My Meatless Keto Week

Couple of years ago I’ve got sucked into the social media trend and started using Instagram. I had joined the Facebook wagon a long time before that in 2007, but I kept resisting IG for quite a while. I didn’t see the purpose of it, after all if I wanted to share some pictures I would have simply created an online photo gallery, which I did do multiple of times at different sites such as Flickr or Picasa. But, by looking at my sidebar where I feature my IG pictures, you know I eventually caved in and joined in on the fun.

Why am I saying all this? Well, I, like just about anybody out there, am very impressionable by what I see. In other words, if you walk the talk you will have my attention and I will be interested in what you are saying. If you don’t walk the talk and it shows, I will ignore your preachings. And before anybody even begins to form the criticism of that statement by saying that people use photoshop and filters to improve what they put out on IG, let me say that I am aware of that and I believe I can see through it. So, long story short, I’ve been fascinated by a vegetarian bodybuilder for a while now – her name is Geraldine Morgan.  In fact, I must give her credit for my Basic Savoury Pancake, because her food posts have inspired me to make one myself.

If you’re following any dietary news, especially in the bodybuilding sphere, you know there is a lot of controversy and dispute as to what’s the best macro ratios for building muscle. In fact, some will argue that you absolutely cannot build any amount of muscle by avoiding meat aka animal protein. Well, have a look at Geraldine and tell me she doesn’t carry a great amount of muscle on her frame! She can easily put to shame not only some women but also males trying to build muscle!

I’ve got so inspired by her posts, her work ethic and simply by her appearance that I decided to go meatless for a week. I would say I did rather well and didn’t really miss meat that much. I’ve actually increased my protein intake slightly, my carbs went up just a notch only because I decided to include some fruit in my morning post-workout meal and I was still able to keep my fats at a comfortable level to stay in a ketogenic state by including a lot of home-made nut butters, avocados, eggs and coconut oil. It was quite liberating not to have to worry about my main protein for a meal – I simply stuck to eggs, my savoury pancake (which can also be called a protein pancake for its high protein content) and last but not least my old time favorite cottage cheese creation. I supplemented liberally with hemp seeds, vegan protein powder, nuts and to a lesser extent with chia seeds. I liked it so much that I think I will continue this regiment into the second week!

And this is an example of what I would have for breakfast every single morning with the exception of the orange which I swapped for blueberries and plums. If you have been following my sweetener resolution you will now know that I’ve only been able to reduce my stevia usage, but not eliminate it completely – I still have a very strong sweet tooth that I am trying to control. I still believe I am doing pretty good and this type of breakfast makes everything better, every single morning 🙂

Orange Chocolate Mousse
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 150g
  • Calories: 72
  • Fat: 0.5
  • Saturated fat: 0.2
  • Carbohydrates: 2.8
  • Sugar: 2.4
  • Sodium: 15
  • Fiber: 0.3
  • Protein: 14.5
  • Cholesterol: 3.8
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: high-protein
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This can be transformed 100 different ways by playing with flavours.
Ingredients
  • 500g Dry Pressed Cottage Cheese
  • 500g Skyr
  • 125ml Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Stevia to taste
  • 4 drops of Orange Extract
  • 20g Unsweetened Cocoa
Instructions
  1. Combine Cottage Cheese, Skyr and Milk until smooth in a food processor.
  2. Add more milk if desired.
  3. Add Stevia, Cocoa Powder and Orange Extract.
  4. Process until very smooth.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Notes
Please note even though I am promoting this as a ketogenic meal it is not very high in fat. This DOES NOT prevent it from being a keto food simply because one can add as much fat to this meal as desired. Toppings is where you can play with the fat content.

 
Orange and chocolate go quite well if I may say so. I reinforced the orange flavour by using a very powerful Orange Extract. By adding Cocoa nibs I was also able to add a chocolaty kick. No sugar in any of the ingredients and only a fraction from fruit. You can easily skip the fruit if you wish to.

