Real Healthy Jell-o

In my quest for really low calorie desserts, jell-o is a natural choice. It ranges from 20 to 40 calories, depending on which fruit you’re using, or if you’re using coconut water or not. Today, I used frozen strawberries.

The most interesting thing for me is that I can pack these jellos with nutritional powders that otherwise I rather not consume in plain water (since I don’t do smoothies anymore in my low calorie diet). So I take my magnesium, collagen, and vitamin C via my jello.

Ingredients (makes 6 large pieces, or 9 smaller ones)
* 1.5 tbspoons Great Lakes gelatin (must be the red kind)
* 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit (except kiwi, pineapple, mango)
* 2 cups of liquid (spring water, or even better, coconut water)
* 1-2 tbspoons of erythritol
* Optional: supplements in powder form

Method

1. Blend the fruit with the liquid, and any nutritional powders that you may be using for about 30-40 secs, until smooth.

2. Heat up 1/3 cup of that liquid in a pot. Add the erythritol and the gelatin, and vigorously stir to dissolve them completely. About 2 minutes.

3. Mix everything again and blend for 10 seconds. Pour it into cups or a deep dish, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Note:
When dealing with real fruit and not just juice, foam will be created on top of the jelly. But so what? It’s delicious!

Advertisements

27 calorie bean brownie

Not a raw dessert, but this is the lowest calorie dessert I can ever have! And it’s so healthy too! I mean, that’s the only dessert you will see having so much nutrition in it!

I found the original recipe on a blog that suggested using various gluten-free flours, but that was ballooning the calories per cookie to over 37. The idea came to me to use beans instead, as they seemed to have fewer calories than any of these flours, and they were sufficiently low carb anyway in small quantities! And of course, it’s all sugar-free.

The texture came out a little bit soft, but it has a perfect taste, so, whatever!

Ingredients (12 pieces)
* 200 gr fat free Greek yogurt
* 15 gr unsweetened cocoa
* 100 gr cannellini beans (from a rinsed/drained can)
* 75 gr Erythritol
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 egg

Method
1. Place everything in a blender, and blend for 1 minute.

2. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until it sets. Let cool, and enjoy!

Per brownie: 26.7 Calories. Net Carbs: 2 gr, Fiber: 0.7 gr, Fat: 0.6 gr, Protein: 3 gr. A source for calcium, copper, phosphorus, B2, B12, and Choline.

Dieting continues

Lost 25 lbs so far, in a little bit over two months and I’m symptom-free for the first time in 17 years. Still, I have another 20 lbs to lose and a few more things to still fix. I’m getting there. Here’s my colorful breakfast today. Beans is the only high-carb food I eat anymore, since my gut needs it. Love them with well-fermented kimchi. Overall, I eat anywhere between 35 and 75 gr of net carbs per day. I’m sure there are days that I fall into ketosis.

My 800 calorie diet program

Sure, it’s a low calorie diet, but in contrast with other VLC diets, it contains about 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) of food per day, which should satiate anyone with moderate activity, making the diet easy to follow. 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 VLC diets).

Morning: (here’s how it looks like)
2 boiled pastured eggs
100 gr Cucumber or 60 gr of tomato
A handful of greens with lemon juice
Tablespoon of kimchi with 40 gr of canned black beans or lentils
1 kiwi or 90 gr of berries, if your day ahead is expected to be intense
Herbal Tea, plain (limit coffee to once a day)

Lunch / dinner: Usually at 130-200 calories each, often cooked in home-made bone broth.
Hearty Soup
Yemista with cauliflower rice
Ratatouille
Spanakorizo
Blatzara Greek spinach pie with cauliflower rice
Green beans with tomato sauce
Lahanodolmades
Kolokythopatates
Cauliflower rice with veggies “stir-fried”
– Mushroom+veggie bolognese (cooked in bone broth), with zucchini zoodles
– All sorts of green leaf salads (use plain lemon for dressing)

Meats are a side dish (up to 50 gr): mostly shellfish, white fish (particularly mahi mahi), occasionally canned sardines in water, boiled turkey breast, offal.

Tea Time Snack:
0% fat Greek yogurt (100 gr)
Kiwi (cut into pieces on the yogurt)
Herbal Tea, plain

Dessert:
Home-made jello (17 calories for 1/12th, sweetened with erythritol)
– or less often, Bean Brownie

15 minutes before bed:
Unsweetened almond milk with added magnesium powder, and cocoa (erythritol sweetener optionally)

Notes:
– I use Cronometer to calculate the calories of what I eat. Almost everything is getting weighed before it goes into a pan!

– I use mostly kiwis for fruit due to their high concentration of vitamin C.

– Stay 100% gluten- and grain-free to reduce inflammation.

– Meat is essentially a side dish, not the other way around. 50 gr are served only per meal.

– No added oils anywhere, it’s a diet very low in saturated fats (to deal with insulin problems that meat-derived saturated fats can create).

– Averages: 20 gr of fiber, 60 gr of net carbs, 25 gr of fat, 6 gr of saturated fat, 60-70 gr of protein, 1:2 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

– Supplementation is needed (not daily): B-complex, magnesium, D3, CoQ10 Ubiquinol, K2 Mk-4, zinc, E, and iron. 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.

– Offal is instrumental to keep healthy in this VLC diet. They contain very high amounts of: Kidneys: selenium. Spleen: iron. Heart: CoQ10. Intestines: Choline (way more than eggs have). Gizzards: Zinc. Liver: A Retinol and B12. Prefer pastured lamb/goat over beef offal.

– While offal is used mostly for its concentrated nutrition, once or twice a week, it’s seafood that make up the most of the daily animal protein intake.

