200 Calorie Hearty Soup

The problem with the low calorie diet recipes found online is that they often contain grains, which provide very little food per calorie. The smart way is to use vegetables mostly, so your stomach fills up until the next meal, no matter its caloric value. Here’s the golden standard of a recipe that provides plenty of nutrition, fiber, protein, and healthy fats to get you through the next meal.

The recipe below doesn’t provide weight of ingredients, as it’s designed for a big pot (so you can freeze some of it), but a portion as in the picture below is a bit less than 200 calories. Just use whatever veggies are already on your fridge.

200 Calorie Hearty Soup
200 Calorie Hearty Soup

Ingredients
* Chicken breast, OR some (cleaned) white fish with bones
* 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
* Sweet potato, cubed
* 2 carrots, cubed
* 1 cup of cabbage, shredded
* 1 cup of cauliflower, cut
* 1/4th cup mushrooms, sliced
* 1 bell pepper, sliced
* A small bunch of kale/spinach/chard, chopped
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 can of kidney or canellini or garbanzo beans (washed, drained)
* 2 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade)
* salt & pepper to taste
* juice of a half a lemon

Method
1. In a big pot, bring good quality water to a boil, and add the chicken and everything else, except the lemon and the beans. Cook for about 30 minutes in medium heat.

2. If using fish instead of chicken, add it at the last ~5 minutes of the cooking process. Add the beans in the last 2-3 minutes of the cooking process.

3. Enjoy hot, by squeezing some lemon on your plate.

Advertisements

An 800 calorie program

Counting calories doesn’t work, the Paleo and Ketogenic people would tell you. Well, I’ve been Paleo since 2011, and I haven’t lost any significant amount of weight. I’ve found most of my health back alright, but in terms of weight, it just never worked for me (even with exercise). Going paleo-ketogenic in 2012 almost killed my thyroid too, and fats never satiated me anyway (and I was already fat adapted at the time, supposedly, since I was already on Paleo for months at the time). The only thing that makes me lose weight is a low calorie diet. Call me a heretic, but that’s how it is for me.

Here’s a daily 800-calorie program that has the right macros and nutrition: 25 gr of fiber (to make sure your metabolism doesn’t slow down as much), 77 gr of net carbs, 20 gr of fat, 1:1 O3-to-O6, 60 gr of protein (best for moderate to low activity lifestyle), and buttloads of B12.

Overall, that’s about 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) of food per day, which should satiate anyone with moderate activity. Plus, it’s the right kind of food, which doesn’t spike the blood sugar, like whole grains (that surprisingly find their way in other VLCD diets).

Breakfast:
2 boiled eggs (pastured), salt & pepper
100 gr of banana (or peach, or plum, or pear)
50 gr of shredded carrot
Herbal tea

Lunch:
100 gr rinsed/drained kidney beans (or canellini beans, or home-cooked lentils)
100 gr tomato (or romaine lettuce)
100 gr cucumber with sea salt
20 gr raw onion
70 gr of kale
real lemon juice for the salad
half a case of 2% Greek yogurt (aprox 80 gr)
Herbal tea

Dinner:
100 gr of boiled oysters (boiled by you) (or wild salmon, sardines, or chicken liver/hearts)
100 gr of boiled asparagus (or cauliflower, or broccoli, or cabbage)
100 gr tomato (or romaine lettuce, or spinach)
100 gr cucumber (or celery)
50 gr of shredded carrot (or boiled rutabaga)
real lemon juice for the salad
90 gr blackberries
Herbal Tea

Other: 3 liters of mineral, fluoride-free water, at least

Supplementation (unfortunately, it’s needed): magnesium (before bed), B-complex (with real folate instead of folic acid in it), D3 5000 IU (mornings), vitamin E, K2 Mk-4, and CoQ10 Ubiquinol. I take each of these 3 times a week, no more than that. I stay away from multivitamins, since they give you a lot of what you already get from food, and none of what you don’t normally get (e.g. K2).

Gluten-Free Seafood Chowder

We had this lovely seafood chowder tonight. Here’s the recipe. Only change I made over the original recipe was to add mussels, shrimp, and wild salmon in addition to scallops, and used goat broth instead of chicken broth (well, it’s just what I had in my freezer). It was really awesome! The lemon zest did the whole trick to bring this recipe to another level!

gluten free seafood chowder

Paleo Pancakes

These banana pancakes are the best, and I prefer them over traditional flour pancakes. They’re less stuffy and more flavorful, and of course, way healthier.

