The Ultimate Nutrient-Dense Day

Disclaimer: I’m no doctor.

I’ve been struggling with macronutrients in my low-calorie diet (doctor’s orders!), so today I put together a plan to fill up my daily RDAs (Recommended Daily Values), by remaining low fat and low calorie while filling up in quantity so I never feel hungry. I find this to be the ultimate way to get all the nutrients needed, never feel hungry, and still lose (or maintain) weight. And yes, despite the inclusion of some legumes, this is still Paleo.

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The Positives
– All RDAs are met with the nutrient-dense foods selected. This also means high quantity.

– Carbs are low at 140 gr “net” (average American eats twice as much). Fat is low at 25 gr. Ratio is 60% carbs, 20% fat, 20% protein.

– Soy-free, gluten- & grain-free, nuts-free, pescetarian. Optionally: dairy-free & shellfish-free.

– Omega3 to Omega6 is 1:1 (after adjusting the numbers for pastured eggs and Alaskan wild salmon), close to what tribal people eat.

– Fiber is close to 50 gr, which is close to what tribal people eat.

– Magnesium, the nutrient that 98% of Westerners are deficient of, is beautifully high!

– Enough protein that ensures we don’t lose muscle while losing weight.

– Saturated fat is way down! No fried foods, no added oils.

– Water requirements are filled up with food alone, before we even actually drink any additional water!

– High Folate (very good especially for women who want to get pregnant).

– All important ratios are respected (e.g. Phosphorus-calcium-magnesium, sodium-potassium, zinc-copper etc).

– High in anti-oxidants due the high-raw regiment and cleansing juices!

– Low-mercury, despite the seafood included.

– Some ingredients can be substituted for others to make the diet less boring and more balanced.

The Negatives

– Can be a bit expensive (but not terribly so).

– Requires some daily involvement because of the many ingredients.

– Canned oysters can be high in cadmium and lead. Suggestions below.

– You can’t socialize easily while eating this diet.

– Ideally, some supplementation is still required for optimization.

– No snacking (in order to reboot any leptin resistance).

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Breakfast Notes

– Prefer pastured eggs, to get more Omega3, so you reach that 1:1 ratio (the values in the diagram includes conventional eggs, which are higher in omega-6 instead). Do not hard-boil the eggs.

– I buy Artichokes in a can from Trader Joe’s, which are just artichokes in water.

– If you can’t do dairy, substitute that yogurt for an additional 25 gr of salmon for dinner.

– Throw away (or freeze) the pulp from the first juice of the day (the one that contains the beets). This discarding of the pulp brings the overall amount of calories consumed in the day to about 1200 (instead of the printed 1240 number), and fiber to 50 gr (instead of the 58 gr printed).

– Drink enough fluoride-free water during the day! And 1-2 cups of herbal (caffeine-free) tea.

– If you have joint pain or gut issues, drink 1 cup of reheated home-made bone broth (from pastured animals, or wild white fish), straight up, with a bit of lemon in it.

Lunch Notes

– Prefer to steam the broccoli and asparagus that boiling them.

– One to three times a week, substitute the broccoli for 100 gr of baked potato or sweet potato, or cauliflower. Too much broccoli can interfere with iodine intake and wreck havoc on your thyroid.

– Rinse well under cold water, and drain the oysters. Use the lemon juice on them.

– Once or twice a week, substitute the oyster can for a clams can ($1 at the Dollar store). Clams don’t acquire heavy metals as much as oysters do. Additionally, clams twice a week will give you more “heme” iron in your diet. Rinse, drain, lemon.

– If you can’t do shellfish, or even if you can do them, once a week or so, try 35 gr of wild sardines in water instead of oysters, with bone-in. Rinse, drain, lemon.

– Please note that from all the people who can’t eat shellfish, only 10% of them can’t do mollusks (e.g. oysters, clams). 90% of the people reacting on shellfish they react on crustaceans instead (e.g. shrimp). I get my oysters can from Trader Joe’s, smoked, but boiled is best.

– PRESERVE the pulp of the second juice in a plastic bag in your fridge.

Tea Time Notes (around 3-4 PM)

– PRESERVE the pulp of the third juice in the plastic bag in your fridge.

– All the three juices of the day can be made ahead of time during breakfast and then transport them to work using bottles. However, please note that vegetable juices are best drunk within 10 minutes of extracting them.

