Low Carb High Fat Living

I have been living a low carb life now for several months and can confidently say that my body has switched to burning fat for fuel. Here is how I know that it did:

I feel like a million bucks
I have high energy levels
My intake of carbohydrates has been minimal
I do not hit a wall when I go without food for extended periods of time
I am not hungry first thing in the morning
I feel more alert than before
I’m producing ketones (stay tuned for the next post in which I’ll tell you all about it)

But still… all those positive aspects of eliminating carbs from one’s diet are not enough to convince some people who insist that this WOE (low-carb, ketogenic, atkins etc.) is very restrictive and limiting – even in light of the fact that what’s being restricted is what some call carbage (carb+garbage). In a LCHF diet you’re only eliminating things that have long time ago been defined and identified as unhealthy and fattening. You are getting rid of:  grains, starchy vegetables, sugars and most manufactured packaged food items. So, think: rice, pasta, flours, potatoes, everything that falls into the category of TV dinners, cookies, pastries, all types of sweets, cakes, etc. And you’re left with full fat dairy (if you are not intolerant to it), oils (olive, avocado, macadamia, walnut, coconut), eggs, all fatty meats, organ meats and above ground vegetables (mostly green) and some fruit (avocado, tomato, berries). Personally I would not call this restrictive, I’d say it’s a type of a diet spring cleaning that we perform when switching up to this WOE – have a look at what I have been doing with the foods that remain on my LCHF diet. Notice, I love the idea of eating out of big ass bowls 🙂

Scrambled eggs have become a real staple in my diet. And so has blue cheese and avocado. The white dollop to top of the smoked salmon is my homemade mayo (Skip the store bought type as it contains unnecessary and unhealthy oils). Now, I have just learned something about the smoked salmon I have been eating: it contains brown sugar, so I will not be including it in my meals unless I find one that has none added. It’s not a huge amount, but I’m simply not contributing my hard earned money to the madness of preserving everything with sugar.

 

 

Greens have become an integral part of my meals for micronutrients, volume and the fact that they contain an insignificant amount of carbohydrates. Whole eggs also grace my plates on a regular basis – prepared in all possible forms. In this meal, I decided to get my fats from multiple sources, instead of using all egg yolk for fat – I switched it up and laid the egg on top of some ground lamb. I used to use ground veal, but I haven’t been able get it lately so I simply switched to lamb which is an excellent source of fat. It’s a must every weekend for me to get some type of ground meat that I will marinate overnight with spices and herbs and the following day just fry it up and transfer into a container to be used at various meals throughout the week. As you can see I do not use a huge amount – about 100g. I’ve also have been roasting garlic in batches to add to salads or dressings. Sometimes I like to snack on roasted garlic cloves – don’t knock it till you try it, it’s my type of candy, you can’t overeat it and it does have a nice nutty sweet taste.

 

Fish of choice is of course Atlantic Salmon spiced and fried in coconut oil with a side of broccoli, spiralized zucchini, avocado and walnuts.

I used to cringe at the word “fried” and instead would often describe the activity as “sautéeing” , but since my transition into the dietary world of fat I have accepted this culinary technique as a valid way of preparing food without any negative connotations. To be perfectly honest my negative associations with frying foods come from the branch of deep frying foods and I still would not venture into this type of food preparation simply because even if you use the good stuff (coconut oil or palm oil) the control over how much fat one is actually eating while consuming deep fried foods is totally relinquished. You can’t possibly calculate the amount of fat you will be ingesting while consuming something that has absorbed the deep fryer oil.  On top of that, if you decide to consume deep fried foods in a restaurant, be it fast food or otherwise, you are risking consumption of highly inflammatory fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil and peanut oil… just to name a few. Those should be avoided at all cost but unfortunately most, if not all restaurants, are using those unhealthy oils, especially for deep frying. Just think about it, go into any grocery store and compare the price of canola oil to coconut oil – the former is cheap as dirt as compared to the latter. So it’s more cost effective for a restaurant to resort to the cheap stuff.

Sometimes there is nothing better than a boiled egg, so boiled eggs I make. Only when I feel that I am low on protein will I supplement it with some extra egg whites. As per usual I used spiralized zucchini to add some volume to my meal, 50g of tomatoes, caramelized mushrooms, cornichons and some Grass-fed Beef Snack Sticks.

I find the ordinary grocery store to be extra lacking in quality processed meats. Occasionally, I like to add some pepperoni, beef jerky, bacon or other cured meats to my meals, but you will be hard pressed to find those without added sugars. I don’t know about you, but when I eat meat, I want to eat meat… not sugar. So, I have to resort to finding those gems online. I tried the Nick’s Sticks and must admit they were very tasty and did not contain any unnecessary ingredients. The only downside was the price – I bought them at Amazon at $4.79 (free shipping) for 2 sticks for a total of 48g. While they were a nice addition to my meals I would not make them a regular grocery list item. However, this is the type of food I would certainly add to the list of foods to take on a hiking expedition for flavour, portability and weight. They would go very nicely in scrambled eggs on the trail 🙂

 

I have been loving bowl meals, period. It’s a very convenient way to integrate a lot of low caloric foods like lettuce, kale, zucchini, shredded cabbage and spinach with some more dense foods like oil dressings, avocado and fatty proteins like salmon. I usually layer all my ingredients starting with the lettuce-like items, then comes cucumber, tomato, nuts (if using any), and I top all that with diced avocado, and on one side I’ll put my protein and on the other side I’ll add a warm, cooked vegetable. In these two bowls that vegetable was red cabbage that I had fried in some coconut oil and spices until it softened a bit. I deal with sides the same way I deal with most meats (like the ground lamb) – I cook them in batches and use them throughout the week as needed.

This bowl was so pretty I almost did not want to eat it. Well, not really. As soon as I dug into it I was sold! I used a different type of coleslaw in this meal – it contained shredded broccoli, cauliflower and kale – I could really taste the difference in the different textures. I also added chopped dill that made this bowl very refreshing. And to dress it up I used my staple full fat greek yogurt and blue cheese dressing.

There is nothing better than eating from a bowl! I don’t toss the ingredients together prior to eating, I integrate everything together as I eat and eventually the dressing will coat every single morsel of food. It’s the best thing ever, it seems like a neverending exploration into the bowl of goodness.

I don’t consider myself a picky eater and I will try almost anything at least once and if it’s very good I will eat it all day, everyday until I find some other type of food to try. So I don’t understand when people complain about variety and insist that they have to eat something different every day – if it tasted good on Monday it will certainly taste good on any other day of the week, no? But if one insists on this idea of variety I find that you can have a staple base meal (like those bowls) and switch up an ingredient or two if you really need something different every day. So for example,  you can make a couple of different dressings from which to pick, change up the protein and some vegetables and you will get the feeling that you are eating a different meal every day, even though you might not have created a completely different meal. And for goodness sake…. use spices and herbs, they make a world of a difference .