 

The consistency is quite creamy and satisfying.

 

The texture also does not disappoint – I added a serving of chia seeds for some added fats and a serving of hemp seeds for more protein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as tradition would have it I put it all together in a quick video – actually it ended up being my longest video yet – but I believe that all 8 minutes of it is worth your time! So have a look and give me a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to subscribe for more.

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I found my calling

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while or following my social media posts, you know that my most notable obsession is making and devouring pancakes. However, they come at a certain price for me – guilt for having indulged is something sweet. There is a certain pleasure in eating my pancakes: they are sweet, fluffy and featuring an array of toppings. I top them with nuts, nut butters, chocolate ganache, coconut purée, coconut flakes, pieces of chocolate, not to mention mounds of cinnamon finished with a crunchy, sweet layer of erythritol. You get the picture… This does not instill any amount of self control in me, I always want more once my pancake is gone. But I promised myself to tone it down, because I want to wean myself off the sweet dependency and be able to taste and enjoy the food’s natural flavour, not some artificially made sweetness.

Like anybody out there I want to have my cake and eat it too, but in my case it’s a pancake: I don’t care for cakes that much. Funny thing, I figured out a way to have it and eat it too – without resorting to any gimmicks, tricks, secrets or other questionable ways – without the guilt of eating a treat. How? I turned my sweet pancake into a savoury dish! Voilà! I’m eating a pancake at least twice a day and it’s not rising my insulin levels or my cravings. Let me introduce to you my one and only Basic Savoury Pancake aka a Wrap.   

 

Basic Savoury Pancake
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Serving size: 1 pancake
  • Calories: 94
  • Fat: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 1
  • Protein: 19
Recipe type: Wrap
Cuisine: Low-carb
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This is a game changer for me: no more cravings after having my pancake!
Ingredients
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • ½ scoop of Pea Protein Powder
  • Spices
  • ⅓ cup Milk
Instructions
  1. Whip egg whites on high until slightly stiff
  2. Add pea protein powder and spices and mix until integrated.
  3. Add enough milk of choice for the batter to become quite runny for a pancake that can be swooshed around in the pan for a larger surface
Notes
NOTE 1: I opt for using egg white but you can just as successfully use whole eggs. The reason why I am using egg whites is because I like to add fat in the form of avocado, nuts and nut butters. So in essence I am saving my fat macros from the pancake and adding them back in my toppings.

NOTE 2: I am experimenting with different sources of protein lately. Inspired by one of the Arnold Classic competitors I am giving meat a bit of a rest and replacing it with vegetarian options. I still like meat and I am not turning vegetarian or vegan at all, just experimenting with different options. Somebody once asked me if vegans/vegetarians can follow a ketogenic diet and I never did find out, other than googling and getting mixed messages. So, here I am spreading my wings: my choice of protein for this pancake apart from egg white is Pea Protein Powder.

NOTE 3: You can use any milk you wish, I opted for unsweetened Almond Milk. You can add as much or as little as you wish. Thicker batter with not spread very easily on your pan, whereas with a thinner batter (which you will achieve by adding enough milk) you will be able to spread and achieve a larger, more foldable pancake that you can use as a wrap if you wish.

When I first attempted this creation I was a bit sceptical as to how filling this bad boy was going to be, mostly because I’m only using 2 egg whites, so volume-wise it does not seem like a whole lot of food. My regular sweet pancake calls for 250ml of egg whites – so visually, when I start whipping up my egg whites the volume seems incredible – and truth be told my sweet Basic Coconut Pancake is rather large. But I decided to switch things up a little bit for my savoury equivalent. The reason for this is simple – I wanted to concentrate more on the toppings for the savoury pancake rather than use up all my macros in the pancake (that’s also why I opted for egg whites in the batter, rather than whole eggs – I wanted those fats on top). And my toppings for the savoury pancake made the whole dish quite satiating.

