-jiggling and more generous laughter), I proved to myself that alcohol isn't all that helpful in my pursuit of calm since my dangerous knowledge of the effects of alcohol on metabolic & other physiological processes kept me from enjoying my buzz too much.

On Friday night, we had tickets to 'The Ugly One' at the MTC, and enjoyed the twisted narrative that somehow avoided the usual cliches of plastic surgery whilst viciously attacking the usual target of superficial society. The show involves some very witty staging and theatrical devices, with the actors exceeding expectations and throwing themselves into their roles with vigor. Since good theatre is anything but escapism, the relaxation value is mostly due to the hilarity of the piece rather than the opportunity to sit back and lose oneself in the story.

All in all, I'm feeling good! I'm trying not to monitor myself for signs of fat loss, but it's difficult given the prospect of having to don a swim suit in two weeks. I've been finding my old, chipper mood dominating my outlook throughout the day, and have been finding the energy to be more active and involved in the classroom. During my fat gain, I would find myself feeling really sluggish and stuck at my table up the front of the room, even during Drama classes! The fat-cell greed process does far more damage than just encouraging over-eating - my diminished metabolism meant that I couldn't even find the spark of energy to get me out of my seat, so even when I was eating very little, I was burning even less. I'm thrilled to see that turning around!

Two more weeks of work before the Canada trip - I can't wait! And in the meantime, I will be enjoying my meat, stretching & flexing, and enjoying fine entertainment to keep that smile on my face and my cortisol levels dropping. Viva bio-chemical normality!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recipe: Coconut Crusted Salmon

I wanted to add some more crunch and colour to my usual crusted fish fillet - enter, coconut flakes!

Coconut Crusted Salmon


2 salmon fillets
1/4 cup almond or coconut flour
1 egg
1t cumin
1t paprika
1t dried oregano (or other preferred herbs)
2T coconut flakes
Salt & pepper as desired


1. Preheat oven to around 175 degrees Celsius. Line a shallow baking tray with foil.

2. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg until yolk and white is combined.

3. In another shallow bowl, combine flour, flakes and seasonings.

4. Dip fillets in egg, and then seasonings. Lie coated fillets on baking tray. Top with leftover egg mixture and more seasoning/flakes.

5. Bake until coating is golden brown & fish is cooked through (approx. 25 minutes, depending on oven).

Serve with a leafy green salad and sliced tomato, with a lemon wedge. Classy.

Recipe: Savory Zucchini Slice

With the only organic produce currently available in the supermarket being zucchini, and a pile of coconut flour sitting sadly in my pantry, I decided to have a go at making a grain-free version of Mum's old zucchini slice last weekend. I always loved the flexibility of the neutral-yet-distinctive flavour, that could be dressed up with honey or maple syrup for dessert, or with some garlic butter as a savory dinner accompaniment. Great minds continue to think alike, with a similar but sweet version of zucchini cake being posted at Joyful Abode a couple of days later! If only I had JA's mad photography skills and equipment!

Savory Zucchini Slice


2 or 3 small zucchini, grated finely
8 or so eggs
1 cup coconut flour or almond flour
1T baking powder (although the slice works well without it)
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg
(You can add other herbs & spices, depending on whether you want a definitely savory slice (try cumin), or one that you can serve with cream for dessert. Works both ways! A bit of vanilla helps if you're going for a sweet pudding slice)
1/2 cup coconut oil or melted butter
1t salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts and almonds)


1. Preheat oven to moderate - around 175 deg C.

2. Line and grease a shallow slice pan or a deeper loaf pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, spices, and oil.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture, and stir until combined.

5. Fold nuts into batter carefully, then pour everything into prepared pans.

6. Bake slice for at least an hour, watching carefully for burning. The mixture's density means that it will cook quite slowly, but if you see burning happening before the slice bounces back when prodded with a finger, turn the heat down to 100 deg C and allow the centre to cook slowly.

Serve warm with butter or cream, or cold with whipped garlic butter. Depending on level of spices, this one can work as a great snack, entree, or even as a bread pudding dessert!

June & Due For A Change

The play is done but the stress levels are still up, and the constant frustrations of my fat gain is the primary suspect. I've seen a number of prominent figures in the online Paleo community crashing and burning of late, perhaps due to the increased interest in the evolutionary perspective governing our lifestyle and dietary choices, and the increased pressure from commenters and critiques to nail down exactly what it means to be paleo/primal, and the demand for us to be 'golden children' for the movement. Given that many of us come from a background of obsessive & emotional eating, health problems, and other causes of over-weight, it makes sense that increased focus on the successes and failures regarding our weight and health can trigger old psychological problems. Even Dan, from At Darwin's Table, has admitted that he has fallen off the wagon and into his old eating behaviours, and is having to start again. I wish him all the best as he tries to take control of his food addiction once more, although he seems to be starting at what I found to be the wrong end of the perspective telescope; he is monitoring macronutrients and calories with acute detail.