Paleo pancakes

Ingredients (makes 6 pancakes)
* 2-3 egg whites
* 2 large eggs
* 1 large banana
* 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of butter
* Raw honey to taste (optional)

Method
1. In a blender, mix the eggs/whites and the banana well. Make sure you use egg whites, it’s what will make the pancake to hold together without using flour.

2. Cut a small piece of the butter and add it on a pan under medium heat. Then pour some of the mixture on the pan too. Turn after a minute or so using a spatula, and cook for another minute. Remove to a plate.

3. Repeat step #2 until all the mixture is gone. Serve hot with berries and raw, unfiltered & local honey (that’s the best kind).

Fajitas with keto tortillas

Made these sizzling fajitas last night. The most interesting thing about it is the grain-free, ketogenic tortillas. They were a great substitute. You can find the exact recipe here. For the spice mix of the fajitas, I used this (minus the cornstarch and sugar, plus a bit of chipotle). The rest of the ingredients to assemble the fajitas: beef, peppers, onions, guac with some salsa, sour cream.

Fajitas

ketogenic grain-free tortillas

Hot Chocolate

This is my version of hot chocolate: unsweetened cocoa (1 to 1.5 teaspoons, I got mine at Trader Joe’s), and a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I bought mine at Costco, the only one I found without carrageenan in it). I don’t use any sweetener in it, it comes out great!

Hot chocolate

Amaranth Greens

These are by far my most favorite greens. While the amaranth seeds aren’t Paleo/Pegan (due to being the same family as quinoa), its green leaves are game. Here’s how we eat these in Greece.

Ingredients
* a big bunch of amaranth leaves
* some salt
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Fresh lemon juice

Method
1. Wash the amaranth leaves in cold water and drain.

2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot (filled halfway).

3. Boil until soft, for 20-30 minutes, turning them twice. Drain.

4. Place some of the leaves on a plate, drizzle with some olive oil, and lemon juice. Enjoy hot or cold (do not reheat)!

Keto Brioche

One of the most popular low carb bread recipes out there. The taste is like a French brioche. Great by themselves for breakfast, or for your burgers.

Ingredients (for 6 pieces)
* 6 egg whites, and 3 egg yolks (separated)
* 100 gr of butter
* 120 gr of almond flour
* 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
* some salt

Method
1. Preheat the oven at 350 F, and on the stove, melt the butter slowly.

2. Beat the egg whites with the baking powder on High speed, for about 4-5 minutes, until soft peaks form.

3. On a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, butter, salt, and almond flour. Mix well.

4. Add the second bowl ingredients to the first egg-whites bowl, and mix everything together.

5. Pour on muffin or bread bun silicon trays, and bake until golden brown (about 20-30 mins). Let cool on cooling rack. Store in the fridge.

Note: For a less-brioche texture, and more bread-y texture, mix by hand all the ingredients together, and at the same time, without using a hand mixer. Use all 6 egg yolks too.

Low Carb “Naked” Chicken Pot Pie

No reason for extra carbs that don’t hold major nutritional value. Here’s a high fat, low carb, crustless version of the traditional chicken pot pie. Came out great tonight!

Ingredients (for 4 people)
* 1/3rd of already roasted boneless chicken or duck pieces
* 1 large rutabaga, cut in small cubes
* 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
* 1/2 cup of green beans, cut in small pieces
* 1 small shallot, finely chopped
* 50 gr (1.5 tbspoons) of butter
* 1 large Tablespoon of almond flour (or 1.5 teaspoons of tapioca or arrowroot flour)
* 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 2/3 cup of sour cream
* 1 Tbspoon of Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup of chicken bone broth
* mozzarella cheese as a topping
* salt & pepper

Method
1. Boil the rutabaga, carrots, and beans under medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Strain it. Preheat the oven at 425 F (270 C).

2. On a large pot add the butter and the onion. Let the onion become translucent under medium heat.

3. Add the flour, garlic powder, and bone broth, and then slowly add the cream, parmesan while stirring.

4. When it starts to thicken quite a bit, turn off the heat, add the chicken pieces and the veggies, and salt & pepper. Stir.

5. Transfer the whole thing on a baking dish, and add mozzarella on top. Bake until golden brown on top.

Enjoy!