And toppings is where it’s at, my lovely readers! The possibilities are endless – let your imagination run wild! Same as being able to switch up the flavour of the pancake by playing with the spices, you can top the pancake with different things every time you make it. The pancake is quite malleable when you thin out the batter enough, so it’s perfect for lunches in place of a traditional store bought wrap – you can stuff it with anything you desire. And, did I say it takes literally no time to put it together? Well, it’s true, you can make it in under 5 minutes!

This was my very first Savoury Pancake I made and it came out much thicker because I did not dilute the batter as much – it was quite yummy! Toppings include caramelized red onions and walnuts and some sautéed shrimp for added protein.

 

Second attempt came out just as good and at that point I was hooked! This time I made the batter slightly thinner which allowed for the pancake to be folded – now that I think of it, these could very easily be turned into quesadilla style wraps! Anybody up for chicken quesadillas? Oh, the possibilities! I served this one with mushrooms, onions, avocado and walnuts and a side of baby spinach topped with grated beets in home made simple vinaigrette.

 

It was that good!

And as tradition would have it I put together a quick video to show you it really isn’t that difficult or time consuming to cook from scratch:

 

So what’s my calling? I think I’d be perfectly OK to be the Pancake Lady until I’m old and wrinkled 🙂

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She is on about the food prep again, or is she?

Let me start by saying that if you want something bad enough you will do what needs to be done because anything worth having is worth your effort. Forgive the cliché laden intro, but it’s true that nothing worth having is easy. If you don’t care you will not feel inclined to make the effort. It’s when you care that things will start working out for you.

I think I would not be wrong in saying that we all want good health, we all want to feel good in our bodies, many of us want to look good naked, some of us want to have shredded abs. Whatever your goal you will need to make an effort in the kitchen, because your health, your looks and your well-being all start in the kitchen. 

I’m exhausted today after a pretty much full day of prepping food, but I did it and here is proof: 

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This is not even all of the food I cooked today. I also made a dill yogurt dressing for my salads and pancakes for breakfast.

I woke up at 5:30AM, just couldn’t sleep. By 6AM I was brewing my coffee and – as usually is the case on a Sunday – I started contemplating going to the gym or taking a rest day. Somehow, it always makes me feel guilty to take a rest day – I feel like I should be doing more to get my butt in shape. The verdict was that I needed to take a day off for several reasons: 1. I had a pile of things to catch up on and 2. I’ve had quite a leg workout the day before (but more on that in a minute). 

So I had my ritual pancake and coffee with cream and started devising a plan of action for my food prep. I started hauling all the groceries out of the fridge that were purchsed Friday night and quickly realized that the fridge could use a quick scrub. I don’t know about you, but when I open the fridge and it’s clean and tidy I am more likely to stick to my food plan and be on top of my game. When the fridge is tidy I know what’s what and what needs to be used when. That’s just how my brain functions. So I gave it a quick scrub and proceeded to cook the food. Sometime in the middle of my prep it was time to eat again so I whipped up some scrambled eggs and broccoli and then fished off my cooking which brought me to about 3PM.

So, yes, it was a full day of dancing around in the kitchen – I have to say that’s unusually long, though. And yes, at 3PM I was exhausted. But do I regret any of it? No. It’s pouring cats and dogs today, so as far as I’m concerned if I didn’t do my ritual in the kitchen, I would have been sitting on my derrière and probably stuffing my face with crap. Instead, I have a fridge full of cooked food that will take minutes to assemble and a peace of mind that I don’t need to resort to food served in a work cafeteria or have to pop out to Mary Brown’s for lunch.

Now, let me tell you why I think I was so exhausted at 3PM – food prepping is not by definition an activity that raises my heart rate very high. Walking through the woods does, though! The day before some quality time was needed and so I agreed to do a little road trip to Terra Nova National Park to check out the Outport trail.

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You know it’s not a good sign when you have to take off your hikers even before setting foot on the trail! I will have to try a lighter pair of trail runners. Yes, this is a first for me to be taking about the weight of my footwear! I will talk you to death about the weight of my food, I own couple of food scales, but you would have never – up until last night – heard me complaining about the weight of my shoes. Well, things change. It turned out this pair is 33% heavier as another pair that I will be trying out the next hike.