My choice, however, is to finally let go of those measures. I have been logging my food on SparkPeople since January 1st, 2009. I have watched my carbs, primarily, but lately have been watching my calories just as closely. I would allow the numbers to dictate whether I should eat more or not, ignoring my own hunger signals. Post-Deptran, I found that I had no satiety trigger anyway, so calorie-counting became even more of a crutch. Given that Primal eating is designed to help us understand our bodies more accurately, I recognise that I have been consistently severing my mind's connection with my body, and this must have added to my stress and frustrations.

The obvious, but scary solution? Stop the tracking. Stop photographing every single meal. Stop worrying about fasting. Stop worrying about my metabolism. Stop eating for the wrong reasons.

Instead, I will be eating my lovely, grass-fed meat when I'm hungry, photographing particularly special meals only (i.e. recipe experimentation, such as last weekend's Savory Zucchini Bread & today's Coconut Crusted Salmon), and stay off the scale for a few weeks. I will be prioritising my need to relax and get back in touch with my body, so I'm going to build some Yoga back into my usual body-weight routine, and hopefully keep other stressors out of my life. It's report-writing time, but I've never found that terribly stressful, just time-consuming. In three weeks, we're heading off to Canada, and I've been in touch with a grass-fed beef farmer & a grass-fed exotics farmer so I'll be set for the duration of my stay in Ottawa. The trip is free of financial burden, so other than the usual travel issues, hopefully the holiday will be appropriately relaxing.

I'm in no rush, but I look forward to being rid of what I call my 'Cortisol Belly'! I'm glad that, even though 9kg of my 14kg loss has returned, and my body fat percentage is higher than it was pre-primal, my overall appearance is slimmer than before. My gut - and, to a lesser extend, my hips and thighs - is the only area I've put on weight, and my reading tells me that elevated cortisol levels tend to promote fat storage in the lower abdominal area. The evidence weighs heavily upon the dirty c-word...

This week's eats list will be the last of its kind for a while. I won't bother taking shots of meals I've shared with you before; I will record particularly interesting meals, especially if they're fresh experiments, and feature them here for your viewing pleasure. Other than report-writing, my weekday evenings are commitment-free, so I'll have lots of chances to play around in the kitchen.

Breakfast - salmon sashimi & Bertocchi's porchetta-style roast pork.

Dinner - coconut beef curry.

Breakfast - lamb chop & bacon.

Lunch - a chunk of raw cacao butter; my first try. What an amazing aroma! while there was no real taste, but my metabolism enjoyed the hit of fat.

Dinner - beef scotch fillet, pure beef sausage, lamb chop, and fried eggs.

Breakfast - lamb chops, bacon & eggs. Don't you hate it when you over-cook the eggs and the yolks cook through?! Boo...

Dinner: entree - mussels! Hooray for a fresh seafood delivery!

Dinner: main - salmon fillet topped with buttery marinara.

Breakfast - lamb chop.

Dinner - gummy flake fillet topped with buttery marinara mix.

Breakfast - bacon and eggs, classic!

Lunch - salmon sashimi whilst out shopping with Mum.

Dinner - Farmer Dan's leg of lamb, rubbed with garlic and rosemary, and roasted with veggies: fennel, onion, pumpkin and capsicum.

And my share of the roasted bounty - amazing! Served in its own juices.

Snack - purple kale chips!

Breakfast - that's right, I chowed down on the leg of lamb leftovers, straight off the bone!

Lunch - leftover lamb off the leg, curried with coconut cream until tender and succulent. I know what I'll be doing with my leftovers from now on!

Dinner: entree - sauteed marinara and scallops.

Dinner: main - baked barramundi with a lemon myrtle salt rub, with zucchini.

Dessert - savory zucchini slice, served with raw cream! Yes, I finally found unpasteurised dairy, but the company doesn't have a website yet... Melbournites, look out for Swampy's Real Milk - wonderful stuff!

Enjoy the voyeurism, food porn lovers, and make it last - it'll have to do you for a while! ;) From now on, each week you'll be getting just the best of the best that comes from my kitchen and other adventures. I also want to help people find their local suppliers of high-quality, primal-friendly foods, so be ready for more posts in that vein.