Back to health with the Pegan AIP + FODMAPS lifestyle

Here’s the way to get back to health, the way I did. I’m not a doctor, but that’s the best way I found to work for me: A modified Autoimmune Paleo + Fodmaps diet. It’s a program that is 4-5 months long and it’s meant only for those who have mystery diseases or are very, very sick and nothing else seems to help them. You will see a lot of difference by the first month, and by the 5th month you would be feeling much more normal. No guarantees, but that’s the idea anyway.

Regardless, in your condition, you’d always need to take extra care with blue light (wear blue-blocking glasses at night), sleep by 10 PM for the right circadian rhythms, have enough early morning sun exposure, walk barefoot in grass, and do NOT do aggressive exercise like HIIT, strength or cardio until you get healthy again. Do not do IF (intermediate fasting) or go ketogenic. Also, avoid being too close to cellphones and WiFi all day long.

Take QiGong or Tai Chi classes, or do Pranayama yoga. These are breathing techniques that remove lactate acid from your body. I promise you, you will feel high for hours after 1 hour of QiGong! Meditate for 30 mins to 1 hour per day (use both concentration and mindfulness meditations, not just mindfulness that’s common in the West).

Food alone will NOT fix your problems, that would only be 50% of the work. The rest, is lifestyle. But, here’s the food guidelines anyway. The rest is up to you.

WEEK 1-4: Pegan AIP + FODMAPS diet

These are the ONLY foods allowed. If it’s not in the list, it’s not allowed!

Grain-free sprouts
bok choy
chives
cucumber
Water chestnuts
all salad greens (except radicchio/chicory/dandelion)
watercress/purslane
ginger
carrot
parsnip
Rutabaga
Pickled gherkins
Green onions (not the white bulb)
Turnip
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
kale/collard/mustard greens
sorrel
olives
seaweed
spinach
Beet greens
Amaranth greens
chard
zucchini
Japanese yam (yellow inside)
Herbs
Some spices (see list here, but don’t use the suggested garlic)
True Sea Salt

All common fresh or frozen berries (except goji)
all citrus fruits
banana (ripe only, a small one, or 1/2 of a large one)
Plantain, peeled (not as flour)
Prickly Pear (cactus fruit)
Dragon fruit
Starfruit
Jackfruit
Durian
kiwi

Avocado oil (for high-heat cooking)
Coconut Oil (for low-heat cooking)
Extra-virgin cold-pressed Olive Oil (for salads)
Animal fats (except butter/ghee)
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (for salads)

Pastured meat (prefer to eat more wild fish than muscle meat)
Limit chicken if all you can find is free range/organic and not pastured
Pastured offal (particularly liver, heart, spleen, kidneys – Goat/lamb are usually pastured in the US, I buy that at Mideastern shops)
Wild-only fish (preferably high in omega-3 fats, e.g. sardines, wild Alaskan salmon)
Pastured/wild bone broth (in soups, almost daily)
Oysters (if canned, rinse them) – Do not consume at all if you’re allergic

Per dish, 1/4 should be cooked animal protein, and 3/4 are veggies, very often raw. If you can’t handle raw veggies well, start small and build it up as time goes by.
Do not limit fats/calories. Eat as much as you need, in 3 full meals a day.

LOTS of fluoride-free water (for cooking too)
Herbal Tea (no sweeteners of any kind)

Vegetable juice once a day, every day: cucumber, zucchini, carrot (not everyday), large handful of spinach/kale, small piece of fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 4 leaves of mint, 1 citrus fruit of your choice, OR 1 kiwi, OR 1 prickly pear. Drink immediately, do not refrigerate.

Vitamins are encouraged, just make sure they have very few fillers. Particularly go for D3 (take it when eating food that has fat), K2-Mk4 (with food), CoQ10 Ubiquinol (with food), B-Complex that doesn’t contain yeast (make sure its B12 is not the Cyanocobalamin type), Magnesium (20 minutes before sleep). Do not take multi-vitamins, they give you too much of what you’re already getting from food, and too little of what you don’t.

IN SMALL AMOUNTS ONLY (choose only one of these per meal):
Avocado (up to 1/4th)
Orange- or purple-inside sweet potatoes/yams (up to 1/2 cup)
All other squashes (up to 1/2 cup)
Radish (up to 2)
Beetroots (up to 2 slices)
Celery (1/3 of a stalk)
Brussels Sprouts (2-3 sprouts)
Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked-only)
Fennel (1/3 cup)
Mushrooms (up to 2 only)
Leek leaves (1/3 cup, not the white bulb)
Sauerkraut/kimchi (up to 1/4th cup)
Grapes (up to 10 pieces)
Pineapple (1 piece)
Pomegranate (1/4 cup)
cantaloupe, melons (up to 100 gr)
papaya (1/4)
passion fruit

WEEK 5: Pegan AIP diet

You add back all the rest of the fresh veggies and fruits that weren’t allowed before (e.g. cabbage, asparagus, avocado, dates, artichokes, cauliflower, onions, green beans, garlic, lots of other fruits etc). You can now also eat freely the ones marked before as “in small amounts only”.