– For all juices and smoothies: pear can be substituted with apple, and Chinese apple-pear.

– Peaches can be occasionally substituted with fresh apricots or plums of the same weight.

Dinner Notes

– Steam or grill the wild salmon. Serve it with the wakame or soy-free sea-veggie salad, lemon juice, and raw chopped garlic clove.

– You can occasionally substitute the black beans for lentils, garbanzo, or kidney beans. Lentils will give you more iron and folate, kidney beans more fiber. Garbanzo don’t have much of anything in them though. I found black beans to be closer to a true burger taste.

To make the bean burgers:
* Drain the bean can, rinse very well (all lectins are in that canned water), drain. Weigh 100 gr.
* Chop the bell peppers, mushrooms, parsley.
* In a non-stick pan, add the above, and the beans, and stir often, until all liquid has evaporated.
* Add them in a food processor, and pulse until rough (just smooth enough to form burgers).
* In a big bowl, add the turmeric, ginger, some salt & pepper, maybe some hot sauce if desired, and the pulp of the two last juices of the day (not the first one that contained the beets in it).
* Add the food processor ingredients too, and mix well using your hands, to form 2.5″ burgers.
* Lie a parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake the burgers at 375 F (190 C) for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through, turning carefully once.
* Assemble your burgers: romaine lettuce, optionally some mustard, tomato slices, cilantro leaves, burgers. Enjoy!

– Use the cilantro raw, on top of your burger. The cilantro helps greatly in the detoxification of heavy metals. Hence the rather large amount of it.

– Observe the fresh lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, raw onion, and raw garlic mentioned. These are all detox agents, and some of them must be raw in order to work their magic.

– Blueberries in the smoothie can be substituted with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, or a mix of all.

– Definitely get some camu-camu powder, as it contains adequate amounts of vitamin C required.

– If you’re not trying to lose weight, consider adding some more starches in your diet (e.g. rice, potatoes), or some avocado, and if you’re can eat land meat, maybe some pastured chicken too.

– You can substitute chamomile occasionally for herbal Greek Mountain Tea, if you can find that.

Supplementation Notes

Vitamin D3: 1000 IU, almost daily, with breakfast. Nearly everyone is deficient on it, since they don’t see the sun much. Avoid supplementation of D3 in the summer, because it can build up and cause toxicity. Check it via blood test in your yearly physical.

K2-Mk4 (not Mk7 or plain K): 5mg, 2-3 times a week, with breakfast. This transports calcium to the right place (bones and teeth, instead of arteries). This is the one vitamin that no Western food contains much, and requires supplementation. Tribal people get this vitamin from insects.

B-Complex without yeast, without folic acid (folate is ok), and methyl-B12 instead of Cyano-B12. Twice a week, with lunch.

Selenium, twice a week, with lunch. Sure, you could eat a Brazil nut once a week too instead of getting a pill, but brazil nuts only have as much selenium as the soil they grew up on. California Brazil nuts are low on selenium because of that, for example.

CoQ10 Ubiquinol (not Ubiquinone): 100mg, twice a week, with dinner. Required for those who don’t eat offal.

Vitamin E with tocotrienols, twice a week, with dinner. Required because we can’t have nuts in this diet.

– If you’re trying to lose weight or have a fatty liver like I do, get some choline too: 1 capsule, 2-4 times a week, with food.

– This diet is rich in Magnesium, but Magnesium is highly-dependant on the quality of the soil that the vegetables grew out of. So if you feel you need more due to poor soil conditions in your country, get the chelated version here. 25% of RDA (1 pill only), 2-3 times a week, 20 minutes before sleep.

Good luck! I surely will need it too!

Regarding Juicing

While on Paleo, I used to be against juicing due to being fiberless and relatively high in sugar. However, what turned me around was common sense: Soil in the last 100 years has been losing its nutrition at a steady rate, for some vitamins up to 80%! Aboriginal people didn’t used to each much, but even for the little they were eating, they were getting more nutrition than we do today (even on a Paleo or vegan diets).

chart_mineralssoil

So the only way to get enough nutrients through normal food and not pills, and to not eat ungodly amounts of food, is to juice. Sure, they have some sugar in them, but sugar be damn. The amount of nutrition you get from juices, should be able to fight off whatever negative effects fructose can bring.

