Posts Tagged ‘nutritional ketosis’

“Processed” Food

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Like everyone else who works, I have a lot to do when I get home and some nights I need help to get a healthy dinner on the table. I eat a ketogenic (low carbohydrate) diet and don’t have pasta and rice and bulgur to fall back on. For those nights I keep some “fast food” in the freezer, like riced organic cauliflower. If I’m thinking ahead, I leave a bag out to thaw in the morning. More often I didn’t think ahead and need to thaw it quickly in the microwave. Either way, if you just cook it as is, you are going to have a rather damp mess on your hands, in my opinion anyway. So take the thoroughly thawed cauliflower, bundle it in a dish towel, and squeeze the water out of it. You’ll get a surprising amount out. Now you can throw it in a skillet with some salt, sliced green onions, chopped herbs, olive oil, and sliced almonds, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes with regular stirring. Don’t add water back. Cauliflower loves to go soggy if it gets a chance. It’s done when the cauliflower grains are done to your preference. I like mine a bit on the firm side, holding their shape briefly to the tooth without any hint of raw crunch.  Check whether it needs more salt before you serve. Meanwhile, grill some salmon as shown here, or warm up leftover chicken thighs, or slice up some warmed leftover meat. Land it on your cauliflower pilaf and flavor it with finishing butter (Montpellier butter with green garlic is shown here) which also lives in the freezer in convenient individually wrapped portions, or just drizzle with your best olive oil.
Some would say that I should grow, grate, and freeze the cauliflower myself if I’m going to use it, and when such people get hold of me, I always suggest that they invite me over for a meal 100% produced from their yard so that I can write about it😉. So far, those invitations haven’t arrived. I am not a believer in making the perfect the enemy of the good, and we are not full-time yard farmers and have to make our modern lives work. Besides, grating cauliflower is one of the few kitchen jobs that I hate and one that I outsource whenever possible. I grow things that are unobtainable at markets or distinctly better when home-grown, and cauliflower is neither. So let somebody else do the work for you.
Regarding the finishing butter above, I am used to horrified shrieks of “It’s GREEN!” Indeed it is, and so are a lot of other good things. Expose yourself (and your family and friends) to green food until you get used to it, and your health will benefit. After all, nobody has ever looked at wild-caught Alaskan salmon at my table and said “Ugh, it’s PINK!” Good food is good food. Close your eyes if you really must, but getting over biases about green is better.

Here’s another version tricked out with capers, green garlic, thyme, pine nuts, and castelvetrano olives.

Notes on the Ketogenic Diet

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I have alluded several times to ketogenic dieting, and decided to say a little more before I go back to garden talk. I started eating ketogenically a little over three years ago, in response to increasing weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar. I don’t expect to eat any other way for the forseeable future, because I like being thinner, feeling better, and having no medications to keep track of. I am not making recommendations for anybody but myself. If you are interested, read the most recent Atkins book you can find, one that lists Volek and Phinney as authors since they are two of the foremost researchers in this field. For myself, I can only say that it has been exhilarating to find that the slow progression to type 2 diabetes is totally within my own control and doesn’t have to happen. I “cheat” on fruit when it’s fresh from my own yard but otherwise stay very low-carb. Deprived? Not hardly. The lovely plate above, “borrowed” from The Nourished Caveman, is just one example of what’s possible.

The bulk of my diet these days is leafy vegetables, both raw and cooked, and this is where being a gardener and forager comes in really handy. To get this quantity of greens in organic form from the store would be quite possible, but expensive. I cook them with healthy fats and any seasonings that take my fancy. I eat moderate amounts of meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. This is not an especially high-protein diet, although protein content is certainly high relative to the standard junk-food diet. I do use a few artificial sweeteners, mostly oligofructose (a natural derivative of chicory root) and liquid stevia, but I try to minimize them and I don’t obsess about making sugar-free desserts. Dessert should be an occasional treat, not a nightly right.

All of this said, I don’t intend to write much more specifically about this way of eating. It’s my lifestyle choice and not binding upon anyone else. If you’re interested, just be aware that my posts and recipes since I resumed blogging early in 2015 are compatible with a low-carb lifestyle, but older posts are not, and that green vegetables are your friends!
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For those who have tried low-carb and not gotten good results, the link below is a nice concise and useful summary of the most common mistakes.
Low Carb Mistakes
Here’s another helpful input from the Atkins forums:
Doing Atkins Right