You still avoid all the foods that aren’t introduced yet (e.g. nightshades, that will come on Week 9, or the rest of legumes that will come on Week 15). Basically, you will only add the rest of the fresh veggies/fruits as allowed on the Paleo AIP protocol.

Notice how you feel. If you start feeling uncomfortable, go back to AIP+FODMAPS. If you don’t notice any problems, you can go ahead for the next step in Week 6.

WEEK 6: Add Coconut

You can now add real coconut milk (not the beverage kind), or fresh/dried coconut to your diet, always unsweetened. Do not use coconut flour.

Add more raw veggies as part of your daily food intake, and more types of vegetable juices (especially since you can now eat more types of veggies and fruits).

Notice how you feel. If you start feeling uncomfortable, avoid the newly introduced food until the end of this whole program.

WEEK 7: Add eggs

Eat ONLY pastured eggs. Most supermarkets and farmer’s markets have these now. Chickens fed with soy or grains, leave a residue of that on their eggs. Most people who think they’re allergic to eggs, are often allergic to the soy in them!

If you have your own backyard chickens, even better. Feed them all kinds of veggies, fruits, seeds (particularly chia/flax for their ALA omega-3), worms, calcium/shells, and from grains, only some rice and organic corn. Particularly great for chickens is purslane (you can plant some). That plant contains lots of ALA omega-3, that the chickens convert to DHA omega-3 in their meat and eggs, and that’s the form that humans can use in their bodies.

Notice how you feel. If you start feeling uncomfortable, avoid the newly introduced food until the end of this whole program.

WEEK 8: Add seeds

Always soak your seeds, for 2-3 hours. Then rinse well, and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

Chia/flax are allowed, but don’t overdo it with the. Chia brings diarrhea in big quantities, while flax has way too much estrogen. You’ll get your omega-3 from fish.

Choose a good quality mustard, without additives.

Again, the same disclaimer as above applies regarding how these make you feel.

WEEK 9: Add Nightshades

Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplants, and white potatoes are now allowed. Always peel the potatoes (the toxins is in the skin). Careful how these make you feel.

Regarding the nightshade spices, avoid them still, and continue using the spice list of Week 1.

WEEK 10: Add Wild Shrimp

90% of people who avoid shellfish due to an allergy, they only have an allergy to the crustaceans type of shellfish (crab, shrimp, crayfish, lobster etc). So adding shrimp, will let you know if you have such an allergy or not. Obviously, avoid completely if you have a known allergy.

WEEK 11: Add nuts (except peanuts)

Nuts must also be soaked. Each type of nut requires a different soaking time, depending how big it is. Generally, cashews are at 4 hours, while Brazil nuts are at 12 hours. The rest are in the between. Refrigerate up to 2-3 days.

Do not use nut flours, or nut milks.

WEEK 12: Add the rest of the shellfish

Now you can experiment with other types of shellfish too, e.g. clams, mussels, winkles, squids, octopus, cuttlefish, and scallops (you already eat oysters in this diet). If canned, e.g. in seed vegetable oils, simply rinse them well, and add lemon. Farmed is ok for most bivalve-type shellfish. Avoid completely if you have a known allergy.

WEEK 13: Add Fermented Dairy

Add butter/ghee, real yogurt (prefer “European Style”), and homemade-only kefir.

From these foods, the one that’s going to give you the LEAST problems, and the most benefit, is homemade goat kefir (fermented for 24 hours, use in smoothies). So even if you might find that you can’t tolerate the rest of the dairy products, it’s possible that well-fermented, low-lactose, casein-2, goat kefir is tolerable.

Water kefir is ok too (use real brown sugar for it, but don’t use sugar for anything else). Do not use honey for kefir, it kills it.

Do not use cheese and sour cream just yet.

WEEK 14: Add Honey, and the rest of the spices

Raw, local, and unfiltered ONLY, and in small quantities. Never cook honey.

Make sure your spices are pure, without fillers (cheap brands add flours).