Given the bad state of my liver (as I write this, I’m still doing tests to find out what’s wrong, on top of the non-alcoholic fatty liver that I already have), I’ve decided to have breakfast and lunches made of 3-4 veggie juices (not much fruit in them), three times a week. Dinner would consist from solid food, that also includes the discarded fiber of the juice (e.g. as in vegan bean “sausages” or bunless bean “burgers”). Traditionally, in the Greek Orthodox religion, most women would fast Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Fasting in their context meant going regular vegan, but in my case, I’d be going liquid raw vegan. This should give some time to my liver to recover.

juice feast

So I made my first veggie juice today, as seen above: kale, swiss chard and mint from my own garden, a carrot, broccoli stems, celery, a small zucchini, and an apple. It was surprisingly good!

Eventually, I hope to go on a 3-day juice fast (or “juice feast” as raw vegan evangelist John Rose calls it).

Vegetable Pulao

A very flavorful one-pot dish with lots of veggies, making it extra healthy!

Pulao

Ingredients
* half a cup of rice, or 1.5 cups of cauliflower rice
* chopped and other veggies (e.g. carrots, peas, artichokes, chayote, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans etc)
* half of a large onion, chopped
* a handful of cilantro, chopped
* 1 Tbspoon of olive or avocado oil
* 2 cups of water, or vegetable, or bone broth (optional)

Spice Mix 1:
* 1 tspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves
* 1 tspoon of grated ginger (or powder)
* 1/2 tspoon of cardamon powder
* 2 buds of clove
* 1/2 tspoon of cinnamon
* 1 tspoon of cumin powder
* 2 star anise
* 1 bay leaf, or 4 curry leaves

Spice Mix 2:
* 2.5 tspoon coriander powder
* 2 tspoon garam masala
* 1 tspoon turmeric
* 1 tspoon cumin powder
* 1 tspoon salt

Method
1. Wash rice, drain, and leave rice in water while preparing the rest. Skip this step if you’re using cauliflower rice.

2. In a deep frying pan, or cooking pot, add the oil and the Spice Mix 1, stir often under medium heat. When the smell becomes strong, add the onion and continue to stir.

3. When the onion is translucent, add all the veggies and stir well. When most of the liquid found in the veggies has evaporated, and veggies start get browned, add the Spice Mix 2 and stir well.

4. Drain the water from the rice, and add the rice into the pot. Add 2 cups of water (or broth), and close the lid. Check often to see if it needs more water before the rice is done. If you’re using the cauliflower rice instead, add just enough water to cook the veggies (it usually needs less water than rice).

5. When all the liquid is evaporated, and the rice is done, turn off the heat, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve. Freezes well too.

Where do I stand on land meat

Over a month ago I made a conscious (and unconscious) decision to stop eating land meat, and get my B12 and protein from seafood, eggs, and fermented dairy.

However, a few weeks later, my blood test results revealed a dangerously low B12 (even if I was Paleo and eating offal for 5 years), and a non-alcoholic fatty liver (that Paleo never cured). Obviously, I started digging, and then it was obvious that my B12 deficiency comes because of my destroyed by celiac disease, gut. Supplementation will probably be needed for life.

However, for the non-alcoholic fatty liver, the situation was complex. Why was Paleo never cured it? Why did I feel much better after I cut out almost all saturated fat from my diet? Was the conventional low-fat “wisdom” correct, and the Paleo doctrine wrong?

Well, what I found out by researching, was that in order for the liver to lose its fatty-ness, it requires lecithin components, particularly choline. Humans only take a small amount of choline via their diets, and the rest is synthesized in the gut. So since I was eating liver once a month or so, and 2-3 eggs daily, which are the primary nutrition for choline, why didn’t I have enough choline?

Well, here’s the kicker: choline requires B12 and methionine in order to get synthesized. A substance that I was (and still am) very short of. Additionally, choline requires other components to get synthesized, that are found only in meat. So I’ve added all these supplements to my daily regiment, and with my new, lower-fat and higher carb Pegan diet, I’m now losing weight without much effort. I eat fewer calories than I used to, without being as hungry as I always was. I’ve lost 7 lbs in a month.