 

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This trip was for informational purposes only and the 25k (plus return hike) will happen for some on Labour Day Weekend. I’ve been asked to go, heck I was the first choice, but I am not sure yet if I’m up to it. I will practice before the labour day weekend and see how I feel about it. You might not know this about me, but I am a very poor co-hiker. I do, however have a special motivator – my legs. I have set out to bring my legs’ conditioning up a notch or two and I believe hiking is a great way to get them to where I want them to be. I’m doing a heck of a lot of leg work at the gym, but nothing beats walking in the woods. You get so much more out of it than working out for 1h or 2 at the gym.

 

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Yup, we were on the right track, apparently.

 

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This was a suspension bridge and I didn’t realize it until I stepped on it which made for a pretty rude awakening 😉

 

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And this is the view from the bridge. I forget how beautiful Newfoundland can be and how I enjoy the post-processing of my photos. I don’t necessary like to edit my pictures, especially if I had taken a lot. But these days I no longer use heavy duty PS or Lightroom applications – that’s what turned me off from photography in the first place. I dreaded having to upload my photos and then spend hours editing them. But, today this has become much more user friendly.

 

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And that’s as far as I was willing to walk that day – all in all about 6km wasn’t too shabby for somebody who was expecting to maybe do a total of 2km.

 

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These pictures were taken on the way to the trail.

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And here is my food link! You know I have food on my mind when I see cauliflower in this picture 🙂 I couldn’t resist – it screamed cauliflower to me.

 

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And this is what my cauliflower looked like from afar.

 

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What do they say..? What goes down ….

 

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… must come up! Yes, food on my mind at all times. I think this is actually a reference to the result of binge drinking… But you get my drift. I must find some sort of food reference in a hike to be able to include it in my food blog 🙂

 

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And one more “cauliflower” picture for good measure 🙂

 

 

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Why I love food-prepping

The main argument against preparing home made meals is lack of time – I hear it all the time : “I just don’t have the kind of time it takes to cook all these meals!” One of the arguments I make for home cooking is that it will save you time in the long run. Just think about it, if you devote 2-3 hours to batch cook your meals over the weekend, say Saturday morning, you won’t have to do it every day Monday to Friday 🙂 But my main argument for prepping food is that it makes you take care of you (granted you do it the right way) and it keeps you busy! What’s the deal with that, you ask? I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat out of boredom. If I’m sitting around doing nothing I feel like I want to have something do. And instead of getting up to actually do something I reach for snack foods. So, if you are busy making your food for the week you wont be snacking now or later during the week, because you’ll have all the food you’ll need to nourish yourself! Simple. Once you have some sides prepped, suppers during the week also take minutes to put together. Let me show you:

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These were made over the weekend and put in a container, because I find caramelizing mushroom and onions takes a bit of time I throw them in the pan with some coconut oil when I’m prepping on the weekend, stir occasionally and boom, they are done and ready to be used at my fingertips during the week as a side.

 

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I like broccoli freshly prepared because otherwise they get all soggy and mushy and I like my broccoli with a little crunch. So, the night of the meal, I chop them like so and throw them in a non-stick pan to brown a bit while I’m working on my salmon. It will take as long as the salmon so both go in at the same time.

 

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Salmon gets spices and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top for an added crunch and cheesy taste. Depending on my fat macros (since salmon is pretty fatty as is) I either pop it in the oven with no added fat wrapped in aluminum foil or fry in coconut oil. Yes, I weigh all my food, so that I know approximately what I’m eating – there is no way to know exactly, but I’m happy with the estimation macronutrient counting gives me.  

 

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And voilà meal ready in 15 minutes tops!

So here you have it, 15 minutes out of your day for a lifetime of health and happiness 🙂 To me it’s worth it, after all, what else am I gonna do? 

 

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