– Drink lots of fluoride-free water (at least 3 liters of spring water per day), and also make herbal tea/chamomile with it. Use such water in your soups and bone broth.

Yemista

Here’s yet another Greek favorite. We had to improvise a bit here to get its taste acceptable at 120 calories, and still feel authentic.

Ingredients
* 4 large tomatoes
* 4 medium-sized green ball peppers
* 250 gr of “riced” cauliflower (or rice)
* 50 gr finely chopped button mushrooms
* a small bunch of greens, chopped
* 1 leek, finely chopped
* chopped parsley, onion and garlic
* salt, pepper, oregano

Execution

1. With a knife cut the upper part of the tomato horizontally (see picture). Do the same for the ball pepper.

2. With a tablespoon dig out the tomato’s flesh, chop it finely, and place it in a frying pan. Do the same for the pepper’s spores and internal flesh, but instead throw these away.

3. In the pan that holds the tomato’s flesh, add mushrooms, leek, parsley, onion, garlic, salt, greens, pepper, oregano. Add 1 cup of water (or bone broth), and cook in high heat until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and mix well with the cauliflower.

4. Preheat the oven at 400F (200C). With the spoon fill up the internal part of the tomato and pepper with the pan’s contents. Place them in a small oven dish with half a glass of hot water, and bake them until the “rice” is cooked through.

Yemista

Lahanodolmades

One of the best Greek recipes, lahanodolmades (stuffed cabbage), Paleo-ified (with cauliflower instead of rice). If using rice instead, use 1/2 cup of it, uncooked. 200 calories per plate!

Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings, 5 gr of net carbs each)
* 200 gr of low-fat beef ground meat
* 250 gr of “riced” cauliflower
* 120 gr of “riced” carrots
* 6-10 large cabbage leaves (of this variety preferably)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 TBspoon parsley, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 TBspoon olive oil (optional, avoid if dieting)
* 2 cups bone marrow broth, or water
* 1 large egg, in room temperature
* 1 large juicy lemon, or 2 smaller ones
* Salt & pepper to taste

Method
1. Wash the cabbage leaves, but be careful to not perforate them. Boil a lot of water in a big cooking pan and immerse the cabbage leaves in it for about 4-5 minutes. The point is to wilt them so we can roll them easily, not to cook them. Discard that water.

2. In a big bowl, mix the meat, the “riced” cauliflower, and the chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Generously add salt & pepper, and using your hands mix all ingredients very well.

3. Take one cabbage leave, and add a small handful of the meat mix on its lower, thicker side. Roll the cabbage once, then fold inwards the two left & right sides, and then continue rolling. Then place that on a cooking pot (with the opening of the rolling touching the bottom of the pot). Do the same for the rest of the mixture and leaves. The big secret for the stuffed cabbage to not unroll while cooking is to pack them very well at the bottom of the pot, so make sure you choose a cooking pot that’s the right size. The less room they have, the more securely will cook.

4. Start cooking in medium heat. Add the bone marrow broth, olive oil, and 1.5 cup additional water. Cook until the liquid has evaporated enough to reveal the stuffed rolls.

5. Remove the pan from the heat. Get a deep plate, and put the egg white in it (keep the egg yolk for later, separately). Start beating the egg white with a whisk for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes a fluffy, creamy substance (picture).

7. Add into the plate the egg yolk and beat again for 1 minute or so. The creamy substance should remain. Add the lemon juice in it, and beat again for 30 seconds. It should look like this now.

8. Using a deep ladle, carefully remove some broth and slowly pour it into the deep plate. Keep beating. Make sure the broth is not super-hot, or the egg will cook. Keep bringing broth to your deep plate. Just pour it slowly, and keep beating! It should look frothy (picture)!

9. Pour the plate’s content back into the pan, and tilt the pan a bit in all directions. It should now have a thick sauce! Crack some black pepper in it, and serve hot (gently reheat if required). Adjust lemon/salt and enjoy!

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
* Turkey breast, OR some white fish
* 1/2 butternut squash, cubed (or 1 zucchini sliced)
* Rutabaga or turnips or yams, cubed
* 2 carrots, cubed
* 1 cup of cabbage, shredded
* 1 cup of cauliflower, cut
* 1/4th cup mushrooms, sliced
* 1 bell pepper, sliced
* A bunch of kale/spinach/chard, chopped
* Some broccoli
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* Some garlic
* 1/2 can of black beans (washed, drained)
* 2 cups of home-made bone broth
* 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.

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.

For a keto version, remove the banana, use the otherwise optional almond flour & baking powder, and sweeten the batter with monk fruit or erythritol.

Paleo pancakes

Plain banana and egg pancake.

Ingredients (makes 6 pancakes)
* 2 egg whites
* 2 large eggs
* 1 large banana
* 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of butter
* 2 tbspoons of almond flour (optional)
* 1 tsp of baking powder (optional)
* 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. Optionally, to make the batter more classic and “flour-y”, you can add almond flour and baking powder along a tablespoon of water.

2. Cut a small piece of the butter and coat a non-stick pan under low-to-medium heat. Then pour a bit of the mixture on the pan too and cover it. Turn carefully after a minute or so using a wide spatula, and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove and set aside on a plate.

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

Paleo pancakes

The version above has almond flour and blueberries in it.

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 a hot chocolate: unsweetened cocoa (1 teaspoon, I got mine at Trader Joe’s), and a cup of Silk or Costco unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I put my magnesium citrate powder in it! I don’t use any sweetener in it, it comes out great as is, but if you’re on the sweet side, add a teaspoon of erythritol!

Here’s how I make it: Add a tablespoon of milk, along all the rest of the ingredients. Microwave for 30 seconds. Give it all a good stir, so they dissolve. Add the rest of the milk, and microwave for 2 minutes. Enjoy!

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)!