However, methionine, choline, and other B vitamins become a bit of a nuance to just get from pills. I don’t want to be getting 8-10 pills a day. It’s not safe in the long run. So, I’ve decided to add some offal and bone broth back into my diet. Offal every Sunday, and bone broth once or twice a week in soups, to heal my gut further. If I find wild salmon heads, I rather go with salmon for fish broth, but it’s not easy to find these wild. It’s easier for me to find pastured buffalo bones instead, and offal from pastured goats and lamb.

I’m also looking at other, low-fat meat options out there: e.g. game, alligator, turtles, insects etc. I have found that Dr Cordain’s original Paleo diet, which was a moderate fat diet, is healthier than Rob Wolf’s version of high-fat Paleo. The Paleolithic people would eat game, not chickens that are selected to be fat, or are raised with hormones. Game meat, is always lean. I spent years under Wolf’s and Sisson’s version of Paleo, but now I see the wisdom in Cordain’s version — at least for me, with a Balkan ancestry. The only thing that I don’t agree with Cordain is his strict stance against legumes, something that both Sisson, Kresser, and even Wolf now accept as edible.

Finally, I consider offal and bones a more ethical approach to eating land animals, because these animals were not killed for their offal, they were killed for their muscle meat. I would also consider eating a chicken or a goat from my family in Greece, since I know that they are 100% pastured and extremely healthy animals that live good lives. Yes, I understand that I’m piggybacking on the existing status quo by doing so, but I rather be healthier with minimal guilt, rather than be unhealthy with no guilt. I’ve gone in to many surgeries and pains in life (and things haven’t even settled down yet in terms of my health) to give priority to animals instead of myself. So I choose the middle way: reduced land meat intake, primarily offal, from good sources.

So this is where I’m heading towards now: seafood 2-3 times a week, and land meat / offal once a week, plus some supplementation. I hope I have my health fixed by the end of the year, and continue improving in the year following. I have 55 lbs to lose.

More fruits and veggies

I got some blood test results back, and neither my B12, liver or lipids looked good. Consider that after 5 years on Paleo (eating also offal), I should have buttloads of B12. But nope! I’m actually anemic due to it!

And my lipids are even worse than they were in 2012. Quite obviously, plain highish-fat Paleo, just doesn’t work for me. I will always follow the Paleo advice of not eating grains, sugar, or processed oils, but not including legumes, lots of fruits, rice, fermented dairy, and white potatoes, doesn’t sit well with me. Not anymore. My gut needs the starch, and this has been evident since I switched to Pegan less than a month ago.

fruits-1

So now I start my day with lots of whole fruits or a smoothie (I limit smoothies to once a day only, due to having acellular carbs when mashed — bad for you in the long run).

breakfast

Tonight, I prepared some Greek spinach pie, with kale and chard from my own garden. I added no feta cheese or olive oil as the recipe demands, I only added the various greens and rice.

chard-and-kale

Butternut Squash with Chicken of the Woods mushrooms

Oh, wow!

Chicken of the woods wild mushrooms seem to be the most amazing mushrooms I ever had. I got them at eBay for $20 (80 gr, dried). They truly taste like meat! In my opinion, that’s the healthiest “meat” alternative for veg*ns, and not all these terrible soy-based processed cr@p, or even worse, that seitan nightmare.

I re-hydrated about 6 of them and cooked them with butternut squash tonight. The whole dish was absolutely amazing with the fresh herbs from my garden. Highly recommended.

Ingredients
* 1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed
* A small handful of rehydrated chicken of woods, porcini, or chanterelles
* Oregano, savory, sage, mint, rosemary to taste, preferably fresh
* Salt & pepper to taste
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* Juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Directions
1. Place and mix all ingredients into a small baking pan, with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on 400 F (205 C) for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Since we moved in this new home last year, which has a larger backyard, I planted a small garden. I planted mint, kale, chard, savory, cilantro, parsley, arugula, radishes, and a few more things. Here are some pictures of my kale, chard, and savory.

garden-1

garden-2

garden-3

Here’s a basic recipe on how to make some soup, with whatever vegetables you have around. This was my mainly-asparagus soup yesterday. When you buy asparagus, you can cut them in half, steam the upper, softer part and eat them with some butter, while you can use the bottom, harder parts in the soup.

soup-1

Ingredients
* Greens (e.g. kale, chard, spinach, sorrel etc)
* tubers (e.g. 1 potato or yam)
* roots (e.g. carrots, kohlrabi, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, etc)
* veggies (e.g. cabbage, pepper, asparagus, leeks, zucchini, tomato etc)
* 1 onion
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 2 cups of bone broth (pastured animal for the Phase 1 of the diet, or salmon head thereafter)
* salt & pepper
* Juice of 1 lemon

soup-2

Directions
1. Wash/peel, and cut roughly the veggies. Add them all in a big pot, along the broth, under low heat.