WEEK 15: Add legumes (except peanuts/soy)

All legumes (except peas) must be soaked in water for 24 hours, and change their water once or twice. Then rinse well before cooking. Lentils and peas are the least problematic from all legumes, with soy & peanuts being the worst.

WEEK 16: Add gluten-free Tamari Soy sauce

Check if you can tolerate the gluten-free kind of soy sauce. If not, you can try the “coconut aminos” substitute product for when a recipe asks for soy sauce.

WEEK 17: Add again whichever food you couldn’t tolerate before

In the previous weeks, if you found that you couldn’t tolerate a food, try it again. Obviously, if you have a known allergy to it, don’t try that. But if it’s just a newfound intolerance, here you can try that food again, since your gut has healed since.

If you found that you’re intolerant to more than one food, then use as many weeks as necessary to complete your tests. Try 1 food per week, per intolerance.

Obviously, don’t try the foods that you have a known allergy.

WEEK 18: Normal Pegan diet

Congratulations, now you can now follow the normal Pegan diet! This allows to add a few more things that weren’t allowed before, like white rice once a week, small amounts of nut/tapioca flours, quality dark chocolate, cheese/cream, home-made nut milks, a bit of wine, baking powder/soda, and a few other small things here and there as shown in the link above.

Veganism vs Reducetarianism

People who eat the Standard Western diet, but with reduced meat, are called Reducetarians. Yep, that’s a word apparently.

On the Pegan diet, there’s a notion around eating less meat than the standard Paleo diet too. I’m reading a lot of philosophical texts, and the overall sentiment is about “reducing harm”. They don’t advise to go all out to try to be as perfect as possible in everything, but rather, “do your best to reduce harm”. So I think eating less meat, kind of fits in that philosophy too.

Personally, I don’t believe that homo sapiens is the best it can be without at least some amount of animal protein. There has never being a human culture that was vegan in the past, and even more interestingly, no other ape was either. Apes that are considered “vegan”, actually are not. Their veggies and fruits are full of worms and insects. That’s how they get their B12 and other nutrients found only on animals. About 7%-10% of their diet is actually animal protein, depending on the species.

But today’s food does not come with worms. It comes sanitized. Which is why I believe that going fully vegan does not help the health in the *long run* (immediate benefits will indeed ensue, but not after a few years). So, either going vegetarian, or even pescetarian or reducetarian, makes sense in that case. If apes are teaching us something is that we need only a little bit of animal protein, not the obscene amounts we eat in the modern world.

By reducing beef, or by using pastured beef-only, you can reduce your carbon footprint by a lot. Lamb and goats are pastured most of the time, while if you can find pastured poultry, that would be best. Personally, I rather buy pastured chickens, but I can’t find any in my area, so I resort to free range (which is not really that good for either the chickens’ health, and consequently for ours). My eggs are pastured though.

For fish, I only buy wild. Wild shrimp too. For the rest of the small shellfish, it doesn’t matter much, so farmed is ok too (they’re like in the wild anyway, even if they’re called “farmed”).

What makes sense to me overall is this: eat some meat/fish only for dinner (mostly fish), and stay vegetarian (+bone broth, if required in soups) the rest of the day — except for Monday, where you go completely veg*n (serving as a tiny detox day).

I want to make a note here, and say that I respect Raw vegans way more than standard vegans. I don’t consider standard veganism, with its amazingly high usage of cereals and soy, healthy. Raw veganism instead, is actually Paleo: the kind of diet we had millions of years ago. Peganism/Paleo came much later, while standard veganism is akin only to Agricultural Revolution just 10,000 years ago, when we learned how to farm cereals, and got sicker from it (look it up, humans height and brain shrank compared to pre-agricultural times, and chronic diseases boomed).

So anyway, that’s where I stand on meat consumption. I need it (regardless of what vegans say), it’s just that I don’t have to overdo it, neither pick cheap sources that are add extra guilt in my conscience.

Gluten Free Tempura

I try to avoid flour of any kind as much as possible, but 6 years without Tempura took its toll today, so I prepared some using rice flour. A pretty involved recipe, since it took me about 1:30 hours from preparation to eating. I even made my own dashi, from bonito flakes and kombu seaweed. We used Japanese white sweet potato (my husband’s favorite), eggplant (my own favorite), mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and of course, jumbo shrimp. The sauce contained home-made dashi, organic tamari GF soy sauce, and true mirin (traditional, fermented recipe which contains no corn syrup etc). Yum!

I’m trying to bake some chicken pot pie tonight too. Then, I’m off with flour for a long while.