2. When liquids have reduced to half, about 40 minutes later, turn off and remove from heat.

3. Use an immersion mixer, and turn them into a smooth soup. Add salt, pepper, the lemon, and optionally, paprika or ginger.

4. Serve hot, and let the rest in the pot to get cold, before you refrigerate or freeze it.

Variation: On step 4, open a white bean can, wash and strain them, and add them to the hot soup.

Tuna Salad & Mayo

In my pesco-vegetarian diet I try to avoid tuna and octopus for ethical reasons (tuna because it’s being tortured before it’s killed, and octopus because it’s super-smart), but at today’s picnic there was no avoiding tuna. I always buy the Wild Planet brand, which is dolphin-safe, and plainly, the best tuna I ever had, with lots of DHA in it.

In this post, I also mention how to quickly make the most amazing, fresh mayo, without having to deal with industrial seed oils and additives.

tuna-salad

Tuna Salad:
Ingredients

* 1 can of good quality tuna
* 1 Tbspoon of mayo (see below for recipe)
* 1/2 stalk of celery
* 5-6 grapes
* black pepper
* 1 romaine lettuce

Direction
1. Drain the tuna, and place on a bowl. Cut into smaller pieces using your hands.

2. Wash the celery and grapes, and cut them very thinly. Add them to the bowl.

3. Add the mayo, black pepper, and mix well using a spoon.

4. Serve on romaine lettuce leaves, or refrigerate for up to 1 day.

tuna-salad-2

Mayo
Ingredients
* 1 pastured egg
* juice of 1 lemon
* 1 tspoon of French mustard
* salt & pepper
* Pinch of sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
* 1 cup of light olive oil

Direction
1. Add all ingredients in a tall pitcher, and using an immersion mixer, mix for about a minute.

2. Use, or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.

Fritters

Fried vegetables is a nice snack or dinner, but it still needs to eaten only on occasion. We had this today on our picnic. The great thing about this recipe is its versatility: you can add any kind of root or tuber, along with some veggies.

fritters

Ingredients (makes 8 fritters)
* 1 egg
* 2 zucchini, shredded
* 1 carrot, shredded
* choice of other shredded roots/tubers: potato, yams, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi
* choice of “riced” veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, peas, onion (optional)
* 2 tablespoons of almond flour (optional)
* salt & pepper
* 1 teaspoon of paprika (optional)
* 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheddar (optional)
* 1/3 cup of avocado oil

Directions
1. Add some salt on the shredded zucchini, and set aside for 10 minutes. Afterwards, using your hands, squeeze as much water from it as possible. The less water you have there, the better the fritters will hold together.

2. Add all ingredients together in a big bowl (except the oil), and blend together well. Start forming burger-size patties.

3. Fry with some oil under medium heat for a few minutes, until well browned underneath, and then carefully turn them and fry for a few more minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel (to absorb the oil) for a few minutes, and eat hot or cold.

Jackfruit Pulled “Pork”

Here’s another way to lie to yourself that you’re eating meat, hehe… Although to be honest, it’s a recipe that holds on is own. Some people have reported that it tastes like chicken, but I think that it tastes more like artichoke, rather than meat.

jackfruit

Ingredients (for 2)
* 1 can of jackfruit in water (not brine or syrup)
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon of onion powder
* other spices of your choice
* 1 Tbspoon avocado or olive oil
* 1 cup of vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup of gluten-free, low sugar, bbq sauce (or make your own)

Directions
1. Drain the jackfruit can and rinse in a colander. Cut out and discard the woody triangle end of each piece.

2. Using your fingers, or two forks, “pull” the “pork” apart. Add the spices, and coat well using your hands.

3. Place in a frying pan, with a little of oil, and cook until all juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable broth and the bbq sauce, cover the pan, and cook until all juices have evaporated and the mixture resembles that of a pulled pork, about 30 minutes.

5. Serve hot, in romaine lettuce leaves, or in oopsie buns, along a coleslaw.